Category Archives: Gardening

Mulberries: Stain under my nails… not dirt

We have a large mulberry tree in our back yard. It’s over 50 feet tall.

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For the past week or so, around 6:00 each morning, I’ve been going out back, and gathering the berries that are on the tree. Tarp is laid on the ground, to catch fallen berries.

I also have long poles where I can whack the tree limbs, to bring down more mulberries. I gather the fallen mulberries into this 22 quart stock pot, daily.

Mulberry debris

Mulberries are washed outside and sorted, and the debris is placed into a separate bucket.

Mulberries storage bags 1

Once the mulberries are cleaned, they are placed in freezer bags and stored in the deep freezer. We regularly give our mulberries to others.

The entire procedure takes me about an hour to complete.

Naturally, my fingernails are stained…  The berry juice residue looks a lot like dirt, but I promise you, it isn’t.

On my to do list, is dyeing yarn with mulberries. I’ll be curious to see how that turns out. Success or fail, I will post pictures on Celebrate Life.

Naturally if it’s successful, I’ll be using the natural dyed yarn in my crochet and knitting projects.

Busy day: yard work and upcoming homemade gift list for Christmas

Weekends a time to rest? That’s crazy talk. Weekends are a time to pile all the stuff you can’t get done during the week.

This morning, around 6:30, my daughter and me were outside pulling weeds from the garden. Well… I was doing most of the weeding. She was getting distracted by all the dirt, insects, and flowers. So after, a bit I sent her off to play.

10:30 this morning, I had a meeting that took us away from home. It lasted an hour; it was extremely productive. I’m not going to say too much about it, since it’s for a brand-new committee that’s forming,  but it’s church based, and I must say I’m really excited about this opportunity and see this as another chance to interact, network, and engage others.

The Bible tells us to go out and share with others. How many churches or people are actively doing that? I must say; I’ve been in many churches where people are content to say within their comfort zone. You know, just interacting with one another in church. It’s so nice to be part of a church that has ministries; food pantry, homeless shelter, quilts for those in need that regularly reach out to others. My Lutheran church isn’t all talk, and that has me on fire. It’s nice to be surrounded by other like-minded souls

Back to the house, and more gardening work, tilling, a bit more weeding, and laying down mulch. The mulch was placed where the sweet potatoes will be planted. We have a huge mulch pile for our garden.

I took three loads of mulch from the pile, piled it in the wheelbarrow with a pitch fork, and dutifully wheeled it to the garden. Each load produced some interesting things; Massive wolf spiders were in each load,  a harmless garter snake was in the first and third mulch dumping, and a skink in the second. The skink was plump, and  I suspect it was pregnant. I did halt my mulch spreading to retrieve the skink and return it to is home. Snakes and spiders were ignored. They’re good at keeping down the insects and rodent population.

Why is that I remember to take photos, after the work is completed? I must get better at taking garden pictures.

 My daughter helped with the gardening too, but I also believe children should run around and play. And so, after she did her chores, she was free to play in the area of the garden that hasn’t been planted… yet. 

I had every intention of grilling, but with how busy I was that wasn’t happening! However, I did fix my daughter homemade burgers, fries, lightly steamed veggies. And a homemade strawberry smoothie.

My crochet hooks have been calling my name all day. Maybe they’re annoyed that I’ve ignored them. I haven’t had the time. Who knows, I might later squeeze in some hooking time (this evening.) It won’t be much, just a few rows…

Within the next few days, I’ll be posting my Christmas craft list. Nicole was the first person I saw mentioning this, and then I saw it recently when I visited Marie, certified crochet instructor, who also happens to own the site The Underground Crafter. You know what? It’s nice that others are starting their holiday crafts early too.

This is the first scarf that I’ve crocheted, and it’s given me ideas for Christmas gifts, and so I’ll be playing around with different types of yarn, and adding beads to some of my creations.

The above quote, was taken from a post I wrote in April. The crocheted swirly twirly scarf, gave me ideas for the upcoming Christmas holidays; and since the first scarf creation. I’ve made a few more of the scarves, and have set them aside as Christmas gifts. It feels great, getting my handmade gifts completed early. I like having my holiday gifts completed in advance.

There’s no way I’ll be making a lot of handmade Christmas gifts at the last minute. 

