Thursday, September 29, 2011


I found it!

I did... I found it! All on my own! I found it after all. And it only took until October!


Of course in a week this weather will be gone and it will be back to 97 and 77 and rain but - I'm taking what I'm given and I'm a running! This weekend is about mulching my newly planted pentas. :-)

Unfortunately Mother Natures is one week too late. :-( My hot pepper plants turned up the production and.... the rain kicked their butts finally. They have some sort of disease. Spot disease. Make me cry disease. I mean up until now I put away a half cup here or there but this month - this marked the turning point in the harvest when the freezer would finally be seeing the majority of what was coming in. We've been using most of what we had until now. I sure hope they can hold on for another month. I think I'll defoliate the worst, spray and pray. I won't be infecting any other crops for winter so there is no rush to yank out the plants. It's not contagious to what will be there later. Just annoying. Figures they'd finally succumb now that the weather has turned. HUMPH!

In other news.... my life has been taken over by PINK POODLES.

We are in full preparation for the twins 5th birthday party and it's going to be OOOOOOOOooooo so PINK and, well.... poodley. Hopefully not puddley it would be nice if the kids could play outdoors for a while! :-D
So far there are Pink Lemonade cupcakes in the works and I'm thinking about some pink oreos.... I'm on the hunt for pink foods and puffy things. Wish me luck!

'Till next time!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Harvest Monday 9.26.11

Joining in again at Daphne's for Harvest Monday. Don't forget to stop by and see what everyone is harvesting, or what they've done with they're harvests!

This weeks harvest was a flop of pictures and weights. I still have a lot of the harvest. What wasn't brought in for use directly to the pot that is. That never tends to be weighed or photographed so there is no difference there. Typically that is fresh herbs, but this week also included a cucumber. And on a side note something got in my garden and ate every SINGLE curcurbit. Yes, every single one out of each and every bed, go figure! Front beds, side beds, Trellis vines, etc. Only 3 vines remain and they are badly damaged. I have no idea what int he world did this. I have never heard of such a thing and whatever it was didn't touch anything thing else. Seriously, WEIRD>

Anyway. New to harvest this week are black eye peas! Whoot! Way later than usual for me but I couldn't resist putting them in at the end of the season to see how they would fair in the fall. I only planted a small 2' area but so far the little bushes are doing well and I figure the immature beans will cook well with the rice peas. I didn't take a picture so they will be represented by pink eye purple hulls. gotta have something to show, right? They look a lot like the immature beans, less like the mature ones. The purple is only really on the ends of the beans. Ill try to remember to get pictures this upcoming week. With no daylight when I get home now most nights it's getting harder to come by photos. :-(

Still in harvest are hot peppers, lima beans, mulberries, and also back in harvest is Okinawan Spinach. My fig bush is producing, but I am thinking these figs won't be more than a snack. They are tiny and not sizing up. I guess next year will be my year for figs. I'm patient. This year would have been nice but I guess I'll settle for a taste test instead.

In other news my remaining bells are blooming again. Of course they look like twigs with a bush at the top in bloom but eh- I'll take it. The summer planted bells are beginning to bud so I expect blooms in the next 2-3 weeks as well. OH! And the tomatoes are setting. YAHOOO!!!! I'll be back in business with tomatoes again soon. Not soon enough and certainly not long enough but we all know I will take what I can get. I've experimented with putting one of the hybrids down in the blueberry patch. I realize that the acidic soil may be too much for it, but the extra light and attention would be good and it's worth a shot. I'm still working on the second bed and trying to finalize something there in the next few weeks. I'd like to have a section ready for winter so I can have a row cover and try to extend a crop. I still have plenty of time but it's nice to have a game plan.

'Till next time!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Equinox

It's September 23 and today, this very morning - the day is equal. Twelve hours of night gave way to twelve equal hours of day. But, from this point on we will lose daylight. Each day will give up it's light to the darkness. Inch by inch, minute by minute. Not only will time be given but intensity. The direction from which the daylight is flodding changes as well.  My vines are already showing this effect. They have noticed the sun is not shining as harshly.

