Tag Archives: spinach

Of Gardening, Greens, Greenery and Goldbricking…NEW POST!

Well, here I am again: “live” so to speak, and thankfully still “alive” after a rather stressful week.  Here’s what’s been happening in Hammond River:

After virtually ignoring my garden all week, I was surprised to find that the weeds were trying to take over (funny how that happens!).  I spent much of Saturday evening and Sunday pulling out the invaders and rediscovering the plants underneath (Dad helped with the hoeing on Sunday too, as well as installing poles for the climbing beans, and strings for the peas).

This year, I tried to plant things in a different spot than they had been in last year, “rotating my crops” like a good farmer would.  The squash and beans are at the top of the garden, instead of in the middle.  The tomatoes were planted at the top last year – when we were weeding, we discovered all kinds of tomato plants that were growing from fruit that must have dropped on the ground last year (Dad calls the orphans “volunteers”)!  Some of them were bigger than the seedlings I’d grown in the house…how ironic is that?  Of course, I have no idea what varieties they are (I had about a dozen different ones last year), so it will be fun to see what I get!

This is some squash (notice the lacy leaves from the cucumber beetles!), with the "volunteer" tomato plants in the middle and the bottom right corner of it.

 

Two rows of peas, with newly-installed strings...

 

Pole Beans...

 

Bush beans with purslane at the foot of the plant...

Midweek, we were able to have our first salad from the garden, mixing seven or eight kinds of lettuces and greens, including kale and arugula (this is the first year I’ve tried those).

Salad greens: three kinds of lettuce, tat soi, arugula, kale, and other greens...

Yesterday, we had our first feed of cooked greens: spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, bull’s blood greens, and kale.  It’s a good thing there are only three of us who like them, because this big pot of raw greens fit into a small bowl once cooked:

Greens before cooking in a big pasta pot...

 

Small bowl of greens after cooking...

 
Here’s an update on how our back yard looks after the landscapers have been here:

Yard levelled, grass seed planted...uprooted peony bushes still in the foreground...

 

Looking straight (?!!) down our fence...didn't they do a great job putting it back up? NOT!

 

Other plants in the back yard are blooming:

Pink peonies that the deer didn't eat the buds off of...

 

A pretty bush beside the back deck...I don't know what kind it is...

 

Jim spent Saturday rebuilding two of our rotten front steps…here is his finished handiwork:

Jim fixed our front steps using a mix of old and new lumber...nice and solid now!

 

Here he is relaxing on our new porch swing with Jake after he was finished:

Jim and Jake take it easy...

 

Hope everybody has a great week…more archive posts to follow…will feature some of Anna’s dragonfly pictures next week!

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Filed under cooking, family, food, gardening, nature

Still Learning in 2010…

Taking the lead from my blogging friends, Todd Pack, Izzie Darling, and Lady Justine, here’s a list of the things I learned this year…if you want to read the full story on any of these lessons, search a keyword or click the appropriate tag in the sidebar:

1. Our dog thinks porcupine poop is dessert.

2. Hope loves Jake enough to share her toothbrush with him.

3. Homemade rolls don’t have to be “pretty” to taste good.

4. Egg cartons are not good containers to start plants indoors in.

5. Dogs love to destroy egg cartons with seedlings in them.

6. Jim’s parents are our biggest supporters.

7. Bleachers are hard things to sit on for more than a couple of hours.

8. I am really out of shape.

9. Seeing a toy from your childhood 40 years later brings you right back to that time in your life.

10. If the winter is mild enough, spinach from last year can survive.

11. Maple vinaigrette makes spinach salad a beautiful thing!

12. There’s no such thing as “too many bird feeders.”

13. Squirrels can do amazing tricks to get to a bird feeder.

14. Some people keep their toilet paper in the breadbox.

15. Mothers-in-law are often right.

16. More people in Saint John knew when the new Costco was opening than were aware of the city’s 225th birthday this year.

17. Rhubarb runs amok if left to grow unchecked.

18. Orthodontists make more per hour than most of us.

19. Sometimes plants get a lot bigger than the seed package says they will…my five-foot sunflowers ended up being seven or eight feet tall!

20. I like portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers.

21. Our dog enjoys eating Popsicle sticks.

22. Cosmopolitan was a literary magazine back in the early 1900’s.

23. There is only one kind of hummingbird which frequents New Brunswick: the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

24. I love Mint Crisp M&M’s.

25. I learned what a “fisher” was, after seeing one cross the road in front of our car.

26. Before you construct a really big birdhouse, figure out where you’re going to put it and how to get it up there!

27. My dad’s a good singer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

28. They sell live ladybugs at Home Depot.

29. Right after you purchase twenty tomato plants, the forty you started from seed will rally.

30. Ladybugs aren’t always red with black spots…sometimes they’re brown with cream spots.

31. As long as they’re under warranty, Vogue Optical will replace glasses which have been chewed by a dog!

32. We have a cherry tree, and eight high-bush blueberries I’d never noticed before.

33. “Beaver Tails” are too expensive to buy now.

