Gardening 2011

This spring has been a super busy gardening season for me. Usually I have my little backyard garden that I tinker with and get some food in return. This year I had two new opportunities that have kept me very busy. I kept meaning to blog about my garden projects with little updates, but I have been so worn out with all the gardening (and now all the preserving!) that I just haven’t gotten around to it.

First, I am part of the Master Gardeners Program through the U of A. While I don’t consider myself a master gardener, it is an amazing learning experience. In March we started setting up a display garden at the U of A agriculture center and it was a ton of hard labor. I loved it! Now it is all set up and we can experiment with different plantings, water amounts, and pest control. You can check it out here on our facebook page.

Second, I was given a patch at the community garden in exchange for volunteer work. This little garden spent most of June producing like crazy. I think I have harvested nearly 100 pounds of just tomatoes! I’ve been busy canning them. I am also getting zucchini, eggplant, corn, melons, cucumbers, onions and peppers.

It is really heating up here this week and that means gardening is finally slowing down. I have some melons left to ripen, and will continue to get eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes (thankfully in smaller amounts now).

Bee-sy Morning

The suspect

This morning I woke up with a stiff, sore back, nothing I couldn’t live with but knew to take it easy. I planned on doing very little and just playing with my guys. The morning started off really well, Crash was doing much better (the last two days he was a cranky, clingy, teething boy). We were having lots of fun and giggles were plentiful. The load of laundry had finished washing, our cue to go outside and have some fun.

I was putting Crash in his swim trunks, because water play is inevitable, when I heard Danger screaming from the kitchen. Run in to find him sprawled out on the tile face first. I knew he hit his head. I calmed him down and started to worry. Usually once he stops crying, he wants to get right back to playing, but he just laid on me. I called my husband who just told me to monitor him for a bit, at which time he finally starts to liven back up and I notice the giant egg forming on his forehead. He seemed back to normal and we changed into our swim trunks.

(I should note that the above came with a heavy dose of mommy guilt. I had given him an ice cube to eat and he slipped in the water from the cube.)

We finally headed outside, where I could clearly see something was wrong in the garden. Tomato hornworms were on the attack, my tomatoes and peppers look horrible. They are so hard to get rid of because they are so hard to see and they seem to multiply like bunnies. I quickly hung the laundry on the line and started hunting caterpillars while the boys played.

Need to go hunt some more, I know there is more of them out there!

I was working in my large garden bed when I heard Danger crying right behind me. I spin around to see a bee fly off and immediately started looking him over. He was holding his hand funny and didn’t want me to look at it, so naturally that is where I kept looking. I didn’t see anything, I hadn’t been stung before so I called my husband and asked if the stingers were easy to spot, he said they were. I then assumed he hadn’t been stung but maybe had just twisted his hand funny. I went to set him down and saw something on his side that look kind of fuzzy/goopy and tried to brush it off him. It was the stinger, the poor guy had been stung. :( We went inside removed the stinger, cleaned him up, and put a bandaid on it. He was now acting fine and I was relieved.

Admiring the caterpillars

Crash really loves them.

They had their lunch and are now napping. I sure hope the day improves after nap.

Photo Friday – 06.18.2010

Uncle Jason has his phone out, get it!

Abby ūüôā

Abby giving carter some love



I put him in time out for 1 minute, I came back to this.

Yummy corn.

Cheesy, corn face?

Mom you want a bite?

Sweet corn and brothers, can life get any better?

First harvest of the summer season!

Garden Update – 05.22.2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about my little garden. Things are really starting to take off and we should starting getting some veggies here soon. Everything is starting to bloom, so hopefully I get a few more worker bees out there. I would like to fertilize the tomatoes, but since I use natural (fish emulsion and liquid seaweed), I am hesitant. The last time I used some we had a coyote in the backyard!


Cucumbers and some flowers

Noah checking on a couple of tomato plants

Squash, tomatoes, and a couple of surprises (I have no idea, seriously!)


