Monday, July 17, 2017

Gardening is the other addictive hobby!

Late last year, the hubby and myself decided to put in an orchard on the property we bought near the house. It has about an acre of flat land and its very sunny, perfect for fruiting trees and a veggie garden. So over the winter we bought, planted and babied 35 fruit trees and shrubs. A variety of peaches, plums, cherries, concord grapes, persimmons, figs, apples, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all in this orchard. We did not get any fruit from the trees this year because we wanted them to get established and grow. But we have been getting tons of raspberries and blueberries which we all loved!

Panoramic view of Orchard
So growing your own vegetables has its ups and downs! Ups is you get the fruits of your labor if the downs don't get to it first. I.e. Green hornworm caterpillars
Green Hornworm Caterpillar
devoured most of my tomato plants at the orchard and killed my jalapeƱo plants! Now I am not one to automatically go to chemicals to control insects but I was tempted since the were and always are destructive. I took off each visible caterpillar, which were well fed and about the size of my pointer finger, squeamishly by hand and tossed them over the deer fence. I got most of them but the damage was already done. But its amazing how resilient plants can be. They have mostly bounced back from the damage and leafed out new growth and sent out new fruit!
Today was an up day since I was able to take home and eat my bounty. The three dogs love it too! 
Tomato harvest from today
We have learned a lot from this year's garden, where we planted the squash and cucumbers was too shady so they this not take off like we wanted so no veggies from those plants, tomatoes need to have marigolds planted around them to prevent the moths from laying their eggs that eventually become monster green hornworm caterpillars. Also that weeding is a problem when you are not constantly there to up keep the garden in the great TN summer heat. But we will learn, come up with a game plan for next year and work on everything over the fall and winter to have an excellent garden for 2018!
Hope you enjoyed my garden pics and let me know if you have had any ups and downs in your gardens!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blogging may make a comeback

Could I make a comeback to blogging about my crazy life? I enjoyed getting my thoughts out onto somewhere and now enjoy looking back on what has happened through knitting, life, dogs, etc. So much has happened since my last post back in 2012 when I was doing this more often, Pulmonary Hypertension is still around with different medicine treatment, became a furry red panda, made tons of new friends through the furry fandom, cooking tons more recipes, enjoying the children at church through Sunday school and tons more. I may need to reflect on the last several years to catch you up but I guess I can try to recall the old road long forgotten. Facebook has taken over the blogging because it is easier to post a small event than write an essay. Follow me on there at or twitter @kaala_redpanda.
Here's to hoping I get back into blogging! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Should I blog again even though my knitting is not very active?

It has been a while since I have blogged here, ok can't lie it's been years. Too many years!
Should I pick it back up to get down some thoughts and ideas about my life? Maybe, do I have the time and would I be committed enough to make an effort to do this again? What are your thoughts, friends and family? 
Lots have happen over the years and maybe I can make a go of getting those down in a blog to share with everyone. Let's see where I can go with this. 
Glad to be back...... For now.....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

... I was baking!

I had so much fun these past few weeks! My last day at M&M was last Wednesday but I get to stay home the rest of the summer.

I had the opportunity to 'cater' for an open garden tour for a friend and I get to have fun in the kitchen. She asked me to make her the Lemon Balm Cookies at first then it branched out to some Cheese Straws (she gave me the recipe so I do not have a link). Then I decided to add Chocolate Macarons because all open garden tours need some chocolate! I spent about 2.5 days just baking and baking and loved it. Although I was tired after it was done but had so much fun being in my kitchen with doggies at my feet ready to lick up any fallen desserts.

