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I'm a Canadian now residing in Sunny Arizona since 2002. Although I've been a city girl all of my life, I've always loved the country and the laid back life it offers. My love of the Outdoors, Animals,and Gardening comes from my mom Cecile, who loved her home in the country, but sadly passed away in 2005. I promised her I would grow a garden in her name, And I finally did, five years later. One of my best memories of her is how much she loved her garden. The glow on her face when she would show me something new, always creating a life with things she loved. She loved all animals. She taught me simplicity, to enjoy the small things, and see beauty in everything. Today I find myself doing the same things she did in her garden and in life. This blog was created to keep track of my projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity. I want to share this adventure with those who can appreciate the small things, the trial and errors, the simplicity in it all, but mostly,what my mom knew how to do best,just have FUN! *This blog is dedicated to her*

Aug 26, 2010

Know Your Bugs!

One thing I am learning here in the garden ~ Know your bugs! Some are beneficial, most not. As I tear away at my poor watermelon that has been infested, I can't help but feel hopeless as to how to control this nuisance. I knew I should have planted my potent herbs with them! I never had that problem before when I did. AAARRRGGG!

I fed my chicks some bugs I shouldn't have. They should have stayed right there on my plants to munch away at the bad ones. :( But the chicks didn't complain :D

Oh well... I now have a picture list of good and bad bugs I've seen in my garden, learned a little about them, and keeping a close eye on any new intruder.

Learning lesson indeed!

~although I like to keep track of everything in photos here, I really didn't think it was necessary to take pictures of those nasty things :D

Aug 24, 2010

Seed Starting

OK, this is an exciting time for me! :) I started my seeds from starter trays and various pots and bowls. One very practical way to do this was to make my own pots from newspaper! So easy I wish I'd thought about this earlier. And since the newspaper is biodegradable you can simply transplant it in the ground and it will disintegrate.
I did this with my Fava beans and it worked out perfectly.
Also, I covered some bowls with saran-wrap to promote humidity, helping keep soil moist while seeds sprout, like a mini greenhouse :)

In the last few weeks I've done a lot of tilling and extending my raised beds for my winter crops.
This season I decided on Beans, Peas, Corn, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Endive and Onions. I also want to do some companion planting with herbs, instead of having an Herb-Garden only, I chose to pair herbs with vegetables that are compatible, in order to help the garden thrive and keep pests away.

I watch my pots closely each day waiting to see the first sprout :)

Aug 17, 2010

Prickly Pear Jelly

Making Jelly this week, this time with a special fruit called Cactus Fig, or the Prickly Pear. This time of year you can see them everywhere even along the highways. They grow wild throughout the southwest. A really pretty sight.

This is new to me, I was excited about trying a new type of jelly, so off I went with a bucket and some tongs and kindly asked a neighbor if I can grab some of that really bright red fruit. His front yard is full of that cactus.

Good thing I read about handling and processing them or else I would have ended up with really sore fingers. There's a reason it's called prickly pear cactus!

This was labor intensive, but luckily with my juice extractor I saved some time.
And I am pretty proud of the results! The taste resembles really sweet kiwi fruit.
I think I will be taking my bucket and tongs again this weekend and see if I can make lots more so I can enjoy this jelly when the fruit isn't available. What a waste to let the fruit die off the cactus.

And I will definately bring my neighbor a jar filled with the yummy stuff he kindly let me have.

Aug 13, 2010

Uninvited Guests

Little Green Inch Worms.... or "Cabbage Loopers", a member of the moth family. When I first noticed one inching away on one of my zucchini leaves I thought it was cute so I let it be... mistake! Until I read about them.
They are a pest in my garden! This is the first time I notice intruders on my plants. Quite destructive too. And I had no clue they laid eggs on the underside of the leaves either. Eeeeewwww!
So that made me dissect the whole place, making sure I removed each one of them. There were tons. This morning it really wasn't bad, just found 2 of them. I need to stay on top of this and make sure they don't invade.
Caterpillars feed on tender leaves, causing skeletonization and defoliation. Luckily my plants don't seem too affected by them. One good thing though my chickens think they are quite the treat!
I wonder if I had planted garlic or other natural insect repellents among my crops would it help keep them away? hhmmmm.....something I'll have to try.

