Monday, February 6, 2017

Oklahoma Thinkin'

It's foggy here this morning.  Notice the geese in the air, behind the tree....

Supposed to get warm and I thought I might try to get out and do a few things if it does.  I just came in from having a little walk around the place, and I can see I've probably lost some things.
This is one of the apple trees in the back yard.  It's apparently full of termites and so the woodpeckers have been at it.  The tree dropped all its leaves earlier in the fall than usual and I'm not sure that it is even still alive now.  One of the ArborDay trees bought in 2010. 

This is my little Harry Lauder.  So far, so good.

This little pine hasn't fared as well, however.  Pretty sure this is deer damage.

This is one of the lilac transplants, buds are swollen and the bark is green.  Both are signs of life.

This is one of the hardy orange bushes.  I haven't had them long enough for them to fruit, but I think this one will be able to this year.  The oranges are small and very, very tart.

An up-close view of the wicked thorns.  Probably won't have deer damaging these.

 Some kind of perennial flower, I don't remember what, now, but doing fine under the jar.

Bamboo, being protected under a glass jar most of the time.  It was late in the season when I dug up the little plants.  Tried to grow them in a pot and they started looking bad, so I just put them in the cold frame and am hoping for the best.

Rhubarb, planted a year ago.

I always look, longingly, at those gardening shows on TV.  Everything's so neat.  There are no weeds, not even in the walkways.  If anything starts looking bad they just rip it out and put in a new one.  It's not quite the same way here.  I would love to have more talent in the landscape design department.  Found a new Oklahoma blog that made me pretty jealous.

On Feb. 4th's telecast of Joe Lamp'l's Growing A Greener World, he was at the Thomas Jefferson Monticello gardens.

By the way, there's lots to look at on this website, five pages of episodes. 

On the Monticello program, there was a method of horizontal support for tomato plants being used.  Worth a try this year, with a few modifications.  Last year I tried John Kohler's idea of planting five or six tomato plants biointensively in a pit and I had some success.  Certainly was easier to keep them watered, I didn't need to worry about the cages blowing over in the wind because I didn't need to use any, and I grew the same number of plants or more with enough space left in the garden to grow some other things I wouldn't have had room for otherwise.  But I found it hard to find the tomatoes as they came ready to pick, and it seemed like there was less yield, possibly from the plants shading each other too much during the flower stage.  I'm thinking if I use horizontal support, by strategically stacking concrete blocks (AKA "cinder blocks") around the edges and then a half of a stockwire panel resting flat on the blocks, across the open area, kind of like this:

I just went out there and threw this together impromptu, if you know what I mean, so I could visualize and demonstrate better.  You get the idea, right?  Use rope or cord or even wire to fasten the corners of the wire panel to a block, through the holes in the stockwire and the block, to keep the wind from blowing it and so on.  Would be able to pick under the wire from the sides, and also through the spaces between the wire.  There'd be maybe six or even eight tomato plants in the ground under the wire panel.   The plants can still grow thickly, but they can also grow up through the support and thus not be in such a tangle. 

While I'm at it, I might mention that I use a lot of stockwire panels in the garden.  They are so sturdy and they last forever.  When we're not using them we just wire them to the outside of the fence.  The main issue with stockwire panels is that it's hard to get them home from the farm and garden store.  A couple of years ago we bought a pair of bolt-cutters at Lowe's and that does a quick job of cutting the metal that those panels are made of.  I had the thought that next time we need to buy some, which will be this spring, I'll just bring our bolt cutters with me, and we'll cut them the size we need them to be, right there in the parking lot.  Then they'll fit in the back of the truck, with a little tying down at the ends.  I'm a real freak about tying things down that are in the back of the truck.  I don't even want to imagine the things that could happen to the car behind us if anything blew out. 

I was also thinking about how I might be able to use some of the PVC pipe we bought, quite some time ago.  I was intending to use it as "ribs" for a garden tunnel and I just couldn't figure out a good way to do it.  We are on rock out here, and every time I dig a hole, I have to take out a pile of rock.  I think the dang things FLOAT, because I swear I've dug out some of those spots before.  We even have trouble getting T-posts into the ground deep enough to fasten fencing to, where I want to grow climbing things.  Hubs put these T-posts in about three years ago and I noticed last fall one of the ends is trying to fall over.  I can't get it any further into the ground because NOW there's a rock in the way....

