Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Green After Dark Event

It was a beautiful day, sun shining, white clouds in the sky like marshmallows, just the right amount of breeze..

At 5 o'clock I jumped into my car and made the 20 minute drive to citrus park/ odessa to be apart of the first ever Green After Dark.

A wonderful green grass spot between 2 shopping plazas, large trees along the outteredges left a wonderful grass center for kids to run and play. the vendors were set up under the trees, their tents rising from the ground like colorful artwork, goods scattered on tables waiting for someone to come along and buy them.

I started at the front with Twisted Mind Rusty Metal a wonderful company owned by the 2 sweetest people! they take rusty old metal objects and turn them into fantastic pieces of artwork! From flying pigs, to large sunflowers, and this is not to mention their prices!! No $200 works of "art" here no way the highest priced item i think i saw may have been $50!!! Last time we saw them my daughter got what we call her spark plus bug, a fun little garden stake with a spark plug turned dragonfly!

Next was Gro-Organic whose mission is to "Restore the American Dream" by educating the public about the importance of independent thought, lifestyles, and actions. They are not just a gardening company. Their "BACK TO BASICS" concept encourages their supporters to become more self sufficent therefore Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle that will endure.



Then there was the fantastic Whatever Pops

OH MY GOODNESS! is all I can say, we split the Strawberry Shortcake and it was amazing! I have never and i repeat NEVER had such a yummy Popsicle! My 3 year old chowed down and Ronnie and I had to fight to get some! It was a $3 VERY well spent!!! I mean come on, Whatever Pops are handcrafted, natural, gourmet ice pops! Plus they use local ingredients from local farmers' markets in the area, and change flavors weekly! Go see us at Wiregrass, Hyde Park, Odessa, Green After Dark and Seminole Heights markets! AMAZING!!! You cant beat this to cool you down anytime!

Next stop was the Pleasure Comp where these super sweet ladies dusted me with their natural honey powder that keeps you dry, and smooth.. Hot weather chaffing say your prayers!!!

Next Stop... Fisher Honey Bees, where we tested their fantastic honey, and ended up buying a piece of honey comb that's bursting with fantastic honey!
Super local honey is the best especially after the news of that tainted honey! They Use NO Chemicals!!! Just all natural bee keeping. They also NEVER heat the honey!!!

Inside the large tent was Going Green Tampa which is part of the founders of this wonderful event so a HUGE shout-out to them for this fantastic event!!!!
They were handing out samples of tofurkey and raw revolution! YUM!

Next stop also under the giant tent was Green Acre Organics, 2 wonderful women who grow aquaponically right in our local area! There mixed greens are fantastic and since here in FL during the summer months its almost impossible to have fresh organic lettuce this company has been my summer salad heros!!!!

My Last Stop was with my all time favorite company and a VERY sweet couple.
GreenDreams is a fantastic company. They started this business to promote self-sustaining options for communities & to expand awareness regarding the issues we face environmentally, financially, & physiologically. They hold sustainability classes or private consultation so that we can teach locals how & why to grow their own... nutritious food during this tough economic time.
They even design & install urban farms, backyard homesteads, community gardens & learning gardens for schools in the Tampa Bay area. We provide consultations/classes & also have an edible nursery at our office location (hours of operation are flexible: please call ahead).
Green Dreams is in the beginning stages of utilizing sustainable methods of growing to develop our own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture/Co-Op). They believe that the future of our health is directly related to the food on the table. These massive Wall Street corporations, that call themselves farmers, have left this beautiful planet & the health of our children in a heap of trouble. Email ,call or get in contact with this company not only will you find they are amazing people but what they believe in is something we all should! Not only all that great news but they sell moringa the worlds most nutritional vegetable tree! Which I am now the super proud owner of thanks to them! : )

There were more fantastic vendors that i did not have a chance to stop at!
This was such a fantastic event i ask you all for yourselves to attend the next event.. Like these companys on Facebook and stay up to date with the latest events and news!!!





Monday, August 29, 2011

Ouch!

A glorious week for the ouchies! : p lol

My hands are chapped and blistered from yard tools that have seen much better days (currently looking for replacements),
My entire upper and lower back is burnt lobster red from laying bricks in a tank top (living in FL for the past 7 years should have thought me something.. guess not)
The mosquito have decided they find my delicious and rush to gobble me up anytime I set foot outside
And to top off my ouchies I have a mind blowing migraine!
Ha!

