This is our family garden blog, where we share our trials and errors as well as our successes with friends and family.
Yes, the picture of the lizard is one I took, see the butterfly wings sticking out of his mouth?

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Time I Mean It.

Nanny Goat in Panties Hit the button if you wonder what all the hoopla is about. I am not making resolutions, just a few goals.....

The high and low of my goals are over at Walkin' In Sunshine
but I wanted to add one for my garden.  

I will work smarter NOT harder this year.  I have my planting charts, I have the Farmers Almanac, and the last frost date (average date, I know), and will work according to that and NOTHING else.  NO ONE will talk me into planting 500 seedlings in January only to have 90% of them die before it stopped raining enough for me to get them in the ground.  Nuff Said!!!


Wraping Up The Year

As we wrap up 2009 and look ahead to 2010, what projects do we need to be working on or finishing now to make Spring more enjoyable? It may be cold outside, I know it is here in Texas, but there are things we can do now to ensure we are working smarter not harder.

Here are some tips for December Gardening from Mel Barthalomew, of Square Foot Gardening, & Patti Moreno, of Garden Girl TV.

Happy Gardening


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Eggplant with Chilli Prawns Recipe

In all honesty I have not had the opportunity to try this, YET.  I am trying to share a 'garden' recipe on Saturday's here and at my other garden blog Valeriesgardenblog and this one looked more than appropriate for this time of year.   ENJOY!!!

Eggplant with Chilli Prawns Recipe

An easy to prepare delectable spicy eggplant recipe (aka brinjal ...

See Eggplant with Chilli Prawns Recipe on Key Ingredient.

If you like the recipe, join Key Ingredient (its free) and stop by and tell them thanks!!!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Seeds, Seeds and more Seeds

It's not only Christmas Time, it's seed shopping time. If you want to get what you want, and you want good quality, heriloom (non-GMO or Genetically Mutilated Modified) seeds NOW is the time to order your catalogs, if they still have them in stock that is.

January 1 is the time to order here (I would prefer to do it December 1, but that's not up to me), we start planting indoors January 21 then stagger from there. I used The Farmers Almanac, Plan Garden, and Neil Sperry's "Complete Guide To Texas Gardening" to plan when to start which seeds. Some will be done inside and others will wait until the danger of the last frost is gone. If this is your first visit check out my post on using your gardening time wisely in the fall and winter.

My recommendations for seeds and their catalogs are Baker Creek Seeds, Seeds of Change, and Seed Savers. All three of these sites/places have some GREAT books, articles and tips for gardening. We ordered from Baker Creek Seeds last year and were NOT disappointed.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My NEW Seed catalogs came!!!!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Savory Stuffed Squash

In all honesty this is not my recipe, I got it from Vegetable here. I also did not have a huge variety of Winter Squash nor a great turn out due to rain & bugs this year so I have not tried this yet, but if you have extra, I'm willing to take some and try it!!!!

Savory Stuffed Squash
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 small acorn or other winter squash
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped turnip
1/4 cup finely chopped parsnip
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tsp. fine bread crumbs

6 servings

Toast the pine nuts in a small sauté pan over medium heat, stirring often.

Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the cut sides down on a lightly greased pan and bake at 350°F for 45 min. to 1 hour, until the squash are easily pierced with a fork.

Place the wild rice in a small pan with water to cover and bring it to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and drain the rice.

Heat the oil in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté about 2 min., until it’s translucent. Add the garlic and carrot, and continue to sauté for several minutes, gradually adding the turnip, parsnip, and bell pepper. Add the rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and the brown rice. Sauté another few minutes, stirring often, until the rice is lightly toasted. Then stir in the wild rice and salt.

Add the stock or water and bring it just to a boil. Stir the mixture, then cover the pan tightly and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 40 min., then remove from the heat but leave the cover in place for at least 10 min. Uncover and cool somewhat.

Stir in the parsley and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then thoroughly mix in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a large baking dish or casserole.

Using the back of a spoon, smooth the squash flesh to give the cavities an even depth. Stuff the squash with the rice mixture, pressing to compact it, and then rounding it well over the top. Arrange the squash in the greased baking dish and sprinkle bread crumbs over the filling. Cover tightly with a lid or with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 min. Uncover and bake 5 to 10 min. longer, until the crumbs are crisp.