But, as I thought about using stacked concrete block as a way to hold down a horizontal piece of fencing or stock panel, it occurred that I might be able to tie the ends of a PVC pipe into the holes of a concrete block.  Might have to glue a connection piece to the ends of the pipe, to keep them from slipping out of the rope or cording used to tie them down.  But I think I can make this work, with a little tinkering.  I can't seem to grow squash for the squash bugs, or keep the worms from making lace out of some of my cabbages, and using row cover might be a solution since the problem starts with an innocent-looking little moth, laying eggs on the leaves.  Oh, yes, I've gone out there and picked off eggs till the cows come home.  I always miss some, and then that's the end of my potential crop. 

Speaking of cabbage worms, it seems to be all over Pinterest and other areas in Internetland, as well, that cabbage worms can be killed by dusting the cabbages with a half-and-half mixture of flour and baking soda.  I might give this a try, but I won't be making the same mistake I did when Ruth Stout recommended sprinkling salt on the cabbages.  This was an epic fail.  I ended up with a big brown damaged spot on every cabbage where the dew mixed with the salt and then the sun hit it.  Might work in a colder climate but I have no experience with that.  So any other popular remedy I use will be "tested" first, on just a few plants. 

Still trying to perfect my White Fly traps.  Just vinegar in water didn't attract any, at all.  I saw a different recipe for the bait that included sugar and dish soap.  So added those to the vinegar-water.  This is not a spray application.  It's a bait they are supposed to "feed" on, and fall into it in the process.

These dang insects are taking over the earth. 

I wanted to share something else with you that's probably a no-brainer for most people, but, DUH, not for me, I guess. 

I have, all my adult life, used bottled lemon juice on my salad, on fish, and occasionally I will make lemon desserts with it.  It's more convenient than trying to keep fresh lemons.  Also cheaper.  Recently, the bottle in the refrigerator went bad and I had to throw it out.  I mean, I have NEVER had this happen before.  So then, yesterday, when I made salad, I noticed there were all these particles floating around in the bottom of the NEW bottle.  What's up with that? 

The label says, "use by date on lid". 

060314?  Seriously?  Obviously, it's been sitting on the grocery store shelf for awhile.  Maybe this was just an isolated incident, but next trip to the store where I bought this bottle, I'm checking what the lids of the other bottles say, and I'll be showing them to the store manager if any have expired dates.  I actually need to be paying closer attention to those "sell by" dates, anyway.

While I was examining the label, trying to find the "sell by" date, I saw something else.  It said, "Contains lemon juice and other ingredients".  So then I looked at the back of the bottle.

Dammit.  Why haven't I been paying attention?

*Sigh*.  Guess I'll just go buy some lemons, juice them myself, and freeze the juice in an ice-cube tray.

Cookbook Review:
I've had this book for quite awhile, not sure why I hadn't looked it over thoroughly right after I got it.  Maybe it was during a time when I was distracted by the garden.  Not sure.

But I've been going through my books lately because they are starting a book drive at the workout center where Hubs and I go.  I love when they do this because they let us buy any of the books in the pile, on a donations basis, before they donate them to the people who hold the book sale, and I always find a few books I want.  I just love books, especially cook books, garden and herbal topics, so once I have them I'm hard pressed to turn loose of any of them.  But there are a few on my shelves that weren't as interesting as I thought they'd be when I bought them, or that had information in them that I've assimilated and some of this stuff, once you know it, you know it.  I've had some books that have been "fleshed out" so much by the author that, when I'm done reading them, I realize that the process could've been explained in one paragraph and the rest of the book was just.....  .....argumentative.  Ruth Stout's mulching book, for instance.  But anyway, I buy a lot of books at estate sales, where usually they are priced at a dollar or so apiece, so if they turn out to be boring or just not something I want to keep after I've read them, they are good candidates for the donations box and haven't cost me very much.  Everyone's tastes are different and some of the books that are found in estate sales are no longer easy to find, so it's a win-win. 

And yeah, I know, I can probably download almost any recipe I might want from the Internet.

This Country Beans book is a little different in that it's a use for beans that we don't really think of, at least I hadn't, much.  I mean, I knew beans contain "an incomplete protein", and to make it a complete protein, it needs to be eaten with some other plant protein, such as grain.  But I did not know that the other side of the protein doesn't have to be eaten during the same meal.  This book says, it doesn't even have to be eaten the same day.  It also talks about peas and cowpeas, and how rich they are in nutrients.  Until I saw Dr. Oz talking about how they're making calcium-rich milk replacement from green garden peas, I hadn't thought of green peas as being much more than just a starchy vegetable. 

