We have had a TON of rain over the last week or so, making my new herbs and vegetables quite happy.
(I’ve been checking my toes, daily, to make sure they are not webbing!)
Apparently, our part of Texas is predicted to have an unusually wet April and May.
Not a bad thing, as we are still recovering from a drought.
(I’ll try to remember, fondly, the rain, come June, July and August…)
As you can see, above, the rain has compacted the dirt and allowed the, uh, numerous rocks to be revealed.
(We used some extra dirt we had out at the ranch (apparently rocky dirt), but made sure to amend it with plenty of mushroom compost.)
The plants don’t seem bothered by the little rocks, so I guess I’ll quit worrying about it.
(It’s just not as pretty as clean dirt.)
Above: purple pole beans–can’t remember their name!–watermelon (or cantaloupe, maybe), and bush beans.
(If I find that I have super, great success with any particular veggie, I’ll be sure to list the names and varieties in a later post.)
Both vegetables and herbs appear to be sprouting and growing well.
Oh, goodness, you have no idea how happy that makes my heart.
I am always so hopeful and excited at this stage of the game.
Over in the large garden plot, the corn and Kentucky Wonder pole beans are also beginning to stretch upward.
(I used the little orange flags to help me keep track of where I planted seeds–they’re a cheap and convenient way to warn me not to walk on the baby seeds and seedlings.)
I have watermelons, cantaloupe, squash, and some tomato plants in this big garden plot.
Oh, and if my watermelons produce as I hope they will, I will be able to provide the world with watermelons all summer long!
(I may have overdone it with the watermelons…once they start growing and spreading, I’ll take pictures…I’m scared they may take over our backyard and pasture…)
(We’ll be in trouble if the cows and Abner, our donkey, eat watermelons!)
Marigolds are supposed to be excellent companion plants for all veggies.
They’re heat tolerant, once established, which we need here in Texas.
Plus, they add color and attract pollinators.
Who knew having a garden could bring such joy?
It’s not too late to plant a few seeds in some dirt, y’all!
I promise you, you will not regret it.
This Spring, I decided to go a different route and try my hand at raised beds.
My sweet, handyman of a husband built these awesome beds and I am already loving them!
I like the rustic look of these beds…rusty tin recycled from the ranch, and rough-hewn cedar lumber.
I’m hoping, by having smaller, raised beds, I’ll have larger output of vegetables.
The plan is to use these beds for herbs and more compact vegetable plants, while using the original garden plot for corn, beans, squash and watermelons.
You know, the plants that like to wonder and spread out.
Okay…I do plan to put a couple green and purple pole beans in these boxes to climb on the trellis.
I love having a pretty trellis in the garden, even in raised beds.
(See our sweet pet cows and donkey?!)
(Have I told you ThrillCam doesn’t really like it when I call them our pets?)
I’m sort of bummed I didn’t ask ThrillCam to take some “how-to” pictures for me.
Pictures would have shown how he put a floor about 18′ down, in each box, so we didn’t have to fill the entire box with dirt and compost.
And, believe you-me, we shoveled in plenty of dirt and compost!
I can’t imagine having to completely fill each box.
(Okay…HE shoveled the majority of the dirt…”and I helped!”)
(I really did shovel some! I have the very sore shoulders to prove it!!)
(Does it count that I’m the one who will tend to the garden, though?)
Actually, I think we make for a good team!
I’ll be sure to give updates on what veggies and herbs I’ve planted and how they do.
Happy Spring, y’all!
Has it been nearly two years??
A lot has happened in those two years…mainly adjusting to country life is what has happened.
And, loving on and serving with our neighbors.
And, watching a ton of Baylor football (and basketball).
And, purchasing some cows.
And a donkey.
And, planting a garden (or two).
And, watching our oldest change colleges and majors…and join the wake boarding team.
And, cheering on our youngest in high school football…and soon, soccer.