Susan Cheney
December 1996
from issue #6


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

A Lizard eating breakfast in my Morning Glories.

I know that I shared this last picture on Wordless Wednesday, but I wanted to put the whole series in. I had stopped to look at my Morning Glories about 6 weeks ago (they are DEAD now) and saw a movement. I knew there was a lizard living in them, I had seen him before. My eye caught him just in time to see him swallow a small butterfly, amazing!!! I reached into my purse, quietly, and pulled out my phone and started snapping pictures. I gradually inched closer and the last picture is of him looking at me-how cool is that?!?! My husband walked up and saw him and just as he got his phone ready, the poor little guy took off.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 14, 2009

Killer At Large & Food Inc.

If you are looking for that final push to garden and eat healthy here you go. We garden here mainly because it is economical and we like to eat good for you food, no cream filled golden cakes are not good for you food. Even the movie Wall-E noted that those little things will last long after human life has vacated the planted, leaving those golden delights for the cockroaches to feast on. "Killer At Large", Director Steven Greenstreet This movie begins with a 12 year old girl who is overweight and having liposuction. I'm not going to debate that one with anyone, so please don't try. What is attention grabbing to me is that is a common debate these days. There are too many reasons to list but in my opinion one of the top 10 is again that a box of cookies or a fast food meal is less expensive than fruit & veggies. Don't get me wrong, I still grab fast food, I like it. However, we as a family have made a decision, not to make it a habit to eat out, not just Fast Food, but anywhere. Another bit of information I learned is that kids here in this country are being diagnosed with Rickets. These are not starving, malnourished, poverty stricken children who have not eaten in days. These are kids who are overweight and have Rickets. Basically they are lacking in Vitamin D (hello, some exposure to the sun may help) and possibly calcium. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, I get my information on topics like most of you do, Wikipedia and internet searches, but I do know that when you go outside in the sun your body manufactures Vitamin D. However, constantly slathering on sunscreen (which I do use when outside for prolonged periods) stops that process. Stepping outside with out sunscreen for 10-15 minutes is probably (again, I am not a doctor) not going to do very much damage, personally I NEED it, keep me inside to long because of cloudy, dark, damp, weather and I am battling depression. We were not manufactured to be inside all day every day. I still tell my kids go out, run in the sunshine, make some Vitamin D. So how does "Killer At Large" relate to gardening? We are hunter/gatherers, which means we were wired to work for our food. If you don't have time to garden you may need to cut some activities out, you have your kiddos enrolled in sports so they can get exercise? Try gardening!! It does take some initial investment of time and money, but the rewards and benefits far outweigh (pun intended) the efforts. Start small, Mel Barthalomew's "Square Foot Gardening" is a GREAT place to start. I highly recommend "Killer At Large", you can watch it free on instant download at Netflix. If this doesn't get you moving and start you on your way to taking small steps towards better care of your body, I don't know what will. One thing that came to mind watching this is that we don't need outside help destroying ourselves, we are doing it to ourselves. It is a terror from within, we are killing ourselves and giving birth to a generation whose life expectancy is shorter than ours for the first time. Children have Type II Diabetes, yet we cannot afford to eat healthier because junk food is less expensive than fruits and veggies. Health care costs are crippling this nation, which brings to mind the old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It does begin with each one of us, we have to make a decision to change our habits, and then we have to encourage and educate others too. I am in no way saying start picketing and boycotting fast food places and supermarkets, if I want a burger I will cross that picket line and get one. What I am saying is make that choice, vote for prevention, vote with your wallet. If consumer dollars can inform Wal Mart that they don't want milk with growth hormones in it, and encourage Wal Mart to sell only milk that does not have said hormones, then it is true that money talks. Each purchase you make is a vote in FAVOR of your purchases. You are in effect telling that store to keep that product on the shelf, at that cost, and that you will be back for more. Just for fun, next time you are at a grocery store check out the contents of the buggies in the check-out isle. Look at all the junk food in the buggy, usually with lots and lots of diet cola. DUHHUH!!! The second movie I watched this weekend, "Food Inc., Director Robert Kenner'".. I have been waiting a while to see this one!!! PLEASE!!!! Check out the official trailer here. Do you know that most kids in this country think food comes from the store? That fact was not in the movie, if it was I missed it, sorry. My grandson was learning about Farmers in school, and they even took a field trip. When I heard this I was so excited, our potatoes were almost ready to harvest. As soon as they were I took him out there and we harvested potatoes. My mission, to show him that potatoes come from the ground. Each time he came for a visit we would walk in the garden and I would point out each plant and say it's name, towards the end of gardening season he knew which plant was what. I'm not going to go too deep into this movie though, I want you to experience it for yourself, again Netflix has this one on instant download. If you want to know where your food comes from this is the place to start. If you want to know when farming stopped being a way of life and became a business, here you go. Just my 2 cents; I see it starting in the late 1930's, not in the 80's or under the last administration. Although both of these decades contributed to what we have now, each administration since the Great Depression made changes that lead to what we have now, so let's give credit where credit is due, that's all I ask, and let's face it it takes more than one man to put these changes in place it takes a governing body to do so, just sayin'. We know that as Americans the only 3 things we have the right to are Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT of Happiness, which for us means, "Rolling up our sleeves, getting up off our blessed assurance, and applying lots of elbow grease". You sit there and don't care where it comes from, you usually get what you deserve, you want to be spoon fed-go for it, don't come crying to me, you got what you asked for. In one of the movies, there was a mom who was attending meetings trying to get the FTC to regulate the way advertisers target kids. She sated that there is a battle in her house, she says no and the TV says yes. Although I applaud her bravery in this fight, there is another solution.... Yep, turn the darn thing off, or better yet get rid of it. We have no cable TV or Satellite TV. If the TV or game system is encouraging my children to argue or to not do chores, it is gone!!! Simple, problem solved. Again, we are voting, and telling large companies that we don't want them in our home. We get our local channels and that is it, unless we watch on the internet, and that is password protected. My kids don't have access to the internet unless I sign them on. I am not raising children, I am training my children to be productive and contributing responsible adults. I am trying to teach them about work before play. As for me and mine, I strive daily to apply this verse to EVERY aspect of my life, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15 KJV