Bell Pepper

Sweet Potatoes, just for Ez ūüôā

Green Bean Teepee, can't wait to see how it turns out

Weeds! Just kidding, little boys that are growing like weeds.

My pomegranate tree is loaded this year!

Spring is just around the corner

Sorry to all my friends in colder states, but spring is just about here in Arizona and I am super excited. The last chance for frost is late February for us, so that means I get to start seeds in January. Two weeks ago I started bell peppers, two kinds of cherry tomatoes, eggplant, watermelon, two kinds of cucumbers, and galia melon. One week ago I planted tomatillos, jalapenos, banana peppers, black zucchini, roma and pink tomatoes, royal burgundy bush beens, and rattlesnake beans.

I am thrilled because seeds are already sprouting-everything but the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers-this is the best start I have had since gardening. I’ve really struggled to find the right windows to start my seeds, you are supposed to use southern facing windows and we only have one southern facing window and it has a patio cover and a shade screen. I decided to try my west facing windows this season and haven’t been disappointed (I tried east in the past).

I have also started two sweet potatoes in hopes of getting some sprouts to plant. Plus this weekend I started basil, dill, sage, parsley, mint, catnip, and some flowers. I planted thyme, rosemary, and flat-leaf parsley in my new-to-me concrete planters (free score from a neighbor) out front.

I am really excited about this gardening season and very happy that it is off to a good start. ¬†We have lots of weekend projects planned for February to get the garden ready. ¬†Can’t wait to start eating all that yummy produce!

My Garden

It has been quite some time since I have mentioned my garden on here.  Poor thing is feeling a little neglected.  It has not been a stellar spring, most of my seeds did not take, but I do have a few things growing.

Cantaloupe and the little tiny plants are a desert mellon similar to watermelon.



An artichoke in bloom, it is a really vivid purple

I also have two tomato plants that I will try to keep alive through the summer, some okra starting to sprout, and peppers.  My fig tree is starting to get fruit, I should have plenty by the time we get back.  I also have a nice rosemary bush.  My basil shockingly did not come up on its own this year, so I just put out some seeds this morning to see if I can still get it to grow.  On a sad note it looks like I have killed another peach tree, I guess me and peaches are just not meant to be.  I will try a citrus next year, if I can make up my mind on what I want to grow.

The Weekend

Matt and I had a very busy, but fun weekend.  On Friday his Ergo had arrived, so we tried it out.

Matt with his new Ergo Baby Carrier
Matt with his new Ergo Baby Carrier
Carter helping him try it out
Carter helping him try it out

Can’t wait to use it with the boys!

On Saturday we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the butterflies and the wildflowers.  The butterflies were great, but unfortunately with the lack of spring rain the wildflowers were not very plentiful.  

Then we ran a whole bunch of errands including a trip to Babies R Us.  I keep thinking we have everything and then realize we do not, but we are getting close to ready to travel.  (I think)  The nursery is now a mess again.  Time for more organizing.

We also went to Lowes and Home Depot.  I needed some plants for the garden.  Thanks to the wacky spring weather (60s one day, 90s the next) not one of my seeds took.

Matt also made me some self-watering containers for my tomatoes.  (I uploaded some other garden pics to the photo gallery.)

Yesterday we went to church then hung out with our neighbors. ¬†We went swimming for the first time this season. ¬†Their pool was at a very nice 83¬į!

We then went home and did yard work.  The grass was in serious need of a mow and I had plants to plant!

Please vote for my niece Abby in a local baby idol contest!

And this just because the cats are silly.  Carter was actually trying to sleep squished in there, I guess it is better than where Matt found him this morning, curled up in the bathtub.

How I found the cats this morning when I came home from my run
How I found the cats this morning when I came home from my run

Spring Time

I know for a lot of you spring is still a few weeks off, so I thought I would share our spring with you. ¬†ūüôā


Interesting bugs are starting to show up.  This one is the whole reason I even got the camera out, I had never seen one like it before.


