Twisty Cucumber Vine

Here’s the last of the summer cucumbers trained to climb up and around this singular post that seems to have the gigantic job of holding up most of the second story. Or it’s the third story, cos I can’t really figure out how this tri-level house works.

We had a HUGE thunder and lightening and rainstorm last night and my garden is SO happy. Fingers crossed this means we might have a rainy year and end the drought.

Bunny Love

I’m writing this post from the dentist’s office where I’m waiting for the lidocaine to take effect. This time it’s merely to replace the temporary crowns with the permanent ones, but I have time to share a couple of photos from yesterday.

Happy October 1 from a couple of my bunnies.

They LOVE watermelon!

Tying Up Loose Ends

There’s a lot going on this Saturday to commemorate 9/11/2001.

Never forget.

This is how our former presidents will commemorate the 9/11 anniversary:
President Bush- Keynote speaker at Flight 93 Memorial.
President Obama- Ground Zero Memorial.
President Biden- Memorial Services at all three memorial sites.
**Trump- Ringside commentary at a BOXING match.

Without minimizing the tragedy of that day, I hope I’m not the only one that hopes that the events of 1/6/2021 will elicit the same sort of future memories. I watched THAT act of terrorism unfold live on television as we did twenty years ago.

Tying up some bloggy loose ends:

  1. So far I haven’t located the big saute pan that disappeared. I have the lid and can’t figure out this gigantic mystery.
  2. My back is healed and so is my toe, but my injured top of the foot isn’t any better, which is super annoying. I think it’s tendonitis, but I’m pretty stubborn about not going to the doc, so I’ll suffer a bit longer on my own. Over the years I’ve accumulated an array of air casts and braces and I’m trying all of them like Cinderella to see which one most relieves the pain and stabilizes my foot. It would help if I’d stay off of it, but that’s not gonna happen.
  3. A wildlife expert confirmed that my grainy backyard video really was of a very large bobcat. I knew it was, but was still so excited to have it corroborated by someone who’s qualified to make that determination.
  4. Finally, Angel Boy 2.0 LOVELOVELOVES kindergarten, so this Ghetto Grandma can stand down and take a deep breath of relief. He’s full of happy stories as they walk home and is eager to go every morning. That’s a total success and kudos to the teacher! (She really has no idea how close she came to dealing with this grandma bear. Heehee.)

It’s hot here in SoCal. Although we had a magnificent display of lightening and thunder a few days ago, there were only a few drops of rain, not enough to quench my garden’s thirst, so I’ll be out there tending to all my growing things.

I hope your day is serene and full of joy.

Inner and Outer Beauty

Here’s an update regarding the ongoing saga of my injuries: my back and toe are much better, but I seem to have a stress fracture of one of the little bones on top of my foot. I admire my consistency, however, because all of this is on my LEFT side.

This time the stupidity was caused by my sad attempts to remember Swan Lake choreography and practice fouettes, which I haven’t done in FOREVER. I wasn’t wearing pointe shoes or even soft ballet shoes; I was barefoot on a hard tile floor. Like I said, STUPID.

Why Swan Lake? Well, the last time I saw my Angel Kids, we were in the car when Swan Lake came on the radio. I yelled out, ” That’s SWAN LAKE!” T asked me what that was and I explained the story of the dance to him while we were listening. When the music gets to the part where the court jester does those incredible gravity defying grand jetes and double split cabrioles, I told him that it takes a very athletic, very talented dancer to jump like that, and he was intrigued.

I promised I’d take him to see Swan Lake as soon as it came to town. When we got home, he said to Siri, “Play Swan Lake” and then he sat on the sofa and became lost in the beauty of Tchaikovsky.

Anyway, that’s how I hurt my foot.

I can’t really put any weight on it, so I’m once again reclining on the sofa with my everpresent ice pack on yet another part of my little body.

C’est la vie! No one to blame but myself. I am NOT and never was Margot Fonteyn lol (ballet snob reference).

Here’s a few photos from inside and outside as I hobble around.

I stopped to admire the sun shining brightly on these indoor plants. I couldn’t capture the whole wall in one photo, but there’s a matching cabinet to the right. It’s a very pretty room.

Meet my special bunny friend. He’s slightly lighter in color than the rest of the family and he comes out more during the day than the others. This was taken right outside my bedroom window. Good morning, brave little one!

Because of relentless RATS, I had to pick these strawberries just before they were 100% ripe to save them from being half eaten and discarded.

I am reminded of a starfish with this spider lily. What a perfectly lovely specimen!

