Why I Garden #23

Jupiter's Beard in bloom

Jupiter's Beard blooming in the front yard. This perennial shrub is naturalized in the American Southwest (a native to the Mediterranean) and has grown slowly, but steadily, since we planted it.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Jupiter's Beard, Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber

Planting for the Future

Apple Blossoms

Planting a garden each spring is a wonderful start to the growing season. We can choose new annual crops based on what grew well (or didn't) last year and whatever looks interesting or unusual. Planting trees and perennial crops requires more planning. Some perennials like strawberries will bear fruit the year they're planted, but fruit trees can take two or more years to bear a crop.

Sustainable Local Lumber

New Mexico Pine Boards and Block Plane

Warped, cupped, twisted, split and checked. I end up sorting through an entire rack of lumber at the Big Box store to find enough good boards for any project. I've also noticed a distinct lack of FSC-certified wood at most of our local lumber yards. Finding quality and sustainable lumber for wood-working projects has become a frustrating experience for me. But, I've found another answer - locally harvested and milled lumber!

Why I Garden #22

Woods' Rose in bloom

A Woods' Rose in bloom. After several years living in our garden, this native perennial has finally bloomed. This rose has slowly grown and spread each year, but hadn't bloomed until this year. I'm not sure what combination of events brought on the flowers, but here they are. And the Woods' Roses smell great despite their compact size.

More Info:

PLANTS Profile - Rosa woodsii Lindl., Woods' Rose

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.5

I also made possibly the greatest snack ever: cheese crackers. This was meant to reproduce that cheesy little square that doesn't turn your fingers orange. This was possibly the raging success of this tour through Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

Hitch your Wagon to a Bike

Schwinn Speedster with Bike Trailer

Being an EcoDaddyo, and a cyclist, I bike around our fair city whenever possible. Given the short in-town distances we drive, biking is an easy alternative. Recently, we enrolled our eco-kid in daycare and I'm usually on pick up duty. I was happy to find that this is easy with our new dad-powered, bicycle-pulled kid trailer.

Made the Bread, Bought the (Peanut) Butter, pt.4

George Washington Carver

We eat a fair amount of peanut butter in this house. I was completely excited about Jennifer Reese's Peanut Butter recipe. And it was as easy as promised especially with my new wonder food processor.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.3

No Shake n Bake

Then I moved on to oven fried chicken. I have made several different versions of this recipe always hoping for it to be just one step closer to the crispy goodness of deep fried chicken. I loathe deep frying and its mess and splatter and danger and leftover oil. Deep frying is actually quite tricky to get something crisp that isn't oil soaked.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.2

Umami map

Then it conveniently was Super Bowl time and a perfect excuse to make homemade onion dip. I have consumed many containers of the classic Lipton onion soup mix + sour cream dip at Super Bowl time. In fact, as one who is perpetually confused by the game of football, the dip was a major incentive to watch the game.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.1

Everyday Bread on cutting board

I got my hands upon Jennifer Reese's Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch. This seemed totally up my alley. Here I am trying to live this nouveau home-ec life and here is a kindred spirit in liking to mess around in the kitchen but it rather ended right there. Thankfully, Ms. Reese explained her situation otherwise I would have spent the whole book rolling my eyes at her yummy-mummy lifestyle.

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