Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

A Return to Posting

Yes, I do believe we’re settled in enough now that I can return to posting on occasion.  You’ve probably already noticed that the banner across the top has changed.  I wanted a new banner since we’re living in a new place.  I had originally intended to place a picture of Texas bluebonnets up there, but I haven’t been here long enough to see the bluebonnets.  Yes, there are plenty of pictures of bluebonnets on the internet, even some free ones, but I’d like to put one of my own photos up there.  So, I guess we’ll just have to wait until spring for that picture of bluebonnets.  In the meantime, I thought I’d use a picture of a couple of skeins from my stash.  I think the contrast of colors is nice, don’t you?

So, yes, we’re settling into our new home here in Texas.  The first couple of weeks were definitely on the warm side, but we have cooled down nicely in the last week or so.  The evenings are down right chilly!  (I will be able to wear my sweaters!)  Most of the boxes have either been broken down and put away or have been put in their permanent places.  We’ve done a lot of sorting since we moved into our new home.  We’ve discovered that we don’t need to hang onto as many things these days.  Several boxes of books have either been sold or donated to the local library.  Several boxes have also gone to Good Will.  Lots and lots of papers have been either shredded, trashed, or recycled.  It feels good to have gotten rid of unnecessary things and to have some room to breathe.  Of course, the craft room is as full as ever!  =)

In The Kitchen

Now that the house is basically put together, I’ve been back in the kitchen and cooking and baking again.  There for a while there were waaaay too many meals out or made from processed foods.  Blech.  So, I’ve already made a couple of loaves of Ezekiel bread, a batch of cookies (peanut butter cookies), and a German Chocolate cake for The Husband’s birthday.  There’s been plenty of cooking too.  Last week I cooked all of our meals, including those meals that The Husband took with him on his 2-night, 3-day, road trip (lunches and suppers)!  I wasn’t sure how much he’d appreciate that, but when he came home he said it had been nice not having to look for a restaurant and to be able to eat whenever he liked.  What he didn’t like was that some items got a bit soggy in the ice chest – especially the wheat wraps for a Waldorf Chicken Wraps (from So Easy by Ellie Krieger) and the romaine lettuce for the same wraps and a salad.  So we still have a few details to work out for him to pack his meals.  He also had with him some Curried Chicken Salad on a bed of lettuce from the same cookbook and Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno.  Quinoa is my new favorite grain.  It apparently has the most protein out of all the grains – and it tastes great too!  =)  I had originally thought it didn’t taste good, but it turns out that you’re supposed to rinse it in warm water for a minute or so to rinse off a bitter coating that the grains naturally have.  Here’s a picture of The Husband’s and my lunch today.   It is Quinoa Tabbouleh from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook.  Tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur, but the quinoa tastes just as good.  I think tabbouleh traditionally has more parsley in it than what I added.  The recipe doesn’t say how much parsley to add, so I just guessed and used most of one bunch of parsley from the grocery store.  It tastes great with the one bunch, plenty of parlsey flavor but not too overwhelming.  The dressing is lime juice, lemon juice, and soy sauce.  There are amounts listed in the cookbook, but I just kind of eyeballed it.  There are chunks of tomato and cucumber in the salad as well as edamame for some additional protein.  I’d definitely make this salad again.  It can be eaten either chilled or at room temperature, which is nice for The Husband while he’s on the road.


In The Garden

Okay, there isn’t actually a garden at my current home.  We decided to live in a complex for now while we look for a house to move to later and the complex doesn’t have garden plots for each home.  I asked for permission to create a small garden space and the landlord was incredibly kind and said yes.  So, this past weekend we went to a greenhouse and bought several small plants appropriate for fall planting here in Texas.  We also went to a typical big box hardware store and bought supplies to make a very small raised bed and the cutest little cold frame kit I’ve ever seen!  Oh, and of course we bought dirt as well.  The original plan had been to make sure that all the plants and materials were all organic, but, well, I wanted a garden immediately (that first freeze is coming fairly soon and I needed those plants established!) and the plants at the greenhouse looked healthy and I’m pretty sure the dirt, compost, and manure said they were organic.  There certainly weren’t any chemicals added to the dirt (like fertilizer).  And I’m not intending to spray my plants with anything.  So, I think we did good enough on this one, at least for now.  After much hauling of heavy material, moving things around, an hour of putting together the cold frame, and getting dirty up to the elbows, we have:  a raised and cold-framed garden!  It’s not the best picture, but you get the idea.  The frame around the raised bed is made of 8 cement blocks.  The cold frame is made of heavy-duty plastic and plexiglass.  We pushed up some dirt around the base to seal off where the frame meets the cement blocks and last night we could see moisture collecting in the frame, so it is apparently sufficiently sealed.  What, you may be asking, is planted in there?  Well, we have herbs including thyme, oregano, and two different kinds of parsley.  We also have some vegetables including Swiss chard, broccoli, and cauliflower.  The Swiss chard and broccoli should produce several times, but the cauliflower will only produce one time.  Once the cauliflower is done, I will probably plant a couple of lettuces in spring and then maybe a tomato plant once it gets warm enough to take the cold frame off.  We also got some catnip and rosemary plants and they are planted in pots and placed up front near the front door where they’ll get lots of sun and some heat bouncing off the driveway and brick wall of the garage.  Now all I have to do is sit back, watch the weather for frost and freeze warnings, water, watch my plants grow and wait for the first harvests!

Swiss chard in my garden


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You know when you read a book or see a movie and it sticks with you for days?  I recently had that experience with a documentary entitled “The Garden.” The film opens with views of South Central Los Angeles.  You can see the skyline, the buildings, cement everywhere.  Then, in the middle of the monochromatic grays, a sudden burst of verdant green.   In a previous life, this 14-acre plot of green was the scene of the Rodney King trial riots.  After the riots, and billions of dollars of damage, those 14 acres were left to sit.  Some bulldozing was done, but the site was definitely not fertile or garden-ready.  In July 1994, the land was sold to a private, not-for-profit, food-distribution network to use the land as a community garden.  This community garden eventually became South Central Farm.  The idea was that a low-income family could receive a plot of land on which to garden and provide food for themselves.  The South Central Farmers cleaned up what was left behind by the bulldozers, brought in soil to cover the cement and packed dirt, and began to plant.  On a land once rife with violence and destruction, a garden was grown.  Then, in 2001, the ownership of the land came into question and the South Central Farmers were threatened with eviction.  The film is charged with racial tension (most of the farmers appeared to be of Latin American descent), political corruption, and the South Central Farmers organizing to fight for their rights.   As these farmers struggled for the right to remain on the land, and later to outright buy the land from the owner, I kept hoping for justice to prevail.  Unfortunately, greed and prejudice was the order of the day.  Even though enough money was raised to meet the owner’s asking price, the owner then refused to sell to the South Central Farmers, who then had to watch as their gardens were bulldozed in front of their eyes.  At the end of the film, several years after the conflict, the land was bare of all green and no buildings had been built – it was an empty and unused plot of land.  This film really makes one think about individual rights versus the rights of a community, greed, corruption, and racism.  It made me wonder what kind of person refuses to allow people to garden on an otherwise unused plot of land in order to feed themselves.  This documentary was gripping and I can easily understand why it was an Oscar nominee.  I give it 2 thumbs up and highly recommend giving it a try.

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