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Dang Girl, You Pine!

Attempt #3 

I finally just looked online and read how to regrow a pineapple. This is a brief overview of what I found…

Directions:

Twist off top, “crown.”

Place in water.

Basic need-to-know information about pineapple plants:

Roots starts growing in a couple days. 

Needs lots of light. 

They are hardy and tolerant. They can come back from a lot, unless the crown has been cut in half.

Once the roots start, they can be placed in soil. But can stay in water for a year. 

You need to try really hard to mess this up. 

Takes 18 months to 2 years to get fruit. 

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So this attempt I’m putting this plant out in the greenhouse and it’s not coming out until it’s brown and rotten. 

They are a beautiful plant and even if I don’t get fruit from it, it will be fun to see the progress. 

(I call this filter “sticky fingers,” in honor of Billy, my youngest, who steals my phone and continually has sticky fingers.)

-Lexi 

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I Wet My Plants

More updates from me:

Project One: Composting

The baby worms are still alive and growing up. Yay! They are eating, sleeping, and composting to their hearts’ delight. One unexpected benefit of having a compost bin is that I’m much more confident in purchasing produce. I usually eat half of it and the rest goes bad. With a compost bin, all my rotting produce goes into the bin and gets recycled so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my money.

Project Two: Indoor Herbs

I tried to imitate an indoor-mason-jar-herb-garden that I saw on Pinterest. How many Pinterest projects of yours have been successful? I’m still sitting at zero. Although, I did try to get things going in the dead of Janurary, with blizzards raging outside, little natural sunlight, and the minimal warmth of a space heater, so there is that. Perhaps it’s a project I’ll try again later this summer. But round one on the mason jars didn’t work.

I didn’t give up on indoor herbs, though. Thanks goes to my friend, Melanie, who gave me a window sill herb garden kit. I didn’t open the kit for the longest time because I was bitter about the mason jars. However, I felt foolish when I did open the kit because everything I needed to grow herbs was ready to go. The package had the seeds, the soil and the labeled planters all ready for me. I just needed to re-hydrate the soil, bury the seeds, and put the container near a window. How easy! The next step is figuring out when and how to “harvest” the herbs for consumption.

Project 3: Patio Garden

This project for me is the most daunting. I’ve read from so many sources that beginner gardeners should start small. One or two plants only, etc. Then build up over the years. And you wanna know why!? It’s not that gardening is THAT difficult. Really, a lot of it comes down to proper soil, proper sunlight, proper watering. Pretty easy! The reason you want to start small is because it’s expensive! You have to buy the planters, the soil, the gardening tools, etc. Not too bad. But if you get too ambitious you have to buy more planters, more soil, more tools, and you have to find a place in your apartment to put all your starters. After that, you run the risk of everything dying and having to start from scratch. I’m not saying you can’t and shouldn’t be ambitious. I’m just saying it’s a lot to manage.

I have starters for onions, tomatoes, bell and jalapeño peppers, radishes, carrots, zucchini, and cucumber growing in my apartment that I started from seed.  So far all is going well since nothing has died. However, the trick will be transplanting them, as that could be the end to it all. They will probably be fine. But I’m just telling you, don’t be ashamed to start small.

-Erica

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You Grow Girl

Eek! I have some exciting news! 

Ok, so I went on vacation for 9 days. Much needed, left the state, didn’t do much planning, went and saw my family, it was great, etc.

BUT, I didn’t ask anyone to drop by and water my plants for me. I was either to lazy or too stubborn to ask. Plus, I didn’t want to give someone my spare key.

Anywho, I’ve been nervous all week about potentially coming home to dead plants. I mean, this isn’t a child or a dog we’re talking about, so the stakes weren’t that high, but still. I’ve invested some time and money, you know? I didn’t want to start from scratch. 

Well, the good news is this:

Zucchini is back! Happy birthday, Zucchini!

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All of the plants, the ones I left outside and the ones I left inside, are all ok. Except the radishes…I can live with that.

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And! The worms are doing well too! See all those white squiggly lines in the photo below? Those are little baby worms.