Just thought I would share the fun.. I actually don't mind it to much except for the sunburn that refuses to let me sleep and the migraine that hates the bright light on my phone and is throbbing!

Luckily my mood is increasing, and the wonderful pouring rain that kept coming this morning made me smile as I watched through the window at work knowing that my plants were at home loving it : )

Happy Monday Friends!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life..

Times are tough for everyone but working retail pharmacy trying to raise a 3 year old and make my urban farm life more then a distant dream is really hard.

I've had my power shut off, struggle to pay rent, and work my tail off but i have nothing to show for it. Well I have a beautiful daughter, a beautiful house and a up and coming farm landscape but life seems to be trudging along slowly not improving and becoming increasingly harder.
I get my heart set on something and i work myself sick trying to make it happen and when it doesn't i get depressed and frustrated.
Lately i haven't wanted to get out of bed in the morning, lay around watching tragedy on TV, and work my 40 hours at my "real" job.. it feels like a chore just to trudge outside in the heat to pull weeds and start my fall planting...

I want to get myself out of this funk, its a nasty feeling being down, normally im so up beat and happy ARGH!

I am looking forward to this weekend Green After Dark event at the Odessa farmers market on Gunn Highway in Tampa. Live music, a aquaponics talk, and lots of awesome green vendors for everything from produce to soaps!

Thanks for listening readers! ; )

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A time lapse video

This is a wonderful time lapse video of a backyard being turned from a pool/grass area into a wonderful food production forest..

Weekend Project #5 ~ Mason Bee Nest

Hey readers! Its another Wednesday and you know what that means! Another Weekend Project Blog!!
This blog shows what my plans are for that coming weekend, gives instructions, and other needed info so you could 2 could make it your weekend project!

This weeks project?... Building a Mason Bee Nest!

Ive been looking towards working more with nature instead of against it.
Of course i dont use pesticides or fertilizers that aren't natural.
Ive installed a rain barrel but Ive been trying to exclude animals from my garden so they wouldn't tear into my crops.. well its time to invite some back.. the BEES!

The gardeners best friend and perfect pollinator!

What You Need:

~ 1 block of wood between 5 and 6 inches deep and about 1 ft long
~ drill with drill bit 5/16th inch

What you do?:
Take the block of wood and drill holes in rows in the piece of wood but not all the way through... if the block is 6 inches deep drill about 5 inches deep, etc

Attach to a wood post, chain link fence, house, anywhere that you will not have to remove it.. the ideal location is facing south but set up multiple in your house and see what works for you : )

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tainted Honey

Did you know..
...about 1/3rd of supermarket honey is illegally smuggled from china?

Probably Not!

Did you also know that same smuggled honey is probably filled with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.. YUM!

This illegal antibiotic is one that the United States FDA has banned in food and that has been linked to DNA damage in children, I'm just saying that's probably something that i want to keep AWAY from myself and family. Not only this but some Chinese honey is being contaminated with lead from the use of improper storage containers. We all know the fears from lead so much so that they even sell lead testing devices so we can keep it out of our houses!

A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in the United States in record quantities....

Do you know where your honey comes from?

I highly suggest in this light that we all find local honey providers or if possible grow your own honey with a beehive!
Sadly for me a beehive is not possible so I get our honey from Eden Honey which is local and can be found at most farmers markets around the bay area!

Did you know there were even different tastes according to seasons and what pollen the bees were into? Go visit your local bee keepers and talk to them ,learn about their product, and taste samples of the delicious sweet goodness!

Why Choose Cast Iron?

I myself LOVE cast iron.. I have 3 skillets of different sizes, a bread loaf, and a dutch oven...
Plus I want MORE!

So why should you choose cast iron you ask?

Cast iron is a wonderful heat conductor allowing it to heat evenly and consistently, it is also inexpensive and will last generations with proper care.. (many people tell me they are using their Great Grandmothers cast iron)

Not Enough?

When cast iron is well seasoned, a cast iron pan will be stick resistant.. PERFECT!
Foods glide out of it cooked to perfection, it goes from stove to oven in a pinch and there are no special utensils needed to cook in it.  Also it won't warp unless you dump cold water in a hot pan and cleanup is a really easy... Spray, soft sponge, and a tiny bit of natural soap (use soap ONLY if needed... you really shouldn't)

So I convinced you.. now how do you get one?

