Sunflower Seeds Ready for Roasting

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The center part of this 5′ tall sunflower has finished drying in the sun and the seeds are now exposed.  I’m planning on roasting these home-grown seeds.  Since this will be my first time doing my own roasting, I looked up this recipe, which only involves boiling the seeds in a pot of salted water and then roasting them in the oven.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

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And the Red Baron peach tree fairy gives her approval after many weeks of overseeing the sunflower seed soldiers.

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Spring Garden Update

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The ONE tomato seed that germinated was this, the trusty Stupice (pronounced Stu-peach-ka) tomato.  Most of my seeds have entered their 3rd year in my kitchen cabinet and so I can conveniently blame their age for lack of successful seed sprouting this spring, having nothing to do with my 30 hour work week which I’ve never had since beginning my edible quest some 4 years ago.  And it’s no big deal that this tomato plant is about a month behind the tomato curve because Stupice is one tomato that is a lover of the fall, a welcomer of the sudden cool days that can sneak up in early autumn when we’re still passing them off as summer.  In 2012 I was still harvesting these medium sized red Czechoslovakian heirlooms in January.  Yes, that’s right.

Refreshed soil in the raised bed is now home to a white Armenian cuke, butternut squash, yellow crookneck squash, pattypan squash, basil and rosemary.  To my surprise the basil is getting DEVOURED by some rodent, perhaps with an Italian parentage.

Refreshed soil in the raised bed is now home to a white heirloom cuke, butternut squash, yellow crookneck squash, pattypan squash, basil and rosemary. To my surprise the basil is getting DEVOURED by some rodent, perhaps with an Italian parentage.

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My daughter and I had a “decorate grow bags” afternoon using felt shapes and water-proof fabric glue. They grow my best tomatoes ever.

My daughter's design, now home to a cherry tomato.

My daughter’s design, now home to a cherry tomato.

For such a small thing, Eva's Pride has an impressive crop.  Supportive stakes in my future?

For such a small thing, Eva’s Pride peach has an impressive crop. Supportive stakes in my future?

Honestly, I'm unsure what the deal is with my Snow Queen Nectarine.  the bottom half is growing some healthy, strong new branches but the top half is only now meekly blooming with no leaves.  I'm hoping the two ends can meet somewhere in the middle and soon.

Honestly, I’m unsure what the deal is with my Snow Queen Nectarine. The bottom half is growing some healthy, strong new branches but the top half is only now meekly blooming with no leaves. I’m hoping the two ends can meet somewhere in the middle and soon.

Pole beans making their presence known.

Pole beans making their presence known.  These WERE grown from seed (one of the easiest veggies to do so in my opinion).  I just save a few over-ripe pods each year and let them dry out on the kitchen window sill.

And last but not least, the red seedless Thompson grape.  This may be one of the most exciting things happening this season for me.  It's a first and I'm enjoying seeing the tiny flowers give way to this...

And last but not least, the red seedless Thompson grape. This may be one of the most exciting things happening this season for me. This vine fruiting is a first and I’m enjoying seeing the flowers give way to tiny grapes…

Lady-Like Carrot

My kiddo has been itching to pull a carrot.  Although I explained that they’re not quite ready, we picked one anyhow.  After seeing it’s size, I was told emphatically, “They’re not ready yet!”.  This little carrot may have been small, but it was as lady-like as they come.

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The pink mandevilla next to the chicken coop is in full swing.  What a show-stopper this one is.  I particularly appreciate it in it’s current location because it’s adds a softness and brightness to the coop area and surrounding dirty digs.

DSCN0386The Red Baron peach tree has moved into it’s hunched over look with the swelling weight of the many peaches.  A week or so more and I’ll be having peaches in my oatmeal, peach crisp, grilled peaches, peaches on my ice cream and peaches for a snack.  Lucky me.

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Tomato Baby

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IMG_9628I just noticed this afternoon that the Celebrity tomato in the grow pot is the first to set fruit for the season!  It’s an exciting time when the promise of juicy, red tomatoes starts dancing in my mind.  Last year many of the early tomato flowers were just dropping off due to lack of heat and/or pollination.  This Celebrity won’t let anything get in her way.  Perhaps she thinks she’s in Hollywood?