254FA8B5-7C01-46B3-912E-3B654C71D01CThat means the environment they’re in is healthy enough that the wormies can reproduce. And reproduce they have! <wink wink>. (I’m mature.) The best part is there is no trashy smell in the bin, but instead the earthy smell of soil after it rains. It’s the best!

All in all, I got lucky! Probably still best to have a friend look after things when you leave town. But for me, I can keep on blogging! 

-Erica

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Growing Sprouts

Happy late Mother’s Day everyone. It warms my heart to see little sprouts on a sunny Sunday. The corn came up almost right away, but the heat burned some of the shoots. We thought we had lost the whole lot, but we kept watering daily and the weather cooperated and cooled down. And some of the corn pulled through. We also have watermelons, yellow squash, and zucchini sprouts. This mama couldn’t be any happier!

-Lexi

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To the windooow. To the waaall.

The green house is done! With the blustery weather we’ve been having, a panel has been lost on top of the green house. But we are not too worried, only clear skies ahead. 

6704F589-75AE-49E7-817C-9CBD24748EBFFor James’ birthday all those years ago he got a green house. For my birthday this year I got shelves in my greenhouse. Build by James out of pallets. Pretty cool. 

7AC1231D-80CC-4FD8-AC83-E74ABA51A4B0And we finally got some seeds in dirt. I’m really looking forward to see how our zucchini will do. Now it’s just time to wait 95-100 days for harvest. Fingers crossed. 

~Lexi

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“ If it’s”

In high school, if Mom told us that “if-it’s” were for dinner, we knew that “if it’s’ in the fridge, we could have it.”

“If it’s” came to mind while staring at a bare fridge this morning.  Half empty gallon of milk, Tupperware of quinoa, four jars of jam, couple eggs, a block of cheese, half a white onion.

And….a zucchini. 790A3B2A-7034-47D5-A753-31F1ACBE46B3

I’m no chef or foodie, but I figured if I had enough of the right somethings to mix together, I could make something, well, edible.

I shuffled to my spice rack. Garlic powder, Grill Mates chicken seasoning, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, lemon pepper, and red pepper flakes.

That was something, right?

I chopped up a bit of the onion and zucchini. Threw it in the frying pan with butter. Sprinkled it with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper. Tossed in the quinoa with some soy sauce.  Heated it all up and…..voila! 

Honest. I surprised myself. It was delicious!

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Sign me up for Chopped!

After work I came home and wanted to fry up the same something. No quinoa, though, so I scrambled a few eggs.

But my Chopped Champion status didn’t translate into my evening meal.

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It was edible.

Culinary roulette.

Until next time, fridge. Until next time.

To my readers:

What thrown together “If it’s in the fridge” concoctions have you come up with? Did it work? Now a meal-time staple? Or did it flop? Just barely edible? Tell me your stories in the comments section!

-Erica

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Weed ‘Em and Reap

Greenhouse Update:

I meant to post this weeks ago, but with Easter, Spring Break, and mothering 3 1/2 children, I can’t always find time to sit down and blog! Oh well.

So, after 4 years of sitting on my front porch, we finally got the green house started.  It seems like every step has been a lot of work.

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First, we moved the box to the back yard.

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We discovered that we needed to build a foundation, which we weren’t prepared for. But luckily my sister, Taylor, was visiting, and was a happy little helper.

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We worked on it all Saturday, but it got dark before we could get much further than unpacking the basic structure. The next morning I sent my oldest outside to pick up a piece of trash that was on the other side of the yard. It turned out to be a bag of nuts and bolts that our puppy, Hei Hei, had gotten a hold of.

(By the way, you can always tell when we get our family pets based on which popular Disney character they’re named after.)
It took us a few more days, but we finished the structure.

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Just a couple more things to take care of, but we should be planting by Monday!

-Lexi

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You had one job!

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I have good news and bad news. The good news is that garlic and basil are cold hardy. The bad news is that zucchini and cilantro are not.

Last week, the glorious sun shown down and warmed our little valley to a comfortable 65 degrees. I thought that on such a fabulous day I’d leave my plants outside to soak in the natural light and harden up against the wind. Then I went to work.

