Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow, Snow,and More Snow!

Garden is buried in feet of snow. It is hard to believe that life will ever fill its' white baron landscape.

In the spring, long dormant seeds will spout again and plants will rise from once frozen soil. The cycle will begin again.

Until then, all is white and I have nothing to write about.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Marriage Announcement

Marriage Announcement

Doesn't relate to anything, but I love my hubby.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Purple Quiche!

This is just your basic quiche recipe with an extra special twist. It was made with some beautiful, royal purple cauliflower. The results were eye catching and delicious.

I tried to grow purple cauliflower this year, but I planted it too late. It takes much longer that its white and orange counterparts to develop. Still, I wanted to see how the color held up to being baked, so I picked up one at the local farmers market for $3.

I followed a pretty basic recipe.

Fill pie shell with veggies:

Mix eggs, half and half, fresh ground pepper, spices.
Pour mixture over veggies, top with cheese and bake. Then cut and eat. Bon Appetite.

This would be great addition to a MN Vikings football party. However, I think the best use for this is to get kids excited about eating there veggies. Never underestimate the power of novelty.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Don't Know What Were Doing

Weeds, Weeds and More Weeds!!!

Honestly, I didn't know what were plants and what were weeds until it was much too late. Here is my pile of weeds from my garden and I'm not where near done. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING! Despair. And I'm pretty sure I accidentally weeded some of my phlox.

Last year, we had all new soil. Only the morning glories were able to sneak there way through the layer of soil we added to fill in the hole where a garage once stood. This year is a whole 'nother story. Suggestions? I just cannot keep up with all this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We thought about canning last year when we got an abundance of tomatoes at the end of summer. Instead, we made tomato sauces and froze them. However, we were left with an overstuffed freezer.

This year we thought of canning again, but it has been so warm (and we have no AC) that we didn't want to add too the heat of the house. However, the past couple of days the heat has been manageable...and my hubby has become a canning machine!

I cannot take any of the credit. He's in the kitchen canning right now. With help from a cookbook (recent gift from my mother-in-law) In the past three days he has canned:
  • Pickles (cucumbers)
  • Beets
  • Beets and potatoes
  • Beans (green and waxed)
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
I hope that this is a way to bring some of the flavors of local and garden grown food into the long Minnesota winter months.

We are looking for ideas and recipes. Please share!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everyone Deserves Fresh Produce

During the year, so many Minnesotan families find themselves unable to meet all their expenses. They may need to go to a food shelf to meet their dietary needs. Sometimes the selection of food can be limited to shelf stable products of modest dietary needs

This past weekend, John and I got to do good while spending time at our favorite place. Near the end of the St. Paul Farmer's Market, we joined a small team of volunteers to collect donated produce and items from the vendors for a local food shelf. We had a blast. People were very generous, giving many of their expert products. We collected almost 1,000 pounds of healthy produce. We didn't collect more, only because our van was full. Then we carted the items over to the Neighborhood House food shelf.

The Neighborhood House in St. Paul does amazing work serving the community. Among its many services are its food shelf. It operates the largest single site food shelf in Ramsey County. In 2009, the Neighborhood House Food Shelf served over 38,000 people about half of them children and distributed over 620,000 pounds of food.

I am so proud that this food shelf will be providing its patrons with lots of fresh produce options and organic products donated by the generous farmer's market vendors! I hope this will allow those who have come across hard times provide healthy food for their families and keep dignity in their hears.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Tomato Has Arrived!

Our first tomato is ready to be picked! How exciting! Looking forward to more delicious flavorful tomatoes.

For those of you keep track, this tomato is not from one to the giant tomato plants we have growing in the ground. Our first tomato arrived from an upside down plant growing out of an old milk carton.


I just cannot get over how unbelievable these lilies are! The were the last of my lilies to bloom and well worth the wait! Unfortunately, most of my other lilies are already fading.

The honestly don't look real. The have a reaching, cone like shape with big showy blooms. They look like the flowers Dorothy encounters when she enters Munchkin Land. They have an unbelievably beautiful fragrance that fills the air in our entire backyard. LOVE THEM and thought I'd gloat about them.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ground Cover

We moved into out beautiful home in October. Our house has a hill in front of it that isn't ideal for growing grass. It is a pain to mow (which hubby has to do as I am allergic to grass) and John was noticing that were were getting run-off on the sidewalk after it rained.

Hubby talked to one of the master gardeners at the farmer's market and came up with a plan. We would replace the grass on the hill with ground cover. This started a slow experiment for us that has yet to be even half way completed. Ground cover plants aren't cheap and they need time to establish themselves and spread. However, after seeing how difficult it was to build a rough retaining wall in the back of our house, I have given up on dreams of a 2-set retaining wall in the front of the house (with a rose garden on the first plateau) and am starting to embrase the grownd cover. This year we even decided to spead it out a bit after I took the pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that in the next 5 years we can transform the whole front hill of our house into hearty, drought resistant ground cover. Who knows if we will ever get there? I just know that this project has grown on me.

