Friday, May 28, 2010

Hunting and Gathering

OK, so I didn't go and hunt wild game, I'm just a plant "hunter/gatherer" I find plants I like and I snag a tiny bit, in hopes that they will take root, or snip off a few seeds to see if I can get the cute little flower to bloom in our garden. Yes, my name is Janice, and I'm a plant clepto.
While watering carnation, the flower head fell off! I guess the pressure was too high. So I have Chicky here a new hair-do, love it!
I hunted and gathered some fresh loquats(last of the season), green onions and garlic chives. Oh! almost forgot, sweet peas from the composted peas that decided they wanted to grow!
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Update on the Tortoise

My son and his friend made posters to put up all around the neighborhood, ... and after one day, someone did call for the tortoise. The owner said she lost him 2 ~ 3 months ago. Before I showed the tortoise, I asked how large the tortoise was, she gestured that he was only about 4~5 inches long, while the one I found was about 9 inches long. I hope she wasn't scamming me. She did mentioned that she uses a heat-pad for colder days, since I told her the tortoise wasn't eating much that day since it's been cloudy and cold (60's). I hope Mr Tortoise will be happy back at home, and does not run away again because, next time we're keeping him! I'm kind of feeling sad, he was a spunky tortoise.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Turtle pictures"

Here's some better pictures of the little tortoise, after scouring the internet, I *think* it's a Russian Tortoise, which means it must belong to someone. We posted some signs in the neighborhood. Hopefully, the owner will see the posters and call us, before we get too attached to the little guy/gal. I gave it some shallow water, and it seems to like it. It likes to eat Romaine lettuce a lot, while he/she was on it's walk, he/she nibbled on some tomato leaves and ate our dirt. Good thing everything is organic!
Here's the underside, he/she was staring at me like, "Why are you doing this?" It wasn't flailing though.
"I'm exploring"'s a fast walker, for a tortoise! "I was climbing large river rocks."
"Here's my rear end!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Found a Tortoise!

I was walking to pick up my son from elementary school on Monday afternoon, and guess what was walking in the middle of our asphalt road!  I'm sure he/she belongs to someone, but so far I haven't found them yet. We've tried feeding it lettuce, carrot shavings, cabbage leaves, edible flowers, and cucumber shavings. It seems to prefer the lettuce. I've tried to find out what type of tortoise species, but so far no luck. Is anyone out there a tortoise fan, and can ID this little fella?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Harvests and a New Apron!

Strawberries that fill my hand (ok, so my hand is not the biggest 'round here)
Loquats and Strawberries for my breakfast
Since I spend SOOO much time in the kitchen, I thought it'd be nice to feel cute and feminine while I cooked away... So, I splurged and bought a new apron as my "Mother's Day" gift to myself. hehe... Go to if you want yours!

Monday, May 17, 2010


I forgot to show you the peach tree seedling we received as a gift from our neighbor...introducing... "Alauria".  That's what I decided to call her.  Behind her is the little fig seedling, I named "Bridgett"

Flowers of Spring

Pink Evening Primrose, this flower is so light and airy, it's gorgeous, but don't plant this in your garden unless you want to forever be in battle with it, it is very invasive in Southern California
White Cosmos under our fig tree
Pelargornium (geranium as most people call it) This one, my mom took a snippet from a morning walk around the neighborhood
The Alstroemerias in full bloom

Garden Updates

Green Table Grapes starting to grow
Tomatoes growing in one of the 15 gallon pots I started in the winter from last year's clone
Tomatoes started from seed taking off really fast, I think they really like the hairy vetch's nitrogen root nodes. Towards the bottom, I planted some potatoes, but we'll see if they get enough sun there
The winter Lettuces are finishing off, and the Eggplants are waiting their turn, just finished transplanting them from the little pots.

This bed was growing lettuce during the winter/spring as well. Now it's starting to get filled with the zucchinis, cucumbers, corn and pole beans. (trying the 3 sister's method) This bed, and the one behind it had the root knot nematode problems. We hope the 2 sprays of beneficial nematodes reduced the population enough. We'll see at the end of the season.
Sunchokes really growing fast, below is the bed of carrots I harvest from,when I need them.
More Tomatoes, mostly cherry. Onions and Garlic Chives too
This bed had the Garlic and now finishing off the cilantro. I'm planning on putting in the brassicas; Broccoli, Bok Choi, Radishes, Komatsuna, etc

Alma Paprika Peppers starting to gain momentum (they are in Soy Milk containers, at least I'm reusing those non-recyclable beverage containers before they take up space in the landfills...)

Blue Basil is a bit overgrown, but it's pretty...Onions, Garlic Chives, Tomatoes on the right, in the back is the Navel Orange tree, and the raised beds

Home Grown Meals

So we try to eat what we grow, so you're gonna hear a lot of the same ingredients as we try to get creative trying to use up what we grow!