I’ve missed occasionally writing and photographing the happenings around our family, so I’m hoping 2015 will be the year I get back in the habit…if you’ll have me back in your email box and on your FB newsfeed, that is.
Because we are wrapping up the last little bit of 2014 (say it ain’t so!!), I thought I’d throw out a couple of pictures of what I mentioned above. A lot of the pictures were taken with my iphone…”the best camera you own is the one you are presently carrying…”and I carried my phone WAY more than my “big boy” Canon camera. (That’s another habit I hope to change in 2015.)
More to come!
(I’ve missed you.)
Do you recall the zucchini growing in my garden?
Let me remind you…
I don’t think the picture does it justice.
Imagine a hand at the end of that thing and you’ve got my arm.
(Except my arm is not as smooth and it jiggles more.)
But, just imagine, okay?! (Not my jiggly arm…the zucchini with a hand…wait.)
I wasn’t real sure the zucchini would taste all that great once I actually tried to cook it. So, someone on Facebook suggested I use the big zucchini for bread.
So, I made muffins.
I’m a rebel like that.
“You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. So long, Dott.”
Name that movie.
Has nothing to do with zucchini.
I used an extremely easy recipe on AllRecipes.com.
I, of course, tweaked the recipe.
(We’ve already established my rebel-ness.)
For example, it called for 3 cups all-purpose flour, I used 1 cup all-purpose, the rest whole wheat flour.
The recipe called for 1 cup vegetable oil.
I used 3/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. (Some people suggested, in the reviews of the recipe, to use a portion of apple sauce to cut down on the oil, but I didn’t have any on hand. So, I tried using a healthier oil.)
I sifted together all the dry ingredients, except the sugar. Then, I added the sugar into the oil, eggs and vanilla (above) and beat them until creamy.
Next, I poured the dry ingredients into the wet and mixed those thoroughly.
(I didn’t take every single step pictures. I’m too messy, I usually forget, and don’t like to get my camera all sticky. Plus, the lighting in my kitchen is icky.)
Finally, I dumped 2 cups of grated zucchini and 1 cup chopped walnuts into the bowl and mixed it up.
Notice that cute spatula/scraper/thingy I have!
See it below?
It’s shaped just like a baseball bat!!!
(My sweet friend Julie R. gave it to me. We’ve only been friends for a short while, but she already knows me well!)
I baked the muffins with the convection oven for about 15-20 minutes or so at 325 degrees. But, the recipe calls for a much longer baking time of 40-60 minutes for a loaf or two of bread.
(Loaf. What an odd word. Say it a couple times real fast and it starts sounding weird… loafloafloafloafloaf… See what I mean?)
Boy, am I happy I made these into muffins, though! Bread would have been super, too.
What I like about this recipe is that it is not too terribly sweet. But, will certainly scratch that itch, if you’re hankering for a little sweet something.
(Oh! And, if you chop the walnuts small enough your non nut-eaters will never know they’re in there.)
I like them in there. They add a certain…um… nuttiness to the recipe.
ThrillCam gave his seal of approval–he confirmed that I put zucchini in them, because he said you couldn’t taste it at all.
A sorta sweet, sorta healthy muffin that even your kids (and your hubby) will like…you could re-name them if need to.
Take out the zuchhini part and just call them Magnificent Morning Muffins!
After they’ve scarfed down 3 or 4, then you can tell them there are veggies inside! (Or, just wait a couple years until they can handle the truth.)
By the way, you can freeze the bread/muffins for a quick breakfast or snack.
You really should give these a try, especially this summer, while the fresh zucchini are plentiful!
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour (or all 3 C. can be all-purpose flour)
1 t. salt (I used Morton’s LiteSalt)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
3 t. ground cinnamon
1 C. vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
2 1/4 C. sugar (I think I used much less than that)
3 t. vanilla extract
2 C. zucchini, grated
1 C. walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325*
2. Spray with non-stick spray, or grease and flour muffin tins or two 8×4-inch pans.
3. Sift together flour(s), salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
4. Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
5. Gently fold in the zucchini and walnuts.
6. Pour or scoop batter into prepared pans.
7. Bake loaf pans for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. (Or, if making muffins, in regular oven, bake for about 20-30 minutes.) (Or, if making muffins in a convection oven, bake for about 15-20 minutes.)
