Ice and a slice

Today was chicken-stretching 2 and 3.
There’s a big pot of soup for Husband’s lunches next week, and we had a huge and luscious chicken salad for lunch.  I’ve also made a big pan of sauce to go with gnocci for supper tonight: the Dowager of Chiconia is coming round. Saturday is the night for the family get-together at her place (when we’re all there it’s 10 of us; this is, after all, an Italian family), but the others can’t make it for various reasons, so we’re hosting.  She’s been out all day and will be tired. So I’m cooking, which is never a chore.  Ground beef, onion, garlic, diced Roma tomatoes, tomato paste, fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary, sage, smoked paprika. This will get spooned onto the cooked gnocci and liberally dusted with freshly grated Parmesan.  One of these days I’m going to try and make my own GF gnocci instead of buying them.  I have a recipe, so there’s no excuse, really.  And for dessert there are micro-portions of chocolate mousse, the kind you can feel accumulating on your hips with the first swallow. Hence the micro…

Now, the title of today’s piece relates to the garden.  I’ve just planted out a long trough with a dwarf lemon (Meyer) and a dwarf Tahitian lime, both on Flying Dragon rootstock so they won’t grow more than 1.5m maximum.  The lime may take a while to establish, it’s small and a couple of leaves show signs of being mineral deficient.  The lemon, on the other hand, is rampantly healthy and already has several dark green marble-sized lemons, promising something to slice into my icy gin and tonic, the base ingredients for lemon curd and cheesecake, something to stuff into a roasting chicken, something to use with salt for scrubbing stubborn stains in the bathroom – the list is endless.  I love lemons, but I adore limes, so I’m crossing every finger it survives.   Also today in the Gardens of Chiconia, I put in a bamboo trellis behind the passionfruit and the YT&T, the last two tomatoes of the season were picked, the last beans inspected and rejected as being too small, and some salad leaves have been collected for tonight’s side salad.  I’ve also bought some more soil-improver compost, so I suspect most of tomorrow will be spent spreading and digging and watering and planting and encouraging and threatening and hoping.

Dwarf lemon tree with tiny green lemons - I hope they all hold on till they're ripe.

Dwarf lemon tree with tiny green lemons. I hope they all hold on till they’re ripe.

The other dwarf fruit trees are still OK. The lychee is still causing me some worry, the avocado would be described as placid if it were a person, and the mango is thriving.  It has lots of new leaves – look:

The baby mango at 5 October with at least 20 new leaves.

The baby mango at 5 October with at least 20 new leaves.

I’ve also made good strides on the Morning Tea quilt, after an initial setback.  This is just as well, because the CanDo Cancer Trust, for whom I’m making it, want to feature it on their website, and put an article in the local newspaper.  So I’d better get cracking a lot faster than I have hitherto…  I should be able to start assembling the layers tomorrow if all goes well.  And then the quilting starts.

The house also got a bit of a clean today; there was a noticeable layer of dust in every room from having doors and windows standing open in the early morning and late evening to take advantage of any breeze.  It accumulates slowly, and you don’t notice how grey everything is till you start dusting and cleaning.  But I refuse to get too upset about this stuff.  We live in a hot climate, dust will come in, and that’s it.  Cleaning is rather dull, I find, compared with the stuff I find interesting, so it tends to take a back seat.  I like doing laundry, I like cooking, I like making beds. All the rest is something that just has to be done with gritted teeth.  But it’s good when it’s done and things are shining and clean.  Then, it’s almost worth the pain.

And that’s it for today.  The Dowager will be arriving soon, so I must go and potter in the kitchen.


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