Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quick Pickled Radish

After my last post where I posted a picture of the radishes I grew, I got a recipe suggestion for radish from my friends the "Shibaguyz". Here it is:

"Slice them thin along with thinly sliced cucumbers and put them on the counter in a bowl. Cover them all in a sweet, rice wine vinegar, put a towel over the bowl and let them set there for a day. Pop them in the fridge overnight and the next day you have these wonderful, sweet, slightly spicy "counter pickles" to munch on."

I tried it out yesterday.

And here is the result.

Very tasty I can tell you.

Thank you Shibaguyz! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dirt Therapy

I spent almost the entire day in the garden on Saturday, and got a lot of stuff done that needed doing.

The weather has been beautiful, in the mid 80's, and it is hard to believe that this wont last for very much longer. We are making the most of it while it is here though with open windows and doors all day, and barbecues most evenings.

I dedicated Saturday to Earth Day as it rather passed me by this year I am afraid. All the travelling we have been doing lately has made me feel rather guilty, and certainly not like I had any reason to be celebrating Earth Day with a clear conscience. I felt like getting my hands dirty would take me back to basics with the added benefit of making me feel a little better about Dad leaving, which it did, somewhat.

The little desert willow tree I planted a couple of months ago is nearly in bloom. I am hoping the blossom will be a soft, pale pink because blossom color can vary on these trees, and one can't tell until the blossom emerges in spring.

I have many new leaves on the little lemon tree that Dad and I planted. It seems to like it in it's new home.

I have also finally managed to grow some half decent looking radishes even though I say so myself. I have yet to convince my family that they are desirable to eat though because they are quite hot.

The sunflowers I planted to shade the eastern side of my little garden are growing well, though need to get a bit taller yet to serve their real purpose.

I have plenty of tomatoes on the more mature plants. These are currently propped up with some old wire fences I had which saved me from buying tomato cages, and reused something at the same time. I have heard that it is better to let the plants lie along the ground when it gets hot because they remain cooler that way, as long as the fruit is protected from the earth. I may try that, I shall see.

Here are zucchini plants to the left, and a couple of pumpkin plants to the right, with nasturtiums down the middle which are supposed to keep aphids away. I am not sure if this is because the aphids don't like nasturtiums and stay away entirely, or whether they like them a lot, so much so that they wont bother with the other plants. Does anyone else know?

Here are some less mature tomato plants, and also tomatillo plants which have lots of flowers on them. They are probably too close together, but I am not thinning them for now to wait and see in case they are fine. You can also see a couple of little basil bushes. Can't wait to get started on the Pesto again this year!

Here are cucumbers, swiss chard, beets, and Ichiban eggplants in the foreground, and carrots, spinach, and leeks in the background. The leeks seem to be taking their time to grow, but the swiss chard has been prolific to say the least.

Here is a view of the garden from the back with another new addition, a little orange tree that Dad also bought for me, although it is a little difficult to see here. I planted it on Saturday and hope that it does as well as the lemon tree. One day both trees will shade my little garden beautifully I hope.

This post turned out to be much longer than I intended because it appears a lot has been growing around here.

Before I go though I have to show you these lovely new leaves on my favorite globemallow bush that we transplanted. It is doing great and I am truly happy that I listened to Dad, and moved it to it's new home!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dad left last night. He flew to Vancouver, and will stay there for a week before flying back to Greece next week.

I felt awful all day yesterday, and only slightly better today. Tears keep leaking out of my eyes silently as I think about how long it may be before we are together again. I know I should be remembering all the fun we have had, and looking forward to more good times in the future, but today all of that seems a long way away, and I just miss my Dad.

Dad and I got a lot of stuff done in the garden while he was here because that is what we have always done together for as long as I can remember. I have a beautiful lemon tree, tension wires on the garden wall to train plants along, and the transplanted Globemallow is sprouting new leaves madly which makes me happier than you can ever know. I also have lots of lovely garden-type memories to add to my existing ones, and I am hoping that they will make me feel better over the next few days as I miss my Dad so much.

There is lots going on in the veggie garden, not least of which is the never ending swiss chard which are apparently the veggies that just keep on producing! I plan to spend all weekend outside, and will post some picture updates soon.

For now though I am going to take my fragile self outside, and sit quietly for a while in an attempt to gather myself together today so that I am not quite as weepy and sad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

National Hanging Out Day

April 19th, is "National Hanging Out Day".

This day is sponsored by Project Laundry List, an organization dedicated to "making air-drying laundry acceptable and desirable as a simple and effective way to save energy".

So tomorrow wherever you live, why not wash those whites and allow them to blow free in the fresh, springtime air for a change. Use the few minutes it takes to think about what you are doing for the environment, and of other small changes you can make to green up your life. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Busy, busy

Things have been very busy around here. We have been out and about every day seeing lots of fun stuff, so much so that I haven't even given a thought to what we will be doing for Earth Day this year. There are always events going on so I will need to spend some time this evening taking a look see.

