With temperatures soaring in Kansas today, it is no wonder this little cardinal decided to treat himself to a cool bath this morning. Doesn’t that look refreshing?
Sand Cherries (Prunus x cistena) are one of my favorite ornamental shrubs. While pruning ours this week, I decided to save some of the cuttings to use in use in a floral arrangement. Notice how the bright burgundy leaves go so nicely with these hot pink roses. (Note: watch for ants and other undesirables whenever bringing cuttings inside.)
The Sandy Cherry on the southern side of our house is just starting to leaf out, so its prunings were perfect for my arrangement. The shrubs on the north side are about a week or so behind. I’ll try to get some more photos when the shrubs are in bloom. In the meantime, Happy Spring!
On April 24th, from 2:30 to 4:30, we’ll be hosting a book signing with Tama Matsuoka Wong for her book Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer’s Market, written together with Eddy Leroux. Together the two have identified wild plants that are not only edible, but also flavorful. This cookbook brings together botanical illustrations, tips for identification and collection, and recipes such as Chickweed Crostini, Bee Balm Spring Rolls with Lettuce and Dipping Sauce, and Lambsquarters Rigatoni Casserole.
For a while, I have had an interest in growing edible flowers and herbs and a few vegetables, but have not previously paid much attention to whether other plants (and weeds) in my garden are edible. Reading Foraged Flavor has opened my eyes to the possibilities of cooking with other plants such as creeping jenny and juniper.
Tea and treats will be served at the signing … with any luck, featuring some ingredients gathered from the garden.
Ms. Wong is the official forager for Daniel, Daniel Boulud’s 3 Michelin star restaurant in NYC.
Like the rest of the American Midwest, Kansas has been experiencing a severe drought this year. In Manhattan, we are 13 inches below average rainfall as we approach year’s end. I was reminded of that statistic this morning. Heading out to the Konza Prairie to take photos of the changing seasons, I was struck by how low the Kansas River was when I crossed the bridge over it; so I pulled over into a boat launch area take pictures of the low water. It appeared quite shallow. I can’t imagine boating here.
The other side of the riverbed is just below the trees in the background.
The picture below is of one of the old bridge supports. (The new bridge, above, is not far away.) If you look closely, you can see where the river is trickling past in the background.
I decided to take the opportunity to photograph some of the native plants that had bloomed earlier in the year.
While doing so, I stumbled upon this piece of driftwood. For a split second, I thought that it was a rattle snake. Afterward, I was rather keen to get back in my car.
When I got to the prairie, several of the creek beds were bone dry.
The deeper ones had a little water. Small plants were thriving in the puddles at the edges where the water was drying up.
But overall, it is pretty darned dry.
Late Autumn – Early Winter on the Konza Prairie
For this week’s photography challenge, I headed out to the Konza Prairie after breakfast. I was captivated by this one ashen white tree. Notice also the moss colored tree just in front and to the right of it. Upon close inspection, there really were so many subtle colors to be seen.
Quite a few trees were covered with moss. It made them look bundled up for the cold.
What a pleasant surprise every now and then to run into some brightly-colored berries.
But then I would look at the woods, so ominous-looking, and I was happy to head home for a cup of hot tea.
Looking for early signs of autumn, I decided to photograph the color orange in our neighborhood. It turns out that it was mostly in our own front yard.
Our neighbor’s crabapple tree with the tiniest fruit …
Pyracantha berries across the street …
Early pumpkins …
Recently several people have kindly nominated A Taste of Morning for awards. In thanks, here are some pictures that I have recently taken of wildflowers out on the Konza Prairie. I thought this would be a fun way to acknowledge those readers who have shown such warm support! Thank you to Diana Staresinic-Deane for the Reader Appreciation Award, to Share Chair for the Beautiful Blogger Award, to Letizia from Reading Interrupted for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award nominations.* You should check out these blogs. Diana writes about Kansas, Share Chair about technology (especially iPad and iPhone), and Letizia about reading, writing, and related topics.
Here are a few blogs that I really enjoy following and that I would like to nominate for an award. I think that all of them deserve a Reader Appreciation Award; and some are inspiring, some are beautiful; some are both! (I’ll let them decide which should they choose to accept.) The people behind these all bring enthusiasm, effort, and a special perspective to their work.
Roho Ya Chui for photography insights that inspire me to think
Neely Wang for beautiful photography of a wide variety of subjects
Words & Images for beautiful photography of a wide variety of subjects
SKEdazzles for beautiful photography and travel inspiration
Retiree Diary for beautiful photography and travel inspiration
Doli Siregar for beautiful adventure photography
Cumin Seeds for colorful, mostly gluten-free, recipes featuring wonderful spices
Boy Drinks World for tips on cocktail-making
Bebe’s Kitchen for interesting recipes and food photography
Beyond the Green Door for a fun mix of recipes, gardening, and decorating ideas
Becca’s Green Kitchen for delicious vegetarian recipes
Pearls & Prose for garden and travel photography
A Word in Your Ear for colorful travel photography
Goss Coaching for positive and inspiring perspectives
Crazy Train To Tinky Town for interesting stories
Some random facts:
I am a “mostly vegetarian”.
The first cookbook that I ever bought was James Beard’s Theory & Practice of Good Cooking (1977). I still own it.
I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics over the past two weeks.
The last book that I read was Sea Change by Karen White.
I just started reading The French Gardener by Sara Montefiore.
I had a great great grandfather who was French.
One of my goals for the next year is to travel to some beautiful place that I have never been before.
* Rules …
Reader Appreciation Award: Post link to the person who nominated you; include a picture of the award on your blog; nominate some other bloggers for the award; tell 7 things about yourself.
Beautiful Blogger Award: Post link to the person who nominated you; include a picture of the award on your blog; nominate 15 other bloggers for the award; tell 7 things about yourself.
Very Inspiring Blogger Award: Post link to the person who nominated you; include a picture of the award on your blog; nominate 7 other bloggers for the award; tell 7 things about yourself.
On a personal note …
Having accepted blogger awards several times now – each time quite happily and feeling flattered – I feel that it would be selfish of me to continue to do so. Hence, I humbly request that if you enjoy A Taste of Morning, that you simply send me a note letting me know. I hope that this does not sound presumptuous or offend anyone. Thank you kindly to all of you who have shown your support!
Thank goodness for Rudbeckia fulgida “Golsturm”, commonly known as Black-eyed Susans. Rudbeckia is one of the few plantings in my garden that doesn’t seem to be struggling with the weather. Despite the fact that we’ve been watering every day, a number of our plants are showing severe signs of heat stress. I suspect that some of them will need to be replaced next Spring. We lost a tree and several shrubs after last summer’s heat. Every now and then I toy with the idea taking the Rudbeckia out of my garden because it is an odd companion for my roses and Asiatic lilies; but then when midsummer heat sets in – and it is extreme again this year – I am so glad that better judgement prevailed and that the sunny faces of my Black-eyed Susans are still out there to cheer everyone who walks by. As I write this at almost 5 pm, our official temperature in Manhattan, Kansas is 109 degrees F. The thermometer in our yard is reading 112. In the last month, we’ve had 24 days with a high of 100 or over and we’re about 8″ behind in rain for the months of June and July. There is a 40% chance of precipitation for tonight, however, so everyone has their fingers crossed for rain this evening and a cooler day tomorrow. It would surely make the garden happy if that were to happen.