Thursday, August 21, 2008

Found in the Greenbean Patch

I have a bumper crop of parsley, cilantro, arugula, and basil. I have made my first large batch of pesto as a topping for pasta and pizza and have made much parsley salad. I love to watch everything grow and share the produce with members of my family and neighbors.

My cherry tomatoes are starting to turn red. My Mr. Stripey and Hillbilly heirloom tomatoes are still green. My garden was planted late this year and whoever is eating my squash plants and some of the branches of my tomatoes is still in the area. Whoever it is also knocked down some of my large green tomatoes.

I saw a rabbit jump out of my garden. He ate all of the zucchini plants but left me a couple butternut squash plants that are intermingled with the arugula. I think our bunny does not like arugula or the marigolds around the garden but jumps over my low plastic gate that has protected squash plants in the past.

I would love to plant a fall crop of beans. Seven years ago, I found a newborn kitten in my garden patch, exposed to a hot August day with a storm on the way. She is now a house cat and we love our dear Precious most dearly. However, my husband will not let me plant green beans as our Precious allows us to live with her in our house. She is truly a full member of our family and loves to be hugged and sung to by my mother.

Our vet helped us much with suggestions for taking care of our newborn kitten seven years ago and we have become more and more attached to our Precious as the years go by. This August 23 we will celebrate her seventh birthday. Unlike the Cheetahs pictured on my web site at, our Precious was found alone in our garden and I tried to be the best kitty mother I could.

In case you are wondering what is under Garfield, it is a towel with a hot water bottle as the vet said that we had to keep Precious warm. In her earliest days, with little hair, we had to keep the temperature in the house at 90F in August for our dear Precious, who was named by our vet!

Precious does not like anything I grow in my garden but she loves a vase of Lovage (Levisticum officinale) from my mother's garden. Lovage reminds me much of celery but has a much stronger scent that Precious enjoys playing with whether it is green or dried.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gifts from the Garden

The parsley is wonderful, the cilantro is flowering so that I can collect seeds for next year as is the arugula.

My cherry tomatoes are ripe but someone has been munching on my summer squash plants and knocked down large green heirloom tomatoes.

I planted the Italian, flat leaf, parsley this year from seeds, and it is doing wonderfully. The basil I planted from seed is growing as fast as the basil plants I purchased at a local nursery. I planted the basil seed in between my tomato plants as I read they do well growing near each other.

We have been lucky to have some rain almost everyday and my garden includes mulch.

The bush cucumbers are small but very tasty and crunchy. There is nothing like a just picked cucumber from the garden.

In regard to seed germination, the arugula germinates most quickly, followed
by cilantro. About a week later the parsley and basil appeared.

The marigolds around my garden include many bright colors and are doing well.

I have made salads with the parsley, arugula, and cilantro as well as some wonderful egg dishes. Arugula loses the spicy taste when cooked.

I wish I knew who was eating my squash leaves as I never had this problem before.

Help, does anyone out there have any ideas or had any experience with an animal eating squash leaves and/or destroying some of the branches on my tomato plants?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easiest Baking: Box of Cake Mix and a Can of Pumpkin

My niece in Austin, Texas, who does incredible tailgate parties
associated with football games, emailed me this very easy
recipe. All one needs is one box of cake mix and a
can of pumpkin. Mix the two together in a pan (I added
about one tablespoon of water as rinsed out the pumpkin
can) and place in muffin pans, a loaf pan, or a brownie
pan and bake at 350 F. until done.

Please note that the dough will be stiff. I really did
not believe I would end up with an edible product but my
niece always has wonderful suggestions and creative ideas.

The pumpkin is an excellent substitute for the oil and
anything else the regular cake mix calls for.

I used a chocolate cake mix and one could not taste the
pumpkin. Next I will try it in a brownie pan as my husband
and I believe the brownies will be wonderful with a crisp
crust and moist interior.

I will also try this easiest of recipes with a light colored
cake mix and add the spices normally added to pumpkin pies to
make pumpkin muffins that taste like pumpkin.

My younger sister substituted equal parts of applesauce and
water and added it to a cake mix (her son has many allergies)
and she said it also came out terrific!