Lemon Balm Cookies before Icing

No Icing Lemon Balm Cookies

Spicy Cheese Straws

Non Spicy Cheese Straws with Black Sesame Seeds

Everyone at the garden tour loved the items and the Macarons were the first to go but if there were any left overs I know the girls at work will be happy to munch on them. My friend's garden was so beautiful and delightful that I wish I could get mine to look like hers but she has had this garden going to 20 odd years and is so established that I would not be able to get mine to look like that from the start but it gave me some ideas and motivation to get a plan together for the hubby =0P

But wait I had fun two weekends ago with another friend at the Middle TN Fiber Festival in Dickson, TN. It was great to meet all the vendors and pet the angora rabbits! I bought some things that were tons of fun. I got 3  bumps of fiber in Faux Cashmere and 1 bump of fiber in Faux Angora Bunny. They are so soft and surprisingly made out of some kind of nylon. Interesting! I so look forward to spinning and knitting that up this summer. And also got a gift for my MIL that I hope to either send to her or give to her in the future. I think she will like it.

Also the veggie garden is going very well in those containers. The Edamames have some young pods on them, the squash are getting huge with some fruit on them also and I look forward to getting more blossoms to stuff, and the tomatoes are getting ginormous with some fruit starting to form. I did add a San Marzano tomato plant to the mix so I look forward to making my own spaghetti sauce.

Edamame pods

They have grown quite a bit since the last pics

My First Yellow Crook-neck Squash

They are taller than me now!
I am going to have fun tending to these plants this summer and I think this will keep me busy enough that I do not stay inside all day long. I love to see nature grow from day to day and I get the reap the rewards for my patience in the end.

Oh and back to knitting is on my TO DO list this summer and I hope to get some done for gifts and sorts so I really look forward to getting back into the swing of things. Spinning has been going well too but I need to get back into a rhythm with it also.

I hope all have a great week and talk to you next time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

... I am a working woman.

The last month or so I have been working part-time at a local garden center, Moore and Moore Garden Center (M&M). This is my third spring there and have been loving this spring since it was so mild and everyone is ready to spruce up their gardens and flower beds. The most exciting part about spring other than the great weather is all the growing of herbs and veggies going on. Since TN had such a mild winter a lot of my herbs from last year are still growing and taking over my growing area.

 My most prolific grower was the oregano that I got from a M&M co-worker last year and early spring I decided to divide the plant so I can get some room for other herbs this spring and was able to divide the one plant to three good size bunches. The other two went to my neighbor that loves to make her own tomato sauce so I thought that would be a great pairing. The biggest one is my Lemon Balm that I got from M&M last spring.

 I was determined to use up this big bush of an herb for something. So onto the internet for several hours on researching what to do with this Lemon Balm (thank goodness for google and youtube). Several stems are hanging upside down in my kitchen drying so I can use it some chicken recipes and future use, then some more leaves ended up in a great cookie, Lemon Balm Cookies. This is more of a shortbread than a real cookie but it was delicious otherwise. Plus on top of that I added a lemon icing too that just added a bit of sour with sweet to the crumbly cookie. Everyone at M&M loved them and they were a smash or gobbled up (which ever way you want to look at it). I will definitely be making more this summer for everyone at the garden center once my herb grows back! I am making more for one of the manager's open garden tour in early June and can't wait to see her garden.

My garden is going well also. I have several herbs in pots in my back landing that I have easy access to from the kitchen. I am growing the Thai Chili Pepper again since it was so prolific in giving me very hot peppers that I processed in a blender to make a chili sauce for my awesome Slow Cooker Carnitas.

Then I have expanded my garden to bigger pots with some veggies which is the first for me. Background Info: We live in the woods and there are many creatures that like to stalk my yummy plants and how do I grow veggies for myself and not for the critters? Put in pots and hope for the best!

I have branched out to Edamame (which a ground hog has already taken 4 of the 5 plants),

 tomatoes (Mr Stripey and Old German),

and zucchini and squash (for the blossoms to make fried stuffed squash blossoms and for the veggie also). 

I hope to get a great variety of veggies this summer if the doggies can keep the critters away!

Since I have been working, there has been less time for knitting. But I will always find a way to get those needles out and I had to for April. At the end of April there was a big baby shower for three women at my church that are all due this summer. It was so much fun to knit such small knits. I will post pictures as soon as the babies are modeling my knitwear. Also I have done other projects and I will post those soon also.