Gardening: No gardening today; too much rain

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I won’t doing any planting today. It’s raining…

Yes, I knew the forecast was calling for rain, but I was hoping they got it wrong. It happens you know? However today they got it, and we’re receiving a lot of rain. Tomorrow is supposed to be clear, so hopefully I’ll be able to do some planting, and pull the weeds that I do see.

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Our green onions, strawberries, kale, collards, and cabbage are coming along nicely. The peach tree is starting to get small fruit, before we know it, we’ll be picking those to add into fruit smoothies, jams, preserves, and peach cobbler.

I took the above shots a few moments ago. I’d just returned home, from taking my daughter to school.

Singing in the rain? No, how about some dancing? I love to dance…

The rain dancing worked; plants are happy

Yesterday, I completed a lot of gardening; more onions were planted. We love fresh onions.

Also I planted cucumbers, and more tomato plants and flowers were set out too. So yes, Friday was busy!

Once the gardening was complete, I cut our grass.

Sure, I could have done it the easy way, hop on the riding lawn mower, and breeze through the acre of grass that needed to be cut, but I chose the push mower. The reason was simple; I wanted a good workout.

After tossing my funky clothes into the washing machine, I hopped into the shower. It felt great having the hours worth of dirt, sweat, and funk being washed away. Yes I was smelling funky, quite normal to stink, if you’ve been working outside for a while.

While in the shower, I remember thinking that it’d be great if we received some rain; After picking up my daughter from school, I told her about this, and we did our little rain dance. Truth is… it was just an excuse to dance. We love dancing!

Although I was planning on taking photos of all the yard work that I’d completed, it’ll have to wait until another day; it’s raining.

Photography: Flowers; Pink Hyacinth

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Remember the flowers I posted yesterday? Well, they’re Hyacinths.

I thought that was what they were, but for some reason the purple flowers didn’t look like the ones I had last year? Hmm…  However after reading Karen’s comment, and actually taking another trek outside and looking at these pink flowers, which are the same type but growing at a faster rate — I agree with her.

Many thanks Karen, and if you get a chance stop by her lovely hand sewn quilting website.

Monday mornings, I normally go to a quilting group (which is part of one of the many small group ministries offered at the Lutheran church where I’m a member).

I’m unable to attend today, early this morning, I received a last minute writing assignment from a friend. I most likely would have passed it off to one of my writing pals, if it were a complete stranger since I have so much to do today.

Garden Produce – Beware of our Tomato Guardian

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Mr. Bentley, tomato guardian: You no take tomatoes!
Say hello to Mr. B, ferocious Shih Tzu that keeps our property safe from any unsavory elements that dares venture into our environment. He’s a tough little bugger and will attack his victim with licks, begs to be rubbed, all while batting his big brown eyes. So much for being ferocious, in this picture he’s guarding our tomato harvest, and could not be swayed from the area. Actually, I think he’s hoping for a treat.

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I can be bribed with treats
Tomato facts

    • Tomatoes are colorful

Besides the customary red or orange color, tomatoes can also be purple, green, yellow, and brown. Add a few of those colors to a salad or lightly steamed dish and you’ll have a colorful display!

    • Tomato are fruits
    • Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants
    • Tomatoes paired with broccoli are a delicious way to fight prostate cancer
    • Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and niacin.
    • Tomatoes are a good for bone health, since they contain vitamin K.

Why is Vitamin K important? I’m glad you asked. In the Vitamin K family, there’s a cool one named Vitamin K1. This vitamin triggers osteocalcin. Think of Osteocalcin as the top dog when it comes to non collagen protein in the bone. Perhaps that’s why Mr. B, is so protective of our tomatoes? Top dog, he’s a dog! Ok, ok that was so bad! Moving along… Osteocalcin latches onto calcium inside the bone. You need Vitamin K1 to maintain adequate bone mineralization; one of the tasty ways you can nourish your bones is by eating your tomatoes.

Upcoming gardening post…

I’m hoping I can post more gardening pictures today. It’s going to be busy in our household. My daughter has piano practice this morning. So we’ll be visting the piano teacher. Gardening wise, we still have a lot to harvest, or I should say “I still have a lot to harvest” my daughter helps for a bit than she’s off playing in the garden. I let her play, she does chores around the house.

What’s cooking?

Currently I have black beans cooking on the stove, here’s hoping I get around to making black bean burgers later today. Currently I’m trying to decide what type of smoothie I want. Mentally flipping through my stash of vegan recipes I decided to make a savory green smoothie. After all, I definitely have enough tomatoes.

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