But today is a celebration. The Pagan and Wiccan celebration of Mabon, Christians usually call it the harvest. Even the original settlers in America celebrated this with not only harvesting but replanting winter crops as well. Cover crops of rye harvesting and storing of goods for winter begins.

Of course in this modern day and age it's barely acknowledged. But for me this is about the time when I notice the largest change. A week ago as a matter of fact. A week ago I got home and it was starting to get dark already. I'm running out of time before i can tend to the garden. It means for me that I have to choose what I want to do, rather than being able to tend to what needs done as it needs it. It also means reacting to the gardens needs rather than being proactive. The good news is that it also comes at a time when the bugs start to slow down and the watering needs decrease as well.

While I may not be celebrating, after all my system CRAVES sunlight an long days, I yearn for vegetables that are easier to take care of and for the rebirth of Spring. After all I can't have Spring unless I have Fall and Winter with it.

Now don't take me wrong. I know that it may seem slightly crass coming from me way down here in the deep South of Florida where our temperatures rarely drop much below freezing. But trust me, I do mark the seasonal changes. They may be slight here but every tiny bit counts and I can tell you one thing. Summer certainly didn't give up easily. She did not go out like a lamb. Summer sank her teeth in and decidedly went out like a lion. Here is the picture i took on my cell on the way home last night:
Monsoons are still here and there. This one dumped over 3 inches in under 2 hours. We passed plenty of cars that did not make it home that night. Flooded cars are not uncommon here. We'll still fluctuate for a few more weeks but as the nights get longer they also get cooler. Once they stay under 75 degrees these torrential rains usually die off. That change will be coming soon! Within weeks the relief will be felt and my peppers will rejoice, my carrots and lettuce will finally set and cruciferous veggies shall UNITE! (All right that is a little over the top, but darn it I can't wait for nice weather again!)

May your streets drain well, your rains be steady and not too harsh, your nights cool and....

'Till next time!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Harvest Monday 9.19.11

It's Harvest Monday again. Autumn edition! Linking in once again to Daphne's Dandelions to join in the fun and see what people are harvesting all over the world.

This Monday we are featuring HOT PEPPERS galore.
Nearly a pound of these hot little beauties were harvested. They'll be chopped and frozen flat to be used in soups and stews and chilis and stir fries for the rest of the year. We should have enough pickled peppers to see us through until spring now and I certainly have enough dry cayenne.
I harvested another 2 cups of basil that I made pesto out of. This one was a pesto cheese sauce that was astronomically delish on pasta.

The beans finished off the majority of the harvest. The final Holstein beans were harvested. Any more that I might find would be seed only if they weren't molded. Most of what I harvested were mildewed or moldy. The rains finally stopped but it was too late. Most of my garden has succumbed to either mold, mildew or bugs now. 
 The itty bitty rice peas are still hanging on but they are looking a little rusty. The limas are too, but considering their age that is not one little bit surprising. The beans are still good and I got about another pound this week so they are not at risk of losing any territory yet. :-) A copper spray will hopefully help them hang on a while longer. It's one of the few sprays non organic that I seem to always turn to in times like this.

The garden is suffering. We've gone from massive monsoons straight into drought. Tides will change a few more times before the dry weather stays for the winter but right now the pepper plants are defoliating in answer so some of the hot peppers are getting sun scald and the leaves are getting spotty but I'm pretty sure the plants will be fine over all. The bells I'm not so sure of. It seems the fungal/spots have set into the stems and while the hot peppers are setting like crazy they are not even blooming. This is a major disappointment. I've saved 3 bell plants through our horrible summer and that is no easy task. I thought I made it but maybe not after all. It's a wait and see game for them now. 2 other bell plants I wasn't sure about have shown that they indeed have lost their battle. They are too diseased and stressed and need to come out before spreading their ickyness.

The corn is down to only 7 stalks. That is worrisome but there is nothing I can do at this point.
Oh I nearly forgot. I also harvest a pint of grapes. I FINALLY brought the grapes into the house. :-) Rather than eating them as they ripened I actually got enough at once to bring in. Of course that is the final grape count but I actually got a bowl of them!

