Friday, May 29, 2015

Garden update

Let's start with the before photos. This shot of when the beans and peas were first growing up the netting.

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The squash was just starting to thrive.....

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The bush beans finally poked up through the soil....

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Inside we were still using the grow light to start chard, peppers and cherry tomatoes.
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This is a great before shot. Nothing was coming up yet, a blank palate in our raised beds.

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We used a good mixture of soils - Lucky Dog and Nature's Care.

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After shots!

Here is a gorgeous eggplant blossom.

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Look at the tiny eggplants forming. These are called Little Finger eggplants.

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The squash are huge now. We have gotten many little yellow squash and had them for our dinners several times.

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We were getting lots of pole beans and have enjoyed them for dinner many evenings. They are starting to slow down production wise.

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Alas on the tomatoes. I was hoping we got them in on time but I think we waited too late. First off we tried using seeds and getting them to sprout under the grow light. Plants did emerge but they didn't prosper as the squash, peas and beans did so....probably too late for any tomatoes this year.

Next year we will buy plants from a good local source and get them in earlier. Probably still try the seeds and grow light but I don't want to take any chances. Even if everything works out, in my opinion you can't have too many tomatoes. I roast them, chop into various dishes, make sauce.....you know.

That's all I have to share garden-wise. If you put a garden in what are your success stories? Anything that does particularly well?


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mini Update:
My month in a glance

Walking
For the past few weeks we have been graced with cool mornings, perfect for the early walks we have been taking. Very happy we have started our walking regimen again.
The temperature shoots up from 65 F to a miserably hot 94 F by afternoon but hey…it’s just that time of year in north Florida. It’s a temporary reprieve from the humid sticky mornings we’ll have back soon. We will still walk.

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The garden has been more successful this year than last but the heat has basically destroyed the delicate little peas that were blooming. The few we picked were incredibly sweet and I wish we had put them in much earlier in the year. We learn something new all the time and I think each successive garden will be a little better for it.

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A cool new kitchen gadget recently acquired was a Cuisinart immersion blender. It’s a beauty, pretty red coloring and made itself useful when making leek and potato soup. Unfortunately I am the most accident prone and graceless individual in the house so…….while cleaning it one evening after dinner, after a glass of wine ( although to be fair why blame the innocent wine) I cut my finger. Badly cut, truth be told. It was a small half-moon of a cut to the left index finger but it was a very deep cut.

I rinsed it and blood continued to run down my hand and arm. I wrapped it in paper towels, they immediately absorbed the blood ….then trickled down my arm again. It was on the floor, in the sink, on the garbage can. Doug decided I most likely needed it stitched so off we went to one of those Doc in a Box places. You know the sort, Patient’s First facilities.

Well, what a buzz kill! Plus, those medical facilities are closed by 7 p.m. so…completely useless. I wasn’t keen on paying the $100 to go to the emergency room so we opted to get an anti-bacterial ointment and bandages at a drugstore. We always do such fun stuff together. Me with my arm stretched out over a flat top trash can, the bloody kitchen towel under my hand. Doug administering the ointment and placing a bandage over the wound. Customers approaching the store, giving us side glances and scurrying inside, probably deciding we are reprehensible brigands.

Good times, good times.

Let’s talk books and DVDS now…get away from all this bloodshed. What have you been reading or watching?

Loving the series Strike Back and plan to add season two to Netflicks. If you like action themed shows with lots of gunfire, explosions and espionage – this is the show for you. Interstellar was good as was Fury. Loved Fury.

beeI am currently reading The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore and enjoying it. I wasn’t invested with the beginning character Trixie but her mother Grace’s backstory is engaging. On the list for Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train and an Inspector Banks mystery.

So, gardening, reading, watching, walking and yard work is it for us. Hope your month is going well.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Roasted Vegetables, Mediterranean Style!

So, my husband has been out of town on business and I making dinner for one. Since I like leftovers (because they are great to bring for lunch the next day) I made a massive amount of roasted vegetables and couscous. It was so good I have to share it. This is one of my favorites, you can add any sort of veggies you fancy. This last time I used eggplant, zucchini, garlic cloves, carrots, a parsnip, cherry tomatoes, red and green bell peppers.

See how pretty? So many colors, ready to get mixed up and roasted.
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Put a few good dollops of olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper in the mix and you’re in business. Rosemary would be a nice addition too….pity I didn’t think of that before.

