Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Real food

This time last year I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I had started a summer garden but had no hopes of seeing it through because I was conserving every bit of energy (both physical AND mental!) trying to get this baby to the age of viability. 

 We delivered a beautiful and healthy baby girl...
and my garden went to the birds and bugs.

I'm OK with that. 

 But this year I have grand plans to feed that baby girl pure organic fruits and vegetables grown by her mama. This year's garden is all about non-hybrid, non-GMO, and no pesticides. So far I am loving the varieties that are growing. All the seeds came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and I foresee purchasing all our seeds from them in coming years (that is, what seeds we don't save through our own garden!).
This tomato is called Costoluto Genovese.  It is an Italian tomato and is the most lumpy thing I've ever seen! It is extremely prolific and the plants are gorgeous!  It's growing along side a non-GMO variety of Amish Paste that I will use for canning. Will most definitely be growing this one next year.

This enormous thing is a cucumber called Telegraph.  They are HUGE!  They are very sweet, very prolific, and very few seeds.  They are an excellent slicing cucumber.  Growing with them are my pickling cukes, Solly Beiler.  I have to admit, not a big fan of those!  They are small and I've not had a good harvest of them.  I know it's still early in the season, so I'll reserve judgement until fall!

And now the staple of the garden, crooked neck squash - Early Golden Summer.  With this variety we could have squash every night of the week!  Will be putting lots of this in the freezer for the winter.  I just love it!

This is my Danny's favorite thing in the garden, Dragon Tongue Bush Beans.  They are a beauty in the garden with plants producing purple and white flowers.  Then the beans emerge with purple stripes on green beans.  Danny's favorite way to eat them is roasted with garlic oil and Parmesan cheese.

A variety that  I am very excited about is this little melon, Rich Sweetness.  I decided I was NOT going to grow a standard variety melon this year and this one sounded fun.  I cannot wait to try them!  They are growing alongside Charantais, a French heirloom melon that should be quite beautiful and tasty!  Of all the things I grow, melons are my favorite!

Then there are the peppers.  I love the pepper patch and they LOVE this Texas heat!  I have so many varieties growing right now, above is Quadrato D'asti Rosso.  There are also heirloom varieties of cayenne, habanero, jalapeno, and Tobasco peppers.  Yup, we like things spicy around here!

This beauty is Costata Romanesco zucchini.  It is very prolific and very tasty!  The sweet flesh has very few seeds.  We will grow this one again next year!

We will be saving the seeds from all our fruits and veggies.  Saving seeds not only insures that the lines remain non-hybridized but plants are smart!  They will acclimate and adapt to our area.  They will learn how to fend off disease and pests that are common to south Texas and each year they will get a little stronger.

I suspect the bugs and birds will return as the summer progresses, after all, they had a virtual buffet last year!  And although I may loose some of the battles to them, in the long run I think we'll come out on top!

(You can click on any of the colored words on this post to be taken to that vegetable
 on the Baker Creek site!  Really, you should check them out!)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Lemon zucchini bread

If you've ever grown zucchini, you know that those suckers can double overnight! With all this hot Texas sun we have LOTS of zucchini, and sometimes using it all up can be a chore. Here is one of my family's favorite ways to eat up this garden staple: 

 Lemon Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini 
3/4 cup sugar 
1 egg 
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 zest and juice of one lemon

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. In a bowl, beat together the zucchini, sugar, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45-55 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat, and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
 To make this good bread even better, stir a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into 1/2 cup powdered sugar and drizzle over loaf while still warm!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who says red heads shouldn't wear pink and orange?

I think the colors are quite becoming for this little ginger!

This is the perfect little crossover pinafore and diaper cover. 
It's a little big right now, but that gives us room to grow!

The prints came from the Walmart discount bin for a steal at three dollars a yard.

The pattern is from Bettsy Kingston's Etsy shop.
The pinafore and diaper cover are so easy to make and Bettsy gives you a wonderfully professional pattern (in PDF form) with excellent photos and instructions on assembly of the garment.

The pinafore is reversible and can be used as a top as Mary Grace grows.  I've already made three sets for her and foresee this as her summer wardrobe!

As a matter of fact, I think red heads should wear 
MORE orange and pinks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

At seven months

Surely, this is what pure love looks like!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mornings with Danny

Every morning my faithful garden helper and I go out to harvest.

It's our time to talk, laugh, and make plans for the day.

You never know what you're going to find...

Silly stories, jokes, really BIG onions, 
or the concerns of a little heart... 
it all comes out in the garden.  
(Danny taking veggies to Nana & PoPo's house)

It nourishes the soul!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beach baby

One of the perks of working weekends only is being able to take off to the beach late on Monday afternoon. It was Mary Grace's first time in the sand...she was not impressed, but she did like the Fig Newtons we packed:

There was no one else for miles:

Happy boys with their toes in the sand...

Testing the waters...

Feeding the birds...

Not a care in the world...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Fairy Garden

Ever since visiting The Enchanted Forest nursery, I have been obsessed with Fairy Gardens. One day, after dropping Ryan off for his classes, I did a little shopping at Hob Lob and found the centerpiece for our own little Fairy Garden:

This mushroom house was tucked in with some creepy garden gnomes. I used the 40% off Hob Lob coupon on my phone and got it for less than ten bucks!  Then I ventured into their doll house furniture section and picked up a few chairs, a barrel, a wheelbarrow, and a little wooden well.  They also had a free booklet on making your own Fairy Gardens.

The boys thought I was a little nuts for wanting to make a Fairy Garden, but I think they are so cute and whimsical! Mary Grace will love it when she's old enough to play with it. 
 So we set about filling up our old wine barrel with dirt and I placed the mushroom house in the middle then just stood back. The boys went wild with imagination and found objects from the yard to complete the garden.

They used an oyster shell (from our recent trip to the beach) as a pool.  They also painted all the little furniture I bought.  Here is the wheelbarrow holding a pecan:

We also made a little clothes line complete with a pecan shell laundry basket!  I have to admit, it's probably my favorite part of the garden!

We had the best time putting the garden together and I am so delighted with all their creativity! My only contribution was the actual garden. I planted Provence lavender, celosia, and succulents to fill it all in.

It was all going so well and I was relishing in the boy's thoughtful creativity when later I found this:
 You know, in case any of those creepy gnomes show up!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Bapron

I had planned to spend my spare time this week in the yard, there is much weeding and mulching to be done. But my aspirations were much more than my aching back could stand, so I spent Wednesday inside at the sewing machine. I had some fat quarters that I wanted to use up and found the PERFECT project for them: 


It's a bib, it's an apron, it's GENIUS!
It fits securely, looks fabulous, and I sewed these three beauties in an hour.  Get the free pattern and tutorial at 

I see many, many more of these cute baprons in our future!  I just hope little miss Mary Grace will be cooperative with her nap time so mommy can sew.  
needle and thREAD