Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Gasparilla invasion in Tampa was the last 2 weeks and the whole family got involved.

We had a blast.

ALL of us. Even the teenager. :-D
We had so many beads when we left that we couldn't even walk with them. Too heavy. We donated enough to make several families happy. We gave them to the Sheriff officers that were hanging out at our 'private party.' What? I didn't mention I was a celebrity? Well - now you know. OK OK - not REALLY a celebrity but I work for one of the biggest companies in the area. It makes me in like Flynn - baby.

They live here

They have the PERFECT view of the parade and opened their home to us. It helps that he's my Uncle. :-D
It also helps that we had this type of service:

Throughout the day the Sheriff's officers made sure that there were several of them around. Not only that but the Chief of Police and the actual Sheriff as well. It was pretty cool. No one messed with us. We got our picture taken by the news crew and check this out.... NO CROWDS....

It was a FANTASTIC day. Now- I know my Uncle doesn't read my blog... but a great big old THANK YOU to them for letting us hang out and showing our whole family a great time. Cousins everywhere that day and we all had a good day.
I just hope the kids don't remember next year and ask to go back, because unless they have a private party again I don't know if I'd want to spend the whole day in that crowd. It was CRAZY busy down there. COOL, fun- but WOW it was busy.  HEHE_ My Hubby is still laughing that out itty bitty non crowd made it on the news. Teehee... I said it's cause we are too cool. *snort* (NOT!)

Couldn't have asked for better weather or nicer company. Pirates. Gotta love 'em!

'Till next time!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Harvest Monday 1.30.12

The end of January is upon us!
It's hard to believe, but it's true and our normal 'last frost date' is only 5 weeks away! Our forecast has nothing below 50 degrees and if I had space I think I would be jumping the gun. But - I don't happen to have many places that are open for planting right now so while I might want to jump the proverbial gun I can't. There will be no direct seeding beans any times soon even though every bone in my body is aching to do so. The bright sun shiny sky is glistening and calling me out to it's warmth. If my lettuce gets any more bitter though - I may be tempted to yank it out and plant the beans instead! HA!

OK onto the harvest. That is after all what this post is for. This weeks harvest is all about the Daikon!
Just look at those roots! The carrots are normal sized carrots! I mean the bowl isn't small - not by any means. It's actually a rather large serving bowl. Shoulda seen them babies all cleaned up and gleaming like a shiny new car. :-) Made Ma all kinda proud. I also got some broccoli, a few snap peas, carrots, spinach, strawberries, and just enough lettuce for a couple side salads. I've really got to take better pictures.

Linking in with Daphne. Sorry it's late. Had to take one of the kiddos BACK to the ENT today (YEP, I did take them ALL on Friday) Seems we will also be going back on the 9th and we are looking at a third (final???) surgery for her sometime soon. Details forthcoming when I get them.

'Till next time!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shaping up the main bed for spring.

The main garden is beginning to shape up. At least on paper. It's still a little shabby in real life. The seedlings are still tiny in part of the garden. But other parts are thriving and most of it (again, on paper) is filling in nicely. See!

Only problem is that in real life everything shaded in light green is 'Reserved' space for tomatoes. Empty spots. Of course they've only been empty since the frost that hit us about 3 weeks back but it seems that it's been bare for eternity. LOL. That is where I grew legumes last season and where the determinate tomatoes will go for spring.

Space for 12 plants. Should I mention how many seedlings are growing right now as I speak for these 12 spots? Well, I started a total of 50 tomato seeds...

I have had a few no shows (stupice again...) I'll get to the list in another post - but meanwhile these babies are off to a good start and will be fighting for their chance at those prized spots. :-D
So, let's go on a little tour of the main bed as see what it really looks like. Shall we?
Snow peas are growing well and recently needed a fence to support them. They will soon be climbing the poles for support. Looks like I'll have the first flowers this week!
 In between the two little rows of the snow peas I planted Kuroda carrots. They are happy in the shade provided by the peas. Hopefully soon they will take off in response to the peas nitrogen fixation. A bonus for them both, indeed.

