Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Bean-Leaf Chomper


"Someone ate all the bean sprouts," the Mama said in April.

"The birds ate them," I suggested. The Mama looked at me like "Yeah, right."

The other day I was in the garden with Molly the Cat. I learned something new about Molly. She likes the taste of bean leaves. Purrrrrrrrr.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blenheim Apricots


Hopefully, in a few weeks we'll be eating these Blenheim apricots from the backyard.

It being Friday, I'm participating in The Weekend in Black and White, which is hosted by Dragonstar. To see other participants, please click here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sparkly Dancing in the Shed

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
It may not look like the Mama is smiling, but she is. She's happy as a lark in the photo. Pourquoi?

One reason is that at the time I snapped the camera, it was raining cats and dogs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was indeed standing in the rain and grinning ear to ear. Rain, as I've said over and over, is scarce in our part of the world.

Prepping camote (yam) stems for her vegetable garden was another reason the Mama was gleeful. The previous day, the Husband and I bought her four bunches of camote leaves at the farmers' market.  She had been snipping away for about half an hour before the first raindrops plopped on her colorful clothes.


While I was dancing in the rain, the Mama was dancing inside the shed. Not physically doing the cha cha, but mentally. Just look at the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her lips. Instead of cooped up in the house, the Mama was sitting snug and dry in the shed, stripping off camote leaves from their stems, while the rain drummed a cool beat on the metal shed.

That was last Thursday. Yesterday (Tuesday), the Mama had another happy day when she planted the camote stems into the ground.


Today is the letter S at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks led by Roger Green. Click here to read posts by other participants.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Mama's Roses

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers

The Mama loves her roses. They're all over the back yard.  In odd places, such as the middle of her banana grove.


Some of the roses started as branches that she pruned from the roses in her front yard. Others are branches that she pruned from those branches that she pruned from the roses in her front yard.


I'm sure, there are third and fourth and fifth and so on and so forth generations from either the roses in the front or the back yards. Did I confuse you? Let me just say that it's been years since the Mama has planted a new rose bush.


She prunes a branch off one of her rose bushes and sticks it in the ground where ever she pleases. She waters it and that's it. No special food or fertilizer.


The Mama's philosophy: A branch takes and roses bloom, or it does not. But, she always hopes it will. From what I've seen, since I often water the flowers now, her transplants bloom 90 percent of the time.


Today is the letter at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks led by Roger Green. Click here to read posts by other participants.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Watching the Mama's Garden Grow


Sometimes Molly the Cat and I like to wander in the Mama's garden (which is the whole back yard) first thing in the morning. Molly does her sniffing-the-ground rounds, while I take photos of the sights. There are always new things to see, such as "Wow, look how well the Asian pears are growing."

This morning, Molly said, "Why don't you keep tabs on the progress with pictures?"

Well, she looked at me as I was thinking it. And, you know how cats have a way of transferring their thoughts to our minds. I agreed with Molly. So, over the next few months, I shall take photos of these spots in the Mama's garden.

Vegetable boxes

Vegetable boxes (another angle)

Apple Tree


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Apple Blossom


The Mama's apple trees have few blossoms this year, probably due to the severe drought we're in. We can only hope the trees will make it through the drought.

Today, I'm participating in The Weekend in Black and White, hosted by the delightful Dragonstar. It's been awhile. To see B&W works by other participants, please click here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quietude

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Serenity now?

Go into the Mama's jungle then.


The north end, in particular, is where you can surround yourself with a quietude.

As you make your way along the narrow paths, flower and vegetable bushes and vines brush against your legs and arms in welcome.  Be careful though. You may need to crouch a bit beneath the tangles of branches of apricot, apple, and persimmon trees. And, there may be fruit hanging low up ahead.


Today is the letter Q at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks. Click here to read posts by other participants.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow


Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.


There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.
 

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.


Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vegetable Garden


My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.

Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.

When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal.  The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. Guess who tells me not to pick the bitter melon leaves from the top?

The Mama continued growing vegetables after the Daddy died. It was tough, as she was still working. I suppose being in the garden helped her deal with being a widow.

Today, as some of you know, the Mama works a few hours hours nearly every day in her vegetable garden. Along with the Filipino vegetables, the Mama plants green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chives, and Filipino green onions.  Her garden doesn't yield as much as it used to, which is fine with me. There's only so much bitter melon I can eat. The Husband won't eat it and the Mama eats only a bit of it.

Growing vegetables is a fun challenge for the Mama. Her satisfaction comes from seeing other people eat the fruits of her labor.



Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New in the Mama's Garden

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Those white blossoms may one day produce Asian pears for us. The tree had quite a lot of blossoms this year, but then we had a couple days of rain. The rain was wonderful for us, since we're in a drought, but not so much for the blossoms. So we shall see.

Look in the background and you can see some clusters of buds of the avocado tree. If they all wake and do their thing, we're going to have a huge crop this year.

What else is new in the Mama's garden?

This past week, she planted long beans and some other kinds of beans, which I can't recall. She says that sometime soon she'll plant green beans. Yup. We like our fresh beans.


Seeds that the mama dropped into the soil a few weeks ago have popped up. These are parda plants. I have no idea what the English word is for parda. Not even sure if I'm spelling the Ilocano word correctly. It's a kind of bean that looks like a huge, slightly hair pea. The young ones taste good mixed in with sliced tomatoes and red onions. Yum.


