Saturday, September 25, 2021

Birds and Butterflies at Cape May Point #monarchbutterfly

Viceroy Butterfly
Monarch or Viceroy?

As you know from my previous post, Fall Monarch butterfly migration is now underway. We predict that our newborn NJ Monarch is on the way to Cape May! We followed her lead to Cape May Point yesterday for a day trip, hoping to see lots of Monarchs. Cape May Point also happens to be one of the most popular sites for bird watching in North America. Since it is a major migratory route, we met birders from all over, including Ohio and Lancaster.

The Cape May State Park hiking trails were scenic, easy to walk; the day was picture perfect too. Yellow goldenrod was blooming throughout. Unfortunately, we didn't see very many Monarch butterflies. We did see Viceroy butterflies, which look very similar to Monarchs.

Viceroy butterflies have the exact same color as a Monarch: orange, black and white. To tell them apart, note the horizontal line on the bottom wings of the Viceroy (see above photo). Monarchs do not have that (see below photo). Another difference is that Viceroys are smaller in size. Viceroys also don't migrate.

Monarch butterfly on Zinnia

At the end of the day, we stopped by a residential property in a final effort to see a few Monarchs. We got the tip from a birder on one of the trails. The location was a residential home with a lovely front yard corner garden that featured colorful zinnias, cosmos and tall, orange Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers). 

Others gathered around too, all of us with our cameras shooting butterflies as if we've never seen a Monarch before! So fun though. Butterflies were all over. We heard that there were even more sightings in the morning.

And, special thanks to the good Samaritan videographer who gave us a ride to our car after we got lost coming off the trail. 

Mute Swans at Cape May Point

At the end of the trail we reached the dunes along the Delaware Bay and passed a beautiful pond with ducks, cranes and swans. Then we found ourselves at Cape May Point Lighthouse! The parking lots there were not the small parking lot off Seagrove Ave that our GPS took us to when we first arrived.

Happy Monarch Watching!

Related Links

Monarch or Viceroy?

Photos and blog post Copyright(C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Monarch Migration underway! Today in our NJ garden a Monarch was born! #WindPhotography

Monarch just born

Monarch Migration Underway

Today, September 23rd in our New Jersey Fall garden, a beautiful Monarch butterfly was born! All a monarch needs is Milkweed for mama Monarch to lay her eggs on and for caterpillars to munch on before their magical metamorphosis. It can be a small area in your front or back yard that you do not mow. Native plants like Common Milkweed can be encouraged to grow there and viola, you will soon be supporting habitat for Monarch's!

I noticed a sea-foam-green, opaque, chrysalis in our Milkweed meadow on September 11th and was watching it and photographing it daily, while counting down until the big day. According to Journey North, the chrysalis stage takes 8-15 days; this miracle arrived just as expected.

Last night I noticed that the chrysalis was starting to turn blackish at the bottom. The chrysalis eventually turns transparent and the butterfly's vibrant wing colors of orange and black can be seen. When this happens you know that the butterfly will emerge soon. 

Monarch Chrysalis Hug

Sure enough, the monarch butterfly ripped through the clear, thimble-sized chrysalis this morning!
What wasn't expected was for it to arrive on my birthday! Yahoo!! What a great gift! It all happened before 9 am. I was glad that the timing worked out to be hours before the rain storm.

According to Journey North, most Monarch's are born in the spring and summer and live for only 2 to 6 weeks. This late summer/fall Monarch butterfly lives longer and it will migrate all the way from our front yard milkweed meadow in New Jersey and fly 2,000 miles to overwinter in Mexico.

Monarch's born in the Fall are the special generation that migrate to Mexico. See the links below to see my photos on Fine Art America and to learn more about this popular endangered butterfly.

Happy Fall!

Related Links 

Sightings Flowing In

Monarch Lifecycle

Link to my photo of Monarch Chrysalis

Link to Monarch Water Bottle photo

Blog post and photos Copyright(C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Savoy Cabbage stars in our next batch of probiotic-rich kraut! #gardencuizine #stonesoupblog

    Savoy - Our next Batch of Kraut!

Savory cabbage stars in our next batch of probiotic-rich sauerkraut that is fermenting now. Did you see my social media posts of the most picture-perfect head of Savoy Cabbage? We bought it from our local farmers market. You can use any type of cabbage for homemade sauerkraut.

The Savoy cabbage was farm fresh, yet didn't yield as much brine as the regular head of fresh cabbage that we used in the last batch. I decided to add a little extra brine after 9-days of fermenting.