Old Cast Iron:
Check thrift stores and flea markets if the pan is rusty or encrusted with grease and grime, buy it anyway! Get a metal scrubber and scrub the grease and rust off, use some elbow grease its worth it : ) Once your grime, grease and rust is gone you can season it.. See Below..

New Cast Iron:
Amazon Online Shopping has been wonderful to me as they offer free shipping on most LODGE cast iron and have very reasonable prices : )

You have your new cast iron cookware.. Now how do you prepare to cook?

Once you get your new or old cast iron scrub it down real well, then proceed to season it..
Seasoning your cast iron cookware means filling the pores and voids in the metal with grease of some sort, which gets cooked in. This provides a smooth, non-stick surface on the inside of the cookware. 

You season a cast iron pan by rubbing it with a thin coat of lard or oil. Rub the oil onto the pan with paper towels or a cloth. The pan should look like there is no oil left on the surface (dont worry there is just a think layer).. then place the pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch drippings. Heat the pan for 40 minutes in a 450 degree oven. After 40 minutes turn off the oven, and let the pan cool to room temperature in the oven. Repeat this several times maybe about 3x to get a good strong seal!




Barn Hop HERE

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ybor Water Barrel Classes

As everyone knows harvesting rain water is VERY important to us!
Not only does it help stop the erosion of high flow gutters pouring into your soil but when you harvest it for later use the lack of water for a week or more it doesn't have you going OH GOSH HOW MUCH IS MY WATER BILL GOING TO BE...

You can hook up a drip system from your water barrel or even hook a hose up to it but I do neither I just fill my watering can with the skys goodness and treat my plants to it...

Anyways Ybor Saturday Market has set up to host rain water harvesting classes the last Saturday of every month starting August 27th.. there are 2 classes one from 10am - 1130am and one class 1130am - 1pm.

These classes will teach you how to set up your water barrel, use you barrel, and the importence of harvesting rain water

The class costs just $5 but if you want to purchase a standard blue barrel it will cost you a extra $35
(They do have a cool raffle at the end of each class and the winner gets a FREE barrel!)

Ybor Saturday market is at centennial park downtown ybor and before and after your classes you can shop around at their vendors that have produce(last time I was there only one vendor was local farm), breads, pastas, soaps and even to handmade baskets!

To reserve your spot in the classes contact ybormarket@yahoo.com =: )

Home Cookin #4 ~ Ground Chicken Chili

Welcome Readers! As our weekends draw to a close Sunday is the perfect day to have a peaceful gathering with family around the dinner table.

Every Sunday I will blog about what we are cookin' up in our kitchen along with the recipe!

Any readers who try out the recipe please COMMENT below with your thoughts/suggestions/reviews!!

Today we are cookin' up... Ground Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
~ 1 pound ground chicken
~ 1 garlic clove minced
~ 1 can chicken broth
~ 1 can diced tomatoes
~ 2 tablespoons chili powder
~ 1 medium onion- chopped
~ 1/2 to 1 can (6oz) of tomato paste (depending on how much you have to thicken chili)
~ 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
~ 1 tablespoon dried oregano
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
~ 1 seeded jalapeno~ diced
~ 2 cans red kidney beans

How to Cook:
~In a dutch oven over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, garlic, and jalapeno until meat is thoroughly cooked.
~Mix together flour and chili powder in a small bowl and then sprinkle the mixture over the meat, and stir until the meat is evenly coated.
~ Stir the oregano into the meat mixture, then pour in the 1 can of chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then add the drained cans of beans.
~ Reduce heat to medium/low, and simmer for 40 minutes to blend flavors.
~ After 40 min add tomato paste to thicken and cook for another 20 minutes until thick!
~ Serve topped with cheddar cheese a scoop of sour cream and corn chips!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Damn Chickens and My Rainy Day

UGH!!!!!!