My cactus is in bloom, pretty pink flowers!


Taffi enjoying the lovely afternoon

Swiss Chard and Kale


Peach tree is in bloom


She is actually trying to pick her own snow pea in this shot, the dogs are addicted!

This is a big no, no!  


Carter decided he needed to hang with us, so he let himself out

The dogs and I had a great time enjoying our spring weather this afternoon.  I think we all have a touch of spring fever now and will be spending a ton of time outside.

Friday Update – 01.30.09

Adoption: Still waiting! 47 weeks! Anyone want to take bets that we will get to 50? (I am thinking more and more that I was right with February 23) There was lots of good news this week. 12 infants were referred. Seven girls and five boys! Congratulations to all the happy families. We also received news that due to the extended wait from referral to travel our agency will be providing more photo updates for waiting families. Families were just getting pictures at referral and after passing court, but now they will get pictures ever 4-6 weeks.

Training: Training for the duathlon is still going well. I ended up taking two days off this week due to a little cold. I was also hoping to add some strength training this week, but it just didn’t happen. I hope to be back to full strength next week.

Gardening: The winter garden is still going strong. I have been snacking on snow peas all week. Yummy! My first head of broccoli is finally starting to grow. It looks like I will have some onions and garlic in a couple of months. It is also time to start seeds for the spring garden.

Biking: I still love my new bike, even if it tried to eat my pants today. Thanks to Keith and Erin I have a lovely sticker of Africa on it.

Friday Update – 01.16.09

Adoption Update:  45 weeks down!  I am trying to feel better about the wait, but it was difficult this week.  The wait for referral is one thing, but the wait from referral to travel has been extended and is now expected to take about four months.  It used to only be about two.  The increase of adoptions in Ethiopia has burdened an already overwhelmed system, please pray for the Ethiopian government and that they are able to do what is best for the children.  Also, pray for the adopting families to have patience as this part of the wait is the most difficult.  To know your child but not be able to hold, comfort, or love on is a very difficult time.  

It has been a month since the last round of referrals.  To be honest I always knew in my heart there would be a drought of referrals before we received our referral.  I do not know how long that drought is going to last, but I am hoping that this is the last drought we have to make it through.

Duathlon Training:  I have been doing very well with my training.  I either bike or run every day and some days I do both.  I am improving little by little and happy with the results so far.

Gardening:  The garden is continuing to thrive.

First snow pea!

Life:  Is going great.  We are going to see Abby tomorrow and Matt is doing a little photo shoot with her.  I am sure we will have some cute pictures to share.  We are also going mountain biking.  I last went on my birthday so I am long overdue for a ride.

With the duathlon training Matt wanted to buy me a road bike, but I opted for a new (to me) commuter bike that would also make a decent road bike for the few times I will need it as one.  I got to ride her for the first time today and am loving her.  My old commuter was a little small, plus this new one has a few more gears.  Needless to say it is much faster and easier to ride.

Matt still needs to attach my panniers and my basket then I will be all set for running errands again.  Oh and that suspension seat post has got to go!

Lovely Saturday

Matt and I had a very relaxing, fun day yesterday.  We woke up semi-early to go to downtown Phoenix to pick up my grapevines and peach tree from the Phoenix Permaculture Guild.  They were less than half the price I would have paid at a nursery!  Considering my last two peach trees have died, I need to be more frugal with my purchases, plus the guild gave out some great tips which will hopefully help this peach tree be the one that makes it.  Then we went to the downtown farmers market.  There was plenty of fresh local produce, great crafts, local cheese, and local free-range eggs.  We had a great time supporting local businesses and made some yummy purchases.  

We then spent a good portion of our afternoon in the garden. ¬†Thanks to my wonderful husband for digging for me! ¬†The one thing I can’t stand is attempting to dig a hole in our backyard, that is some tough dirt back there! ¬†We planted my. grapevines and peach tree and did some basic maintenance in the garden and yard.

