We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

News Flash -Meyer Lemon Tree Has First Flower

Although the Meyer Lemon has many buds ready to flower, here is the very first flower. The flower has a wonderful fragrance.  For those who have asked where I purchased it, just go to Four Winds Growers and click here for more information.

Thank you to the owner at the Growing Traditions Blog for inspiring me to make the purchase of this citrus tree. He made lemon marmalade from his lemons he picked from his Meyer and I thought perhaps I could do the same.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Last of the Pesto

For dinner tonight we used the last of the pesto that we had frozen from 2011's bounty of basil. It was delicious. So a couple of lucky people can take these leftovers from tonight's dinner for lunch tomorrow. Yum!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Boots and I Miss Smith and Hawken

Years ago I bought a pair of red slip on gardening shoes from Smith and Hawken. I still have them and wear them when gardening in the vegetable garden. They can be hosed off and are perfect for my needs. Plus they do not slip off like gardening clogs.They are probably 15 years old.

Last week I was trimming our Serviceberry tree and my red slip ons were not going to cut it. It was exceptionally wet in the area and I needed boots. So I slipped on my snow boots. They got really muddy and I am in the process of still cleaning them off. So before I end up ruining my snow boots, I decided to order these gardening boots. Not only are they waterproof, but they are cute too.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

USDA Weekly Crop and Weather Bulletin

I accidentally came across the USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. I had no idea such a bulletin existed. Click here for this week's bulletin. 

The Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WWCB) is prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bulletin provides information on weather, droughts, rainfall for the United States and world wide. There are charts and graphs for those geeks among us. This is the first time I have come across the term " agrometeorological information".

Generally it is  posted every Wednesday. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Composting is my husband's job. Actually he seems to enjoy it, which is great for the garden. It dawned on me that we had not used our garbage disposal in a very long time and that perhaps I should check it out to make sure it would still run. It did, but perhaps it is sad because it is rarely used since we compost.

My latest purchase was a new kitchen compost scrap bucket to dump our veggie scraps in. I have always found them to be over priced, but I was able to find this one on sale.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baking with Julia March Recipe- Rugelach

I just finished rolling out the rugelach dough and it was one nasty challenge. Julia Child's recipe for at least the dough part did not beat out the Martha Stewart recipe that I typically use. Well the little gems are in the refrigerator for the next few hours to harden up. Believe you me, they need it. If I would have put them directly in the oven we would have had flatten rugelach: they would have spread all over the baking pan.

Also here is Dorie Greenspan's interview on NPR   about  rugelach and baking the gems-click here


I know Spring is just around the corner when my favorite nurseries have their pansies out. So today I went to Rahn's and loaded up the car. Another favorite place is Bloomin Garden's for these little happy faced flowers. I hope to be able to start planting them in the flower boxes and planters this Sunday since it will be 50 degrees. Right now it is lightly snowing.

Also stopped in at Half Priced Books and stumbled across a gardening book that I could not resist for $5. I love the DK books because they always have practicle advice regardless of the topic. Here is my lucky find.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update on My Meyer Lemon

So far my Meyer Lemon has not dropped any of its blossoms and the actual blossoms continue to get plumper. One almost looks like it is ready to bloom fully as a flower. I know it could take months before I see any lemons, but I am amazed we have gottten this far with this tree that I have had only a few weeks. It seems to tolerate being indoors , which I was concerned about. But I will probably put it outside in its pot in mid May.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Free Online Gardener Planner From Gardener's Supply Company

Gardener's Supply Company provides a free online planner for you to use when planning your garden beds.
Most of the online planners that I have come across require an annual fee. This planner is ideal for the square foot gardener too. For more info click here for the Gardener's Supply Company planner.You can save your plans and the company even provides planting instructions for actual planting.

If that is not your cup of tea, you can always create your own plan on powerpoint, and reuse the template year after year.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Baking with Julia March Recipe- Rugelach

The TWDBWJ crowd could bake both or one of the following for March. Irish Soda Bread and Rugelach were chosen as the recipes. I have never been a fan of Irish Soda Bread, but Rugelach is delicious. I used to use a recipe from Martha Stewart and it was very good. However, I have not made Rugelach in years. We will see how the Baking with Julia version stands up to the Martha version.

Those of you who have never tried Rugelach may wonder why it is so great---it is the cream cheese dough. I personally prefer it with a strawberry jam filling. Stay tuned for how this turns out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Homemade cookies for Valentine's Day. The recipe for these cookies is from a Williams- Sonoma Cookbook.

Cut Out Cookies

1 cup (8 oz./ 250 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 oz./ 185 g) sugar
3 egg yolks
1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long
2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz/ 390 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat  the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, for about 4 minutes.

Beat in  egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. Mix well. ( Don't use vanilla extract as a substitute for the vanilla bean)

In a sifter, ad the flour, baking powder and salt. Then sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until well mixed.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead). Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees F (180 C). Butter two large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick.  Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up and reroll the scraps to cut out more cookies. Repeat with remaining dough disks.

Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

**Do-ahead tip: Make the dough and cut out the shapes ahead of time, freeze the shapes, then bake them as you need them. Or bake the cookies and freeze to decorate another day.

