Garden Thoughts

Gearing up for Spring, and dreaming of gardens and growing and harvest, reality comes crashing in and sets the tone.  That reality washed over me as I posted my recent activity in my garden journal.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track what I plant and when and how it progresses, with notes to mark target dates, spacing and sunlight needs.  I use a new sheet for each garden year, copying the previous year and revising it to start the new season.

garden plot

Plot of garden spaces and containers, showing the sunlight by color

Distracted from this progress by a newly discovered idea, I had been engrossed in creating a garden plot on a separate sheet in the workbook and forgot to start my new tab.  Last night, I copied the tab – realizing that I was copying from the previously noted season of… 2011.

garden journal

Chart of plants and their needs with planting dates and progress notes, color coding left over from 2011

I’ve had a rough couple of years, and I was very aware of that fact.  I just hadn’t realized how drastically it had affected my garden plans until last night.

The past few months have been busy with bursts of organization, purging, and planning.  Activities that had been lacking for the most part during these years evidenced as missed tabs on my garden journal.

I was stirring last year, laying down a plot for a permanent garden, plotting about how to attract beneficial insects, and setting down ideas for permanent plants.  It’s time now.  Time to sink some roots.  Time to take hold of the time I have available and figure out how to do things I need to do.

Time to start gettin’ busy.

Dreamin’

 

 

Our Favorite White Chili

 

 

My favorite version:  when I use oregano and onion and garlic fresh from the garden, home-cooked beans, and pasture-fed chicken roasted at home.

Football Soup – White Chili

  •  1 T Olive oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 – 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 ½ t dry oregano, crumbled
  • 6 c chicken broth
  • 3 – 16 oz cans great northern beans, undrained
  • 4 c cooked chicken, chopped or cubed
  • 3 c grated Monterey jack cheese
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high; add onions and sauté for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat.
  5. Add the cooked chicken and cheese and stir until the cheese melts.

 

Enjoy!

 

This soup freezes quite well!  Simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat when ready to serve.

Dreamin’

 

Handy Tip for Fresh Lettuce

I’ve been using this handy process for about a year.  I sometimes forget during the hustle and bustle of putting away groceries and carrying on with the daily duties of life.  But I’m quickly reminded when I return to the crisper drawer days later to find limp lettuce.  What a disappointment!

Follow these steps and there will be a handy source of fresh, crisp lettuce that lasts 2 to 3 weeks:

Cold water bath for lettuce

First, run a sink of cold water.  Then separate the individual lettuce leaves and place into the water.  Swish the lettuce lightly to rinse away any dust.

Drain the lettuce on a towel

After rinsing the lettuce, pick out a few leaves at a time and shake them over the sink to remove the excess water from them.  Place them onto a dry, clean towel. I prefer an older cotton dish towel.
Drain the lettuce

Once all of the pieces have been rinsed, shaken and placed on the towel, drain the water from the sink, then pull up the ends of the towel to roll all of the lettuce to the center.

Wrap lettuce

Then softly wrap the ends of the towel to form a loose blanket around the lettuce.

Ready to use lettuce

Place the towel wrapped lettuce into your refrigerator crisper drawer.

This will keep lettuce fresh and crisp for two weeks, sometimes lasting up to three weeks.

Say goodbye to limp lettuce.

Dreamin’ Girl