Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Tomato Plants From Suckers – Take 1

These two tomatoes were ready to be harvested this morning. We have one harvested a couple of days ago, so we’ll feast on sliced tomatoes tonight!

Yesterday I tried to plant suckers in order to grow new tomato plants.

“Tomato suckers, or side shoots, are the growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch. (See photo above.) If left to grow, they will become another main stem with branches, flowers, fruit and more suckers of their own.”

I carefully gathered several suckers, went to my greenhouse where I had pots of Mel’s Mix ready, moistened the bottom of each sucker in water and then stuck it in rooting hormone  (shaking off the excess) and put the suckers in the pots. I then watered the pots. It was really hot in the greenhouse so I left the thermostat-controlled exhaust fan on.

 

This is what the thermometer in the greenhouse showed this morning, although it didn’t feel that bad. The exhaust fan is set to start and run when the temperature inside the greenhouse is 90 degrees F. or higher. It was off. The outside temperature is 77 right now.

 

As you can see, Trial 1 was a failure.  I chose and cut the suckers carefully. The fact that I planted in the heat of the day, rather than in the morning or right before dark may have been a factor. I read the directions on the rooting hormone and followed them carefully, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The fact that the thermometer is reading so high vs the exhaust fan being off may be a factor. I may bring the thermometer in and see if it’s working correctly. *

*It’s now about 45 minutes later. I brought the thermometer inside and my husband shook it. It has red dye now in the bottom of the package. Apparently, the temperature in the greenhouse blew its top off. We’ll hunt for a different style today while we’re out.

On a happier note – I harvested the first of the experiment to try to grow celery from the bottoms cut off stalks bought at the store.

 

 

I cut off the bottom of the stalks of celery I bought at the store and put each in a glass of water. These need to grow a bit more before they’re ready to be taken out to the garden and planted. (If you look carefully, you can see that in the glass that’s second from the left, I’ve put the end of a head of lettuce in a glass, just for giggles.)

 

The celery plants are bushy, rather than looking like what you get at the store. I cut the largest stalks, leaving the smaller ones to hopefully grow.

 

There is a LOT of greenery on each stalk. I washed everything, then cut off the stalks into usable pieces, washed them again, and then took the bowl of cut celery to my husband in the living room where we each tried one. Oddly enough, they taste like celery! :0)

I’m like a kid at Christmas. After several tries and several failures, I’m actually growing edible celery! Woo HOOOO!

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

1st Tomato Harvest

Yesterday the first tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I saw a couple that will be ready in a few days, too. We feel rich!

This is a wonderful time of the year for us. We LOVE going out to test the tomatoes to see if any more are ready to come in and be devoured.

We ate three of these with our dinner last night and may finish up this first harvest this evening. I guess that people who have grown up having gardens know all the veggies and fruit that homegrown tastes so much better than what you can buy at the store, but the only one I personally know about is tomatoes.

I wish you were here so I could share with you

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Almost Ready to Bite!

This tomato is in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house.

 

And these are in the “Nook” planter between the house and the porch.

They’re still too firm to pick, but in another day or two, we BITE!

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Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Tomato Plants

Huffington Post

One of my husband’s and my favorite things in the world is home grown, red, ripe, sliced tomatoes with a meal. No matter what else we try to grow, tomatoes are the main thing.

We built a raised bed, square foot garden for our other veggies (though I AM trying some grape tomatoes in two of the squares this year), but we moved our tomato plants to the east side of the house. We have a brick planter in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch at the end of the house, plus an eight foot brick planter on the east end of the house.

 

This is the 8 foot planter. We have six plants here. We planted two plants every two weeks.

 

This is “The Nook”. There are only two plants here, planted two weeks apart. As you can see, we have really large plants that are difficult to keep supported.

 

Here is a closeup  of some of our green tomatoes.

 

And here are more.

 

And HERE is the first ripening tomato! Whooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Encouragement, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

State of the Garden

Here is celery I started inside by cutting off the bottom 2″ of the stalks I bought from the store, putting them in water, and then transplanting them to the garden.  I’m not getting neat ‘stalks’ like you buy at the store, but the plants look healthy. I’m not sure if I should cut off individual stalks as they grow or what. It sure is fun watching them grow, though.

