Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Relaxing Weekend

This past weekend was about feeling good about getting some work done in the yard and then rewarding ourselves by relaxing. Sunday we made a trip to Delaplane Cellars after a morning in the yard. And Monday, after a morning in the yard and a short trip in to work, we ate and sipped wine during the afternoon. I needed a slow leisurely weekend to start to feel good about the yard and to just slow down and enjoy. It was a great weekend!

Relaxing Lunch on the Deck at Delaplane Cellars
Sunday morning started sunny and pleasant but the humidity was up and by 10:30 or so, it seemed like the clouds were building for afternoon thunderstorms. But the nice morning let me get a lot of needed work accomplished in the yard. The younger wisteria are growing like crazy now and need weekly work to train them to our pergola. And since we are gardening on a budget, I was able to transplant a volunteer maple tree and a volunteer crape myrtle from one of the front beds to our property line out back. It felt good to finally get something accomplished in the yard rather than merely trying to recover from the damage from last winter.

In the afternoon, even as the clouds piled up in the sky, we made the quick drive to Delaplane Cellars where we tasted through the current line up and then retired to the deck with a bottle of 2012 Left Bank Bordeaux blend. Left Bank is the blend from the winery's own grapes and though the fruit is very young, it makes for a delicious and easy drinking red.

We saw Jim mowing grass between rows as we lunched and ultimately he and then Betsy joined us out on the patio where we chatted for a couple hours before we had to head home in the late afternoon.The wind got up a couple of times forcing us to furl the umbrellas and we got a few stray raindrops, but it didn't ever amount to enough to force us in. Back home in Winchester on the other side of the Blue Ridge, we saw that it had rained in our absence. Good luck for us!

Monday Lunch: Chipotle Black Bean and Mango Tacos
I worked hard all last week to keep my Monday workload to a minimum and that let me work a couple more hours in the yard before heading in to work to finish up my Monday chores. On the way home, I stopped at the market and grabbed some things for lunch and dinner. Lunch, out on the patio under the umbrella, was these black bean and mango tacos that took all of five minutes to put together from canned black beans, a mango, a bunch of cilantro, a bunch of green onions, and a can of chipotle salsa.

Shrimp, Lop Cheung, and Vegetable Lettuce Wraps
Dinner was another outdoor affair, this time, lettuce wraps with a dipping sauce. For the dipping sauce, I used the white parts of the green onions and the stems of the cilantro from lunch, along with garlic, sambal oelek, lime juice, fish sauce, and agave nectar just to take the edge off the lime.

I threw together a quick stir fry of lop cheung, tiny shrimp, sugar snaps, lime leaves (discarded before we ate), garlic, white pepper and fish sauce. This I mixed with the raw ingredients: pineapple, roasted peanuts, fresh tomato, orange sweet pepper, and lots of Thai basil. As you can see in the photo, the wraps are mostly vegetables with a tiny bit of shrimp and sausage for flavor.

What a Great Day!

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