Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Moringa

Moringa leaves could practically wipe out malnutrition on our planet.

Experts agree that the long-term solution to malnutrition is the use of foods rich in the essential nutrients often lacking in people's diets. Modern scientific research is proving that Moringa leaves are one of the richest sources of such nutrients. Even small amounts of the leaves could protect thousands of people from suffering and death.

While it grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India.

Moringa Leaves are full of essential disease-preventing nutrients:

~ Vitamin A, which acts as a shield against eye disease, skin disease, heart ailments, diarrhea, and many other diseases.
~ Vitamin C, fighting a host of illnesses including colds and flu.
~ Calcium, which builds strong bones and teeth, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
~ Potassium, essential for the functioning of the brain and nerves.
~ Proteins, the basic building blocks of all our body cells.

Moringa leaves compared to common foods:
Values per 100gm. edible portion


                         Moringa Leaves                      Other Foods:
Vitamin A             6780 mcg                            Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C             220 mg                                Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium                440 mg                                Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium             259mg                                 Bananas: 88 mg
Protein                 6.7 gm                                 Cow's milk: 3.2 gm

A Light Rain and A Rainbow in the Gardens!

Killer Cantaloupe

Friends in other states please be warned...

The outbreak -- blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes -- was first reported September 12. As of Wednesday, it had grown to 72 cases in 18 states and had killed 13 people, officials with the Centers for Disease Control said. The number of cases is expected to rise, as it can take one to three weeks for a person who ingests the bacteria to show symptoms.

All of the tainted cantaloupes were grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado, although they were shipped to 17 states -- Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.


The recalled cantaloupes may bear a green-and-white sticker that says, "Product of USA-Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe," or a gray, yellow and green sticker that says, "Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords."

But not all cantaloupes may have a sticker... Consumers are urged to ask the supermarket or supplier if they know where the cantaloupes came from. If the cantaloupe's origins remain unconfirmed, it should be disposed of right away!


Refrigeration will not kill the Listeria bacteria, which can grow even at low temperatures, officials said. And the longer a contaminated food is stored in the refrigerator, the more opportunity the bacteria has to grow.


Listeriosis causes fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It rarely is a serious concern for healthy children and adults, the CDC said, but can be dangerous for older adults or those with weakened immune systems. It can be treated with antibiotics.


They are saying this is the deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness since 1998!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28th, 2011

Hi There!

Today I moved our 1 ft baby mango plant from a weed and grass covered spot near the edge on the chicken coop to a area near the Sunny Spot Garden sign. I also Planted our moringa tree in a 5 gallon bucket which is now sat into the ground near the baby mango.

I plan on cutting up the papaya tomorrow and starting the seeds from it!

I went out and checked on the newly planted pineapple.. It starting to brown so i dont know if I did something wrong or if it just hasn't started to grow yet : /

Im growing more excited about the potluck every time someone new RSVP's! So far we are up to 12+ people for sure and 5+ maybes! I hope to see you all!!
Im not sure what everyone is bringing but I plan on creating some kind of egg dish from our fresh eggs as well as brew some tea from our outdoor herbs!

Tonight I watched a very fantastic movie about permaculture that inspired me and gave me some fantastic ideas to use around here!

Hope everyone has had a good week so far! :)

What a busy month October will be

Man its almost October which means new plants to start and weekends FULL of activities..

First up we have the opening day of Saturday Morning Market~ October 1st
Here you will find many vendors including The Dancing Goat from my farm spotlight!

October 2nd: My dear friends baby shower!

October 8th and 9th: Fall USF Plant Festival

October 15: Tampa VegFest till noon then the Great Bridal Expo with my family

October 16th: Wedding Planning

October 17th I took off work to go to a pumpkin patch and other good stuff

October 22nd: Garden Pot-Luck at my place!!

October 23rd: Halloween stuff with the little one

October 29th and 30th: More Halloween stuff

Whew! hahaha what a wonderfully busy month!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Farm Spotlight~ The Dancing Goat

The owner of this wonderful farm is Pam and she is a amazingly sweet lady who on her free time (which she has very little of) volunteers with places like Slow Food Tampa and the National Humane Society !!!

With awesome items like goat cheese, raw goat milk, soaps, eggs, and sometimes even Raw cow milk (of course all edible products are for "pet" consumption only~ See why at the bottom).. how could you go wrong?

I first ran into this charming woman at Sweetwater where I bought my eggs (before my own hens started producing).. then I got one of her bars of soap in my Christmas stocking from my Fiance, then I ran into her at the Saturday Morning Market.. where I chatted her up, took pictures, and bought some awesome goat cheese..
This whole operation is fantastic!!

A self described Yuppie Dairy in the middle of suburban Tampa!

How she got started!

It started as regular day that they now remember as Black Wednesday! First they found their cat dead, then came the news Pam's husband was laid off, after many tears they decided they would still be ok because of her job...Two weeks later that came to an end when the same company that laid off her husband called her in to announce they were pulling her contract to perform the work “in house”. The contract was for a quarter of a million dollars and was to be their retirement money.

Then came the would they survive. So she started brainstorming on how they could sustain themselves.

They loved fresh eggs and fresh milk, why not the rest of the world? Well after much studying and trading goods the rest is history and in your "pets" cup!!!

Where to Find Her?
Pam attends markets on the weekends - ALWAYS Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete (June - August in Williams Park, October through May in Al Lang Stadium Parking Lot) and Sweetwater Organic Farm Oct - May in Tampa. Starting first weekend in June we will be attending different Sunday markets - TBA.