Next is the space reserved for the 6 spring determinate tomatoes. This area held my Eastland Lima beans from May through frost. <3. These little workhorses will be coming back this year for sure and for certain! But for now it is in need of turning and adding a fresh layer of mulch. I'm also planting ground control marigolds when I get it turned and mulched. (Thanks Daphne for the seed!) So far I haven't had a problem with nematodes in the raised bed but I'm not inviting trouble and just a few feet away in the new bed I had a horrible infestation on a tomato just a few weeks ago. :-(

Ah, The poor Pink grapefruit tree, and then the sport reserved for 3 more tomatoes, and wow this is where the garden is really looking rough. Tiny seedlings and the winters frost make it seem bare but if you look close the seedlings are there, just are just lagging behind. They were planted a few weeks before the frost and were badly injured from it. Some were replanted and others have regenerated but it's taken time. It's doubtful that any more lettuce, or spinach will have time to mature this year with the temperatures that we're experiencing. I've not had good luck in the past but this year is the worst yet for bitterness and as the days get longer they will certainly go to seed. Only good thing to come of that is my herbs are fairing very well. Except basil. Cilantro is growing, Parsley, Rosemary of course. That makes me happy.  This is the earliest I've harvest these favorites.
After the Citrus and the bare area is the salad bar. ;-D Carrots and lettuce and radish fillin as fast as I harvest them here.

Then the cabbage, broccoli, and leeks (sorry it needs rotated!) a planting of baby carrots and onions finish off the bed.

At the end of the bed between the onions is this little dity of parsley that is a leftover from summer. :-) and some radishes that are a couple weeks old.
After you go around the end and come back it's peas! English shelling peas. Guess I'll try to harvest some of the onions that are closest as scallions or green onions to get a little space before they get close to bloom time. I wouldn't want the crop to be compromised because of my frivolity of not wanting to give up a few onion sets.

The earlier planted brassicas are here in the shade, where autumns heat wasn't as harsh on them. They are starting to perform well now, but I'm worried that such a warm winter won't allow the younger plants to mature.
That wraps up the main garden. But I wanted to show you whats going on over around the pool pump - 'cause its really pretty cool. :-D I planted out my 'extra' strawberries and they are enjoying the place pretty well. The kiwi vine has officially pronounced spring to be sprung. It shouldn't hurt this vine. It's not going to set fruit any time soon and frost wouldn't really hurt it anyway. It's kinda nice seeing the life come back. In just the few days time since I tool this picture the vine has put on 100 leaves!

While I was out taking pictures I went around to see what other signs of spring I saw. (Besides the thermometer!) Here are a few:

Now hopefully that bud on my peach tree is just a single blossom and the rest of the tree doesn't follow. I really would cry if I lost the fruit to a frost/freeze. It's been a long time coming and this is the first year we expect a real harvest. At least this is the first year we are holding out HOPE for a real harvest. *fingers crossed*

Now that the bed is sorted out for Spring - I'm just ITCHING to get the seeds out and get things in the ground. The weather is teasing me and it seems too perfect to wait another 4-6 weeks to plant. Maybe I can find some pots on sale somewhere? LOL I guess it's good that the cool weather plantings are not mature yet. Otherwise, I'd have no excuse not to start some of those bean seeds, zucchini and other warm weather friends!

'Till next time

Monday, January 23, 2012

Harvest Monday 1.23.12

It's Monday again. I'm linking in to Daphne's Dandelions. Make sure you stop by her place to check out what people are harvesting and how they are using stored harvests all over the world!

Today I have a lot to share. I finished the garden clean up and it feels GREAT! Of course staying out of the carrot patch is tough for me and the little bits don't make that easy for me. These little tasty treats are just that. A great little treat in the garden.
 Most of my harvest were simple handfuls of heaven. Bits of broccoli and berries as they ripened.But I also managed to gather a large salad and a few other good things, 2 pounds and change of radish a pound of greens....
oh my - it really was a productive week!
        The garden seemed happy to be giving it's bounty to me. The weather was perfect and I'm pretty sure that had something to do with it. That scares me though, because a lot of my fruit is showing signs of an early spring. I sure hope we don't see any more freezes now. :-(. Anyway. Here are the rest of the pictures!

  So, Yes my dehydrator was running a bit this weekend. I dried 8 ounces of rosemary. :-) It smelled rather Christmas like in my home. I have to remember to do that at Christmas instead of after next year. LOL.
Honeybell tangelos stole the show for breakfast, and the grapefruit got pushed to the side for a change (pink grapefruit) the key limes are HUGE this go 'round. and the Meyer lemons are showing a LOT of damage from whatever disease they have (I still think it's greening and need to find out more SOON!)

