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I’ve been busy with personal stuff this week, so not much cooking going on. Except for last night when I taught the first of my 3-class series at Les Gourmettes. Today I’m going to catch you up on what’s been going on around my house and give you a valuable tip for cutting fig leaves and branches.

I have four fig trees in my backyard, which is three too many for my needs, but I’m going with the flow. I use the figs, of course, but I also put the fig leaves to good use on the Harmony Boards. They are best used under very soft cheeses and also when mixed in with other greens for the base of our Crudités and Frudités Boards, as seen above. All of the leaves on the board above are from my yard. We’ll talk more about the garden in a moment. First I want to tell you about the issue I was having with the fig leaves.

When fig leaves or branches are cut, they immediately begin to wilt, even when quickly put into water. I don’t know if this is caused by the milky fluid they put out when they are cut or exactly what it is that causes the wilting, but it’s annoying.

I discovered that if the stem gets a fresh cut under cold running water or is cut while immersed in water, the leaves are quickly revived. They will look great for days. Amazingly, the leaves will even stay unwilted when pulled out of the water several minutes later when I use them for a board.

Here is that same wilted branch, come back to life, only 35 minutes later.

When I was getting ready to post these photos I was thinking, “why should my readers believe that the wilted photo was taken first and the revived photo of fresh-looking leaves taken after?”

Why, indeed?!? To prove that this is the case, here are the same photos with their timestamps. The photo above was taken at 8:06 AM and the photo below was taken at 8:40 AM. See, wilted and then refreshed after being recut under cold water. Like Magic!

Here is the garden where I grow all those assorted leaves and edible flowers for the Harmony Boards. Below are close-up photos taken on the same day.

You may remember THIS POST from exactly one year ago when the planter was new after my backyard remodel. So much growth in only a year and I don’t only mean in the planter.

I also recently had a persimmon tree planted. I am super excited to see if it will actually produce fruit. It has put out so many flowers!

I know I will have to pinch the majority of the flowers off for these first few years. The branches are too thin to support all the blossoms it has set. I just hope our summer doesn’t burn the fruit or the tree. Only time will tell. I will keep you posted.

Lastly, I know it’s a bit “crazy-cat-lady-like”, but I bought and assembled a “cat sanctuary” for my two indoor cats. A safe place for them to experience the outdoors. I bought it on Wayfair and spent about an hour assembling it. I didn’t realize it didn’t have a base, which would have been fine if I planned to leave it in one place. But I want to be able to move it around, depending on the sun and what I am doing outside when I bring the cats out.

So I went to Home Depot, bought a thick piece of plywood, and put casters on it. Then I used nuts and bolts to attach the frame to the base.

Voila, a rolling cat cage! To be perfectly honest, as of right now, both of the cats hate it. They don’t know what to do with themselves when they are in it. Bailey is adjusting a bit better, but it takes her time to settle down. She hisses at Bombay if he even looks in her direction and then after 10 minutes she’ll climb to one of the top shelves and lay down. Bombay pouts in a corner on the bottom. He really hates it.

After all the time and money invested in this darn thing, I’ll continue to see if they adjust and end up enjoying it. If not, I’m going to turn it into a chicken coop and get myself some baby chicks. When it’s not in use, I roll it over to the side of the house, out of sight, with the trash cans, pingpong table, and compost bin. Again, I’ll keep you posted on either the progress with the cats or with my new chickens. 🙂

Happy Easter, Marissa, and Connor!

If I end up going the chicken route, it will be reminiscent of Easter 1996 when I bought four baby chicks and we had fresh eggs for 3 years before we moved to a new house with an HOA that wouldn’t allow poultry or livestock. The nerve of them! The chickens stayed with the new owners of the house.

This photo always makes me smile, seeing how quickly 8-year-old Marissa changed out of her Easter dress because she didn’t want a chick “have an accident” on it. Such a little princess and oh so cute!

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1 Sloane Hansen { 05.02.19 at 6:21 AM }

Such a great post! Love it! I remember the chickens!

2 Betsy Storey { 05.02.19 at 7:25 AM }

Love your special garden ! What will you plant and be able to use this summer? need ideas for something other than vinca

3 Anne { 05.02.19 at 8:12 AM }

Your garden looks beautiful, and I love knowing you have fig trees!
That outdoor cat cage…um, sanctuary…is hilarious and awesome!! Keep us posted if Bailey and Bombay eventually take to it!

4 Denise { 05.02.19 at 8:18 AM }

I almost bought that cat cage! I still might. If your cats don’t adjust and you decide not to do a chicken coop, let me know, I will buy it from you!

5 Lina K. Austin { 05.02.19 at 9:00 AM }

Your honest vulnerability is what makes you so irresistible to the rest of us. I love the content of your posts. I’m hooked now.

6 Shirley { 05.02.19 at 1:32 PM }

Your children are so cute…isn’t it fun to look at old photos and remember when they were young and so were we…lol
Cooking class last night was fantastic! As always, you brought your fabulous sense of humor to all aspects of your teaching! Best of all the food was delicious. xo

7 Marilyn Harter { 05.02.19 at 4:28 PM }

Your garden is amazing and a great place to sit with a cold drink – maybe one of your signature cocktails! I laughed at your cat story. Cats are so finicky! As soon as you decide to move it they’ll want to be in it!

8 Marissa { 05.06.19 at 5:50 PM }

The flowers look beautiful!

And I think I changed out my dress so I could wear the super cool wolf tshirt.

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