Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thinking about Fall Planting

It has been another beautiful fall day. We have been waiting until the temperature started to cool down before even beginning to think about our fall garden. The temperature is going down, so now it's time to get serious. I have been enjoying the roses, while considering the possibilities . . .

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pecan Season is Upon Us

We have been so busy, that we have not had much time to reflect on the pecan trees in the yard. While doing yardwork recently, we noticed that the pecans are plentiful in the trees this year; it promises to be a bountiful crop. My head whirled, while thinking about all the possible uses for a good pecan crop: pecan pie, pecan candy, pecans in a fresh salad, eating pecans right out of the shell. Unfortunately, most of the things that I think of doing with pecans involve calories - I MUST THINK HEALTHIER!
I never really thought about what pecans look like on the tree, before moving to the Southern States. I would just go to the grocery store and purchase a bag of shelled pecans. But I must say that pecan trees are stately and beautiful. This time of year, there could not be a better Sunday afternoon drive, than driving through the countryside passing orchards of pecan trees.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Welcome rain showers!

It has been extremely dry all summer, making the ground very hard to work with, and making it even more difficult for things to grow. Since I have decided to forget about the summertime failures, and move on to fall, the rain showers today were a welcome relief. Now the soil will be much easier to work with. Also, the rains brought a little ray of hope from the heat and humidity of the past several weeks. I'm looking forward to planting a few things this week.

The roses are really enjoying the rain showers!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Anyone interested in a E. coli spinach salad?

I was invigorated and excited to begin a fall lifestyle change, after seeing The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, September 15th. It focused on Dr. Oz's "90-Day Live Longer, Feel Younger Plan". Something that I am certainly interested in. The plan mentioned certain superfoods, foods that can reverse the aging process and keep you healthy. One of the superfoods mentioned was spinach, packed with essential nutrients. The program followed a woman, who during the course of the 90 day plan, lost over 40 pounds and gained energy and self-esteem. This plan certainly sounded like a win-win to me, who doesn't want to look and feel better and younger.

You can imagine my disappointment then, when I watched the evening news that same day, and heard about the recall on E. coli-contaminated spinach. It appears that E. coli has been reported in 94 cases, in 19 states, and has killed one person. Washing won't get rid of the E. coli bacteria, so the spinach must simply be thrown away. Grocery stores across the nation are pulling all bagged spinach products off of their shelves, and throwing them away. So, there goes one superfood, down the trash!

Although, I was a bit bummed about our garden this summer, the more I thought about the news event, the more I was stirred to action. I must admit that in the busy society that we live in today, it is very convenient to be able to go to the local grocery store and pick up a bag of salad greens already washed and ready to eat. Yet, this does put us at the mercy of others for our food supply. I'm not saying that everyone go back to being farmers and grow everything that we eat, but in even small ways we can exercise some control over what we eat. I could easily grow a few of my own salad greens in a potted container, it doesn't take very much room to grow a few greens or herbs, ready to use at your convenience.

One of the issues that has come to the fore from this latest E. coli incident, is that manure should never be used as a fertilizer for produce consumed raw, like spinach, since E. coli can be spread through contamination by fecal material. I know people right in this area, who would not dream of planting without using manure as a fertilizer. So, this issue emphasizes the need to exercise care not only in what you are planting, but also what methods and products you use to fertilize and care for your garden.

Now that summer is over, and fall is here, I have some spinach to plant, along with other delicious vegetables to be enjoyed!

Friday, September 15, 2006


OK! I answered my own question, it's not possible to do everything you would like to do and still be sane. Sometimes, good intentions are not enough, which I truly had plenty of. Life just sort of gets in the way, and unfortunately, there are circumstances beyond our control - like the weather. It was not hot down here this year, it was H O T !!! Between the raging temperatures, and soaring humidity, it had all of us thinking about moving to the North Pole or Antarctica, anywhere cooler! Being transplants to the Southern States, I guess we just could not appreciate the hot and steamy weather. We didn't feel so bad, though, when alot of local people native to the area, also complained about the heat. In addition, when we would look at the evening news, we realized that this was just an unusual year. It was really hot in alot of places, throughout the U.S., and even in parts of Europe where it is traditionally cooler. I guess misery really does like company, because that made us feel better. I say all of this to say that the weather wreaked havoc on our garden this year!

There were so many days that we wanted to go out and water the badly dehydrated garden, but it was TOO hot. Don't get me wrong, we were very concerned about the wonderful vegetables, fruits, and flowers - tomatoes, beans, squash, cantaloupes, watermelons, okra, figs, marigolds, and more - growing out there; but, we valued the life and safety of us and the puppies more. It was all we could do, after the normal everyday activities of life, to keep ourselves and the puppies ( they are cuter than ever, of course, my opinion is biased) cool and hydrated. We hope to install some type of irrigation system, so we won't have the same problem next year. Yet, everything was not a total loss. We did manage to get some tomatoes. Also, some of out plants seemed to thrive in the hot weather - like the okra, figs, Chinese long beans, and cantaloupes ( but they wre lacking in a nice sweet taste). And even under the severe conditions, it was a pleasure to see something determined to grow despite the elements. Even in the plant world, when the going gets rough, the tough keep growing. That's food for thought, for the rest of us earthly beings.

Some of the things that we have enjoyed seeing grow this summer: