Monday, July 31, 2006

The heat wave continues


Sunday, July 30, 2006


I had to replant the zuchinni 3 times (I only planted one plant at a time - I do not want too much zuchinni), but at last I have a healthy producing plant. Posted by Picasa


The cucumbers are thriving in spite of the heat and drought. This is only two plants! Posted by Picasa

The garden is tamed

I cut down all of the purple coneflowers that were laying on the ground and done flowering. The area looks bare now, but you can at least see the black eyed susans now that were being hidden by the coneflowers. You can see how brown the grass is. Have I mentioned we need rain? Posted by Picasa

Rogue Tomato Plant

Rogue Tomato Plant. It is amazing to me that in this heat and drought that a tomato plant that seeded itself can grow big enough to be flowering. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another heat wave!

Heat Advisory Statement as of 2:51 am CDT on July 28, 2006
... Heat advisory in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 am CDTSunday... ... Excessive heat watch now in effect from Sunday morning throughlate Monday night... The National Weather Service in Twin Cities/Chanhassen has issueda heat advisory... which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to7 am CDT Sunday. The excessive heat watch is now in effect fromSunday morning through late Monday night. Hot temperatures and increased humidity are still expectedacross the Twin Cities Metro area... lasting from Friday afternoonthrough the upcoming weekend... and into Monday night. Hightemperatures will be in the 95 to near 100 range... and dew pointswill range from the middle 60s to perhaps the lower 70s. Thiscombination will produce heat indices exceeding 100 degrees duringat least the afternoons.The area of intense heat and humidity may expand to cover more ofcentral and south central Minnesota... and perhaps west centralWisconsin... in the Sunday through Monday time period.A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures isexpected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humiditywill combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses arepossible. Drink plenty of fluids... stay in an air conditionedroom... stay out of the sun... and check up on relatives andneighbors.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Disappointed with Wax Beans

I always plant pole beans - I have a small garden and I find I get much better production out of a small area with pole beans. But the beans can be so hard to find - they blend in so well - and no matter how well I pick them, I always find some that are getting too big and tough that I must have missed the day before. A few years ago I saw some new hybrid purple beans and while they turn green when cooked, I thought what a neat idea - maybe they will be easier to pick so I planted them instead and was very diappointed in them - they really did not climb very high and did not produce anywhere near what I was used to with Blue Lake. So I went back to my Blue Lake and was happy to have lots of beans to eat and a few to freeze off of my bean towers. This year I decided to try yellow wax beans for the same reason - just to see if they might be easier to see. On planting day, I remembered what had happened with the purple beans and decided to plant one tower with my old reliable Blue Lake and only one with the new wax beans. I am so glad I did. The yellow beans started producing first (the green beans are just now starting) and it was so good to get that first taste of fresh beans - but just when they seemed to be hitting their peak and I was getting enough to eat, production suddenly stopped and the plants appear to be dying back. Over so quick. The Blue Lake, while they are later than bush beans seem to produce into September - while I won't get as many off of one tower as I would have off of two - I am so glad that I will have this one tower and not have my bean season over with already. The wax beans were definitely not as much of a flop as the purple beans were and if I had a larger garden, it might be nice to plant them for contrast and to have an earlier variety, but I think I will go back next year to just my beloved Blue Lake - it hasn't let me down yet (other than hiding those green beans!).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Andy's First Lemonade Stand

Andy's First Lemonade Stand. OK - this has nothing to do with gardening - but it was so darn cute to see him out there selling lemonade. He only lasted an hour - but he made $5.50 - thanks to some generous tipping by our neighbors. Posted by Picasa

Freezing Excess

Garden Produce ready for the freezer. If you have just a little extra each week, it is better to freeze the produce rather than can. To successfully freeze vegies you need to first blanch them in boiling water for a specific amount of time and then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Then pack in freezer bags or rigid freezer containters. Greens require 2 minutes in boiling water, green beans 3 minutes and beets are just cooked until tender. Then in the middle of winter, yum - vegies from your garden! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My garden today

A shot of the raised bed garden. You can't see the smaller items that are planted there - the carrots, basil and lettuce. You can see the bean towers, the brussels sprouts, the beets and the onions. Posted by Picasa

Sunflower fort

The sunflower fort is growing taller - but since we planted them so late, they are a long way off from flowering. Posted by Picasa

My garden today

A shot of my garden along the garage. You can see Purple Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susans, off to the right are my hot chili peppers and in the very back behind my glass ball are the currant bushes. Posted by Picasa


A baby cucumber. It won't be long now until my salad includes cukes! Posted by Picasa


Ewww, what is happening to my cauliflower? It is all getting ugly. It looked so nice when it first started to form heads, but they are all getting icky before getting very big. I don't think I will grow them in an earth box again. Posted by Picasa

Made with fresh basil....