Aug 12, 2010

My Pretty Rooster (Before & After)

My dear friend Penny gave me this great gift! A decorative concrete Rooster!
All it needed was a bit of glue and some paint and tada!
I was excited to place my new rooster in the pen but THAT was a big mistake! My poor chickens were terrified!! I can't help but laugh now, if only I had a video of this.
I had to remove it and place it outside the pen, that way it can keep the other little birds away from the chick feeder.

Garden Extension

More work ahead, this is what has been keeping me busy on the weekends.
I can't believe how well my garden is doing, now I want to expand it and surround myself with more fresh garden veggies. My broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts are in my seed starter trays, and will soon be transplanted in their new home.
Now if I can finish these beds before the end of the month I just may plan another short road trip :)

Aug 9, 2010

Road Trip

I've been feeling a little stuck in the house for some time now, Lots getting done at home though, but I thought I could take a short break. I think I actually needed it.
Why not an escapade up north with my dog to visit a friend I haven't seen in a while! I got tired of letting my household duties stop me from going anywhere.

There's something about getting away that just makes things better. A clearer mind, well rested, the sense of freedom when driving on the open road, taking a long walk and catching up with a friend. It was really nice to get away, even for just a day. I hope to go there again in the fall where I can enjoy the autumn colors :)

I'm always in awe of the winding mountain roads and canyons here. I could never get tired of the views. And having the company of my baby girl Sidney made the trip even better. She loves going for drives.

Aug 5, 2010

August Memories

I can't help but think back, every year around this time I get nostalgic. I am a year older...
Back home this time of year meant summer was closing in and school would soon begin. People prepping for the winter months ahead. Evenings were a little cooler. Time to bring out our warm sweaters.

But there's one event that comes to mind. Cornfest!

August is time to celebrate the corn harvest! I remember the huge bags full of corn selling for a couple of dollars by the side the road near the farmers's corn fields.
Local corn filled the supermarkets everywhere.
I could live off that stuff for days :)

Small surrounding towns all have some type of Cornfest. Music, Games,Bonfires, Drinking and having a great time with friends and family. All fun. I really miss that.

Maybe once I get my corn growing I could have my own little cornfest in my yard :)

August is very different in Arizona. It's like an extra month of extreme heat.
I feel like there's only 2 seasons here, summer and fall.
Now I look forward to September and October...

Aug 2, 2010

Baby Pine Tree

A baby pine tree has sprouted near my big pine. :)
I scooped it up and will let it get stronger then I will plant it somewhere in the front yard

Prepping for Fall Gardenning

August is here! my favorite time of year has started!

I have big plans for my garden. I hope to expand it in time to plant all my fall veggies. I will attempt brussel sprouts and broccoli this time. I can't wait to get started!

I had a busy weekend, between making Jam, cleaning the chicken pen & coop, mowing, raking the mess the rain left in the yard on top of household chores...I still made time to turn my garden soil. This is labor intensive but worth the hard work.

It was messy, and it was hot. The soil had become hard and packed in after the rains so I mixed in some organic compost and Steer manure. It was nice and fluffy once all done. Of course there's still more to do but gotta save some for next weekend. This is why I look forward to weekends.

Getting my hands dirty.... :D doesn't get better than that!

"When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, There is always the garden."-- Minnie Aumonier

Rainy Day in the Garden

A moment of Quiet

I like to sit on the rocking chair on the back patio and look at the progress in the yard. This weekend was extra special because it rained :) I love watching the rain.
This week will be one year since I first got the keys to my home.
How time flies
So much has been done, I love my little nest and I LOVE my garden!

Yummy Jams!

What a perfect day to make Jam with a friend!
This would have been a very long Jam session if it weren't for the help.
Thanks Liseanne!
Everything went smoothly, we had a great time, it wasn't as messy as it could have been, and the jams taste awsome!
A few things I could have done differently but all in all I think it was a success!
I think my house will smell like berries for some time...