Anyone who wants to work on the farm, meet the animals, meet a wonderful woman, learn about her, farming, and working with animals email her and set up a time to volunteer out there with her!!! She makes sure you will never leave empty handed!!! : )

More goodness?
She also offers fresh manure to anyone who wants to come out and get it, she may even help you shovel it!!!! Just email her to set up a time..

A Gallon of Raw Goat milk: $12.50
Half gallon of Raw Goat Milk: $7
She may offer quarts but only at special events - TBA
Yogurt and Kefir Quarts: $5
Goat Cheese (Half Pound): $10
Cheese Torte with Sun dried tomatoes~ Special Order
Soaps: $4.25 each or 3 for $12
Top Sellers of soaps: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Dead Sea Mud, French Green Mud with Tea Tree Oil, and Rhassoul Clay
~ Note: No fragrance oils are used in the soaps just essential oil she likes to work all natural
Eggs (Chicken and Quail): $4.25 doz chicken, 5.00/20 quail
Raw Almonds: Email for prices and availability

Also available Raw cow milk, cheeses, and butter from Lori of Jersey Acres
~ Email for prices ~

Email her at or call her @ 813-818-0305 to place an order for market pickup or to request a price sheet of the full product line.

The Dancing Goat
12502 Maverick Court
Tampa, FL 33626

Also check out her up and coming website HERE :)

Why for pet consumption only label?
Raw foods have a conspiracy behind them (despite studies that show how beneficial it is) that makes it illegal to sell in some states.. but here in FL(and 3 other states) they allow the sale of raw milk only for animal use..

The law is here as follows..
Raw milk sales for human consumption are illegal. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services interprets the definition of "sell" in the state administrative code to extend the ban on raw milk sales to any cowshare agreements as well.

Department of Agriculture policy permits the sale of raw milk for animal consumption even though there is no state law that covers this issue. The state permits raw milk sales for animal consumption either on the farm or in retail stores. Containers should have a label clearly stating that the raw milk is for animal consumption only.

How to help with change?
To try and get raw milk products legal in your state.. Write to your government leaders and let your voice be heard. You can find your state representative's contact information here

In 25 states raw milk is legal for "human" consumption.. The see if you state is click here

My Daughters Garden

We turned my daughters old turtle sandbox into a garden bed, filled with soil and compost, she was able to pick out what seeds she wanted to plant..

What she choose.. 2 items.. Royal Burgundy bush beans and Country Gentlemen Corn..

How she planted? We are calling it super intensive.. in that little bed is probably around 30 beans, and 10 corn : )

We will see how it goes I guess but she is VERY proud : )

Occupy Wall Street!

Here is the live stream from the Occupation of Wall Street
Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

Cinnamon Butter

Cinnamon is one of the best Fall spices and I like to make tons of foods with it.. like last nights dinner of Cinnamon Pork : )

Here is a Cinnamon Butter to try!!

Super Soft and Creamy Cinnamon

~ 1 cup butter, softened
~ 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, chilled
~ 1/2 teaspoon honey
~ 1 teaspoon cinnamon

~ Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixture is smooth.
~ This may be stored in the refrigerator or frozen

Enjoy this on sweet potatoes, homemade breads, and anything else you can think of!

Home Cookin #5~ Cinnamon Pork

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.

Today I will blog about what we are cooked up yesterday (the hubby is at work tonight)but is such a yummy yummy dinner even my picky eater loved!

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

Today we are cookin' up...

Cinnamon Pork with Onion, Cherry Topping

I used pork tenderloin cut about 1inch thick but you can use chops etc
1/2 white onion, Chopped
A handful of cherries
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons butter

~First heat your pan over medium heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom on the pan
~ Mix together equal amount of sugar and cinnamon in a bowl or cup (about 5 Tablespoons worth)
~ Once hot add your pieces of pork
~ On the side facing up sprinkle some of your mixture of cinnamon and sugar (just enough to lightly cover)
~ Cook for 6 minutes then flip
~ Cover this other side with enough cinnamon sugar mix to cover
~ Cook for another 6 minutes or until its no longer pink when cut into
~ Place on plate and cover to keep warm
~ Scrape and cooked mixture off the bottom and leave in pan
~ Place in 3 Tablespoons Butter until melted
~ Add 1/2 onion (Chopped) and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (onions should become clear vs white)
~ Then add cherries (smooshed into pan) and apple juice
~ Simmer for another 10 minutes
~ Pour over Pork or serve in a bowl on the side

Serve with homemade bread w/ cinnamon butter, homemade applesauce, roasted apples, or mashed potatoes

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Expanding my food growing..

Well I have all but one garden bed set up and planted in.. But what about sustainable plants like fruit trees, bushes, and other perennials?

That's my next step.. creating a sustainable food forest..

Food Forest: Forest gardening is a food production and land management system based on woodland ecosystems, but substituting trees (such as fruit or nut trees), bushes, shrubs, herbs and vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.

So I have my veggie gardens and a couple small fruit trees (a peach, fig, lemon, and some bananas) but I want to expand on this.. I bought a papaya today to of course eat but also to harvest the seed from which I will sprout and set up around the edges of the property as well as through out the gardens.. I also plan on getting more fruit trees, I'm looking at Cherry of the Rio and Gulf Plums (which you need 2 of).. I will also get a couple more banana trees, a fig from my grandma, and a mulberry or 2.. this is in addition to expanding my blackberry and blueberry beds, and adding a grape arbor.. So I'm of course taking offerings of these plants or cash ;) to buy them

I love the idea of making this lot of land completely usable as well as fun to live with and play under..

I have seeds for Jicama, and cranberry hibiscus so I will be trying these out as well..