34. Hope really likes getting muddy.

35. Wallpaper is nearly impossible to find.

36. Hummingbirds are fearless.

37. The Chinese cabbage I planted is not the “head” type.

38. How to make good piecrust…the secret is lard.

39. Some people will ignore a sign that says: “Danger – Do Not Touch.”

40. Deer can be aggressive.

41. Organic broccoli often goes to seed faster than I can harvest it.

42. I love rutabaga!

43. I found out what “purslane” looks like.

44. It’s never a good idea to put a chicken burger into a toaster.

45. I don’t hate all sci-fi…I enjoy “Eureka.”

46. You can purchase a sailboat on the Internet.

47. Ripe canteloupe is not a good lunchbox food.

48. Picking things from the garden in the dark is really difficult.

49. I suck at “Musical Chairs.”

50. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I am so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

I’m looking forward to learning more in 2011!

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Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, gardening, memories, nature, self-discovery

Monday Miscellany…

I spent most of yesterday catching up on laundry, since I didn’t get any done with our shopping trip on Saturday.  We had to go to town to pick up Hope from her friend’s house, and stopped at Co-Op for gas.  An older man cleaned our windshield while Jim was filling the tank, and then went over to speak to another customer that he knew.  I overheard him say, “He was autocratic, but fair.”  Not a word I expected a gas jockey to say…     

After we got back, I took the time to make some Spinach Manicotti.  I was quite pleased with how it came out, since it was my first time making it, and I was completely winging the filling!  I had seen the noodles on sale for $1 a package at Liquidation World…I bought 2 (because I always buy even numbers of anything that’s on sale…I have a thing for symmetry).  I had a couple of packages of spinach in the freezer, which I thawed.  I bought two large tubs of lasagna-type cottage cheese, and mixed it with the spinach.  After cooking the noodles for the amount of time indicated on the box, I thought I could use a pastry decorating tool to squeeze the filling into the noodles.  That was a fail…I ended up standing the noodle on end in my hand, and using my other hand to fill it!  I stuffed noodles until I ran out of filling, put them in a casserole, poured a jar of 4-cheese pasta sauce over the top of the stuffed noodles, and put them in the microwave.  I still had several unstuffed noodles left over, which are in my fridge.  Next time, I think I’ll throw a couple of eggs and some shredded mozzarella cheese into the filling…it will probably give it more body.  Along with some garden green beans from the freezer, the manicotti made a tasty supper last night, and a good lunch today!

I was having vivid dreams most of the night…I dreamed that I had gone downstairs.  At that very moment, Jim woke me up because he was “having a low”…I needed to go downstairs to get him some juice and cookies.  I told him I was technically “already up.”

When I arrived at the bookstore this morning, I sat down to read the blogs that I follow.  One of my friends had included a link for some music in her post…I looked in vain for my earphones to listen to it (I don’t have speakers on my store computer).  I texted Anna to see if she’d borrowed them.  “No…” was the reply.  Then I remembered the somewhat “sketchy” girl who had come in on Friday…I had purchased a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” from her and had left her alone near my desk while I went into the other room to get her money.  Crap!  I was excited to get a copy of the book (we get lots of requests for it, but that is only the second copy we’ve had in our ten-year history!)…apparently $5 wasn’t quite enough for her!

The rest of the day passed without incident…we had one customer in, who bought one book (and three Internet orders).  I spent a lot of time looking for an image on Google for a blog post I wanted to write…no luck!  Anna and I came home with Jim, since Dad had an extra rehearsal for the Men’s Chorus tonight…their Christmas Concert is tomorrow night.  While we were eating supper, Jim got one of his “smile” fries caught in his throat.  Hope said, “They’re not supposed to make you choke…they’re supposed to make you smile!”

"Smile" Fries...

 

Anna remarked, “I love irony.” 

Hope asked, “Who’s Irony?”

After supper, Anna poured herself a glass of eggnog.  “What spice is it that you put in it to make it taste good?  Paprika?”

“No,” I answered.  “You should probably use nutmeg!  Paprika would be a whole different taste…”

Hope is making Christmas cookies for her school’s bake sale tomorrow…the school is buying turkeys for people who can’t afford them for Christmas.  I’ve been recruited to help make icing…I think it’s going to be another late night…

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