Matt doing the hard work



Peach Tree

Garden Bed

We then went over to the neighbors’ for a birthday barbeque (Happy Birthday Aubrey!) where we enjoyed some good food and company.¬†

Then it was home to watch the Cardinals game. ¬†I will confess to being a closet Cardinals’ fan. ¬†I am a professed Cowboys fan, but I do cheer for the home team on most occasions (even occasionally against the Cowboys, shh don’t tell them). ¬†In the past there hasn’t been much to cheer for but there has always been the secret hope that one of these years would be their year. ¬†Well last night I did not expect them to win (anyone who watched the last half of their season can understand why no one expected them to win), but I wanted them to win so bad just to prove everyone wrong and as a reward for their loyal fans. ¬†Well they won! ¬†I am still in shock. ¬†The Arizona Cardinals are going to the NFC Championship game. ¬†I didn’t think I would ever see this day. ¬†Congratulations to the Cardinals! ¬†Today I will be¬†cheering¬†for the Eagles, if they when the Cardinals will get to host the big game.

Friday Update – 01.09.09

Adoption Update:  We have now been waiting 44 weeks or just over 10 months.  There have been no referrals for the last three weeks, things should pick up again here soon.

Running: ¬†I am happy to say I have been running very consistently and it is going very well. ¬†I also started cycling for exercise again, I was just cycling around town to do errands which wasn’t ever that far.

Gardening: ¬†My winter garden is growing like crazy right now. ¬†I harvested some radishes, a turnip, and lettuce this week for a salad. ¬†They were all¬†delicious! ¬†I should have some snow peas and carrots soon. ¬†Onions and garlic are growing but those won’t be harvested for a couple more months.

I just received my seeds for my spring garden.  I am actually happy that it appears we will be here and not traveling when I first plant the spring garden, it should be nice and established by the time we travel.  We are picking up the peach tree and grape vines I ordered tomorrow, hopefully this is the peach tree that lives!

Life:  We have been very busy just doing day to day stuff.  The beginning of the year is always extra busy with the business so that is our main focus right now.  Abby is doing well, her parents are very tired though!  Being an Aunt so far is easy, looking forward to more quality time with her.

Here is Matt’s favorite picture of Abby so far:

Friday Update – 12/05/08

Adoption Update:

Well we have made it to 39 weeks of waiting! I am getting to the point where I just really want to see their faces and know them. Most days I am fine, but today not so much. ūüôĀ Please pray for some more referrals, and for court dates to start going more smoothly. A lot of court days have been rescheduled lately and my heart breaks for the families who didn’t pass recently.


My little garden is really starting to take off. The turnips and snow peas look great and I have some lettuce ready for eating.


Matt and I have been keeping busy decorating for Christmas and I have been cleaning out closets and cabinets like a mad woman! Business is staying strong which is an answer to prayers during the current economic situation. We are truly happy and thankful for all that we have.

Friday Update – 11.21.08

Happy Birthday Michelle!!!

Adoption Update: There were four referrals this week all for infant girls. Congrats to the happy families. This week marks 8.5 months or 37 weeks of waiting. I am currently living with the thought that we could get the call any day now. I go to bed thinking, “Will it be tomorrow?” Then I wake up thinking, “Is today the day?” Fortunately for me it is NOT constantly running through my head all day long and I don’t spend hours just staring at my phone hoping Sharon calls. (Sharon you are welcome to call anytime day or night!) I know deep down it could be any day or it could be a few months. Anyway it is enough to drive a person insane, but I think I am handling it quite well.

Exercise Update: I have not been all that great at getting out and exercising. To be honest I wasn’t feeling all that great and finally went to the doctor. We figured out what was up and I should be back at it next week.

Random Stuff:

The weather was unusually warm this week, but things should be back to normal for Thanksgiving, by normal I mean the 70s.

The garden is starting to look good, we should have leafy greens here in a couple of weeks. I am hoping to start an indoor herb garden this weekend.