Thursday, December 3, 2009

My husband is a stud-puppy!

I've been so stressed 'cause my clothes washing machine broke yesterday.  I tried to fix it, dear-FIL tried to fix it.  I spent the morning running around the neighborhood looking for an available washer to finish washing my HEAVY, soaking wet half-washed laundry.  Neighbor kindly helped out.  On a good day, I'm up to my ears in laundry so I knew that with the machine out of commission things could get ugly fast.

Sears said they'd charge $130 just to come look at the thing!  I called two independent repair guys, neither of whom returned my call.  One was recommended by friend Amy as "quick, cheap and cute."  Sounds good, right.

DH made the time tonight to take a look at the machine after googling the problem.  The internet is an amazing thing, and so is my husband!  He fixed the broken washing machine!  DH fixed it faster than any of the service guys called me back, he didn't cost me a dime, and he sure is a cutie, if a do say so myself!  I highly recommend him!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pole Beans, Peas, Potatoes, and Ducks

This weekend we enjoyed more gardening.  We shredded up some newspaper and cardboard for our worm bin and checked on the residents.  They are abundant and happy - well, at least they didn't complain.  We also used the borrowed shredder for shredding more yard trimmings for the compost.  One bin was too wet and the other too dry.  Some compost swapping seems to have that all worked out now.  I FINALLY had the chance to trim some bamboo that we had cut prior into branch-less poles.  My plan is to use them as a trellis for the snap peas, which are sprouted and about 4 inches tall now.  The snow peas, which were ancient seeds, didn't sprout.  Happily, I recently got a seed shipment from Territorial Seed, so I planted Red Noodle Yard Long Pole Beans in their place.  We also replanted some limas from the bulk bin.  Only one sprouted prior and it looked so lonely.  But this is my first time to grow limas, and I'm surprised to tell you that lima bean pods are fuzzy.  Very cute.  I replanted the remainder of the ancient broccoli seeds that didn't sprout prior.  I figure if they are down to a 1% sprout rate, planting the whole envelope might do the trick.  Yes, I realize I could just throw them out, but my optimism takes over. 

I also planted two containers on our "garden table."  The first pot has Garlic Chives, Celeriac Brilliant, and Kohlrabi Kongo Hybrid.  The chives are an attempt at growing garlic flavor that ISN'T garlic so that I don't react to it.  We'll see.  The kohlrabi and celeriac I've never tasted in my life, but I was intrigued by them in the seed catalog.  The latter specifically said not to direct sow outdoors, but I did anyway.  Why?  They were in my hand and I was planting outside, not in.  That's my only defense.  The second pot is really a cardboard Amazon box.  Friend Sara had read that this was a container gardening option when one was too cheap for containers.  So into the cardboard box went the Radishes Cherry Belle and Carrots Napa Hybrid.

We harvested the remainder of our potatoes.  We got out another 2.5 pounds - these were all red ones except for one gold.  The gold one was kinda tucked into the shade of the mandarin orange tree so that plant didn't do as well.  While digging in the raised bed we saw lots of happy worms and one grub, which has now been put into the "pet grub" aquarium.  I feel like whenever we pull anything out of the ground we outta add something back in before replanting.  Since we had no finished compost or fresh worm castings ready, I added worm castings from a bag before planting three squares of Spinach Erste Ernte (that must mean something... but what?), Lettuce Bullet Green Romaine, and Lettuce Green Deer Tongue Loose Leaf.  These three I selected for their relative tolerance for heat stress, as I recall.  Or maybe I threw I dart. 

On the topic of potatoes, one gets dire warnings about only planting seed potatoes and not those from the store.  I got mine from the farmer's market and from organic bags at the grocery, cut them up and planted them.  They did fine.  Perhaps with repeated plantings in the same area, seed-specific potatoes are more important.  I did save some tiny potatoes off the plants in a brown bag for next spring's plantings.  For the effort, potatoes are way cheap, but hey mine are organic and they are so much fun to dig out.  I love the surprise!

