Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Carrots in Bloom

The other day, I rode the tractor to the garden and I found the garden wild and overgrown.  Some gardeners believe that it is beneficial for the garden to take a break once in a while--a long break, that is.  Here at the Back Forty, we are slowly reclaiming our land and we are finding a few surprises.

While riding around what used to
be one of the garden plots, I came
upon these white flowers and they
reminded me of Queen Anne's Lace.

Oh, I haven't seen them in  long time. Furthermore, I have never come across them in Florida.

No, it wasn't Queen Anne's Lace:  they were blooming carrot plants!  Various pollinators had also found them which was good news.

I could not resist picking a few of the blooming carrots: taken only what I needed.

The Plumbago has really spread put in front of the shed and they were also attracting pollinators.  We will prune them back later, before winter sets in.

I broke off a few small branches of the Plumbago:  I thought the blooming carrots and the light blue Plumbago would look good together in a vase in my Summer Kitchen for me to enjoy.  I am surprised that they have lasted so long.



They are nice and I enjoy the few blooms inside, bringing a little bit of nature in doors.


Summer will be gone before you know it.  
School has already started. 
Please, take it easy and watch out for our children

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Picking Butter Beans

The Butter Beans is a hot weather vegetable and it is ready for its first picking in the beginning of August.  My trusted gardener here on the Back Forty may have been a little too anxious to pick the beans this morning;  some of them were not fully mature and had to be put into the compost.

I also have another helper with the garden and she proclaims "that you are not a Southerner, unless you like butter beans."  That may be true, but who does not like butter beans?

We have the pole butter beans climbing up on permanent trellises:  it is easier for us to pick them that way, but they also come as bush beans.

Also, some people call the butter beans Lima beans or baby Lima beans.  It really dos not matter.

This young girl shelled the beans, I cooked them, and we ate them.




Some butter beans are pale green and others are off white.  When they are blanched before freezing, they turn up slightly greener and glossier.  Ordinarily, I cook the beans in plenty of water and serve them with a dab of margarine.

Of course, the beans also add interest to a vegetable soup.


Last year, our butter beans lasted long into the spring because of the mild winter weather.  They could have used some fertilizer.  In addition, the pole beans also make for a very nice and natural privacy hedge.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Yellow Cantaloupes

The other day, we went to the Farmers Market downtown in Jacksonville.  I try to pick up a fruit or a vegetable that I have not had before and always ask for suggestions how to prepare it and/or eat it.  That is another way to get to know the farmers too and it is always nice to see them.

We went to the market to get a water melon and my husband did.  We looked and admired the South Carolina peaches that were sky high in price.  How come?  The weather.  It was too hot, too cold, too much rain.  It had been a stormy season for the growers.

A yellow fruit/vegetable caught my eye:  I thought it was a spaghetti squash, but it turned out to be a cantaloupe.  I was surprised.

The farmer had a cantaloupe already cut up and she gave me a piece to taste.  It was firm and crisp with a pleasant taste--not too sweet, but refreshing.


We ended up having the cantaloupe for breakfast several mornings, taking in our natural C-vitamins and antioxidants.

Cantaloupes like moisture, sunlight, and two to three months long growing season in the heat.  They take up a lot of space in the home garden because they like to spread out and ramble.  Some gardeners like to use black plastic put down on the ground to keep the moisture and heat in and also keep the weed at bay.  The black plastic will add to the growing season in cooler climates.


Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy some refreshing cantaloupe.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Time for Muscadine

August is here with its hot and humid days and the muscadine grapes are loving it.  They are fast ripening--getting ready for picking and eating.  Here at the Back Forty, we don't have to worry about making any jams or jellies; we are going to enjoy eating 'em.



Red grapes as well as the red
muscadines are healthful.  To mention a few benefits, they boost the heart functions; lower cholesterol and the blood pressure; aid the immune system and may aid in prevention of mild memory loss; and finally reduce signs of aging.  What more can you ask for?

To make jam, prepare the grapes by removing the seeds and I will keep the skin but chop the grapes.  For 2 quarts of grapes, 6 cups of sugar is recommended.  The cooking time is a bit long without store bought pectin.  Let it simmer and stir often.



So far, we have only gotten less than a quart (I'm sure) of dark red mescadine grapes.  They are somewhat bitter or sour and contain rather large seeds, but eating the grapes will aid in whatever ails me.