Thai Rice Noodles with dairy free pesto, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Posted by Picasa

Dairy Free Pesto

Dairy Free Pesto Posted by Picasa

For the love of Basil

Up until 3 years ago, I was often heard saying that you could never plant too much basil. My husband and I were both very fond of pesto. I would make it with fresh basil and garlic from the garden, saute fresh mushrooms along with bell peppers and onions from the garden. Toss it all with some angel hair pasta and it was as good as anything I have ever had at an Italian Restuarant. Sometimes we would have some grilled boneless chicken breasts along with it and sometimes we would toss cut up crab in it. Everyone loved my pesto. And then we had to first eliminate dairy (how could you make a decent pesto without romano cheese?) and then Andy was diagnosed with celiac and the gluten had to go as well. I stopped growing basil. What was the point? I didn't need that much for other uses - the main use had always been pesto. It took us a long time to find a gluten free pasta that was acceptable, but we finally did (Tinkyada brand) and I started making wonderful spaghetti sauce again, but the Tinkyada pasta is thicker than the angel hair we were used to with pesto and I besides I couldn't make pesto without dairy. I have become pretty darn good at gluten free dairy free cooking so this year I decided to plant basil again. I tinkered with what ingredients I had and what I thought I could use and came up with a pretty decent pesto (I will post pictures in a bit). I decided to use Thai thin rice noodles instead of Tinkyada gluten free spaghetti for the pasta. I picked up some fresh mushrooms today at the farmer's market, pulled an onion from the garden and picked some bell peppers and Dan and I are in heaven now. It is not as good as my old dish - but it was my first attempt - I will tinker some more - but it was pretty darn good. And the best part is that Andy ate it too. At first he was pretty suspicious since it was so green, but then he tasted it and decided he would have some!
Here is the recipe that I came up with (I did not use the whole recipe for dinner tonight - only a third of it - I froze the other two thirds.
Dairy Free Pesto
9 cloves garlic
2 cuts fresh basil leaves, washed and packed into cup
1/2 cup pine nuts (I think I will use more next time)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan Alternative (by Galaxy Foods)
Mix everything until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Thinking of Mom

Gardening to me is always a time to get lost in my thoughts and just see where my thoughts take me. Tonight my thoughts were of my mother. My mother was a truly incredible woman - she is my hero - if I can be half of the woman that she was, then I will have lived a good life. My mom's name was Muriel Dutcher (how cool would it be to have someone post here and say they knew my mom or she was their teacher?). She died in 1990, the day after her 73rd birthday, but she was lost to those of us who loved her years before. My Mom always wanted to be a teacher, but her father wouldn't let her go to college - college was for boys, so she worked in her father's business until she met and married my dad in 1940. And then she started having babies. My sister, the oldest was born in 1941 and my youngest brother was the last born in 1960. Mom stayed at home and raised us kids until I entered second grade and my little brother started Kindergarten then she went back to college to earn her teaching license. She went to a two year teaching college and was probably the oldest student there. The year she graduated, Wisconsin changed the requirements for a teaching license and made it mandatory to have a 4 year degree. She took a job as a substitute and as an aide and went to school nights and worked hard to get her 4 year degree. She graduated from college just a few months before I finished highschool and the school district gave her a job teaching. At this point, Mom had been having health problems for years - she had been to several doctors to find out what was wrong. It was becoming increasingly obvious that something was not right. Two years later, we got our answers - she had early onset Alzheimer's Disease. No one had heard of Alzheimer's in the late 70's. It was heart breaking to watch her slip away from us. At the age of 64, she was too much work for Dad alone (I helped as much as I could, but I was married and in college full-time) and we had to put her in a nursing home. It's not fair that someone as determined as my mom to fufill a life dream should be robbed of the enjoyment that comes after achieving that dream. It's not fair that my child will never know his wonderful grandmother. It's not fair that I look so much like her that I see her every time I look in the mirror and miss her so much more. But it is good that when I am at peace in my garden I can connect with her and remember wonderful things about her. Like how she would always yell at me if I peeled a cucumber the wrong way - you always peel from the blossom end to the stem end - the stem end is bitter and if you peel it the wrong way, you will make the whole cucumber bitter - now I realize that is probably an old wive's tail, but mom drilled it into me so much that I cannot peel a cucumber any other way and I will probably pass the same quirk onto my child. Mom, if you read blogs in heaven - just know that you are always in my heart and I love you.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Brown Grass