The final tally to add is a half cup of mulberries. I have to constantly try to remember to get out there in the morning to get them. Otherwise they are gone before I get there. The trees all need pruned but the weather is so good I am afraid to prune what really needs to be done. If I do what is necessary I'm worried they will all start regrowth and then get burned in an early frost. It would hurt my heart to see such tender young growth get hurt so I'll try to hold off another month or two before I prune. It's so hard to wait when everything NEEDS pruning now! All the trees are in need, not just this one. *sigh*
'Till next time!


Friday, September 16, 2011

A little research

It goes a LONG way....

I was JUST getting ready to hit the send button on an order that I was so excited about. But something in the back of my mind told me to double check that order one more time. I sure am glad I did!

This wasn't just any old seed order, no - this is an order of perennial things. Plants that will either replace themselves by multiplication or plants that can either tolerate freezes or die back and regenerate in the spring.

One of the plants I was so happy about getting was this one:
This is the Jerusalem Artichoke. It's actually a sunflower relative. Not related to an artichoke at all. This plant is grown by tuber multiplication. Tubers that are slightly sweet and nutty and can be used in so many ways...raw, fried, seared, boiled, etc. But after a little more research it turns out this particular vegetable while easy to grow and care for has a severe side effect for some people. Let's just say that Chicago wouldn't be the only 'Windy City' if I fed my whole family this veggie as a side dish, Ok? 'Severe Gastronomic Distress" is known to be caused from eating it.

Now, Can I have a moment to talk to you about a serious situation? My stomach and I? We don't get along most days in general. I can't see adding something that is a known culprit for digestive upset. My husband and I? We have daily disagrements on what is deemed 'Appropriate Bathroom Behavior' in front of the little ones. So I'm thinking it's really a *very* VERY* good thing I looked into this little beauty a little more. I am still tempted to grow this gorgeous plant. But, I know if I do I'll also be tempted to try to eat it and I just don't think I should risk that. It could be hazardous to both mine and my husbands health. LOL.

Back to the drawing board. On a good note I found out that Okinawan spinach is *supposed* to grow as a perennial here as well as Cassava, so I may try these over the winter to see. :-)

'Till next time!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Labor Day's labor

I meant to post this last week but I've been busy this week willing my little bits lungs to work better, breathe deeper and running them here and there for appointments.
Labor Day weekend was spent with an extra day off of work on Holiday and here is how we decided to spend that time:
The old bed by the front door was taken out and a new retaining wall was erected along the entire length of the fence and house. Now I'm starting to feel better about the house and the yard. It's starting to look like something that I would create. The HOA team was diligent to say the least. We were stared at and taken pictures of but so far no notices have been received. It seems to have past inspection. Darn well better have! We took the old outdated bricks and made new rings around the baby oak trees (foreground) and the date palm in the middle of the yard. Although the date palm will become a MUCH larger planter by winter with the same matching retaining wall in a kidney shape. We are trying to fly under the radar as much as possible AND trying not to kill my back entirely while doing the work ourselves.

Once the work on the wall was finished I set to work to fill in the gaps you can see in that picture. So, while we upgraded the wall I decided to sneak in a few new edibles to the front yard. Some of my bigger bull cane blueberries.... 
I think they fit in extremely well with the existing landscaping and don't call attention to themselves at all.  Heck no one will even realize what they are until the berries blush that light blue hue the day or two when they are the best. I think the best part about it is that they will be in bloom in the early spring before the hibiscus and ixora behind them are in bloom so the yard will have more color for it. These bull canes are located about 20' from 2 other bulls that are near my front window and are the same size and age(about 3-4 years of age)
I also added a permisson tree and a few of the little baby yearling blueberry plants. They look so sweet and innocent here.
No one dare suspect a thing. They will grow right in with the landscaping come spring and the persimmon next year will be well over the fence line. If all goes well come September it will be providing us a small first crop of wonderful orange fruit. Just don't tell the neighbors. Hopefully they will try them when they first turn ripe and see that they are OH so sour and bitter. SHHH.... don't tell them to wait until the fruit softens a little. My girls are most excited about this tree, they love the fruit.

