Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning 2009 - RECORD snow storm hit North Texas.

THREE (3) inches came down yesterday and (oddly enough) STUCK. Some places more North got as much as SIX (6) inches.

Some children and animals saw snow for the first time. Churches canceled their Christmas Eve offerings.

Of course, there were car accidents all over the place ... because we have no idea how to drive in snow.

Em and I stayed home.



Today will be sunny, so that's the end of THAT.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fallen leaves make good soil ... and sweet potatoes grow after the tops look dead.

Tepid day here in North Texas. I think the high was close to 70 degrees.

We took the opportunity to rake the leaves in the front and redistribute them to the gardens out back. During this redistribution effort, I found out that our sweet potato beds had a bunch more sweet potatoes to process.

Em helped gather leaves.


I helped put them into the garden beds.


But, then, I started feeling around under the sweet potato beds and there were several more to process.

We got not three (as shown), but FIVE in the end.


Next nice day here we'll plant more stuff, but today was really good.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not baking holiday sweets this year.

While not Christian, I've always enjoyed the taste of the Christmas cookies my mom cooked when I was a child. Sometimes I even threaten to bake them, package them and send them to others who appreciate them. I'm not even threatening this year. I like to eat them, but I don't need the calories.

I never really did like making them (unless, of course, all my children helped while we listened to Norwegian Christmas songs); I only liked eating them. This year, I'm taking my extra pounds seriously and cutting off the sweets BEFORE they make the situation worse.

Em isn't being offered a vote in this matter. He's still waiting for a sweet potato pie and I don't think we need that, either. Tough love on the fatness this year, because we need it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Not Done Yet.

Copenhagen talks haven't amounted to anything worth discussing.

Details are here.

In other news, I've made some modifications to the comment area due to spammers. Gonna try and turn the CAPTCHA into a negative CAPTCHA (where the human enters NOTHING and the computer must respond), but I couldn't get it working in the time I had available today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

North Texas Gardening - winter is 6 days away officially.

While in Chicago for Thanksgiving, Judy gave me some Day Lilies and Egyptian Walking Onions from her yard. The flowers of Day Lilies are edible and I wanted to be able to add them to garden salads next Spring. I refused to buy some simply because anyone who has them must thin them regularly. I don't know what color they are; never bothered to ask because I don't care. They sat forgotten, tightly packed in plastic bags until we had weather nice enough for me to want to go outside and plant them. Em feared our cold weather would kill them. :-)

I planted the Day Lilies at the edge of the asparagus patch. The entire East fence garden patch up to the beginning of the North fence garden patch is now perennial with this addition.
The Day Lilies butt up against the lettuce patch, which is getting really weedy while neglected due to weather, other activities, and just plain laziness.
Volunteers from Spring's lettuce are being left to grow in the grass. Em won't mow again until Summer of 2010 begins.
The hard freeze didn't affect the asparagus
but it did a number on the sweet potatoes
the rubber tree may not survive.
I'll be leaving both in place until Spring as an experiment to see if they'll resprout or not.

Broccoli and regular onion starts are doing fine, as is parsley. Fruit bushes (the few that lived from the 25 I bought last Spring did much better once I stopped weeding around them.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Kale still has a few meals left in it, and strawberries, mints, cilantro are all doing well amongst small weeds and fall refuge.
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There will be a few more nice days this week (although not getting up to 70), so I'm hoping to get out and plant some turnips and onion seeds. I didn't "plant" the walking onion seeds, but more tossed them in the North fence garden with the other onions. One good rain will "plant" them, or I'll give them a little push this week when I get out there again.

Last step will be to gather some of the leaves from the front yard and mix them up in the back gardens, both as mulch and soil amendments.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

350 Vigil Weekend and the NEXQs4A Party Party.

350 Vigil Weekend was just one in a list of reasons for a party this weekend.


Not EVERYONE at the party is currently a 350 Facebook Fan only because some hadn't known of it.

Em got sick right as the party ended and was sick all day yesterday. He feels a LITTLE bit better today, but I think I've convinced him to avoid intermingling with fellow sports fans as he might have something contagious.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Hard Frost in North Texas last night.

I COULD have and probably SHOULD have thrown some row covers over parts of the garden, but I didn't. I guess I felt it hard to believe that a hard freeze would already come this early. Of course, that's all the freezing for the week, but the damage was done to plants like basil and tomatoes. Lettuce, kale, broccoli, onions are still fine. Didn't even bother checking the sweet potatoes because they've looked pretty damn sad ever since I pulled out those elephant-man-heads.

I left some tomatoes to finish ripening while I went to Illinois and came home to hear that they rotted while I was gone, so I may not bother trying to get these to ripen before trying out some Fried Green Tomato recipes.


I'm trying to limit our meat/fish/fowl portions to 4 oz while loading up on fruits and veggies. More than half of what look like spuds in this photo are really baked apple chunks. Sneaky, eh? :-)


Of course, that means that instead of eating half a package of store-bought veggies we eat a whole package, but it's a start.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Processing sweet potatoes and salsa.

It snowed here this morning in North Texas. It was short-lived and the sun was out soon enough, so I went out and picked tomatoes, cilantro, green onion for salsa making. I'd already spent the morning processing that horrible-looking elephant-man- head sweet potato and the more normal-looking sidekick that have been sitting on my kitchen table curing for a while now. Last time I processed a pair of these I got enough for 12 meals. This time, I only got enough for eight meals due to lots of insect damage on one side.

The elephant-man-heads need to be cut to fit into my biggest pot (which isn't as big as some might have), so it boils without skin on at least one side. It's also a bitch to cut for boiling. Next season I'll keep a better eye on sweet potato growth. Remind me, okay?


So, I got home from Illinois late last night and ... there were no tomatoes sitting on newspaper on the kitchen table, so I asked Em what happened to them and he said, "They rotted." These were the tomatoes destined for salsa as soon as we found some cilantro (which the local stores didn't have currently). My mind went through all the "I should have refrigerated them" thoughts, and even a quick tour of the uglier thoughts. Put on a winter coat and went outside to see if we had any more. We did, and even had maybe enough cilantro.


First thing on my agenda for tomorrow. Would have processed them today, but I took a nap and didn't wake up until 10:30pm. Yeah ... that vacation wore me out. Just in case I can't get to it right away, though, I put it all in the frig.


I wonder which is worse ... letting good food rot or using a plastic bag and a refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Went to Illinois for Thanksgiving.

Had supper with my oldest friends. Heard someone say recently that It's preferred to suggest "friends I've known a long time", but either works for me.

We had two evenings of Thanksgiving, but this is the one we preferred:



I was there, too.

Photobucket Spent rest of my trip to Illinois enjoying my son and daughter. My son's camera-shy, and I suppose when it got to my daughter I was feelin' as though she didn't want her pic taken, either. Bob and Judy prolly didn't want their pics taken, either, but it WAS ... well ... day AFTER Thanksgiving/