Did I tell you what we did with some of the grubs that had inhabited the "pet grub" aquarium?  This week, I took DS and DD to a woman's house (Kim) about 30 minutes away to get duck eggs from her free range ducks.  It took some convincing to get DS to be willing to bring the grubs as a gift for the ducks, but talking to him about needless suffering vs. happy life/quick ending did the trick.  Once he was on board with the grubs going, he seemed happy to pack them up into the jar with the air holes, which he held in his lap (along with this snack - yuck!) all the way there.  We also brought Kim some chard form the garden and extra egg cartons.  Since we arrived with such generous gifts, she gave us the $4/dozen duck eggs for free!  What a deal!  And DS even came back with a jar full of feathers and one acorn.  We learned all sorts of great things about ducks (the girls quack loudly and the boys mumble soft quacks).  DS was so excited about seeing them and her horses, dogs, tortoises, and fish.  As soon as we got home, he drew several pictures of the adventure.  We haven't tried the duck eggs yet.  I'm allergic to chicken eggs but have heard that sometimes people with chicken egg allergies can be ok with duck eggs.  I'll let you know when I get up the nerve to give it a try.

No pictures this week.  It is way too late, and I'm rambling.  Happy gardening!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fresh Mint Tea - How hard can it be? A dumb blond joke.

So there is this blond who wants a recipe for making ice...  I think the joke went something like that.  Well here's another joke along those lines, but it is for real.  I've got fresh mint growing in a pot (I'm smart enough to use a pot) on the patio.  Every time I try to make sun tea or boiled tea with the fresh mint (combo of peppermint and spearmint) it ends up really bitter.  Adding honey doesn't mask the bitterness.  Honestly, how hard can it be to make fresh mint tea?  What on earth am I doing wrong?  Should I be using leaves only?  I can't believe that it really has to be dried first to taste good, but I haven't tried drying it yet.  Advice?  Trader Joe's mint tea ingredients reads: Peppermint leaves.  Can't be too tough.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Robeez shoes MIA

Several months ago one of my slippers went missing.  I eventually found it stuffed between my 4 yo son's trundle bed and his mattress.  I had also lost a single Robeez shoe of DD's.  I am saddened to report that I STILL haven't found it.  AND just last week, we lost another single Robeez shoe.  The first was lost somewhere between the changing table and the car.  The second was lost somewhere between the baby's room and my bedroom (not very far at all!).  DS denies involvement and a cursory search of his usual hiding spots has turned up nothing.  Good thing I keep buying Robeez for $2-3 a pair at garage sales!  Uuugggh kids!  The chaos!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Navy Bean Pilaf

Source: My brain!  I was trying to recall the taste of Near East Lentil Pilaf and this recipe came to me as a complete thought yesterday.  How weird is that?  I wrote it down and made it today.  Unlike many of my bean dish experiments, this was really good!

1/2 c dried beans - I used Navy.  Soaked overnight - ok, I soaked them nearly 24 hrs by the time I got around to them.  Drained/rinsed.
1/2 c wild rice
2 c water
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t onion flakes
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 carrot, grated REALLY fine

Cook in a saucepan, simmering until all water is absorbed.
I love leftovers, so next time I'll make 2-4 times this recipe and try it in the crockpot on low for 8 hours.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Planting and Harvest

Today we did more gardening.  Happily, we finally got some drip line to more vegetable garden.  I planted the pots and one box that I put on my garden table in a sunny spot.  Today's seeds were: Lettuce Mesclun Gourmet Baby Greens, Chives, Dill (from 2002), Parsley, Broccoli Earth Gems (2002), Turnip Purple Top White Globe, and Beets Detroit Dark Red.  The ones without dates are 2009, so I hope they'll be ok. 

We planted black eyed peas this year from the dry bulk bin.  I mostly used them for green beans in the newer bean phase, sometimes for greens to cook, but some of the beans got away from me.  Today I picked all of the dried bean pods and gave them to DS to shuck.  He did a great job and was quite proud of the haul.  In all, we had about 1/2 cup of dried black eyed peas.  Not a ton, but a fun project and good fine motor skill practice for DS.  I have them soaking now to cook tomorrow.

