Category Archives: The Garden

Visiting the Neighbors – Enjoying the Garden

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The Garden Gate

  We have a big garden and try to grow plants that we can harvest and enjoy all year round.

Today, I decided to see what the neighbors were up to….

…I had seen them busy with their homes over the past few weeks…..

They were all occupied inside so I went on to visit the other neighbors………….

They expressed their dismay at my not bringing any vegetable scraps or at least some weed pullings so I moved on…..

the magnolia has been blooming so wonderfully this year…..

We have had several years of very harsh weather and this Spring and Summer have been filled with mild temperatures and wonderful rain so you can see the flowers giving thanks…….

 

The Gardner found this beauty on the property and brought it home to enjoy.

We are still harvesting Artichokes, so many that we have decided to let some bloom and enjoy the wonderful flowers…..
………..you do remember The Demoniac Vegetable – Artichokes blog post don’t you??!?

………but enough of all this let’s go to the garden….

all sorts of wonders…..corn, green beans, okra, white onions, yellow onions, red onions, cabbage……oh my!

………and then yummy cabbage…..when you garden organically, even the bugs get to eat a little…….


………almost ready for the kitchen…….


….the Fennel so prolific, we are unable to eat all the bulbs….

..now blooming and producing seed…….yum, more for next year……


..the carrots peeking out…..


….beautiful peaches…hopefully the squirrels won’t eat them all……..


….Figs…..they never make it out of the garden….we eat them right off the trees..

..this tree is from a cutting from my Great Grandmother’s tree……sigh…..


..even pears this year……..yippee….

More Sqaush growing

Elmer beat me to the Garden and has harvested this morning’s Yellow Crook Neck Squash and Honduran Beans. Here they are nestled in his shirt.

The Herbs are going wild…….for years I so longed for fresh herbs and now I have a jungle of them….

..sometimes I wish I was a cat so I could just roll around in them and enjoy the beautiful fragrances……

Beautiful Basil

…….Omnipotent Oregano……..

…..Timid…..yet Terrific Thyme……

…..Tender Tarragon……..

….Powerful and Potent Papalo….

…………back to the kitchen…….the rains are starting again……

………the counter full of garden goodies…….green beans…….

 
…….marvelous……..magnificant………beets….

……..cabbage already in the steamer……..

……then the final creation…….Augustine has worked his magic on the wonders from the garden and produced a Magnificent Vegetable Soup…..complete with garnish of Jalapenos, Fresh Lemon and Avocado………

…..I saved you a bowl…..wish you could join me……

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The Demoniac Vegetable — Artichokes

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“Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.”

Bette Davis in All About Eve

I have so loved artichokes, even since I was a young boy. I find their rather uninviting, yet intriguing exterior to be a wonder…..much like the lobster…who was the first person brave enough to decide that this was something to eat?!!? And then there is the eating process itself: pulling off leaves and sliding them between your upper and lower teeth to remove flesh, having to avoid the choke…because if you don’t …. you will….choke, that is!  Finding the tender heart and snatching it out to slowly devour it, dripping with hot butter. Wow — sounds a bit ritualistic and frightening.

Rather than go into the bloody detail of it all, if your are interested in step-by-step directions, go to: http://www.wikihow.com/Eat-an-Artichoke

The more I think and write on this subject the more I wonder why I even began! So in my just-past-middle-aged wisdom, I decided to grow my own artichokes…… what else should an aging Tin Man do to entertain himself (?), my rusty knees  can’t get in and out of an inappropriate sports car and it is too hard to keep a toupee on top of this funnel head! In my first attempt, I order plants [at a whim] and put them in the garden ….. during the drought, when temperatures remained over 100 degrees — did I mention that artichokes like cooler temperatures……so I nursed my plants through the searing heat, as they turned their burnt faces up to me every day and wondered why I was holding them hostage in this horrific hades of a place. As the temperatures cooled and they began to look as though survival was possible, a young lad offered to till the garden…………yes, you guessed it  …..goodbye artichokes!

So as the Fall approached, with promises of a mild Winter, I began my quest once again….and found an amazing person who sends the most wonderful plants in the world: http://www.sweetheartartichokes.com/buy.htm  Should you ever decide that you too want to wander down this path, I strongly suggest acquiring plants from her.