 

This is a grape tomato plant. If you look carefully, you can see the yellow blossom at the top.

 

Here’s a second plant where you can see the tiny green tomatoes growing.

 

I managed to save a few romaine lettuce plants and one red leaf lettuce plant.

 

I feel like a kid at Christmas. This is a spaghetti squash grown from a seed I removed from one I had bought at the store and cooked. Isn’t it cute! :0)

I’ll try to get pics of my tomato plants to show you tomorrow.

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Filed under Childlike Fun, Encouragement, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Garden After the Storms

The temperature right now is 58 F., and there is a gusty wind. The sun is finally shining. I’m feeling really grateful that the Greenwood area of Arkansas seems to have come through the storms pretty well.  Fort Smith got some hail damage, power outages, and some wind damage, but overall, it could have been a lot worse.

I went out for the first time since Thursday to see what was left of our garden.  There is no major damage. The plants are beaten up some, but seem to still be alive. I’ll be spending a lot of time out there, once it warms up a bit, trying to prune the dead parts off the plants, etc.

This is the largest of the spaghetti squash plants I started in my kitchen from one I bought from the store. It seems to be doing fine, although there is no sign of any veggie yet.

 

I think I’ll probably go ahead and harvest all of the radishes and plant more in other squares.

 

This is the largest of the celery plants I started inside, cutting the bottoms off stalks I bought at the store. I have a couple more plants to bring out to the garden. Again, I have no clue what to expect. I may just get leaves, but I’m having fun watching. :0)

 

I’ll need to do a LOT of pruning on the lettuce and the spinach. They both got pretty battered with all the wind and rain.

 

I’m going to go ahead and harvest the broccoli plants before they shoot spears up. I’m hopeful I’ll get more heads from the other parts of the plants.

Look at this! I’m delighted to see this sweet cauliflower head. I think I’m supposed to arrange for the leaves to cover the heads so the head will stay white.

 

As you can see, LOTS of pruning will be needed to get the plants looking the way they should, but I’m grateful that the garden seems to have come through all the severe storms okay.

 

 

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Filed under DIET!, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Garden Images – April, 2017

I’ve just come in from a little over an hour of weeding and pruning in the garden. The pictures here were taken BEFORE I did that, ad I’m cringing a bit that you can see some little weeds and leaves that need to be removed, etc., but I wanted to share my delight in how well things seem to be doing now.

I actually have little bitty heads of broccoli coming on!

 

This is a terrible picture, but I have TWO cauliflower heads showing!

 

This is the largest celery plant, though I have several others. No clue yet whether I’ll actually get a stalk or not. (See what I mean about the little weeds? Most of them are gone now.

 

These are Georgia Sweet Onions. They seem to be happy now, rebounding from the hail storm.

 

This is one of two squares of radishes.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

This is the largest of the spaghetti squash plants I started from seed in the house.

 

And spinach. I was so delighted to find plants for sale this year at the local co-op. I hope that I thanked the guy effusively enough that he’ll try to get them again and again. I can’t be the only person looking for them and wanting to grow it.

I mainly cut up spinach for salads, or put the leaves in the rare sandwiches we eat now. I’m going to try to actually cook the leaves this year. It might be a thing where we love the stuff in the can, but the actually fresh leaves taste like a completely ‘different animal.’

Does anyone have directions for how best to cook fresh spinach leaves?

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Getting the Lard Off Report 3/31/2017

Today is DAY 5 our renewed efforts on eating healthier and moving more.

YourEllipticals.com

I want to get started gathering ‘goodies’ for the new hummingbird bird bath, but I acted like an adult (at least more than usual :0) ) and did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I’m listing all my food, plus my exercise, on MyFitnessPal.com, getting a more realistic idea of the amount I’m eating and making sure it’s 1200 calories or less, and 40 grams of carbohydrates or less, each day.

Later today I’ll do one session of yoga.

