Thursday, February 26, 2015


by Robin

I read yesterday that people are gaining weight by eating so many preservatives in their daily diet.  There must be something to this because in the spring & summer, when my garden is heavily producing, I lose weight.  In the winter... like clock work, I gain about 4 lbs.

Anyhow, this is a photo-log of my Wall Garden.  These are in containers for easy picking right outside my door.

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Swiss Chard (White)
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Spinach did not come up.  So, I have some more lettuce and salad Kale to plant this weekend. (Make use of every inch!)

Here is my journey to Garden #1 from the Wall Garden.  I come across my little girls (pullets), Julia and Louisa.

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And then, there is my personal sinkhole that has put me right on the ground last week.  I am going to fill it up with LOTS of dirt.  It is a serious 10" deep!

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Ok, now we're over to Garden #1.  My original one.  As you can see, I did a horrible job of collecting beans without keeping the other ones safely in a jar.  I dribbled out half a row of beans along my walk.  So.... guess what I planted in here yesterday??  More of the same. Might as well join the others.  Broccoli were planted last Fall and just now really producing good.  All the tomatoes are volunteers from the chicken transportation "system".  Onions are from last year.

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This is American Broccoli.  I know because it is putting out a nice "head" vs the Italian which just does sprouts.

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Compari? Big Tasty Mater?

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Ugly Ripe.  Must treat the garden immediately!

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Sweet Potatoes  This should cover the ground between all the plants.

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My girls follow me from one end of the garden to the next.  They're ravenous for broccoli leaves. They need their vitamins too!

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Ok, we walked over to Garden #2 now.  I believe this is our 3rd spring gardening over here.

Okra  (giving birth from the seed.. LOL)

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Kale    I prefer Red Russian because it is flatter and can be sauteed nicer.
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Cabbage  Left over seeds from a year or two.  Still germinated!
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Compari  (saved seeds on a napkin)

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My biggest Compari baby.  photo DSC_0062-1.jpg

Tasty Maters      The original name of these was lost.  Possibly it was a store or farmer's market variety.  The Compari variety came right from Publix.

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Big Mama Paste Tomatoes

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Another unknown volunteer. Could be just a pretty varigated weed.  Looks lettuce-y.

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Pepper row.  Not sure if this was the Bell pepper side or the Jalapeno side.  They take longer to germinate and prefer warmer ground.

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Cucumbers are already coming in nicely... especially the sunny side of the garden.  I'll need to put a fence on these pretty soon.

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Shady side... not so much.
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Unirrigated Pineapple.  (I have about 5 irrigated pineapples in Garden #1 that are unpictured.)

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Another volunteer thanks to having chickens.
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Collecting eggs after leaving the garden. Yeah!! Doubles.

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Silly looking egg. Who did that? Peaches... you look guilty down there.  photo DSC_0074-1.jpg

Oh... and my poor pitiful pool.  We were going to replace it this year but instead had to buy a car for our son.  It is raining leaves every day.  It is a daily chores this week or two.

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Happy Gardening.  Now is a great time to get your gardens going!


Monday, February 23, 2015

CANNING - knocking the dust off my recipes

by Robin

I am so inspired by having the garden set, that I visited the local farmer's market.  My husband requested some homemade spaghetti sauce.  So, thankfully, I recorded most of my recipe on my blog.  Here it is.  I would say that I used approx 1 Tbl of the spices mentioned since I left of that important bit of information.

I bought several pounds of tomatoes.  I took the skins off.

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And then began the process of cooking it down.  I'm sorry I don't have a good picture of that process.  The link has a great photo though. I ended up with 2 quarts of sauce. LOT of work for 2 quarts but flavor makes it sooooo worth it.

Robin's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Since everything was already out and I had a nice massive pot of boiling water on the stove top, I went ahead and used the 2 of 3 pints of strawberries in the garage frig to make some strawberry jam. Everyone keeps Certo in the pantry, right??  LOL

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I was super happy that I had several pounds of sugar leftover from Christmas and plenty of lids and rings in storage.

