The Backyard

The Backyard

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going Off Line for a Spell

Taking a break from blogging for awhile...feeling stressed and overwhelmed and need to cut some things out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not So Great Weekend

Didn't get much done afterall except freeze 20 bags of corn and cry about rain. The weather guys predicted 7 dry days so I pulled my onions to let them dry in the garden. It rained on them for 12 hours. The wind came through yesterday from thunderstorms and knocked over pepper plants, tomato plants, and much of the corn. I need a new attitude at the moment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Backyard This Weekend

The weekend is going to start a little early 'cause the corn is calling! Today around 1:00pm, starts the official "bulk" harvesting, husking, blanching, cutting, and freezing of sweet corn. The plan is to do about 6 dozen ears -- that will give me a total of 15 quart-size bags for the winter. That's not quite enough for winter storing, but hopefully I'll get another 3 dozen ears froze next week after the rest of it matures. My goal is to have enough to have a bag every two weeks or so for the next 9 months to a year. What else this weekend in the garden?

  • Weeding!
  • Take some pics for the Blog
  • Pull onions to start the curing process (they'll lay in the garden for 3 days to dry, then will be moved to my covered front porch in wire baskets to "cure" for about two weeks -- then I'll store them).
  • Pick peppers/eggplant - roast with tomatoes and onions
  • Start pulling spent corn stalks
  • Turn compost piles
  • Watch the mommy bluebird feed her babies -- she has a nest in the bluebird house in the garden!
  • Mow Grass
  • Weeding!
  • Watering the kids -- the fall plants are absolutely beautiful right now -- must be the cool temps at night.
  • Pick kale and other greens - make salad
  • Thin radicchio, mustard greens, and chinese cabbage - throw in salad
  • Control the lopes and butternut squash vines (they are growing into the tomatoes, corn, and dry beans!)
  • Cook up some taters for the week - potato salad? Mashed tates? (yummm)
  • Weeding!
  • Water raspberries unless it rains. They are about to start coming in and will need a good shot of water unless we get some rain.
  • Make hubby chicken corn noodle soup (with the garden sweet corn the Amish neighbor homemade noodles -- yummmm)
  • Make sure new garden cat Rusty is enjoying himself

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Eat To Live Book Review

My latest read is Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Eat to Live is nothing new. Dr. Joel Fuhrman introduced his “revolutionary” book on HIS vegan diet beliefs based on years of research, studies, and scientific proof in 2003. One of the parts I really liked about this book (besides being able to grow everything I need to eat in my backyard!) is that there are 28 pages of footnotes of medical studies that back Dr. Fuhrman’s research on how a plant based diet is better than animal proteins. The studies he notes are not taken from underground researchers – these are the respected guys like JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association), the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Clinical Nutrition Journal, amongst others. The first couple chapters lay out the research: The American Diet and obesity (he claims 75% obesity in America!), Phytochemicals – Nature’s “Magic” pills, the dark side of animal proteins, and “Are you Dying to Lose Weight?” (“bad” diets (Atkins!). The last part of the book gives a 6-week guaranteed weight loss plan and recipes. He is completely vegan. Several of the blogs I peruse like Fat-Free Vegan and Vegan Lunch-box tout Dr. Fuhrman as one of the best. Yup, I'm gonna try this one now -- I'm back on the vegan bandwagon yet again. I think this is the third time I'm trying. Is the third time really a charm? Allow me to make a disclaimer up front; guaranteed, I'll have some upsets - like Ice Cream! and maybe some PIZZA! To give you an idea of what's in the book, here’s a short blurb from the book. I chose this one because I too for many, many years would say to my hubby, “but I can’t get my calcium if I don’t eat CHEESE and dairy.”

The Best food for bones: Fruits and Vegetables

Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without the problems associated with dairy. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not needs as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine. Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk. Additionally, since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables in higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium. The American “chicken and pasta” diet style is significantly low in calcium, so adding dairy as a calcium source to this mineral-poor diet makes superficial sense – it is certainly better than no calcium in the diet. However, much more than just calcium is missing. The only reason cow’s milk is considered such an important source of calcium is that the American diet is centered on animal foods, refined grains, and sugar, all of which are devoid of calcium. Any healthy diet containing a reasonable amount of unrefined plant foods will have sufficient calcium without milk. Fruits and vegetables strengthen bones. Researchers have found that those who eat the most fruits and vegetables have denser bones. These researchers concluded that not only are fruits and vegetables rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and other nutrients essential for bone health, but, because they are alkaline, not acid-producing, they do not induce urinary calcium loss. Green vegetables in particular have a powerful effect on reducing hip fractures, for they are rich not only in calcium but in other nutrients such as vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How are the Winter Vege's Coming Along?

My first try at growing winter crops is turning out pretty darn good. Mother Nature has really, really been kind to my kids and blessing them with a plethora of moisture; so much so I haven't had to water these seedlings in over a week. It's a very rare mid-summer when you don't have to water seeds. The only problem I had was with the Swiss Chard -- something was chewing them off as quick as they sprouted. Everything else sprouted beautifully and is coming along beautifully: Collard greens, asian mustard, chinese cabbage, thai lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, radicchio, endive, chicory, red beets, and broccoli. I think I'll stick some turnips in the ground yet and that will be it. Turnip greens are very high in calcium. I was also going to do dandelion and radishes but may not -- just not sure with all the greens I already have growing. The picture below that looks like a big empty space next to the corn? That would the spot where the green beans were that now have baby broccoli growing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thank God for the Organic Movement

It's quite impressive how the organic folks come out of the closet and woodwork in numbers when issues arise that could affect the momentum they've been building over the years. About a week ago, I saw a news blurb on Medical News Today about a UK study that proved there's no nutritional difference between organic and conventional food. I thought, "HUH?!?!" They are SO wrong! That's one of the entire POINTS of organic food -- it IS more nutritional. I figured it was just a crackpot article and study and no one would pay much attention. I especially noted it was bogus when I saw this sentence:

They did not examine the content of contaminants or chemical residues.

Well, it turns out RODALE and the Organic Center BOTH disputed this article wrote the researchers. There were holes all over the article and the study. The study looked at 13 nutrients which in the organic folks opinion, wasn't near enough and didn't include antioxidants which are huge in organic food. The study also did not release everything they found -- only the parts they felt showed similar comparisons, thus there's no difference. Ahhh... working with data...all it takes is a smart person to use the parts they want to use and they can say "here's the proof!" but they don't tell you everything in the data. It's all based on who you're working for and what message you want to get out. So here is the Organic Center's response. And here is Rodale's response. The Organic Center really goes into great detail and even did their own study of the same data and found huge differences. Very interesting read if you have the time (yes, it's long).