Saturday, February 28, 2009

Real Veggie Deal.

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I found a real treasure. I cannot post about the location until Monday. The veggies in the picture cost $5. My coworker, Kathy, and I bought ten dollars worth of cilantro, bok choy, borccoli rhaab, celery weed, Korean squash, tomatoes, and green onions. We then split the it up between us. This is my share. I actually only paid $2 because she refused to take more money and wanted to share what she bought. These veggies are locally grown and support a great cause. Check back on Monday to read all about it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Baby Pictures


Here are a few pictures of our new additions.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

What is Going on With the Weather

It is got into the 80's yesterday and is doing the same today. Last night, we saw Trixie, our calico, waiting on the deck rail to get into the house. She was sitting under the porch light and something was bugging her. When my husband went to let her in he saw a hummingbird dive bombing her head. Why do we have a hummingbird here in February? Also, we already have May flies. What's up with that?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ants in the Worm Bin

I am risking the wrath of I know it is you, Ed a commenter by posting this, but it worked and no worms were harmed. A while back fire ants had set up a colony in my compost bin. I used diatomaceous earth to kill many of them. The rest moved. This weekend I discovered they had moved into my worm bin. I dusted the top with DE, but was afraid to disturb the bin contents too much. I have read that fire ants hate molasses and cinnamon and have tried both with limited success in evicting fire ants. This time I used both. A cheap bottle of cinnamon from the dollar store and a bottle of molasses were applied to the bin and watered in well. I am happy to report that the ants moved on. While, I know they will show up someplace else, I am happy they are gone from the compost pile and worm bin. I can use more direct methods outside of the bins. I want to harm as few the good bugs as possible. After the molasses and cinnamon, the worms looked particularly fat, active and healthy.

Worm poo is very good poo. I put rabbit poo in the worm bin along with kitchen scrap and the resulting castings are wonderful for plants. A tea made from these castings is a great foliar feed as well.

To read more about poo and guano check out these posts from Weed Wackin Wenches and Poor Richard's Almanac.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thin Mints or Samoas?

It is that time of year again. Just when we have made it through the holidays and it looks like winter will be over. Right about the time it seems possible to lose a little weight, the Girl Scouts arrive with their crack. Every year for Valentine's I get a box of chocolates or two. Then a couple of weeks later, I get a box of Thin Mints or two. These are gifts from Manly Man and I love him. Now, I don't eat all of the candy or cookies at one time. In fact, I eat about one piece of candy or one cookie a day. Here is the problem, I do not want to share my cookies or my candy with anybody. To keep them all to myself, I hide the boxes all over the house. If something happens to me y'all are going to have to come over here and find it all.

Thin Mints or Samoas?

Sunday, February 22, 2009



If you didn't believe that my kids actually eat vegetables, here is the proof. Middle Monkey is eating a baked acorn squash with nothing on it but a little bit of butter. Yes, I am bragging.


Now look, some monkey or another has put a plastic bug on my Valentine's flowers. Naughty or nice?
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Has anyone ever grown potatoes in bags? If so, did it work?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chimichurri Sauce

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As I mentioned yesterday,we have a lot of parsley. There are four large plants and several smaller sets. If it were geographically possible, I would share some with all of you. At this point I am running the risk of spoiling several relationships because of excess parsley offerings. So I needed a recipe that uses lots of parsley. I found chimichurri.

Chimichurri is an Argentinian recipe for a sauce that is a condiment or marinade. There are many different recipes but the basics are parsley, olive oil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and something acidic.

Here is my version #1
1 cup parsley loosely packed
1/4 cup dried cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
I left out the onion
Pinch of salt
Dash of my After Burner sauce (you can use Tabasco)
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon paprika

Process everything in a food processor until smooth.

This stuff had the prettiest color and tasted fresh and smokey at the same time. Manly Man had smoked some ribs for dinner. I like a little acidic flavor with beef and pork, but most steak sauces are really salty. This was a nice compliment to the rib meat in place of a vinegary barbecue or steak sauce. I also think it would be good on grilled veggies and as a marinade for grilled fish. If you have too much parsley this is a good option.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pretty Day Pictures and a Meme

It was a beautiful day today. I spent the afternoon in the garden. Here are a few pictures of what is going on.

