Tag Archives: garden

Ch ch ch changes…

(my little homage to the passing of David Bowie. What a legend.)

So changes…Gabriela turned 18 months old Sunday and that lil chica is changing day by day. It’s amazing. She’s growing and advancing and turning into a little <gasp> girl. I love it and I hate it. 

  
Our last beach outing consisted of well over an hours worth of Gabi running around on the sand, tossing sand over back, and jumping the waves (with big papa). Gone are the days of tranquility when she would just hang in her little tent and everyone else would get some sunshine. But ya know what: this is pretty awesome, too! Just seeing her explore and check out the world is pretty darn cool. And entertaining! And, I’m coming to grips with the whole ‘having sand in places you don’t want sand to be!’. It amazes me how sand can get up in places on that little chica! Thank goodness we started bringing a water jug so we can clean her up and there’s even a hose-like thingy at our spot if she gets extra sandy. I’m hoping she’ll eventually figure out face-planting in the sand isn’t a real good idea. 

   
 
Along with much more active beach days, we’ve FINALLY moved Gabi into her bedroom yesterday! Being 18 months old we figured it’s time. We’ve always kept her pack n play, and then crib, in our room. It made sense since I was still breastfeeding her and for some reason her weird habit of being wide ass awake at 5am. I’d bring her to bed (I know, I know) and she’d sleep until 7/7.30. Glorious. So there was trepidation moving her so. Far. Away. (About 10 steps to the other room.) but alas we did it and last night sucked! She was up every two hours and by 4am I was exhausted and we both were done. Needless to say she slept until almost 9 all snuggled up on my shoulder. I know, I know. 

But as of right now, sweet girl is taking an awesome nap on her own, in her crib, in her bedroom. Yes! 

Our chicken coop/tractor is finished and I’m thinking we’re heading to San Juan on Sunday to fetch our chicks. If I remember correctly we’ll be doing two buff orpington’s, 2 ameraucana, and 1 Plymouth rocks. Unfortunately we were hoping for an australop but our guy doesn’t have any. Gives us room to grow. Eventually. 

   
   
Also hoping to get back on the meal planning kick. I’ve been winging it lately and I’ve noticed that I’ve been using a lot of dairy, cream, buttttteerrrrrrrr, and not really accounting for portion sizes. Needless to say I’ve been feeling a bit on the chunky side. So I need to start planning better. Dinner tonight will be a pork loin. Of course I have no clue yet what to do but I’m sure I’ll think of something. 

Thanks for sticking with me. There will be much more food blogging to come as well as chicken updates and the goings-on with sweet Gabriela. 

Ps- be sure to follow me on Instagram for more pics from the island. 

   
 

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I wonder Wednesday!

The holidays have come and gone – unless you live in Puerto Rico celebrating Three Kings day today, which is HUGE! – and we’re all trying to settle back into a routine. Or at least I am. 

The last few weeks had us all out of sync with a crazy work schedule for the husband, a teething baby (she has 16 teeth, my friends…16!), and the building of the chicken coop! Needless to say my weekly grocery shopping trips were sporadic, which left us with no veggies for last night’s dinner. And just as an aside: the veggie selection here in PR is scarce and expensive. I haven’t had cauliflower since moving here because it’s almost 7$ a head and it’s the size of a grapefruit. No thank you. And I just can’t do the frozen stuff. The normals sides here on the island are rice and beans, tostones, amarillos, and potatoe and yucca. I’m not complaining; just ever so often I want a zucchini. 

So I wonder why veggies don’t reign supreme here on the island – or even in the upper 50’s? You see countless books/articles/discussions on ‘how to get your kid to eat veggies’ and it really boggles the mind. With our limited supply Gabi hasn’t had the benefit of trying out different things (I do miss Brussels sprouts!) so her palate to veggies is limited. Sucks. But I’m trying. Which is why I started our garden. And last night we had a pleasant surprise…

With our crazy schedule I didn’t make it to the store yesterday to get veggies for dinner and I so didn’t want anymore rice. My solution? I walked to our backyard and picked fresh green beans, zucchini and squash, and Rosemary. After years of trying to grow squash/zucchini I FINALLY had a ‘crop ‘. And can I just say: the difference between store bought and fresh is huge! And Gabi even seemed to like it as well. 

  
So I also wonder what I’ll be planting in my (hopefully expanding) garden next. Brussels sprouts could be on our horizon! Oh- and an update on the ‘seeded on their own’ tomatoes: they are growing like wildflowers, have flowered but no fruit yet. Crossing my fingers that they’ll be ok! 

What veggies do you like to grow? How did you get your lil toddlers/kids to enjoy their veggies?

  

 A little day trip to Utuado. This was at the Restaurante Las Tortugas.   

