south african weeds

okay. maybe not "weeds." but, during my travels to the western cape of south africa, i saw fields full of calla lillies. we, and by we i mean the female travellers, were astonished that they were described as wild flowers. it is their "rosidia florabunda." (i.e. roadside flowers) i have searched through the photos from the trip and cannot find a "field shot," but have found a close-up to prove it...

... those are actually growing on the side of a mountain. crazy, i know. they are native to south africa, actually. well, this year, i planted 4 calla bulbs on my back bank. three of them came up (i think the 4th is on a long quest to asia) and this week they began to bloom. i think it is quite exciting; this is the first time i have ever planted bulbs and i think 3 out of 4 isn't bad. in fact, all of my/our flowers and trees are doing well this year.

i think they are lovely. i am sure you have realized that not much as been posted this month. well, not much has been going on, really. work is still work... busy. we have gone to kingsport a couple of times- one weekend trip and one day trip. this coming weekend we are going to knoxville for the 4th of july celebration at jay's uncle rick's. we haven't been in a few years, and it's always a fun day at the lake with good food, family/friends, and great fireworks. and then the next weekend my mom and dad are coming in for a visit. so things will be picking up here again soon. (sometimes it's just nice to take a little break.)


black bean chicken salad- our style

jay and i truly miss calypso cafe back home in franklin/nashville. one of our favorite menu items is the black bean chicken salad. they have a barbecue sauce dressing that cannot be duplicated, but we have come up with our own sauce that comes close enough for our liking. you can make your own variation, and as we looked around the table last night, all of the salads looked a little different. so here are the ingredients, or your own variation, that you will need:

if you are like me, you like dinner to be quick and easy. i use a rotisserie chicken (1 chicken for every 4 people) from the grocery store and just pull the chicken off the bones and then the chicken is ready. it is sometimes even more cost effective to do it this way, too, unless you have some leftover grilled chicken. bush's makes some great seasoned black beans that are perfect after warmed on the stove. if black beans aren't your style, grab some pintos. if you don't like beans, use rice. we use tostitos crispy rounds tortilla chips, but your favorite will do, or whatever happens to be in your pantry. i bought some romaine leaf lettuce today, b/c i realized yesterday i get more lettuce than i do from the bagged variety and it's cheaper. but, if you don't have time, just grab a bag. i can't say i've never done that before. some grocery stores even have tomatoes pre-diced in the produce department. if you don't feel like doing your own, grab those! however, when it's summer and the produce is fresh, i like to dice my own tomatoes. true to calypso form, they use red onion diced on their salads. it's not our favorite, so we omit. if you like black olives, you could add that to the mix, too. top with shredded cheese, of course. we then make our own sauce out of taco sauce and jerk sauce. (mixed to your own liking.) and then, last but not least, top with a dollop of sour cream. (our friend, steven, even adds ranch to his. most of us also add salsa too. be creative!)

not sure what those ingredients were again?

rotisserie chicken, black beans, tortilla chips

lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, taco sauce, and jerk sauce
here's my favorite layering order:
tortilla chips
black beans
sour cream
i don't have a picture of the finished product because of two things: 1. most of the camera batteries were dead and being charged. 2. i forgot. but my salad was beautiful and tasty. let me know if you make your own and your own variations. enjoy!


awashed amusement

sunday we ventured down to our little "spot" and had some fun in the water. we took the dogs, matt and alicia brought orion, and kelly came, too. we brought jay's kayak and the camera and enjoyed the cool water on a hot, sunny day. the dogs love to swim and, a few times, cotton thought she should be in the kayak, too (just ask alicia). so, here are a few pictures from our watery adventures. (side-note: matt was too tall for the kayak and there is only one picture of me in it, and it's not great, so you don't get to see it. but i was in it... after a little protesting. i really enjoy being the photographer.)

cotton, barley, and orion venturing out for the first swim

meeting in the middle

i love how this picture turned out... action-shot- shaking off the water (i did not edit this photo, either, by the way)

jay taking the kayak out first... cotton made sure all was well

alicia had a great time, too... and cotton, again, made sure she made it back safely.

kelly did great, too!
the dogs all had fun with the tennis ball, too... until it floated off downstream

barley, mid-splash, getting out of jay's way

cotton "rock-diving"... i'm sure something down there was worth chasing!