Why does my corn look like this?? Where did I go wrong?
Each piece I pulled and shucked, had rotten spots at the top, where the silks come out. And, as I pulled off the husks and removed the silks, it was obvious not all the kernels developed.
And, here I thought my corn was going to be my winner this year…
What caused this on my beautiful tomato? A bug, or the heat?
What say you, oh wise and experienced gardeners?
I’m not done yet.
I mean, if I’m going to ask for help, I’m going to put it all out there.
I’m being transparent, folks.
My gardening pride will not hold me back.
I am willing to learn!!
Teach me, Gardening Gurus!
Poor little watermelon…
OR, do you think water sat on it too long?
Help, wise ones!
(Yes, I promise I took that rock out.)
One more request:
Why am I not getting any green beans?
I see tons of sprouts/buds of green beans, but when I look for fully grown beans, there are none to be found. I think in all this time, I’ve seen THREE whole beans.
Is this my culprit?
(Do you know how hard it was to snag a shot of this little bugger? He would quickly scoot around the stick every time I’d get a good view of him…those stinking big bug eyes…I just know he’s guilty of something…)
There you have it.
Bring it on, give it to me, be honest.
Practice some tough gardening love on me.
I can take it.
Right now, I’m seeing green!!
And, new growth!
And, right now, I see lots and lots of potential!!
While I claim the garden as my own, I have to give a shout-out to my main squeeze, ThrillCam.
Right now, he has supported my crazy idea to plant a rather large (for us, anyway) garden in our backyard.
(Unfortunately, I may not have chosen the very best location, as it took a TRACTOR to drill holes for the fence posts!)
Sing with me, “SOLID! SOLID AS A ROCK!…”
Even my youngest punk got in on the action:
It was short-lived, but I give him an A+ for effort!
(I’d never seen such a tool before! Apparently you slam it down to chisel the rock. I know this because I watched and observed. I’m good at that, watching and observing.)
ThrillCam even hauled over some hay bales for my homemade compost heap. (The hay is supposed to slowly break down along with the veggies and dirt to make yummy compost…eventually…next year.)
Right now, the weather is fantastic and it’s a pleasure to get out there and pull weeds, to get dirty.
Right now, the plants are happy and healthy, not withered and shriveling from the horrid Texas heat.
Right now, I look quite successful in my gardening adventures!
I’ll keep you posted.
I’m very excited! I’ve started my garden!!
I actually got a few plants and seeds into the dirt!
The seeds have yet to do anything above ground.
I’m anxiously awaiting their little baby sprouts.
But, I did plant a few transplants, like tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and zucchini. And, I’ve been watching them closely, to see if they like my dirt/compost mix.
Yep. That’s a tomato plant.
Yep. It has yellowed leaves.
Look at the one in the background; it ALREADY looks dead!! I may have already over-watered them on the very first day they were placed in the ground!!
(Actually, I didn’t over-water the first day. Yes, I watered them, but two days later it rained…a lot.)
Honestly, I think any plant I purchase should each come with a little plant creed attached to them, a declaration, a battle cry:
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor the cursed touch of Elizabeth stays these branches and leaves from swift completion of their appointed fruit & vegetable production.”
Why? (please read the following with feeling…angst…emotion; maybe even beat your chest and rip your sackcloth)
Why, I ask you?
Why, I ask you, was I born with such a strong desire to plant and grow things, and yet, lacking in the much-needed abilities to do so??
Well, I’m just crossing my fingers that all the seeds and little transplants will be strong and persevere.
May they rise above my gardening ineptitude and shortcomings.
Wish the little fledglings luck.
They need it.