Tomatoes are turning very fast and it looks like sauce will be made by Wednesday, (forgot to get weight on those I think about 4 pounds right now)  6 ounces of Spinach, 1 pound of lettuce total for the week, GAH didn't weight the carrots again... they get eaten right away. By volume I'll say they weighed 9 ounces because that is approximately what the daikon weighs and about the same volume once cut up.  Considering how many we ate. Green onions 5oz Broccoli 6.2oz, Snap/snow peas 4oz, Strawberries 8oz. Forgot to weight the citrus. I'll measure the remaining and add 6 tangelos 2 lemon and 2 grapefruit worth.

On top of all that we had a very busy weekend so expect a few posts this week if I can get to them. LOTS of doctors appointments, and audiology appointments this week coming as well so hopefully I'll get to put everything down.

 'Till next time!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Instant Oatmeal - and more 'tater talk

I haven't eaten instant oatmeal in so long I forgot how it tasted! I will on occasion mix a bag in with my steel cut oats or in with the mix that I usually eat (it's oats, barley, rye, and flax)
Here is what it looks like:
When I add a bag of the instant oatmeal with a large serving of this I usually use a simple flavoring. Blueberry for instance or banana, cinnamon maybe. I'm not much of one for say the dinosaur eggs or any of the flavors I keep on hand for quick servings for the kids. I like to mix up 2-3 servings at a time and feed both my husband and myself and fruit on top keeps us both full until a late lunch time easily.
However, this morning I was running behind and grabbed a little bag of the instant stuff on the way out the door and decided it would do. I added  it to a bag of plain instant so at least it wouldn't be too sweet. Apparently I was wrong. VERY wrong! Someone please remind me not to do that again. My goodness I can't believe my children eat that stuff. Wait, let me change that I can't believe I ever let them eat that stuff without having tried it myself. Shame on me. I don't think they will like it when I stop buying the sugary stuff, but I know I will feel better about serving it to them when they eat what I've been eating for years. *shudder* GAH - Bad Mommy award to me today! Not only was it terribly sweet (with the package of plain added) but it was nothing but mush! Ewww, who would enjoy that? OK, I shouldn't criticize that part I suppose. I mean I eat hummus like it's going out of style.

Now, as for the potatoes. Rich didn't like it when I mentioned the buckets, just like I knew he wouldn't. So, here is what I've come up with. Thanks to a comment by sb158 I got pointed to THIS LINK about growing potatoes under straw mulch. This is a fantastic idea and a way I could actually grow the potatoes out in the front beds (Teehee, you see why this is such a great idea, right?!) in the new planter area that I was looking for something low growing to fill in anyway! So,  I'm officially on the lookout for some clean straw. Around these parts it's hard to find. Usually it's Coastal hay so I will be doing some research to see if the same is applicable to hay as well or if the structure would become too dense and rot out prematurely. Meanwhile feed stores beware - I'm a callin'! I will still have a couple buckets as well I think I can put a few of them behind the pomegranate trees without him freaking out on me. Maybe I can put something decorative in front of them and then plant a pumpkin vine there as soon as the strawberry's finish their thing in 2 more months or so. 

 For the sweet potatoes though I might have to get creative and build a box. I could put it in the playground area against the fence. There are no sprinklers there, but plenty of sun. Watering would only get done Friday and Sunday so they might not grow as well...Maybe I could go soil on the bottom and straw mulch the rest to conserve the moisture.... *sigh* Well - for now anyway it's just dreaming because if the first set of potatoes doesn't get started and under the radar then the sweets won't be growing either. Truth be told He prefers the regular potatoes that can be eaten early and young, but I prefer the sweets and those are much better taken when mature and left to get large and sweet in the Florida heat. He fairs a much better chance at getting what he wants than I do.

'Till next time!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Impulse buys...

An impulse buy led me to seed potatoes.

I ran across them at the local feed store. I thought I was smart when I 'only' bought 3 pounds of them. I have been wanting to grow potatoes and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to grow them myself, organically. :-D

There are a few things that most people don't know. Things I didn't know until yesterday when I did a little more research into growing my own 'taters.  The #1 thing I learned is this:

3 pounds of seed potatoes = 50 ft row of garden space.