Only muscadine grapes are grown in Florida.  It is too hot for other grapes; however, juices of other grapes are trucked in for wine making.

There are some vineyards that offer "pick your own" and that is always fun.  Try it!

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Enjoy the rest of the summer.  School will start soon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Harvesting My Herbs

This morning I harvested my herbs outside the summer kitchen.  The herbs have grown and taken care of themselves without interference from me.  I gave them a scant cup of fertilizer when I first planted out the seedlings and we have had lots of rain.

I snipped off plenty of the Oregano that lends itself to be tied up with a pretty ribbon and hang up to dry for later use in stews.

I also got plenty of Sweet Basil that is so good with corn and tomatoes.  The basil had paled a little because of being out in the strong morning sun.  I plan to let it lay on the kitchen towel and dry.

In addition, I cut the parsley that as far as I am concerned is a cool weather plant.  I use it often for decorating food that is otherwise bland and I use it in stir fried foods.


Finally, I am leaving out the herbs in a cup of water to be used as I go along doing my cooking from breakfast though dinner.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that I also got a few sprigs of Rosemary for my memory.

I must say that the few herbs that I do have is nothing to brag about but it makes me happy to have them and they have to do fine for a garden this summer.  Ah, a handful of the herbs smell so fresh and so delightful.  They will go a long way in the summer kitchen.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope that you have a wonderful summer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Florida Heat Pump



Bottom Portion of the Pump
Top Portion of the Pump
We have what is known as a Florida Heat Pump.  It  pumps the water out of a shallow well in the ground

In the summer time, it uses the coolness of the water to centrally cool our house to what we have set the thermostat to read inside.

It works in reverse in the winter time.  It takes the warmth out of the water to warm the house to desire room temperature.

When we bought the house, we found the Florida Heat Pump to be the most efficient and economical heating and air conditioning system.  The water is being circulated though the unit in the garage and the pump is on the outside of the house drawig water from a shallow well.

After the water has been circulated through, it could be returned to the ground; however, we use it to water the lawn and/or the garden..  We also use it to refresh the water in the pond.

Most often, people don't have big enough yards or gardens to use the water so they use more conventional methods of cooling and heating their houses.


The blue Pressurized Well System Tank may be replaced should it fail and it often does.  It is imperative that electricity to the pump is turned off and that the tank is de-pressurized otherwise it may take off as well as any projectile from Cape Canaveral.

Nowadays, it is a lot of work to put in a Florida Heat Pump and it is being done less and less.  Also, we are finding that few technicians know how to work this particular system in general.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Stay cool and drink plenty of water.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fresh Fruit in Season

It is so interesting and tempting to go to the grocery store or the Farmer's Market for fresh fruit to eat and preserve.  Fresh fruit is such an integral part of nutrition.

The only fresh fruit that we have growing now on the Back Forty
are figs and we have to share them with some of the birds.

We have a small fig tree against the garage window.  It is easy to bend the branches to reach most of the figs that are high up.

The tree gives some shade.  It is the first tree to loose its leaves in the fall and it is the first to put out new leaves in the spring.


Both red and green grapes are available at the grocery store at a reasonable price. My husband tells me that we have muscadine grapes maturing on the vines that he planted a few years ago  We have neglected the grape vines this year:  we didn't trim them but let them grow wild.  The weeding has been minimal, not to mention the feeding  I don't believe that we will be making any vine or preserves  any time soon.  The grapes below are from Lucky's Market


Cherries are also available in the grocery store at a nice price.  They may have to travel a bit to get to Florida but sometimes that cannot be avoided.  It is interesting that some stores let you know in their ads how far some of their produce have been transported.  


It seems that bananas are always in season and they are so sweet and rich in potassium.  My husband cuts them up over his oatmeal and I prefer to peel them and eat them.  I am sure that kids will like a peanut butter sandwich with mashed bananas instead of jam.  It makes for a good change.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Continue to have a great summer.  Enjoy the fruit but be sure to wash them first.  And drink plenty of water and use your sunscreen.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Simple Strawberry Jam

I went to the Farmers Market downtown in Jacksonville and I had my taste buds set on large juicy Georgia or South Carolina peaches.  It was not to be:  the weather messed up that harvest.  Oh, well. the California strawberries are still inexpensive and plentiful and we need some for eating and some for jam to see us through with sweetness for a while.

