Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Running through Pure Florida's neck of the woods this morning and heading for the back woods of Alabama where it is supposed to SNOW this evening!
I hope your Christmas is bright and merry today. Mine will be white. :-)
Happy Birthday Jesus!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In a Funk

Is it the weather? I dunno. Maybe that is what started it. That, the shorter days, the strange mishaps, major health emergencies of loved ones, a death in the family, the lack of time....

I had the Christmas spirit. I did. I think I just misplaced it. Someone help me find it again! This weekend was supposed to be our annual bake-a-thon. We have 2 mini bake-a-thons to go along with it no doubt. I mean preparation for Thanksgiving doesn't happen all by itself and I'm not quite the store bought kind of gal you know! Instead I have a funeral and family gathering to attend Saturday and Sunday is our Christmas dinner for 1 side of the family. I hate that our families can't come together one stinking day a year, be civil to each other (and sober) and get along. But between divorces, re-marriages, schedules... ah such is life. We also have a diversion of cultures as well. This dinner will be a main course of prime rib and lobster. A surf and turf if you will. It's one day a year and while it nearly kills me to pay the price the rewards are so worth it. Unfortunately it means the fresh baked goods won't b e attending. There's no time for yeast rolls, or homemade oat breads. No cookies, candies or truffles. A pumpkin pie is about all I'll be able to come up with on the fly.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that all those things aren't what Christmas is all about. We are lucky that we have our jobs and we have family close enough to gather with in celebration. But, somehow it seems to take the spark off the top. I don't even think it's the lack of having those traditionally baked goods but more what it means. It means that I don't have the time to spend with my kids, to dirty the kitchen and make a mess, to enjoy their laughter and scold them while trying not to get caught smiling inside because yet again they have licked their fingers and stolen dough. (Just as I have)

And so tonight and in the nights to come remember to post those wonderful moments so that we can all share together the love you feel in your home. Help me de-funk myself and share the Christmas spirit you have.  Tonight I am off in search for my first ever packaged gingerbread house. I may not be able to bake it myself, but I refuse to lack the experience of building it with my children. And, of course the picking off of goodies. I can't wait to catch the first child that rallies and plucks the gumdrop from it's proper place. I can't wait to look down my nose at them as if I was debating a punishment and then to join the cause and call the rest to do the same. Some traditions, even though they aren't quite the same - just cannot be lived without. Let's hope it at least survives until Sunday night to greet the dinner guest. HA!

'Till next time!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well. It's Tuesday again. This time my challenge was my card reader. Unfortunately it is officially dead. I'll need a new one soon. After all Christmas is near and pictures must be taken! :-)
We had back to back freezes this week and this morning was -3*C. Yes. Celsius. It looks better that way. It was 27* outside. Another hard freeze. It took the last of what had survived under covers. All but the Cole crops and a few peas and carrots still hanging in there.

Lemons and limes. I don't have any weights on this harvest. It was a scramble as the freeze had already set and we were no where near prepared for it. There was 2 colanders of these. Plus 3 oranges. But, I did get a half of a paper grocery bag full of tangerines. They are much prettier than the nearly ripe lemons here. Bright orange. Wish I was able to show you. They are much smaller than normal tangerines, and there is one seed in every other section, extremely juicy. It's just unfortunate that they don't keep for long term.

Lettuces I did weigh at 9oz. so 1/2 pound, not bad for they are fairly young still.

Some green tomatoes that were already blushing. They will turn in no time. These are the last for not only this year but this season. I won't see any of these things until late in spring. Also some Royal Burgundy beans, (my favorite this year) Serrano peppers, okra, Cubanelle, and 2 lemon peppers.
Here is part of my garden all iced over.
I was too chicken to go outside and take pictures.

