Category Archives: Gardening

Ginger Blood

IMG_20140607_183657

I finally got a juicer! My dad bequeathed to me both a machine, and the “recipe” for his signature breakfast concoction. I use the term recipe lightly– this is my dad we’re talking about. I gathered my intel by following him around the produce section, and listening. “You want a bit of that, but not more than that much, or maybe that’s fine, no, wait–” and “you can use this, but you don’t have to, but if you do, remember to–” and other equally ambiguous instructions. While the proportions may be tricky, the ingredients are simple enough:

  • Greens (kale, spinach, etc)
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Lemon
  • Ginger root

The beauty of a drink like this is that proportions don’t really matter. Make it to your tastes. Two things I’ve slightly altered from the way my dad does it, are using baby salad greens instead of mature kale (way juicier) and to DEFINITELY peel the ginger, lest it wind up gritty.

IMG_20140607_195843I love this drink. It’s fruity, earthy, sweet, and HOT. I love the hotness of the ginger, and the redness of the beets. I’m tired of referring to it as “Larry’s juice thingie”, and a beverage this good deserves a name. I cant think of anything more fitting than Ginger Blood.

On a side note, one awesome thing about juicing is all the vegetable and fruit pulp waste you can collect. I hate letting things go to waste, so luckily my chickens absolutely LOVE it when I throw this stuff out back for them. Happiness all around!

IMG_20140609_024216

 

Also, I went into Houston this weekend and gave my dad the afghan I made. Happy father’s day Dad!

IMG_20140613_201140

Advertisements

My Favorite Tree Ever, In Miniature.

Crepe Myrtle Profile

So, anyone who knows me knows that I love Crepe Myrtles. It’s a fact I point out nearly every time I see one of the colorful trees– and if you live in Austin, you know that’s a lot. Indigenous to India, the various species of crepe myrtle thrive in our hot Texas climate and can be seen in nearly every commercial and residential neighborhood. I’ve loved the trees since childhood, when I stumbled over all the syllables and called them “CRAPE-MUR-TULS”, much to my mother’s amusement. I always loved picking the buds in the springtime, and squeezing them between my finger and thump until the flower exploded out with a wonderful ‘pop’. Crepe Myrtles are just so wonderful- vibrant and colorful, they can be pruned into bushes or trees and grow into all different shapes and sizes.

2ba34944092411e388f322000ae81126_7One thing I’ve always been curious to explore is the art of Bonsai. I might have mentioned this a time or two to Steve, wondering aloud whether Crepe Myrtles could be applied to the Japanese art. The idea later slipped my mind, but Steve didn’t forget. I got a knock on the door the day before my birthday from a deliveryman with a tall box. The packing return label was from a big flower company– and I had no clue what was inside. Did flowers usually come in boxes?

c9886fbcf2ff11e2952822000a1f9695_7

After emptying the box of all the packing peanuts and wrapping, I found a beautiful, tiny, and fully in-bloom crepe myrtle bonsai tree in a small ceramic pot. It looked so healthy and vibrant. I knew bonsai trees require pruning to keep the tree trunk and branches small, but I wasn’t expecting that the leaves and flower buds would be just as scaled-down in a Bonsai Crepe. It’s a teeny, miniature version of my favorite tree!

385abe86092611e392d022000a1fcc15_7It’s been trial-and-error to figure out how to best care for it. Regular-sized Crepe Myrtles do well in this unforgiving summer sun, but with its tiny stature and even smaller root ball, it’s probably best to keep the Crepe Myrtle Bonsai where it can get some afternoon shade. I’ve also been nourishing it with a spray every few days, containing a small amount of plant nutrients as well as my trusty Superthrive. My Bonsai Crepe (yet to be named) has been doing very well in the almost-three weeks that I’ve had it. It’s covered with new leaf and bud growth, and shows no signs of weakening or yellowing leaves.  I know I’ll eventually need to do some research about the best ways to prune it, but that should be the fun part. I really hope I keep this little tree alive, because it might just be my favorite tree ever. Thanks again, Steve 🙂

Return of the Wreath

That Queens Wreath that hung like a big thick blanket over my driveway last year, has finally started to come back!