For a very basic and simple strawberry jam recipe, I used 2 lbs of strawberries and 2 cups of sugar.

Wash, hull, cut and dice, and/or mash the berries.  The berries and sugar was brought to a roiling boil in my large enameled pot while stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking//burning. I  turned down the heat and let the mixture simmer for about an hour.

Forget simple and let's jazz it up some by adding a handful of cherries that are also in season.  I also added a bit of lemon for added pectin and I added a few full leaves of minced sweet basil from my herb garden.


Just before I removed the pot from the heat, I added a little bit of Southern Comfort to the jam.  Hmm!  Pretty good jam!

This time, I poured the jam into a large bowl and covered with a lid.  I let it cool down and sit on the drainboard for several hours to let the strawberries/fruit soak up the juice.  I got this idea from the PBS program, The Farmer and The Chef with Vivian Howard whose mother made strawberry jam this way and it made sense to me.

Finally, I ladled the jam into a couple of jars and sealed them with hot wax.

Thank you for visiting my blog and continue to enjoy the hot summer.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Figs

It is summertime.  It is hot and only the figs thrive in this heat  This one tree is against the garage in hopes that it will give us some shade but the tree is rather small.  The leaves break out early in the spring and they are the first to turn color (brown) and fall from the tree as soon as there is a hint of autumn in the air.

The other year, I made fig preserves and they turned out very sweet.  This year, we are going to eat them as soon as we can pick them.  Our competition are squirrels and birds.  That is OK:  we share.

Figs don't last very long once picked and the greenish ones don't mature.  Let's eat 'em and enjoy 'em!





Thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monster Monstera Plant

This giant Monstera Plant, also known as split leaf philodendron, likes the hot and humid Florida weather.

If unchecked, it may climb fences and trees.  It may also hide a small shed in no time.

The Monstera plant grows in sunny areas as well as in the shade and it need little or no watering although it has a rather massive root system.

It is easy to trim in spite of its size.  The "branches" are easily picked up and large enough to be removed by sanitation workers without being bundled up or put in containers.

I transplanted a few Monstera plants digging as any holes, willy-nilly, and put the roots down, covered them up with soil and mulch, Watered.  Waited.  They did very well.

I am carefully monitoring the giant evergreen plants.  I have never seen this plant flowering but when "you see the plant pop out in what looks like a little bunch of green bananas and then loose their shells to reveal an attractive inner core, that is what reproduction looks like on these plants" according to an article in a recent Times Union (Jacksonville, Fl).  Yes, maybe I have seen it in different stages and not knowing what was happening.

One thing for sure, these plants are huge for the home landscape, but attractive and green, so it is important to keep in mind that they will grow tall and wide if you should decide to plant one or two.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Midsummer's Eve

It is the longest day of the year.  It is midsummer.  It is a time to create our own maypole with green branches and flowers.  We should dance around it until the sun comes up, enjoy good food and drink, and each other.



If I had a maypole, it would look very similar to this one in this picture that I snagged.  Once I had dressed the pole, I would make a beautiful garland with wild flowers and wear it in my hair.  It must be part of my Scandinavian heritage that makes my feet tap in rhythm with the rain drops falling down on the roof of my summer kitchen.

Celebrate the summer solstice.  Do it responsibly.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day

Not too long ago, my granddaughter asked me why I called my husband "dad."  Once a dad, always a dad and that goes for grandfathers, too, and so they are called.

Dads in all capacities and roles are important to us.

Thank you, Father, for letting them be in our lives.


Happy Father's Day to all.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day

Today is he American Flag Day.  
I sincerely hope that we can fly it proudly at top of its post.


Bless America!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Herb Garden

It is a little late in the season to start an Herb Garden but I don't want my ailments to stop me from pulling a few weeds, get some dirt under my fingernails, and feel the sunshine beating down on my back.  I am recovering from side affects of chemo therapy for endometrial cancer; but believe me, I hate using cancer as an excuse for living a happy and productive life.

So my beloved gardener of many years bought be a root bound but healthy looking Rosemary, Italian Parsley and Oregano, and Sweet Basil to plant by the door to the Summer Kitchen.

Under the screened window, I planted the Rosemary, a plant that can take the heat of the summer in North Florida.

Actually, I planted it in hopes of improving my memory.

I trimmed it before setting it out in the sandy soil and put the stems of the Rosemary in a small vase of water.  I heard that it may rood and provide me with additional plants.