I did manage to get the frost bitten plants out this weekend. I know that I have plenty to do to keep me busy until it's time to plant again. The beds are no longer raised as they were. The new sod has grown nearly as tall as the beds, and the extra height will not only be aesthetically pleasing but will be better nutrient wise for the plants. When I built these beds last year I was in a rush for completion and didn't dig them as thoroughly as I wanted to. The amendments will do wonders.
I believe this is my last harvest for 2010. I'll be back soon though. There is other harvesting to be done while it's this cold. There is another trip to Alabama to gather pecans. So far this year we have 5 pounds. I'd really like to have more. We use roughly 1/2 pound a week for normal use. I'm capable of using the entire 5 pounds just in holiday baking. Good thing I had some left from last year. I understand it's not just our trees that didn't cooperate. The entire county had an off year. It does glean a little hope for next year because after an off year it's said that the following is a bumper crop. Maybe we'll have some to sell. That would be a first. Normally friends, family and our freezer manage to eliminate what we are blessed with.

Till next time!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Butt prints to....

To ICED HOUSES!!!! That is a BROWN roof people! This is NOT supposed to happen in December in these parts. Grrr.....

And a completely iced over yard....

Please - OH PLEASE bring me back the wonderful beach days of just this weekend....

Look, I even went so far as to take a picture of myself enjoying the beach just so I could remember on these cold days. :-( And, those that know me KNOW I'm the picture taker, not the subject!

Needless to say that I have harvested the last of the tomatoes, peppers, okra, pumpkin, beans... I'm just beside myself. This was a shock to my system. I expect this in mid January and even February here and there but not quite so soon. I had so many little baby tomatoes that are now destined for the compost.
My beans were flowering profusely again. Now they are something akin to melted plastic. 

I suppose there is always a bright side to everything. A lot of the plants (not the tomatoes mind you) were spent. Those poor okra plants have produced and produced. It was time for them and some of the others. There is of course plenty to do.  I need to raise the beds another 4 inches this year. And possibly another 4 again next year. There are seed catalogs who's beckoning call is growing louder, like a siren's song to a sailor. It's truly an addiction.

Besides, with Birthday's, Christmas and New Years and people to see, places to visit - it's an amazingly busy time of year. I'll miss my plant friends but I know they will be back again. Rest now my little garden. Keep your cabbages and peas growing slow for now you deserve the rest. I'll be back soon!

Butt Prints in the sand.

Who needs snow angels?

When you've got butt prints in the sand!

Monday, December 6, 2010

2 for 1!

This titles got a double meaning! You get more than one post from me today. Lucky you. ;-) There are some really wonderful ladies out there waiting for these pictures so you'll have to excuse me if they are a little large.

We had a lovely ladies only weekend. It's hard to remember just why so many tourist flock to this area. What is it that attracts them? We see these things on a daily basis and it becomes common place. The truth is we live in one of the most diverse states. We can give you (almost) any outdoor activity that you'd like to endulge in!

Water skiing?
mudding, hunting, skeetshootin', lazy floatin down a river?
*Check, check, and check*
Honestly though if it doesn't have anything to do with snow or large mountains we got it!  Most weeks our family endulges in a few outdoor activities. Tennis, gardening, biking, etc. But this past weekend was a little different. I decided it was a good time to reconnect with some of what has made Florida most famous. NO! NOT THE MOUSE! No Mickey this weekend... the BEACH. The oh so realxing beach. Waves, and sand, and good friends.
We met jsut in time to watch the sun set, get a good table for dinner, eat to our hearts content and reconnect our souls. I love good friends. Especially THESE good friends. People you know you can count on. We stayed the night and then we watched the sunrise. I cna't wait to do it again.

Christmas Train!

Yes, a Christmas Train. An interesting experience if your little ones are:
#1. Interested in trains
#2. Not prone to motion sickness
#3. In LOVE with Santa
#4. Not smart enough to know it's a fake beard
#5. Not inheriting their motion sickness from their parent(s) - just sayin'

It's a neat experience of sorts. A little long in some ways and a little short in others. More Christmas time fun and less children screaming at the top of their lungs if you please. Oh, who am I kidding. The worst behaved on the trip was not the obnoxious, no mannered children but their lovely parents! At least it started out very pleasant.

