Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stitching, Cook-up and Award

Something showed up in my mailbox from my friend Dzintra over in Australia! I've never done any kind of quilting before, but she sent just the right thing for my introduction to it! I'm excited to try these projects. We'll see how I do ... I hope I do it justice! (:

Dzintra and I have also had a cook-up ... as noted on both of our blogs... and its been great fun!

But beyond that, she has passed on an award to me!
I've never been given an award before

Here it is

The Zombie Chicken Award for my cooking pot!
Thank you Dzintra! I too am happy to join the Zombie chicks
in the blog barnyard!

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least five other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by not choosing wisely or not choosing at all..."

Thank You Dzintra for this grand Award!
I will pass it on.

In the meantime, Visit her blog or risk the wrath!


What a great week so far

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To: Mr. J. Peterman

Waaaayyyy back in the 1990's I found Mr. J. Peterman's Owner's Manual. I was SMITTEN... to say the least. I couldn't wait for each new issue to come in the mail. The first thing that reeled me in were the drawings of the clothing he offered. Incredible. Then upon opening the manual, his stories about each item of clothing. I was hooked. These little mini stories took me on exotic travels through time and space in such a way that the word "intrigue" doesn't do them justice. They were filled with the romance and adventure of by-gone eras... (I really do often feel I was born in the wrong one).

Anyway, you get the picture? I loved those stories. I was a full-time working woman in an office environment (now I work from home and don't really have to dress up... kinda miss that... sorta... in a way...), so having "clothes" was important. I indulged myself now and then, and bought a number of items (not lots of them... $$$). These clothes were sooooo comfortable, fit to a "t", were oh so unique, so wonderful. I still have those pieces of clothing that I bought for work, or out for an evening with hubby or friends. They are incredibly well made, and I must say "timeless" in design. I still wear them and I'll not let them go... at least not until my body changes enough where they don't fit. But even then, I'll probably keep them. Remember how our grandmothers put fine clothing in special trunks? Well these are like precious jewels to me, so who knows... maybe I'll pack them away for a later day when my grand-daughter will be digging through her grandma's cedar chest and finds my treasures. (:

J. Peterman lost his company in 1999. You can read the story here... and I mourned the loss!!! But then he came back, and today J Peterman's Owner's Manual is back. You can browse and read online... or send for a free paper copy... which is what I do.

I have a message for John Peterman ... ( Silly, I know) Mr. Peterman, if by some very remote and odd chance you manage to find my wee tiny blog out here amongst the masses of blogs... I just have two things to say... Thank you J. Peterman. I still love your clothes. I still love the stories. BUT, there is one "but" here... I really loved the stories back then, better. What was it about those stories? The new ones are good. I'm not really complaining, but could we have a tini tiny bit more of the "old" kind? (:

Am I alone here ... or are these just lovely?

Also he's on facbook and twitter.

I don't expect he'll hear me here... but its worth a try, right?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tansy Photos for Rue

Yesterday Rue posted some lovely photos of views from her windows, as well as spring plants in her garden/yard on her blog. There was a question about what a certain plant was. Many people had suggestions, and I'm not one to pass up a good guessing game when it comes to plants ... so I took a few photos of one of the plants I use to deter bugs in my garden. Here it is:


Rue, does this look familiar to yours? Mine is Tansy

If your plant is Tansy, it will later have very pretty yellow button-type flowers later in the year. So it serves two purposes... it's pretty to look at, and it deters bugs. The only problem... its invasive by sending shoots out underground. If yours isn't Tansy, I'll keep checking to see if you've figured it out. Either way, fun guessing game! (:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Garden so far.... and some of the first fruits

Today was a harvest day. I harvested the first of the broccoli and am excited to have it in the freezer. I'll tell you my process... but first, this is how my garden grows. (:

The corn is already almost knee high! Yippee!
My grandfather used to say of corn...
"knee high by the 4th of July... to get a good crop in" ...
Well, mine is almost knee high on April 25.
He would be proud...
however, he lived and farmed in Ohio,
and I grow mine in a milder climate.

Potatoes are planted between the corn stalks... they like eachother
and as you can see, I have a few helpers too... ladybugs!

The onions and shallots are doing marvelously well! Look how tall!

...and my treasured leeks! They're lookin good!

The Fennel is amazing! I only have one good recipe for fennel tho...
I'm on the hunt for many more... any ideas from anyone?

Artichokes! Hubby's babies are almost ready to harvest!

And now to today's harvest... BROCCOLI!

Don't they look great?
I'll tell you my secret for organic insect free broccoli.
I used no sprays, good rich compost,
and lots of peeking to see how they're doing.

Here's the secret...
Crop covers! This is very thin fabric used in commercial fields for many purposes.
We buy it in a 10ft x 500ft rolls from the commercial farm supplier.
We put arched metal frames along the row,
cover them with the fabric, and pin it down.