My Lucky Day--I Won a 3 gallon Knock Out Rose Bush

Denny McKeown has a gardening radio program every Saturday between 8 am -10 am. He requested interesting stories for his program last Saturday and the best story would win a 3 gallon Knock Out rose. Yours truly is the winner. Denny also  owns a nursery in Kenwood, Ohio called Bloomin Gardens.

By the way, there is a new Knock Out that will be available as a climber. I get to choose the Knock Out of my choice. Thanks Denny! Also if you are interested, you can listen to Denny on Saturdays by clicking here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baker Creek Seeds and The Heirloom Life Gardener

I just ordered my seeds from Baker Creek Seeds. What a delight to speak with a person ( Eric) over the phone and who is also knowledgeable about their product. When the company found out that I was a garden blogger, they tossed in The Heirloom Life Gardener gratis,  which is Jere and Emilee Gettles' first book. The Gettles' are a young couple whose very young seed company has grown and grown.

Stay tuned for my review of the book. By the way they said I really did not have to post a review, because they were not sending the book to me for that reason.  The young guy on the phone was very insistent that he did not want me to feel pressured to review it. He was so refreshing to talk to and he reminded me that they had a guarantee that their seeds would germinate and that I should save all the seed packets in case there is any glitch in that department.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

News Flash-Meyer Lemon

I just had to share with you that I noticed my Meyer Lemon tree has blossoms. Not in a million years did I expect it to happen so soon after delivery a few weeks ago. Plus, it was delivered as a bare root 3 foot tree and I had to transplant it. It is in a southern window and gets sun occasionally and other days no sun because our winters are so cloudy. I was informed by one of the gardeners at Rahn's Garden Center not to fertilize it until March and to start out with half strength at that. The blooms are supposed to give off a magnificent fragrance--which is something to look forward to.

Also I water it once a week and that is it. I do not baby it at all.

Onion Seeds are Germinating

My onion seeds are germinating. I have never tried to start onion seeds indoors for transplant in the garden. It took them about a week to germinate  and so far so good. I purchased the starter blocks from Burpee at one of the box stores. I had never used these before and typically would start seeds in a starter mix. These blocks should make transplanting easier.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February--Baking With Julia--White Bread

The bread was a piece of cake to make. However, I did take liberties with one of the loaves. I added a cinnamon swirl to one loaf, by mixing a half of cup of sugar with cinnamon to taste. I then stretched out the loaf with the palms of my hand and spread butter lightly over the 9 x 12 inch  dough, followed by the cinnamon sprinkled on top. It was then rolled up and placed in the loaf pan to rise.

I used the KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook, but the motor really started to grind and it became clear that this brand of  mixer cannot handle mixing two loaves of bread at once. So I kneaded it by hand.

My husband made grilled cheese sandwiches with the white bread, which also made wonderful toast. Of course, cinnamon bread toasted is always fabulous.

If you are interested in the recipe we all used just click at Someone's In The Kitchen blog

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Onion Seeds Started Indoors and the Hoop House

I wasn't planning on starting onion seeds inside to be transplanted, but I was convinced to give it a try. So they are now sitting in the south window getting started.

I was also at Lowes today looking at what is needed for a hoop house.  I was able to track down the 1/2 inch PVC piping and the electrical clip things  that you put the PVC pipes through. I just can't imagine how you can bend the PVC into a hoop. I know everybody does it, but what Lowes had did not seem that flexible or maybe I am just not as strong as the rest of you gardeners.

Next week we are taking a class at Gorman Heritage Farms on four season gardening. Thus the interest in the hoop house. Thank goodness for the internet, because there are some great diy videos that are extremely helpful. Plus the hoop house at the Growing Traditions blog is amazing.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jungle Jim's and Lesley Stowe's Rain Coast Crisps

We are very fortunate to have the Disneyland of a grocery store called Jungle Jim's. They have everything, and if they don't, they will get it for you. It is a huge place that is international in its offerings, and it is where our family does its grocery shopping every week. Sorry Krogers, you just don't make the cut. For years and years there has been only one JJs, but a second one is opening on the East side of town.

It is always an adventure and I spotted something called Lesley Stowe Rain Coast Crisps and picked up the salted date and almond crisps. They are slightly thicker than tradiditonal crackers, and well they are very tasty. Maybe all of you have heard of Rain Coast Crisps, but it was new to me. They would be great with fruit and cheese or even by themselves with tea.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tuesday is the Day-Baking With Julia

As I mentioned before, my Baking With Julia  cookbook arrived last week.  This Tuesday, the members of the Tuesday's with Dorie: Baking With Julia brigade will post the details of the February selection which was either baking white bread or chocolate tarts from the cookbook.

As a sneak peak, I will tell you that I did bake the white bread and added a cinnamon swirl to one of the loaves. But you will have to wait until Tuesday for the glorious details and pictures. What I will tell you is that the cinnamon swirl loaf is gone--devoured. Plus my husband made a grill cheese with the the other loaf and declared it wonderful. We are not white bread lovers but............. for now I will tell you this is not your average Wonder Bread.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baker Creek Seeds

Just received my Baker Creek seed catalogue and it has to be one of the most beautiful seed catalogues available. The pictures are stunning. Plus the diversity of heirloom seeds makes it tough to limit what to buy. So far I have checked off the Rapini and Charentais, which is a French melon that my husband likes.