 It really had that old timey feel. A wonderful way to preserve history and teach this generation the way that things were. These are original cars from the Georgia-Pacific railway. The dining car I didn't get to take a picture of, but it would have been a huge hit in the 60's when train travel was still vogue. Fashion forward for those times even. There was a 'lounge' room something to do with using the restroom, though what exactly I'll never understand. Seemed like a waste of space on such a short of space locomotive. I was assured however it was all the rage in the day.
It was nicely appointed - well okay it was just comfortable enough but it was cute and warm. No heater or air conditioning mind you. The bones of these structures are very much kept completely preserved. These cars belong to the Florida Railroad museum.
Our tickets - they seemed a bit nonsensical. Not old timey at all. Kind of i dunno - ticketmasterish? The price seemed fair enough. $14 for an adult and $10 for a child. That is of course until you do the math for 7 persons.... yeah that hurt a bit.
I was under the impression that there was to be (albeit at our expense would have been worth it) cocoa and cookies available. I had visions of Chistmas' past of snuggling up with hot apple cider and cocoa with giant marshmallows accompanied by gingerbread men, and sugar cookies frosted to look like snowflakes. This would have been wonderful, and certainly I would have gladly paid a decent amount To share those memories with my children.
Unfortunately though it was not to be. I'm still not sure if this was due to a snafu or what. Instead I hefted a mighty $2 per bottle of water and $1 for the tiniest bag of goldfish. Needless to say we all shared and that was NOT what I had in mind for a Christmas time snack. I suppose that I could have spent the $2 for a candy bar instead but thankfully my kids don't know what they are really and didn't ask. Crisis averted. I was lucky enough that my oldest who knows all to well what those chocolaty sugar shock inducing snacks are, was easily bribed to keep his mouth shut. :-)

Awww, here's Momma me making a cameo appearance with my B girl. She was thoroughly enthralled with the Christmas side of this event. You can clearly see visions of sugarplums dancing in her head. This little one never ceases to amaze me.

Once again the photo uploader is hassling me so I'll do my best to keep this somewhat in sequence.
It was decorated pretty nicely. Apparently was also had some of Christmastowns residents on board. They cheerily (and loudly) spread the word of Santa Claus' coming to town and managed to out yell sing the kids in the room. ;-)

And, True to their word Santa did come. He looked amazingly like the conductor that greeted us upon arrival but nonetheless he showed up. This is where the rules up top come in. Go ahead, refresh your memory. I'll wait while you re-read what I wrote................................................................. AH, there you are. Yes, #4 that is right! Your child has to be NOT aware that Santa isn't what Christmas is about! He/She also must not be smart enough to tell that he's just a guy (and WHICH guy) in a costume! HO Ho, ho.......
Annah on the other hand had no clue, and went with it all. Boy you can see it written all over Kate's face. She knows he's a dupe and she asks (as I grin ear to ear) 'Does he know it's Jesus' birthday?'
But as Santa was coming around and asking what each child wanted for Christmas it became abundantly clear that for the first time my children will receive 'a gift from Santa.' Not being greedy they each asked for only one gift. They will of course get more gifts from Mom and Dad but not knowing who this fellow was they did not fall into Christmas commercialism. I am so proud. They will get those gifts, and ironically they will be just as happy with the fleece jackets and new shoes for school that they will receive from us. That makes me happy.

After that they settled in with a candy cane (at least there was ONE Christmas element to eat) and hung out for another hour. They did hang in there. We passed miles of farms, and good old Florida scrub land.(WOW those peppers look good!)
 We also got  a little swampy and maybe we went passed a few cows, or maybe a few hundred. Did you know Florida is the #5 state for producing beef? Just one of the many things most people don't know. We got back to the train station just a little past nap time and.....

We let her sleep as we slipped past one of my favorite Florida landmarks the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. It's a mile straight up.