2013-05-20 18.54.18

Oh how I love to watch things grow.

The Hippie Highway

6f04262c86a211e280ba22000a9f1893_7

I just love my neighborhood to death. “78704: We’re all here because we’re not all there”. Quirky houses, (good) weird neighbors, and a seemingly higher average of green-thumbs per capita than any other city ‘hood.

Continue reading

Front Porch Fungi

Fungi are so mysterious, and eerily beautiful too. I’ve never seen any like these until they started popping up in my front porch this spring. Every overcast day, little yellow mushrooms pop through the surface.

2013-04-17 19.14.16They last just a day or two and then vanish. The more humid the day is, the bigger the mushrooms grow. I opened the door this rainy morning to find this:

2013-04-18 08.53.52

Cool.

Oh, Those April Showers…

20130402_173419_3713

April showers… lead to May flowers! And boy did Austin get an intense few days of showers this week! Not only did rain heavily pour for a sustained period of time (very un-characteristic of Texas weather) but it also unleashed hail the size of marbles and a wind strong enough to blow them in sideways. The comforting sound of rain on my tin roof clashed with the wail of sirens off in the distance (storms have the temporary effect of rendering Austinites unable to drive). They also cause so much damage to buildings and plants. Case in point, one of my very own trees was snapped at the trunk and blown over into my neighbor’s:

Tree Snap

But there are so many positives to all this rain– after all, we have been undergoing a record-setting drought in recent years. This week’s storm helped to quench the severely parched Texas watershed. Now if only we get lucky and experience a few more of these April showers, and soon,  theres a chance that water levels may significantly rise in my beloved Lake Travis. Once the watershed is quenched, runoff quickly spills into the river basins. So even if you’re sick of the stormy weather, just reason it thusly: one more heavy storm now, a whole summer of fun frolicking in the beautiful Lake Travis later. SO worth it! 🙂

Here’s a video I took of the flood waters rushing down my sloped backyard:

And here’s an adorable video of the chickens, caught off-guard by the sudden rain and hail, huddling together as close to my porch as they can get. Bless their hearts… I led them back to their coop immediately after.

After the rain subsided I finally let them roam the backyard for the day. Wow- were they happy with all the green vegetation and loose, wet soil. I imagine the “tasty bug” payload after a storm that intense has put them in Hen Heaven right now.

foraging chickens

If you want to check out the rest of my videos (so far all are chicken or weather related) head on over to my YouTube, um… profile? Channel? Page? I’m sort of new to the ‘Tube thing. (Used it for years to watch a plethora of random vids, just never signed in or managed an account.) Anyway, you can find all of my videos right here.

Agave Monsters

e4b7a84091af11e2b04622000a1f9be0_7

Giant agave plants are just one of the things I’ve taken for granted as a native. I sort of let them pass me unnoticed– after all, they are absolutely everywhere in central Texas. It was my midwest-born boyfriend who brought them to my attention again last summer when he described them with the word ‘prehistoric’.

Continue reading

November, here we go!

So many updates! The first thing I do every morning is rush out to the backyard. I even wake up early sometimes with chickens on the brain– its so exciting! Things are just growing overnight. I say good morning to the girls, and feed them and change their water, then water all the plants.

Check out my cucumber vine–It’s a beast of a plant. I wish I’d grown more of them. There are more tiny yellow flowers than I can count– and at least 8 baby cucumber that I have tallied up. I’m sure there are more to follow, too. Everywhere a flower dies the itty bitty cucumbers start.

My raised bed is also exploding. All of these plants (except for 2 Chinese cabbages and 2 Brussels sprouts) were started by me as seeds.

I’ve also got a handful of ornamental plants I’m tending to. My Bouganvillea is all doing fantastically; from three small, dying plants I bought on sale from Home Depot, there are now 4 large and thriving woody vines in my backyard and 2 more than I’ve gifted to friends.

I decided to put a tiny Lavender into the ground. I also heavily pruned it back when I transplanted it, and though it’s not completely rooted yet it has been healthy and growing. It’s small, and right outside the chicken coop. Tiny as it is, the smell is still super powerful.

That’s all for now– more updates soon, I’m sure.