I finally harvested the much talked about, enormous, mutant butternut squash.  This puppy weighs in at a whopping 7.5 pounds!  That is a lot for a butternut squash.  It is also pictured here with the kids for scale, plus our store-bought squash and pumpkins.  I love gardening!  It is so great to feed the family real food that I know exactly where it came from!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden update and Halloween

Of last week's snap peas and snow peas ONE has sprouted so far.  Not an overwhelming yield yet.  Today I managed to plant six cloves of elephant garlic near the peas.  Also I put in the ground a basil plant and a cilantro plant that I bought about a month ago.  They'll probably be happier in the ground.  A couple months ago I acquired a table that a neighbor was sending to the landfill.  Today I moved it into a sunny spot and chose some pots to put on it.  A friend (hi Sara!) had told me about reading that one could container garden in cardboard boxes.  So, what the heck, I selected a Amazon box to try planting in as well.  DD woke up from her nap before I was able to assess our potting soil supply and decide what I wanted to plant.  One thing I've got to put in is some lettuces.  The lettuce I planted in September hasn't come up at all.  I think the spot is too shady in fall/winter.

I cooked a meatloaf in a halved pumpkin for Halloween dinner.  It turned out pretty well, but next time I'll season it differently.  I was pleasantly surprised how nicely the pumpkin cooked up, though.  Tonight we did the trick or treating thing with DS as a pirate and DD as a ladybug.  DS loved talking with the neighbors and got the hang of knocking, saying "trick or treat", choosing candy/toy, "thank you," "happy Halloween," and "have a nice night."  Since he can be reserved when meeting new people, the process of trick or treating is actually a great learning experience for him.  And this year we filled our bowl with a bit of candy and mostly Halloween gizmos (pumpkin erasers, pencils, kazoos, pumpkin straws).  We left the bowl out when we were trick or treating and came back to a well-depleted bowl and no vandalism, so it seems to have gone over pretty well.  I prefer the little toys to candy.  At least it isn't junk food.  But it is mostly made-in-China, destined-for-the-landfill sorts of stuff.  Does anyone else do something better?  Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Swine Flu

Friends and family keep asking me about my take on the swine flu vaccine.  We've decided not to do the vaccine due to my concerns that it may have unknown side effects that we aren't yet aware of because it has been rushed to market.  My understanding is that the 1976 vaccine for swine flu was rushed to market and was associated with, but never proven to cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Since this rare nerve disorder is understood to be partially autoimmune and we have Celiac Disease (autoimmune) in the family, we aren't going there.  We do the annual flu shots - 'cause having the flu is so crummy and I feel like the shots have decent safety records.  Most of the media reports I hear are that H1N1 has similar mortality rates as regular seasonal flu, but of course, more targeted to younger populations - likely due to some cross protection from a prior strain that circulated.  Today I went surfing on the CDC to find the mortality rate data.  Sadly, I didn't find exactly what I was looking for - # of deaths per 1,000 cases.  If you find that data, I'd like you to send me the link.  I did find this interesting chart regarding the flu deaths.  This season's curve doesn't look so bad yet, until you realize that this is only week 41 and that the other week 41's aren't really even on the upslope of the curve.  We all know that this swine flu continued through the summer (you can see that in pink in the graph above) and is getting going again early this season - but wow - the curves really say a lot.  If you add a normal flu season onto this swine flu curve, it is going to be pretty big.  Yikes!  I hope I'm making the right decision.  I realize that it is highly likely that our family will get the swine flu and feel terrible with it.  I just hope we won't have any serious consequences from it, like the side effects I fear from a rushed vaccine.  All our schools around here have LOTS of H1N1, include DS's preschool as of this week.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What to do with that Halloween pumpkin?

Ok, I admit it.  Halloween isn't even here yet and I'm already fantasizing about how to chop up and eat our pumpkins.  In the bad old days before I knew that one was supposed to bake with those white pumpkins and that the jack-o-lanterns were bred for decor, I recall cooking them, pureeing them and using them for pie.  Anyone else do this with their jack-o-lantern pumpkins?  How about just pureeing it and eating it like squash?  What about the little pumpkins?  Or roasting them with other veggies like one would winter squash?  (I found this image at - it isn't my own work, although I wish it were!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kids and knock-knock jokes

What is it about kids and horrible knock-knock jokes?  Today DS was interested in the structure of knock-knock jokes and trying to tell some.  I found a great website for kids jokes and he LOVED it.  The kid couldn't stop laughing.  I tried to teach him how to tell one, but he'd keep deviating from the script. 