Today I weeded out the front flower garden which has lack of flowers and tons of weeds.. I now have 5 marigolds, lemon grass, a pepper, and a Petunia that are all visible and not choked out by weeds, I was thinking about planting a bunch of nasturtiums in there : )

I also am beginning to have a love of roses, they are beautiful to look at and smell, as well as being edible and usable for medicines and beauty products..

Well I hope everyone is having a good weekend! : )

Remember to RSVP to the October Potluck!!!

Today is CAR DAY!

Its been some years since I got my drivers license but was never able to own a car for myself.. My fiance has a Silver Kia Sportage I have been driving but sharing a car is not a easy task, I cant get half of what I want done, I have to rely on him to want to go to wherever with me or I'm stuck at home...

This all ends today!

In a super awesome turn of events I am getting a '03 Jeep Liberty Sport from my Grandma as a early birthday gift (My birthday isn't until Nov)

So I got my Insurance for it yesterday, Today we go and pick it up, and Tuesday we will get the registration and tag : )


Plus its the perfect size for hauling hay, plants, etc : )

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Bread~ Recipe

Fall is my favorite season full of rick colored clothing and tasty foods.. To start out fall today im making.. Pumpkin Bread!!

Pumpkin Bread
Makes approximately 12 muffins or 1 large loaf
1 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chopped walnuts or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

~Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and eggs and mix until creamy.
~In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except the nuts or chocolate chips.
~Mix all but 1 cup of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then add as much of the last cup as necessary to achieve the proper consistency (moist, but thick enough to stand a spoon in).
~Add the nuts or chocolate chips and stir in.
~ Pour or spoon the batter into greased muffin tins or bread pan.
~ Bake on the center rack until a toothpick poked into the center comes out dry. Muffins should take between 20 and 25 minutes to bake and full sized loaves between 50 minutes and 1 hour.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another Garden Lawbreaker...

Just a couple months ago we had a Oak Park lady in trouble for her front yard garden, and now another town joins my shit list... UGH

Adam Guerrero in his own words:

Hey all, my name is Adam Guerrero. I would first like to thank everyone who shares a sense of disbelief, disillusionment, and frustration with me. I would invite anyone and everyone to come by and see for yourself the state of affairs. My address is 3713 Townes Ave. 38122. Please be kind and keep in mind that it is nearly the autumn of the year, and although my front yard garden is still lush, it is showing signs of slowing down. I have a deep respect for nature and its wisdom in handling its own affairs. The tomatoes in my yard, in fact, return year after year without me doing a single thing outside providing them a nurturing nutrient environment. I am not a native Memphis, although I have lived here for 10 years and have been a teacher for 6. I see many great problems in our city and society. I have set aside the talk and demands for "someone" to act and have taken it upon myself to do what little contribution I can. If I can provide a sense of stability for some young men, I will. It may not be ALL young men, but the one's I work with an enabled and empowered, and that's the point. Again, I am home around 4pm till bed, and am happy to entertain questions, concerns, opinions, etc. but please be kind and decent. Thanks.

Whole Foods Falls to the Evil Empire

Its a sad state of affairs when one of the well known Organic Non-GMO who supplies food to most of the country gives up its fight and sinks to the lowest possible level. A deal with Monsanto... the evil empire SO many are fighting against.. for shame Whole Foods for shame...

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." -- Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

25,000 organics farmers and ranchers face betrayal after a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's organic farms and ranches.
The surrender spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's come to a "co existence" with Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops like Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa.... Disgusting

In a super misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that Whole Foods and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its toxic genes and seeds across the nation; leading to the contamination of the alfalfa fed to organic animals; which in turn lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup!
In addition the Biotech Bully of St. Louis agreed to pay "compensation" (i.e. hush money) to farmers "for any losses related to the contamination of his crop."


The main reason why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away.


Because they know, just as we do, that more then half of Whole Foods $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called "natural" processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs.
Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as "natural"....

Here is a way to help try and get our food labeled the way it should be.. with GMO written out so people can make a real decision about what they are putting in their bodies

Just remember friends this is just another reason to...

Its Been A Sad Day.

Today is my grandmothers birthday which is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but just as we were leaving to pick her up for dinner she called to say there was a change in plans.

Our dear friend of the family for many many years (her name is Erni) was dying, she has been battling leukemia, and after a failed bone marrow transplant they knew there was not much they could do. We went and picked my grandma up and brought her to Erni's house where her loved ones were gathered and my grandma went into the room to say her goodbyes. She is unresponsive but her heart keeps going. I wasnt sure i wanted to see her like that after all the wonderful memories i have of her but I had to. The woman laying in that bed was not Erni.. It couldnt have been....

This is truly a sad day.

Erni.. your love and wonderful spirit will live on in all who met you.. I love you

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Review Was Published!

My review for the Green After Dark Event-September was published on the Going Green Tampa site! How fantastic!

Pot Luck Garden Event.. HERE!

Well readers I am finally going to do it!

A afternoon pot luck get together here at our house and in the gardens!

The event is from: 5pm-8pm on October 22nd
Address: 9509 N Dartmouth Ave Tampa

A fire in the newly dug fire pit, tiki torches lit, chicken cooing in the background, Pot luck food, great conversation, and hopefully less bugs!!!

It is a potluck event so I hope to have all sorts of interesting good foods! (Feel free to bring anything you want)

Also taking donations of items that you can see on our wishlist.. HERE

Please RSVP on the Facebook event page..  if you dont have Facebook feel free to just leave a comment below or shoot me a email

This is not a huge event but should be very nice!

Hope to meet many of you!

