First Zucchini

First Zucchini, Candlelight S’mores, and Website Launch

First Zucchini, Candlelight S’mores, and Website Launch

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 1
Week 26: July 2, 2021

Firstly, thank you for being here, Dear Reader! Do you have a cup of tea or coffee ready?

I get a lot of questions about gardening and cooking from scratch using wholesome ingredients and have long dreamed of a beautiful website where I could share my simple ideas and creative recipes along these lines. A huge thank you goes to my web designer, Peter Hulce, of PHD Studios https://phdstudios.com/ who was easy to work with and did a terrific job creating a beautifully cozy destination with this site. Thank you, Peter! Thursday June 30, 2021 was my official “Website Launch Day.”

While Peter and I were paddling hard (at least I was, I don’t think Peter ever broke a sweat) organizing the last-minute details for this site, we were also dealing with unusually hot weather for June in Oregon.

First Zucchini
Aren’t first harvests precious? These two yellow zucchini plus one yellow crookneck squash mark our first zucchini harvest – of many I hope! They are tender and unmarred by handling, a delight to harvest, cook, and eat.

Southern Oregon saw temperatures of 110-117F (43-47C) this past week; our daytime high at Chocolate Box Cottage was 111F (44C), lasting several days. I love summer, it is my favorite season, but 90’s in the house is not fun! 

gathering eggs twice a day in hot weather

Our chicken eggs are fertile, so gathering eggs twice a day ensures our eggs remain fresh. To deal with heat, chickens hold their wings up and away from their bodies and breathe through open beaks – it looks as though they are panting.

Coping Strategies for Hot Weather ~ share your ideas in the comments!

  • Planning productive tasks in the mornings
  • Cool showers and wetting my hair in the afternoon and evening
  • Chilled melon and homemade yogurt pops for snacks
  • Being mindful to drink water often
  • No-cook meals
  • Absolutely no baking
  • Hanging laundry out to dry on the porch railing instead of using the dryer
  • Gathering eggs twice a day
  • Lowering my expectations on housework and productivity in general
cat days of summer

Toby settled into the heat. He hopes this picture is a step in the direction of re-naming “dog days of summer” to “cat days of summer.”

watering the gardening in early morning
Dragon Tongue beans, Red Rosie basil, and cucumbers grow in this first garden bed.

Early mornings saw me scurrying around feeding and watering animals, gathering eggs, and watering the garden and the pots on the front porch.

You can find Dragon Tongue beans here at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/fall-favorites/dragon-tongue-bush-bean

You can find Red Rosie basil seeds here: https://www.highmowingseeds.com/organic-non-gmo-rosie-basil.html

Heat Wave Surprises ~

  • Potted geraniums did not seem to mind the heat as long as they were kept watered
  • We did not lose any chickens
  • Sunburned trees
  • So many visiting butterflies! 
swallowtail butterfly on rose campion
Swallowtail butterfly amid the rose campion

The heat did not deter dozens of Swallowtail butterflies from visiting Chocolate Box Cottage! Wherever a sprinkler was running, we would see butterflies gather for water.

sun-scorched evergreen tree
This evergreen sustained a sunburn.
homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream
Mint chocolate chip ice cream for 4th of July, my favorite flavor!

Do you love homemade ice cream as much as I do? A countertop Cuisinart electric ice cream maker is perfect for couples and small families.

Candlelight S'mores
A flaming marshmallow will melt the chocolate in your Candlelight S’more

Read more about Candlelight S’mores here ~ https://chocolateboxcottage.tv/recipe-box/candlelight-smores/

Michele Pryse English paper piecing Sand Stars quilt

Hello from Twin Creeks, where we awaited 4th of July fireworks! I have been working on this quilt made by the English paper piecing method (EPP) off and on for years, mostly off. Fabric diamonds are basted over templates cut from discarded manilla file folders, then stitched together by hand to form stars. I named this quilt “Sand Stars,” and I have a long way to go…

4th of July fireworks
Happy birthday, America! We love you!

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