Making sauerkraut is fun and easy. I used one head of cabbage (Savoy this time), sliced it thin. In a large bowl, non-iodized sea salt was massaged into it: 1 tablespoon of course salt (not iodized) per 2 lbs. of sliced cabbage. 

I divided the cabbage mixture into two large glass mason jars, covered and set aside to ferment. Every day I open the lids to release any gases and poke down the kraut using tongs. With the lid on tight, sometimes turning the jar upside down to let any brine flow to the top so the top layer won't get moldy.

After 9-days the kraut seemed like it needed more brine. To reduce the amount of trapped air in the jars, I combined the two jars into one jar and pressed down the cabbage firmly. A small batch of additional brine was added. The brine still did not reach up to the top of the shredded cabbage; but, by the next day there was more brine! 

I learned from Holly Howe (see link below), who explains in her blog post, that brine level changes along with temperature in your kitchen. Perhaps our kitchen was a bit warmer. Plus the additional salt brine may have helped.

See below for my small batch brine recipe: note: this may or may not be a good idea! Some say that added brine could make the kraut mushy. I hope not. At the 21-day mark, I will add a comment on texture and flavor. - check back!

Recipe for 1/2 cup extra Sauerkraut Brine

1/2 tsp Non-iodized course sea salt

1/2 cup Chlorine free water (I used filtered tap water)

Related Links

Kraut in a Jar by book author Holly Howe

10 Delicious Kraut Additions

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Today in our South Jersey garden: beautiful blooms, Milkweed, Monarchs, Figs and ants! #GardenCuizine

Today in Our NJ Garden - zone 7a (was 6b)

September 5, 2021

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. "End of Summer" seemed like the perfect title to my above photograph taken today in our front garden of Black-eyed Susan's with Sweet Autumn Clematis. 

The highlight of my day today was to see both a Monarch caterpillar AND a Monarch butterfly!! The monarch caterpillar was resting on Common Milkweed in Harry's Milkweed Meadow and the Monarch butterfly was visiting a small patch of native hardy Ageratum. Of course, both got reported on Journey North's website as fall Monarch migration is officially underway! 

I snapped a few photos of the Monarch caterpillar and butterfly with my cell phone and when I went back with my good camera to get better pictures later in the day, they were gone.

Figs growing on one of our fig trees
Today, our veggie garden is bursting with blooming garlic chives, zinnias and cannas. We also have dahlias (not blooming yet), chia and peppers and heirloom tomatoes that will keep producing here and there until the first killing frost.

This is our best year ever for figs! Figs have to be picked as soon as they ripen. Both trees are producing figs. Today I picked two huge figs from our littlest fig tree (variety unknown). One fig had to be sacrificed to the ants; they beat us to it.

One quick note about when to pick figs. I had this question, "Will figs continue to ripen once picked?" I read that figs do not ripen after they are picked. However, we just discovered that they do continue to ripen. Our Chicago figs continue to ripen and get sweeter after they are picked. Now, we just need to improve our timing of picking figs before the ants march in.

Happy Labor Day!

Related Links

Journey North - report your Monarch Sightings!

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

@JerseyFreshNJDA Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage #GardenCuizine Low Sodium, Healthy Meal using fresh garden ingredients! @EatRight_NJ

low Sodium

Stuffed Cabbage

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage made from a beautiful head of Savoy Cabbage from Burlington County Ag Center's Farmers Market. Stuffed Cabbage makes a nutritious recipe for a large family or as meal prep for several meals for a household of one or two. 

The outer leaves were large and unblemished, which gave me the idea of using them for stuffed cabbage rolls. I plan to make more sauerkraut with the rest of the cabbage.

We used lentils vs ground beef for something different from traditional stuffed cabbage rolls with ground beef and rice. Harry picked up some red lentils vs green lentils, because that is all they had at the store. And, guess what? The red lentils worked out great and were delicious!

GardenCuizine Free style recipe - meaning use as much or little as you want of the ingredients!


Yields: At least 10-12 servings or more

Serving size: one roll

Ingredients                    

1 cup rice - (I used a rice blend from Rice Select "Royal Blend" - Texmati white rice, brown rice, red rice and wild rice)

Outer leaves from fresh head of cabbage

1 lb dry Red (or green) lentils cooked and strained - (I used Goya Lentejas Rojas and cooked the entire bag. We had leftover filling to use for fritters at other meals)

Onion, diced - I used half of a large onion (from the Farmer's Market)

1 jalapeno pepper, minced (from the garden!)

few thin sprigs celery with celery leaves chopped - (I used Tango celery from our garden)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

2 Tblsp olive oil

pinch salt and ground black pepper

Your favorite red sauce - we used a jar of Rao's

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Putting it all together

Cook the Rice

1) Cook the rice and set aside.