I don't know how but the chickens got over the fence again today... first time in a couple months (since I clipped their wings). Anyways I wouldn't really care except for the fact that they ate the tops on all my pole beans so now its just the stem which with no leaves will die within the next day : (

Tomorrow I will test to see if they can get out again if so ill fix up the fence, then replant the pole beans.. I hope I have enough seeds.... my corn is doing pretty well I have 2 seeds I have to place and 2 seeds I'm waiting to sprout

The last 3 days we have had a soaking 2 days of brief heavy rain and today we had HOURS of heavy storms, in the car I couldn't see 3 feet ahead on me, street lights that weren't working, the lightning flashing so close followed by the huge loud boom of the thunder that shook my car made for some white knuckled driving as I hoped that Green After Dark in Citrus Park was not rained out.. I stopped at Ronnies work for a quick breather and to say hi, while I was their the storm seemed to worsen knocking out the power and setting off car alarms in the parking lot... I knew the event was going to be rained out but hoping they were still there so I could grab some organic fresh lettuce I drove over, parked, and ran to the big lit up tent.. many people were gathered staying dry while the ground under us flooded with over 6 inches.. everyone was packing up but I was told the event was rescheduled for next Saturday at 5pm to 9pm..

When we got home it was still raining but slowing and I was already soaked to the bone so I went out back and started pulling weeds and stray grass, it was perfect.. light rain, no sun, cool breeze, and the rain kept the bugs at bay..
I spread some hay mulch, yanked grass, and checked my new beds.. the squash seeds we planted Thursday moring were already sprouting =: ) so now I really have to make sure the chickens stay out!!!



Seed Company Spotlight~ Native Seeds

So I'm doing a spotlight on this company i just found called Native Seeds.

Native Seeds is a non-profit conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona. They have been around since 1983 and is a contributor to the heirloom seed movement.
Their seed bank includes 1800 varieties of arid-land adapted agricultural crops, many of them rare or endangered and they offer (currently) 350 varieties of fruits and veggies from their collection.

They dont have a large selection but they specialize in the Southern drought resistant seeds which means they should grow here!!


Categories are as follows:
~ Amaranth
~ Beans
~ Chickpeas
~ Chilies
~ Corn
~ Cotton
~ Cow Peas
~ Devils Claw
~ Gourds
~ Herbs/ Greens
~ Indigo
~ Lentils
~ Luffa
~ Melons
~ Okra
~ Onions
~ Panic Grass
~ Peas
~ Sorghum
~ Squash
~ Sunflowers
~ Tobacco
~ Tomatillos
~ Tomatoes
~ Watermelon
~ Wheat
~ Wildflowers

Besides their seeds they sell.. Books, Soaps, Salves, Crafts, Baskets, and Food Products


Shipping seems a little hefty for a 15$ order shipping was ~ USPS First-Class Mail ($6.05 )... but for $45 worth of seeds the shipping price was $6.22 so if you purchase from them make sure your getting enough seeds to make it worth the price : )

(Pictures are from their facebook)




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pictures around Sunny Spot Gardens (week of Aug 15th 2011)

Well its still summer and august is the HOTTEST month here in zone 9 but my fall plants are starting to come up and the Farm is starting to come alive! : )

Enjoy this weeks pics!


~ABOVE~ Here You can see a view of the 2 new beds, One fully filled and ready for planting (corn to the right already coming up)and the second bed that has dirt every 2 feet in this bed winter squash, watermelon, and honeydew is planted the other dirt does not need to be filled in right now because winter squash and the other plants vine out : )

~BELOW~ Another View of our new gardens (4 x 18) where many plants will be growing within the next month! : )



~ABOVE~ A Look at our current beds being weeded and evened out ready for this months and next months planting!

~BELOW~ Our bean trellis with our dry beans coming up (black beans on one side and white/brown spotted beans on the other)


~BELOW~ Here are our tiny 4 inch corn plants growing in groups of 3 plants



~ABOVE~ A closeup of our corn plant : )

~BELOW~ Our Cowpeas (Black Eyed Peas) growing very fast and not minding the heat or sun at all, next year I will start these at the start of summer to see if they could be a good Summer crop which is hard to come by here in zone 9 : )


Weekend Project #4~ Organize and Summer Clean The Closet


Hey readers! Its another Wednesday.. Wait no its Thursday and Im a day behind -_-.. and you know what that means! Another Weekend Project Blog!!
This blog shows what my plans are for that coming weekend, gives instructions, and other needed info so you could 2 could make it your weekend project!

This weeks project?... Cleaning and Organizing the Closet

Forget spring cleaning I rock the summer cleaning : )

I have been needing to go through our clothes get rid of the stained, ripped, old clothes so this weekend I plan to do that as well as grab wood baskets to organize all the loose items.. socks, underwear, books, papers, etc

If you ever go to Parkesdale Farms in plant city they have great "storage" baskets for really really really cheap (50 cents).. STOCK UP!