Spread the chopped veggies on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes at 375 F.

Here it is out of the oven.

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My son came by for dinner so we shared this with couscous, leftover chicken and watermelon. Oh, toss some feta cheese on the veggies and it melts enough to make it all creamy. Not a sauce, not that thick. So. Good. My granddaughter ate some too, she has an adventurous palate for one so young and I am happy about that.

Next I will have to regale you with a story about an immersion blender and why it's a great idea to keep a stocked first aid kit at home :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Reader's Workout #8

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Good day and welcome to my eighth link up with Joy at Joy's Book Blog for her Reader's Workouts series!

So far May has been a good month for exercise. In addition to the daily dog walks we have been taking them to parks for extra walks. We have also changed our hours at work so we go in later (and obviously stay later) to accommodate an early morning fast walk.

The dog walk is slow.....if you have a dog you know what I mean. Walk, stop, sniff, stare, walk, repeat. That one mile slow walk is a good warm-up for us. After the shibas have done their business we put them in the house and immediately walk at a rapid pace for a half hour.

According to the health app on my phone we have roughly 6,000 steps and 2 1/2 miles in before work. I keep the phone with me as it records movement and I get a general idea of the amount of time I spend moving. It's rather motivational and inspires me to walk more.

Last Reader's Workout I mentioned I couldn't abide a FitBit on my arm or wrist. While the tracking mechanism is very cool, I don't like bracelets or anything fitting closely there. They make two others that intrigue me - A Zip and a One. Either fits on my clothing or inside a bra. Still debating when to drop the money to purchase one of these gadgets.


Since this is Reader’s Workout let’s talk books. I finished Be Safe, Love Mom by Elaine Brye. Currently reading The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore.

What are you reading now?

Hope your exercise regime is going well!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Be Safe, Love Mom

beSAFE I had won a copy of this book from LibraryThing and after reading it have passed it on to a Marine mom. I enjoyed the book and could relate to the worry, fear and pride you feel when your child is serving. Our son is out of the Army now but I felt very proud him when he enlisted and hoped he would make it a career.

Elaine Brye was an Army brat and knew what it was like to grow up in a military family. She can certainly be proud of her four children, all of them serving in different branches of the military. She gives many first hand examples of her experiences with their training and deployments. She shared many stories from other military moms whose sons and daughters were serving, all of them enlightening, at times funny and at times very sad.

For anyone who has either served, married to soldier/Marine/airman/seaman or is the parent of one you will know there is a certain community and support system. They are there for each other and share the joys and grief related to service. She had some good advice in several chapters for handling stress, helping a daughter-in-law and grandchildren when their husband and father was deployed, the very sad chapter called Gold Star and more.


A good memoir focusing on how a civilian parent or spouse deals with joy, pride and stress.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Busy day at work?
Make this super easy Cheesy Crescent Bake

Happy Thursday! It's almost the official start of the weekend. Today I wanted to share a super easy recipe you can toss together on a busy night. Recipes like this are great for a night when you have worked all day and want some comfort food. It will look like you went to waaaaay more effort on this one once it's on the table.

Cheesey Crescent Bake. You can adapt this to the vegetarian palate easy as pie (Mmmmmmm....pie....) by using a TVP instead of meat. Let me give you the visual step-by-step photos and I will add the ingredient list at the end of the post.

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After you cook the hamburger (or ground turkey or textured vegetable protein), spread out in a baking pan. I dotted mine with roasted garlic cloves.

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Cover it with shredded cheese. You can use any sort you fancy. Mozzarella, cheddar, provalone...

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Take a crescent role and place about a tablespoon or more of your sour cream herbed mixture

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You place the rolled up stuffed crescents on top of the meat mixture.

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Here it is straight out of the oven.
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We had it with a yellow squash casserole. Great pairing, the taste combos went well together.

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What I needed this week was easy. And most of this was in the fridge so....
If you have the following ingredients on hand here is a quickie.

1 and a half pounds of ground beef or a combo of ground turkey/beef/pork or vegetarian textured vegetable protein
1 medium onion, chopped
mushrooms, sliced
about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese
refrigerated crescent rolls
sour cream
oregano, basil
a small can of tomato sauce


It's best the first night as the crescent rolls are crisper but it makes a good lunch the next day too. We try and make enough so there are leftovers as it's a better lunch for us. Saves money too.

