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Saturday, January 8, 2011

I planted something!

I have really had a hard time living here in a condo in Miami. I miss working in the dirt, growing things, going out to harvest fruits, flowers, vegetables etc. We do have two verandas off our condo. The one off the living room gets NO sunlight and the one off the master bedroom gets a few hours in the morning- however, there is a huge (6"?) drain in the center that they have not put a screen over even after 3 requests (starting back well before Thanksgiving) and I have been sort of waiting to do anything out there until they put that in since I want the kids to be a part of it and either one of them (although I am most concerned about the 16 month old) could step in there and their leg would disappear all the way to their hip...not good... anyway, I just couldn't wait any longer and since strawberry season is beginning I set out to find some strawberry plants yesturday. Even though it doesn't get enough sunlight to really do well, even if we just got a few berries the kids (and I) would love it.
On sort of an additional note... it is so odd shopping down here... the stores (that I have been to anyway) aren't like what I can so easily find back home. The grocery stores only sell groceries, no plants, flowers, hardely any choices for things like body soap, diapers, etc. I went to home depot (mainly because I knew where one was and thought for sure they would have plants) and they had a small rack out in front of the store with literally less than 60 plants on it (maybe 6-8 different choices is all). I went in thinking there would be more in the garden center.... NO garden center! I chose two off the rack (Sage and Stevia) bought them and decided to find the "Gardeners Market" store I had seen in passing a few times in the same neighborhood as Home Depot...Thinking I would have more success there... I found it. There was a gal sitting out front at a little bistro style table. I didn't see any flowers/plants set out by the entrance or anything and through the windows it looked like baskets and candels. I didn't want to haul the kids out of their car seats again without knowing that I was going to find a plant selection. I stepped out of the van and polietly asked the lady sitting there (now realizing she was eating soup) if this was a plant store. She looked at me shocked I would speak to her (people just don't talk to people they don't know down here- even to say "hello"- it catches people off gaurd when you acknowledge anyone but yourself) let alone ask her a question... she didn't say anything for a moment and I thought maybe she was trying to finish her bite of soup or didn't speak english, there was no one else around so I knew that she knew I was speaking to her. I asked her again, slower, in case she didn't speak english (although she was white- but that tends not to always mean english speaking) well and needed me to speak slower (I tend to be a fast talker and sometimes mumble) She took another bite of soup barely looking at me, shaking her head like I was an idiot for asking if the building with the huge sign reading "Gardeners Market" sold plants. She then said, (in perfect english) "why don't you go to Home Depot?" pointing in the direction of the store. It was obvious she would be no help to me and had probably never even looked to buy plants before. I stepped closer to the windows and saw it was a cafe/gift shop type place and left.
So anyway, that is my failed story of trying to find strawberry plants... I had googled for plant nursery's the day before (and a few other times) and there wasn't anything within about 45 minutes of where we were at and I couldn't even be certain by the info if they sold plants, let alone strawberry plants... they all seem to sell palm trees and bushes and not much else. It is so funny what you CAN'T find down here.... even on Craigslist for all of South Florida. Mason Jars for canning? Nope! Strawberry plants or other vegetable/flower plants? Nope! Vegetable starts? Nope! There are plastic surgery offices on every corner, every other add on the radio is for lawyers who will "get you money even if the car accident was your fault", stores with $300 jeans are a plenty... but Mason Jars? Strawberry plants? Not even Wal Mart has those here. It is a shocking revelation to me that there is simply no demand for them here...
So anyway, I went "home" and planted my two little herbs from Home Depot in some great colored pots and put them out on the veranda. I'm not sure if they'll really get enough sun to really thrive, but it still relaxes me knowing there's something planted there and I enjoyed planting them...never realized how much I needed to feel dirt on my hands... if nothing else this city living has made me REALLY appreciate (although I feel I already did quite dearly) country living. I will never forget how deeply I long to get out of this city and how apparent my (and my kids) need for dirt, land, space, friendly people and animals is.
In order to save a little on soil, and recycle a paper bag from the grocery store, I tore up a bag and put it in the bottom of the pot to take up that extra space. It will just compost into the soil eventually. This is a great way to save money on soil if you are ever potting a bunch of plants it can make a definate impact on how much soil to buy/use. If I had a paper shredder I would shred all scrap paper and use it for this purpose (or throw it on the compost pile like back home). THAT would take care of identity theft from disgaurded mail! ha! =) 

There they are! Yey!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Everyone Smile!

This photo sequence my mom took cracks me up! The kids are too funny, especially Elle's face expressions.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Homemade Candied Pecans

I found this recipe at http://www.allrecipes.com/. I got the raw pecans from my beloved Sea Breeze Farm (up north from Miami about 2 hours, but delivers down here every other week).

1 egg white
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 dash vanilla extract
4 Cups of pecans

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray paper with cooking spray.
2. Beat egg white until stiff. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Mix in pecans and stir unitl coated. Pour the nuts onto the cookie sheet. (spread out to make one layer of nuts)
3. Bake until browned, about 10-15 minutes (mine took a little over 15 minutes)

SO good! The kids love them, they are great in salads or with chopped up apples and other fruit. I am excited to try this with the walnuts from our walnut tree back home.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Goat Whisperer

Amelia Erheart Park near Miami... My little man is quiet the goat whisperer! (Don't mind the fact that he's wearing his sister's hat!)

LOVE this one! (My mom took these photo's)