We did take some time out from sightseeing last weekend to plant the new lemon tree that Dad insisted on buying for me. I am still a little hesitant because I know citrus takes a lot of water, but it is rather special because is was a gift from my Dad. We wont ever be able to move now, at least, not unless we take the lemon tree with us!

We decided to plant it in the veggie garden because it gets a lot of sun, and the tree will one day provide welcome shade for the veggies I hope.

Dad persuaded me that my lovely, and huge Globemallow needed to be moved to accommodate the little tree. I felt really sad so we attempted to transplant in another area of the yard. I am not sure how successful it will be because the roots were incredibly deep, and I am sure they got somewhat damaged in the moving process, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for its ultimate survival.

The little tree appears to be doing well and already has some new growth which is great.

Here are a few pictures of our trip to Kitt Peak National Observatory on Monday. It was a great day with perfect weather and we learned a lot.

Anyway, must fly. Off to Flagstaff tomorrow for a couple of days.

We will all need a long rest next week!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Since my Dad has been here we have been spending a lot of time in the garden which has been great. It has also made me restless to get started on the many projects that I am planning this summer.

I really need a bigger veggie patch and have decided to extend the area I already have. Just outside the area I have now is a sand pit that is filled in. It is quite large and has a nice wooden edging which would make it a perfect place to plant more veggies. I will need to dig out all the sand and replace it with top soil and compost. I foresee lots of heavy digging work ahead of me. Robert says he will move the little white fence I have now and put it further back to protect this new area from foraging animals such as dogs! It will give me a lot more space this Fall for bigger veggie plants such as melons, and squash.

I want to remove all our bermuda grass. In order to do this I will need to start watering it again to get it growing well, mow it, and then apply two treatments of Round Up to kill it. I hate to use anything like this but my research has shown me that this is the only effective way to remove this insidious grass for good. After that we need to get the irrigation re- done, and rocks and fine gravel put down. Eventually I will put in more accent plants too. This wont be cheap. I can do the gravel, but I am not up to big boulders and irrigation. I got quotes last fall for this and staggeringly they ranged from $2,900 which was the cheapest, to $7,000! Obviously that isn't going to happen for a while unless we get a windfall of cash.

I am thinking more and more each day about chickens. I have the perfect shady area for a chicken coop and Dad agrees that it would work well. According to our city ordinance I would only have to ask for permission from one neighbour because it would be within 80 feet of their property. They are the quite nice neighbours we have too. Not that the others aren't nice, I just can't see them going for a chicken coop within the vicinity of their home. Now I just have to pretend to be assertive and go round and ask them! Nightmare, I am not at all assertive and this will be a real test for me.

I am also thinking about getting a lemon tree. I have been a little hesitant with citrus because they need a lot of water, but it would be nice to get fresh lemons I have to admit.

Obviously not all of this is going to happen this summer due to time and money, but it feels good to have a plan to start some of it at least.

Friday, April 3, 2009

White House Kitchen Garden

While we were away it was revealed that our first family are planning on planting an 11,000 sq ft organic kitchen garden on the White House lawn. A lot of organizations had been campaigning for this and they must all be over the moon!

Fantastic, what a great thing for promoting healthy, natural growing and eating for our nation, as well as the simple joys of getting ones hands dirty together as a family.

Does This Stuff Really Work?

I've tried several "natural" deodorants over the years that I have lived here in the desert. One or two seemed to work OK, although can one really tell oneself, or does one need a blindingly honest friend, or spouse to reveal the real truth?

Anyway, I have been hearing about "Crystal" deodorant for ages and thought it was time to give it a go. Have any of your tried it? Does it work? It's not cheap but is supposed to last for ages so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Just about the right time to try it out I think seeing as I am bracing myself for the start of our searingly hot summer in a mere few short weeks time. The winter has gone by so quickly this year. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We're back!

It is so great to be home with Robert, and all the doggies! Both the girls woke up at 3 am and of course then so did I, although Dad is still asleep I am pleased to say.

It was strange because this time it felt much more like I was coming "home" as I re- entered the States than it did when I landed on English soil a few weeks ago. England felt foreign to me this time which makes me a little sad, but at the same time glad that I have such a great life here.

I am waiting for the sun to come up so that I can go and see my back yard. I am a little nervous that everything is OK because I planted a lot just before we left. Both our dog sitter and Robert were under strict, (Robert would say obsessive), instructions on how to water everything. I will just have to be patient though.

One thing that made me smile on the flight coming back was finding a compostable food container in my meal. It was advertised as the first ever compostable in flight food container. Great idea but do people really go through every finished meal tray and remove the compostable bit so that it can actually be composted? I nearly brought mine home but wasn't so sure that customs would have been happy with me having done that.

Ah, it really is great to be home and back with you all. Can't wait to catch up on all your blogs.