Front of our house. Grass on one half; ground cover on the other. Which side do you like best?

Here is what came up naturally this spring. It looks pretty space. However, the plants have spread out and we have expanded it and filled in a lot of the spaces since then:
Some close-ups of the different plants. I really think it is pretty to get a wide variety of plants and textures:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Upside Down Tomatoes?

Everyone has been talking about growing tomatoes upside down. I've heard claims of higher yields and disease free tomatoes. We didn't decide to give it a try for any of those reasons. We decided to give it a try because we had so many extra tomato plants from all the seeds we planted indoors early this Spring.

Here's what we did:
1. Collect containers. For us, they were pop containers and milk cartons that we would have otherwise put out with our recycling. I also tried using one growing bag pouch that had been used for flowers several years ago.

2. Cut the top off the container. This will be the top of the container. Poke holes into the side of the containers and string wire, string and/or ribbon through the holes so that you can hang the container.

3. Place tomato seedling in the bottom small hole of the container (usually the pouring spout).

4. You will need a material to place around the stem of the plant. This can be newspaper of a plastic bag. Pack the material around the stem so that the plant is anchored and will not slip through the hole until the root system has developed and it can hold it's own.

5. Hang in sunny spot, water often and watch it grow!

I do like the idea of these planters because it allows you to make effective use of garden space. Why should all plants be placed on the same two-dimensional plane? Will update to let you know how the tomato growing goes.

Admiring Blossoms

Showy sexual organs decorate my sanctuary,
they are unlike the mothers providing nourishment for their child,
which leads to awkward stares and averted eyes.

No, these sexual figments,
are encouraged and cultivated,
made to display their delicate and swollen labia for all to see.
Nature demands the attraction of pollinators and admirers alike.

How adored is this garden of ill-repute.
It contains lights, not just of red, but lavender, yellow, orange,
and, oh, what lushess green.
It is the symbol of renewal and new life.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flowers in Bloom

Scarlet lilies
in front of plumes of periwinkle.
Fuchsia roses,
petals delicate.
Bells the color of margarine,
or fresh turned butter,
creamy and smooth.

Morning and moon glories,
have begun their climb,
grabbing, pulling and wrapping themselves,
up anything and everything
integrating themselves into
arbor, tomato, even grass.

Each unique,
Makes me wonder,
How I survived winter without this,
natures artistry?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meat CSA

I got John the best Valentine's present ever: MEAT!

That's right, meat. The perfect gift for the man who has everything or nothing.

In the dead of winter, I realized there wasn't much for local produce to be had. We do live in Minnesota. However, I could go local with the meat I was consuming.

In an effort to use meat that was raised more humanly and locally, I purchased a 3 month half share in a meat CSA. The animals all graze freely in fields (grass fed beef). They are raised chemical and antibiotic free at a farm dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Our meat CSA is Sunshine Harvest Farm.

More importantly, however, the meat tastes really, really good! It is such a difference from the bargain priced meat I buy at the grocery store that I end out slathering in ketchup. This meat is very tasty.

Each month we have gotten a bag of premium cuts of beef, ground beef, a chicken and one dozen farm fresh brown eggs.

Yes, it does cost a bit more per pound, but with all that flavor we have found we don't need as much meat. Trust me, this meat tastes really good. We would rather eat less, but better quality. With a farm that we can visit, we also can feel a lot better about the treatment and lives the animals have lived before they end up on our plate and we know our money is going directly to support a local family owned farm. It is win-win!

After ordering, we showed up at a pick-up sight. As soon as we got out of the car, the farmer greeted us by name and gave us a personalized bag of meat. We personally opted out of port and were alright with processed meets. They make if very easy to customize your order to your preferences.

Here is our bag of delicious meat:

And here are the main attractions:
We were very impressed with the cuts of meat we got. The unbelievable steaks, brisket and spare ribs are definitely some of our favorites!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

This is Minnesota, so it won't be time to start growing for a bit, but the snow is melting and I am discovering some of the plants I planted last year green and growing already! There is a feeling of hope emerging after a long and gloomy winter.

My hubby and I just spent a small fortune on seeds from Johnny's Select Seeds (our new favorite catalog). We are hoping we can get a lot of plants started early on our sunny porch. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

To help us through to the growing season where we will be able to enjoy delicious garden and locally grown produce I got John a 3 month subscription to a meat CSA for Valentine's Day. Nothing says I love you like meat! The meat will come from a local farm that raises 100% Grass fed beef & lamb and pasture raised chicken and eggs. The farm believes in sustainable and chemical free agriculture. When our first batch of meat and eggs arrive from Sun Shine Harvest Farm we will be able to actually get a blog in or two using local ingredient once again.