Knock knock
Who's there?
Boo who?
Boo pumpkinhead (was supposed to be "You don't have to cry about it.")

He still thought it was funny and was happy to tell it and retell it until I couldn't stand it anymore.  Then DH came home and DS told him until HE couldn't stand it anymore.  From my youth, I recall younger kids telling lame jokes that didn't mean anything and it getting pretty annoying.  And now here I am, reliving my youth.

I made up a couple that he really liked:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Ima who?
Ima silly willy
(his favorite)

Knock knock
Who's there?
Who who?
Are you an owl?

I'm a genius aren't it?  Stunning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Potatoes, Peas and Pomegranates

Today we did some fun gardening.  First, one of the potato plants was looking about done so we went digging for treasure.  I'd planted purple, red and yellow potatoes in the spring.  Many had been dug up by the squirrel, so I kept replanting.  Because of this, I really didn't know what I had where.  Never having grown potatoes before, I was thrilled to find beautiful purple potatoes under the plant.  While digging, I seemed to get into the space of a nearby red potato, 'cause I got some of those too.  Once washed, they looked like jewels with their vibrant colors.  I took a picture of them on the dish towel.  I chopped them up, microwaved them with a little water and we ate them for lunch.  These were the freshest potatoes I've ever eaten in my life.  They were so creamy tasting.  Yum.

Next we tore out some old yellow crookneck squash plants.  In that space we dug in some compost from the mushroom farm and some worm compost from our bin and some from the store.  We planted an entire envelope (minus a couple I'd planted in the spring) of Sugar Snap Peas that say "Sell by 12/08."  Too old?  Well, I had more space, so I used up a packet of Oregon Sugar Pod II Peas (snow peas) from 2003.  For the record, NONE of the wildflower seeds from 1999-2006 that I planted last month sprouted.  I wonder if any of the snow peas will sprout.  We added small soaker hose from our drip system for this area.

We've been eating our beautiful pomegranates for about a month now.  This week there were some very bold birds out there feasting on them as well, so we tried to accelerate our eating this weekend.  They are so delicious though I want them to last!  All of us love them, including 12 month old DD.  Here is a picture of the modest pomegranate tree still holding onto some fruit for us, plus one picked fruit awaiting lunch.

In the area of the garden that I planted with carrots, turnips, shallots, and beets about a month ago, the plants aren't looking so good.  This is the same area that the amaranth is in, but it looks pretty stunted.  I've added more worm compost which hasn't seemed to help very much.  As I've watched the area more, I realize that the sun isn't hitting it directly for many hours now.  I wonder if all those little root vegetable seedlings will amount to anything.  Live and learn.
We do have some very happy butternut squash still producing for us.  One is so enormous that I must take a picture when I harvest it.  The vine had been confined to a wood trellis leaning against the fence, but of late it has escaped.  The huge squash flourished unseen behind the barbecue, half on the patio and half up a step onto the cooldeck.  Because of its odd locale, it is developing while standing on its head.  This seems to have turned it into a crooknecked butternut.

We continue to eat a variety of things from the garden.  Today's garden food included: pomegranates, potatoes, chard, basil, parsley, cowpea green beans, one white and bitter carrot, one itty bitty eggplant, and about 7 cherry tomatoes.  Not bad for suburbia!

A quarter of the way to the age of majority

Today DS became 4.5 years old.  I am shocked to realize that he is a quarter of the way to the age of majority.  It is overwhelming to think that already a quarter of his at-home-formative years have passed.  Not that he won't continue to rely on us in some ways beyond 18, but wow, he's a substantial part of the way to being able to vote, serve in the military, make medical decisions, etc.  When I tried to explain this to him, he didn't like the idea at all.  He still wants to be a little boy.  Which he is, of course.  No rush.

The most memorable moment of DS's day was getting overtired, throwing a fit, and (in the process of this fit) tripping/falling on the carpet face first.  He got a bloody fat lip and spent most of the evening very unhappy.  He was so exhausted from the ordeal that while I was making dinner he laid down on the sofa listening to a Sting CD and fell asleep with an ice pack on his lip.  It was hard for him to eat dinner, so he had a couple nibbles of food and two glasses of milk through a straw.  Not really the momentous celebration that 25% of adulthood warrants, but he's still 75% kid.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Announcing our first-ever contest: license plate for hybrid car?