Friday, December 4, 2009

Using Time Wisely

It's late Autumn, and Winter is on it's way. El Paso had snow yesterday, and those south of us got some flurries and ice, we were too far north if you can believe it.....

What are you doing in your garden and for your garden this Fall & Winter? I have been devouring books on working smarter NOT harder. Getting up with the sun and back in the house before 10:00 AM is getting harder and harder for me to do. It just gets to hot and humid here and if I am sweating I want to be in the pool while doing it. Some of the books I checked out from the Public Library & read are, Mel Barthalomew's "Square Foot Gardening", Louise Riotte's "Carrots Love Tomatoes" & "Roses Love Garlic" (finishing this one now). On my list to read are "The Organic Gardener's Home Reference" by Tanya Denckla & "Companion Planting" by Richard Bird. The Organic Gardener's Home Reference and Square Foot Gardening have moved to my "To Buy" list, along with "Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening". If you are looking for a quick and easy reference guide for Companion Planting then Tanya Denckla's book is the way to go, it even has a section for you to write notes in, that alone is worth purchasing it. Another is by a young lady Olivia, from Teaching Good Things, "How to Grow and Use Culinary Herbs". This one is an ebook so you don't have to wait for it, you don't even have to get dressed, you can order it in your PJ's and sit and sip herbal tea, or hot cocoa, while you snuggle by the fire with a warm snuggly blanket, or loved one, and devour this book. I'll be honest, I have not read this book yet, but I have had the priviledge of "meeting" this family online and even joined them this summer in their Gardening Challenge. I love the way they work together, and also share their resourcefullness. As you will see from the video below, their children are very resourseful; writing their own books, planting their own garden and so much more.
Click here to view more details * I also have a DVD on my "To Buy" list, one is by the Garden Girl, Patti Moreno (see video tool bar to left) from
Maybe I should be putting all of these on my wish list, or my Christmas list, but in all honestly I would have more luck putting them on my "To Buy" list, rolling up my sleeves, and using good old fashioned elbow grease to gift them to myself.
See ya soon,

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