Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lemon, Juicing and Fertilizing

I've been intrigued by the articles I've been reading about the benefits of squeezing half a lemon's juice into a cup of warm water first thing in the morning and drinking it up. So I've given it a try.  I love lemon so it's not a problem for me.

What I've noticed the most is that it kicks starts my digestive tract.  I need all the help I can get in that area.

My daughter-in-law bought an inexpensive juicer toward the end of her pregnancy, but never got around to using it.  She gifted it to me just before we left Texas and I used it for the first time last night.

I pulled a few carrots from the garden and took cuttings from my longevity spinach.  I had an apple, a lemon, ginger and kale in the fridge.

The apple, lemon and ginger worked fine.  The carrots too.  But the longevity spinach didn't "juice" at all.  I should have run the stems through but I didn't think of that at the time.  When the longevity spinach didn't produce juice I tried running some kale through.  Same problem.  But the stem of the kale did work better (which is when I should have thought about running the longevity spinach stems through).  Oh well.

The juicer is a cheap black and decker unit and it's fine for fruits and non leafy vegetables.  I'll juice that type of produce and then run the juice and my greens through my nutri-bullet.  No big deal.  The biggest drawback to this juicer is the ridiculously small feeder tube.

The clean up of the juicer wasn't pretty, but I had read enough about juicing to expect that.  What I did do was rinse all the parts and pour the excess water/produce bits off into a bowl, collecting every bit of the discarded parts of the fruits and vegetables.  I let this watery bowl of goodness sit on the counter overnight and then poured it into my kitchen scrap garden feeders this morning.

And speaking of the kitchen scrap feeders, I picked my first round of green beans last night and the plants nearest the large pot I've been dumping kitchen scraps into were much healthier and had much larger green beans.  It's definitely a successful experiment.  These "feeders" do take up a bit of room, but the verdict is in and they are definitely worth the space.

A friend was on a 10 day juice fast and felt much better for it.  She also recommended I watch "Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead", a documentary on Netflix streaming.  If I find that I like juicing I'll get a better machine.  Meanwhile, this inexpensive one will be good for experimenting with.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Visit to Some Botanical Gardens

On our drive out to Texas we took a few detours.  The first was to the Bellingrath Botanical Garden in Theodore Alabama.






Then we stopped at Afton Villa Garden in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  We loved this entire area.  Absolutely gorgeous.

This was our first clue we were gonna like this place.  A lot!




















Pretty amazing how they incorporated the ruins of the house into the garden.


Chihuahuan Desert in Southwest Texas

We took a drive to the Chihuahuan Desert in Southwest Texas last week. Holy Cow! We had no idea how stunningly beautiful it would be.

We started out by simply enjoying the sights along I-10.  Definitely not something you see in Florida, or New England where we grew up!






We really had no expectations of seeing anything different from the scenes on the highway.  We had already learned that the saguaro cactus doesn't grow in Texas.

Our destination was the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center.  Once we got close to the exit off I-10 we ran into a thunderstorm.  We saw several dust devils and a tumbleweed as the storm was brewing!  The little things in life excite us!

Once it cleared, we could see there were mountains in the direction we were headed.





The angle of the sun really made these higher mountains look quite stunning.



The road just went on and on.  But we finally came to the little town of Alpine.


We bought gas at the first gas station we came to.  The receipt didn't spit out of the gas pump, so as my husband was walking to the door to ask for a receipt, the store owner came out with the receipt!  Now that was a first!  We asked if he had coffee and he said he'd make us a fresh pot!  Amazing!

After chatting with the gas station guy, we decided to make the entire loop around the mountain range which would take us back out to I-10.  I'm so glad we did!







   








Headed back toward I-10, and looking back toward the mountains:




Back on I-10 we found one more photo op before the sun went down.


It was a 2-1/2 hour drive once we took the exit down to make the loop through this mountain range and back onto I-10.  Worth every minute!  Who knew?


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wildflowers of Texas

We visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin during our travels to Texas to meet our Granddaughter.  The Austin area highways are alive with wildflowers right now and it's a beautiful drive along the country roads as well.

Here are some pics we took at the Wildflower Center:

















It's a gorgeous place to stroll through and soak in the beauty of wildflowers.

Even where there were no wildflowers present, it was an attractive view.

Great Horned Owl on shelf - bottom right



Here's a lizard in the glass, as opposed to a glass lizard:

One entire garden area was "mulched" in this sea glass.  I didn't really care for it. But apparently it didn't deter this lizard.

Here are a few views from a tower on the property:






It was a very relaxing day.  I look forward to visiting it again next time we're in Texas.