The publisher(s) of Green GF Garden (me) are pleased to announce our first ever contest.  You could WIN WIN WIN!  Just come up with the winning entry and you will get an official "thank you" on our high traffic blog, Green GF Garden!

Here are the rules (or at least the situation):
My dear mom is considering branching out after 40 years of only driving Volvos.  Being a born and bred Volvo driver I can sympathize with her plight.  My Volvo wagon gets about 20 MPG, similar to her sedan.  Not too green.  So she is considering buying the first and only new car of her life (normally she gets used ones).  She has her eyes on a Toyota Prius.  To celebrate her first and only new car of her life and the fact that it will get great gas mileage, she wants to also get her first and only vanity plate of her life.  She's looking for something to put on the plate.  She lives in Arizona and the plate is limited to 7 letters/digits.  Do you have a great idea?  We're not above copying someone else's fabulous plate in another state.  But obviously can't copy one in Arizona.  She saw one on a Prius that she liked:


As in, c'mon get on the bandwagon and get a lower impact car!  I want her to get a vibrantly lime green car and one of these plates:


Sadly, she wants a white car so it wouldn't be as big impact.  What are your ideas?  Remember, you could win an official thank you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote on Food

I was reading the book, Sprouts: The Miracle Food and ran across this quote attributed to "Norman Walker at 108 years of age."

"The great Law of Life is Replenishment.  If we do not eat, we die.  Just as surely, if we do not eat the kind of food which will nourish the body constructively, we not only die prematurely, but we suffer along the way."

So applicable to Celiac Disease and many ailments that plague modern societies.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mortality Risk in Celiac Disease

Eeee gads!  I ran across a JAMA article that I just have to blog about.  Here it is.  Seems like intestinal inflammation is a bad thing to have!  Heal that gut.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pounds of powdered sugar

Since my Celiac Disease has caused me to be allergic to corn as well, making icing with powdered sugar has been a challenge.  Allergy Grocer used to carry a corn-free version before they collapsed with the Great Recession.  After their demise, I bought a coffee bean grinder on the advice of my friends at GFCFrecipes to grind granulated sugar into powdered.  It works, but the frosting is still grittier than it would be with commercially prepared stuff.  And since my coffee grinder gives dire warnings about only doing 1/4 cup at a time and only two cycles per 5 minutes, it seems to take me a week to grind a couple pounds of powdered sugar.  I'd heard that Trader Joe's carried a corn-free variety, but when I asked last spring I was told it was "seasonal".  Seasonal?  Do people only make frosting at Christmas?  Aren't there birthdays requiring cupcakes all year round?  Since I bring DS's cupcakes to school for all kids' birthdays so he'll have a GF option, we seem to go through a lot of cupcakes. 

So, why am I posting now?  Well, today DS, DD, and I were strolling through Trader Joe's when what should I spy?  CORN-FREE POWDERED SUGAR!!!  Yippeee!  Apparently, 'tis the season!  We gleefully loaded up the cart with all 15 packages they had!  So if you need this product, check out Trader Joe's NOW!  Well, not my Trader Joe's now, since they're out, but you get my meaning. 

The very hungry caterpillars

A few days ago when making pesto I found a green inchworm on the basil.  What type, I wish I knew.  SOOO glad I found it before putting the basil in the Cuisinart!  This is the part of home gardening that makes we want to just buy prepackaged stuff.  But the disgusting truth is that I probably find more of the bugs before consumption than the mass producers do!  shudder

DS, of course, wanted to keep it.  So we put it in a 4 oz jar with some basil leaves.  The next day, the basil was gone and the bottom of the jar was covered in caterpillar poop - small blackish balls.  I never knew what caterpillar poop looked like!  We had to pick more basil leaves for the caterpillar and put it in a bigger jar without poop.  I'm happy to report that DS decided on his own that the caterpillar wouldn't like to be enclosed with a bunch of poop.  Empathy is a good quality to develop!  Anyway, we were very surprised how fast that hungry caterpillar could eat through the basil leaves.  No wonder my basil looks ratty.

