Summer Loving

I love summer in the desert.  Call me crazy, but I love the build up of the heat to the breaking point when the monsoons finally arrive.  I think it’s because everyone always complains about how we have no seasons here in the desert except HOT, more HOT, and mild.  To me, we have several seasons, if you just pay attention and monsoon season is my favorite part of summer. The heat (and humidity) of the day build up, as the the clouds gather around the mountains and swoop down into the valley.  Violent storms can erupt and rains falls and flows everywhere.  Following the downpour, the roads (especially in our neighborhood) are covered with debris and gravel and you can see where intermittent streambeds decide to overflow or change course.  It’s amazing to watch and observe. Our two creeks in the back often flow fast and furiously, if only for a little while.

watching monsoon rain (1)Panda watching the monsoon rain and the creek beds flow from the safety of the window (sorry for the blurry photo!)

Not to mention, I love the sounds following the monsoon storm.  Desert toads come out of hiding from underground and begin croaking.  Not just croaking, but they begin their mating songs that can last throughout the night. The crickets begin their symphony, and depending on the time of day, the birds add to the chorus.  It’s amazing.

All that water is good for the plants in the garden.  However, in the three years we’ve been at this house, this is the first year my garden really has flourished.  My tomatoes and basil are producing like crazy (though, I’ve never had a problem growing basil anywhere) and the peppers, eggplant, and squashes are doing decent. This is all due to the wonders of the irrigation system in the front courtyard. The problem in the past has been the main garden – with the lack of consistent watering and the attacks by the ground squirrels (who I despise more than anything).  We haven’t fixed the lack of an irrigation system in the main garden, but I am confident I can install a system myself this fall.  Until then, the herb bed is getting somewhat consistent water from the hose and the main beds are resting until it’s cool enough to plant the autumn greens.

In the meanwhile, we have been enjoying the harvest.  Here’s last night’s easy dinner of gazpacho soup and mozzarella-basil paninis.

gazpacho soup & mozarella basil sandwich

Gazpacho soup with mozzarella-basil panini

I never made gazpacho before but it was so simple.  I simply threw a bunch of tomatoes, a peeled cucumber, some basil and cilantro in the food processor – and voila! – soup.  Add some salt & pepper – and chill for a bit and you’re good to go.   The panini was also simple – cut up some mozzarella, add whole leaves of basil – and put between slices of bread in the sandwich maker.  Instant dinner!

I also fulfilled my quest to add to the larder – here are some banana-berry muffins and banana-blueberry muffins (an experiment in using leftover fruits).  I put one container in the freezer for after le bebe arrives. By the time I took the muffins out of the oven, finished breakfast on the patio, and come in to sort muffins, one muffin had disappeared from the pan.  No complaints must mean they were okay!

banana & berry muffins


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