I only have aprox. 125 ft.

That won't quite work. LOL. Not by a long shot. So I started thinking. Hmmm....

(photo taken from Deb's blog)
Deb over at Paradise Cove grew potatoes in 5 gallon buckets... but I would need 10 buckets for that many eyes...

So I'm guessing that I'm going to be sprouting these eyes and looking for buckets all the while. I'll also be trying to think of a secondary game plan because I don't think I can talk my ever patient honey bear into letting me set 10 buckets around the porch. Especially when I happen to like sweet potatoes even more, and I already told them to put me down for 3 more pounds of another variety. OOPS!

The cost was less than the catalogs, and there was no shipping. Think this goes against my seed purchase? Nope.  Rich happens to like the idea of taters. That is until I tell him about those buckets....guess it's a good thing we'll be eating some of them (as long as they aren't green) so now we can add it to the food bill instead of against the garden tally!

'Till next time!


Harvest Monday 1.16.12

This post was started Monday. It was even intended Monday, but my Fire was giving me a hassle for some reason when it came to typing in the appropriate space to post here. I have no idea what that is about so I'm going to have to play a little before I attempt to remote post again.

This weekend was a long weekend for a lot of people. Me included. That meant I actually had daylight hours above and beyond normal to get some gardening done. YIPEE! Unfortunately though my hubby was in bed most of the weekend and that meant I had the littles with me when I was in the yard so there are not any pictures to show you. At least not yet. Hopefully those will come this weekend, along with a whole lot more pictures!

More carrots were sown, and some more 'little gem' lettuce (Thanks Daphne!) the tatsoi was transplanted (8) and some of the spinach was moved around. It's doing worlds better now. We did harvest 6 carrots for a snack, a handful of snap peas, about 10 globe radish, 3 daikons, a turnip (accident he was in with the radish whoops!) a grapefruit, lemon, 2 limes and an orange and a few of the green tomatoes from last weeks frost had turned and were consumed with a smile. :-) Weights will have to be added tomorrow because I left the sheet on the counter on my way out the door this morning.

I do have these few pictures for you. We also harvested this oh so yummy jewel. I think KNOW this was every ones favorite harvest this week. I do remember the weight of this harvest. 9 ounces. It was quite a bit smaller than the Pomegranates from the grocery store but considering it's winter AND it's only the second one from the bush I think it's a success. It was wonderful... No pun intended! We are all anticipating the next fruit that will come, but the sill tree is in flower now and the second tree is dormant so I think we will have a long wait!

Here is the final haul of just pecan halves. The rest are 'pieces' and are not as valuable for cooking. (supposedly) I use pieces for things like pancakes and waffles, but these halves are what is needed for pies, cookies, candies, chocolates, dipping, and sugaring.
There is 21 pounds of pecan halves. Market value is $230.  YIKES! The pieces are already in the freezer and are an additional 15 pounds their value is another $120. We have already consumed 8 pounds!

Someone had asked about the packaging. I use the upright foodsaver like this one:
It has a few options the older foodsavers don't have that I simply can't live without. A wet or dry option, an option to seal without suction (the bottoms of the bags for instance) the option to seal containers, and a few other ditties, like holding the bag roll, and having a cutter and a slicer on board! LOVE this machine. HATED my first one. The upgrade was very  much worth the money. I still need to freeze the wet ingredients and things like green beans before trying to seal them from the best performance, but for the safety of the food that is what is best for it anyway.

This type of seal allows me to keep those pecans in my pantry for 18 months, or in my freezer for 2 years... not that we would be able to keep them that long, but if we needed to we could. Staples like rice that does normally last a year can last up to 5 years. It's amazing how  much it can extend the life of you food - not to mention that bugs simply can't find you food. That is a major bonus when you are talking about pantry staples. Being able to open only a pound or two or an item instead of being forced to open a larger container and letting some of the product going to waste is a great benefit as well.

OK- I'm off to get caught up at work. (And get caught up on my planting diagrams!)

'Till next time!


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Sometimes I can't turn off my brain. Like today.

I can't help but think in circles, and it stinks.