Then yesterday I was inspecting my tomato plants.  Some were looking suspiciously leafless.  Hummm...  Looking on the ground there seemed to be a lot of little black balls that looked remarkably like caterpillar dung.  Hummm...  Looking closer at the plant...  yikes!  Two caterpillars.  DS of course wants to put them in with the inchworm.  Then, we find another.  Ok, 3 in with the inchworm.  Looking more.  Find one staring me in the face and so big that I shriek in surprise.  DS shrieks in surprise - in a remarkably prolonged and ear-piercing manner.  Wonder where he got that from?  He insists we must not put this enormous one in with the "babies" for fear it will eat them.  So we got a bucket.  Found two more that were too big to go in with the babies.  Tonight took another close look at the plant and found the biggest one yet.  Despite the fact that I'm looking for them, they startle me in a creepy way when I find them.  Happened to mention the tomato hornworms to DS's preschool teacher today who said, "Bring them in!"  They already have our figeater beetle larvae as pets and tomorrow they'll get 7 hornworms and an inchworm.  Lucky preschool teachers.  I put some tomato plant leaves and partially hornworm-eaten tomatoes in with the hornworms, but I bet they'll tear through them pretty quickly.  Those are some hungry caterpillars.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fabulous Pesto

Last night I made the basic pesto recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 large cloves of garlic (I used elephant garlic)
1/3 cup pine nuts (I used more!)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan
Blend it all up in the food processor and toss desired amount with hot gluten-free pasta.  I used bean thread noodles (basically just mung beans and potato starch).  It was SOOOOO good.  Unfortunately, it used up most of my basil from the garden.  What to do?  I don't think I can plant more now.  Doesn't basil hate the cold?  Should I give it a try?

My baby is one!

I am so stunned that today my second and last baby, DD, turned one year old!  Parenting life is such a whirlwind that the year flew by.  I plan to post a more thorough update soon on the kids.  Today, though, we celebrated her birthday.  I started the day by thanking G-d that I was neither pregnant nor in labor.  That in itself is cause for celebration!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Garden update from summer plantings

How are the crops from summer doing?  My chard is still happy.  Some of those plants are 1.5 years old.  Others only 6 months old.  My yellow crookneck only gave a few squash this year, but they were yummy.  Same with eggplant.  Tomatoes - the 3 that self-seeded did fine with moderate yields of cherry tomatoes.  A cherokee purple??? has all of 3 tomatoes on it - all still green.  There are two other plants that aren't more than 2 feet high that I planted in a new spot - too shady - no fruit.  The black-eyed peas keep regularly producing green beans.  There are never a ton at once, but I've done a few small panfuls.  Or I'll just cook them with something else.  Basil is happy.  Mints are, too.  Oddly, some impatiens in baskets over my raised bed keep self-seeding into the raised bed, so I keep transferring plants out.  Getting plenty of impatiens that way.  My cilantro looks horrible.  Why?  Other herbs ok.  Amaranth, which is supposed to get TALL (like 5-6 feet) is only about 1 foot tall and starting to flower.  It is in a new bed area that I didn't amend intensely.  I think they are begging for more compost.  I have one lonely lima bean that is just now starting to flower.  I think I may have been watering it too much for a while.  All of my peppers this year were killed by the squirrel or the heat as seedlings.  Still some beets and carrots in from earlier plantings, but these aren't growing too quickly 'cause they are getting shaded out by aggressive citrus, basil and black eyed peas.  I was pleasantly surprised by some sunflowers that I planted late from the seeds of a neighbor's flowers.  I planted TONS.  Only 2 grew.  One is about 4 feet tall and the other must be about 8 feet tall.  I think today's Santa Anas did them in, though.  100 degrees and 8 percent humidity.  Their poor petals shriveled.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Elegant Eggless Omelet

My favorite gluten-free recipe site and GF community is GFCFrecipes yahoo group.  From their archives, I tried the recipe for Elegant Eggless Omelet, modified.

* 3/4 cup gf high protein flour blend (I used 1/4 each of tapioca starch, potato starch and gar/fava flour)
* 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
* 1 teaspoon baking powder (1/4 t baking soda, 1/2 t cream of tartar, 1/4 t potato starch)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 pinch ground turmeric

* 1 cup milk, (rice, soy, almond) (I actually used cow's milk)
* 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

The link has the full directions, but to summarize you cook them one at a time in a skillet like a pancake.  Before serving them, I stuffed them with melted cheese and avocado.  4 year old DS declared them "yummy".  Even the baby liked her dairy-free (sub'd water) version.