I added soil from the garden and some compost as well and I have a sack of cedar chips that I plan to put in the Herb Garden to keep the moisture in and the weeds out.

The parsley does best in cool weather but it may survive the seasons and come back again next spring.  The oregano is also an herb that may grow and produce throughout the year as long a I keep it trimmed and not let it bloom.  I frequently use parsley and oregano in my cooking.  Oregano is particular good in spaghetti sauces and the like

The Sweet Basil is a must in my Herb Garden and I use it to flavor corn when boiling.  It is also excellent with sliced or diced tomatoes, cooked or raw.

I am looking forward to tending my Herb Garden this summer and even add some more plants.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

"And So Today" is the touching and typical of Carl Sandburg's great compassion for both this subject and other subjects in his poems.  "As of Today" was inspired by the burial of the unknown soldier in th cemetery at Arlington in Virginia.  The following is an excerpt:

And so today--they lay him away--
the boy nobody knows the name of--
the buck private--the unknown soldier--
the doughboy who dug under and died
when they told him to--that's him.

It is my understanding that Sandburg referred to the first unknown soldier from World I to be buried at the National Cemetery.

Today, we honor all those who served our country.  


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zen Moments

Sometimes simplicity is best and easy.  Best, yes; easy no.  The more I think about simplicity, the more elusive it is.  It is the same with finding time and a quiet place:  they are elusive, but we need it.

 I will leave this April Challenge for this year with the simple wisdom and simplicity (sophistication) of the Zen Master himself:  Thich Nhat Hanh.

Breathing in, I know this is my in-breath.
Breathing out, I know this is my out-breath.
Breathing in, I'm aware of my eyes.
Breathing out, I smile at my eyes.
Breathing in, I'm aware of my whole body.
Breathing out, I release the pain in my body.


In, out
Deep, slow
Calm, ease
Smile, release
Present moment, wonderful moment

Namaste

Go in Peace and Harmony
Enjoy the Summer
Yes!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yellow in the Garden

I have a few Cassia bushes planted at each side of the yard.  The green leaves and the flowers slowly die down in the late fall/early winter.  They stay green during the summer but come fall, the blooms explode in yellow.  Boom!  It's like a touch of sunshine.



There are small delicately yellow green butterflies hanging around the Cassia bushes and their flowers.  The butterflies are like children playing.  They chase each other and they circle each other.  They seem to enjoy the yellow flowers and each other.

When the Lantana bushes are blooming which seems to be most of the year, they are orange yellow.  The monarch butterflies favor the Lantana.  Perhaps it's because they are similar in colors.

It's a good idea to trim the Lantana bushes or they have a tendency to become woody and leggy.

Finally, I have the yellow squash flower.  The squash requires much room to grow and spread.  The squash is a good flower producer and that will attract pollinators, hopefully bees, if they are in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the squash suffer from bloom end rot which is a calcium deficiency.  This could be prevented by using fertilizer with calcium and used on the plants before they bloom.

It is apparent that I do need more yellow in the yard and garden.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Friday, April 28, 2017

Exercise and Relax

During my recovery from drop foot, effecting both of my feet, my physical therapist emphasized relaxation after each completed set of exercise.  "Relax," he said, "focus and be mindful of what you are doing."

The exercises were simple and easy.  They consisted of mindfully moving my feet forward, backward, and sideways.  Relax.

The exercises also consisted of "kicking my butt."  When I first attempted to do this, it was difficult.  "Relax," he said, "and do it again."  He also told me that what I did to one foot, I should do it to the other.

These simple exercises strengthen the muscles.  Exercise and relax.  The muscles remember.

Relaxation is the art of letting go.--Dan Brule

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Walking

Walking is the best medicine you can give your heart and your body said my husband's cardiologist.  Move the body.  Walking is a full body exercise.  Walking is healing.

I also heard on the news that some doctors are prescribing walking and it's always been known that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

During my recent convalescence, I made sure that I walked, not just a few lapses between a comfortable couch in the den and to the bedroom.  I walked up and down the drive way with the roller walker and wearing my braces for my feet.

I was afraid that if I did not walk, I would develop blood clots that would travel more than I and cause more damage.  Even with the Mother of all Boots, I try to keep moving.
.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vodka

There has been a time or two when I have rushed into the local liquor store at ten o'clock in the morning to buy the smallest, sweetest, and least expensive bottle of brandy.  I explained to the clerk that I was making peach jam.

