Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garden Update

DSC_1164_3029 There was a nice harvest today.  Romaine and Bibb lettuce was thinned.  The heads were used to make a salad.  The beets were also thinned.  The baby beets were pickled to add to the salad.DSC_1165_3030 The cauliflower is ripening all at the same time so a few heads were cut along with some broccoli to make casseroles.  This was the 1st day to harvest any cauliflower or broccoli.  Cauliflower and cabbage are in extreme abundance and are being shared to take advantage of the fresh, tender produce.DSC_1167_3032 The peas are continuing to mature.  Last weekend they needed to be staked up more to eliminate their sprawl.  They were beginning DSC_1169_3034 to overtake the garlic.  Now, the garlic has a clear shot at the sun.  I’m thinking about planting this entire bed with tomatoes next.DSC_1171_3036 With the beets thinned, they have more room to grow larger and are less likely to shade the garlic.

Note:  Do not plant peas on the east side of  a bed.  Their vigorous growth tends to shade anything trying to grow on the west side.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


DSC_1044_2915Years ago, my kids would pull these flowers (weeds) and make bouquets for the neighbors.  Our yard once had scads of them.  Now there are only a few that remain.  They bloom in the early Spring.  I like to keep some around to remind me of those cute kids.DSC_1047_2918Oxalis luteol has clover shaped leaves.  The roots are tuberous.  The flowers have five petals and grow in bunches on long, slender stems.  How they get from growing in the ground to growing in a pot I just don’t know.  One thing – they’re easy to grow so they must be a weed.DSC_1055_2924The bees were buzzing the other day, busy collecting pollen for honey.  The warm sun encouraged the blossoms to open and invited the bees in.  I wonder what the honey tastes like.DSC_1060_2929 Today, it rained again.  No bees.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fruit Tree Buds

The fruit trees are starting to bud out.  I’m not sure which tree will pop 1st; but by the looks of things today, I choose the apple tree.DSC_1032_2903                                                         Apricot

DSC_1033_2904 Nectarine

DSC_1034_2905 Pear

DSC_1035_2906 Apple

DSC_1037_2908 Peach

DSC_1038_2909 Plum

All of these fruit trees are being grown as espalier trees to make the most use of the room and use them as a fence between the lawn and the vegetable beds.

Grey Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

Yesterday, the rain clouds busted up and gave way to clear, blue skies with white clouds floating by. 





Today is a replay of yesterday sans clouds.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here Comes the Sun – Doot-N-Do-Do-Do

No rain this morning; but evidence of its visit lingers.





DSC_1009_2880 The broccoli is only leaning slightly to the south…not as bad as I thought it would be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bienvenido a El Nino!

DSC_1447_2858 It’s been raining for days around here!  It’s rained so much that my broccoli is starting to fall over.  And I don’t care.  I’ll take the rain and snow (in the Sierras) any day.  These storms are needed terribly.  Maybe I can get out to take some photos soon.DSC_1466_2875 For now, I’ll just enjoy hibernating.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Garden – California Style

Here’s what we’re enjoying in Maybelline’s Garden:












DSC_1425_2837 While Noah was building his ark this weekend, I took pictures while the sun was still operating.  Today, January, 18, 2009, the winds howled and the sky opened up.  Wow.  It poured.  I hope the next storm sticks some snow up in the mountains.   This time of year is delightful.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Did It!

I finally did it.  I baked a successful loaf of bread – two loaves in fact.  Bread is a culinary hurdle I have been unable to sail over.  Oh, I have a bread machine.  I can make hockey pucks and tortillas in my bread machine.  This happens no matter if I use a recipe from scratch or a packaged mix. 

I store the paddle for the machine in the pan unattached.  One time I forgot to install the paddle.  It was baked right into the hockey puck loaf.  What an idiot.

Cornbread has been conquered and improved by me.  No problem.  It’s so good I call in cornbread cake.  Buttermilk biscuits I rule supreme.  Pass the butter.  Yeast breads I swear to dominate.  Today I begin to teach myself how to master yeast bread baking.

walnut-bread-ck-1932611-l I chose a recipe from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light.  All the ingredients to make Walnut Bread were in my kitchen; so I could proceed.  The planets aligned.  The weather cooperated.  The angels sang.  The gods approved.  It was good.

I took a picture to record my success so I can remember this 1st step.  Certainly, I will have many steps backwards; but I finally did it.  It was good.DSC_1430_2842 The recipe did not call for an egg wash; but a taste tester suggested to try that.  It looks pretty good.  Another taste tester in my kitchen thought kosher salt would be good.  I salted one loaf.  It was good.

Warm bread and melting butter.  It is good.

Note:  Why do food stylist place their food on fabric?  I don’t want my bread on a piece of linen or burlap (pictured above).  Please keep the lint, threads, and fluff off of my food.  Thank you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Food Storage

DSC_1392_2807Does anyone put food away?  You know.  Store it for an emergency.  I canned tomatoes this summer.  Those jars are history.  They are waiting for this summer’s harvest.  They are stored on the shelves beneath my store bought food stuffs.  Food stuffs.  That’s a peculiar phrase.

Mr. M was addicted to the salsa and I did my fair share of cleaning out the jars.  Mr. M also likes to have his shelves stocked as if a mini grocery store was in our garage.  Today, I hit Costco to start restocking Mother Hubbard’s cupboards.  Although the store bought stuff isn’t as good as home canned, it’s nice to have a few items on the shelves.  I have a nifty can rotating system too.  The can is pulled from the bottom.  The other cans in line behind roll forward.  Pretty cool.

It certainly says a lot about my stage of life when I store the kosher salt, apple sauce, onions, and Listerine next to Elton John and the Average White Band.



Perhaps a serious intervention is in my future.  Maybe after I organize the shelves a bit better.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Garden Diet

DSC_1387_2790 As with most new years, there are resolutions to get thin.  On this cold, wet, and foggy morning, I thinned the beets and carrots.  I didn’t need to pitch most of them.  The baby beets were cooked and pickled to use on the salad for dinner that was picked fresh (romaine, spinach, and bibb).  DSC_1388_2791 The carrots were used for the chicken stew.  Since there weren’t enough, my friends for the local carrot giant, Bolthouse Farms supplemented the balance.  Thanks guys.DSC_1393_2796The stew is a concoction of chicken, bacon, onions, garlic, beer, and broth.  How can you go wrong?  Peas will be added a bit closer to the end of cooking time.DSC_1395_2797 Now I can go watch thee football playoffs while the stew simmers and the fireplace crackles as I drift off into a deep nap.

I’m a regular modern day Elizabeth Lane!  Everything is hunky dunky.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sniff Sniff

Reasons to hurry up the invention of smellavision.




Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Cactus

My Christmas Cactus started budding out the week of Christmas.  It took its sweet time to burst with color.  Today, there are hot pink blossoms exploding.DSC_1183_2508 DSC_1380_2783 DSC_1386_2789 Better late than never.