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Thursday, July 11, 2024

The Purple Chair

I think the garden is a great spot for a bit of whimsy or surprise.  

This wooden chair was formerly sage green, then white, and now I've painted it purple to tie in with the purple blooms of my lavender container garden. The large right lavender is just now in bloom. If you look closely you can see the purple blossoms.

I used spray paint, Rustoleum 2X Grape, gloss and top-coated with Rustoleum 2X Clear, semi-gloss. I chose the shade of purple that I wanted while in the store at Home Depot, comparing the color on the can to an actual English lavender plant beginning to bloom in the garden center there. Grape was practically the exact shade of purple. I'm sure I must have looked a bit silly holding cans of spray paint up against the potted plant.

It took 1  2/3 cans of the purple spray paint and just a little from the can of top-coat that I had from a project last year. The entire painting part took 3 days.

Anyway, purple may be an unconventional color for a chair. But I think it looks lovely in the garden next to the white pots of lavender.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

It's a battle for the sweet cherries in our yard, but I'm making the most of it

Every summer it's the same battle. The squirrels, raccoons, and blackbirds want our cherries before they're fully ripe for our family's fresh eating. We do get to eat some of the cherries ripe and sweet off the tree. But also, I've gotten creative in using the cherries before they ripen and get snatched by the critters. 

a bit of a rustic looking cherry pie

This week I made cherry pie using underripe sweet cherries, lemon juice, corn starch, sugar, salt, and almond extract for the filling. 

more cherry pie filling to use in another pie this week

One trick I've learned about making pie with sweet cherries is to cook the filling in a saucepan before pouring into a pie crust. Sweet cherries tend to have a higher water content than sour cherries. So cooking some of that water out in the saucepan helps the pie cook evenly, fully cooked filling that's not at all soupy and crust that is golden brown. The pie was a hit and lasted 2 days in our house. I made another batch of pie filling yesterday, and I will bake it into a second cherry pie for tomorrow's dessert.

candied cherries

Today I made a batch of candied cherries, following the instructions from this site. Overall, I think they turned out pretty good. The next time, though, I'll use less water to begin (maybe 2 1/2 cups instead of 3), as it took a long time for the liquid to thicken to syrup consistency and thus candy the cherries. I felt the cherries came out slightly overcooked as a result. I suppose the site's author used a larger saucepan than I did, and that would've cooked the liquid out faster. Anyway, I am pleased with the cherries. 

Four cups of fresh cherries yielded two cups of candied cherries plus about 6 ounces of surplus syrup. I'll freeze the candied cherries and use them at Christmas in fruitcake and to top Swedish spritz cookies. I'll be using the surplus syrup on waffles later this week.

Tomorrow I plan on making cherry preserves. In years that we get a good crop of cherries, I make Bonne Maman style cherry preserves. These preserves are not only delicious on toast or muffins, but they make a nice topping for ice cream sundaes or filling for cakes. 

My fingernails are so badly stained from pitting so many cherries this week. Fortunately, I don't have any place special I need to go. I guess that's a price I'm willing to pay. Terrible looking fingernails in exchange for tasty cherry treats made with organic and very locally-sourced cherries.


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