Archive for June, 2010

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Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding . . . Yum!

June 15, 2010

Finally, I found my mother-in-law’s recipe mentioned in the last post,  A Mother’s Day Memoria, under Country Buzz.  I cooked a batch yesterday. It was good; great flavor but as they say, “it’s nothing like mom used to make.” 

 I hope you try it. If so, let me know if you like it.

 

 Maria’s Rice Pudding

Serves 4 – 6 people

 Ingredients:

1-cup white long-grain rice

Ground cinnamon

2 cups water

1 cups milk

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

 

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1:  In medium-sized saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil; add rice, cover, and cook on medium-low heat 20 minutes.

Step 2:  Remove lid, add milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

Step 3:  Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

Step 4:  Stir in beaten eggs, pour into glass dish, and top with cinnamon according to taste.

Step 5:  Let cool and serve with a meal or as dessert.

Best if stored at room temperature.

 

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In My Backyard

June 14, 2010

Written by nine-year-old Julia Andre

Three weeks ago, after school, I was playing outside. I felt like getting away from everyone and being alone. I looked around my backyard for someplace secluded. Finally, I found a corner spot. I went over to see if it was what I needed. The spot was under two Photinia trees with branches that overlapped each other. The only thing I needed was a seat and a shelf.

The seat is for reading, eating enchilada soup, or maybe even writing. I made my seat out of a short, round log the diameter of a Frisbee. I put a piece of plywood on the top to make it easier to sit.

The shelf is for things I want to keep in my spot. I made the shelf by putting a long, narrow piece of wood between one of the trees and the fence. The shelf is low so I can easily reach my jar of peanuts.

I call this spot “my house”. “My house” has everything I might need. I have food, a shelf, a seat, and books. I am all alone, except when my two annoying little brothers start bothering me.

I guess some things in life we have no control over.

Copyright © 2010 Julia Andre

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Budding Garden Thoughts

June 13, 2010

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“To garden

with friends

is to rid your

life of weeds. “

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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How to Deadhead Snapdragons

June 11, 2010

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Supplies for the Job: 

  1. Small pruning shears or scissors. (I’ve been using cheap scissors from the Dollar Store for several years. I like them because they’re lightweight and work well for thinner-branched plants. If the scissors break—which they never have—what’s another trip to the Dollar Store.)
  2. Container for trimmings.

FIRST, a few Tips for Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus):

  1. Snapdragons produce fewer flowers in hot temperatures.
  2. A plant’s goal is to reproduce; therefore, all of its energy goes into making seeds.
  3. If you want free snapdragons next year, let them go to seed. When the plant begins to spoil your garden’s appearance, cut the entire plant back to six inches and fertilize.
  4. If you’ve been to busy to tend your garden lately and suddenly notice that the snapdragon blossoms have dropped, don’t let the little green balls on the stems fool you. They’re not buds, but rather seedpods. If your snapdragons look like the photo above, it’s time to deadhead.

Follow these simple deadheading steps.

  1. Find the lowest seedpod on the stem.
  2. Look for the first set of leaves below the lowest seedpod.
  3. Make a slanted cut just above that first set of leaves, close to the leaf node.  
  4. Fertilize

Deadheading snapdragons will encourage new side branches and new blossoms. But don’t expect them to look like their spring flourish. The new blossoms are usually smaller and fewer. As the new blossoms dry, continue with the above deadheading steps. Remove any dry and unsightly leaves at the bottom. Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

 Happy snipping!

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First Harvest Part II

June 10, 2010

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As promised, here are the tips and facts on potatoes.

Potato Harvest Tips:

  1. Harvest when the plant starts to flower, around mid- to late-June.
  2. Carefully dig into the soil or hill with your fingers.
  3. Feel for medium to large potatoes and gently remove from root.
  4. Leave small potatoes in tact to harvest later when the foliage dies.
  5. De-stress the potato plant by watering well after harvesting.
  6. Store potatoes in a cool, dark, damp place three to six months.
  7. Eat new (or immature) potatoes as soon as possible.

“Boiling” Potato Facts:

Boiling potatoes include Round White, Round Red, Yellow Potato, Red Potato, Salad Potato, La Soda, Red La Rouge, Red Pontiac, Red Nordland, Red Bliss, Yellow Finnish, Ruby Crescent, and Australian Crescent

  1. Good for soups, roasting, barbecuing, casseroles, potato salads
  2. Good for thick, lumpy mashed potatoes if that is what you prefer.
  3. Most of the nutrients are in the skin
  4. Increases daily fiber and protein
  5. 308 calories per medium-size
  6. High in moisture and sugar
  7. Thin, waxy-smooth flesh.
  8. Able to keep their shape.
  9. Low in starch

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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First Harvest Part I

June 9, 2010

I’m so excited to tell you that I harvested my first crop this year. Potatoes! These are from the volunteer starters left in the “give and take” soil given to me awhile back for my raised bed. It wasn’t quite time to hand-dig the potatoes, but the foliage was crowding the zucchini and other vegetable plants. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up nine potatoes. Nine beauties that range in size, from that of a ruby marble to a baseball.