Cabbages and a crystal ball.

Broccoli and a Calico

The first head of cabbage which will be kraut in a week.

Parsley, I have about four large parsley plants. Anyone want to come help me bale it?
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James and Shala posted a meme yesterday and I thought I would play along.

Describe your gardening style.

Well does what a mess count as a style?

What was the last plant you bought?

Curly Whirly Juncus.

What were the last seeds you bought?

Heirloom tomatoes, but I have to add that I received some really cool heirloom seeds from Monica including Avivvi and Ladino di Panacchio. Thanks Monica.

When was the last time you picked dirt out from under your nail?

Well I need to do that right now.

Any plans for the garden this year?

Convert the whole thing over to raised beds. I am about a third done with this project.

What was your biggest mistake in gardening ever?

Giant rose bush in tiny space, using a broken thermometer in the compost pile, trying to grow a Brandy wine tomato plant year after year and never succeeding here because we get too hot (I never learn). I am sure there will be more.

Biggest success.

Raising three boys who love veggies.

If you could do anything right now regarding gardening what would it be.

Control the weather. Wait that is the gardening super power I want.

Thanks Double Danger for hosting this meme.

And if that were not enough. James asked me a few questions a little bit ago and tonight he posted my response with a few other garden bloggers. I feel so Auntly. Anyway, go check out the responses of "What Does Gardening Mean to You" over at Double Danger.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Okay, I played with my feed again. This is a test to see if it will show up anywhere. If it works on our family blog, I will change blotanical again. Wish me luck. I am horrible at this. Thanks to everyone who drops and checks for my missing posts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hey, Who Ate That Last Hunk of Bread

I made wheat bread yesterday. There was a little bit of it left tonight after dinner. Everyone went to bed, and that bread heal was mine. All I heard was a door squeak. I thought a monkey needed a drink. NOOOOOO....that monkey crept out of bed and stole my bread. GRRRRRR.

Well, here is what they don't know. A few weeks ago I read a snippet of something that said you could make fresh bread every day in just five minutes. To tell the truth, I just read the snippet and didn't actually go find the book or anything. I think, I can do this, just refrigerate some left over bread dough and bake it tomorrow. Well, I saved the bread dough and it morphed into something very large and prickly in the fridge. I pulled off a hunk of it, shaped it into a loaf, and baked it. smells wonderful.

I am going to start leaving notes tomorrow. The following will be my first note.

To whoever (whom, can't remember the rule) ate the last piece of bread,

You cannot have any of this loaf.

With Love and Irritation,


Do you think it will work?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beef Noodle Soup


It was cold and drizzly here today. It was a perfect day for soup and crusty bread. I busted out my brand new, bright shiny crock pot and made a batch of beef noodle soup. The crock pot was a Christmas present from Mamala. Thanks Mamala. To go with the soup, I made sour dough wheat bread. Mmmmm...comfort food.
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Here is a picture of Tisha watching me sew on my hand cranked sewing machine. This was taken just before she attacked the thread feed.

Beef Noodle Soup
1 pound beef tips
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped thyme
1/4 cup chopped rosemary
6 cups of water
3 Beef bouillon cubes (The good stuff is in the Mexican food section)
Ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces wide egg noodles

This is an all day recipe so start early. The house is going to smell wonderful. Set the crock pot on low. Place the beef tips in the crock pot with water simmer day. About two hours before dinner time, put all the other ingredients but the noodles in with the beef tips. Add more water if needed. Twenty minutes before serving, raise the temperature of the crock pot to high. Ten minutes before serving add the noodles.

The bread was made with whole wheat, essential wheat glutton, one egg, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon melted butter and enough natural sour dough starter to make a soft dough. I only kneaded this batch one time. The top split, but it looked like I did it on purpose. Sorry, I don't measure anymore.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Which one is this?