Check this out; it’s not a ballet but it’s danced by the great danseur, Sergei Polunin, to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”. Choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi. (In 2010, at the age of nineteen, Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer). He is truly amazing as an artist, but I read things about him PERSONALLY that aren’t all that savory in regards to some homophobic and sexist Instagram posts, so his invitation to perform in the Paris Opéra Ballet‘s performance of Swan Lake was revoked.

Nestled Together

I thought these little guys would be HOT since they’re jalapenos, but they taste exactly like green peppers.

I wonder if it’s because I’ve nurtured this plant for more than five years, way longer than it was supposed to produce. They used to taste really spicy; only a little bit was needed for guacamole, but maybe capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their heat, decreases over time?

I sure have no idea, but they still taste fresh and juicy, and so cozy nestled in this little bamboo bowl.

#wordlesswednesday

Blooming Yucca

This very tall yucca is my upper garden overlooking the path used by coyotes.

Did you know that most of the yucca plant is edible?

Some people are brave enough to eat that asparagus-looking stalk. Native American tribes used pretty much every part of the plant. They ate the flowers, stalks, and fruits, used the fibrous, spiky leaves for cordage, and mashed the pulpy root with water for soap and shampoo.

I haven’t tried any recipes with yucca flowers, but I bet it tastes something like squash blossoms.

Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Is it true? Is there no word that rhymes with orange? Here’s what I found…

“Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant).” Lexicohttps://www.lexico.com

Anyway, here’s an orange zinnia.

I had planted a whole row but my garden bunnies LOVE zinnia flowers. I watched them eat every single one EXCEPT for this plant.

Photos taken at different times of the day; intense color versus sort of washed out by the sun.

Zinnias

Zinnias, stout and stiff,
Stand no nonsense: their colors
Stare, their leaves
Grow straight out, their petals
Jut like clipped cardboard,
Round, in neat flat rings.

Even cut and bunched,
Arranged to please us
In the house, in water, they
Will hardly wilt—I know
Someone like zinnias; I wish
I were like zinnias.

–Valerie Worth

Glorious Garden #WordlessWednesday

All things green.

Hiding in plain sight…

This easy-to-propagate perennial spicy basil is almost too pretty to eat…photobombed by bee-friendly borage.

Things have been hard to grow this year, but I’m happy to see this zucchini…

Bountiful Harvest

It was time to harvest most of the chard and spinach and figure out what to do with it.

I cut off the mature leaves and left the plants in the ground because they’ll continue to produce.

It easily filled a laundry basket…

Pretty green and rainbow chard with hardly any bug-bitten areas. Yay for organic gardening!

After I put them in two giant pots and blanched in boiling water, this is what I was left with to store in the freezer; two quart-sized bags…

But yum, anyway!

Kale and Chard: A Burning Sensation

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same stupid thing over and over again with the same results — not learning the lesson — and I must confess that applies to me here!

I grow a lot of chard and spinach and lettuce and kale. They all seem to thrive at Casa de Enchanted Seashells. I cook some, freeze some, annoy everyone by putting it in every baked good from brownies to cookies, and I love to eat it raw.

That’s where this started. For a while, I’ve been picking chard and kale while I’m outside gardening, just to enjoy being Mother Earth in action.

For a similarly long time, I’ve noticed that after I eat raw kale and chard and sometimes spinach, my throat starts to burn, not like I ate something spicy, but like I mixed bleach and ammonia and inhaled it (yes, I’ve done that, too, accidentally of course).

After several experiences of this painful throat, I finally did what I should have done the first time, I GOOGLED the symptoms.

Lo and behold, it’s a THING.

Maria Hepler, RDN, CLT: Calcium, which is an essential nutrient for strong bones, can be found in many green leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, kale, and Swiss chard.

However, oxalic acid, an organic acid found in spinach, chard, and beet greens, and moderately in kale, among other plants, binds with the calcium they supply and reduces its absorption, so in their raw form these should not be considered a good source of calcium.

What are the symptoms that one has eaten too much oxalic acid?  These include burning in the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, weakness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Spinach contains phytic acid and oxalic acid. It may be better to steam the spinach and not to eat it raw.

For sensitive individuals, even small quantities of oxalic acid  eaten regularly can lead to kidney stones or bladder crystals, along with the problem of calcium depletion. 

Does this mean we shouldn’t add kale or other greens that contain oxalic acid to our smoothies? Not necessarily. Cooking or steaming these vegetables can significantly reduce the amount of oxalic acid present, which will help with calcium absorption (make sure to drain your greens thoroughly as the oxalates go in the water).

If this is a concern, it’s best to precook leafy greens and store them in the freezer (in individual portions) for quick access.

I never used to notice this reaction to acidity in raw greens but now that I know, I will definitely stick to picking lettuce for my garden treats.