And, since my poor heart can't take seeing saplings all alone in a pot withering in the heat at the nursery marked down and on sale this apple tree came home as well. Don't worry this is not an orphan it will be pollinated, just the other side of the fence is the play yard and it is surrounded with (3) apple tree saplings. Anna and Dorset- too bad I didn't get those trees on clearance! I may not get a lot of apples the first year but I don't think we are moving any time soon and I can see many jars of applesauce in my future.
There is a tray of purple cabbages awaiting transplant to these beds, as well as some chard seeds to be sown and perhaps some broccoli as well. In the spring there are some pretty big plans for a large section of Okinawan Spinach the kids eat it like crazy and Amaranth as well as some new trials for a couple seeds I've been putting off until I did this work, Rat tail radishes for one this interests me a lot and a few other things, too.

Ah, but I digress. I must shut up at some point. Off for nebulizer treatments and rocking of small children. I love that they will still let me rock them and hold them, at least when they are sick anyway.

'Till next time!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Monday

Oh yum this Harvest Monday centers around a saltwater harvest, straight from the Gulf of Mexico. Delicious nutricious enough to share and sure to make you drool. Well, once cooked anyway!
We harvested 20 pounds of Spanish Makerel, a nice sized Redfish, a few mangrove snapper and I can't remember what else. More pictures will follow. This post brought to you via Crackberry.

Don't forget to link into the party at Daphne's Dandelions each Monday to see what is being harvested all over the world!
Till next time!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Horrible end to the week

Well, I think this is one of the fastest ways to bring tears to a mothers eyes.


And she is so darn happy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

(Not Quite) Harvest Monday

Well Harvest Monday fell on Labor Day and I'll be darned if I didn't slack off on my day off!
We swam, and had a cook out. We relaxed and yes I did do some gardening too- but NOT MUCH!


I did harvest this week though. Broccoli as a matter of fact. 1.2 stinking ounces of wonderful yummy *tiny* goodness. 1 lb of limas, a couple limes, a lemon, a pound of dry beans,  a cup and a half of mulberries, 2 cups of basil which was about 3 ounces maybe.... and some hot peppers for our burgers, an onion... when you are cooking out sometimes things just jump out of the garden at you (like those limes, for the beers)
I also made the yummiest, moistest, most delicious cake with one of my packets of pumpkin. One of my neighbors who swore up and down that she didn't like squash or pumpkin was there to give it a try, boy did I show her.... She liked it! :-D Her kids all gobbled it up and they don't eat any veggies so we definitely have a winner! (We didn't tell the kids. teehee)
There will be no pictures of this cake because, well it was devoured while still warm. While it was cooking all of us were drooling over the smell of it. Once it came out it was game over!
See you next Monday!

'Till next time!


Bento Tuesday 9.6.11

I realized that I don't know if I'll have enough material to do this as a weekly post so I'll have to see how it plays out. Maybe it will be bi-weekly instead. But, since I had announced my intentions to try to post it weekly I thought I'd at least try to get the first three weeks in a row. :-)
This weeks bentos featured:
Turkey and cheese, and lettuce with a pickle side (deconstructed sandwich) and goldfish
 carrots with critters on the top.

This bento featured a star ham and lettuce with grapes, carrots and my personal favorite nutter butter sandwiches. :-)

Now, part of the problem with this Bento Tuesday is that I simply forgot to take pictures. The other part is that I have a camera and a cell phone that I take pictures with and sometimes neither of these are convenient.
This of course is somewhat ironic being that I also try to keep track of my harvest and have a hard time doing that. You'd think I was unorganized... You'd be wrong. I simply have three children and no brain cells. I'll take the camera upstairs to take pictures of the garden from aerial view and forget to bring it down, and when I make the kids lunches it is almost always after they are tucked safely away at night. This means I've already been upstairs and chances are my phones is also tucked away snoozing with it's belly getting full of juices at my bedside table. If I don't tuck it in when I tuck my children in I may very well forget to plug it in and then of course everything thereafter gets thrown off. So it is much the opposite. A case of extreme organization. A rule that is not thrown out the window for the sake of having a picture for the blog.
Another reason for not having the post as often is that I only have 2 bento containers. I'm not into boring you all to pieces with the same look over and over again. Don't get me wrong. I'm not giving this up! I'm doing this to try to keep it fresh for me and for the kids. To remind myself that I have to keep trying and that the diversity is the fun!

'Till next time!