Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Around the garden

I had a slight setback in getting better over the weekend.  I decided that I was "well enough" to go for a run with the kids this Saturday, kept it short and relatively slow. Sunday we had some friends over for a cook-out, and Sunday night I could barely function I was so beat down.  Monday I was in bed until 2 pm. When I finally managed to drag myself downstairs, some homemade chicken and rice soup, a coke, dayquil and Doritos (hey, we all have our guilty pleasures) made me feel closer to human. So now the hubs and my running hubs (we have run together for the past 6 years, and people we meet assume we are married, even though we have told everyone we are each married to someone else and my kids look NOTHING like him! It's always good for a chuckle. It doesn't help that we live within 10 miles of one another and carpool frequently) have banned me from running until at least Wednesday and probably Thursday. Boo.  So I think I might have to do some yard/garden work.

I have been bemoaning my crazy floppy Favas in my daily garden inspection. The ants have been running around on them like crazy, and since they didn't seem to be doing any harm, I just let them have fun.  The flowers are coming and going with no pods in sight.  When all the sudden I noticed something......

We have little fava bean pods!  Geeking out! It's the little things in life that I have to enjoy and get excited about.  SO now the wait begins.... daily checking and making sure that pesky bunny doesn't nibble! 

You can click on the photo to zoom if you want.  Sorry about the haziness,
picture was taken through the sliding glass door.
The bunny was the surprise hit of the gathering this past Sunday.  He came out multiple times during the day, much to the delight of the kids.  And now I am getting to borrow a BB gun from a friend's kiddo!  He he he, watch out Mr. Bunny!

This was his breakfast this morning. A green strawberry.

More wandering around the yard showed me something else I have been checking and waiting for.... broccoli!  Look close....Now the hard work to make sure no pests notice it's there.

And one of the clusters on the CP. Hmm....Soon my pretties!  I am extremely envious of everyone who grows lots of the same plant to freeze and can fruits and veggies for the winter months. Maybe one day we can be productive enough for that. But for now we are enjoying every taste of homegrown goodies.

And can you see the ragged ends of the sorrel?  That is not the result of some marauding garden pest on four legs.... that is from the two legged variety.  I often find them standing next to the container nibbling on little pieces that they tear off. "Hmm, Sorrel Mommy, tastes like lemon." Mainly the big one, and not to be outdone, the little guy copies him. And Daddy has to have a taste as well. Good thing we are organic!

Sorrel - after the kiddos discovered it.

And something pretty to end the blog today.
Happy gardening all!  Off to Target for more OTC meds and maybe the garden store if I can drag myself that far.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back in the garden

It's just been to wonderful outside to let some head/chest cold get in the way of gardening.  So a lot of things that I've been procrastinating about managed to get done.

The lovely postcard that Ribbit send was planted in a nice sunny location near the patio table, I can't wait to see what grows.


Now you see it

Now you don't!

So far I have been extremely happy with my Smart Pots.  I planted some red potatoes in two pots and a Green Zebra tomato in the last one and they seem to be loving it.  For some reason Blogger isn't letting me post a picture of pot 1, but it looks a lot like pot2...  Healthy and happy.

Smart Pot 2 - Red Potato

Smart Pot 3 - Green Zebra

Squint and you can see my baby GZ

I'm experimenting with Chayote right now,  I have never eaten the squash or the greens, so I can't wait to try it this summer!  I was planning on planting 2, but I did a little reading and it said to plant the vines 10 feet apart.... and frankly I don't have that kind of space right now for 2 plants, so 1 plant it is!  I will place a trellis behind it when it gets tall enough to start climbing.
My Chayote finally broke ground

The cucumbers and squash are finally in the ground. Its the area I cleared of onions et al a few days ago. I've been lusting after every one's harvests, but it was due to my inactivity, so we attempted to change that!

Bottle garden is back
  I purchased a plant last year that was supposed to be a Green Zebra tomato, but it ended up not being green at all.  I'm not sure what type of tomato it was, but it was delicious.  So we grew it again this year.  So far so good on the fruiting stage.

My mystery tomatoes

 We ate the first of our Cherokee Purples, and it was yummy.  We have a few smaller ones starting to change color, but a few of the larger ones are just hanging around getting bigger.... I can't wait!

Lots of CP Toms

And apparently the little one can't wait either.  I know he liked it when we all snacked on the CP, but come on guy... patience!  He also ravages the strawberries before they are red, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Hey! Hands off little man!!!!

Yeah, that's his "who me" face....

Doesn't he look innocent?
Well, that's all for now!  Happy Gardening!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Better late than never!

Well, we did have a harvest last week, unfortunately having a pre-schooler expose the family to random germs means we get sick.... a lot. I was hoping that this would run it's course after last fall, but looks like new bugs are starting again!  Boo!

As a lovely pick me up I received a beautiful postcard in the mail from Ribbit.  I can't wait to plant it!

 Our harvest last week included 5 1/4 oz of cute Fairy Tale Eggplants, our first Cherokee Purple tomato, weighing in at 3 5/8 oz and some tester carrots.

