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Color for Winter-weary Eyes

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New recruits in the lettuce army. You can almost see these Japanese Buttercrunch and blood lettuce plants growing hour by hour. I'll put some out in the garden when the weather finally warms, leaving maybe six plants per planter. And I'll keep the planters by the front door where I can always pop out and get myself a salad or a leaf or two for a sandwich. I call them my sandwich gardens. They come in real handy in BLT season. 

Not sure what I'm going to do this BLT season. Traditionally it's when I fall off my no-bread wagon. But I've come too far to screw up again, having quit carbs in August '12 and dropped 20 pounds. The same 20, I'd add, that I dropped in 2000, doing the same thing. Let's just say that late-summer BLT's were part of the problem.  Because a homegrown BLT on Tuscan multigrain toast is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. Can you put a BLT on RyVita? Wrap mayo and bacon and tomato in lettuce leaves? From whence comes the satisfying crunch? Ahh, I miss crunch. Toast, food of the gods.

 Please advise, fellow low-carb sufferers. I must have my BLT. Somehow.

Who needs LT? Just give me bacon, Mether.

Occold Embers. It'll get big chestnut butterflies on its leaves in full sun, and the leaves will turn from green to bright chartreuse. Yum! It makes a statement in a planter.

Rosina Reid. A nice, compact dwarf geranium. Never drops a petal, either. The flowers just dry on the plant. Nice feature, one you come to appreciate when you have geraniums that shatter easily, dropping petals everywhere.

Grooming is so much a part of gardening. Part of the difference between a good nursery and one that doesn't care is that nobody deadheads in the latter kind. Every time I go to the greenhouse I deadhead, take off burned or yellowed leaves, just clean the plants up. The trash can is just as pretty as the flowers sometimes.

Rosemary LOVES the new greenhouse. She gets a lot more light and better air circulation than in the semi-opaque double thermopane of the Pod. Not a hint of mildew. I'm so glad I didn't throw her out come frost. 

An enigma to me is the geranium called Vancouver Centennial. These plants have gone years for me without blooming. And then bang. One will bloom. Worth waiting for, it's such a delicious light scarlet. 

But the other 99% of the year, this is what you get. Which is fine! I love this plant. It hangs onto its leaves and almost never drops one. Makes a fabulous textured mound in a big planter, a perfect foil for other free-blooming gerania. It's always part of my Hot Pot, which is a hot-colored gang planting of geraniums that I keep near the bird bath.

The one that's blooming now is a cutting of the plant above. Go figure why only the cutting bloomed. You'd think that, come time to flower, they both would. But not a sign of buds on the big plant. Does it need to have its roots crowded to bloom? I don't know. 

When it gets sunny, I open the louvered window vents. So far they work well to regulate temperatures, and only one titmouse has come in and thrown himself on the flexible plastic deli-tray walls--BONG! BONG! BONG! so far.

Vesuvius, with his bronzy chestnut leaves, and Happy Thought Pink.

Another plant I love, a geranium called Contrast. With Chet Baker for scale.

Hard to believe this plant was just inch-high stubs in November. About to bloom too, as if the leaves weren't lovely enough. Another scarlet flower coming! It's falling all over itself and needs a bigger pot so it won't tip over when it dries out.

My happy corner.

 My old Mammillaria cactus, possibly Mammillaria geminispina, blooming away. Love those rings of magenta flowers. It went about 18 years as a single column, then suddenly sent out side arms, which bloom too. You just never know what a plant's going to do. This cactus has never quailed at anything I've done. It just smiles and blooms all winter long. I move it outside in summer and let it take the rain, and water it sparingly in winter until it buds up. Then I pick up the watering a bit. Nice plants. You can forget to water them for a month and they never bat an eye. And that fuchsia pink--well, it's good for the winter-weary eye.


If you can handle moderation, perhaps having your beloved BLT once in a while, as a treat, would work? Personally, I am not good with moderation; I find abstinence much easier, but I have heard some people speak of this thing called moderation and that it works for them. *Shrugs*

Posted by Anonymous April 9, 2013 at 4:06 AM

You could *try* some homemade Paleo bread. I'm sure it would not be the same as wheat-based bread, but it might be satisfying. I have several recipes for Paleo bread based on coconut flour that I've gathered over recent months, but I haven't tried any of them. Most of them had very positive feedback from readers of blogs, and I'd be happy to share them.

Some Paleo bread recipes are based on almond flour, and may be closer to "real" bread than the coconut flour types.

I know the same longing; I gave up wheat a while ago, and used to adore crusty sourdough. Well, to be honest, I was addicted to bread. I can't have bread in the house now--I'd gobble it in a day. Moderation is not possible.

I realize you are trying to cut carbs, but this idea just ran through my mind, so here it is- what about a potato skin BLT? You could crisp up a potato, scoop out as much of the insides as possible (and use that in a summer vegetable corn chowder- yum! Sorry, low carb low carb...) then crisp the potato shell again. After that, layer in your mayo and B-L-T.... sounds like it could work, you think?

Love Vancouver Centennial, I'd almost rather it didn't flower if it doesn't choose to, it's all about the leaves.

We established "BLT Sunday" as a weekly holiday last year - as long as there were fresh tomatoes available either from the family or the farmers' market we had BLTs for dinner every Sunday night. One (or two) BLT sandwiches and some garlic dill pickles and enough bacon left over for Monday BLT Lunch. I can't wait for BLT Sunday to come back around.

Likewise, what good is a turkey burger without the mayo, ketchup, lettuce, onion all nestled into a bun! Hateful metabolism!

On the other hand, you are lucky enough to be able to count the titmice that enter your window cracks, life ain't that rough!

Happy migration,
Leslie Y.

Posted by Anonymous April 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I used to torment the guys that I worked with with BLATTs - Bacon, lettuce, avocado, turkey and tomato sandwiches. They are wonderful.

I'm now eating wheat-free, and, like you, will have to find an alternative to my own, wonderful, home-made bread.

My favorite tomatoes are the black or purple ones - they like the inside of my mouth better than some of the others.

I like a previous comment suggesting a crisp potato skin as the base... though that has carbs, they're a higher glycemic index, so that might work! I'll have to try it...

Julie, my husband and I eat super healthy foods all year long, BUT when the homegrown summer tomatoes arrive, there is nothing for it but to indulge in that most southern of delights - the tomato sandwich. And I mean right down to the mushy white Wonder Bread with Dukes mayonnaise and black pepper and a smidge of salt. Best eaten over the sink as the juice from the warm and just-picked tomato slices will run down your arms. My healthy brain might think "Aack - NO - what are you doing?! But my soul remembers childhood summers and says YES!
We don't do this more than once a week, and I can report no serious consequences. Some simple joys in our too short lives just shouldn't be abandoned. So enjoy your BLT, and savor each and every bite!

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