I hope you all are having a great week and are making some fun plans for the weekend. Gardening is one thing we'll do but otherwise no plans.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Bookseller: Time Travel or Alternate Time Line

bookseller The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson started out capturing my attention. If it’s a story about time travel or an alternate time experience, I am in.

This is a quote from Amazon: “A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams.” Ok, so now I am off to request Sliding Doors.

There are two time lines but the time differences are minor, 1962 and 1963. It’s not like the Outlander series where the main character goes back in time 100 or more years. The main characters, Kitty and Frieda, are in both time lines but it appears Kitty is the only one “traveling.” The book is set in Denver although there isn’t much description about Denver. For the lack of description the venue could be Anytown, USA. . Kitty drifts between the two years and has a slightly different life in each.

In 1962 Kitty is a single woman, running a failing bookstore with her best friend Frieda. They enjoy the time they spend together and are trying to think of ways to keep it going. Being single she enjoys a life where she isn’t tied to a schedule and comes and goes as she wishes.

When Kitty goes to sleep she “awakens” in 1963 in a home she is unfamiliar with a loving husband and three children. Her husband Lars clearly loves her dearly, showing affection and stroking her cheek as she wakes up. He calls her Katharyn instead of Kitty. She seems to instinctively know what to do when her daughter has a fever, fetching aspirin and cold towels and playing mother as if she does it every day. Kitty is childless in her “real” life so is amazed that she knows where things are located in this house and what she needs to do with her sick daughter. Then she wakes up and is single again.

There isn’t a husband named Lars. Later in the book Kitty looks for the address of the home she lives in with Lars and finds a vacant lot. Homes are built up around the lot in this neighborhood but the one she shares with Lars isn’t there.

Kitty’s parents play a good sized role in both timelines. In 1962 they are on vacation in Hawaii, her mother sending postcards several times a week. Kitty reads these cards all the time and misses her parents. In 1963 Katharyn’s parents are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren.

This book kept my interest and I read it in a pretty good time because I was invested. Which world is the real world? Or do both exist in different time lines and Kitty or Katharyn will have to choose which life she wants? Near the end of the book I felt it fizzled out. It wasn’t a satisfactory ending for me but then I asked myself, how would I want it to end.

SPOILER - My theory on what was at work here:

I don’t know what the author intended but my thoughts are that Kitty/Katharyn had a nervous breakdown. The life she chose, or the real world, was the one where she was married to Lars. In that reality her parents had died. In the 1962 world, her world without a husband and children, her parents were still alive and strong influences in her daily life. My theory is she couldn’t deal with their deaths and had a breakdown, reliving or conjuring their existence in her mind.

But, as I said that is my theory and I have no idea what the author intended. Would I read more of Cynthia Swanson’s work? Absolutely. I enjoyed 95% of The Bookseller and since it did keep my interest I would certainly read more by this author.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Reader's Workout #7

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Good day and welcome to my seventh link up with Joy at Joy's Book Blog for her Reader's Workouts series!

After a slow start in April we are gearing up to walk every day in May. My husband and I have changed our hours at work so we can fit the morning walk in. Honestly, you’d think there would be time after work but it just doesn’t work for us for a variety of reasons.

Anyway, our exercise goals include the daily walk, the dog walks and lots of yardwork. We recently had trees removed and shrubs pulled up around the house. The yard is a blank canvas so there is much raking, pulling straw and leaves off the roof, hauling of such away in many trips with a heavy wheelbarrow and replacing of patio stones. That’s hard work and should burn some calories.

This early into the month I have been trying to keep track out the steps and distance walked using my iPhone.

Morning walk and dog walk:
On May 2: 3380 stps – 1.63 miles plus a mile long dog walk. Couldn’t drag the phone along on the dog walk, no pockets.
May 3 – 4859 steps and 2.38 miles.

This is only the morning walks and didn’t include all the yard work. Impossible to have a phone on me to track this stuff when I am bending and moving so much. I looked at a FitBit and know this would be more beneficial for tracking goals and progress but honestly, once a friend put hers on my wrist to show me, I felt like I had handcuffs on! That’s just me though – my husband may want one. I am not a jewelry person and don’t ever wear bracelets or watches or anything on the arm. Maybe a clip on variety but the wrist sort – no way.

Since this is Reader’s Workout let’s talk books. I finished Caedmon’s Song by Peter Robinson and The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. Currently reading Be Safe, Love Mom by Elaine Brye.

What are you reading now?

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