I tried really hard to take an in focus picture, but failed again. This is a little bitty tiny daffodil. I tried to find something on the internet about it, but just come up with other little daffodils slightly larger than this one. Anyone know what it it?
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I started the late winter/early spring weeding and clean up last week. I weeded, fed, mulched, and watered the beds where the the lettuce, carrots, broccoli rhaab, Swiss chard, spinach, leeks, collard greens, and onions are growing. Four beds total. In one bed there is spinach, broccoli rhaab, and one pitiful little Swiss chard. That little chard has been just sitting there looking like a seedling for weeks and weeks. The clean up feeding and mulching was eight days ago. The little Swiss chard is about four times as big as it was last week. Amazing. The collards are also looking much better.

Today, I did the same thing to the garlic bed. The pictures above show the oak leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and endive that volunteered in between the garlic. There are also little grape hyacinths growing in there as well. The weeds are gone, but these volunteers get to stay.

It will only be six weeks before I start planting tomato plants. Doesn't seem possible.

Now I am going back out to weed the cabbages.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

GBBD Febuary 2009

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Today is garden bloggers bloom day over at May Dreams Garden hosted by Carol. I imagined that many post will be about daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs. Mine will be more of the same. The collage shows the daffodils I have blooming right now. They include, jonquil, Earlicher, Minnow, and another large daffodil, which I cannot remember the name of. This year I am keeping a notebook where I will keep track of what is going on in my garden. Hopefully, I will not have large gaps in my garden memory in the future. If anyone can identify the large daffodil in the top center photo of the collage, please let me know what it is. Also in the collage is a picture of my Valentine's bouquet from Manly Man as well as the seed head from my cardoon plant.

Hop on over to Carol's Blog and check out what other bloggers have blooming now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Easy Photo Meme

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Okay this was painless. VP over at Veg Plotting passed on this photo meme. Look in your fourth computer photo file and post the fourth photo in it.

Here are the Monkeys a while back with a baby cousin who is pretty big now. Teenage Monkey still looks like a boy instead of a man child. The other two have changed a lot two. Everyone is taller and more angular.

VP opened this up to everyone who needs a little winter fun and I will do the same.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Visit to Dallas Farmers' Market

I had an appointment downtown today. I stopped off after at the farmers' market in Dallas. Two sheds were open. One had a big banner declaring "Buy Local" Well, I don't know where they got those locally grown cherries, but, hey, nice try. The produce did look very good and the prices were much much better than at the grocery store. Things were about half the cost or better. I did notice that I have much of what they are selling now right in my own back yard. I bought lemons, limes, blue berries (yes from texas), some nice looking onions, two nicely ripened avacadoes, and cherries. Yes, yes, I bought the cherries.

We are trying to develope a smaller farmers' market in Kaufman. Hopefully, next year, I will truly be buying locally.

Where do you buy your fruits and veggies?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Early Sweetheart


He did it again. Look what my yummy hubby did for me. He has to work the next two days so he brought me Valentine's Day early. Those are the best chocolates ever. The flowers are just beautiful.

Happy early Valentine's Day to all of you.
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Migration Misery

I am so confused. I know I am supposed to migrate my feed from feedburner to google or something like that, but when I go to the tutorial I cannot find the place to sign on and make the changes. All I can find is starting a new feedburner feed. Then I go to try to just sign in on feedburner, and they say I don't have any feeds with them. Maybe I don't. Who knows? The confusion is probably from working a full day of library and being a little (or a lot) brain dead. Everyone seems be commenting on how easy it was. I am sure it is just me. If anyone feels sorry for me and can turn me in the right direction, it would be appreciated. Otherwise, I will muddle through on my own in over the next few days:(

Update, I did something, but not sure what. It looks the same to me on the feed. Don't have a clue if this is different and I should copy it over to blotanical or not. I hate feed issues. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Stuff From My Day

I found out today that a local federal prison was a WWII detainment camp for female alien enemies. It must have sucked to be a German or Japanese American during those years. Learning a lot of local history while working at the library.

