21 September 2017

Malabar Spinach

My mom and I had a day out together today, and we decided to check out City Farmer's Nursery in City Heights. I had read this little description of it online about a year ago, and thought it sounded fun:

"Looking for backyard chickens, and free classes on how to raise them? A sack of “worm poop”? Or a chance to see Georgette, the Shetland-Welsh pony? Find them all at City Farmers Nursery, a working farm inspiring garden lovers since 1972 that also offers live music, brunch, and cold beer next door at Nate’s Garden Grill.  4832 Home Avenue, City Heights."

It was a really fun little nursery to explore, with lots of different kinds of plants and trees, a store filled with seeds, all things gardening/bee keeping/chicken or goat raising/etc. mixed with a spattering of antique decorations. The outdoor portion of the nursery was larger than it looked from the street, and we noticed a few plants we'd never seen before. My mom got a little "wasabi mustard" plant to try out. I saw their turkeys and thought it could be cool to have a turkey (never going to happen, but they were rather pretty, and made a much more quiet, pleasant sound than chickens). And we saw a cool looking vine that had pretty green foliage, a purple stem, and large dark berries that looked something like blackberries, but not quite. We asked about it, and they said it's called Malabar Spinach. The leaves and stems are edible (I tried a berry too, but it was gross and I ended up spitting it out). But they were still very pretty plants, and we asked if they had any for sale, but they didn't. So the lady who worked there cut off a part of the vine for each of us and told us we're welcome to try to propagate it at home.  After watching a couple quick YouTube videos, it looks like you can get them to grow roots just by putting them in water. So Isaac and I tried it out. Then I decided to try it out with some cuttings from my lovely sweet potato vines that are potted in the front yard, to see if I can get some more of those so I can plant them in the back yard. Who knows? It's worth a try. 

20 September 2017

Oregon Trail card game

I thought this was funny when the boys came home from the store the other day with the "Oregon Trail card game" -- they have no idea it's based on a computer game that I used to play as a kid. 

Scout Camp

Here are Michael & our cute boys on the way to their most recent scout camp. They're getting big fast!

Mountain Biking: Lusardi Creek loop

Had a fun time last week on a little mountain bike ride through Lusardi Creek with a couple of new friends, Tami & Rachel, from my neighborhood & from my church.  It was fun, but I need to get back in shape -- I'm not too speedy on the uphillportions of the ride. And I was saddle sore afterwards, especially after having ridden to the beach the week before. Guess I just need to go riding more often.  So I planned another ride for later this week. 

Passion Fruit!

And one of our passion fruit Vines has really taken off -- I think it has really liked the recent warm months.  The flowers are so pretty when they bloom, and I can't believe how many passion fruits have grown on it so quickly in the last few weeks -- the last time I counted there were about 50 fruits on it!  I wish everything in our garden would produce as much as this vine.  (And our second passion vine that didn't seem to be growing much at all for the first several months has finally grown about a foot or two taller than when we first planted it, so we're hopeful that one will eventually catch up too).  I'm excited for the fruit to get ripe -- I was thinking passion fruit yogurt might be good. 

Snail Vines

I love these "snail vine" flowers we planted in our yard. They have unusual spiral buds that give them their name, which open into pretty purple flowers that have bloomed continuously since we planted them. They're quick growers (so we find ourselves needing the trim back the new growth on the ones around the garage door each month, otherwise it starts to feel more and more like the entrance to a secret garden ea h time we go in and out of the garage). And they do seem to attract lots of aphids, so I'm learning to deal with that too. (But we've started to go to Richard Wright's free classes at the Walter Anderson nursery in Poway when we can, so we're slowly learning about how to care for our flowers and fruit trees. The other day someone called Michael & I "aprhentice gardeners," and we thought that was a fitting title). 

Courtland: Harley & Berkley

We're sponsoring a little boy in Nicaragua named Joel, and the boys get to write letters back and forth with him. The other day Courtland wanted to write to Joel, but he wasn't sure what to write about. I gave him a few suggestions, and he decided to tell Joel all about his dogs. I thought his letter was pretty cute (especially the part about Harley not being very motivated). 

Boys Cooking

The boys cooked dinner for the family last week, and made tuna casserole, fruit kabobs, and chocolate paninis. Kolby was trying to be mindful of what we had talked about with previous meals: that a cook should try to balance a meal by making sure that not all of the different parts of the meal are too "heavy," so he balanced it out with the lighter fruit kabobs as the side dish this time. (Good remembering Kolby -- I guess he was listening). What great little chefs. 

Bike Ride to the Beach

A couple weeks ago we decided to set out on a Saturday to ride our bikes to the beach. I used to do that occasionally as a kid and it was a grand adventure, and taking our kids was just as fun. 

We had an activity that morning, then Michael and I drove out there and dropped off the minivan before we came back and headed out with the boys in the afternoon. (The nice hung about that was we took beach towels, boogie boards, and sand toys in the van, so we had those things when we got to the beach later). We rode out on the back roads through Rancho Santa Fe, and then took a little detour to the north because I had heard there was a Greek Festival in Cardiff so we stoped there to check that out on our way to the beach. We ended up at Fletcher's Cove in Solana Beach, just in time for Michael & the boys to enjoy a little boogie boarding, and some of the boys to work on some sand castles before watching the beautiful sunset and then heading home. We took a couple of the smaller bikes & a load of wet and sandy boys home to shower, then Michael and I headed back to squeeze the remaining bikes into the van and bring them home. It was a fun day. We rode just over 16 1/2 miles. And it got me thinking about all the other fun places we could ride to. (And about considering getting a bike rack for our car).  :)