This is the circle right now:

Everything is brown from the freeze. It rained yesterday. That means the ground is ready for seeds again. I need to order seeds. I can't order seeds, I need to plant the seeds I have. I WANT to plant the seeds I have. I want to protect the seedlings I have and the seeds I plant. So I want to install a couple pieces of PVC and a little fabric dome to help keep frost off those precious babies, but I can't do that because I'm stuck at work - where everything is brown... from the freeze.


And each circle I seem to pick up something new. A new thought or idea that sneaks in and weasels it's way into my mind. A list to make (supplies I need! Seeds I have! Space to put those seeds!) or a task to compete. It's such a viscous cycle. Never so viscous as right now though. It's almost 'Spring' here. It's only a few short weeks away from our last frost and there is manure to purchase and top off my beds, and a cattle panel to get for my tomatoes (grrr...the new fining committee for my HOA has set $100 A DAY FINES this year!) there is that whole row cover thing I want to do. Then there are the new plant markers I made yesterday...they aren't helping anything just begging to be put into place. I've also been staring at my  planting diagrams spending time dreaming, and for that matter scheming as well. I am nearing a physical ache to get into my garden and DO.

Plant diagrams are nearly empty right now They will be full again soon!

And to make matters worse my poor hubby will be laid up this weekend so I'll have to be away from the house with the kids so he can rest alone. It's been planned for a long time but that doesn't make it any easier. It makes my brain worse I can tell you because now I've got household things that need done on top of all the outdoor things I would enjoy getting done. Laundry, vacuuming, bathrooms that don't clean themselves, dishes that are piling up, and the kitchen to FINALLY reclaim from the pecan fest of late. (YEAH!)

I think I'm going mental.

Maybe I've already gone.

'Till next time!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Havest Monday 1.9.2012

The first Harvest Monday of 2012. Linking in with Daphne's Dandelions of course! Well, not for everyone - but like every other year I tend to start hings out kind of slow. I'm usually in the deep woods of Alabama - just like this past year. I kinda like it there so it is a good place to be. :-D

I don't have a lot of pictures to show you for all that I got in because it was a massive undertaking and I was running around all crazy like. but these two pictures sum things up pretty well. Here are the green tomatoes, radishes, limas, hot peppers, and bell peppers!

Tally is: 7.5 ounce lettuce, 9 oz radish, 6lb 8oz tomato, 5oz greens, 9oz bell pepper, 6.75 oz hot peppers, 1lb lima, 4oz english peas, 2oz snow peas, 2.5 oz green beans, 4oz herbs asst

This is only half the pecans on my counter right now. AND I still have another  gallon bucket to finish off. I was truly hoping to finish them this weekend but other more pressing issues seemed to find themselves being taken care of.
Like this! WOOHOOO! (I may have been jealous of someones)

Now, it's only a el'Cheapo visquean over pvc and I'll be lucky if it last the rest of the winter and is able to be put back together next year , but for $69 it was a gamble I was willing to take. I'll gladly take that chance so that I don't spend 2 hours not steam cleaning my carpets again like I had to do yesterday after hauling out the coconut trees again. YIKES! Realistically all I need it to do it to hold an extra 5-6 degrees in for about 7 hours over night and that should easily be accomplished with a single strand of C-9's on the floor of the greenhouse. It's inside the pool screen enclosure which will make it convenient for pulling the larger pots into and out of as well. Not to mention now my seedlings can go out there on the shelves with the lights under them... ;-)

So needless to say that the tomatoes that were pulled out of the garden this weekend have replacements that have been  started and will be occupying the greenhouse by next weekend. Actually I started an entire flat. I figured why wait the extra 2 weeks to start my Spring seedlings they may take a little longer to grow out there after all. But not having them in my kitchen is a serious bonus!

In addition to this project the beans were all pulled along with the tomatoes. Well. I didn't have the heart to pull 2 of the tomato plants. The stems were still green so I cute them back just to see. I don't have much hope but I'm willing to try.

I lost a lot of my lettuce in the freeze as well so I really want to replant that but I'm afraid to do so right now. Trying to nurse so many itty bitty plants at once seems like I'm asking for trouble. If they all make it I get the feeling I'll be scrambling for space and then that is a whole other trouble.

Guess you won't hear a whole lot of harvest from me for a while. Everything is either small or dead or dormant at the moment. Strawberries are the only thing even trying to produce. Hopefully I"ll have them by the buckets soon!

'Till next time!