Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Love My Garden

It's hard for me to describe how much I enjoy growing fruits and vegetables. Of course, the money saving is part of it. The fresher, healthier food is part of it. The exercise is part of it. But there is something healing, even spiritual that happens when I work to grow things or deal with animals and livestock. I have subsistence, sustainable farming in my blood. All I'm missing is the farm.

I hate my camera phone. I really should get myself a real camera, but I'm including some seriously over exposed pics of cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, summer squash and some yellow hot peppers I don't recognize. They are part of a "Caribbean Mix" of pepper seeds. I can assure you they are sweet and they are HOT!

Monday, June 22, 2009

We've got Ghosts!

No, not the ethereal, spectral creatures who haunt the night, I'm talking about Ghost PEPPERS. Naga Jolokia to be precise. The Naga and Bhut Jolokia from India have been listed by Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest pepper in the world. At one million scoville units, it is twice as hot as the Red Savina habanero, the previous record holder.

For what it's worth, the Red Savina is my favorite habanero. It has more versatility than the traditional orange or yellow (Scotch Bonnet) varieties. It makes great Indian, Mexican and Italian foods. The other varieties make better jerk spices, but don't have a full flavor when standing up to tomato based products.

Anyway, while out watering our veggies tonight, I spied two Jolokias. Oh, there are lots of blossoms, but so far only two tiny peppers. But here they come.

They really do take a long time. Here they are just forming and I've harvested about 60 Jalapenos already. One thing about the trusty Jalapeno pepper. It is one prolific variety. A single plant will keep the average household in peppers all summer with a few to dry or freeze for later. We, however, are not average. We have at least 12 Jalapeno plants. Maybe 18. I've lost count.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love hot peppers? And oh, yummy, Brittan made South Beach Friendly Jalapeno Poppers for supper. Fresh peppers, stuffed with reduced fat cream cheese, a little reduced fat ricotta and a dash of reduced fat 4 cheese crumbles, wrapped in turkey bacon and baked till bubbly. Oh my gosh! Heaven. I'm in Heaven.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dry Spell

This entry title has an intended double entendre. First, it has been hot and dry here in Georgia. Temps have hit the 90s early this year and we haven't seen rain in a while. That means household costs go up due to running the air conditioner and extra watering of the garden. It's important to budget for those things ahead of time.

Secondly, it's a dry spell for things to write about here. My brain is tired. Very tired.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Frugal Tips

I was playing with search engines, looking for money saving ideas, or frugal tips and found lots of good stuff. Everyone should try it.

One of the things I saw was buying windshield washer fluid is cheaper than buying window cleaner in the spray bottles. When you buy some for your car, use a little to fill up that spray bottle you use for windows and mirrors.

It seems to me, that when I was a kid, my mom mixed ammonia with water for windows, vinegar with water for most kitchen cleaning and bleach with water for the bathroom. As I recall, it was a cost saver back then, so it seems to me the same would be true now. We throw away a bunch of money for 'convenience' items.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Harvest


Despite the storms, the garden prospers.
Today, Brittan brought in the first of our produce, zucchini, summer squash and green beans. We had some tasty 'asiago squash and zucchini' with a nice grilled sirloin for supper. Now that's what I call summer. This evening I also picked a handful of raspberries. We won't have a large crop this year, but they'll be tasty. In fact, I think I'll eat them right now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Storm Damage

Bummer. A freak, brief summer storm hit our neighborhood today and wreaked havoc on our garden. It only lasted a few minutes, but dumped a large amount of heavy rain and severe wind blew plants like crazy. About half our green beans were hit hard. They may or may not survive. Our summer squash is in feeble condition, too. A pepper plant was torn in two and various other things are leaning more than standing. Not good. Not good at all. But we persevere. We can always replant beans. There is still time. The squash may be a different story. Fortunately, all but a handful of our tomato plants came through unscathed. The few we may have lost, were not producing well, anyway.

It's one more event that makes me appreciate what real farmers go through. Mother Nature can be a vengeful old gal on occasion.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Change of Plans

Since I wrote my "too many irons in the fire" post, I've been working on prioritizing and time management. One of the things I have been most concerned about is my writing. Not so much the blogs I can't keep up with, but the books I need to get done. I'm over a year behind my timetable on those.

I have been reading about book publishing lately because I would like to get a book deal with a bigger publisher. All my reading says that publishers hate manuscripts. Every one says they ignore them. They want 'proposals'. With that in mind, I've been reading all I can about book proposals. I have downloaded some templates. Actually, they are more like outlines than templates, but that's being a bit picky.

Book proposals are kind of like a 'business plan' for a book. It's the who, what, why stuff. Every business needs a plan. If a business is looking for investors or financial backing from a bank, those plans are essential. Same thing with books. Publishers want to see the plan. From their they will determine whether or not to invest.

Proposals are work. But less work than the actual manuscript. Two questions remain; 1. Which proposal do I do first? and 2. Do I need to get an agent? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More on The Frugal Millionaires

Last week I posted a link to an article, "How To Spend Like a Frugal Millionaire". I got so excited about the article that I decided to read the book, "The Frugal Millionaires", by Jeff Lehman. While there is nothing really new inside (of course, I'm only halfway through), it's been fun. What sets this book apart from books like "The Millionaire Next Door", is that "Frugal" is powered by actual qoutes from the 70 or so frugal millionaires who were interviewed during the research phase of the book. The financial advice is sound and comes from real people who have worked hard to become genuinely wealthy. These are not 'trust fund babies', Sports Personalities or Entertainment Stars. They are ordinary men and women who have used money wisely and piled up a bunch of it along the way. It is worth picking up.