 

Garden musings

I once taught a freshman ‘exploratory’ course at ASU. Basically it was for incoming freshman who were undecided on their major. Sort of like an intro course to college, some introspective work, and some trips to career services and online ‘tests’ to see what they may be geared for. 

Being an instructor I also took those tests so I knew what the students were in for. One of them was a 500 question ‘personality’ test that was supposed to tell you what your top career choices might be. Here were mine (and this is almost 7 years ago and I remember it clear as day): 1. Farmer 2. Lawyer 3. English professor. Interesting right? What’s funnier? I was a Lit major as an undergrad (studying 16/17th lit in grad school); I LOVE Law & Order (read: fanatical); and I love to garden. Farm, a bit far fetched. But yea, that’s what it said about me! Coincidentally, a large percentage of lawyers actually have a background in Literature. How cool, right!

So I’ve always had my hands in dirt. I think I got it from my mother. Flowers are beautiful things and watching something grow that you’ve cultivated is quite fulfilling. Yes, I stole a bit of Voltaire there…cultivate your own garden. 

It wasn’t until I lived in Dothan that I took the route of ‘farmer’. My patient husband built free standing veggie boxes so that I could plant tomatoes, herbs, okra, squash,cucumbers, and peppers- all from seed. And I loved every minute of caring and upkeep. I used to freak out a bit when we would take a weekend camping trip because I was afraid our sprinkler system would fail and they’d die of thirst. I know, roll your eyes. 

said garden boxes with the sprinklers

And then we moved to Puerto Rico with lots o lots of room! So I needed a garden. Instead of the hubby taking on the duty my father, who came over with us, was charged with the task. He dug out 8 ( to begin with which expanded to 12) squares for some square foot gardening. Good sport!

 

gabi’s garden!


We’ve come across some great times, and also some hard times with the garden. I’ve also learned a lot about trellising and going vertical, especially with the tomatoes. We’ve got 20-30 mph wind gusts here so making sure everything is staked and secured is a must. 

 

newest addition: sturdy tomato ‘cages’

 
I’ve recently encountered little critters that love to eat up my squash and zucchini buds. I’m on a third planting now and this time around I’ll be deploying eggshells to deter the snails and slugs, who I think are the culprits. 

There has been a lot of trial and error. Good harvests and others not so good. But I keep coming back for more. And as Aubrey Hepburn says, ‘to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ‘

 

sunflowers for my sweet sunflower, Gabi

  

multiple blooms!


 

starting over. again.

   

Transitions

It’s amazing what your expectations may be of something and then when you actual experience it, it’s completely different. But that can be a good thing too: it’s nice to have expectations but I’m finding it more beneficial (and saner) to go into things with a more open mind.

Life on the island is interesting, to say the least. Things just move differently here, and I’m just not talking about the weather. For example, we inherited the previous owners ‘stray’ dog. There’s not a real ‘pound’ here so rather than adding to the stray dog problem we called city hall to have the dog removed. For $40. That we had to pay. This was over 3 weeks. The dog is still here. We’ve called multiple times and this dog guy has got to have the best job in the world because he checks in at 8 and no one knows where he is until 4 that day. One week he was sick. And the last two weeks his van has been in the shop. 2 weeks.

Internet. Don’t even get me started. I’m writing this on my iphone because we’ve lost our wifi. Again. Internet will be back soon. Albeit at on 2MB’s because of our remote location. Nice.

But we knew there would be challenges. And thankfully the great things of PR have definitely outweighed the bad.

Which brings me back to cooking. Isn’t that interesting that everything leads back to food? Or maybe that’s just me.

So food. I had these expectations of fresh fruit, produce, lovely meats, and an abundance of fresh herbs because c’mon! I live on an island where the weather is super duper ideal for growing things! Yea- I was wrong. But that’s ok– keeping an open mind and fishing out different grocery stores I’ve been able to find some really great deals and better looking produce. Plus- I’ve got my guy in the way to James’ work who still has the best looking tomatoes on the island.

So last week I was able to churn out Ellie Krieger’s stuffed peppers . Yum. And of course, it’s loaded with cheese. Being lactose intolerant whenever I do anything with cheese I go all out. If I gotta take pills I gotta make it worth it.

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We also received a huge avocado from our fabulous neighbor, Don Carlos. These things are bigger than my head and they taste so much different than the ones on the mainland. It still amazes me how fresh and amazing something tastes when it’s just picked from a tree, vine, or plant.

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This is definitely making me miss my garden I had in Dothan.

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Rounding out the weekend I made Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Ribs. These never disappoint.

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So even though things may not go as we had planned or our expectations fall short, in the brand scheme of things (like my sister Natalie said to me the other day) it’s probably not that big if deal. And in the end, there’s always a meal that can bring you comfort.

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