Irises are such unassuming creatures. I've been watering them for weeks, wondering when they were going to start sprouting. Then, Pow! Without noticing them going through their in-between stages, these gals greeted me in full glory. They hang out with the pink rose bush, so I wonder if that may be why their color is slowly turning into soft pastel hues. Or, maybe the Mama planted a mix of white and purple irises.


The Mama's garden is springing right along.

Today is ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now headed by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter N. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my M post is over here.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Miracle Tree

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
This crazy looking tree is the Miracle Tree. That's not its real name.  The Mama calls it the passion tree, but it's not. I looked it up and the tree doesn't resemble the passion tree from Australia.  Once-upon-a-time I knew the name of this tree.  Doesn't matter if I don't ever know it again. I like calling it the Miracle Tree.

I may have told this story before, so if you heard it, that's okay, you can wander over to another post.

About 25 or so years ago, the First Husband gave the Mama a packet of seeds that he got in the mail from a Native American tribe. He nor I had any idea what kind of plant the seeds were. The Mama, being the Mama,  planted them in the backyard to see what they may become.

It was shortly after the First Husband died that I noticed the tree. "What kind of tree is that?" I asked.

"I don't know," said the Mama.

"Where did you get it?"

"Frank gave me the seeds. He said they came from Indians. I call it a miracle tree," said the Mama. "There were only four seeds in the envelope."

So, the Miracle Tree is what I call it. Every fall, we prune it back, and every spring, its branches start spreading out so that by summer, it's full again, providing shade over the Mama's favorite resting spot.


It's ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter M. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my G post is over here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Knocking Our Heads

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Last week I was transplanting iris under the lemon tree for the Mama, and I kept knocking my head on the same lemon branch. You'd think I would remember after the first collision. Or, the second time. Or, even the third time. . . . Once I harvest the lemon off this particular branch, it's getting pruned.

I love the Mama's backyard. So does the Husband. The one problem we have is that when all the trees and vegetables have completely bursted forth with their leaves and fruit, we can't walk around the yard without knocking our heads on the low branches, bumping into bushes and vines, and stubbing our toes along the narrow pathways. It's not too bad for me since I'm short, but the Husband, uh-uh. There are a couple places he can walk around at full height and without him grumbling, "This place is too small!"


It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that everything about the yard is perfect for the Mama. (And Molly the Cat, who wants you to know that she is in the second photo in case you don't see her.) But, then the Mama created the backyard of a vegetable garden and mini fruit orchard. She charmed the trees to be at the perfect height for her to harvest many of the fruits.

Mischievous her though has been allowing the chayote vines to climb up a couple of the trees, which means that we often have to wait until the wind blows them down. So far, none of them have knocked anyone's head off.

Here's the Mama shuffling gracefully in her backyard of a jungle in the Summer of 2012:


It's ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter K.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just a Jumble of Joy!

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers

It's Spring! Quite a lot of joyful things are going on in a happy organized higgledy-piggledy manner in the Mama's backyard. And, it's all the work of the Mama.

Colorful flowers greet the Mama each morning.

The Mama nods at the rosebuds that say hello
to banana leaves as they unfurl around the roses.

An abundant of tomato seedlings surprised the Mama, who
is now transplanting them all over the yard.

The persimmon and other fruit trees dance in their new dress
of leaves, giving the Mama shade as she happily works beneath. 


It's time for ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter J.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Grow, Milkweed!


Ha! It only took me a month to purchase milkweed seeds and then another month to plant them. I'm on my way to helping save the monarch butterflies. The butterflies in our region have started their way back to Canada, but maybe the milkweed will be in bloom when they return in the fall.

Rather than planting the milkweed seeds in the ground, I sowed the seeds into egg shells and little pots. Yup, I actually saved eggshells the last time I made scrambled eggs. Remembering the shells this morning was my incentive to plant the seeds today.  It's a good thing the Mama was busy in another part of the yard. I can imagine her shuddering at my haphazard way of sprinkling the seeds into the soil rather than the orderly fashion that she would do. I did talk to the seeds and wished them well, as the Mama does.

When the seedlings get big enough, I'll either transplant them to the ground or bigger pots. Maybe by then I can get the Mama to let me have some space in the front yard. The plants are supposed to grow three feet high in full sun. I don't know how she's going to feel about that. If the flowers are very pretty, the monarchs will have food for years to come.

Are you interested in growing milkweed to help save the monarch butterflies? There are different types of milkweed, so it's important you plant the milkweed that suits your area. If you live in Central Coast California, check out Douglas–Michel Butterfly Plants. For other areas, check out the milkweed seed finder page at The Xerces Society website.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Hands

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers
Long ago, the Only and Older Bionic Brother and I talked about the Mama's future and what if she were to move into an apartment. It was a very short discussion.


"She'd go crazy," the Only and Older Bionic Brother said.


The Mama may be content staying home, but she needs and wants space to roam in the outdoors.  Her gardens are the perfect place and size for keeping her hands happy year-round.


I'm participating in ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger. Today is the letter H. Click here to read other H posts.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Growing!

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers


And just like that the Mama's trees in the backyard are bursting with life.

Gee, when did the leaves start sprouting on the miracle tree?


Golly, the young apricot tree has a lot of buds this year. 


Gosh, the banana leaves have begun unfurling.

 

I'm participating in ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger. Today is the letter G. Click here to read other G posts.