Super cute little girl talks about her "potato project"

Green After Dark - September

Another visit to Green After Dark left me again so happy that I just had to write up a review with some of the wonderful new vendors that came out!!!

It starts on a beautiful September evening, a cool breeze kept away the heat and mugginess of Florida and we started our drive the 20 minutes it takes to get from our home sweet home to the Odessa Organic Market.

I turned into the neighboring shopping centers to park and was greeted by wonderful smells of cooked foods, and the noise of happy people, joyful children, and a live band!

Which brings me to my first point.. The Groves! Travis and Justin came out to play us some wonderful tunes on their guitars promoting their newly released cd In Season! It was really chill groovable type music which was the perfect soundtrack to a enjoyable evening! They were also joined by the very talented Ashley Jones who has such a amazing voice, and fantastic lyrics! FYI shes my background music as I type this up! Im so glad to know we have such amazing people in Florida!

There were so many new and fun vendors this time, it was great to meet such wonderful and friendly people!

Right near the big tent was Providence Cattle Company which sells Grass Fed Beef! We are talking high quality yummy nutritious grass fed goodness! If you need any reasons to go Grass Fed just read my last blog about Grass Fed VS. Supermarket Meat. The family was super friendly and very sweet giving my little one a safe place to play and enjoy the night with their little one! They were busy informing people on cooking, using, and enjoying their grass fed products!

Next was Of The Earth which is handmade baskets! They were so beautiful! Picnic baskets, purses, standard baskets, wine holder, etc all original and beautiful! It was hard to take it all in cause all I kept thinking was I want this and this and Oh my mom would like that! : ) The artist was very nice and i enjoyed my chat with her, i even saw stashed in her bag was materials to weave a new basket!
I couldn't find her on Facebook but will link her up as soon as i can!

Next stop was the Its Our Nature vendor. Lots of organic clothing like shirts, socks, underwear, skirts.. and some awesome bumper stickers and buttons! They had one shirt I loved that simply said COMPOST with a apple core! It was all organic cotton! The nice lady who talked with me was named Amber and she was a joy!

Down 2 Earth was full of great items like eco grocery bags, produce bags, soap bags, my favorite item was their Support your local farmer shirt! They use open air markets and only carry products free from pesticides and other toxins! The even reuse their shipping supplies to help save the environment!

Next door the crowd around Fisher Honey Bees drew me in.. they had brought a observation hive full of hard at work honey bees! It was so interesting to watch them all climbing around!

After checking out the awesome bees the smells from Woodapple Farms made me go over and say hi! I picked up a wonderful bar of soap from her called Autumn Bouquet.. A warm blend of patchouli, lavender and vanilla. It smells amazing and the smell drifts out from the bathroom and floods the whole house with its warmth! She raises goats and uses their milk in the lovely soaps! There are such amazing products and smells! I could buy like 10 or more bars!!!! The owner is amazing and very friendly ready to talk to ready to explain and help you pick the perfect bar for you! : )

Then there is Holloway Farm Supply which brought a small chicken coop with 3 hens, and a tub full of baby chicks which excited my daughter so much! She loves the little chicks and wanted me to get some.. but 3 hens is enough for us right now!! : )

Then the man of the hour John who Helps Going Green Tampa set up this whole thing so we can all thank them for bringing us this fantastic event!!

Then there was the wonderful 2nd time vendors like Twisted Mind Rusty Metal which has the wonderful re-purposed metal tools into garden art, Green Dreams which had a nice garden talk at the tent and brought some wonderful Moringa plants, Pizza Fusion with organic pizza, Lettuce Eat Healthy with vegan foods, and blue sky drinks, Gone Bananas with whipped banana treats, Java Planet which was handing out yummy free samples of the coffee, Your Fresh Chef which serves up gluten free and vegan goodies, and Whatever Pops where my daughter and I shared a Key Lime Pie Pop!!!

To read more about the 2nd time vendors check out my first review!

Want to attend the next event?
Check out the facebook event to RSVP but its not needed!

This event is so enjoyable and i love going just to meet all the wonderful people, enjoy some good music, and enjoy the simple things in life!!!

Grass Fed Beef VS. Supermarket Beef

We all either go to or have been at a supermarket at some point, and we have all seen those Styrofoam trays holding those cuts of red beef nicely wrapped up and stamped with a price... but what is that really?

What is supermarket meat?
Supermarket meat is from animals raised on a chemical treated fields, then sent to feedlots where they are fed corn and soy byproducts, given hormones to make them grow big faster, the given antibiotics to cure any diseases they may pick up in these slums, then shipped off to a slaughter house where there is a assembly line of killing, butchering, then wrapped up and sent to some supermarket somewhere, then laid out under bright lights where you pick it up bring it home and cook it for your family.

What is grass fed meat?
These are cattle that are raised on a farm full of greens the cow can eat. Grass and leaves etc are the cows true diet not the corn, grain, etc that most places are feeding their cows. Cows are normally led to a different pasture every couple days to allow grazing on the best grass with most nutrition, this allows the grass to rebuild and grow before the cow is moved back to that spot, it works as nature intended the circle.. a cow eats the grass, takes what it needs from it, poops out the remaining, that is broken down by worms, etc and turned back into rich soil to grow more grass that in turn the cow will again eat. These cattle are not pumped full of hormones to make them grow big, they are allowed to grow as nature intended which takes more time... of course! I seem to find that grass fed cattle are just more happy and healthy, which leads to the need of less antibiotics, chemicals, treatments, etc

In the past five years, more than 1,000 U.S. ranchers have switched herds to an all-grass diet. Pure pasture-raised beef still represents less than 1% of the nation's supply, but sales reached some $120 million last year and are expected to increase more than 20% a year over the next decade. Groceries like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are offering more Grass-fed products as the demand increases! This is extremely good news for both us and the cattle!

