Monday, June 27, 2016

DOA In The Kitchen: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

While making out the weekly grocery list I ask for suggestions for the next week's menu.  Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes something new is requested.  This week, chicken with wild rice soup was offered, and the recipe that was suggested was from

This soup doesn't take long at all to make, thanks to the quick cooking rice required.  I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice mix.  I feared the soup would be sort of bland tasting, but it was flavorful and tasted better with every bite.

Served with Vienna bread, crackers for the cracker fans, and slices of Swiss and cheddar cheese, everyone loved it and had multiple bowls.

The only place I varied from the recipe was the part where they have you take the chicken mixture off the burner briefly, I simply turned the heat down to three.

I'm looking for a recipe for another day using real wild rice, but this one will do for a nice Sunday soup for the nonce.

Friday, June 17, 2016

DOA In the Garden With The Plants and Rabbits

Rabbits love peppers, even jalapenos.  And Jacob's Ladder, and lots of stuff.  They're babies though, just babies.  I continue my efforts to block them from the vegetable garden.  Lots in bloom despite them.

Daylily Barbara Mitchell

A Peony I gave to my sister lives on somehow and will need rescuing.

My beautiful smoke bush. My son hates it because it pokes him while he mows. 

California Wonder Peppers before rabbit attack.  3 left.

My watermelon wishes it were consistently warmer, but otherwise it is happy enough.  Probably busy sending down those deep roots.


Cosmos in bloom

Beagle beagle beagle.

Spiderwort and heuchera

Apple Zestar, the first apples that have grown since planting



Daylily Lullaby Baby

Finally the vegetable garden is looking good, though under attack.

Coleus and gomphrena

Persian Shield


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Territorial Seed Company : Your Guide for Autumn, Winter, and Overwinter Gardening

A new Territorial Seed Company catalog came this week.  I like it's take on the idea of doing a second planting for fall, something which may or may not be practical here in the frozen north.

If you actually can successfully plant new seed batches in June and July, and harvest them before the snow flies, that would be excellent.  It not only gives a second crop, but if you had a rough start to your season (everything eaten by rabbits, cough cough), you can feel as if you had a successful season after all.   Gardening is all about hope, renewal and reinvention, right?

Of interest to me are:

Merlot Lettuce which I found I had noted in a long ago garden tour as something to find.  I must have thought it stunning to note a vegetable in my garden tour notes.  I don't think this picture  from the Territorial site likely does it justice.

Greenhouse Replacement Cover   No matter how careful you are, the zipper on your mini-greenhouse is going to break with a certainty by at least season three.  Grr, so annoying.  You can use the mini-greenhouse as a great season extender in spring, but if you can't close that zipper, you can't get the best protection for your plants.  As they sit in the greenhouse in the sunlight daytime, it gets pleasantly warm and you can have the "door" open. At night, when you zip it up, there are what I think must be greenhouse gases(?) that create a nice steamy situation for your plants and seedlings.  I really need a working cover.

A Nursery Label Pen that lasts the season and doesn't have the lettering gone on your plastic plant labels by mid-season would be so welcome.  This Sharpie variant actually says "industrial" on it. Maybe it is The One.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

DOA In The Garden : Quickshots

We discovered the bunnies have made their home under our shed.  One of the cats got under there last year and there's no way you can get a reluctant animal out, that we know.

I've been barricading my vegetable garden with chicken wire, hardware cloth panels, boards...anything at all to make it harder to get in and decimate the vegetables. 

One year I told my aunt the garden had been hit with everything that season but a plague of locusts.  I hope this isn't another such year.

I'm concentrating on re-doing the perennial garden of the yard, and it is looking pretty nice.  Rain tonight should make it even more lush.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wascally Wabbits

A warren of rabbits has made itself comfortable in my garden.  I haven't had any problems with them since putting up the privacy fence, bolstered by bricks all along the bottom edge to keep the beagles from digging.

My son spotted some baby bunnies mid-week last week.  They're wreaking havoc.  My Three Sisters bed has only two surviving siblings, though they did chew the corn leaves, they didn't touch the squash.

