Saturday, September 27, 2014

Walking the Trail

This morning my walk in the park was filled with a eerie mist much like in the photo above, granted the leaves weren't strewn across the path nor were they the rich colors of Autumn, but the foggy mist hanging low on the ground shrouded the dull gray green Spanish moss hanging off the trees.

I love walking on misty foggy days it adds to the quiet allowing me to still my thoughts to a near meditative state, however this morning it wasn't the case, the park trail and the park itself was abuzz with energy of morning walkers and several teams of youngsters gearing up for a morning of football, cheerleaders and all.  It wasn't too long before I abandoned my thoughts no longer noticing the mist and began the casual good morning greeting to each person passing by. I had forgotten how busy the park is early Saturday mornings once football season begins, though usually the walking trail is quite deserted so it was nice to see more people taking an active interest in exercise.

We have had two weeks of overcast skies which has made for cooler morning temps, yesterday there was a crisp cool breeze while I walked so I took advantage of the nice weather and added an extra half hour to my walk then headed to the Farmer's Market.

Walking for me is always a good start to the morning now I am off to join friends for tea and a little crochet.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

We are just steps away from Autumn


Crunchy leaves, a cool crisp breeze.
Oh what wonderful days are these!

Trees with apples, green and red.
Gather food, winter’s ahead!

Orange pumpkins, full and round.
The beauty of the earth abound!

Changing leaves, red and gold.
Shorter days are turning cold.

The veil between the worlds is thin,
Time for us to look within.

Mabon past, Samhain will come.
The ripeness of the summer done.

The wheel is turning, circling round,
The wonder of nature does astound!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Autumns coming

We are a week away from the start of Autumn and the mornings here are finally stating to feel a few degrees cooler.

During the autumn equinox the sun shines directly on the equator and day and night around the globe are of almost equal length - a day and night of roughly 12 hours each. This year, the equinox begins at 10:29 p.m. Sept. 22, when the sun's position crosses the equator into the southern skies.

Autumn has been significant in many cultures throughout history and even today many festivals and events around the globe occur around the autumn equinox, for example the Moon Festival in China or Michaelmas in the UK.

I love the colors of autumn and since I live in Florida I often travel north to get a glimpse of the seasons change. At home I am not doing much with the garden however I will pick up a few potted mums for the front of the house to bring some color. 

Perhaps I'll do a little arrangement like the one in the above photo using some clay pots then as it gets closer to Halloween I can drop the potted mums into a few jack-o-lantern style planters and maybe even add a few small pumpkins.
 I may just do a single pot with a few small pumpkins which looks nice and not too fussy. I miss my garden so a few potted mums may be just what I need to perk up my mood in the meantime I have been busy with a few crafts my latest 
is the seasonal pillow above the pillow is about 14 inches square and has a small gift card attached for my guest at this years Autumn tea. The design is hand painted and the ribbon tie and twig wreath are removable.  Inspired by this little plate made a few years ago.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Whats cooking?

When this you see in my kitchen it can mean only one thing I am making a big pot of soup or stew. One of my favorite recipes follows you can add or omit any of the vegetables according to taste.

My Beef Barley Vegetable Stew
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 medium bell pepper diced
6 carrots slice about 1/2 inch thick
3 medium potatoes Diced
1/4 cup pearl barley
Fresh corn off 3 cobs or if you must frozen 16 oz package
4 celery stalks slice about 1/4 thick
1 to 2 lbs of beef stew meat chopped to slice to the thickness you like
1 bunch of Chard cleaned and chopped
1 -14 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup flour
Salt, pepper, garlic to season to your liking
Season flour and dredge meat in it
In dutch Oven heat oil and put the floured meat and the onions in the dutch oven to braise the meat and caramelize the onions
Add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, water barley, chard and 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes (until veggies and barley are tender).
Uncover, simmer 20-30 more minutes longer or until stew thickens.

Serve with some biscuits or crusty bread and enjoy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

This is where I will be most of today.

Vegetable Garden Expo

UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Service

2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala

Saturday, September 6, 2014

9:00am to 1:00pm

Indoor Seminar Schedule – Auditorium

9:00 – 10:00 Growing Solanaceous Crops Jo Leyte-Vidal, Master Gardener

Learn how to grow tomato, eggplant, pepper and white potato

10:20 – 11:30 Growing Brassicas David Holmes, Commercial Horticulture Agent

Tips on how to grow cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and collards

11:45 – 1:00 Growing Cucurbits Lesroy Samuel, Vegetable Expert

Tips on how to grow cucumber, squash, pumpkin and melons

In-Garden Talks

9:00 – 9:45 Composting Linda Krausnick, Master Gardener

Tips on making your own soil

10:00 – 10:45 Growing Herbs Lis Robson, Master Gardener

Learn how to successfully grow herbs in the landscape or kitchen gardens

11:00 – 11:45 Growing Tropical Crops Luis Camacho, Master Gardener

Learn how to grow yuca (cassava), melanga, papaya, sugarcane, sorrel and pigeon peas

12:00 – 12:45 Common Pests of Vegetables and Carol Ann Baldwin, Master Gardener

Fruit Trees

Tips to control pests frequently encountered in the garden

Please remember to bring this schedule with you on the day of the Expo

I plan to attend a few of these seminars in light of what happened to my garden this year I'm sure it could help. 
One day this is what I would like my garden to look like:
or maybe this:

this is what I had growing in one of my raised beds in late spring of 2013 I managed to harvest several servings of green beans and a few tomatoes, everything was lush and green vegetables 


were forming beautifully, bees were buzzing about and all was good, then the weather changed to a week of rain turned some plants to a soggy mess so out those went, then summer hit and everything went downhill from these. 
So I am hoping the seminars offered today will give me insight to what I may be doing wrong and perhaps I will return home with the tools I need for my battle with nature next spring.