Compared to typical supermarket beef, grass-fed beef is:
~ About 3 times richer in heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
~ Higher in "good" unsaturated fats and lower in "bad" saturated fats.
~ About 4 times higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) content.
(CLA is a newly discovered good fat that may be a potent cancer fighter.)
~ Loaded with over 400% more of vitamin A (as beta carotene) and E.
~ Virtually no risk of Mad Cow Disease.

Why do I care about Omega 3?
Omega-3s are called "good fats" because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. Grass fed Beef is even called heart-friendly. Studies have shown people who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat and are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer's disease.

But what about taste?
The taste to me tastes like BEEF but leaner and actually somehow better!
When I first bought Grass Fed beef the color threw me.. it was a deep red almost brown, not like that pink/grey stuff from the market, it also cooked up much faster, but the taste.. Mmmm the taste, it was like a whole new appreciation for the cow, not fatty, just bursting with flavor with every bite.. it brought a new meaning to the burger.. turns out you dont need to top it with every flavor under the sun to make it taste good it does that on its own! : )

The sum of this article is to show you that grass fed beef not only tastes better but is MUCH better for you!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

...and when you give to her she always gives back

Our mother.. wonderful mother nature, if you give to her she will always return that gift.

I only garden organic which brings problems like pest control.. well I guess our mother feels that I'm doing a decent job giving to her because this week she blessed us with the gift of ladybugs.. these ladybugs destroyed our aphid infestation within a week.

Its amazing to watch.. nature doing what it does best (taking care of itself)

I compost, recycle, use less, repurpose, grow food, then turn it back into the ground to add organic matter, nutrients, etc

In turn our mother gives me the most precious gift.. food, and happiness

My family loves to be outside (weather permitting) enjoying her wonderful sights, sounds, textures, smells..

If more people let nature be nature we could help our planet instead of abuse it, but we don't, instead we dump chemicals onto those plants to rid our bug problems, weed problems, any problem someone somewhere thinks may be solved by a expensive chemical..

This is one of my true joys, watching how life happens.. and its all in my backyard!!!

Falls Coming

The official start of Fall is just a week away I'm preparing by digging out the fall/Halloween decorations, getting ready for rich cooking with spices like cinnamon, brown sugar and foods like apples, squash, and pumpkin.. Yum

Cinnamon Pork with roasted spiced apples were a favorite last year as well as apple crisp, caramel apples, and homemade from scratch pumpkin pie!

We have my friends baby shower the first week, followed by the USF fall festival plant sale where I will be getting some new trees, then we will be attending VegFest, and a bridal expo for my next years wedding towards the middle of October, followed up my Halloween!

In my garden the beans are happy (the cowpeas, bush beans and pole beans), the corn is growing up, the squash and melons are flowering and vining out, the chard sprouted well, I just planted my cabbage and turnips, I'm starting more peppers and tomatoes, next weekend ill be cleaning out the last bed chopping down the okra and using to developed mature pods for next years seed, in that bed ill start the lettuce, and next month carrots, I also have to start my onions and hurry up and ordered creole garlic for planting before they are all sold out!!!

In my last post I explained using cardboard in the garden and I plan on stopping tomorrow at some stores to collect a trunk full of large flattened boxes

This weekend is going to be pretty relaxing.. I have to finish my laundry, clean up a bit, sweep and mop the floors, and get the porch cleaned off for fall enjoyment, my main event is attending the monthly Green After Dark event in Odessa which is put on by Going Green Tampa, and the Odessa Organic Market and looks to have some great vendors on the lineup! The honeybee place is going to bring a observation hive, GreenDreams in going to do a presentation, and there's a promise of beer and live music!!! Seems like a perfect way to spend my evening!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cardboard Boxes... A Gardeners Best Friend?

Cardboard boxes.. you see them on corners, in stores, almost every where uses them so what can we do to keep those boxes from winding up in garbage fills?


Right now I'm snuffing out my persistent grass that has come back after my tilling. Today Ronnie cut the grass real short and we started laying down boxes.. these will snuff out the grass while keeping it from coming back, provide a safe comfy home for worms, it will break down slowly which adds organic matter to your soil..

I think I'm in love with what I once stuffed into the recycle bin..

You can also use it as a mulch around your plants.. it keeps you soil moist and cooler while not allowing the growth of weeds.

You can use cardboard in sheet composting, regular composting, vermiculure, etc

Want to use it to get rid of grass in walkways?
Cut grass very short..
Lay boxes overlapping on edges (do not open up)..
Cover with walkway material.. gravel, wood chips, hay, dirt, stepping stones, bricks whatever..
Enjoy your results : )

Want to use it to make a garden bed?
Cut grass very short...
Open boxes flat and lay out overlapping on edges...
Cover with compost and dirt (at least 6 inches)...

Want to use it as mulch?
Lay out opened boxes where you plan to plant..
Use a box cutter to cut out circles where you want to plant your seeds or starters..
Remove cut circles and throw in compost..

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Edible Flowers

Not only are these flowers yummy but look amazing!

Please as always be careful when harvesting flowers and dont just eat any kind (some flowers can harm you when ingested)

Angelica~Depending on the variety, flower range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose. It has a flavor similar to licorice.

Anise Hyssop~ Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor.

borage~ cool, faint cucumber taste

Calendula~ A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery.

Carnations~ Surprisingly sweet petals in desserts

Arugula~ The flowers are small, white with dark centers and can be used in the salad. The flowers taste very similar to the leaves and range in color from white to yellowish with dark purple veins.