I have never bought Absolut Vodka.  The price has deterred me and I have never had the taste for it.  Actually, I don't know what to do with it.

But this has not stopped me from admiring the advertisements for this particular brand of Vodka.  I found the ads to be extremely creative and even funny.

The bottles of this brand of Vodka are plain, yet sophisticated, distinctive, and immediately recognizable on the shelves or in the ads.  I also admire the imagination of the makers of the Vodka.  What will they come up with next?

I don't particular like cilantro either; consequently, I won't be rushing out to the local liquor store to buy a pint of Vodka.  Not today, any way.

Cheers! 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Ugly and the Unwanted

The ugly and the unwanted may just as well be an essay on the human condition but that is too deep and too philosophical, not to mention judgmental, for me to write about in this April Challenge for bloggers that I am sort of side stepping any way.


I really had to scratch my hairless head for the letter U.  But since spring is in full swing, there are those ugly and unwanted critters that are awakening and will visit the garden to nibble on new and vulnerable plants and seedlings.

To do least harm to the environment, I found a recipe "to clobber bugs and thugs" in the early spring garden.  I hope Jerry Baker doesn't mind me sharing his tonic from his book Backyard  Problem Solver.

Mix the following ingredients together and put in a handheld sprayer:

3 tbs baking soda
2 tbs Murphy's Oil Soap
2 tbs canola oil
2 tbs vinegar
2 gal warm water

It is important that the plants be well sprayed, the underside of the leaves too, until they are dripping wet.  This may have to be repeated a few times.

It is also important to catch the ugly and the unwanted bugs and thugs early in the spring before they have a chance to do too much harm.

Thank you or visiting my blog.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank You

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my blog and making comments.  Thank you for supporting the April Blogging Challenge for this year.  It has actually been fun and interesting for me; no pressure.  It has also been therapeutic for me to write my blog journal.
Thank You!

Enjoy e.e.cummings poem:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and  a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

I am also adding a saying by Dag Hammarskjold:

For  all that has been,
Thank you.
For all that is to come,
Thank you.

Another profound saying by Dag Hammarskjold:

The longest journey is the journey inward.


Thank you for reading my blog.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

She Shed

I have spent many happy hours modifying and outfitting a 16X10 ft.barn shaped she shed. So far, the shed is taking shape and form on paper only.  I was so inspired by John Muir who wrote that "Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world" that I have selected a location among a few cedar trees for my she shed.



When I enter my imaginary shed from the west, I will see a blue IKEA Futon on the opposite side. On the wall above the Futon, I plan to hang photographs of Evelyn Roses from my yard.

To make reaching the Futon under the loft more romantic, I will have to enter through lacy IKEA Alpine curtains.  Then lounge on the Futon and have  glass of chilled Chardonnay.
This is as far as I have gotten on my plans for my own (and granddaughter's) she shed.

The shed to the right houses our tractor, lawn mower, and trimmers as well as the garden supplies.  My shed will be placed in front of it and it will be painted in the same colors.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
Keep supporting other bloggers who are participating in the April Challenge for this year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Rehab

During my last stay in the hospital. I was wearing street clothes and lipstick.  I wasn't hooked up to any fluids; I could eat and enjoy their surprisingly good food.  I wasn't sick:  I just couldn't walk.

A physical therapist showed me how to use a walker without wheels and he approved of how I handled the walker with wheels. Most of my days were spent testing and on Saturday afternoon, I was outfitted with braces for my feet and legs.

Then there was talk about putting me into a live-in rehabilitation where I could receive physical therapy daily and on a regular basis.  Initially, I thought that it was a good idea, but the insurance company had to approve.

While waiting for the insurance company's blessing, I really started to think about this prospect.  What are they going to do to me in rehab?  Why can't rehab come to me?  I would be satisfied if a physical therapist came to my home, worked with me, and showed me how to exercise my legs and feet.

I  began to protest:  I don't want to go to rehab!  I don't want to sit in the hospital and wait.  I want to go home to familiar surroundings.  If I could, I would bolt.


I don't want to go to rehab!  I want to go home.  Now!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quiet Time

This is precious time that is difficult to find.  There is the television reporting on murder and mayhem; robo calls, and people knocking on your door offering to replace your roof, windows, or cut down your trees for a price.  Give me a break:  leave me alone.