 To most drivers it's a bit intimidating but to me it's absolutely glorious. A wonderful place to scout for false killer whales, dolphins, cruise ships. WHAT? Those cruise ships are pretty darn cool.
I know I should show you the whole
bridge, but I'm not. I'm just showing you my favorite part. The other part
that shows just how far up in the air we really are - it could be dangerous to my readers. It is known to induce vomiting, and profuse sweating. It makes the Ferris wheel look like child's play.... Um, well a child's toy then!

That was our day. Thought I'd share it here. I realized the other day I don't share my day to day life - nor my big events here so here is the big event of last weekend. Hope you enjoyed it.

'Till next time!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kinda funny....

Remember the snow peas form this weeks harvest? I made a small stir fry with some beef and broccoli (from freezer stash) and those peas were a great addition. But, what I forgot to tell you is that apparently I managed to plant a PEA like garden peas, non-edible pods.... in with the snow peas. Imagine my surprise while eating and suddenly realizing that I'm still chewing and nothing is happening to the pod in my mouth.... yeah. looking back it was funny but before I realized what happened I was thoroughly confused. It wasn't an over sized pod because maybe if the Snow pea had been left growing when I was on vacation it could have toughened up, right? It had more peas inside of it then my snow peas are known for and that is what has led me to believe that. That and the fact that my little bits helped me plant that area. LOL. They ARE known to plant additional seeds or to play with the seeds before I can get them into the ground.

Ah, well I'll have to remember that next stir fry. ;-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harvest - Monday? 11.29.10

Ah, yes this harvest Monday is late, too. Sorry - was trying to catch up on work and all.
There is something new about this harvest Monday. Can you guess what it is?

I'm older. Yup. That is the change. But the real change is that getting a little older managed to get me a new gizmo for my kitchen. Let me introduce you to my newest kitchen pet. I'll have to come up with a name for it, but that could take a little time. Here it is at work:
:-) It makes me happy. I'm trying to get into the habit of weighing my harvests now. I figure I'll write the weights but not tally until January. I'll start fresh with the new year.
Yes, that's right I am STILL harvesting a ton of these little Tabasco peppers. This batch is destined to make some vinegar with. A present for a relative or two that uses it on greens. *cringe* I do find it odd that I like spinach and such but can't stand greens.I brought in 2oz of snow peas (just enough for a stir fry) I harvested 12.9oz of tomatoes:

1oz of jalapeno - small but tasty!
6.2oz of assorted green beans
3oz of Limas
11.4oz of okra. All this totaled just over 2.5 pounds of produce. Not bad considering it was completely neglected for a full week.

Let's see - what else? Ah, yes I used my Galeuse d'eysine

It was oh so tasty. I put 4 cups of puree in the freezer, ate 2 cups while I was preparing the puree and used another 4 cups for assorted things. A side dish and a pumpkin log mainly. It was a little stringy and a bit more watery than I prefer but the taste was really good. Next up is that beautiful Jarrahdale that has been waiting for me for so long. I think this weekend it will meet it's final match. Besides with no other storage for then the squash have all been decorating my house. Now that Christmas is near it's time for them to disappear to make way for reindeer!

So that left me with my final seed saving for the Bumpkin. I've got about 50 seeds I'm willing to trade. I'll have some more from the Jarrahdale as well next week.

So I was nervous about leaving my garden. It would seem that I was nervous for naught, but it isn't true. I came back and my squash plants were GONE> Not diseased, not wilted or withering. Nope. Just gone. Disintegrated. It's the strangest thing. Unfortunately it left my last pumpkins that were waiting to mature bare to the sun. I'm not at all happy about this. I didn't save the last pie pumpkin as I had at minimum one good one that should have matured nicely. Boy was I wrong. Now it's heading for the compost pile and I'm going to have to use my jarrahdale for my Christmas pies and muffins. Not what I planned but it's good that I still can use a fresh pumpkin I suppose. Most of my other plants made it through just fine without me. My blueberries are brown and withered as well as the pomegranate. Should have told the sitter to water them because the times sprinkler wont reach them. I think they should recover well enough. I sure hope so!

Linking in to Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions. Come on over and see what's on the menu being harvested or how people are using their harvests!