Monthly Archives: August 2015

Late Summer/Early Fall

Bumblebee on Celosia

Bumblebee on Celosia

Amaranth stalk

Amaranth stalk

Overalls to match the plants haha

Overalls to match the plants haha

So vibrant!

So vibrant!

Celosia

Celosia

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Neon!

Neon!

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Spiderweb

Spiderweb

Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach

“Aunt Molly’s” Ground Cherry

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Ground cherry

Ground cherry

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Spy Garden Bouquet

Spy Garden Bouquet

A few corn stalks

A few corn stalks

Missouri River sunrise

Missouri River sunrise

Watching ducks

Watching ducks

Herding ducks

Herding ducks at a park

Swimming ducks

Swimming ducks

Sycamore

Sycamore

Sycamore bark

Sycamore bark

In Squirrely Garden at her school

In Squirrely Garden at her school

Our street

Our street

Slow Please

Slow Please

Dexie cruisin'

Dexie cruisin’

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Considered a choice edible. As chicken mushrooms age, they get tough—cut off the tender outer edges and leave the rest on the tree. Recipes abound for this and the closely related pale chicken of the woods (L. cincinnatus). They have the texture of chicken, and with a little imagination can taste like chicken. Although both species are safe and delicious mushrooms, some people get a bit of stomach upset or swollen lips after eating them. Try just a small amount the first time.
This fungus can be used as a chicken substitute in casseroles, enchiladas, and more. As with all wild mushrooms, be absolutely sure of your identification, cook it well, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it, since some people have bad reactions to otherwise edible mushrooms. (from the Missouri Department of Conservation website)
For now, just going to photograph it!

For now, just going to photograph it!

Missouri has dozens of edible wild mushrooms. Missouri also has dozens of poisonous mushrooms; some with names like Deadly Galerina and Destroying Angel. Thus, I am not too eager to start harvesting mushrooms and cooking them up! I would want to be much more of a mushroom-expert first. I couldn’t identify many of the varieties pictured below.

Tree pants

Tree pants haha: note all the little white mushrooms

ID?

ID?

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Very celestial!

Very celestial!

Like a 3/4 moon

Like a 3/4 moon

Turtle

Turtle

Turkey Tails

Turkey Tails?

I'd never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

I’d never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

Little feather

Little feather

Red cap

Red cap

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

So many different types!

So many different types!

Gills

Gills

Leaves starting to change

Leaves starting to change

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it.

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it. Very striking in person.

I believe this variety of mushroom was the root of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970's haha

I believe this variety of mushroom is the original source of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970’s haha

Tall tree

Tall tree

Wow!

Wow!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Four!

Four!

Four!…ba dum pssshhhh…

Four years old! Babyzilla’s fourth birthday with some garden pictures mixed in…since they’re so festive…

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Cake

Cake

Nasturtium

Nasturtium (as seen on the cake!)

Hawk

Hawk

Birthday Crown (made by Baby's Forest School teachers)

Birthday Crown (made by Baby’s Forest School teachers)

Fringe (corn)

Fringe (corn)

Monarch on Echinacea

Monarch on Echinacea

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Corn fringe II

Corn fringe II

Being...

Being…

Very...

Very…

Silly!

Silly!

Black Hungarian Peppers

Black Hungarian Peppers

Sunflower

Sunflower

Corn stalk

Corn stalk

A little of the garden inside!

A little of the garden inside!

All picked from Spy Garden!

All picked from Spy Garden!

Pre-picked

Pre-picked

With our friends; Mary...

With our friends; Mary…

And Shelly!

And Shelly!

Opening...

Opening…

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Birthday Fun

Birthday Fun

Homegrown...

Homegrown…

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

And what do we have here?!

And what do we have here?!

Baby's first bike!

Baby’s first bike!

She'll get loads of instruction I'm sure!

She’ll get loads of instruction I’m sure!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

Monarch on Marigold

Monarch on Marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Spider

Spider

Blazing Star wildflower

Blazing Star wildflower

Festive Garden

Festive Garden

Happy...

Happy…

Birthday!

Birthday!

4...

4…

Years Old!

Years Old!