Middle Monkey asked for greens tonight. Here is how we do it.
Greens - Swiss chard and collards today, a bunch, more that you think you need. This stuff reduces down to nothing. 1 clove minced garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chicken broth 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. While the garlic is sauteing, remove the stalks and chop the greens. Add the greens to the oil and garlic and wilt. Add the chicken broth to the pot and reduce. When almost all of the liquid is gone, remove the greens from the heat and add the vinegar. Watch as Middle Monkey eats it all and doesn't share.
Greens cutting technique - Cut out the stalks. Roll the leaves up all together. Slice the rolled up greens the long way, don't let go. Now cut the greens the short way across the length of the rolled up greens. Ta-da, Perfectly cut up greens very fast. Hope this made some sort of sense. I'm tired. Never mind, I went and had Baby Monkey take some pictures that will show you. Sorry about that last picture.
A sampling of things I had to yell during Earth Hour.
"That's not fair. Your arms are twice a long as his." "HEY! MY COUCH" "Stop jumping around with candles" "You may not catch anything on fire." "Do not throw shoes." "You have to pee in the dark" "HEY, THOSE ARE MY PILLOWS." "You need to take that stink outside." "I don't want to learn how to play chess." "NONONONONO, put the helmets down." "DO NOT THROW SOCKS." Seriously, somebody help me.
They initiated me into some secret club by candle light, wandered the house with an open cell phone, had a paper wad fight and declared Earth Hour the most fun ever.
Today was a very interesting day at the library. Though I don't often post about it, I have a greenhouse. It is set up at a dear friend's place about five minutes from here. We keep it there because she has more space and an excellent rainwater harvesting system. I don't have any plants in it this year so my greenhouse partner is enjoying some peace and quiet without daily visits from me and the Monkeys. She called me just after we opened the library this morning asking for a little advice. Seems like the kerosene heater acted up and there is soot everywhere. The walls, ceiling, tables, and plants are all covered in "black snow." The only thing I could think of was to mix up a mild solution of liquid dish soap and wash everything down. We had quite a laugh at this new hiccup in greenhouse management.
Later in the afternoon, Paul, from the Texas Triffid Ranch brought me pitcher plants for our bog garden at the Outdoor Education Center. Right there at the library counter, we enjoyed a short, inpromptu lecture on pitcher plants and trigger plants complete with live plants to examine. Very exciting. Hope the Best Boss Ever is tolerant of plants taking over the library for just a little.
After we closed the library down, Paul and I took a trip to the OEC. We stopped by my house to pick up the camera on the way. Paul graciously explained pitcher plants and trigger plants to Middle Monkey. He also advised my son not to put his finger in the pitcher plant traps because of a possible nasty reaction to a chemical they secrete. (I have repeated "Do not put your finger in the pitcher plants' traps" about 400 times since the plants came home. Somebody help me, seriously).
At the OEC we examined the bog garden and took a tour of the rest of the plots. He was very complimentary and gave me great advise on how to grow the pitcher plants. Now this guy knows his stuff. I hope I can pull all the information he passed on back out of my brain when the time comes to use it. If not, I am afraid I will become his special needs client.
After leaving the OEC, we then had a nice lunch and a lively conversation at the Cotton Gin Restaurant. I wanted to buy all the plants he brought, but I had a $100 budget for plants this time around. I am asking for more next time. Paul at the bog garden at our KCMG Outdoor Education Center. Very near to where the pitcher plants will call home.
I've got to run now and get a few things together for our Earth Hour event. What did you do or not do during Earth Hour?
Ps: The cat thinks the pitcher plants are candy and has been licking them. Durn, now I have to wait and see if she has some sort of reaction.
We had a warm wet stormy day. At about 6:00 in the evening the wind picked up and blew in some cold cold weather. I truly believed it was too late in the season for a freeze. Silly me. The weatherman says we will have snow flurries. So we do the move the plant dance one more time.
The lemon trees, ficus, and cleradendron are back in the kitchen.
Pepper and tomato sets are back inside as well.
Trixie asks, "Why do you keep bringing these in and out of the house? Are you just crazy? Never mind, I answered my own question."
I went outside in the cold cold dark and took this picture of the pots covering my tomato transplants because I want this blog to be more ridiculous more interesting.
So, even though I am really tired, I am willing to do this actual gardening post on sideways tomatoes. We are advised to plant tomatoes deep even remove a few of the lower leaves in order to plant them deeper. Tomatoes will send out roots along the stem. These extended root systems allow tomatoes to grow more vigorously and, hopefully, more fruitfully. This requires a really deep hole. To avoid the deep hole digging, it is often suggested to plant tomatoes on their side, but this could lead to breaking the little transplants. Another solution is to tip the plants on their sides the day before they are planted.
After 24 hours on their side, they reach for the sun and can be planted sideways with the stem below the soil with limited chances of breaking.
Two more innocent cabbages lost their lives to serial vegetable killer, Aunt Debbi. The butcher's profile shows that she strikes every year in early spring, but may kill again mid summer. This slaughter appears especially heinous as Aunt Debbi raised the cabbages from seedlings, apparently doting on the things.
Cole Slaw 1 cabbage shredded 2 carrots chopped fine Juice of one lemon 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon celery seed Pinch of salt
Sauerkraut 1 cabbage shredded 1 tablespoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds toasted Filtered water to cover Place all ingredients in a plastic bowl. Add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage. Place a clean plate over the cabbage and weight down with a jar of water. Cover with a towel. Press on the plate every day to remove the bubbles. When the kraut stops bubbling, it is done.
I left the garden looking like this with all the tools scattered and the work incomplete. We began working on the deck and garden at 8:00 this morning and quit at 5:30. There was still enough light but.... This is what made me finally stop. A blister turned into a wound. OWIE. This is a better looking view. Ignore the weeds. They are a figment of your imagination. There are no weeds here. I bet my back is going to be killing me in the morning. Maybe I need some of that muscle lineament stuff. I am so tired that I have lost the will to change the channel. Stuck watching a stupid infomercial.
We have a spring break tradition and it is a giant bash. Well, not really, but we thinks it is more fun than a spring break kegger. No, we don't do belly shots of tequila. We go to the Dallas Farmers Market. First order of business is a Mexican breakfast at a restaurant I cannot remember the name of. Then vegetable and egg shopping in the barns. Finally, we hit the two large nurseries and buy plants. I finally scored the green zebra tomato. Now my 2009 tomato collection is complete. Above are a some pictures of the flowers they had for sale today. Isn't it beautiful?
I dedicate my March Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post to my striped mud boots, which made the picture taking possible. We are still wet and muddy as well as grey and cold, but a lot of things have started blooming. The pictures in the collage starting at the top left and going clockwise: My fancy mud boots, Joseph Schwartz rose, Shasta daisy, grape hyacinth, Maggie rose, yellow snap dragon, Abraham Darby (a David Austin rose), Mutabalis rose, and the volunteer red bud tree.
Isn't this a pretty sight? A newly prepared bed just waiting for sweet potatoes slips. Soon, very soon. Well lookie there, my photography skills just improved big time. There is this button on my camera that has a picture of a flower on it. Pushed the button, and the thing focused on the bloom. Yes, it has been there the whole time. Durr.
I was wondering why my peach tree was blooming all funky. There were blown blooms, mature blooms, and buds all over the tree. What's up with that. Well we have a sucker. The root stock sent out a shoot and it bloomed earlier than the rest of the tree. I need to get out there and cut it off.