I find quiet time in my garden, weather permitting.  I usually take my cup of hazelnut coffee with me when I go out for an inspection tour.  Most often, I start by pulling one tuft of weed and then another.  Before I know it, I am down on my knees, creeping and crawling along the plants, weeding.

When I pause to take a sip of now tepid coffee, I hear the kindergarten kids from across the field squealing with delight.  Their voices carry on the wind.

Quiet time is indeed elusive but a little noise has never hurt me as long as my thoughts are still and quiet.

Back in the Summer Kitchen taking a zip of my now cold water, I thumbed through some papers and found the following note that I had put together about silence from Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Suryaa Das.   Let me share it with you:

Silence is true
Silence is golden
Silence is medicinal
Silence is healing
Silence is real
It is within me

Find your own quiet time and enjoy it.
Thank you for visiting my blog

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Potato and Pear Soup

What a combination!  When following this recipe, it will serve eight hungry people.  If you don't have that many around your table, halve the recipe.

Ingredients for eight servings:

2 tbs butter/marg or canola oil for sauteing 2 leeks or onions of compatible size
4 cups chicken broth


2 lbs Russet potatoes (cut in 1 inch cubes, or so)
2 lbs Bartlet pears (or pears of your choice; peel, and core, cube or slice
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp salt to taste

Direction:

Saute leeks or onions until soft.  Use a large pot.  Add broth, potatoes, and pears.  Boil/simmer for about 25 minutes.  Mash.  Pure in blender, using batches.  While still hot,stir in brown sugar.

When serving. decorate with a doll-up of sour cream or a sprig of parsley.  Enjoy.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oleander Bushes

Caution:  All parts of the Oleander bush, dried or green, are poisonous.  From time to time, I have toyed with the idea of getting several Oleander bushes.  Here in Northern Florida, they remain green throughout the year.  They are said to be very fragrant and they come in a huge variety of colors.

The Oleander bushes are attractive and make excellent hedges.  They hide chain link fences very well e.g. Arlington Expressway in Jacksonville is a good example.

They grow well in salty and marshy soils, making it popular in coastal regions.  I thought that a row of Oleander bushes would look good as a perfect privacy fence near the"scenic" creek.

But I can't do that because my granddaughter comes to visit and I don't want her to go near this bush.  I also like for people to feel free to meander along the ditch; and I don't want to worry about anybody touching this bush.  It is poisonous and I take that very serious.

As you can clearly see, I have borrowed this beautiful picture.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Navel Oranges

These oranges have nothing to do with any naval organisation but with the navel that it so resembles.  It is actually a mutation and it grows on another fruit besides the main orange. It is thus said to  have a twin.

The navel oranges are sweet, seedless, and easy to peel.  I'm not sure about the easy to peel so I would recommend that the peeling and eating be done over a sink.

We need fresh oranges this time of the year to supply us with natural C-vitamins and the Navel oranges fit that bill after a long winter.


They may still be an a tree depending on the cold it encountered during the growing season.


It is easy to peel and cut an orange, if the top and bottom are first cut off.  Then stand the orange on one side and thinly cut off the peel from top to bottom.

To remove the flesh ever so nicely, cut with a sharp paring knife on either side of the membrane.




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Leave a message below, if you like.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mezcla and Sieva Beans

A few years ago, the Sieva Pole Butter Beans could not be found because the commercial growers switched to Mezcla Beans due to their resistance of nematodes, so I was told.  We only used the Mezcla pole butter beans for one season here on the Back Forty in Northeast Florida.

These warm weather beans did well.  I could not tell the difference in growth, appearance, harvesting, taste, cooking, or freezing.

Pole beans have to be staked.  We prefer pole beans because we won't have to bend down picking the beans; however, we do have to do the staking.

Because we use staked pole beans, we sow the beans in a designated, stationary, place and we also use heavy duty PVC poles and providing strings for the beans to climb.  When the beans are fully grown, they make a nice hedge.

It is also recommended that a gardener rotate the crop, but we have made an exception to the beans.

The Sieva and the Mezcla beans, respectively, have a delightful hint of green.  The Sieva pole beans are our preference.

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Happy growing season!
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Life in a wheelchair

This is my first experience to life in a wheelchair after I broke my ankle that added to my already existing problem with my feet and legs. I could only stand by myself for 15 seconds and got around with a walker.  Now, I have to get around in a wheelchair thanks to my cat that I chased and fell.