 Cook the Lentils

2) In a stock pot, saute the onion, peppers and celery in olive oil. Saute until onion is translucent; stir in the garlic and seasonings of your choice.

Add 4 cups water and lentils, salt and pepper and bring to boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

Combine

3) Stir in the rice blend with the cooked lentils and combine.

Set aside while you prepare the cabbage leaves

Prepare the Cabbage Leaves

4) Boil a large pot of water

Rinse off your selected cabbage leaves then add to boiling water; boil a few minutes to soften. Remove and place in a large baking dish to drip off and cool.

Use a paring knife to trim out the thick stem from the edge.

Stuff and Roll the Cabbage

5) Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a portion of your filling onto a cabbage leaf. Fold up the sides and roll burrito style.

Place into baking dishes with a layer of red sauce on the bottom.

Repeat for how ever many Cabbage Rolls you want to make.

Top with more red sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese

Cover and keep in refrigerator or freezor until ready to cook.

Cook and serve!

When ready to cook, add a small amount of water, cover and bake in 350 deg oven until heated through and bubbling.

Serve with a side of chopped ripe and juicy heirloom Jersey tomatoes!

Enjoy!

Blog post and photos Copyright(C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Jersey Fresh @BurlCoNJ Cabbage and Radish for homemade Sauerkraut #gardencuizine #probiotics @eatright

Homemade Sauerkraut with Radish 

We stopped by our local farmers market at Burlington County Ag Center yesterday. In addition to Jersey corn and fresh peaches and cherries, we picked up a whole head of cabbage and a bunch of spicy red radish to make homemade sauerkraut. 

I used the same recipe that was already posted here on GardenCuizine.com, but I will mention it again since it is so quick and easy.

You will need 1 head of cabbage. The first time I made sauerkraut, I used a supermarket cabbage. It was good; but, this time I'm using an even fresher head of cabbage from our local farmer's market. I can already see a difference in the amount of brine. Fresh picked cabbage has more water. 

Rinse and peel off any damaged leaves. Slice in half. Remove the core. Slice ribbons similar to coleslaw and put in a large bowl. I used a large stainless steel bowl and had it on a digital scale so I could weigh the cabbage. Our sliced cabbage weighed almost 4 lbs. Note: don't forget to tare the bowl on the scale first so you don't count the weight of the bowl.

We also added a small bunch of spicy red radish. Rinse and slice and add to the cabbage.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of course salt (not iodized) per 2 lbs. of sliced cabbage. I used just under 2 tablespoons since the weight was just under 4 lbs. Massage the salt into the veggies. I wore food safe plastic gloves.

Place the prepared veggies loosely into your desired mason jars or crock. Tamp down with a wooden spoon and cover the jars. Brine will increase over time. 

I debated on what to use to cover the jars. What do you use to cover your jars? I decided to use a paper towel under the screw caps. That way any natural gases that occur in the fermenting process can escape. 

I still may end up covering the jars with the metal lids so the brine does not evaporate. The gases can still be released when I open the jar daily to tamp the cabbage down beneath the brine.

Photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Enjoy the Outdoors this Summer! Check out my nature photos taken yesterday in the NJ Pinelands #Happy4th @ConserveNJ

Enjoy the Outdoors!
 

Another great weekend to explore South Jersey and take a walk in the NJ Pinelands. And, as always we took our cameras.

Our happy place is Franklin Parker Preserve with its pristine wetlands. Below are a few of my photos taken on our walk yesterday. Harry took some photos too. He may post some of his on Fine Art America. 

Take a look; the clouds really add to the photos; what do you think? There was a lot of bird activity too, especially in the wetland grasses; even baby birds being fed.

As the sky was darkening, we made our way back to the car before another round of much needed rain.

Franklin Parker Preserve Wetlands - by Diana Wind

Preservation Mirror - by Diana Wind

Wetlands Wonder - by Diana Wind

Free as a Bird - by Diana Wind

That's all for now. Stay well. Enjoy the holiday!

Happy Fourth of July!

ps: Also, just fyi, the email blog post service will be stopping soon from Blogger. I'm not sure what other service to switch over to. Any ideas, please let me know. In the meantime, to read future posts, you may have to log on.Thanks for reading! -DW

Related Links

Franklin Parker Preserve

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

@BurlCoNJ Burlington County Community Gardens #GardenCuizine @JerseyFreshNJDA Support your local Farmer's Market


Burlington County Farmer's Market is in full swing!