Artichoke~ The artichoke is considered a flower in which the leaves of the flower are eaten and the choke or thistle part is discarded.

Broccoli Florets~ These small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness as well as a mild broccoli flavor.

Chrysanthemum~ They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They should be blanched first.

Clover~ Sweet, anise-like, licorice. Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.

Cornflower(Bachelor’s button)~Slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor.

Dandelion~ Best picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers!

Gladiolus~ Flowers (anthers removed) have a strange taste something like lettuce

Garlic Blossoms~ The flavor has a garlicky zing that brings out the flavor of your favorite food. Milder than the garlic bulb.

Chamomile~ The flowers are small and daisy-like and have a sweet taste

Jasmine~ The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea.

Lavender~ Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes.

Hibiscus~ Cranberry-like flavor and is slightly acidic

Hollyhock~ Bland tasting.

Honeysuckle~ Sweet honey flavor. Only the flowers are edible.

Impatiens~ The flowers have a sweet flavor.

Johnny-Jump-Ups~ Mild wintergreen flavor.

Lilac~ Has a distinct lemony taste. Great in salads!

Marigold~ Citrus type flavor.

~ Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers.

Peony~ Add peony petals to your summer salad or try floating in punches and lemonades.

Primrose~ Flower is colorful with a sweet, but bland taste. Add to salad, cook as a vegetable, or make into a wine!

Queen Anne's Lace (AKA:Wild Carrot): The flowers are small and white, and bloom in clusters. Great in salads as it has a mild carrot taste!

Roses~ Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet! Taste depends on type, color, and soil conditions.
Rose Hips~ Have soooo many vitamins like beta carotene, bioflavinoids, calcium, citrates, citric acid, iron malates, malic acid, niacin, phosphorus and vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and of course tons of vitamin C (More about Rose Hips Later)

Sunflower~ The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Otherwise once open use petals in salads etc

Sweet Woodruff (AKA:Wild Baby's Breath)~ The flower flavor is sweet and grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor.

Tulip Petals~ CATION: Some people are very allergic to tulips if you touch it and it causes a reaction DONT FREAKIN EAT IT!~Petals can taste like sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor.

Corn Shoots
~ Corn shoots may be eaten when they resemble large blades of grass strong corn tastes

Mustard~ Young leaves can be steamed, used as a herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach.

Scarlet Runner Beans~ Very tasty and can be used in soups and salads

Squash Blossoms~ Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Prepare the blossoms by washing and trimming the stems and remove the stamens ive seen many recipes for stuffed squash flowers!

Violets~ Sweet, perfumed flavor. Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and pansies now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues. Also the heart-shaped leaves are edible, and tasty when cooked like spinach.

Yucca Petals- The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste.

More about rose hips:
Harvesting: Hips start out green as the seed develops inside. With short days and cold nights, they ripen to bright red, orange or purple. The color tells you when it's ripe. A ripe hip will feel soft to the touch because it's composed of sugar-rich flesh that surrounds the seeds. Spread the hips out and allow them to partially dry, where you can still remove the seeds, but they are no longer pulpy inside. When the skins begin to feel shriveled, you need to separate the seeds from the fruit. Cut the hip in half and scrape away the seeds. You may want to use a blunt ended tool to help do this. After removing the seeds, allow the hips to dry completely before storing. They will keep indefinitely in the freezer or for several months in the refrigerator.

Rose Hip Tea
Crush 1 cup of dried rose hips and place into a covered container. Add 1 cup of boiling water. Brew for 3-5 minutes. Sweeten as desired.

You can also use 3-4 fresh rose hips that have been chopped. Add the boiling water and brew as usual. Some people like a very strong tea-you can brew up to 30 minutes and reheat the tea if necessary before sweetening.

Rosehip Jam:
2 quarts large rosehips
1 large orange
1 large green apple
The zest and juice of 2 lemons
6 cups water
5 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter

Makes: 6 8-ounce canning jars and fresh lids

~Prepare the rose hips. Cut away and discard the green scraggly ends. Cut the rosehips in half and scrape out and discard all of the seeds and thistle-ly hairy bits. With the remaining rose hip pieces, discard any bits that are blemished. Then roughly chop the rose hips. You will need 4 cups of clean, chopped rose hip.

~Cut off and discard the ends of the orange. Slice the orange lengthwise into wedges. Remove (and reserve) any seeds, and if you can, remove and reserve membranes. Take the wedges and cut each one of them so that you have a bunch of little triangles of orange.

~Prep the apple. Peel the apple, reserving the peel. Then grate the apple with a cheese grater (large hole). Chop up the core and reserve.

~Place the chopped rose hips, grated apple, and chopped orange into a large (8-quart) wide pot. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the pot. Add the water to the pot. Take the apple core pieces, apple peel, and any orange seeds and membrane and place in a double layer of cheese cloth. Wrap them up and place in the pot with the chopped fruit and rosehips. (This will be a source of pectin.)

~Prepare canning jars. You'll need 6 to 7 half-pint canning jars and lids. Sterilize the jars by either running them through the dishwasher, right before canning, or placing them on a rack in a large pot of water that you bring to a boil for 10 minutes, or by placing them in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes. To sterilize the lids, bring a kettle of a couple cups of water to a boil. Place lids in a shallow bowl and pour the boiling water over them

~Bring mixture to a hard boil, partially covered, for 30 minutes or so, or until the orange peels can be easily cut through without resistance. Remove from heat. Remove the cheesecloth pectin bag and place in a bowl to cool. Once cool enough to handle easily, gently squeeze the cheesecloth pouch to extract more of the pectin (it will be sort of gloppy). Add the extracted pectin-y juice back into the pan with the rosehip

~Measure out the sugar and add to the rosehip mixture. Heat to high, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has all dissolved. Add butter (will help keep the foaming down). Bring to a rapid boil, uncovered, reduce heat to medium high. Place a small plate in your freezer. After about 25 minutes begin testing the jam by placing a small amount on the chilled plate. Allow 30 seconds to pass and then run your finger through it to see what the cooled consistency will be. Boil for a few minutes longer if desired for a thicker jam. Do not overcook or the mixture will caramelize and give you an odd taste.

