Garden! Honey laundering! Motivated Moms! Obsessed with bread! New glasses! Hiking!

  • Rhubarb Chard from Seeds of Change

    I have carrots, green onions, broccoli, and red chard seeds planted in my garden.  I’ll be planting more of everything, plus lettuce and bulb onions, as space allows.  Still growing:  Mexican grey squash (I’ve eaten lots of them, raw, when they’re about 3″ long, right before they turn yellow and die); Yoeme purple string beans (tall and mostly green, but appears to be heat-stressed… some blooms… I’m waiting to see if the plants will do better as the weather cools);  basil (the only thing that’s really thriving;  we eat basil in stuff 4-5x/week now);  tomatoes (loads of blooms, but not really vigorous, strong plants… again, waiting until it cools to reassess);  hot red chile plants (healthy-looking, but small and no blooms).  I’m trying to decide what to do about my ginormous Hopi pumpkin plant.  It is literally spilling out of my raised bed… the squash plant is about 10′ x 4′, and it is taking up so much room that could be used for something else.  The plant appears to be thriving, with huge, green leaves and dozens of blossoms, and it would be a shame to rip out something so vigorous.  But, the pumpkins grow about 2-3″ big and then die, much like my Mexican grey squash.  My husband thinks it’s due to the heat and that I should give it some time.  I’m trying not to think about all the other, possibly more fruitful veggies I could plant in the space that dumb pumpkin is hogging.

  • PLEASE READ this article on honey.  Please.  Who knew that honey was such a controversial topic??  It is imperative to your safety that you buy honey that is a product of the USA, or at least the western hemisphere.  Honey from China — tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals — is saturating the American market, because honey from China is banned in Europe.  “Some of the largest and most long-established U.S. honey packers are knowingly buying mislabeled, transshipped or possibly altered honey so they can sell it cheaper than those companies who demand safety, quality and rigorously inspected honey. … Almost 60 percent of what was imported – 123 million pounds – came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.”  HONEY SMUGGLING.  Who knew?
  • "Like" OSC on Facebook for new post updates, quick responses to any questions and comments, plus additional tidbits.

    Perhaps it’s too early to make a true judgement, but Motivated Moms seems to be working great.  It’s oddly helpful to be accountable to a sheet of paper which is waiting for me to tick the boxes.  The system is a real change for me, because instead of cleaning the bathroom in one fell swoop, it has you clean the toilet one day, the mirrors another day, the sink the following day, etc.  However, breaking each task into 2-to-20 minute segments makes each of them more do-able for me.  Plus, I find it difficult to disappear into my bedroom for an hour and a half to clean the master bath from lighting fixtures to tile;  I just don’t have that large chunk of time often enough, and I just can’t leave my kids unsupervised for that long.  But, pretty much everyone can function on their own if mom is only “gone” for 20 minute segments.  It’s just now noon, and I’ve already accomplished more than I would in an entire typical day.  Plus, I’ve gone on Facebook, done some gardening, made a loaf of bread, and busted a few heads.  Not really “busted”.  I’ve applied some mothering.  😉

  • Speaking of bread, I’m an obsessed baker again.  I’m really motivated to find a recipe that WORKS, simply.  I have been making my Best Ever Gluten-Free Flour Mix for the last couple of months, consistently having it on hand to whip up some cupcakes or muffins or pancakes, and that has been wonderful and helpful.  Though it is a really versatile mix, I haven’t been able to successfully make sandwich bread with it, and I’m determined to come up with a bread recipe that will work using that flour mix.  Simple = sustainable.  I want to be able to daily (or nearly so) bake bread, and I know I won’t do it if I have to get out twenty billion ingredients, or remember a complicated process.  So far, the results are tasty, but too dense.  I’m tinkering with everything tinker-able — amount and kind of liquid, oven vs. breadmaker, amount of sugar and yeast, amount of rising time, etc.
  • They make me look hipper than I actually am.

    I got new glasses.  🙂

  • I went out hiking, early Saturday morning, with two friends, Cristi and Wendy.  It was the first time I hiked in about six weeks.  The hike wasn’t particularly strenuous, but it was good to just get out and get moving again.  What with the heat, a summer Bible study, my garden, our vacation, and simply getting out of the habit, my hiking went by the wayside.  I’m re-motivated now.  🙂

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Desert Gardening, Get Fit!, Get Organized!, gluten-free, Life in the Desert, Random Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I try to only buy honey from local beekeepers.

    The food supply is one scary topic, isn’t it?! The more you know the scarier it is!

    • You’re not kidding. Food supply gets scarier and scarier.

      There is a semi-local honey place from which I have long desired to purchase honey… the guy has hives only a few miles north of my house! But his shop is in Prescott, which is an hour and a half from here… But, you’ve inspired me! I just went and liked his facebook page, and maybe I can figure out how to regularly purchase some truly local honey. The kind I almost always get (Mrs. Crockett’s desert honey) is local-ish, but not truly local.

      • Maybe if you buy in bulk they’ll let you buy directly from his place near your house!

        Local honey is soooooo good for allergies, too. In allergy season I try to take some every single day! It’s naturally homeopathic.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve lost about half my tomatoes to blossom end rot. *sigh* My one roma tomato plant had at least 30 tomatoes on there and I had to pick so many off. It was awful.

    I read on one site that blossom end rot tends to affect just the first fruits of the season, and as the season goes along, the fruits start getting healthier. That has actually been really true of my zucchini, and seems to also be true of my pumpkin. Unfortunately the growing season here is so short that I don’t know if I’ll have time to wait for later tomatoes and pumpkins… 🙂

  3. YIKES! I am slightly scared to go check my honey jar right now.

  4. When my yellow squash was doing that I searched for a reason. Do you have a lot of bees? I found out that if the flower doesn’t get pollinated the fruit dies. If you don’t have bees you can use a qtip to pollinate. Just swab (carefully) the pollen off the non-fruited flower and swab it onto the flower at the end of your squash. I read that you should do it in the morning, when the flowers are open the widest. I did this, as well as cutting off some of the leaves (so the few bees I have had easier access to the flowers). I haven’t lost a squash since.

    • I do have a lot of bees! I had thought that maybe they weren’t getting pollinated well, either, but every time I go out there (which is a lot), there are bees buzzing around. I have a few other plants (Queen’s Wreath) that attract LOTS of bees, which I know is fabulous for pollinating. I don’t think it’s a bee problem. My pumpkin and my Mexican grey squash have the same problem: Growing for a week or so (enough to get 3″ big or so), then turning yellow and dying. However, I have thought about hand pollinating just in case…. I’ll try it tomorrow morning. 🙂

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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