Brown grass due to the drought. Hopefully it will start to green back up. While it was hot yesterday, the forecast for the continued heat was wrong. I woke up to rain this morning and it rained on and off all day. It is incredibly humid, but it it no where near 100 degrees today. I think the high was only 85. Posted by Picasa

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes. Posted by Picasa

Baby Brussels Sprouts

Baby Brussels Sprouts. Yum Yum. I can't wait, but I will need to - we won't be picking these for a long time yet. Posted by Picasa


The garlic tops have died back - it is time to harvest them. I will not have large cloves because I spring planted them instead of fall planting. The small cloves will be fresh in my memory - I will remember to fall plant this year. Posted by Picasa

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan Posted by Picasa

Hot Chili Pepper

Hot Chili Pepper Posted by Picasa

Bell Peppers

Bell Pepper Posted by Picasa


3 Colors of raspberries. The blacks are just about done and I am starting to get a few reds and yellows. It is really kind of an in-between time for the raspberries - but just enough for my fruit loving son. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Baby, It's hot outside!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Rain, Beautiful Rain

We finally got some rain last night. My rain gauge shows just about an inch. Not enough for the poor farmers who are suffering through this drought - especially with triple digit weather predicted for this weekend, but enough to give me the night off of watering. My brown lawn certainly appreciates it. The garden does too - things always grow better after a rain. You can add the same amount of water via a hose or sprinkler - but something about a natural rainfall really makes a difference in a garden. When I heard the rain coming down last evening I was tempted to run outside in it and get all wet like a giddy child - but I held back with adult restraint. I guess the rain dance worked - may have to try it again!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Out of the mouth of Babes.....

My son may be delayed in some areas, but in other areas he just really surprises me with the connections he is able to make. Last night he informs me that "We eat compost". "Ewwww" I replied. He went on to explain that we put compost on our plants to make them grow and then we eat the plants, therefore we eat compost. The kid has a point - what a wonderful connection to make. But, I prefer to think of myself as eating a carrot(or whatever veggie I am eating), not compost!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Time for a rain dance!

My son and I have decided that it is time for a rain dance. The lawn is very brown and the time it is taking to water every night is time that is not spent weeding or playing with my child. The forecast includes a heat wave with temperatures possibly reaching 100 this weekend for the first time since July 13, 1995 - and no rain. Now I did see some rain recently - yesterday in fact. It rained for about 20 minutes in downtown Minneapolis, but by the time I got home to my suburban home 5 hours later I saw no signs of the rain having touched my garden. So my son came up with the idea of a rain dance - why not? It certainly can't hurt and it should be fun. I'll let you know if it works........

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I found a green apple under my apple tree

Hmmm......maybe my apple tree isn't totally barren this year after all. I considered the possibility that a squirrel had carried it in from somewhere, but that it landed right under my apple tree seemed pretty improbable. So I looked up into the tree and I walked all around it looking at it from lots of different angles and way up high in the tree I do have some apples - not a lot, but a few. Lesson to all - do not let your trees go unpruned - if you do, they will not produce so well and if you over prune trying to catch up, they also don't produce so well.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fresh Green Beans

There is nothing that tastes better than the first taste of fresh green beans in the summer. I had that first taste yesterday. Lightly steamed, they just melt in your mouth and are oh so good. I love green beans and so does my family. I manage to grow enough to eat fresh green beans from July through early September and freeze some to eat the rest of the fall and into the winter. I never freeze enough to last until we have fresh again, but thats OK because while my frozen are better than store bought frozen, they aren't as good as fresh. We did buy some store bought frozen beans this winter - Andy wanted them so bad - ugh, I couldn't stand the taste - they were like cardboard. I will go without when we run out and wait for that first taste of fresh green beans again next summer. When I taste something as wonderful as my own fresh green beans I know why I like to garden so much.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Beautiful Day Lilly Posted by Picasa


Lillies Posted by Picasa


Compost ready for the garden. Posted by Picasa


Who us? Honest, we don't know how the hose got turned out, we are just taking a break eating all the yummy fruit you grow - must have been someone else. Posted by Picasa