Sunday, September 1, 2013

How have I lived without these tools all my gardening life?

I stumbled upon a blog in which the writer was oohing and aahing over their Hori Hori digger.  I had never heard of such a thing so I did some investigating.  I discovered Japanese Garden Tools!  I really could choke my horticulture teacher from 1977 for not introducing his class to these tools.  I mean, seriously!  I can't believe I've never even heard of these!  I feel cheated.  So many years wasted using stupid trowels and heavy tools that tire me out quickly.

I bought 4 tools and my oh my have I used the hell out of my new Nejiri Scraper (with long handle and long neck).  It is AMAZING!  It is so light weight, which is very important for my pain riddled hands, that I'm able to use it until the heat knocks me out rather than the tool!  Woo Hoo!  That is a huge improvement in my gardening stamina.  Just look at this wickedly awesome tool!

Here are all the tools I bought:

From left: Kusakichi saw tooth sickle, Kusatori ichiban weeder, Hori Hori digger with sheath, and the fantabulous Nejiri scraper!  The Kusatori ichiban weeder should work brilliantly removing weeds from my brick patio.  I bought the sickle to get control of the ferns we introduced to the yard several years ago (bad ferns!).  All but the digger are super light weight.

My newly planted fruit trees are coming along nicely, thanks to all the beautiful rain we're having this summer.  Mowing around the newly planted trees is not fun, however, so I'm taking out all the (cough) grass in between the trees, then mulching, and will plant vegetables and ground fruits in the new patch of "garden".  It was going to be a slow process, but now that I have this fantastic Nejiri Scraper, I've done nearly all the area I need to do in just two "sittings" (two morning weeding sessions about 40 minutes each).  Once the weather breaks in a few weeks I'll go to town on the rest of the yard.  YAY!

Here's a pic of my work so far.  I'll need to go up the street later for another load of free mulch to cover this morning's work.  Weeds grow in two seconds here!

Time for a nap.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Fruits for my Labor

I bought a Cavendish Banana tree and told myself I could not buy another edible for the yard until I got it planted.  Which I did yesterday before work, which required a bit of a nap shortly thereafter.  Happily, we had to make a trip to Lowe's for hubby's project so I scooted into the garden center to buy a Lychee tree.  I accidentally got a Meyer lemon tree and another Canna lily.

I also went into the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market right after work and picked up a malanga, name, and boniato, and also a champagne mango to stick in the ground.  I was impressed with the selection.  I really didn't expect to find everything I went in to buy.  Very excited about that and it's right around the corner from work!  Who knew?

So now I have lots of work to do in the yard this weekend.  Looking forward to it.  Hope it rains.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Blame Pigeon Peas

My "little experiments" started three years ago.  They were really just diversions from my year long obsession trying to find out why I have Lupus.  I was diagnosed in July 2009 and I knew there had to be a reason and a fix.  I read lots of books, did lots of research on-line, and sadly realized that there's not a whole lot out there other than how to cope because "they" don't know how people get it and "they" don't know how to cure it.  Sure, they give you a pill to help with the fatigue, joint pain and overall malaise, but they really have no idea how to do more than "cover up the symptoms".  I learned three very important things in all my research; 1. you won't learn much from doctors - you have to go to the source!  I joined the message boards at and chatted with other people who have Lupus to find out that other people are dealing with lots of the same issues and a lot of what you experience is "normal" for Lupus patients so you're not crazy, 2. the Sun and Fluorescent lights do bad things to me.  Very bad things, and 3 (most importantly) PACE yourself.  Don't overdo it.  Take a nap if you're overwhelmingly tired.  Because if you don't, you'll be doubly worn out later.

The Great Diversion.  Hubby got a book called "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It", read a few chapters, and said "here, you should read this".  He admitted it scared him a little bit.  I had no idea what it was about, and was certainly not prepared to learn about TEOTWAWKI!!!  Then I read "One Second After".  And I started prepping. Immediately!

Hubby was overjoyed I had found a new "obsession"!  The wallet, not so much.

Experiment #1.  We love the Tractor Supply store.  One day, I found a pressure canner on sale and brought that baby home.  And oh, did I experiment!  Beans, veggies, meats, chili, soups - woo hoo!

Fast forward to today - Pigeon Peas!  I read a blog post that said Pigeon Peas, like Moringa, are a must have for survival food.  I have the moringa, so I must have Pigeon Peas!  Right?  So I ordered my seeds and planted them two weeks ago.  And they are still alive!  In SW FL in July!

And I am off and running on a "food forest" adventure (hat tip David the Good at

And that's how Sheila's Little Experiments came about.