The tomato seedlings appear to like the storage container greenhouse. They were all standing straight and had grown a lot during the day. I love how fast these little guys shoot up when they like where they live. During the next week or so, it will be getting a little bit too cold at night for them. I will be bringing them inside after dark. It is so easy to move around.

The storms last night did no damage at all around here. We got very lucky. The news was full of stories about families who had their roofs blown off their homes. It was nice to read other local bloggers/friends in posts and comments today and know everyone is okay.

Lost was a little hard to watch tonight. That broken leg was gnarly . I need to go to the Lost unraveled website and try to figure some stuff out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Instant Greenhouse

My tomato babies are about a week old. I keep them inside on top of the dryer until they germinate, then they need to go outside. Every time I have tried to keep them in a bright window they stretched and did not do well. I have a big greenhouse, but it is a few miles away and I just don't feel like going there everyday to take care of seedlings. What I needed was a little mini greenhouse. I did an Internet search and found mini greenhouses using soda bottles, a lot of little hoop houses, and something made out of plastic and cardboard. Then I looked to might right. There were my plastic containers for my fabric. The light came on. I went to the dollar store and bought an inexpensive opaque container.


Put the lid down and put the seed trays on it.
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Put the bottom on as the top and lock in place. I put a rock on top of it just in case we have high winds. On very warm days, I will take the bottom-top off and let them into natural light. If it threatens to freeze, I will bring the whole thing inside. This should keep my tomatoes from getting too leggy and acclimate them to the temperatures outside.

I would love to hear any gardening tricks you have up your sleeve:)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Flag At Sundown


I still take horrible pictures, but the light was so pretty on the flag at work late this afternoon, I just had to try again.
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Have a Nice Day



Here are my early blooming daffodils. Their bright happy faces just make me smile.

Have a nice day.
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Interesting Introduction

We have had a very busy weekend. Yesterday we spent the afternoon with our good friends out in the country. We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, visited and listened to the oldest country music the satellite radio would pick up. The kids had a blast fishing, paddling around in a canoe, shooting at tin cans and just getting dirty. Because of the real Bar-B-Que, I was not able to find the time or brain space to to participate in VP's dinner party. I did manage to meet someone very interesting at our Bar-B-Que. As a child, she grew up on the Kaufman County Poor Farm . Her grandfather was the County Commissioner in charge of the farm in the 1940's. She had many memories to share and believes she has a box of old pictures and documents.

Today, I spent the whole afternoon in the garden. It is a lot neater and the collection half of the composting system is almost completely full. The ants are in serious decline:)

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Couple of Awards and a Bunch of Great Bloggers

Ages ago Cinj did this for me.

Isn't she sweet. It took me forever to get to it. Now I have to admit five things I am addicted to.

1. Triscuits.
2. Gardening.
3. Blogging.
4. Reading Blogs.
5. My job.

I decided to use my comments to pick those to pass the award onto. There are so many blogs I love, but the commenting back and forth between us is how we become friends.

Racquel of Perennial Garden Lover
Foxymoron of This Country Life
and VP of Veg Plotting.

Then Tink did it again.

I am supposed to list six things that make me happy.

1. Monkeys.
2. Flowers.
3. Manly Man.
4. Critters.
5. Triscuits.
6. Gardening friends in normal life and bloggy land.

I pass this on to these blogs. Again, they were pulled from the comments.
Cinj, Back atcha girl
Anna Flowergardengirl
Linda of Meadow View Thymes
Brenda, who won't put it up, but it is the thought that counts.
Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage
Two Humans Three Dogs and a Cat
Thanks again to Cinj and Tink

Love all of your blogs and plenty more. Thanks for the comments and conversations. Please don't play if you don't want to. It is all for fun after all.

Aunt Debbi is a Homicidal Maniac

I just discovered a great way to vent my frustrations without going to jail - murdering fire ants. Nobody cares if you kill fire ants and like it. The ant colony in the compost pile was much larger than I expected. It spread all the way through the pile and into a few large containers of soil waiting for spring and new plants. A quick trip to the feed store and I have the stuff to annihilate the ants. Don't worry, I am staying organic. There will be no harmful chemicals. Nope, I bought diatomaceous earth (DE). I went outside and disturbed the pile. When the ants came out ready to kick my sorry butt, I spread DE all over them and watched them die. BWAHAHAHA. I feel so much better.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've Got Nothin

I've got nothin garden blogging wise.