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So, in all, 4 cups of strawberries made 3 pints and 2 small jelly jars worth of jam.  I'm going to give away a jar to a friend.  I love sharing with those who appreciate this lost art.

We had a near freeze last Thursday night and yet today, we reached 80 degrees and I've got all this heat going on in the kitchen.  I didn't think that one through.  Ha ha.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

FEATHER BABIES - growing up

by Robin

My little girls are now 2.5 months.

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They have all their back and tail feathers now. They were plucked pretty good from their cell mates at the feed & seed.

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For the most part, they get along well with the big hens.  Some slight picking-on but mostly, they've just learned to stay clear of Queen Mallory.

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Since I last blogged, we lost Pearl last week to a mysterious illness.  We woke up one day and she was just dazed.  I went to pet her and the other hens (AKA mostly Peaches) attacked her.  So, we isolated her to a dog crate.  Then, we hand fed her, tried to rehydrate her and keep her quiet.  We noticed her stomach was hard and distended.  Not sure if she was egg bound since she wasn't laying anyhow or possible she had peritonitis, which happens when they lay internally and all the yoke builds up, causing an infection.  That would be where I put my money.

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Anyhow, nobody else was affected and she died that night.  She looked very peaceful in her hay.  She will be missed.

And Miss Lulu is still the cutest thing going on the back porch.  I do think she gets to come in for the night since we'll be in the 30's.

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Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

(I think my next photos will be of some handsome young men.  One is going to the dance.  The other just got a new car. )



by Robin

Just a few of my seedling have begun to emerge during this cold week.

Cabbage  (My macro lens photography leaves a bit to be desired when trying to bend over and balance myself.)

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Tomato  (blurry!)

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Can't remember if this was tomato or kale.

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Not sure

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More Cabbage (in a container) cuddling up to a chicken feather.

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Be sure to keep your babies warm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


by Robin

Yesterday, I was so thankful I had my trap set.  Look what I caught hanging around the chicken coop!!

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I saw some digging a couple of days ago and set it then.  I thought it was rather small, like a rat or mouse digging.  I was thankful that I reinforced the bottom of my coop the weekend before.  It could have been a different ending to this story if I hadn't been paying attention.

Anyhow, the stinker totally tore up the cage, can inside and managed to remove the handle of the cage and use it as a way of locking himself to the coop wire.  Every time I tried to release the cage from the coop entanglement, he tried to attack me.  There was no way to unhook it without risking injury, so unfortunately, I could not release this one in a different location.

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The other day, I also pulled beans and they were drying in the garden.  Not very dry though..... that's why I have them drying further on this wire table.  Good air flow keeps them from molding.

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Aren't they just beautiful!!  These are Black Valentine Beans.

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Well, after you pick the beans off, you're left with a mess.  LOL. That's why we have brooms.

And Lulu,  she benefits each harvest season too.

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Empty space!!!  Well, almost.  I still have some sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes in there.

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Time to think about planting there.

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While I'm showing off this garden, I wanted to show you that my broccoli is bolting.

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This is not good.  The heads were very small and

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We did not have any freezes this year and it looks unlikely that we'll be very cold thru the remainder of February.  Maybe it is time to lay seed in the rest of the gardens.

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 My cherry tomatoes (not shown) have been going all through the winter and a much slower pace than spring or summer. Less bugs though, so that is good for me. And then, my bigger tomatoes (above) are beginning to bloom too. I only have a couple of these winter voluntary ones. The chickens reseeded these. Ewwww. LOL.

My thyme is showing signs of new life too.  Greener, longer vines again.  I lost one variety (lemon) but still have the German Thyme.

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Here is the bloom of a beautiful Thai Basil.  There's always something blooming and beautiful in the garden.

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And I keep a couple azalea bushes around because they tell me when the cobia are migrating through our area.  My bushes are filled with them.  Should I go fishing??

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Happy Gardening my friends!