Beautiful summer weather to enjoy our first visit, since the pandemic, to support our local Farmer's Market. The 68-acre, former dairy farm, Burlington County Agricultural Center is located on Centerton Road in Moorestown NJ. Produce is sold every Saturday through October 30th.

The property is a working farm. You'll find everything from seasonal produce to farm animals, vendors with art, live music, pickles, eggs, cheese, soaps, you name it. There are even private parties and events that can be booked in their beautiful farmhouse and kitchen.

Check out a few other of my pics on Instagram.

Burlington County Ag Center has beautiful community gardens alongside the produce marketplace. Get a few steps in and enjoy your walk around. Each plot is fun to visit. 

The gardeners all take care in displaying their veggies, herbs and flowers in a creative fashion with garden art, gates, flags and signs. It always brings us joy to visit other peoples gardens. 

photo by Harry Wind

We enjoyed meeting Pete, a 90 year old Army Veteran retired from Lockheed Martin, covid survivor, 3 x's cancer survivor - now gardener! He was visiting his plot and other gardeners.

Hope to see you again soon Pete! We will be back to see what's growing and blooming.

Happy and Healthy Gardening!

Related Links

Photos and blog post Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

@PHSgardening Philadelphia Flower Show! Congratulations Harry!

Outdoor Philadelphia Flower Show!

This year's Philadelphia Flower Show brings Covid19 full circle for us. Last year the show was our last publicly attended event and this year it is our first outing since Covid19 precautions. And, this was the first time ever outdoor Philadelphia Flower Show in their 193 year history! The theme as shown in the above photo is "Habitat: Nature's Masterpiece".

Yesterday's 95 degree heat was strong. Hydration was much needed. At first we worried if we would even get in to the show. 

Our prepaid parking ticket didn't help; traffic was at a crawl for over an hour to get into the main lot as one lane only filed in. As we approached the entrance closest to the parking lot, the volunteers advised us that the side gate was closed and the only entrance in was the corner entrance. 

We walked with over 10,000 (they predicted 20,000 people/day and I assume since the day was split in AM or PM tickets that we were among 10,000) other people. We slowly but surely all made our way to the security entrance. The wait was long and looped around and took us another hour. 

Feeling hot and famished, the first thing we did was find the food pick up. We got our prepaid food but didn't see any tables to sit on. The staff at the food pick up had no suggestions and wished us luck to find a cool spot.

We ate our late lunch behind a beautiful potted border of plants on the concrete steps in a small portion of shade. The food tasted good.

Congratulations to Harry for having one of his photographs make the show! Mine didn't make the cut this year, but was thrilled for Harry. As always, we really enjoyed this portion of the show! 

I was surprised that a first place landscape was for a bamboo theme. Personally, I hope people don't buy and plant bamboo after seeing that exhibit. Bamboo may be native to China, but bamboo is invasive in the US. 

Areas we especially enjoyed were visiting vendors that included one of our favorite spots: Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. We picked up a few native plants, which included Common Rush (Juncus effusus) and Wood Phlox (Phlox divaricata).

The heat of the summer is here. Enjoy the show! Look for cool places under trees and by the lake and if you go. FDR park is a beautiful place!

Related Links

Bamboo Invasive in NJ

Photos and Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Italian Food Memories: Blackberry Picking. Short vignette written by the late Junetta Maria Salottolo #RIPmom #Elberon

Gaetano and Angelina Zingales

Italian Family Food Memories

Blackberry Picking 
in Elberon

by the late Junetta Maria Salottolo


At the Seashore - approx. 1939 - I visited my grandparents, Angela Zingales and
Gaetano Zingales who were renting a summer cottage at Elberon, NJ. I was about eight years old. My Grandfather and I would take walks to the neighboring farm areas and pick blackberries. Then Grandmom would make a delicious blackberry pie. 

At one point my brother, Alexander Salottolo. also visited. He was about four or five years old. One day while Grandmom was ironing, Al was playing too near the ironing board and the hot iron fell off and seared his arm. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad, but it did leave a scar.
 

I remember the beach at Elberon as being rather small, but the ocean waves were gigantic. Of course, remember, I'm recalling this from my memory as an eight year old.

Note: For some reason I never got this vignette published while mom was alive. We talked about this story in 2010. RIP mom. I love that you left us all these wonderful memories. xoxo Diana 

Related Links

Where is Elberon NJ

Historic Long Branch 

The Jersey Shore Long Branch has had a thriving Italian population

Blog post and photo (C)Wind. All rights reserved.