Rita Bingham, the author, grinds beans in her Nutrimill.  I read the reviews on Amazon and there were people who mentioned they grind beans in their Magic Bullet blenders.  I'm hesitant to grind beans in my Nutrimill, myself, but if you decide to, do heed the warning that bean flour can gum up your grinding wheels and you can only do two cups at a time, following up with a grinding of wheat to clean off the wheels.  Here are the Amazon reviews:
I had to laugh at the "hippie commune cooking" comment.  I wonder, every now and then, what kind of old people those hippies from the 1960's became?  Did they give in, and become part of the Establishment they could not trust?  Or are they living on the fringes, to this day?  Maybe they are the Preppers of today.  Heh.

Beans can also be cooked and mashed, or spun around in the food processor till they are a paste, and then added into breads, muffins, other things, if you reduce the other liquids a bit..  Some people said they are actually more nutritious if they are soaked for awhile before using.  But then, of course, you wouldn't dare run those through your NutriMill.  They'd need to be perfectly dry for that.  Quite some time ago I found this recipe for "Power Cookies" on Allrecipes.  It calls for cannellini beans and no flour whatsoever, but I've never made them because I haven't been able to find cannellini beans anywhere.
And, DUH, why didn't I just figure out that I could've used Great Northerns, or Baby Limas, or Black-Eye Peas, or any other white bean, or maybe even garden peas or some of the darker-colored beans like Pinto, for heaven's sake, and the nutritional bang would be the same?  I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person but you know, sometimes I just surprise myself how much I can miss by just not thinking about stuff. 

Rita even writes that you can add beans to almost any recipe that contains flour, by substituting 1/2 cup bean flour for the same amount of wheat flour in every two cups of flour.  If you have no way to grind beans into flour, just cook the beans, process into a paste, and reduce the amount of liquid called for in the recipe by a little bit.  Maybe increase the amount of beans to a cup of bean puree to allow for the difference between "flour" and "puree".  So, black beans in the next batch of brownies, anyone?  And this made me smile....  I thought of Oprah, and how she did that commercial saying, "I love bread," and how she could easily have someone make her some "Power Bread".  LOL

Those Paleo Diet folks are making flat breads from eggwhites, baking powder and coconut flour.  It takes the whites of a dozen eggs to make four large flatbreads, and you have to whip the eggwhites.  Not for me.  I wonder, though, for those of us who are just looking to increase protein, whether we couldn't use one of the muffin, bread, or "loaf" recipes given in Rita's bean book, but cook it like a pancake.  It turns out there are lots of recipes for such things if you do a search on the Internet using "bean pancake" as your search terms.  There are many to choose from but here's one found on

Somewhere, I read that whey protein, the kind in powder form that bodybuilders buy, can be used in some recipes in place of flour.  I'm still using the whey I bought to make shakes with but I'm beginning to wonder if having a shake every day is why I haven't been able to lose any weight.  Seems like progress stopped at about the same time I started that.

Well, this is about all I have for this time.  As usual, sorry for the dis-jointed writing style.  That's how you know it's me, right?  Heh. 

Y'all stay well, happy, healthy, and rockin' on.....  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. I write disjointedly too, it's part of my personality.

    I did read or see this week where someone used the pvc hoops and put the bottoms in cement blocks. You could either fill the block halves with cement, or gravel, even stack them two high to keep pipes from coming out.

    Sulfites in the lemon juice?!?! On the lid, I did notice that it says best by 042915, underneath the other number you mentioned.

    That book on beans looks GREAT.

    Have a good week in OK. Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Oh, you know, that was only a five digit number so I thought it meant something else. Still, that was two years ago.

    About those hoops, I'm thinking about sticking the ends into the holes in the block, and then attaching with a cord wrapped around the block. Hubs said he would glue something on the ends of the pipes so the cord couldn't slip off on a windy day. I like to move my blocks around (well, "like" is a little strong, I guess... they're heavy), depending on what my needs are. Hugs..

  3. This was interesting as usual. Did you know you can test if a tree is still alive by gently scraping back the cambium bark....if it is green under it is alive; if not, dead.

    I am luck here I can drive things down pretty deeply like steel posts and stakes, etc. I think the row covers is a good idea. I am going to use a spun poly cover over the strawberries this year hoping to deter the d...d ground hog.

    Was it petunias that are supposed to repel squash bugs? I plan to give that a try this year.

    Have a wonderful day.

    1. Yes, Petunias. I have some started inside, already. I guess I should've mentioned that I'll be trying that this year, too. If nothing else, they'll be pretty in the garden amongst the squash. Hugs!


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