• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Abundance Berries in Your Garden, Freeze it

If you have  an abundance berries from your garden here is a few good way to preserve for winter consumption. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries the lesser known berries in America is suitable for freezing.

Such great tasting berries, blueberries and strawberries are rich in antioxidants.  Some berries, including raspberries and blackberries also contribute a good amount of fiber to your diet, which helps lower your risk of developing heart disease and certain cancer.  So adding berries to your diet is a wonderful idea.  Berries average about 25 calories and zero grams of fat.

Berries, when frozen properly, can be stored in the freezer for up to 9 months. Freezing your own berries is far less expensive than purchasing berries from the store every time you make a berry smoothie or berry treat.  

Frozen Strawberries

1. Gently was the fresh berries. If you are freezing blueberries, don’t wash them before hand because it will toughen the skins. Instead, wash the thawed blueberries before using.

2. Pat the berries dry with a paper towel.

3. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the berries are firm. This will help to prevent the berries from sticking together in a big clump.

5. Once the berries are firm, remove them from the freezer and transfer the frozen berries to a freezer-weight resealable plastic bag.

6. Place the bag of berries in the freezer and store for up to 9 months.

A delicious recipe perfect for lazy summer.

Strawberry Smoothie

3 cups milk

1 lb strawberries

4 generously piled tablespoons vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup sugar or more to taste

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons whipped cream

Blend first five ingredients in blender.  Pour onto tall glass.  Top with generous whipped cream and one or two whole strawberries.

Serving 4

Note:  you can substitute milk for soy or coconut milk.

Enjoy !

Photo Gallery of a Cherry-Plum Tree

When we discovered two small trees behind our workshop, pondering what variety are they.  Looking closely we thought it must be wild trees, as there so many growing on our property.  We, then, decided to let it grow and see what will develop  from these two trees.    Several years later, the trees have grown tall and bushy.  In the spring they produced magnificent white blossoms where bees enjoy visiting.  When the blossoms fade away tiny green fruit start to appear.   Gradually the fruit take its shape similar to cherry in size,  appearance characteristic of a plum as well as the taste.

I discovered after a thorough research it is a cherry-plum or in Latin Prunus Cerasifera,  also known Myrobalan Plum.   A deciduous tree belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae) will grow from 15 to 25 feet,   also great for screening.  Blossom start in February or early March depending where you live and last for three weeks.  Cherry-plum  tree prefer full sun or partial shade  such as ours.  The fruit is good for making jam or jelly as well as eating fresh.  Fruit mature in late summer.   The seeds dispersed by wild life, hence, a few of cherry-plum saplings growing around the property.  I dug them out, potted, share with friends.

Enjoy these photos of the cherry-plum trees growing in my property.

Happy gardening ……..

Unripe cherry-plum

Remembering My Garden Companion

Spencer was his name,  a Labrador Retriever trained to retrieve motionless ducks in the water.  But we never used him to retrieved ducks, instead Spencer became my constant companion everywhere, including the garden.

He loved to roam around the large garden, especially under a huge old maple tree.  Once awhile a squirrel would challenge Spencer for a hide and seek, which of course made him excited.  Barking furiously at the squirrel, running around the tree chasing the elusive creature until he tired of it.  Feeling exhausted and thirsty, he trotted straight to the pond for a drink.   Then Spencer find a peaceful spot to rest until the next adventure .    He also enjoyed chasing butterflies and small birds too, of course he never was able to catched any of them.  They were to quick for Spencer.

When the fruit season arrived, Spencer was over the moon.  Lots of food to eat.  He would sniff each fruit for ripeness.  One apple or pear was not enough, he ate many of them until he could not eat any more.

Spencer was a gentle, sweet, loving dog,  he enjoyed car rides and meeting people.  He was a people dog.  Gradually old age stole all his exuberance.  No more chasing  anything his energy was not there anymore.  On January 2000, my beloved garden companion heart gave out.  I felt heartbroken lost a friend who gave me joy everyday of my life.  My husband and I decided under the old maple tree would be a suitable final resting place for Spencer.  He would loved that as this area was his favorite playground.

Until we meet again……….

Here is a lovely poem to remember my garden companion.

RAINBOW BRIDGE  (author unknown)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so the can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;  they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent;  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face;  your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent rom your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together………

Source:

http://www.petloss.com

Dexter, our beloved Labrador age 11 passed away on September 27, 2010.   He spent one year in the Labrador foster home because no one want to adopt him.  We came along to adopt Dexter who was 8 month old, full of energy, playful, with a enormous appetite. 

We gave Dexter lots of love and a wonderful life, in spite of his health condition toward later in life.   The orchard was his favorite place to roam.   When the fruit trees heavy with apples, pears, plums and cherries,  Dexter would trot from tree to another looking for ripe fruit by sniffing.  Then, he pulled the fruit with such force the branch shook violently.  Naturally several would fall to the ground and he would gobbled them up too.  Harvest season was his favorite time of the year.  Not only eating was his passion, chasing squirrels, birds, occasional deer who came close to his territory.    He was an adventurous dog, enjoy roaming around the property.   We burried Dexter  near our other Labrador,  Spencer who passed away 11 years ago.

We gave you a wonderful stable home,   in return you gave us joy.  Have a good journey Dexter,  we will meet again……….

Cherry-Plum Tree in The Spring


Sunshine, blue sky, wispy white clouds here and there.  Robins chasing the worms and blue jay searching for twigs to build a nest in nearby tree.   Daffodils, crocuses have emerged from their winter slumber.  Spring is in the air.  I love spring everything is fresh and new. 

Another sign of spring is the cherry plum trees in my garden.  They are always the first to bloom showing their magnificent white flowers.  Bees attracted to their strong scent.  I stood one sunny day in front of the trees and listen the bees buzzing along feasting on the cherry plum blossoms it was an awesome sound.   Robins like to eat the fruit too, ripen in late July through August.  To cover trees with bird net it is impossible.  There are plenty of fruit to share around for human and birds. 

Latin  for cherry plum,  prunus cerasifera or the myrobalan cherry tree.  A deciduous tree belongs to the rose family,  (Rosaceae in Latin).  Will grow from 15 to 30 feet.  The cherry plum in my garden is about 25 feet with a spread of 30 feet.  These trees are good for screening neighborhood eyesores.  The flower is about 3/4 to 1 inch with 5 petals.  Fruit size similar to cherry with characteristic of a plum.  Cherry plum taste of a combination cherry and plum.  It has a pit like cherry.  Fruit color is deep red.  My cherry plum tree leaves are deep green, some say they are purple, this probably came from different cultivation.  In autumn the leaves turn reddish-purple.  

Grown in acidic soil, might also be able to grow in mild alkaline soil.   Cherry plum tree prefers full sun and moist soil which is suitable growing condition in Oregon.  The seeds dispersed by wild life.  Walking through my property occasionally I found cherry plum seedlings.  I would dig them out and transplanted in a different place.  A slow growing tree I should say. 

I like eating cherry plum picked fresh from the tree or make them into jam, chutneys, pies and cobblers.  Use recipe as you are making cherry pie.  Last year I made cherry plum jam and taste wonderful. 

  

Cherry-Plum blossoms at its peak.

 

  

Happy  Gardening