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To bring you dinner! Nothing terribly fancy here, some shrimp boiled this afternoon, then chilled for dinner. (The boiling concoction included water with beer, spices and lemon.) When it got “about that time” I picked a shirt tail full of fresh peppery arugula and mustard greens, which I tossed with a simple orange vinaigrette; I then placed the dressed greens in the middle of a platter and arranged the chilled shrimp around them. Dana grilled two easy skewers of fresh pineapple pieces with wedges of sweet Vidalia onion while I made a quick cocktail sauce with ketchup, horseradish and lemon. Easy-peasy and crazy good.

This has been a busy season! The snow pack in the mountains is about 200% of normal and not melting due to persistent, cool weather. It’s been compounded with lots of rain in the valley and more snow in the mountains. All that snow is keeping the weather on the chilly side and gardening is LATE this year. I took this on the way home. These are the mountains to the east of us and then to the north of us.

Crazy, huh? Still, it’s beautiful and a little cold rainy weather is NOTHING compared to the weather that some are dealing with.

Meanwhile, back at “the farm”, I got a very special birthday gift this year. Dana quadrupled my garden space and made me three new raised garden boxes! I’ve been busy planning and planting and today I went to Hooper’s Garden Center to get some peppers and a few other things that won’t make it from seeds this year. This nursery is a landmark around here – owned by the Hoopers since 1973 and loved by all, it’s a fun place to go. I looked at their website and found out that since purchasing the simple business, they now have 16 greenhouses, a large retail house, garden shop, production area, seminar room, seasonal bistro, and a houseplants area. While you shop you can enjoy free coffee and cookies – aka lunch. I quickly finished my list and then some, but wanted to share a few shots of Hooper’s. The outdoor area enjoys a gorgeous backdrop of the Swan Mountain Range and the greenhouses are amazing and endless.

I came home with a couple of new things to try – purple Brussels Sprouts and CELERY for crying out loud! Will let you know how that turns out. ;-) I’ll be photographing the new garden when it gets a little further along.

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