World of Female

I’ll report to you on Wednesday of next week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you that we’re definitely making progress again.

If nothing else, I’m feeling better than I’m TRYING.

taolife.com

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating

Coming Clean

Jacqueline A. Lyons

Okay. My husband and I have been doing a TERRIBLE job lately on following our low carb diet, exercising, and getting healthier. We have lots and lots of excuses, none of which actually hold water when held up to the light – (to mix a bunch of metaphors and clichés’.)

SO –

Last night we agreed that Monday morning we’re going to start being adults again. To this end, we enjoyed KFC last night, and we’re going to Subway tonight for the condemned  “last meal.”

This morning I started getting ready to be seriously good. I made a careful list of menus for the coming week and a grocery list to go with it. When we returned from shopping, I started cooking.

  • I have a rump roast in the crock pot which is starting to smell really good.
  • I hard-boiled a dozen eggs
  • I cut up a huge bowl of celery to go with the baby carrots and cherry tomatoes we eat with a low carb dip.
  • I made sugar-free banana puddings for my husband
  • And sugar-free chocolate puddings for me.
  • I made low carb sausage balls.

___________________

  1. I’m going back to listing everything I eat on MyFitnessPal.com, trying to stay under 40 carbs and 1200 calories per day. I’m building in a reward of an orange dream bar each evening into the count, as I did before.
  2. I’m going to start drinking a lot more water, trying for at least 48 oz daily.
  3. I’m going back to doing whatever amount of time I can on the elliptical every day.
  4. I’m going to do at least one lesson in yoga daily.

I KNOW I can do this. NO MORE EXCUSES! NO MORE WEAKNESS!  Wish me luck?

taolife.com

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating

Our Garden is Officially Started!

This is the first time we’ve had all six raised bed square foot garden boxes in our garden! We have SIX 4′ x 4′ x 8″ boxes on legs connected by an irrigation system so that we can water everything on a timer. Each box has a sprinkler in the center. The timer is between the house and the garden, and we can either just turn it on to water manually, or use the timer so that all gets watered for a specific amount of time daily.

 

We have fencing plus chicken wire around the garden to keep critters out. The pink tape is to keep deer from running into the fencing at night. We can put bird netting and shade fabric over the top of the garden, if needed.

 

I found SPINACH plants!  Hooray!!!!!!!

 

 

These are romaine lettuce plants.

 

This is red leaf lettuce.

 

Georgia sweet onions.

 

Cauliflower.

 

Broccoli.

I have moved some of my window sill plants to the back porch in preparation for moving them out to the garden. I have some celery plants and some spaghetti squash plants. My spinach seeds have tiny sprouts on the window sill now. I may have some more spaghetti squash plants.

I’ll probably get more plants tomorrow. I want the local co-op guy to REALLY know how much I appreciate his getting spinach plants this year.

We have some issues with water pressure right now on the irrigation system. After messing with things for quite awhile this afternoon, we think we must have a hose blowout somewhere between the well house and the garden, but we were too tired to tackle the problem today. Tomorrow is another day…

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Bullets, Spaghetti Squash and Cauli-Rice

shootingpractice

It’s important to my husband that I am able to defend myself if the need arises. To this end, he built this set of metal ‘falling plate’ targets. We shoot at the plates, knowing that if we miss the bullets go into the high hill of slag behind the targets.  (This pic was taken about a week ago, when I hadn’t taken the fabric shade off the garden behind the slag pile.)  When you hit a plate, it falls back and down. When all the plates are down, you stop shooting, set the plates up again, then go back to kill them again. :0)

 

shootingpractice3

Here’s another view of the targets. Today he added half a brick to each of the plate rods, making a nice counter-weight. I hit more than I missed, but need practice again soon. He wants to work on the targets more, since the small one on the end fell down if you hit any of the other three plates.

 

sq-beyondzucchini

Beyond Zucchini

I’ve gotten lax about eating, my excuse being I’m trying new things to satisfy my husband’s sweet tooth now that he has to avoid anything with sugar. I’m trying to get back on track, so I bought a spaghetti squash and a head of cauliflower at the grocery today.