Our tomato could have stood some more ripening I thought, but I think the kid might have been a little over zealous with the watering.... That's ok, we picked it and ate it anyway, it was delicious!!!! Sweet and full of summery goodness.

And check out how small these little carrots were!

The family did a day at Disneyland on Sunday with the hubby feeling not so great and Ryle acting up (never a good combo) and then the hubby got sicker. And now I have it too. But it was just too nice of a day yesterday to be sick. So I let the kids run loose in the yard and play at their water table while I attempted to get some gardening done.  Operation garden clean up!  I've been planting scallion nubs in the garden 90% of the time when I cook with them, just where ever I have a space, and it's been great for getting more scallions, but just terrible on organization. And some were getting a little long in the tooth. So out they came.

And since we hardly ever have a glut of things coming out of our little garden, this mass of onions was frankly amazing!  It's funny how things add up. What to do with them???

 I decided to make a sour pickled kimchee that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. I hope I did it right.

Trimmed up and ready to get pickled.

With a few left over for the fridge.

 During phase 1 of operation garden clean up we pulled the parsley and the lettuce that had bolted.  And when the kids and I came in for snack time, I happened to glance out the kitchen window and saw the bunny nibbling away! My but he is a bold little guy.

You may be able to see Mr. Bunny if you zoom....
Sorry for the lousy picture, but if I open the door he would have bolted
More gardening updates maybe tomorrow. Time to whip up some chicken soup or something. Happy gardening all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Out of the loop

I have been a stay at home mom now for nearly 2.5 years. It's crazy to realize how long it has been.  Every now and then I will be out at lunch with the boys or my friends (and the boys) and see someone in business clothes and ridiculous shoes.  I can't help but wonder ... "WHAT???"   And I feel like I am aging myself by also wondering "is that what people wear in the corporate world now?"

I had an opportunity to be at the mall yesterday shopping for a present for a friend graduating with her Masters. After getting her gift we decided to browse a bit since my other girlfriend needed some summer sandals. Her parameters - not 4 inches tall and not gaudy. Should be easy enough, right?  NO. We found maybe 4 pair that fit the guidelines.

I have seen more than one lady in a suit wearing these.... why?  Why would you wear these?  I'm short, so I can see the advantage of having super high heels, but come on folks.... these shoes remind me of the "oldest profession."
 And oh my stars, check out these?  We actually tried these on in red. Don't forget to look at the heel.... These shoes would make an awesome weapon.

So that's my rant of the day. Maybe I'm just getting old, or I am just way out of the loop. What happened to modest yet stylish shoes with a 2-3 inch heel?  I have to get back into a department store more often to see what passes as stylish.  I thought by keeping to my favorite stores I would be in the "know."  But apparently Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Black White Store, and J.Crew are staid, boring and old. 

I'll go back to the garden now.... without these shoes!  Happy gardening all =)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Drop it like it's....carbs?

My next race on the calendar is the Chicago Marathon on October 9th. And I am actually attempting to finish at my goal time.... which is still slow enough to not get a start corral, I am in the "open" corral. Depressing. Our goal time is a good 15 minutes off my best race time to date. And that was 4 or 5 years ago, before kids! So the summer and fall are serious training times for me. I just have to stay injury free.

My last marathon before Marine Corps this past October was Rock 'n Roll San Diego. I attempted to run that for a goal time as well, unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and sprained my ankle at mile 6/7 by stepping in a pothole. And I was dumb enough to run on it (I blame the endorphins that made me think I was OK) until it really started to hurt around mile 17/18. By that point everything hurts anyway, so it has to just be regular race pain, right? Yeah.... I went to the medic tent after the race to get some ice or a bandage, and they guy's response was "Dude, that ankle is swollen....!" Well, yeah, why do you think I came to you for something to treat it... Let's hope I learned to pay attention when I run this time.

My friend has a great theory that if we lose some weight, running our goal time will be a snap. And he has lost 20 pounds and I can barely keep up with him some days, I figure that his theory may just be right.   So I found this handy-dandy chart online about how much weight loss will effect race time.

Pounds Lost           5k            10k             1/2 Marathon               Marathon
2                            :12.4          :25               :52                                1:45
5                            :31           1:02             2:11                                4:22
10                        1:02           2:04             4:22                                8:44
20                       2:04            4:08             8:44                              17:28

According to RW author Amby Burfoot, the table is based on research that runners, on average get 2 seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose. The times you see above are the amounts a runner can shave off his/her race times by losing weight.

Needless to say, the dieting has started. Ugh. I want to steal my kid's pasta noodles and crackers. And making them pancakes or waffles for breakfast is pure torture. Progress has been good so far, I am 6 pounds closer to a faster race time. Nine more pounds to go...

Happy gardening and running all!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Harvest Monday 5/16/11

Happy Monday! Last week we did a lot of observing in the garden and I did a lot of regretting.  I really regretted not planting any lettuces when I saw all of the bounty my fellow urban gardeners were bringing in.  But maybe once I finally get the soil in the raised bed I can plant some there before the heat gets to be too much in SoCal.

