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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

It’s a busy time. There seems to be a lot going on and I don’t seem to be catching up on certain things, yet I am getting other things done. So anytime I can make a quick meal, it really helps.

Celery Leaf

Celery Leaf

Spinach growing season is over here and my spinach has bolted and I am patiently waiting for seeds to I can harvest them and then get the next phase planted out there. I picked on last large batch of spinach and had plans to saute it and freeze it for meals later, but meal plans can change rather quickly around here. I also had some local chicken and carrots in the refrigerator that needed to get used up. Chicken salad came to mind, but I haven’t managed to make any bread in a few weeks.

Chicken salad

Chicken salad

As I gazed into the refrigerator I decided that the spinach would get used to make chicken salad wraps. Brilliant!

Add spinach

Add spinach

I ran out back and pulled up a bunching onion and also snipped several stalks of celery leaf. Chicken salad coming up!

Lunch!

Lunch!

The meal was quick, easy, and healthy. In fact, I am running in several directions right now and I had a repeat of this meal for dinner too! Yum x 2!

What do you do to throw together a quick lunch?

Sincerely, Emily

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Bunching onions, sauerkraut, local lamb roast, and working in the garden….

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

What do all those things have in common? …. Just more “not dabbling in normal” normal.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Cleaning and clearing out the winter garden. the onions are starting to flower. I let a few turnips and some of the kale flower so I can collect seeds. The monster spinach is just starting to bolt, so will leave a few plants in the ground for seed saving also.

I was over at the neighbors yesterday to help clear out winter plants and get some spring things in the ground. He uses a hoe (made in the USA) that belonged to his grandmother. (my neighbor is 81 years old, so that is one old hoe that he is using.) we planted some cucumber and zucchini seeds and got a few bell pepper plants in the ground. My body is still playing catch up from being sick a year ago…. so that was all we got done. We will work out there again on Saturday. I plan to work in my garden today and hopefully get some plants in the ground. I still get out of breath, but it feels good to work out there and I need to keep pushing myself a bit to keep getting better. I have certainly come a long way, especially when i think back to march 2013 when I couldn’t even walk across the room!

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

I have picked my cabbages and they are in the crock turning into fermented sauerkraut. I picked up some more local cabbage at the local swap that I go to and those are also fermenting in another second crock. A Roasted lamp shoulder

Dinner the other night was a roasted local lamb shoulder (picked it up at the swap/barter.) I had a second pan in the oven roasting sweet potatoes and onions that I also traded for.

Making a cough syrup

Making a cough syrup

I am also taking an herbal medics class. Learning a lot, and So much more to learn. It is a lot of fun. I am harvesting some wild herbs and edibles as they are popping up this spring. The lambsquarter is popping up so I am potting some up to take to plant swaps and also the month swap/barter.

So, like I said…. Life. There is a lot going on. Spring is in the air (It was 87F yesterday – I think we skipped Spring!)

What are you up to this time of year?

Sincerely, Emily

 

 

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I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but the warmer days have me thinking about the Spring/Summer garden planting.

We have already hit 90F here in South Texas. That is just too hot, WAY too soon for me. Last week we had another cooler down that was right up my alley and it had me opening the bedroom windows at night to cool the me down!

Tabouli

Tabouli

I try hard to purchase veggies in season, but I had an itch (and an event to bring a dish to) to make Tabouli (click on the word “Tabouli” to link to the recipe that I posted back in July of 2013). I picked and used as much as I could from the gardens; parsley, mint, cilantro, onion. But I did have to purchase things like cucumber and tomato (oh I can’t wait to pick that first fresh tomato!)

I am behind in my seed starting, but my tomato seedlings are up and a few of the pepper seeds are starting to sprout. I did pick up some heirloom and non-GMO seedlings at The Natural Gardener a few weeks ago. They are already potted up into gallon containers. The Natural Gardener didn’t have their pepper plants in yet, so I will check back in with them, as well as check a few other local nurseries to find some organic ones.

Reality check: last wee our temps are back in the “Texas Winter” range. We have been 25F at night with a few days that didn’t get about 45F (I know that is a heat wave for some of you out there.) so my seedlings are living in the garage and in the house for while.

What type of seeds will you be starting to prepare for the upcoming gardening season?

Sincerely, Emily

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A few months ago on the Not Dabbling in Normal facebook page I mentioned that my neighbor/friend had seen a newspaper article on Monster Spinach (Monstreaux de Viroflay) and wanted to plant some. Off we went in search of some transplants. We found it and go it planted in December (a bit late for us.)Monster Spinach 1

The weather was already on the cool side and we have had our share of freezes over the past few months. Our Monster Spinach didn’t seem to be doing much bu surviving.

When I got back from Prague I took a walk through the garden and WOW had it taken off. I have been picking it for a few weeks now and it just keeps growing and growing.