Pad Thai with Home Grown (HG) Carrots, Cilantro and Garlic. Finally bought more rice noodles, so this looks more appetizing than the last batch! hehe
Turkey Meatloaf that has HG Cilantro, Garlic and Carrots, with homemade Gluten free Breadcrumbs and a HG Garden Salad
Gluten, Dairy, Egg and refined sugar FREE Chocolate, Banana, Loquat loaf, whew! What a mouthfull to say! We ate some before I got around to taking the pic

Friday, May 14, 2010

Home Grown Meals

I canned a dozen pints of Loquats on Thursday
Home Grown Dinner Salad with Loquats
Loquats and Strawberries for my homemade yogurt


Cilantro I just picked this morning, I layed it on the tiles so I can sort through them
after breakfast, I picked out just the tender greens of the cilantro, this is all that's edible. The rest is too tough or not so green, and that stuff went to the compost.
Strawberries in the morning sun
Lettuce, Cilantro and Strawberries on a different morning

Monday, May 10, 2010

Homegrown Meals & Baked Goodies

HG Garlic, HG Green Onion and HG Chinese Chives all went into the Mabo Tofu dish! Talk about pungent!
HG Persimmon Jam and HG Sweet Potatoes went into this "no sugar" Gluten, Egg, Dairy and Nut free Chocolate muffin. I did add some stevia powder to help it sweeten up a bit, but the natural sweetness of the Persimmon and Yams were pretty good on their own. Sorry, the pic is a bit blurry...
Next day, more Gluten, Egg, Dairy and Nut free baking! Had to use up the Persimmon Jam I defrosted, so this half of the jam made Persimmon Muffins. They are spiced with Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves and Nutmeg. Tastes like a Pumpkin Spice muffin. Yum!
Gluten, Egg and Dairy free Pizza; the only Homegrown ingredients in this pizza were the dried Oregano and fresh Garlic.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flowers for Teacher

My son's teacher's Birthday was today, so I made her a bouquet with flowers from our Garden. She couldn't believe it was homegrown flowers!

Homegrown Meals

HG carrots, HG onions, HG Red potatoes, HG garlic went into this soup. The organic chicken broth was cooked in the SunOven for 2 days! Farmer's Market(FM) celery, FM cabbage, sea salt and pepper also in the ingredients. Simple but filling
Organic Potato Salad with HG onion, HG carrots, organic peas, Vegenaise, organic mustard and Brown Rice pasta.
Meatloaf, individual sizes. T helped me make the patties and he made a heart shaped one too. HG carrots, HG onions, home-made gluten free bread crumbs also included.
This is Okonomiyaki, it's a Japanese "pancake" with lots of veggies and ground meat. This is made with HG New Zealand spinach, HG seri(Japanese Parsley), HG green onions, FM Cabbage, gGround turkey, bonito flakes, dried shrimp and sea salt.  We drizzle on some Tonkatsu sauce and sprinkle some "aosa" (aromatic, green flaky seaweed)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

January 2010 Harvest Tally

So, I never got around to tallying up all my harvests until now, here's January:

Oranges 80.70 lbs
Napa Cabbages 06.88 lbs
Lettuce 05.42 lbs
Peas 01.82 lbs

Total lbs 94.84 lbs

Tomatoes 17.25 oz
Kale 14.25 oz
Kumquats 12.5 oz
Bittermelons 05.5 oz

Total oz 45.5 oz = 3.09 lbs

complete total 97.93 lbs

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sneak Peak at a new Project

"Now, what are they up to???" Lori, the kitty is checking out the new "thing" that came home to the backyard today. It's our new project,...along a huge line of other projects...hehe! Can you believe we got this sink for FREE? Yes, Freecycle is AWESOME! A Quizno's nearby was going out of business and they were getting rid of everything!  This thing is listed starting at $590 if you buy it new. Getting this home was quite an adventure for T too! We have a Honda CR-V, it's not a very big SUV, and T told me he almost lost it (like fall out of the car) on the way home because, he had to drive with the back hatch open! We want to install this in the back,(someplace obscure) to wash the veggies and fruits, and use the grey-water for the garden's fruit trees and lawn. 
Harvest for the day, New Zealand Spinach(2.5 lbs), Loquats(4.5 lbs), Strawberries (6 oz) and "Seri"(Japanese Parsley) Botanical Name/ Family : Oenanthe stolonifera/Apiaceae(Umbelliferae). This has a very distinct aroma, some people will think it smells medicial. I plan on using it for "ohitashi", simple blanching, then put shaved bonito flakes and soy sauce as a side dish.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Garden Updates

Springtime Irises, Cream California Poppies and Calla lilies, surrounding the Asian Pear tree in the back
Pineapple Guava blossoms
we *MAY* have some mangoes this year...hopefully...
below; first of the blackberry blossoms

Garden is currently going a transition from winter crops to summer crops. This angle is looking at the beds from under the Orange tree canopy.  The closest bed had the onions, now I'm waiting to find time to transplant the 2nd set of tomatoes. Middle bed has some Cilantro still growing, and I just transplanted Kabocha pumpkin, corn and pole beans for the "3 sisters" method. The back bed just got cleared of the Garlic and I will plant some fast-growing brassicas, like Radishes and Komatsuna as I wait for the Broccoli to mature.
volunteer Sunflower
salmon colored Alstromeria