Everyone could use so organization and chances to clean so in between seed planting, attending GREEN AFTER DARK in Citrus Park/Odessa, and other round the house activity's i will be cleaning and organizing my house. : )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Home Cookin #3~ Rabbit Stew

Welcome Readers! As our weekends draw to a close Sunday is the perfect day to have a peaceful gathering with family around the dinner table.

Every Sunday I will blog about what we are cookin' up in our kitchen along with the recipe!

Any readers who try out the recipe please COMMENT below with your thoughts/suggestions/reviews!!

Today we are cookin' up... Rabbit Stew

Ingredients:

1 rabbit, about 3 pounds, cut up
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of rosemary
A couple leaves of basil, chopped small
1 small bunch of thyme
4 cups water
4 cups dry red wine
2 cups diced carrots
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water

Dredge rabbit pieces with 1/2 cup flour. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown rabbit pieces on all sides. Add celery, onion, salt, pepper, herbs, 4 cups water, and wine; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer rabbit stew for 2 hours. Add carrots, and potatoes; cook for about 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water; stir until well blended and smooth. Stir flour mixture into the broth; cook and stir until thickened.

Serve with fresh baked bread and ENJOY!


~BELOW~ Browning the Rabbit Pieces

~ABOVE~ Rabbit, with water, wine, celery herbs ready for stage one 2 hour cooking

~BELOW~ Finished Stew, and SOOOOO Yummy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mulberry Tree

I have been thinking a lot of getting us a Mulberry tree for our chicken area.. Here is the info I have gathered on these trees. I'm looking at a dwarf type which after speaking to the nursery gets about 10' high!

Mulberries have milky sap. (Note: Some people can get a rash from contact with the leaves or stems)

Mulberry trees have golden yellow foliage in the fall, and loose their leaves in the winter. Which is Perfect since this will be planted in my chicken area to give summer shade and winter sun!!

The fruit resembles a blackberry, 1 to 1½ inches long. They are red when they are "green" (immature) and turn dark purple to black when ripe. They are very sweet and edible. Great for pies and jams and forage for the chickens!

Although it is tolerant of air pollution, dry conditions, and resists most pests, Mulberries perform its best on moist soils.

Some mulberries have a very low chill factor (about 150 hours) making it ideal for our subtropical climate. Pruning after fruiting encourages multiply cropping throughout the summer.

It is best to pick the fruit when ripe, as it doesn't ripen further off the tree. A benefit of a mulberry tree is that the fruit ripens over an extended period of time unlike other fruit that often ripens all at once.

I will be purchasing one of these bad boys this fall from the USF Fall Plant Festival (October 8th and 9th). Ive already been in contact with a vendor who provides them : )

Organic Farms May Keep Bacteria at Bay

This is something we all knew but this is a TIME article.. Click the link above to be directed to the article.

Maybe this is good.. it will raise awareness in people who didn't realize or chose to ignore.. : )

Sunny Spot Gardens Wishlist

- paving bricks
- concrete blocks
- book shelf
- spare wood
- Terra Cotta pots
- edgers
- fountain pump
- pond liner
- fruit plants
- plants
- Fireclay powder
- stainless steel pots and pans
- cast iron cookware
- baskets
- Boxes of old plates (can be chipped)
- Wine bottles

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Another Friday Night

Well fridays are my early days from work and when I got out at 2:30 I decided to start my tax free shopping. We needed new clothes anyway. So my first stop was a small hospice thrift store on my way home. I found a wonderful jewel tone purple suede skirt and it was on a huge discount and cost me 70cents.. I also grabbed up a pair of $7 old navy jeans and a cinderella tshirt for Brooke.

When I got home I changed out of my work scrubs and we all piled into the car. We stopped at the hope thrift store which was awesome shopping for Brooke, I got her 2 long sleeve tops, a sweater, a beautiful tank dress, a couple short sleeve shirts, a pair of pants, 2 pairs of shoes (Disney princess light up sandals and a pair of boots) and 3 super cute skirts! I also got ronnie a couple tops.

Next the salvation army. I got myself 3 tops, 4 bottoms, Ronnie got 2 bottoms and 2 shirts, and brooke got a light raincoat and 2 books.. my total shopping adventure cost me about $100 that's a lot of goods for that price tag : )

I feel happy with my purchases!