Removing potatoes from the earth was so much fun. I had no idea what type I was going to dig up, Yukon Gold, Russet Burbank, or some other variety. My little earthlings were Red Skinned. They smelled of birth, bearing the scents of sun and earth and air. I was so pleased with my treasures that I held them against the racing blue sky like a newborn, dedicated to God. (I know. I got carried away.)

I left six plants so there will be more potatoes toward the end of June. For sure, I want another raised bed. One that will farm more potatoes. This is just too much fun.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to prepare my first harvest yet. Red Skinned potatoes are best boiled, roasted, or barbecued. Nine is enough for one meal for two. Whichever way I cook them, each tender piece will bear a delicious bouquet. I can taste them now. Yum!

Tomorrow I’ll bring you some potato harvesting tips.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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Budding Garden Thoughts

June 8, 2010

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“Visit the sea

for a day of play

in swirling waves.”

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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Gardener’s Best Friend Part II

June 7, 2010

In case you are considering hose-bibb timers and/or drip systems, here’s a few basic tips. I hope this makes the decision-making process easier.

Benefits of hose-bibb timers:

  1. Consistent watering on a regular schedule
  2. Acts as a babysitter while you’re away
  3. Saves time and labor
  4. Saves water
  5. Saves energy

How to choose hose-bibb timers:

  1. Decide which of the following timer best fits your needs and schedule:  a) mechanical battery you manually with each use; b) battery-operated system set to turn on and off automatically. Both attach to either a hose bibb or a hose-bibb Y-connector.
  2. Decide if you want a model that controls one circuit or multiple circuits with different schedule settings for each.
  3. Choose a battery-operated system with a “low battery” indicator.
  4. Determine if you want a system that offers settings for:  a) multiple-day intervals; b) several times a day; c) specific weekdays or d) all three.
  5. Do your research and choose a system that is affordable, simple to understand and to operate.

Benefits of drip systems:

  1. Reduces water use, runoff, and evaporation waste
  2. Less weeds beyond watered area
  3. Limits overhead spray on foliage
  4. Water is aimed at plant’s roots
  5. Allows for slow, deep watering less often

Note:  Weeping soaker hoses don’t last. The last time I tried one, it worked for only six water cycles! Many master gardeners recommend drip tape, available on-line or at your local irrigation supplier. Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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Gardener’s Best Friend

June 6, 2010

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Now that the rainy season is over and the heat is on, daily changes are taking place in and around the garden. Lately, at the end of each day, my vegetable plants are taller and fuller. Yum! I can’t wait to taste my labor. More perennial blossoms are bursting into a mini florist shop. The soil is hot and dehydrated. I need to water regularly now. With this comes the weeds, but my “give and take” mulch will make plucking them a breeze. Humming birds have returned for a sugar high, which means ants and aphids too. There’s always a challenge amongst seasonal change.

When the sun is heavy, I make appointments with garden chores. Here in the valley the temperature often reaches triple figures. On those days, I finish outdoor work by eight in the morning and take it up again after seven in the evening.

My husband, Joe, recently dug a trench, laid PVC pipes, and connected it to a cooper feed line with two hose bibbs. One for the veggie bed and one for the beans planted nearby. Each bibb has a battery-operated timer connected to a drip system. If I haven’t written this before, I’m writing it now, TIMERS and DRIP SYSTEMS ARE A GARDENER’S BEST FRIEND. With these two in place, you can take a vacation and still know that your plants are ingesting water. When you’re home, you don’t have to make numerous jaunts outdoors to move a water hose, check for runoff, or broken moats. The mileage is good on one’s physique, but watering is oftentimes problematic for busy schedules.

Yes, I am a gardener of convenience. Why not? If done correctly, there’s more time for hammock naps, reading and writing—never mind the arithmetic, I’ve been out of school for years—and daydreaming.

As summer progresses, my plants will continue to evolve. Life will expand in splendor in ways only gardeners and the earth understand. Gardens are ever-changing, especially this time of the year. It’s exciting to watch, to anticipate what tomorrow will bring to maturing vegetables, annuals, and perennials. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the fruitfulness of your labor, and meet garden challenges head-on with a little convenience this year. Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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Budding Garden Thoughts

June 4, 2010

If you fall, your friend can help you up.

But if you fall without having a friend nearby,

you are really in trouble.

Ecclesiastes 4:10

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