I split the spaghetti squash in half long-wise, then put the halves face down on a tray lined with aluminum foil. I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, then pulled it out and let it cool. When it was easy to pick up without burning myself, I took a fork and scraped out all the squash inside. The one spaghetti squash yielded 4 cups of nice spaghetti-looking squash. I put a cup into each of four sandwich bags and then put the bags inside one gallon freezer bag, labeled it and put it in the freezer. That will be good for four dinners for me, while I make some actual spaghetti or elbow macaroni for my husband, topped with spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, or other goody.

 

cauliflowerrice-yupitsvegan

Yup! It’s Vegan

I cut up the cauliflower into chunks. I put the chunks through the food processor, pulsing. I measured out the cauliflower into one cup increments, putting them into sandwich bags, then into a gallon freezer bag. I got 5 cups of cauliflower, meaning 5 meals for me, when I make rice for my husband.

My husband is really turned off by eating spaghetti squash or cauliflower, but that’s okay. He’s trying to avoid sugar and I’m trying to limit my carbs. This works well because I can make the starchy stuff for him, heat up the squash or ‘rice’ for me in the microwave, and make one sauce to go over both.

 

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Filed under Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, Healthy Eating

Impatience

Laila Ali via Akiva Huber

Laila Ali via Akiva Huber

 

I’m going to print this one and hang it up so I see it over and over.  I’m impatient by nature and have to really talk to myself (I know – I’m nuts) to keep going, whether I’m trying to lose weight and build strength and flexibility, undo several years worth of ‘stuffing’ things into drawers or onto shelves in our master bath, or get our garden and yard under control.

I’m looking at this as a character-building exercise, something that will make me a better person in the long run. I AM making progress on learning my own limitations as I age and modifying my expectations of what I can now do in a day. I still tend to overdo, spending the next day trying to recover. I’m learning to do projects in ‘sessions,’ stopping when I’m feeling overwhelmed, then doing another session until the job is done.

With my weight and strength, there is no time limit. This isn’t a ‘diet.’ It’s a lifestyle change. Now things are complicated because we need to do low or no sugar for my husband. It’s a worthy goal to achieve because it’ll do both of us good. I want my husband to live as long as he is able, feeling as good as possible. Scrambling to learn what I can do to help is something I really want to do. An example, I’ve discovered that avoiding gluten for him is counter-productive, since the gluten is offset by alcohol sugars and other additives. We MUST do a good job of reading labels!

On the master bathroom going through/throwing out/reorganizing/cleaning project – right now it looks as if a bomb exploded in there again, since I’ve emptied out my three large drawers and put things on the step that goes around or bathtub. I’ve already thrown a bunch away and plan to do more of that before deciding what do to with what’s left. Assuming I can finish that today, I’ll plan on the last session tomorrow – pulling out the rugs and doing a deep cleaning of the whole area, including the tub, shower, vanities, floor, and rugs. If I falter, I’ll reread the reminder above…

 

 

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, Healthy Eating, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

The Asparagus is Transplanted!

asparagusplanter

This is a brick planter I used for a fall garden last year. Since we’re changing our square foot garden to a raised bed square foot garden, I had to dig up my 4 foot x 4 foot square of asparagus plants.

Was THAT a job! I think the roots go all the way to the other side of the planet. I dug up plantable (I hope) asparagus parts, including long, long roots. We finally wheeled them across the yard to the other side of our house, to this brick planter. It’s deeper than the regular square foot garden, giving the asparagus roots lots of room to spread out.

 

aspplanter2

I tried to have two transplants in each square. I took down the wooden stakes and netting that I had to have to keep critters coming and eating the lettuce and spinach. I don’t think I’ll need it for the asparagus, since it shouldn’t show much growth until the spring.

I’m hoping they’ll be happy here for many years to come, giving us a nice harvest of asparagus spears next year. This was the third year for the plants, but I think they were cramped and unhappy in the regular square foot garden. The PVC pipe running along the right side of this planter is the irrigation system. There are small holes in the pipe and the system is on a timer. This will be a fun experiment. We’ll see the results next spring!

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