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Fun Stuff Poppin’ Up in the Garden

30 May

I figured out a way to pay off the mortgage-

My mom told me that a guy in the 1930’s developed this tomato and sold so many he was able to pay off his mortgage.

I had to pick up some fun stuff from Runnings today as well.  Here is the balloon flower closed:

And here it is open!

Next year I don’t think I will mess around with any pansies, snapdragons, etc.  instead we will do wave petunias for annual color:

Wow, the grape hyacinth I planted last Fall are actually starting to do something!

The potato plants are looking quite marvelous for being started so early (end of March??)

And the peas are really taking off after the rain yesterday:

I’m not sure if many non-growers are aware that chives flower:

The spinach is almost ready to eat:

And Last but not least, a fun-flowering moss!

I would have posted some pictures of Andrew today but I forgot my camera when we went out to the Ziegler’s farm to gather eggs!  Right now he is all tuckered-out and napping from too much fun.

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Perks and Disappointment

22 May

A quick walk through the garden and it doesn’t take long to see that squirrels like strawberries and birds like blueberries.  All my berries were gone this morning.  Both are of Andrew’s favorites and expensive in the store.  I was hoping we could grow our own but it isn’t looking prosperous.  However, there were lots of new things in the garden this morning such as pea sprouts, corn sprouts and magical flowers!

Here are the pea beginnings:

Here are the potatoes I planted way back around the end of March:

I need to know how to thin these . . . as I have quite a few sprouts on the same mound.  We also have broccoli coming up nicely:

blue Indian corn:

Spinach:

Josh is really attached to our habanero we have had for three years. . . but I am really looking forward to these cherry bombs!

We also have a lilac bush going crazy out by the compost center.  I cut a bit and laid it across my artemesia I rescued from the trash at work:

My lantana is almost too bright and colorful to photograph in the full sun:

The mums are fun too:

I used to hate the smell and taste of tomatoes.  Now that I am older I have learned how universal they can be.  We are looking forward to homemade savory sauces and just the smell of these now are driving me crazy with hunger cravings for pizza.

Eating What We Have- Self Challenge

16 May

Well it appears our economic stimulus check isn’t going to go as far as we planned.  With all the garden gear and dude stuff we have purchased it seems that we are almost breaking even- a big disappointment to Josh who feels like he is working harder and harder with no catch-up ever in sight.  Therefore, in the spirit of Barbara Kingsolver, author of one of the best books I have read in a long time- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle– I am going to attempt to eat only the food we already have in the house.  This should save us some money in the next few weeks.  Not a lot, but some.  I will probably need to make an exception for licorice since there is none in the house and I am addicted, but other than that it looks like I will be eating burgers, pancakes and the like.  We have plenty of stuff here that is for sure.  It seems like during the winter whenever I shopped for groceries I was doing more like stockpiling rather than replenish depleted perishables . . . I am not worried about gaining weight- Andrew and I walk every morning and ride the bike every afternoon so I shouldn’t see any affect of carb overload.  It would be nice if the spinach hurried up and took off, then I would have more salad-type stuff.  This also means that Josh will have to do his own grocery shopping for a change so he can get his lunch meat and stuff which I never eat anyway.  Of course I will still get Andrew’s food since he is growing and needs particular food.  This will only apply to me.  We will see how it goes. . .

Naan Recipe for the Bread Machine

9 May

I am loving the bread machine I scored last week garage salin’. It makes baking bread so much easier. Last night I made naan, an Indian flatbread and it turned out pretty amazing. The recipe (I tweaked it a bit) is adapted from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons (on rental from the library but Mother’s Day is coming up . . . hint! hint!)

1 tsp dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

3 cups unbleached white flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 TB olive oil

1 TB basil

(The original recipe calls for minced scallions, cumin and a beaten egg all of which I chose to omit- I like to experiment!)

I put all of the ingredients sans the basil into my bread machine and set it to manual. The machine worked it’s magic then I let it rise inside the machine (since it was warm already) for an hour. Then I took the dough out and divided it into three spheres. I placed the spheres in a bowl with a little olive oil, covered it and let it sit for a half an hour. Then I preheated the oven to 500 degrees and rolled out each sphere into the basil. I then flipped the dough rounds over and placed them on our pizza stone basil side up and baked them for 8 minutes each. I served with olive oil.

Yum!

Why We Grow

8 May

It seems like just about the right time for Josh and I to begin our activism. The more I overhear people discussing the high price of gas the more I want to jump into the conversation and ask if they understand all the reasons why gas is so high and what they plan to do about it. So many people are really clueless when it comes to peak oil, but now that James Schlesinger (who has an impressive resume- head of the CIA, Defense Secretary, Energy Secretary and has also advised several oil companies) has admitted that the “peakists” are not paranoid freaks and actually are right about peak oil, more people are understanding that the issue at hand is catastrophic.

Our cities were designed to thrive off of bountiful cheap oil. Once that cheap oil is no longer available, life as we know it will grind to a halt, or at least become much more difficult.

Think about where your food comes from. Does it get shipped on a truck from California? Does it get flown in on an airplane from Peru? Chances are the price of transported food will increase as much if not more along the same ratio as the increase in the price of fuel. All the more reason to buy your food local! And if you can, start a garden. There are several websites that can help you find local farmers. Josh and I purchased some chicken from a young fellow in our community and it was some of the best chicken we have ever had! Super plump and fresh with no antibiotics and the chickens had a nice free-range life. Email me if you would like to find out how to get your food local.

In order to help our community, Josh and I just might have to order this book, The Transition Handbook, in order to help us make our case to our community. I am sure at first we will get a lot of blank stares, but in five years those people will look back and think, “Those freaks were right!” Hopefully it will not be too late for them.