Monthly Archives: July 2008

We are so fragile, let’s eat well

A moment I don't want to forget
Recently we had to have our son’s hand x-rayed. It’s amazing to see the insides of anyone, let alone your child’s. He’s almost four and did you know that bones are still forming at that age? Inside his hand are big gaps between his finger bones, where the joints are. That’s all still cartilage. His joints have yet to harden into firm bone. Amazing isn’t it?

When you have children feeding them is a hot topic. Formula versus breast milk. Home made baby food vs. gerber. You always try and do the very best that you can for your infant. And then they grow up a bit and with each passing day you get a tad more lax about what you feed them. A little bit of chocolate won’t hurt, a cookie for breakfast? Well, okay, just this once. You sort of forget that they are still growing and forming.

But getting that peek inside of him was such a reminder. The visual that he is still in the process of forming bones was a call to order to make sure that he’s getting all the nutrients he needs, and the healthiest ones we can provide.

At the opposite end of the spectrum I visited my 89 year old grandma yesterday who’s been struggling with increasing demensia. We were planning out her move to an assisted living facility. Seeing her progressively slow down both in her movements and in her mind is hard. And you wonder, maybe if she ate more greens, maybe if she avoided eating vegetables sprayed with modern day pesticides, maybe if she didn’t apply Round Up in her yard, maybe she would have stronger bones and stronger eye sight and a stronger memory.

I don’t know. But I do know that we are all so fragile no matter our age. So we should eat well. Okay? And let’s feed each other well. Let’s do the best we can. Maybe we can’t eat locally and organically with every meal and every bite, but we can do our best. Let’s do it for the little ones who’s bones are still forming, for the old ones who’s bones are breaking down. And let’s do it for ourselves so we keep ourselves strong.

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Filed under musings

One Day’s Harvest

One day's harvest
I had great intentions of posting everyday this week, but it looks like our family’s been taken over by an evil summer flu bug. Instead of posting anything of merit, I’ll simply show you a picture of what we picked on Tuesday, before we got sick. Purple Haze and Thumbelina carrots, cantelope and beans.

Have a great weekend! See you next week.

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Filed under just picked

oh, the problems we have

First tomato
We ate our first tomato this weekend. A San Marzano. Not this one above, but a different one, one without blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is something we seem to struggle with every year. Especially and almost exclusively with the San Marzanos. It’s caused by the plant not getting enough calcium. We already knew that we didn’t have enough calcium in our soil due to our home diagnosed weed problems, but it seems like adding that liquid calcium didn’t do enough to prevent blossom end rot entirely. It’s not affecting every tomato, just some, but its there.

One reason is that plants aren’t able to absorb calcium is by infrequent and inconsistent watering. I don’t think that’s our problem. We do water on a regular basis, about once a week. And it’s a deep watering since we do our drainage pipe method.
blossom end rot
Is anyone else dealing with blossom end rot? You Grow Girl did a great post about this last week.

This next problem is a mystery to us and maybe you can help us.
mysterious
It’s this spotting that’s happening on our nectarines. It’s on the vast majority of nectarines, no matter if they are in the sun or shaded by the leaves. It’s edible, we eat right through it, but it makes them kind of funky looking. Does anyone know what it is?

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Filed under fruit trees, tomato

Canning Lids Download

Canning Lids
As promised, I’ve created a little goodie for you home canners. After years of canning, we have been very lazy about labeling our jars. Sometimes we write a quick Sharpie note on the lids or maybe a short length of masking tape with a ball point pen scribble. But usually they go label-less and we have to guess what we worked so hard to create over the summer.

This summer, however, things are going to be different. I design for a living, for crying out loud, why haven’t I gotten it together to create our own labels? Who knows why it took me this long, but last Thursday was the inspiration. Seeing all of those beautiful label-less jars of nectarines was the final straw. We put so much effort into growing the fruit, then picking it, slicing and canning it and we give them away as gifts so often, it’s a shame to not put a final little touch on it. The perfect gift giving touch. The touch that will make you smile when you go to open it.
Canning Lids
I created four different designs and put them all together on one sheet for you to be able to print them onto Avery Sticker Project Paper and use for your own home canning. I hope you like them and please, feel free to share.

If you are looking to put these labels on Christmas gifts, you might want to check out my new Christmas Canning Lid Labels too!

Download the pdf here and print away my friends! Make sure that when you print them in Adobe Reader, that you set your printer settings a full size. Frequently Adobe Reader will reduce the size of the file you are viewing and make them micro labels!
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Filed under in the kitchen, musings, preserving

Up to our eyeballs in nectarines

It’s been a busy week, so I just wanted to share a few pictures with you of what we did yesterday. And to let you know that on Monday I’ll have something fun for all of you home canners. Let’s say it’s a little something to spruce up those jars.
overflowing counter
getting ready to can
Canned nectarines
Have a good weekend!

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Filed under preserving

Links to all you Mothers

Cilantro Flowers
Cilantro Flowers

I don’t have much time to post in forums, but when I do, I head straight over to the Mothering forums. I’m usually in the Digging in the Earth section and I’m SonomaMom, if you happen to frequent there too.
I really like the Mothering forums because it’s filled with women who also value the similar things I do and there aren’t any big cliques or overly judgmental posters as you find on some forums.

Recently a few moms shared their gardening blogs with me and I wanted to share them with you too. Its always wonderful to read about what other folks are up to.

http://serenetabbie.wordpress.com/
www.xanga.com/simplespirit
http://myindigodreams.livejournal.com
www.aramblingcanuck.blogspot.com
http://amyandtonysgarden.blogspot.com/
http://sinnedee.wordpress.com/
http://carrottops-steph.blogspot.com/
http://themorsefamilyspot.blogspot.com/
http://mygardenismyhappyplace.blogspot.com/
http://farminginsuburbia.blogspot.com/
http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=LannaM
http://sher365.blogspot.com/
http://cathairsandchocolate.wordpress.com/

Where else do you guys hang out on the web?

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Filed under musings

Beans and Cucumbers like each other

Summer Beans
After reading Carrots Love Tomatoes, the past two growing seasons we’ve been experimenting with companions planting. We already have our carrots planted with our tomatoes and now we are trying beans and cucumbers together. Beans, as with most legumes (like our winter fava cover crop), draw up nitrogen from down deep in the soil, brings it up and fixes it as little white nitrogen nodules to their roots. You don’t have to fertilize beans, in fact they really don’t like being fertilized, because they can do it themselves.

Cucumbers on the other hand are heavy feeders and like a lot of fertilization. But we’ve read if you plant them along with plenty of beans, the beans fertilize the cucumbers without you having to do a thing. We like that ‘not having to do a thing’ part, a lot! And so far, its worked. We have both more beans and cucumbers than we can eat and both plants look happy and healthy.

The only issue we’ve found with planting these two together is that cucumbers like a little more water and beans like a little less water. We’ve done our best to accommodate both by focusing our water on the cucumbers and it seems to be working.

If you haven’t read Carrots Love Tomatoes you should give it a try. It has really helped us.

Also, A Sonoma Garden is featured in this week’s Home Preserving Blog Carnival. Go see what other home preservers are doing.

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Filed under companion planting, just picked, what we've learned