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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*

Nov 2, 2012

Tough Decision for Tough Times

I have been thinking alot lately, about my hens. They are wonderful pets. I've enjoyed them since day one. They've provided me with eggs and fun entertainment~but they haven't laid any eggs in months and I know their productive years are gone.

I love to cook and many eggs are needed for recipes,especially with the upcoming holidays. Why am I still buying eggs? It doesn't seem right when I have 6 hens in the yard.

My point is,I feed them and feed them and give them treats and I am getting nothing in return...sigh.I don't know how long I can do this.

As time goes by I see the difficulties ahead with food prices going up fast and the need for quality sustainable foods.
My reasoning for this post is that I have been debating weather I should consider slaughtering (I HATE that word) my own hens for food. It was the furthest thing in my mind for so long.
I've thought about giving them away, but not knowing their outcome hurts. I am attached to them, so it's difficult.

So in the next few weeks I will have to make important decisions. I know I need to toughen up and be strong. I need to focus on the fact that I can get a new batch of young ones and get the cycle going and start enjoying fresh eggs daily again.

Update on that in the next post.

Finally some Growing Vegetables

It's been a while since my last post, let's see..... after getting discouraged about the birds and hens destroying my crops several times I took a break from it and started over...

This is my favorite time of year, I'm sure I've mentionned this plenty of times. This is where the fun starts. Being outside is much more comfortable. Now is when I sit back and watch my garden grow. The Thai Pepper plant is going nuts, I've never seen so many little peppers on one bush. I made some delicious salsa with them, and still many more to pick.

I also have some nice tomatoes that look like they will be huge. I haven't seen tomatoes this big in my garden before. There is far more compost in the soil this year so I must be doing something right.

The Bell peppers are small, but delicious. I came to find out that some whitening on them means not enough calcium, so that's something to do this weekend.
The Cabbage is doing fairly well too, so far no pests on them like I had last year.
My Squash and Pumpin have been planted way late but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start over since it's been very warm. We shall see how they do.
It's also that time to prune the grape vines. It was great to have my first grapes this year :D

Sep 17, 2012

Weather Relief at Last

Finally some much needed cooler temps have arrived! Last week was the grand finale of the Monsoon Rains. We got hit hard by a micro-burst; Soaked the yard and trees pretty well, from that moment on the weather dropped so fast :) What a treat to shut off the Air conditioning and feel the evening breeze come through the open windows.

The weekend was very busy. I decided on growing my potatoes in Bins next to the garden beds, leaving much more room for other root crops. I decided to try Lasagna Garden layering, which consists of laying newspaper, compost and soil. There are various materials to use but this is what I had handy. The long hot summer did a good job of breaking the compost down. Everything was nicely mixed together in the garden beds, now just waiting for transplanting. The fun begins!!

Aug 29, 2012

New Vegetables in Mind

Now that I've cleaned up the garden beds and took out the bamboo shading I'm ready to pick my seeds. Let's see.... I have some that I want to try for the first time.
In my wooden box I have accumulated many different seeds in the last year. I have so many I had to pick which ones would fit in my beds. Once they grow, some of them take up so much space so I need to plan accordingly.
I decided to try Salsify, Kohlrabi, Parsnips and Romanesco Brocoli.
I looked up recipes for them and I'm excited about trying something new in the kitchen :)
The weather is still so hot out, but being the last week of August it makes me feel some relief.
I'm looking forward to spending more time outdoors like biking, hiking and going on regular walks with my dogs.

Last week I made the mistake of baking bread. I got overly excited about trying an artisan bread recipe. Never again in the summer. My house was way too hot, and opening the doors was worse.Lesson learned there. Baking bread will be done in the fall and winter from now on. But it was delicious though  :D

Aug 14, 2012

Mid-August Blues

August has been the highest temps on record. It's brutal. Time to tear out what's left in the garden and get it all ready for next month's seedlings. We barely got any rain this summer  :(
I nearly lost another hen over the weekend. Thankfully I caught it in time.I brought her inside so her body temps could slowly came back to normal. I've been consistent in keeping the pen cool enough for them to survive. I am sooooo looking forward to this winter so I can spend more time outdoors.

Jul 13, 2012

Well look at this...sigh. It's been two months since I last posted. I am bummed that my camera isn't working as well as it used to. Plus I also lost a cord for it. So, haven't taken any pictures, which in turn didn't get any motivation to write about anything either.
We are now mid-July, the intense heat has arrived, and sadly, I lost a hen to it. This time I decided to get a misting fan. This really helps to cool off their area in the coop. It's much better now. I can't stand the thought of losing another one :(

I got very little in my spring garden. Haven't been successful at all with it in the last few years. The corn stalks have grown tall but the corn is very skinny. What a waste. The Zucchini and Squash take so much room and I barely got anything from it. My grapes did alright, until the birds found them.... My peach tree has exploded to twice its size, but no fruit this year. And, looking into it; looks like a lack of nutrients. I will really have to learn about fertilizing and giving my soil proper food. I thought the compost & manure was enough.
I'm really looking forward to starting my winter seedlings already :D That I'm successful with.

We are also in the Monsoon season, which brings on much needed rain. I cannot wait for those big storms to roll in :) It's always so exciting to watch them.

