Category Archives: garden

garden

Clearing off the memory card, Part 2

Just a few more random photos, not even food related!

Right before our wedding, I noticed there were beautiful blue eggs in this bird house we hung from our patio.  When we got back from our honeymoon, I found these cute little chicks sticking their heads out and peeping.  After a few days, they were all gone!  They didn’t look all that feathered to me, but I also didn’t find any of them in the yard, so I’m hoping they all flew the nest okay!

They look all cute and cuddly… and then someone starts to get smushed:

That’s my Cassie-bear!  She’s just a cutie (and also my favorite, totally not a secret).

Continue reading COTMC Pt 2…

Clearing off the memory card

I have a terrible, awful, no-good habit of taking lots of pictures and never moving them off the camera/memory card.  Not all of them need a whole post, but some are worth sharing.

Willie is technically Travis’ cat, but I love him to pieces.  We each picked a kitten out at the shelter and he picked Willie, even though he’s a boy cat and he was a little skittish.  We were only going to get female cats and we wanted cats that were going to be lovebugs (like our Clair).  Turns out, Willie is more of a lovebug than Clair ever was.  If you are sitting on the couch, he will find you, lay down, and fall asleep on your lap.  He is good at spreading around the cat-lazy.  And, so far, the biggest problem we’ve had with him is that he paws at the air instead of covering stuff with the litter.

This was one of the first strawberry harvests from our garden.  Last year, I planted 6 strawberry plants (two varieties) and got just a few berries from them.  Over the course of a year, the plants spread out and took over half the raised garden bed.  This year, I probably pick a handful of ripe berries every week.  Never enough to make a dessert or jam, but certainly enough that we both get to enjoy them.  I wish I knew what varieties I planted – one makes little berries that are super sweet, the other one makes nice, big berries that are still sweet, but not as sweet as the little ones.  Every now and then, I come across a berry that is overripe. Those go to the chickens, who fight over it and chase each other around until one of them finishes it.

Continue reading

things of late

Can you feel busy and lazy at the same time?  I think I’m going to declare that such a thing is possible.  Because that’s how I feel at the moment.  So busy trying to finish up house projects before I lose motivation, yet feeling lazy and just wanting to sit on the couch and watch tv (like the Torchwood:Children of the Earth thing I watched and am now wondering what I’m missing not watching the regular series).  And so, due to #1 on my list of things my brain wants to ignore:

  • There are so many pictures on my camera that I need to download and file.
  • Including pictures of tasty food we’ve either eaten or I have prepared.
  • Like the perfect summer dinner from last weekend where I made the best appetizer from garden tomatoes, basil, garlic, and non-garden burrata (because I don’t have a miniature cow)
  • It has been crazy hot. Sticky hot. But it’s supposed to cool off this week and I’m looking forward to that.
  • The bathroom project is finished. Mostly because T worked hard over the weekend cutting baseboards and is now caulking them.  I washed the shower doors!  It looks awesome and I love my new toilet.
  • I am tired of house projects.  I proposed no new projects next year.  I’ll probably forget by then.
  • I still want chickens.  I’ve started the process of building a new raised garden so I can clear out the prospective chicken space.  It’s hard work moving a raised garden.  Also, apparently parsley doesn’t like to be moved.  I think it’s dead.
  • T is going to Mammoth for Bluesapalooza this weekend.  I’m a little sad I’m not going (too much work, not enough time off, fear of losing my job in this crazy economy. Seriously.) but I’m also looking forward to a weekend by myself.  A weekend of girly movies and eating the strange things I scrounge up when I don’t have to feed someone else.  Plus, I just found out (so did T) that my least favorite person in the whole world will be going, which actually makes me happy that I am staying here.
  • We have houseguests coming the next weekend, so I will try to get the hall bathroom in good shape.  By cleaning.  Not by painting or anything else crazy like that.
  • Our grass is starting to die because of the crazy water restrictions.  Well, half the grass.  The half that doesn’t get afternoon shade.  It makes me sad.  It also annoys me because we’ve already done so much to reduce our water use that I feel we should be exempt from restrictions.  I bet we already use half as much water as the rest of the neighborhood and now we have to cut back more?  Not fair.  But that’s life, I suppose.
  • Eating dinner outside is my favorite part of summer.
  • I think artichokes are my favorite vegetable.  Have I mentioned that T never knew you could eat the artichoke heart before I showed him?  Can you imagine how long he had been deprived of the best part??
  • I love that my dogs are always happy to see me.  Even crazy Lexi misses me when I’m gone.  I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
  • I also wouldn’t trade my boy for the world.  Or even three cute dogs.  If it weren’t for him, the kitchen never would have happened and my bathroom would probably end up half done, with just a toilet sitting on the floor.
  • Quiet nights in the backyard are awesome.  People have gone inside, kids are no longer screeching, the dogs next door are quiet, and it’s nice and cool.

garden bounty

There is no picture here because, for whatever reason, the fresh, local, and healthy meals I make photograph terribly and look like mush.  Although, the dish T piled up last night for dinner looked lovely – his quirk about not liking foods to mix actually makes for a photogenic plate.  Piles of quinoa, roasted zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and a beet (all from the garden!) and a sprinkle of goat cheese.  Yum.  I declared it a successful Meatless Monday and was very proud that so much of our dinner had been provided by our hard work in the yard.  T even surprised himself by enjoying our veggie dinner as much as he did.

