Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day

Every Thursday morning, the Jax Vets meet at Denny's for breakfast and they meet at a very early hour.  They are all looking forward to see each other to shoot the breeze and tell stories.  They do have  good time sharing a few jokes and laughing.  They are from different branches of the Armed Services but they served their country well.

On a serious note, if one of these veterans need to talk:  they have each other.  

There is also Veterans Crises Line, 24/7, Confidential support:  888-457-4838
Veterans Crises Line Prevention Hotline  Chat & text:  1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.  
Text 838255.

Thank you for your service.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Taking Back the Yard

Our Back Forty has been sadly neglected for the last year and hurricane Irma did not do anything to help.  We finally decided that we had to go out and take back our yard.  Enough is enough! 

It is very nice to have a somewhat natural backyard--to let the trees, bushes, and plants grow as they want.

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The Plumbago with its delicately blue flowers was blooming profusely just a few weeks ago, but it was spilling out well into the yard.  It was growing against the shed and it made for a great source for butterflies and other pollinators but some of it had to go  It will come back this spring.  We did leave some of the greenery against the shed.

Mexican Petunia
Then there was the Mexican Petunia with its purple flowers.  It has a tendency to spread--it creeps and crawls.   Butterflies and bumble bees like the petunia.

Most gardeners maintain that you should not prune flowering shrubs at this time of the year.  It will encourage growth that may be susceptible to the cooler temperature of winter.  What winter?

Red top or Red Tip at its best
I drastically pruned the Red Tops.  They were scraggly and made for a sad looking hedge.  I cut off the branches at the hint of new dormant growth and left some of the branches alone.  I feel that if the bushes don't come back this spring, I have not lost much.

The Lantana is a bush with pink/ yellow/orange flowers and is also popular with pollinators.  They spread quickly through their root system.  Lantanas that are more or less permanent should be pruned or the stems become woody and scraggly. 

My husband and I are pleased with the work we have done so far but we have so much more to do.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, October 27, 2017

White Beans and Sausage

It got down right cold the other morning.  It is time for long sleeves, long pants, and socks in your shoes.  It is time for slow cooking beans on a warm stove.  I read somewhere that is is a good idea to soak the beans overnight and that will reduce the flatulence.  Good to know

I recently read a Face Book request for inexpensive food/meals and what is less costly than beans?  Any kind of beans.  Notice that I did not say cheap? There is nothing cheap about such nutritional, complex, and inexpensive food that will feed quit a few people.  Some of the beans you may grow in your garden, e.g. black eyed beans--good to eat and good as cover crop.

My favorite recipe is for White Beans and Spicy Sausage a  la New Orleans style.  I cooked the dried white beans as stated on the package, soaking overnight.  On the second day, I boiled/simmered the beans until soft, a little less than two (2) hours.

In the meantime, I stir fried the onions, green Bell peppers, and celery (the Trinity of NO cooking) with a bit a minced garlic with the spicy sausage.  I poured this mix into a large pot with the beans, added 8 - 10 cups of stock (or water) let it come to a boil, and let it simmer for about half an hour.  Use less liquid if you don't plan to simmer for very long  No need to overcook. 

Herbs and Spices.  Since the sausage is rather spicy, go easy on the spice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I added one Bay leaf, 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley, saving some for decoration.

Serve as a main dish over cooked rice.

A native of New Orleans, a legend however sky, recently passed away.  May he rest in Peace.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Late October Garden for Vitamin K

Every time I go to the grocery store to buy "fresh" produce, I cringe.  I don't know where the fruit and vegetables come from, how they grew with what, and how they were handled in the store.  Although the labels read 'organic', I question that and the price that goes with it.

Last week my husband had a scheduled appointment for an echo cardiogram and since he is on coumadin, the nurse checked his INR (International Normalized Ratio) and it was off the chart.  He ended up in the hospital and his cardiologist thought it was lack of green leafy vegetables.  Mostly.

Eventually,tests normalized and needles to say, we found it imperative to start a garden.  Ergo, me and  my Rollator headed out to the Back Forty and I started to pull the weeds, fast and furiously.

The first seedlings that go into the ground is the curly kale that contain vitamins A and C in addition to vitamin K.  One (1) cup of lightly cooked kale has 684% of the daily intake or 1230% of DRI (Dietary Reference Intake).  Vitamin K helps to normalize the clotting of the blood.  In warmer climate, it grows all winter long.  This is the most important vegetable in our garden on Back Forty.

Brussel Sprouts is another important vegetable that goes into the garden.  It contains 116% of the DRI of vitamin K, A and C.  !/2 cup of the sprouts meets the intake of vitamins C and K.  It's low in calories but high in protein which surprised me when I read it.  I usually finely slice them and stir fry them with onions.

Broccoli is the third most important vegetables for us here at Back Forty.  It contains 116% of the DRI of vitamins K, A and C.  If you don't want to eat it raw, cut it up in florets and lightly steam it.