Today it is going in a quiche, some empanadas and a pasta dish. I know I will even have enough to freeze to add to things this summer when all the leafy greens have disappeared out there.055

I haven’t done any research on this “Monster” spinach, other than a newspaper article I read that told me it was an heirloom. I do know that when it bolts I will be patient and hold out for seeds this spring.

Do you have a variety of spinach that grows well for you? And how do you to prepare it?

Sincerely, Emily

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Blogging perks

I  somehow got on the Renee’s Garden media list, so they let me order seeds every year!

Here’s what I’m planting, along with the tomatoes and peppers that I grow from my saved seeds.

Beans: Nickel Filet and Bush Rolande
Cabbage: Baby Pixie
Carrot: my perennial favorite mix “Circus Circus” tricolor/
Eggplants: Italian Trio
Leeks: Striesen (a new variety for me. I’ve been doing the Baby Primors last couple of years)
Pak  Choi: Baby Green Fortune
Squash: Delicata Butternut
Zucchini: Raven
Basil: Italian Pesto
Celery: Amsterdam
Parsley: Sweet Curley

AND my favorite Sunflower Chocolate Cherry, with a Chocolate Daisy to match (!).

Now if only this snow would Go Away.

What are you planting?

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The past few weeks have brought some winter-like weather to our area, as it has to so many other areas around the US.

Ice Cabbage - Jan 2014

Ice Cabbage – Jan 2014

This is the first year that I haven’t set up the hoops on the garden to cover the vegetable. So far, so good.

We have had more freezing rain and ice than normal, but the veggies seem to be doing alright. I try to water them 36 hours before the big even, whether it is freezing temperatures or freezing rain. That give the plant enough time to use the water to protect itself.

Ice Kale Jan - 2014

Ice Kale Jan – 2014

These photos show some pretty chilly veggies, but they have come through it all relatively unscathed.

How is your winter garden (or summer) garden doing?

Sincerely, Emily

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Last week I struggled with finding photos for D. I could think of a lot of “D” things, just didn’t have photos of them…

This week was a bit easier. Elder has been on my mind because I started working (with a friend) on a presentation for Herb of the Year on Elder for the local Herb Society back in September of 2012. So that “E” came easy to me and as I go through past photos, so good “E” photos popped out.

Experimentsexperiment 1aThis experiment did not go so well. I will post about it on Friday over at Sincerely, Emily.

Egg and eggplant sandwich (now I am hungry – they were so good!) I many of these from breakfast when the eggplant were growing in the garden.023What kind of “E” things come to mind for you?

Sincerely, Emily

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C is for…

centurea macrocephalia

centurea macrocephalia

and

Armenian Cucumber

Armenian Cucumber (it’s really in the melon family)

Sincerely, Emily

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This week, we’re inspired by the leaders of natural and local, be it gardens or food.

***

This week I (Sincerely, Emily) arranged a field trip for the local garden club that I am in. We went to The Natural Gardener in Austin, TX owned by John Dromgoole (has been doing an organic radio show for 30 years.) The nursery was wonderful and celebrates 30 years this year. Then we headed to lunch at a local restaurant called Jack Allen’s Kitchen. They work with local farmers to use local and seasonal food in some of the dishes.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Marinated Chicken Breast, Portobello mushroom stuffed with artichoke gratin and goat cheese drizzle

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Marinated Chicken Breast, Portobello mushroom stuffed with artichoke gratin and goat cheese drizzle

It was a great day. Local Nursery. Local Restaurant (serving some local food!) Good Friends.

***

As local as it gets. The last tomato harvest.

Green peppers

October harvest

What have you been up to this week?

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I graduated from college with a degree in Art/Interior Design, so what I am about to show you is rather scary, but keep in mind that I just don’t care. What I mean is, I care about you, just not about what I am about to show you…

hot pink pants (great garden pans!) and very comfortable maroon sweatshirt

hot pink pants (great garden pans!) and very comfortable maroon sweatshirt

Actually I do have a good sense of what colors go together, you just can’t tell by what I am wearing when I work in the yard most of the time…another colorful outfit

The pink shorts (above photo) I bought on purpose many years ago. I bought the maroon sweatshirt on purpose many years ago too.

Those hot pink pants (above) were the perfect thrift store fine. Perfect for the garden. The blue windbreaker was another thrift store find, complete with a casino logo on it from California.

The army green muck boots – I really wanted the lime green ones at Fleet Farm up in Wisconsin, but they didn’t have my size. That really would have made my outfits complete! Right?

I know one person out there reading this is rolling her eyes right now. Her name starts with a “G” and I know she is thinking “What has happened to her?” (now that she has just read this last sentence, she is laughing – I hope!

I just want to say… I don’t go out in public wearing these clothes…. these are strictly yard clothes and I think that they are great yard clothes!

The neighbors don’t even seem to bat an eye (at least not in my presence!)

He helps with with the laundry

He helps with with the laundry

It is kind of funny that when I found Wocket and immediately brought him home (thrift store find). After all, he has the same fashion sense that I do when working outside.

Sincerely, Emily

 

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