~Ladle the mixture into hot, sterilized canning jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a dampened paper towel. Seal them with the sterilized lids, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.

~To ensure a good seal, and to guard against mold, if you want, you can process the jars in a water bath for 5 minutes (bacteria is already killed by the sugar).

Makes 6 8-oz. jars.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


What is a Aphid?

A nasty little bug that feeds by sucking sap from plants. It reproduces rapidly, often producing live young without mating, and may live in large colonies that cause extensive damage to crops.

Sounds lovely right?

How to know you have Aphids..
Many ways.. Leaf Curl, yellowing of leaves, deformed growth, yellow sticky eggs, large clusters of what looks like dirt stuck around your plant..

I have aphids.. on my corn and beans.. UGH!

Tonight I am making my poison.. MWA HAHAHAHAHA

~ 2 habanero pepper
~ 4 cloves of garlic
~ a teaspoon of cooking oil
~ a couple squirts of dish soap
~ water

First bring some water to a boil, enough to fill whatever spray bottle you are using, peel and prick holes in your garlic cloves and peppers, Boil for 30 minutes then mash with a potato masher, leave overnight, in the morning strain into spray bottle, add you oil and dish soap, shake up and start spraying

When using this spray I first recommend removing as many bugs as you can since they breed so quick then spray.. Respray every week or after every rain (whichever comes first)

These bugs are aggressive and can destroy crops but also watch for their enemies.. ladybugs, wasps, and ants!

Wish my luck with my battle!
Tomorrow ill be armed and ready to FIGHT!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Whats Going On Here

Well today after work I came home and went out to the garden, the beans in the corn area have sprouted, broccoli is starting to sprout, NOTHING ELSE this bed has been planted almost 6 days!

So I went to my other beds.. chard starting to sprout as well as even a couple tomatoes.. this bed has been planted for 4 days...

Then off to my unlabeled starts where I planted the started tomatoes.. i have NO IDEA what i planted where as i forgot to mark the starts : ( Guess ill figure it out when they start producing!

As suggested in my last post by some readers I started more seeds and are pre-sprouting them on wet paper towels in my kitchen! Once they sprout a good root ill plant them out in the garden.

As to another urban farmer my seeds will now be stored in the fridge to increase their viability and germination rates!

The chickens egg production has started decreasing (or they are hiding their eggs) it seem to be down to one every other day or so..

Im trying to decide what i want from Crowleys nursery since they will be coming to town early October and i want to place my order so I can make sure they bring those types with them : ) (if you want to donate to my tree fund donate either using chip in which is at the bottom left of the page or paypal to your right)

This morning it was a wonderful mid 70's here which was fantastic to walk out into and even the days haven't been past the upper 80's but the news is reporting 90's again next week.

The watermelon and squash are starting to vine out! YAY!

My cowpeas are COVERED in aphids but also the ladybugs have swarmed it and hopefully take care of my problem!

Last weekend my daughter fell from her bed and cracked her head into the corner of her nightstand which prompted a midnight journey to ER, shes doing better but has developed 2 black eyes and purple bruised forehead, my poor sweetie

Well thats all the news from around here this week!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The fears with direct seeding

I direct seeded all of my garden this year as my starts died within a day of planting. I'm on day 4 or one garden and day 3 of the other two beds.. I see sprouts of beans so far but that's all. I put most of my seeds into the ground so if none of my seeds sprout I'm screwed which frightens the crap out of me.

My fears are that maybe I planted them to deep, maybe the rain washed them away, maybe the birds came and ate them.. there are just so many things that could go wrong.

The pros to direct seeding are no transplant shock, seemingly faster growing as the roots can take off without being stopped my plastic or peat, one time back breaker (instead of bending and planting in containers and then again in ground there's just once)

I always seem to have luck direct seeding my large seeds like my squash, melons, beans, etc but I'm worried about all my small seeds like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant..

The steady rain yesterday and today are keeping my beds wet which I'm hoping helps not hinders my direct seeding but the heavy storms winds and rain could be a issue in fact it already blew over some of my baby corn, knocked down a banana tree, and has ruined the roof on my chicken coop so ill be having to replace that SOON!!!

Just thought I would share my worried : )

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nighttime Tour of the Up and Coming Farm

Tree In Bucket Approch

Since the tropical type trees (and any tree really) need more water then our climate sometimes provides I am attempting growing in large buckets or tubs! So far I find this method very convenient and it works!

Take a large bucket or tub I use the large something like 35 gallon tubs at Home Depot, they are blue or grey with rope handles and cost like $6.

Then drill your holes 4 inches up the side all the way around every 6 inches, fill with compost, organic fertilizers, and a light amount of potting soil (mix up well).
Plant your tree pat down, cover and fill around.. make sure tree is no more then 3 inches from the rim, water really well for about 5 minutes

I then dig a hole in the ground and plant the whole thing..(container and all) in the ground so it looks attractive, but can be removed if needed and brought inside the garage!

The holes 4 inches up are in case constant rains.. if your water level goes above those bottom 4 inches it will drain out your holes..