Baby Mulberries

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My adored mulberry tree (it’s technically in my neighbor’s yard, but it might as well be in mine) has suddenly broken out of it’s wintry spell and produced baby berries right along side it’s first leaves.  The clear mulberry hair reminds me of those clear rice noodles used in Asian cooking.  A little over two months from now, this is what they turn into.

Silhouette

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Ever since I’ve lived in my house, I’ve admired our neighbor’s mulberry tree through each season.  In spring, with it’s new green leaves, it instills hope as I glance at it doing this and that in the house.  In winter, even when it’s bare of any leaves, the thin branches look like a vast network of veins, reminding me of the interconnectedness of all living things.

One evening about a week ago I settled on the couch under a blanket at twilight.  I stared out of the window at that mulberry tree and marveled at it’s beauty against the evening sky.  This is what I saw:

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March Tour

Every so often I enjoy a little garden tour for the blog, sharing the essence of the moment in my little corner of the earth.

I’ll start with my personally most anticipated moment of early spring-my Red Baron peach tree in bloom.  It seems like when everyone else’s trees are already blooming, my peach is taking her sweet time.  The garden always has a way of reminding me of patience.  The first flower is about to open.

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I have sown some seeds in toilet paper rolls as I did last year but out of sometimes laziness and sometimes forgetfulness, every few nights they get left out over night.  It’s still in the high forties at night, so we will see how well they germinate.  Here’s the first seedling I spotted, which happens to be the heirloom tomato named Cherokee Purple.

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The new Minnie Royal cherry tree planted in January is off to a nice start!

The new Minnie Royal cherry tree planted in January is off to a nice start!

My tried and true sugar snap peas lend a delicate touch to these winter months.

My tried and true sugar snap peas lend a delicate touch to these winter months.

The arugula is almost 6' high!  I have thoroughly enjoyed their display.

The arugula is almost 6′ high! I have thoroughly enjoyed their display.

The arugula flowers up close.  I made a sweet bouquet using these for the dining table.

The arugula flowers up close. I made a sweet bouquet using these for the dining table.

My broccoli is a bit small, but the intensity of flavor will make up for any lack in size.

My broccoli is a bit small, but the intensity of flavor will make up for any lack in size.

Today's last photo is of a succulent in a hanging basket.  Although you can't eat it, I couldn't resist including it since the evening light hit it just so.

Today’s last photo is of a succulent in a hanging basket. Although you can’t eat it, I couldn’t resist including it since the evening light hit it just so.

Summer Beauty

I’ve allowed the Cinnamon Basil to flower because darn it if I can’t bring myself to pinch those lovely purple flower stems.

An enticing pumpkin flower beckoning the sun and the bugs.  Look closely and you can see a baby pumpkin peeking out in the lower left corner.

Love. The plant, the berry, the colors.

Pole green beans

Lemon cukes hanging out on a lazy Friday morn.

Mandevilla. This year I took a stab at growing it for the first time and I’m a fan. The secret? Fertilizer. It likes to dry out between watering, too. Here is graces the hen hang out around their coop, adding some soft lines and color to the dirt digs.

All 5 girls are broody. They just sit in here. All. Day.

Sighs from the absence of delicious eggs aside, I’ve come to accept, even feel relief when broodiness ascends upon my Silkies.  It gives them a break from so much production (an egg a day for each hen) and it gives me a break as well from overlooking while they’re out and quieting morning squawking.

I don’t try to break them, dip them in ice baths or isolate in a cage.  I wait the few weeks for them to finish their cycle and start laying again on their own.  No stress.  I let nature do it’s thing.  That is, after all, why I have them in the first place.  To live a bit closer to nature and to go with the ebb and flow.  Have a good, calm, natural life, sweet hens.

My First Sunflower

Mammoth Sunflower points it’s head toward the morning sun.

I saw this sunflower from my kitchen window as I made breakfast this morning and I knew I had to share.  There’s something inherently happy and serene about these flowers.  (And they even have edible seeds!)

The yellow scallop summer squash is starting to produce!

A young lemon cucumber.

The pumpkin patch is off to a roaring start! Even with last year’s experience, I still underestimated their prolific nature. Good thing they can sprawl out and around.

A 3/4 shot of one of my beds. Hi Silkies!