So now we are home watching the heat lightning as I lay in bed typing this out on my phone suffering from a migrane : (
There's so much to do in my garden its slightly over whelming..
I need 2 add soil and compost to 3 of my beds, finish weeding, still need to paint the shed, I still need to build at least one more bed, plus try to find a manual push mower (reel mower) to mow out little patch of grass that's become like a forest after our mower broke, and this is not to mention plant all the seeds!!

Yikes!

I have also been thinking of planting a dwarf tree in the chickens area to provide them with summer shade, winter light, food for us and dropped fruit for the chickens to forage. After hearing many ideas on a hokesteading fourm I'm apart of many people reomennded the same type of tree.. a mulberry.. I'm going to do more research and talk to my momma but it sounds win win : )

Alright readers have a great rest of your day and stay tuned for this weekends posts : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Weekend Project #3~ Tree Swing

Hey readers! Its another Wednesday and you know what that means! Another Weekend Project Blog!!
This blog shows what my plans are for that coming weekend, gives instructions, and other needed info so you could 2 could make it your weekend project!

This weeks project?... Tree Swing!

Ever looked at those cute little houses with their white picket fence, perfectly groomed yard, tree swing and small dog running around? Well thats NOT my house but i have always wanted a tree swing and my daughter LOVES to swing so why not add that now?

What you need?

A thick board a inch or more thick
The width and length depends on you but somewhere around 20 inches long by 8 inches wide

A drill with half-inch drill bit

3/8th inch thick rope cut to size depending on the height of your tree and swing (note: You want the swing to be high enough off the ground the tallest rider barley touches the ground)

Visit Swings Tampa Bay to learn to tie the swing knot

Drill 2 holes about 2 inches in (2 inches from both ends)

Put your rope through one side hole and up through the bottom of the other side hole, tie as they describe on swings tampa bay site (http://swingstampabay.com/)

drape over large strong branch and tie following instructions




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here comes the rain again...

Well after a fairly dry season, thank goodness for the rain barrel or my water bill would have been skyrocketing, it seems we have gotten into a rain pattern and I thank mother nature for that!

Yesterday I got maybe 1/2 inch but today was wonderfully rainy and we reached about 4 inches here!!!!
This is not to mention they expect it to be just as rainy tomorrow : )
I'm sure my newly sprouted beans, strawberrys, and bananas are loving this tropical moisture.

On my way into work today I ran the 100 steps from my car to the front door and was still so soaked that I was literally dripping water and slushing around. My boss was very sweet and gave me a dry shirt to change into.
I love rain and storms not only because that means I don't have to water but also because everything looks so green and happy after a storm, driving home from work I marvled at how green the trees were, and how the grasses shined with rain beads.

Well I'm getting a early start to bed tonight so I can hopefully catch up on sleep I've been lacking the past 2 days and maybe get up early enough that its not raining and I can do some outdoors work before those wonderful storms move in : )

Thanks to our new readers for joining : )

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pictures around Sunny Spot (week of August 1st)

Above: A picture of our new garden bed

Above: Chocolate Mint : )

Above: Cowpea sprouts : )

Above: Lemon Balm

Above: Another look at our new bed : )

Above: The first garden bed we started with, now weeded and ready for planting

Above: Oregano!

Above: Our walk through rack with pots of herbs being added : )

Above: Seedlings! : ) Mostly tomatoes!

And you can barn hop.. HERE.. to see what other homesteaders have been up to!

Home Cookin #2~ Chicken & Spinach White Pizza

Welcome Readers! As our weekends draw to a close Sunday is the perfect day to have a peaceful gathering with family around the dinner table.

Every Sunday I will blog about what we are cookin' up in our kitchen along with the recipe!

Any readers who try out the recipe please COMMENT below with your thoughts/suggestions/reviews!!

Today we are cookin' up... PIZZA!

Chicken Spinach White Pizza:

2 garlic gloves minced
1/4 cup of fresh basil (chopped finely)
1 large chicken breast cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh chopped spinach
1/4 cup green onion chopped
1/2 cup red onion
1/2 cup of crumbled feta
2 cups of Parmesan garlic white sauce (or roasted red pepper white sauce)
2 cups cheese mix (Parmesan, Asiago, Mozzarella)
dash of cayenne pepper
Pizza Dough

Roll out your dough till its nice and thin ( i prefer thin crust if you want a regular pizza roll the middle out then and mound the dough around the edges),
stick on pizza pan, heat stove to medium heat place diced chicken in pan with minced garlic, chopped red onion and green onion, cook until meat in done (no pink) and garlic and onions and soft and cooked, place finished dough on pizza pan, spread white sauce evenly on dough, toss chopped basil all over pizza then top that with chopped spinach, add cooked chicken mix spread over pizza, sprinkle feta cheese, and top the whole thing with cheese mix. Sprinkle crust edges with cayenne pepper. Cook according to directions on pizza crust but about 9 minutes on 475*
ENJOY!