I’ve lived here for 5 years. I should have known better.

By the end of the day, a storm had blown in with a chilly rain, and the temperature dropped to around 29 degrees.
Zucchini and cilantro are dead.

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Zucchini is the one thing I’ve been trying to grow the past two years.

I had one job!

The good news is that planting season is coming up in the next two weeks, so I’m not out of the game yet. I also have amazing friends who have already donated to my garden venture. They include a heating mat, pots, soil, seeds, and a garden plot. I just need winter and spring to get along and work it out.

– Erica

 

 

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Natural Rhetoric

Natural Rhetoric
What does that actually mean?
No, I’m seriously asking what does that mean?

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I see the label “natural” slapped on everything, so I started asking around. I live outside a town of around 12 hundred people (just within the city limits), and a large surrounding agricultural area. These are the people who I would claim are experts on what qualifies as “natural.”
The responses were “things grown naturally.” Yes, ok, but isn’t all organic matter grown naturally? And that brings us to the argument of organic vs. synthetic, which is in reference to chemicals to help with growing. Which is a totally different argument than GMO and non-GMO. And we are only focused on foods right now. I’ve seen soaps and cleaners that are labeled “natural”. And that is just a whirlwind of a headache waiting to happen. And do we want to go there? What is in soap that has been grown? I mean actually cleaning-really works-removes all traces of dirt-soap! I guess that lye does come from the ground. Are you following my point here? Why can’t we agree on the same definition on what the word “natural” on our labels mean?

I feel like I’m in an Emperor’s New Clothes situation here, and I’m going to get sacrificed by those who are radical “naturalists.” I’m still working out how you get a unnatural chicken, I haven’t found any growth hormones for them yet… unless they are trying to pass off rat meat as chicken? How would I know if they apparently taste the same?
I’m trying to do my due diligence. I’ve learned about GMOs and even helped with my husband’s study of them. I’ve learned how foods gets the “organic” label. It all seems like the hard way of doing things. 

Also, people who do things “naturally” usually have a soap box to stand on. There are some mothers who are martyrs because they want to protect their families from the raging chemicals in their homes. Unfortunately for such a mother, she was not alive before boiled water and now has to save her kids from modern ingredients that could cause skin irritations, lung damage, blindness, poisoning, and death if ingested. In all the billions of houses with chemicals in them, kids die of these causes. That kind of rational thinking turns me off.

After a lot of studying about it, though, I’ve decided to do some things naturally. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Think about it. I’m already half way there. I’m growing my own garden so I can have homemade salsa, I get my beef and eggs from the family’s ranch, I can and preserve peaches/pickles/tomatoes sauce, and I make the occasional jam. I have a kid who has extremely sensitive skin and needs special soaps and lotions. With one income, I’m always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill with homemade/ natural things. And some how owning goats makes my stance more convincing. Talking about stances, I’m not sure I’m following this anymore, but the point I’m trying to make is this: “natural” can be cheaper! But I’m cherry picking what I can do “naturally”.  There will always be 409 in my cleaning arsenal, my kids will be given Tylenol to lower their fevers and reduce pain, my deodorant will be Sauve and toothpaste Crest. Somethings in my life will always be considered  “unnatural,” like how I give birth. And I am ok with that. But if I can do it in bulk and do it cheaper and it’s just as effective as store bought, then I will try it and say it’s natural. 

To bring all this around to gardening, I’m doing it because I can. It’s not for any other reason other than “why not.” I had a discussion with someone recently whose point of view for not canning and going with store bought was it was cheaper and faster.  I 100% agreed. The discussion was based solely on which was cheaper. I argued that the initial investment could be pricey, but then I had the satisfaction of enjoying my hard work all year long. 
I didn’t notice the labels on my food until a college roommate had to make an extra trip to buy organic chocolate chips in bulk. Then, in my married life, I’ve lived in a world of agriculture, and I have gotten to see and live with the food markets. Which is different then how I grew up. For example, I didn’t know what FFA was until I was 19, and then I though it was kids learning the different types of meat cuts. So my question is … What are your thoughts on the rhetoric of food labels?

~Lexi