With a cloudy weekend ahead and possible showers, I'm thinking maybe I should do some baking. Maybe make a cake or cookies from scratch. Or maybe bread, or pie....decisions decisions

May 29, 2012

Well, here we are at the end of May, again, like April~I didn't see it go by. I feel like I went through every type of emotion possible. Seemed like forever at times. I'm glad to see June come around. May was a tough one.
I am very pleased to see the garden doing well :) My Zucchini is beautiful, and was very tasty on the grill last night! The Neem oil that I sprayed on the plants helps keep pests away. I haven't seen one little problem yet, all the leaves look perfect. The peanuts are not doing too well, but aren't dying either. I got so many onions this year, I dehydrated most of it for future soups.  I am attempting corn again this year, so we'll see. Not a fan of the summer vegetable growing. I much prefer the winter crops. I do a far better job at caring for a winter garden, partly because the pest problem is nearly at zero during the cooler months.
I've been really busy trying to finish the extended patio, and now finally this weekend it was finished. I want it Bohemian themed with huge pillows, candles and colored cutains everywhere :) It's such a cozy place to relax :)
The chickens seem to enjoy their new found freedom during the evenings. I let them roam the yard while keeping the dogs indoors and it seems to all work out great.

Apr 23, 2012

April is Gone...

Where did it go? I feel like I missed it. Time sure is flying by. The weather is becoming extreme. I thought I was going to lose my roses, but I placed some shading this weekend and it helped them bounce back.
Now is the waiting part. Not much else to do in the garden other than make sure everything stays pest-free and gets plenty of moisture.
But this is a good time to do some indoor spring cleaning and make jams  :) I do plan on making some within the next week or so.
Lately I've had the urge to make a cake from scratch. The really big triple layered cake with all the fancy decorations and colors. Seems like a fun challenge.
Hmmmmm wonder if I can pull it off.

Apr 5, 2012

Well Here comes the Spring....

Finally most of my baby veggies have been transplanted into the garden. I am attempting Peanuts this time, so far so good. I haven't been successful with Peppers, Tomatoes or Corn but I am determined to keep at it. The weather has been getting much warmer, time to think about placing my bamboo shading above my fragile plants. So far I haven't seen any birds trying to dig in the soil. Cross my fingers it stays this way.
There's still lots of work to get done before it gets too hot, so I am working outdoors as much as possible, and it's taking over all my weekends. 
The back patio has been finished. Finally! I can sit by the water fountain and listen to the water while admiring the garden. Only a few things missing like flowers and patio lights. A clothesline was set up and I am loving drying my clothes outside!
The new hens seem well, only they aren't laying as much as I'd like. The new surroundings must be stressful on them.

Mar 30, 2012

Crazy Busy....

Haven't had much sit-down time lately, lots of gardening prep work to do, expanding the patio, transplanting and new chickens in the coop.....will update as soon as I get a minute....sigh.

Mar 19, 2012

What a surprise to see hail come down over the weekend. Some much needed moisture but could have been damaging if I had transplanted all of my young vegetables. I'm glad I waited.
This must be the last sign of winter. The potato plants did quite well. I am looking forward to my summer garden, this year I will get grapes for the first time!
The peach and orange trees are blooming, Spring is arriving!

Mar 5, 2012

Spring Fever

It has been a long winter. The last month has been really busy with the extension of the backyard patio and setting up the water fountain. What a difference it already makes. I want it filled with flowers, chimes and hanging solar lanterns. This will be a sanctuary for bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. I also want to install a trellis with jasmine. :)
I decided to cleanse my body of impurities from what seemed like a long draining winter. It's amazing the small changes you can do to become a new person. What timing too, I was determined to get back to myself as soon as possible. There's too much work to get done!
I've been feeling so light and renewed.
I'm really motivated and excited about the milder temperatures. Over the weekend I started my seedlings for the garden. I planted peanuts, corn, squash, zucchini, okra, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe and various herbs. I've been feasting on cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli which did really well this winter. I had to get creative with various recipes just so not to get tired of the same daily dinners. That was fun :)

Jan 31, 2012

Winter's End

I've been looking forward to this time, when the frost is gone and the days are longer. There was no damage to my crops this winter, and I barely covered my plants from the frost. From what I harvested in the beets, turnips and carrots, it just wasn't enough to do the canning I wanted to do; so I made more root vegetable casseroles instead :)
My Cauliflower and Broccoli are looking fantastic. Another week or so and I should be ready to whip up some delicious recipes  :)
It was a very mild winter, and because of this I will start up my seed beds sooner too.
I'm thinking lots of melons and cucumbers :)

Jan 11, 2012

Garden Almost Done!

My garden is nearing the end of its winter life.
Broccoli and Cauliflower have emerged, Lettuce and Herbs are slowly dissapearing into my kitchen, Tomatoes are starting to turn pink and the Beets will soon be pickled in my canner :)
Not harvesting as much as I had wanted, but this just makes for better planning for this spring.
It looks like Celery is trying to stick around so i will let it be and see what it decides to do  :)

Jan 3, 2012

Finally Used the Dehydrator

I've been putting it off for some time, and finally I took out the dehydrator and see what it was capable of  :) Along with the Vaccum Sealer I just couldn't go wrong!
I dehydrated carrots, peppers, papaya and made Jerky too.
Last night I made a root vegetable bake (picked from the garden) and also, made a big salad from my freshly picked Lettuce. it was delicious! I love the way my veggies look coming straight from the dirt...all funny shapes :) puts a smile on my face.

Out with the Old, In with the New


Wow, what year it was...
Life is beginning to look shorter now,
Time goes by so fast.

I made a promise to not wait to make things happen for myself.
Why wait? You put something off for a little while and suddenly the year is gone :(
I want to get things done, learn something new, be passionate about being creative and take the time to really find myself.

Here's to a New Year with hope that we can all find peace and get along.