Join the hop...HERE!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What to Plant this Month~August (Zone 9)

Plant seeds of:
Okra
Southern Peas
Pole Beans
Sweet Corn
Eggplant
Peppers
Pumpkin
Gourds
Squash
Watermelon
Broccoli
Celery
Collards
Bunching Onions
* Harvest Spring-planted garlic when the tops are yellow and withered. Dig the bulbs and allow to dry in a well ventilated area out of direct sun.

Also start seeds of (for transplants next month):
Tomatoes
Cabbage
Endive
Leek
Bulb Onions
Radish
Turnips

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weekend Project #2~ Build a Raised Garden Bed

Hey readers!
Its another Wednesday and you know what that means! Another Weekend Project Blog!!
This blog shows what my plans are for that coming weekend, gives instructions, and other needed info so you could 2 could make it your weekend project!

This weeks project?...
Raised garden beds!

So this weekend my goal is to build 2 out of 3 new beds in my backyard, for this project I will be using a mix of supplies.

What you need:
12 concrete blocks
10 landscape timbers (8ft long)
2 bags of dirt

What you will do:
Place your bricks in your desired new garden space. 3 blocks as each of the ends. 20 feet apart.
Place the landscape timbers on the ground connecting the 2 ends (one of the landscape timbers has to be cut in half).. that's 2 1/2 timbers per side. Place firmly into soil and dig soil up firmly on either side to secure timbers. Now fill up holes in your concrete blocks with soil.. plant a flower, or some herbs.. fill newly created bed with soil.

This bed is 4 x 20 but you can make it as long or as short as you want by adding/subtracting landscape timbers : )

Very Simple but VERY useful!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What We've Been up to Around Sunny Spot Gardens!

So as i have blogged we have been working on removing grass in both front and backyards, making new beds (in front and back), mulching with hay to keep feet off of hot dirt, keep it from becoming a mud pit, make it look nice AND enrich our soil as it decays!
So after we tilled we have been slowly creating new garden spaces with raised beds and mulching out pathways!
It starting to come together!

As you see above this is our new and improved front yard.. grass patches and weed infestation is replaced with garden beds, banana trees, and hay mulch (we will be adding a small tree swing for Brooke in the VERY near future)! It a huge improvement and even my skeptical mom likes the new front yard! I'm very happy with how its coming along.. wood mulch around the tree, dirt filling the new beds, and flowers and herbs planted (along with a couple more banana trees.. or maybe papaya) will complete the transformation!

Now in our backyard things are coming along a little slower due to lack of fiances (those went to the front yard before someone complained).. We did get the bean bed hammered together today, filled, trellis was just about completed and our pole beans were planted! Also in our lone bean cage black eye peas were planted!
Here is 2 looks at our new bean trellis!


I think things are starting to look great around the Gardens!
If anyone comes across anything you are not using and think we could use please do not hesitate to email me for my address to drop off : ) all gifts are accepted and very very much appreciated! : ) bjaukett@gmail.com

Anyways hope your week is going well!

IM SO BEHIND!

Geez its August already?
Ugh I've been sick for almost the last week, had to pull up the carpet in the living room due to a home flood, and now I feel so behind!
I have to add compost to the beds, finish building the new beds, pull out the weeds, fluff up the soil, and finally plant the seeds!!

This week at work, well actually tomorrow I have a BIG test to show what I know and see if I get a promotion (and a raise)! Wish me luck : )
Today I stayed home from work to relax, get better, and study!

Outside we have 1 of 3 beds 95% completed and ready to add soil and compost.
The onion bed needs compost added before seed planting at the end of the month.
I still need to find creole garlic that I can plant in my garlic bed.
The bean bed needs a little compost added and some kelp meal and it will be ready for planting asap.

I'm learning about earth ovens so I can hopefully create one as soon as time, and money allows me.
I'm very excited!

I hope everyone has had a great week so far and is not as far behind in fall gardening as me!!!