15 more figeater beetle grubs

I got out into the garden twice in one day!  It is a miracle!  I used up the rest of the harvested worm compost in the raised bed garden and some large herb pots.  The citrus trees and vegetables got the remainder of the finished hot compost.  While distributing tha,t I found 14 more disgusting figeater beetle grubs.  Found one more when digging in the vegetable area.  I put them all in a bucket with a little compost.  Does the preschool want them?  They are so gross, and therefore, fascinating.  I even had time to set up some new pots for succulents.  I put in a few trimmings from jade before DD woke from her nap.  A successful afternoon.

Fall Planting, Part 1

Yesterday I went to a class on winter vegetable planting at my local nursery.  It was interesting, but I would have been better off spending the time actually gardening.  So, today I had a chance to actually plant some.  I used some of our finished compost and some of our home-grown worm castings to amend the soil.  I planted a Mesclun lettuce mix in the raised bed.  While there, I transplanted some impatiens that were self-seeding in my chives and gave them their own pot. 

In a separate area of the garden, I turned DS loose with four packets of old flower seeds that needed  to be planted or thrown out: pansies, sweet william, forget-me-nots, and an "annual cut flower mix" that some realtor left on our doorstep.  These seed packets ranged in age from 1993-2006.  Do you think anything will sprout?

Near our amaranth I put in some more carrots (carnival blend and scarlet nantes) and beets (Detroit dark red).  Also planted some white globe purple top turnips - my first attempt at turnips.  Using some shallots that I purchased from the grocery store for $1 million per pound, I divided those up and put them in.  Flat side down, covering the tips with dirt.  If all 7 grow, that will reduce the per pound price I paid.

I hope to find a nice spot for a variety of peas - maybe mid-October would be a good planting time for them around here.  It is still 90 degrees today and supposed to be triple digits this week, so no peas yet.  I still need to harvest more worm castings from the bin and distribute the rest of it.  We also have plenty of compost to spread around.  I'd like to put some under the citrus.

And this week we scored a few more bags of Starbucks coffee grounds.  DH has to borrow FIL's shredder so that we can chip up the yard trimmings that we have waiting.  Once those go into the bin, we'll fluff in the coffee grounds and kitchen scraps and it'll start cooking.

Today I harvested some cowpea green beens to steam for dinner.  Yum!  DH had some fresh basil on his tomato and cheese GF sandwich.  DD had some of the nectarine puree that I made from our tree this summer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Day of Service

I tend to feel a bit meloncholy on 9/11.  I really like Obamo's declaration of 9/11 as a National Day of Service.  It seems like helping others could not only do the obvious, of creating a better society, but also be a healthy part of the continued healing process from 9/11.  Last night I tried to figure out what I could do today for service.  Go to a thrift shop and help out?  Would they see me come in with 4 yo DS and 11 mo DD and request that I'd be of greatest service to them if I left the shop?  Perhaps.  Could I go to the preschool and help the teachers prep for projects?  Again, they might see us as a hazard.  I decided on a simple, close-to-home service.  We'd walk the neighborhood in search of trash to pick up.  Late this afternoon we did go on a brief walk.  Happily (and yet, sadly too) we found no trash dispose of.  Did someone do this before we did today?  Hummm...  We did find an elderly neighbor's water valve box leaking.  We knocked on the door, had a neighborly chat, showed her the leak, and told her how to have the city fix it for free.  Karmicly, I wonder if that counts as service.  Did you do some service today?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Figeater Beetles

I keep wanting to start a blog, but the task of a grand introduction is too daunting.  Therefore, I'm starting right in.  This weekend, DH and DS harvested our first batch of homemade compost this year.  In it they found 45 fat wiggly larvae.  I goggled and called the local nursery.  Figeater beetle larvae.  They were about two inches long and as wide as my index finger.  Since the larvae can eat your lawn roots and the beetles can eat soft fruits (likes figs, peaches), the larvae ended up being pitched into the street for the birds to eat.  I'm sorry to say that the birds didn't show a great deal of interest and the street sweeper got most of them on Tuesday morning.