Of course, the cabbage completes my October planting.  It contains 85% of DRI of vitamin K per up. It makes for strong bones which I need.  It is also good for diabetes type 2.

It may be too late for basil but I picked up a healthy looking plant in the grocery store.  Interestingly, only one (1) tbs of dried basil contains 107% of DRI while two (2) tbs of fresh chopped basil give you 27% of DRII

This, folks, is the power of food!

Disclaimer:  This information is mainly for us at the Back Forty.  Please, do your own research.

Good Sources for Additional Research: 13 Foods High in Vitamin K.
A List of Foods with vitamin K--Coumadin (found on the Internet)
The National Institutes of Health has an extensive article on Vitamin K.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Scalloped Tomato and Bread Casserole

I must confess that 'scalloped' is a bit fancy for a simple and easy bread and tomato pudding, but let's go with it because the end result is rather good.

Somebody in my household believes that cluster tomatoes are beautiful, red, nice and even.  So, we had more tomatoes than we could eat during the week.

First, I prepared the casserole dish by spreading a little oil on the inside.  Then I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

When that was done, I cut up day old bread into croutons, chunked three (3) tomatoes and mixed them with the bread in a bowl.  I drizzled the mixture with a generous amount of canola oil and kept mixing to make sure the bread and tomatoes got some oil.  I set this bowl aside

I diced onions, pepper, and celery and mixed them in another bowl.

I added this mixture to the bottom of the dish
and topped it off with the tomatoes and bread.

I was tempted to add cheese to the casserole but resisted; however, sweet basil goes well with tomatoes.

I baked the casserole for 30 minutes and it came out golden brown., sort of.

This tasty and easy dish may be served as a side dish with any meat or it may be served with a tossed salad too.

Happy Cooking!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The October Garden

I have done some serious manual weeding around the house among the bushes.  I have barely finished when it's time to start over again--an endless job.  I was going to fertilize and mulch the bushes but read in the local paper not to fertilize because it will encourage new growth that might be sensitive to cold weather.

Time flies when you are having fun, they say.  So true.  October is here and it's time for north-east Floridians to start planting a fall garden.  The broccoli and cabbage are a given in my garden.  I like cauliflower but it is a bit difficult to grow--the diva of the Brassica family.

I also plant the leafy vegetables such as kale and mustard.  At some point, I usually let the mustards go to seed and its small yellow flowers hopefully will attract pollinating helpers.

Another leafy seedling to plant is the Georgia Collard which will grow well and prosper in any condition.  It certainly has been more than enough for us but it is also nice to give away to friends and neighbors.

I recently bought a small pot each of dill and thyme.  I divided the dill and set it out in my still living and growing herb garden by the summer kitchen.  I find thyme a little tricky to grow but I always give it a try.  It is not too late to plant basil but I would set it out in a pot that I can bring in when the weather
gets chilly.

Parsley is always nice to have and it grows well in cooler weather.  So does sage.  It's good to be able to pick your own seasoning for the Thanksgiving stuffing.

Other herbs to plant are Rosemary, of course, borage, lovage, and chervil   These herbs like cooler weather.

All the vegetables and herbs that are on my and yours wish list are subject to availability at nurseries and home improvement stores.

Happy Gardening and thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Landscaping by Irma

Early this month, hurricane Irma came blowing by the Back Forty and dumped a lot of rain and littered the yard with debris.  My husband and I left with our cat for a beautiful place west of Tallahassee and weathered the storm in a small motel.  We sat in a slow moving parking lot to reach our destination.

We made it home after a few days stay by the Seminole Lake.  We found that the boarded up house had not taken in any water and although we lost the electricity for a few hours, no food had spoiled.

The Back Forty was filled with downed cedar trees.  Behind the shed, we had a wild cherry tree with small berries for us to eat and share with the birds.  We cleared it.

We had an assortment of downed cedar trees that at one time was home to many birds and a play area for squirrels.  Some of the trees were leaning from last year's hurricane and another had lost most of its greenery.  Altogether four cedar trees had blown down.

Our neighbor across the street also had downed trees and workers were already cutting and removing the debris.  My husband went over to see if they could take care of our trees too.  Sure, they could.

A strong and dedicated tree cutter came over with a chain saw and a large Bobcat.  In no time had he stripped the trees of the branches, cut up the trunks, and neatly piled it all up.

Using his Bobcat, he hauled the debris to the front yard to be picked up by the city.  The tree cutter was done in less than three hours.  We were impressed and we were grateful.  It was a load off our minds.

The loss of trees has opened up the Back Forty to a lot of sunshine.

We still have a lot of small dead trees to cut and remove.

We feel blessed that Irma left us with some downed trees  with a lot of debris.  It could have been so much worse and we think about the people whose homes were destroyed byt this powerful hurricane.

Thank you for visiting my blog.