Thursday, April 29, 2010

Greens and daisies

It's that time of year again. We are bringing in tons of greens. For example, today I went out at about 11:00 am and picked a handful of lettuce, baby bok choi, sweet peas, radishes, and green onions and mixed it all together for a salad.
We ordered a scale to keep track of the amount of veggies we bring in. We are keeping record of it all on a clip board for now but I plan on charting it as we get in more food. For the first week we brought in 11.5 oz of spinach, 26 oz of sweet peas, 9 radishes, 22 oz lettuce, 15 oz baby bok choi, 1.5 lbs of bigger bak choi, 1 lb young turnip greens. And our spinach is huge.
We loved looking at it so much we just had to take a picture! Is it because of the compost tea?
This is the bak choi bed. This is an asian green that we use just like the other greens--in stir fries, steamed or chopped really thin in salads. We like it because it is a more heat tolerant than salad greens and more tender than traditional southern greens.
Here's the lettuce bed.

So I also had a birthday last weekend--yes I am 32 years old now. Thanks to all my friends and family who contributed to a wonderful weekend. I took a road trip to Nashville to meet up with my best friends from Indy. We all have soar jaws from talking and laughing so much! I got home in perfect time to receive hugs and kisses from my wonderful family, lots of birthday cards and a package with a new zoom lens! I tested it out on the daisies that are blooming in the back garden. What do you think? The pictures really don't do justice to the beautiful flowers. I really do love having flowers all over the yard.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ellen and I have been working through a piano lesson book called Alfred's Basic Piano Library-- Level 2. She started learning the Malaguena on Monday and we took this video on Friday. She is so proud at the end of her song and so am I.

twinkle twinkle

Arianna got a violin for Christmas and has been practicing during the day. We do not have a teacher so we bought a Suzuki method lesson book and CD and have been learning by ourselves. She plays 6 different variations of Twinkle Twinkle and also 2 other songs along with the CD for practice (that is what you hear in the background.) I've got more videos on my youtube page if you are interested in hearing her other 2 songs. The violin is a hard instrument to learn and I am so proud of what she has accomplished.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ambrose Farms and Capers Island

Friday we took a field trip to the Charleston area. Our first stop was an organic farm where they offered u pick strawberries. It took us about 30 minutes to pick about 30 pounds. The farm was amazing. The plants looked so healthy and the farmer was very friendly. He explained how the main things he uses on his plants are compost and fish emulsion. The plants were so healthy and the berries were huge.

The main reason for the trip was a tour of Capers Island. The island is a barrier island that was bought by the state in the 50s. It is protected and very primitive with no water or electricity. They do allow primitive camping but it is only accessible by boat.

The tour guide was very enthusiastic and started sharing interesting facts about the fish right at the marina. He really never stopped talking and answering questions. He started out explaining these stone crab and blue crabs that he had in the tank on the boat. We stopped and looked at some traps in the water.

 He used his "overhead projector" to show us exactly where we were on the coast--the inlet between Dewees Island and Bull Island.
 We floated around in this section of the inlet for a little while waiting for the dolphins to surface. We saw several all around the boat. They were so fun to spot and of course Arianna was excited to see her favorite animal in the wild.

 It took us about an hour to slowly cruise over to the Island from Isle of Palms Marina. Once we got to the shore, the guide walked with us and stopped every so often to name and explain all the different shells and marine creatures that we are all so familiar with. He also talked about how and why the trees are fallen and how to tell the difference between pine and oak skeletons.

I loved learning all those little facts. Here's Ellen showing off the welk shells she found.
 I think that lots of schools take this trip but it is open to the public. For more information on Barrier Island Eco Tours check out there website here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Around here

Finally got our tomato seeds to sprout. We are growing abraham lincoln and matt's wild cherry tomatoes.

Watering with compost tea.

Observing creatures in the garden. All kinds of bugs and reptiles are coming out in the warm weather. We've seen at least 3 of these broad headed skinks living in the rocks.

Fascinated by the huge snail.

Loving Spring in the South. Azaleas, bridal vale bushes, dogwoods, etc.

Proud of all the dianthus flowers and gerbera daisies that came back from last year.

Oh, and we are tiling the playroom floor. We are right in the middle of it which is why I haven't posted much lately. We've ripped up the carpet, prepared the sub-floor and placed half of the tiles. I'll post before and after pictures when we are done.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Transplanting seedlings--Successes and Failures

Last weekend (the one before Easter) we finally got the seedlings that we started back in January (here the link to that post)in the ground.

A lot of those seeds that we started were a great success and we were very pleased with the health of the kale, collards, lettuce and spinach seedlings.

BUT almost a whole tray of summer seedlings that I started turned out to be a disaster. Hardly any of the seeds even germinated. I don't really know what happened but some reasons for the germination failure could be that the soil was not warm enough, not wet enough or maybe too wet since we noticed that the soil mix we created was a little to dense. Here's a picture of the sad tray.
I've got one tomato out of 30 that I started, no peppers, and about half of the basil and eggplants! We've learned that it's all about experimenting and trying things over and over again. So, I've started new trays of these kinds of plants and hopefully I'll correct whatever went wrong.