Another thing I do is lay black landscape fabric. The reason is
that since we live right up off the beach and have lots of fog in the summer, the soil
can stay a little cool... so the black fabric solves several problems:
1. It keeps the soil warmer by soaking up the heat
2. It keeps the weeds out... who wants to weed for hours?
3. It keep the little varmints that dig underground
from being able to come up and chew on my food.

And below:
Cumin ( a new addition to my garden this year)
and green bean starts

Meanwhile in the greenhouse...
Tomatoes are ready to start being tied to the rafters and
lower leaves stripped off to keep the white flies down to a dull roar.

Tomatoes are helped by spearmint...
and this plant seems to like being in the GH

Thyme and sage

cilantro... or coriander (whichever you prefer to call it)
We had hubby's super duper salsa using it for supper

And finally to the broccoli harvest! (:

1. Uncover it! ...NO BUGS!... Yippee!

2. Hubby does the harvesting
(by the way, once the main head is cut,
the plant keeps producing side shoots,
which also get harvested)

3. Put it in a bowl to wash

4. Chop it up!

5. Drop it into boiling water to blanch for 3-4 minutes

6. Take it out of the hot water and immediately dump it into
ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

7. Once its totally chilled,
spin it in the salad spinner to get rid of excess water.

8. label the freezer bags. I used the best little super sucker I've ever found (at Nobhill Market).
Its made by Reynolds, is called the Handi-Vac, and only cost $9.95!

9. Put em in there and suck em up!

10. Ready for the freezer! Easy as 1-2-3 (well ok, ...10 steps)

and the final image... the garden border.
The flags add a lovely purple dash of color.

So that's Vicki's Bit-O-Earth on April 25, 2009. I'm looking forward to harvesting
new potatoes, lettuce, and fennel soon.

Then later, other crops to put up...
corn, tomatoes, beans, onions, leeks, shallots.... Can't wait!

For Steven

I read about Steven on Corey Amaro's blog this morning and am adding my support to him. Steven has Von Hippel Lindau a life threatening disease. He has made a video about his illness, and entered it into a contest, in hopes to win a free ticket to go to a conference about the disease that he has. We want Steven to win, so if you want to help also, please click on his YOUTUBE video so he can win. Each time someone clicks on his video he gains a point, the video with the most points wins a free ticket to the conference in California.

hit the link and watch the video
every day until the 30th of April!

Steven's Video

Beverly said,

"The two minutes that you (and friends) spend watching this video could mean so much to my sweet boy...exponentially more than you could ever imagine!"

Each time someone watches his video he scores a point

For more information about Steven check Beverly's blog.
Thank you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dzintra and Vicki choose a recipe

I have been so lucky to meet Dzintra when I entered into the world of blogosphere. In fact, she was my first visitor, and now I think of her as a friend. She is in Australia and I am in the USA. Through our blogs and emails she talked about taking a cookery class and has shown so many beautiful photos of her ventures while in her class, including being head chef at the College Restaurant for one of the projects. (I hope I got that right Dzintra) (:

Well to make a long story short, I told her that I had fallen in love with Donna Hay magazine from Australia. I found it tucked in the back recesses of the magazine rack in a book store over a year ago... and just HAD to have that magazine, so have subscribed. It's my favorite magazine.

Recently I mentioned to Dzintra that I had just received my newest issue, #44/April-May 2009. She went and got the same issue too. What fun! Now we could compare notes!

Then she suggested a wonderful plan! We would each choose a recipe (or 2 or 3) from this issue, make it at home... and then blog about it! I couldn't wait to decide what recipe/s I wanted to make.

After reading through the whole magazine I chose two recipes from the article titled: "Sage" (for those who might be interested - pgs 96-106).

The sage, onions, garlic and lemons came from my garden... and then the prep began!

I decided to go to the attic for my trusty turkey roaster... maybe that would make a more moist chicken... (it did!)

and another of my favorite kitchen gadgets, a meat thermometer...

The chicken came out moist and delicious!

the risoto had a hearty taste, with a touch of sweetness from the sherry...

I set the table and called to the gang ... "Chow's on!"

The only thing I regret is that my hubby and boys didn't quite care to be photographed eating their food, but I can say that it was devoured with lots of good comments like ... "this is so good Mom!"and "why haven't you fixed this before?"

What a fun suggestion Dzintra! Thank you! I hope you had a very Happy Birthday this weekend, and I'm looking forward to seeing which recipe/s you have decided to make. I've so admired the scrumptuous food you've displayed from your class, and can't wait to see your handiwork!

Note: I'm looking for other publications from other countries that are similar to Donna Hay. I currently subscribe to the USA's Martha Stewart, Canada's Anna Magazine, and of course Australia's Donna Hay. Soooo, if anyone out there reads this post and can refer others to me, I'd love it! ...France, Italy, Norway, Germany, the asian countries ... or who knows... any country! I love discovering ... and yes, I'm a magazine junkie. Pretty silly, I know... but I love the big color photos and the down-home made classy kind of food that these magazines display. (: