Monday, August 31, 2015

From Peeling to Sizzling--Roasted Butternut Squash

Dewy drops appear after the first layer of peel is removed

The hardness of the peel is what gives this veggie storability.  Keep working.  It's worth the effort.
Slice in half.
All of these seeds is how this plant got its start.  I compost and every so often a seed ends up in the garden instead of the composter.
Before the first scoop.

I use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. 
And this is headed for the composter
Ready to dice.

Pan prepped with foil and butternut squash drizzled with olive oil.
Sizzling hot after 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Yellow Roses in Simple Centerpiece

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Signs of the Drought

Artificial Turf

Leaves turning brown and dropping in August versus October

Succulents replacing turf
The drought is impacting landscaping in the area.  New artificial turf and succulents are replacing lawns.  Trees which normally don't drop leaves until October are browning and dropping in August.

Onion and Bee

I find the flight of the bee at the end of the video fascinating to watch.  He hangs in the air before flying sideways.  View at full screen to get the whole experience.  Look for the ants hanging out, too.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Girdle is Killing Me!

I was shopping at a big box store this weekend.  When I parked the car, I noticed something very troubling.  The facility received a landscape remodel several years ago, however, no one had been instructed to remove the straps used to secure the trees when they were planted.  Now, all these years later, the straps where girdling (restricting) the tree.

You can see the tree is actually skinnier below the straps than above.

(Note:  I spoke with store management and he indicated he would talk to the gardeners.)

With fall comes a perfect time of year to plant young trees into your landscape.  Conventional wisdom has changed over the years regarding supporting trees when planting.  I would encourage homeowners to consult their local extension cooperative to determine best practices for your area of the country.

With that said, a tree grows a stronger root system and develops trunk taper when the tree is staked properly.  A little movement when the wind blows can be a good thing.  Remember to remove the straps once the tree can stand on its own.

UCCE Master Gardeners has a good page to consult.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

From the North

Close up of Lichen

A Saturday treat...
Cool moss and lichens cover the bark of this tree found in Oregon.  
What a fascinating combination of colors.
Bark is nature's art work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hardening Off the Butternut Squash

My butternut squash are spending two weeks in the upstairs hallway.  The temperatures are warmer in the upstairs and I am "hardening off" the squash.  This is a process where warmer temperatures (80 to 85 degrees) help the rind to grow harder.  This process will allow the squash to be stored for a longer period of time.  Once they finish their two weeks upstairs, I will bring them downstairs and store in a cool, dark location.

Here's the good news.  The squash vines are still active and I see another six squash growing on the vine!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Backyard Chickens

People in California love their backyard chickens.  This photo was taken while we were in Portland, OR.  So is the chicken thing a west coast thing or do other parts of the country embrace the coop?

Scented Sitting Wall

Bushy lavender plants behind a sitting wall is a lovely combination.  The lavender is planted about a foot away from the wall so it won't interfere with seating...and by interfere, I mean these plants are quite an attraction for bees.  A little distance lets the bees do their thing and the sitter do his/her thing.  In such a large planting the scent permeates the air.

The hanging basket adds a little height variance to frame the scene.  Posting this as a future idea for the garden.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hole in the Wall

Gardens can be protected by fences, hedges or walls.  If you are choosing a wall, why not add a detail of interest such as this tile lined leaf?  This stunning detail provides a peek inside the next garden area and keeps a solid wall from becoming overwhelming.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Queen Anne's Lace

 I've always enjoyed finding a plant of Queen Anne's Lace growing in a field or along side a highway.  Such a lacey flower.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Butterkin Squash?

I harvested the unknown squash this morning.  Here are two of the eight I cut from the vine.  You can see the pumpkin resemblance.  So butternut squash or butterkin (a portmanteau of butternut and pumpkin), I prepped one for roasting for lunch today.

One interesting thing I learned from about this type of squash.  You can harden them off and then store for two to three months.  Hardening off and proper storage are important for storage.  The link suggests warmer temperatures will create the thick, tough rind.  I'm going to place these in the upstairs as summer temperatures are a little in this location. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Cuphea Ignea--Firecracker Plant

Firecracker Plant
Good plant to attrack hummingbirds.  Roger's Gardens report it to be waterwise, but I find most websites report medium water usage.  If this is a waterwise plant, I will consider adding to the garden.


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