Last night, despite rain and high winds, they ate the remaining bean leaf and devoured every single celery plant.  Grrr!!!!

Three Sisters Before

Three Sisters After

Outlier Bean

(Sniff) Celery

I did get some protection from my improvised milk carton shields, but they blew off in the high winds yesterday.

I was going to put some chicken wire around the Three Sisters bed as protection and to hold in the squash, but now I'll need to place some all around the vegetable garden--something I had done in the early days of the garden when I still had a picket fence, but its a pain.

Somehow I'm going to try to flush the rabbits out of their snuggly spot, thinking let the beagle on a leash try to sniff them out, get them to leave the yard through the open gate, then go all around the perimeter to reinforce the brick barricade at ground level.  Could work!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rainbow Sangria from Gimme Some Oven

Somehow we have decided we'd like some real fruit filled sangria this summer.  I found the perfect looking recipe at Gimme Some Oven (link once I'm at my pc).  I personally wanted lots of fruit as the top requirement. This has it!

I used strawberries, raspberries, mandarin oranges, fresh pineapple, green grapes, blackberries and blueberries.  Honey rather than granulated sugar, and I added the bit of brandy and lime.

Lovely, refreshing! Not too sweet, just right.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Veggie Garden Cheater

Last year I barely did any vegetable gardening, and this year, many seeds would be getting started too late, so I've been shopping for (gasp) already started plants from nurseries.  

It never seems like cheating to do that with flowers or herbs, but, the vegetable garden is this highly organized, precise bit of measuring, and placing seeds just so.   It is almost mathematical in the timing, the seed depth, the watering and feeding needs of the many tricksy vegetables you can grow.   I find them a fascinating challenge.

This time, my worries in the vegetable garden are less, I just need to feed and water them, they're all off to a good start, I just need to keep them happy.

I had wildly purchased a little pack container with four six inch long stalks of corn.  I was not gifted with a single ear the last time I tried to grow corn from seed.  While looking to see how best to place and grow these, I kept coming across "Three Sisters".  At first I thought this was some nursery or group of garden writers I didn't know anything about. But noooo. 

The Three Sisters are Corn, Pole Beans and Squash.  The Corn provides something for the beans to climb.  The Beans magically pull nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil as an enrichment, the Squash shades the roots of the others and provides a weed suppressing cover.

Here's a good explanation from Renee's Garden Seeds:

Here is my approximation of a nicely planted Three Sisters Garden:

I'm going to add stakes around the bed and also some chicken wire to discourage the squash from taking over the entire garden.  I think that will provide a foil.  I'm also thinking I'd like to provide a bit of trellising with either bamboo or the many sticks/branches I've gathered for the purpose from my trees.   I'm picturing something like this:

I am trying Celery for a second time.   I didn't realize that they were so water hungry and shallow rooted, last time out, so I'll be making sure they're happy this time.  They came in a pack with an indeterminate number of seedlings---they were all sort of stuck together, so I separated them as best as I could and put them in a bed in front of some new daylilies (all pinks) I purchased this season.

I planted them yesterday and am keeping an eye on them today from my window while it helpfully rains somewhat today.   They look happy so far.

No picture (and you can thank me for that because you'd be horrified) but I am trying a watermelon for the umpteenth time.  Only pumpkins prove more illusive as I try to grow them in the garden.   After reading about the beastie that is the watermelon, I see that I never gave it the room it needed.  Its getting its own bed, and my usual cucumber support and a fence will give it climbing room.  I had no idea they had a big monster root system, so my attempts to grow it in raised beds with a landscape fabric liner were sad for the powerhouse plants these wanted to be.   Try putting an elephant in a jelly jar....

So, I am woefully short of garden dirt to fill my newer beds this year (they stopped carrying the one I loved at my local garden center).   Ruthless dog that I am, I dumped a single bag in a mound in the center of a 3 x 6 bed and put Mr. Watermelon in it.  I figure it can get a start and it can dig down and under if it wishes, while I slowly fill the rest of the bed.  Could work.