So the plants arrived and were so most lovely…………………… into the ground they went far from the garden, in a place the tiller could not go! Guess what……Spring is here and we have ARTICHOKES!!!

You, of course, know by now that I could have purchased approximately 300 artichokes for what I have endured; however, what satisfaction would lie in taking that route!  I do know that if I am ever in possession of 300 artichokes at once, I shall give them to the flying monkeys to hail down on the head of the Wicked Witch of the West who lives at the bottom of the hill, in retribution for NEVER removing her garbage can from the curb!  Click here for more information about that.

Moving on…………see how beautiful the plants have become……so lush and green, bursting with life!

…………..and now the fruit is bursting forth!!!                                                                                                                              Somehow, I am expecting a catastrophic event to put an end to this.

Did you know that the artichoke even has its own legend!??! It seems that according to an Aegean legend and in a song by the poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the first artichoke was a lovely young girl [Cynara] who lived on the island of Zinari. Zeus was visiting (as he often did) his brother Poseidon one day when, as he emerged from the sea, he spied a beautiful young mortal woman. She was not frightened by the presence of a god, and therefore; Zeus seduced her.

 He was so pleased with Cynara the he decided to make her a goddess, so that she could be nearer to his home on Olympia [can’t you hear the church lady proclaiming: “isn’t that special!”] Cynara agreed to the promotion and Zeus anticipated all sorts of trysts with her when his wife, Hera as away…..oh the lives of gods and goddesses! But as luck would have it, Cynara missed her mother and was homesick, so she snuck back to the land of mortals for a visit. Zeus found this behavior appalling and hurled her back to earth and transformed her into the plant we now know as the artichoke.

In his journal of June 19, 1576, Pierre de L’Estoile writes:

“The Queen Mother ate so much she thought she would die, and was very ill with diarrhoea. They said it was from eating too many artichoke bottoms and the combs and kidney of cockerels, of which she was very fond.”

Eating an artichoke is like getting to know someone really well.”

Willi Hastings

“These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual “food” out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead.” 

 Miss Piggy

…………lovely thoughts………just had to share them, now go eat an artichoke!

Leap Year – Dinner on the Deck

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Who would believe that we had 80 degree weather today. Elmer felt that it was time to harvest one of the cauliflower so off to the garden we went. With the weather so beautiful we spent the evening on the deck listening to the water fall and grilling a beautiful steak and our cauliflower harvest. We love to eat the cauliflower greens. We had a marvelous evening having dinner outside (again I must say……..IN FEBRUARY!!!!) and watching our glorious roadrunner come and show us his latest catch………a SNAKE! The ducks flew overhead, migrating back. WOW this is a strange winter. What a wonderful evening, and the sunset was tremendous. I took many, many pictures of it, but will not bore you with them all…………just one! Hoping you had a marvelous day also!

The Garden Gate
Elmer with cauliflower Harvest……yummy
Steak with Garden Goodies
Wine Before Dinner
Listening to the Water Fall
Sunset ……….time to go in

Bountiful Harvest – The Garden in February

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We garden year round and have had the most severe drought last Summer with over a month of temperatures over 100 degrees and absolutely no rain.  The National Weather Service considered our area in a CRITICAL drought!  Our poor garden was frying.  The vegetables actually cooked right on the bushes.  Elmer watches over the garden and worked and worked to keep it alive, along with his helpers! 

 

 Well his efforts paid off we are still eating the wonderful squash, onions and sweet potatoes from last year’s harvest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are enjoying fresh brocoli, cauliflower, fennel, kale, asparagus and lots of wonderful German lettuce!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

The flowers are all a bloom! Even the Redbud trees are budding…….a sure sign of Spring…….in February! I fear a big freeze will come and slap all these optimistic plants upside the head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chili Pequin continues to bear fruit all through this winter! He is determined to out live any frost, drought or wimpy gringo!

……and of course, the Lady Rosemary continues to flourish under any circumstance….

The Borage is full of bees. We always keep this wonderful, watermelon flavored herb all over the garden for the pleasure of our wonderful bees, who keep our earth alive.