How large of a garden does one need to produce enough vegetables for canning and preserving?  I had visions of pickling all our lemon cucumbers, but they aren’t as prolific as I imagined and we eat them as fast as they ripen.  I have 6 tomato plants, half cherry tomatoes, and we eat those too quickly as well.  I wanted to make tomato sauce!  Garlicky pickled green beans sounded good, too, but the green beans are long gone.  Ah well, at least we’re enjoying them as they come.

I have started brewing kombucha.  It’s quite interesting and I’m enjoying it.  Green tea makes a smoother drink than black tea, but the only green tea I have is the one with rice and popcorn.  It sits for 5 days, then I put it into a bottle and it sits for 2 days (to carbonate) and then into the fridge.  I start a new batch when the bottle goes into the fridge and it all makes a well-timed cycle.  I had the hardest time finding a SCOBY starter (I don’t know how people justify charging $10 for one!) so I threw in a bottle of GT’s Kombucha with some sugared tea and 2 weeks later I had a nice SCOBY on top.  Then I had 2 in the bottle, so one is now in the fridge.  I’m not really sure what to do with it.  I’ve heard that you can dry it out and it makes nice dog treats?

T and I had a good sit-down conversation about the chicken coop and what it represented as to the added house projects and his not feeling adequately appreciated for all the hard work he did for the kitchen (seriously, he did so much and worked so hard and probably saved us thousands of dollars because we didn’t have to hire someone else) and at the end I understood how he felt.  Every now and then, it’s good to stop and really talk about the state of the union.  Two days later, a book on keeping chickens and building a coop arrived from Amazon.com.  But the bathroom still needs to get finished before any of that can be planned.

My mom was sent these mochi puff crackers from Hawaii.  They’re called Kinako Mochi Puffs or Funwari Meiji (based on my internet searching) but I can’t find them here (they’re from the Hawaii Marukai, and I checked ours).  The closest I found was a Kinako Mochi Senbei, which is a flat rectangular craker dusted in kinako powder.  It kind of all melts in your mouth and is lovely to eat. 

Happy summering, people!  There are so many things we want to do this summer and I hope we find time for it all.

please bear with me

I had a bunch of neat picture-posts of road trip iPhone pictures that I had taken while on vacation, and I tried to post them, but I also upgraded my iPhone to 3.0 and this apparently is not compatible with whatever version of the WordPress app that was loaded.  So, all my phone posts disappeared into thin air.

Since it seems like I hardly have any time at all to sit down at a real computer, much less transfer photos from my camera to said real computer, being able to post a few notes here and there from my iPhone seemed ideal.  Until it stopped working.

In the meantime, we had a lovely vacation with our friends and I stand by my claim that they may be the only two people I would consider spending 10 days in a car with. 

Before we left, I haphazardly started a batch of kombucha using half a bottle of GT’s Kombucha, citrus flavor.  I wasn’t sure if it would actually work, but I came home to find a nice SCOBY (or whatever it’s called) in the jar and then blended the resulting sour tea with strawberry puree.  It’s a little tart (okay, it’s way tart), so I’ll be looking into some sweeter fruits for mixing, perhaps?

There was also a nice harvest of lemon cucumbers and cherry tomatoes waiting in the garden, and I turned it into a tasty chopped salad.  The corn didn’t really pan out, and the eggplants aren’t producing as much as the ones last year did, but I think it’s still going to be a tasty summer.

T seems a little more endearing to the chicken-keeping idea, although I don’t think he’s willing to build a coop.  I’m actually waffling over whether to try and build one myself or just buy the really cute (but so expensive) Eglu Cube tractor.  I ran the numbers (seriously, I made a spreadsheet) and determined that 2 chickens could pay for their Eglu in 8 years, if you compare it to the cost of supermarket eggs.  If you factor in the cost of organic, free range eggs (like $4/dozen!) then the chickens will have earned their keep in only 4 years.  I also discovered that adding a third chicken drastically reduces the cost recovery time, but I think that may be pushing my luck.

First harvest!

It’s the first harvest from our garden! Four little green beans! There’s also corn growing on the stalks, tiny tomatoes emerging, and (finally) little cucumber flowers blossoming. Aside from the mysterious crater that keeps appearing in the raised garden, I think we’re off to a good start.