We have this big beautiful tree - a Catalpa tree - that didn't bloom until last summer, our second summer here. This year the tree is heavy with blossoms. For a day or two, I kept detecting the fragrance of gardenia all the way in the back while working in the garden, and began to wonder whether I was having nostril hallucinations, since I couldn't place the source of the scent and we don't exactly have tropical plants here in the desert. Yesterday afternoon the fragrance hit me in the face as I walked under the tree and I no longer questioned my sanity. The flowers are so delicate and fine. Soon there will be curious long pods hanging from the branches - like pole beans on steroids.
I made one of my favorite dishes for dinner this week: Italian-style Stuffed Red Peppers from Dashing Dish. The savory meat sauce simmers in the red pepper as it roasts, and I love the sweetness of the pepper combined with the sauce. Even my girls liked it this time; in the past I sometimes save out some of the meat sauce and serve it over noodles for them. Only 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving (half a pepper which always fills me up with salad on the side). Can't be beat! It is one of my year-round staples and sounds good to me whether the weather is snowy or sunny.
Our raspberries are ripening, our lettuce is about ready to be picked, the quince is growing small fruits. There is a bush near our garden that was cut way back before we moved in, and I am trying to figure out what it is now that it is blooming; the picture above of white flowers that look kind of like a fruity blossom, although I'm sure this is just an ornamental tree. The people who lived here before us didn't plant one single "productive" plant on the premises - maybe owning the orchards all around us sucked the desire out of them for any other kinds of gardening and food production? At any rate, I'm making a guess that this bush is a "Mock Orange," but would love input if you recognize it as something else!
Our great caterpillar adventure is well underway, with five little chrysalides hanging in the netted garden up on top of my piano. We watched in fascination as they each hung upside down in the shape of a J and quivered manically before becoming/forming (?) into chrysalides. Obviously I have a little to learn still regarding butterfly metamorphosis. This is my first time observing the life cycle myself. This morning there was a glint of gold inside and I was struck with awe at the total transformation taking place in a tiny world in my living room. God is such a mysterious Artist.
Summer is here without a doubt, and the sprinklers are going full blast several times a week (as long as they're working... so far we have had only one easily repaired sprinkler blowout, but there are many more to come if the past few summers have been any true indication of the time required to maintain a sprinkler system). There is something comforting to me about the sprinkler rotation, as if its purpose is to remind me that the hot weather is here to stay awhile and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the snow boots and coats can stay tucked away in the closet for another few months and the days can be full of outside exploration. Soon there will be a hot dry wind blowing from the west, and thunderstorms in the evenings, and canning dreams coming half-true, though I never will accomplish as much as I aspire to. Grilling is on the books for several nights in the upcoming weeks, even though the temperatures are still only in the mid-80s. I laughed last week when I caught myself wondering if 78 was warm enough to pull out the pool for the kids to play in - when the temperatures are in the upper 80s and 90s for a lot of the summer, 80 degree highs are still cool weather! When my friend commented last week that we didn't seem get spring and just went from winter to summer, I replied that I thought these low-80s were our spring. Haha!