Share the Love

Share the Love

If you live to travel and love to walk the streets of the places you go especially in cities with cobblestone thoroughfares, you need a great shoe.  I recommend Adidas Shadow for comfort, traction and support.  They are lightweight with a hard sole and come in monochromatic colors.  I picked grey for my most recent pair and can’t wait to test them out on the hills of Scotland in September. “Lang may yer lum reek” with these on your feet.

RM stumbled on the best knife sharpener ever and for less than six bucks.  It’s called the Kitchen IQ 50009 Knife Sharpener and it really works. Goofy name but I like the product. So many sharpeners claim they do the job but leave us dissatisfied.   RM is picky about a sharp knife in the kitchen and this little tool keeps all our knives on point for chopping, dicing and mincing and its compact for storage too. Because as the saying goes, ” you gotta stay sharp when you’re cutting through the bullshit.”

Looking for the perfect dipping sauce for just about any morsel especially with snacks likes tempura and spring rolls?  Try the Thai Chili Roasted Garlic Dipping Sauce by Wild Thymes. Just the right balance of heat to sweet.  Everything is better with a tasty little sauce.

We have family members who can’t tolerate dairy in any form including chocolate.  So, so sad but thankfully there are many options now. Some better than others.  We found Enjoy Life chocolate and used it in several baking recipes with success.  It tastes great too.  Chocolate chunks is my favorite for using in brownies.  I used it in my recipe for Best Brownie, hands down

I am an avid gardener but I live in a little, urban cottage in Fort Worth with a small backyard for growing vegetables and herbs.  I use lots of containers to stretch my gardening space and love the Grow Bags for growing peppers, beans, tomatoes and eggplant.  The bags come in a variety of sizes and are designed with handles for moving around the garden if you are looking for that perfect spot.  I’ve used mine for two summer seasons and they are holding up great.  I like the black color best because they don’t show any stains from the dirt.

grow bags

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Urban Gardening in the Fort

Urban Gardening in the Fort

Texas summers are hot, hot, hot so gardening for us urban dwellers living in Fort Worth, Texas, is challenging with the intense heat and lack of rain for several months in a row.  This year, RM and I installed a sprinkler system as well as a comprehensive drip system even for the bird bath (see picture below) to provide for consistent watering for all of the containers and small beds in our city backyard oasis.

We have three large stock tanks, converted to container gardens, full of potatoes and fava beans along with fabric bags of purple long beans, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. After I harvest the potatoes in July, we will plant okra that thrives on the heat of August and September.  I like these fabric bags because I can move them around if the spot is too hot or gets too much sun as the summer months progress.  I can also cover them easily with shade cloth as the August heat wave approaches. It can reach temperatures of 110 degrees which is brutal for just about any plant.

canna
Yellow Cannas come back every Year

I love cooking as well as gardening so we have planted fresh herbs throughout the garden including basil, lemon sage, thyme, lavender, cilantro, oregano and parsley.

purple pole beans
Purple long beans, great in stir fry

We have a bird feeder and several bird baths to attract a wide variety of native birds including pairs of cardinals and chick-a-dees.  RM loves to build little houses to line our wooden fence to encourage our feathered friends to nest their young in the spring — we have several species that are repeat house guests over the years. Three months ago, I planted a fig tree in hopes of it bearing fruit next year.  It already has a small fig budding out and has tripled in size since I planted it.

fig
Iris bed with hardy hibiscus (pink and white flowers) and the fig

This year, with the introduction of more consistent watering, we have some little brown frogs and also a few blue dragon flies hanging around the canna as well as an abundance of bees.  We also have a wide variety of lizards some black, some vivid green with red throats and others spotted and horned.  They keep the mosquitoes at bay.

eggplant
Baby eggplant

For mother’s day, RM bought me a small transportable composter which we are just now introducing the contents to our garden.  Since RM is an avid woodturner, I always have lots of sawdust to add to the beds and containers to help the plants retain moisture and discourage pests. It serves the same purpose as mulch. Relaxing in the garden with our little backyard cat —  who is approaching 14 years of age — is what I do best especially early in the morning before the temperatures get too warm. Happy urban gardening!

cat
Cat, backyard view of our screened porch and yard, come sit a while