Ramps:  Thanks goodness, our house is built on a concrete slab and we have two half steps (or less) to maneuver before we reach the hallway from the outside.  My strong husband is able to manage this obstacle by tilting the wheelchair and pushing.  Yes, I am holding on!

I read in the "Prime Time" section of Times Union that it would cost $500 - $600 to build a 5 to 6 foot portable nonslip ramp,

Doors:  The most important thing to do is to protect the knuckles when wheeling through  doorways.  In the same article in the Times Union, I read that it would cost about $2,500 to "structurally" widen  a doorway.

Clearance:  People in a wheelchair have a reach of 24 to 48 inches which I don't dispute.  They also need at least a 5 foot wide path for moving and turning around.

When my life in the wheelchair is over, my husband and I will have to patch and paint a lot of doors and cabinets.

Other:  There is so much to life in a wheelchair, but it is imperative that I take care of myself by eating wholesome food such as vegetables from my garden and fresh fruit.

It is also important that I stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

It is also important that I check my attitude, do fun things and help in the household, meditate.and pray.  I also wear my lipstick.  I never know when company is coming.

Source:  Me and Jacksonville.com/primetime Feb 7, 2017

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

On my Knees

There have been so many times when my best well laid plans have totally gone astray but thinking about it afterwards, whatever the outcome, it was for the best to all parties and events.

There  have also been times when there were places that I intended to go to, but I should not even have considered, and there were interference that canceled the trips.  I strongly feel that God have had a hand in my plans.

I have struggled to acknowledge His existence.  When I am in my garden among the growing vegetables that nourishes me so well and it gives me so much pleasure and peace to be out on the Back Forty with all the greenery, bushes, and trees, how can I not believe in Him?

A few weeks ago, my feet and legs gave way and I fell. I could got get up.  I crawled and finally got to my knees and stayed like that for a long while. I strongly felt that God put me in that position to contemplate my relationship with Him.

That was not enough.  When I chased the cat a few days ago, I fell and broke my ankle.  I stayed on my knees until the ambulance came and carried me to the hospital.  Again, God had me on my knees.

These serious events or signs are helping me to slowly and mindfully adjusting my attitude and I am striving to become a better person.


I hope to get down on my knees again without drastic prompting from Him.  I have much to be thankful for and I do feel blessed.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jax Vets

Once upon a time, there were a couple of retired veterans meeting for an early breakfast at a local restaurant.  They met faithfully every Thursday morning:  same table, same guys.

Eventually word got around about these veterans and one by one other veterans dropped by to find out about these veterans and have breakfast with them.

We live in a community with many different military institutions, many service men have found the beaches area an attractive place for their retirement.

The group at the restaurant grew.  It was easy to join,  The only requirement:  you needed to be a veteran, young or old, it didn't matter.

Some of the veterans now meet long before the early breakfast time that  begins with a Pledge to the Allegiance and a prayer.

There are now about thirty (30) veterans meeting for a hearty breakfast at seven (7) in the morning.

This is no stuff:  there are no rules, no ranks, no salutations.  The veterans come together to tell their war stories, joke with each other, have good breakfast and a good time.

Thank you for your service.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

An Insane Move

The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the temperature was moderate. It was s perfect day for a road trip.  The car was packed with our clothing, a couple of blankets, and a cooler with a roast and cut up cantaloupes.  We were ready to roll except for the cat.  We needed  to take her with us.

She likes the road trips, too, and she is used to going with us ever since she was a kitten and she recognizes a motel when she sees one.

Before we leave, she has taken to watch every move we make.  When mama is cooking and cleaning--a sure sign that something is up. and when the last bag is put in the car, it is time for her to go and hide.  So, she did.

Due to my inability to stand and walk by myself, I use a roller walker and I was hoping to help my husband to catch the cat.  He was behind the couch  and cat had come out on one side.  I made a move to block her way with a picker upper.

For an insane moment, I left the security of my roller and  lounged at the cat.  I fell flat on my face.  What a move!  I cried out in pain.  My ankle!  Oh, my ankle!

My husband called 911 and I rode the ambulance to the hospital and was diagnose with a "nondisplaced spiral fracture of the distal left fibular metaphysis" and I am now in a temporary splint cast.

The trip was canceled. The cat is not hurt.  

The moral of the story:  think before you leap.


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