Our harvest this week included  4 Tonda di Parigi Carrots (a petite sized round carrot we grew in containers), more peas (our plants are just about done and we need to just rip them out), and 3 1/2 oz of little Fairy Tale Eggplants.

I decided to conduct a bug search this Saturday since some critter was nibbling on my broccoli leaves.  What I found was nature doing it's thing.  A caterpillar entrapped in a spiders web and the spider hiding behind him after having taken a couple of nibbles our of him. I just left him to his dinner and help looking for others.

Unfortunately you can't see the spider hiding out. But this fat guy was making himself at home in my broccoli.

My earliest Cherokee Purple is really starting to change colors....soon!

And she has approx 30 friends for us as well.

Last week we finally planted the Japanese eggplant seedlings and the shishito pepper seedlings. Unfortunately the bunny discovered them the very same night.  He has been slowly nibbling away.  So our water/soda bottle garden is back. We don't drink many 2 liters, so I don't have really large bottles to protect the plants, so we had to make due with water bottles. Hopefully this will help until they get a little bigger and we can put up a bunny fence.

And for some reason the favas just keeled over. Seriously, just flopped over.  The stems feel strong and it was too early in the morning for the boys to have done them in, so I am confused by what happened.  I just tied them up to some bamboo and metal garden stakes and hope this helps. They are scrawny and only just starting to bulk up.

The smart pots we filled with red potatoes and my green zebra seedling finally got a home. I can't wait to see how each does in the new smart pots. They are some what uglier than a traditional pot, so I hid them by the fence.

And because I am just so amazed that it is actually growing, the sorrel again. We haven't picked any yet, no time to look up recipes to try out in the kitchen.

Now I'm off to go and fight with the pre-schooler about waking up and going to school. Happy gardening all!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Where have they gone?

Do you have favorite blog that you follow for one reason or another?  Have they every just.... stopped blogging?  There are two blogs that come to mind and I often wonder where they are and what's going on.  Are they ok?  Is life getting hectic? Did they decide that letting people into their thoughts and gardens wasn't such a great idea?

I know I could just email them (I'm sure I could find their email addresses on their blog, or a contact me thing or something), but that seems.... invasive. Kind of stalker-esque. But I do wonder why they stopped blogging and if they are ok.  It feels like a TV show that was cancelled without a wrap-up. I can't help think, "why didn't they say good-bye blogger". It's kind of self-centered of me isn't it?

That's all, just a random thought for tonight. Night all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Misc mental wanderings

So sometimes I forget things. This was a very rare occurrence pre-kids, but now it's almost daily.  I'm hoping that the boys turn out to be diligent in their studies and have great memories as a result of stealing mine.  I garden like I still remember everything.  Mainly  because those little plant markers seem to go missing when I stick them next to a new planting.  It makes it a little more challenging, but it's kind of like hiding presents for yourself all over the place as pick me ups!  And it makes failures less painful.  Because an open spot in the garden may have just been a spot that I missed planting and not a failed germination.  The glass is always half full, right?

So,what started me on the mental wanderings and trying to figure out if losing my mind was a slow process or if it happened all at once was the discovery of sorrel in my garden! I like reading about gardens and new a interesting new vegetables to try out.   Last year I read about sorrel.  I have ever used it but I LOVE lemons and anything lemony or citrusy. I have attempted to plant this 2-3 times in the past year, and they just never germinated, so I gave it one last try in a re-purposed plastic container. (Former toy holder that was set for the recycle bin when I decided the hole was a perfect for drainage ).  Of course I forgot what was planted there. I assumed when it started growing that it was spinach. We love spinach, and didn't have any growing, so of course I would have planted it.... right? Well..... the red tips on the greens made me wonder if it was spinach and a quick taste test resulted in a spinach like texture with a hint of lemon....SORREL!!!!! I can't wait to look up some recipes.

And keeping an eye on the tomatoes, one of the Cherokee Purples has some blush on it.  And it has set a lot of fruit that are sizing up nicely.  I hope there will be some when the family comes to visit in July.

Another view of my re-purposed container, so broccoli, carrots,scallions and the sorrel. I don't know if it is because someone smooshed the bunny with their car or the elevated growing area, but the broccoli has survived much better than my last attempt. My husband is certain I was the car wielding culprit behind the bunny smooshing, but I only saw him post smooshing. I swear!

And because you can never have to many herbs, and I can't pass up a deal at Big Lots, some window sill herbs. Just in case the 10-20 feet are too far to walk to snip some fresh herbs....

I'm not sure if your house is like this, but in the heat of summer we get a fruit fly invasion!  It's terrible.  So we bought Ryle a cool plant that can earn it's keep.  An Octopus plant.  It is a carnivorous plant that attracts insects using some nectar on its arms and then gobbles them using various enzymes.

And a cute "Sensitive Plant", I am hoping this plant teaches the boys to be gentle on the veggies outside!
And my dirty little secret...I still haven't put so in the beautiful raised bed the hubby built for me...Sigh...

Happy gardening all!