Give a good water maybe once a week until established and you see new growth, for the most part the rain is sufficient after that except during dry periods where you want to water once about every 2 weeks (deeply)!!!

Enjoy your new tree!!!

~ Note: I'm also using this approach for roses with fantastic luck like the one i cut from the garden below...~

Earth Friendly Green Childrens Books

As i was shopping some time ago I found a book call in the garden.. its by green start.. the book is printed from 98% recycled waste but its not just that one book.. they have many!

They have book towers of small chunky books for little kids.. Little Learning Books, Little Animal Books, Little Vehicle Books, Little Nursery Rhyme Books

Their bigger books for toddlers are:
~ Five Senses
~ In the garden
~ One Tree
~ Animals Everywhere
~ Baby Animals
~ Little Helpers

They even have a couple floor puzzles and games!

I think this is fantastic because we cut down so many tress for our printed books this is a great way to read your books and save the trees to!!!

The Books and Puzzles cost between $5 and $12.. Check them out!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pictures Around Sunny Spot ( Sept 4th 2011)

Below are our pole beans, starting to climb the poles : )

Below: Lemon tree with chicken underneath in the chicken area

Above the new smaller chicken area

Below: Our cowpeas growing very well

Above our are cucumbers that sprouted!

Below: The new dug firepit

Above: A view of the gardens! All the winter squash.. also a row of watermelon and cantaloupe

Below: our garden bed with corn, tomatoes, and all sorts of just planted seeds..

Above: Another look at our squash beds : )

Below: Okra im leaving for seed

Above and Below is a look at our blackberry plants!

Brooke in the garden!! ^above

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How much garden space do I have?

I have a 5x10 bean garden but only 3x8 is used.. so that's 24 sq ft of garden space
I also have a 4x8= 32 sq ft
4x4= 16 sq ft (onion bed)
2x3= 6 sq ft (garlic bed)
2- 4x18= 144 sq ft
2- 3x12= 72 sq ft

That is 294 sq ft of garden space in that backyard.. this is not including my fruit plant beds or trees.. or my future bed that has a spot just hasn't been laid out yet.. this will be another 4x18 giving us a additional 72 sq ft of space in the back

In my front yard I have
3- 4x8 = 96 sq ft

Not to mention my banana trees, and hopefully soon to be papaya trees, passion fruit vines, cherry of the rio, and tea shrub : )

Now while this is not even close to the needed amount of 1200 sq ft of garden space for a 3 person family to be truly self sufficient this will give us ALOT of our fruits and veggie needs if everything goes according to plans! : )

I hate commericals, except this one...

Why Do I Grow My Own?

Why do I garden? This was a question posed by a reader... it really made me think!

I garden because its my passion, I want to give my family the highest quality produce I can at the lowest cost, I want to know what's on my food, I want to work with nature, I want my daughter to understand where food comes from, I don't want to support huge company's that have taken over, I LOVE IT!!!

There are so many responses I can give to this question but where to start?

When I was pregnant I decided I didn't want to be one of those people that didn't understand nature or even simple things like where our food comes from, the work that goes into that food, the stuff sprayed onto that food.. I couldn't bear to not know what I was putting into myself let alone my child...

So I started a small garden.. 4x8 where I grew 3 tomato plants, a couple bean and cucumber plants, and some squash this started my addiction.. while they say you need about 400 sq ft of space (that a 4ft bed by 100 ft bed or two 4x50 ft beds, etc etc) per member of the family to supply all the fruits and veggies for that person for a year I understand in my space I will never be truly self sufficient for my family but why let that stop me? I set a personal goal for myself which this year I am really working on achieving I want my yard space to produce as much usable produce as it can.. that means fruit bushes, vines, trees.. vegetable gardens, chickens, sunflowers for their seeds, etc. I want my land to look and feel like a edible forest, with some beautiful flowers as well like roses : )

I love nature and our mother earth but we treat her awfully, I refuse to be another 20-something that lives a disposable life without a second thought about where all of that trash and waste goes.. I want to be aware of the things happening that affect my life.. waste, chemicals, etc.. do you know most fruits and veggies tested have something like 25 different chemicals sprayed on it???? Do you want that in your body? How about your children? I don't think anyone would knowingly feed their children or themselves chemicals.. that's why knowing is half the battle.

Now think about this math... the average pack of seeds costs $2.50 (roughly.. and sometimes less) there's about 50 seeds in a pack.. on average... some as few as 15 some as much as 400.. each seed produces a plant or for the sake of poor germination rates let's say half sprout.. that 7 to 200 plants a seed pack.. so that's at most 35 cents a plant.. most veggies produce at least 2 fruits per plant (corn) to 100's like beans.. that's way cheaper then ANYTHING you can get at the grocery store.. but understand that all things growing take time... about 50 to 100 days till harvest for a range of fruits and veggies!

Now to the best reason to grow your own? YOU'LL LOVE IT! Its extremely rewarding knowing that you are eating something your hard work went into growing is amazing.. watching your plant sprout its first leaf to when it becomes a overbearing monster ; )

I hope this clears up some things for you and why everyone no matter the size garden should grow something of their own.. from a fruit tree, to a single tomato plant, get out and garden.. you know I will be

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What to Plant this Month~ September (Zone 9)

In September...
Plants Seeds Of:
Southern peas
Beans: Bush, Pole, Lima
Sweet Corn
Swiss Chard
Bulb Onions
English Peas
* Plant strawberries late this month through October. Choose healthy and quality transplants.
* When planting fast maturing vegetables, make several plantings at 10-14 day intervals to have a steady harvest.