I do have the following

Brain overload
Aching muscles
Tears for a baby
Frustration over Baby Monkey's school
A fence jumping German shepherd
About 100 pounds of laundry
A sink full of dishes to wash
Ants inside and in the compost pile
A Manx cat with a bad attitude
A teenager recovering from the flu
The rest of us avoiding the plague infected Teenage Monkey (someone here in north Texas died from this)
An email box full of stuff I really need to take care of
A MIA state conference delegate alternate or alternate delegate, whatever.

I also have confidence this will all work itself out.

I am so going to garden tomorrow. The rest of this crap can just bite me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another Great Lost Episode

Yeah, Jin is alive. Will he be time traveling with everyone else or will he be stuck in time with Danielle? Is Michael alive too? I thought Ben was trying to use Erin to get Kate to go back to the island - Dirty Rat. What is up with the people trying to shoot Sayid with tranquilizer darts? Any ideas how Locke will get off the island? Jack, beard or no beard?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What a Mess

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Today was the day to finish planting potatoes and I do intend to finish it before dark. The potato row needs to be amended with compost. No problem, we compost. Just need to turn the pile and harvest some black gold. Number one thing you do not want to do on a beautiful day is discover fire ants in your compost pile. This big finishing pile is completely infested. So I spent about thirty minutes pissing off fire ants. They don't like to be disturbed. For the next few days or as long as it takes, I have got to disturb this compost pile until they move on. With my luck, they will probably move on to the collection pile.

The little water garden was looking kind of funny. On closer inspection some Monkey or another had decided to feed the fish during the winter time. Second thing you do not was to do on a glorious winter day, find that the container water garden must have the water changed out. Bust out the fish tank syphon and begin cleaning out the pond. The water at the bottom of that thing was YYUUCCKY. The garden got a healthy dose of fish water fertilizer. I think I need to do this about once a week to keep the set up a little cleaner. The garden will get fertilized and the fish will have a cleaner home.

Now back out there to dig in the worm bin and try to find uninfested (I know not a word, but I like it) worm castings/compost for the potato row.

The picture above is me looking up through the peach tree. Notice the mistletoe in the hackberry tree. We lose about one of these trees a year. I am going to replace them with better trees. Any new hackberries that come up are disposed of without any regrets.

Hope your day was pretty and not infested.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Daffodils

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The weather is beautiful. It was the perfect day to start my first row of potatoes. Potatoes don't grow very well for me. Usually, I plant them too late and then there is the soil acidity problem. This time, I planted on time and used cider vinegar and rain water to help lower the soils pH. The variety is Yukon Gold. Only the small seed potatoes went into the ground today. The larger individuals were cut in half and will be planted after they have time to scar over. They will probably be planted Tuesday.

Today was tomato starting day. They will germinate on the dryer and then I will either make a little temporary cold frame or take them to the greenhouse. The old reliable varieties started were Early Girl, Better Boy, and San Marzano. Thanks to Monica at Faire Garden Musings, I am trying two new to me heirloom varieties for the first time. These are Ladino di Panacchio and Avivvi. She describe Ladino di Panacchio as ribberd red fruiit and very productive. Avivvi was described as red fruit with yellow stripes and high yielding. Can't wait to see how they do here in Texas. I still need to acquire the seeds for green zebra and yellow pear. The tomato production last summer was so pitiful that there were no seeds to save from the heirlooms.

The daffodils are definitely on their way to full bloom. The little Minnows are putting on a show. I don't know what the other larger daffodil pictured in the collage is. Anybody have a guess?

If you take a look at the collage, my cardoon is coming back and the Mexican Bird of Paradise tree is putting out leaves. Looks like spring is coming early. We will have to see what the ground hog has to say about it tomorrow. If he sees his shadow, this is the shortest and warmest winter I can ever remember.