Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bean Soup

This is a great recipe I adapted just slightly from The Menopause Diet; it's also good for all you low-carb dieters out there. Very high in fiber and pretty high in lean protein. Substitute cubed chicken for pork, or leave the meat out entirely, and it's probably still really good.

3 cans of different beans (butter, black, kidney, etc.)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 can 14-1/2 oz. chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup cubed cooked lean ham
2 or 3 average-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
1 tbl. fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp. dry basil leaves)
Black pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse the beans in a strainer. Put beans and all remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

Veggie Notes: I used my first harvest of fresh tomatoes for this recipe. I also had a couple of leftover leeks from my spring harvest (they keep quite a long time in the fridge) and they were excellent in this soup as an alternative to the usual onion-and-garlic combo.

Of course, you could also use your own homegrown beans, basil, and if you're really talented, celery.

Lamenting the First Generation of Indoor Children

This is just sad. And I think it's safe to assume there's a link between the facts in this story and the rising statistics of child obesity...

Getting Lost in the Great Outdoors
- Washington Post (may require registration)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Making the Cut

I am not a fan of cutting gardens. That is to say, I do not generally grow flowers for the sole purpose of cutting. Too lazy for that, you see; it's much easier to just let things bloom, watch them die on the stem and then say gosh, maybe it's time I dead-headed that thing...

The scissors come out when the gladiolus start to emerge in late May, however. They flower, they flop over...and they're just too beautiful to not be appreciated by somebody. The nature of their existence is that they're top-heavy and therefore perfect for snipping and sticking in a vase.

I've planted a few glads about my property since moving in a couple of years ago. Other strange glads have popped up in random places, though: along the alley side of our fence, behind the five-foot impassable sharp yucca...obviously, one of the former owners of our yard was a glad enthusiast, and the bulbs have lived on. I really need to dig them up and move them so they get the proper treatment for later years, out of simple respect for a past and fellow gardener.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Double Trouble

I apologize for my absence here. Job hunting has taken precedence over blogging and gardening, unfortunately. My goal is to be a paid gardening Web hey, online editors? Email me.

We are continuing to get more rain than usual here in DFW, which is keeping the mosquitoes fat and happy. I unwisely went out to the community garden unprotected after a recent rain and was mercilessly chewed. It was nearly as bad as September in Belize at dusk. And let me tell you, that's bad.

Lots of huge hummingbird moths are active at night now (think of Buffalo Bill's collection in Silence of the Lambs). However, I've only seen one actual hummingbird. A large female suddenly appeared over the patio a couple of weeks ago, alternately dive-bombing our bewildered collie and sniffing the hot pink Salvia Greggii.

The second Dracunculus Vulgaris is blooming in the backyard at present - and thankfully, it's not nearly as stinky as the first one was. Not quite as big either. The first quickly shriveled after blooming and now the entire plant is going. Someone asked if this plant dies back to the ground each year and I'm guessing the answer to that is yes. I do hope they return next season!

And here is a Double Tiger Lily (Lilium lancifolium 'Florepleno') that's going strong in the backyard now. Besides the gorgeous orange double flowers, this heirloom offers bulbils in the leaf axis along the stem. I'm going to try to harvest them and plant some for next year once these guys are done showing off.