Peanut Plants Update


Back in early April, my husband and I planted peanut plants in our garden. ( See post: ) It is now late May and I am happy to say that the plants are growing and have yellow buds.

The buds are an exciting thing to see as flowers are needed in order for the plants to make the peanuts. I am going to keep a close eye on the plants, hoping to see the flowers poke into the ground where they will, hopefully, produce peanuts.

Stay tuned for further updates from me on the progress of our peanut plants. For now, them seem to be healthy and heading in the right direction. As always, Happy Gardening!


Storing Potatoes in Warm Climates


It is said that one should not store potatoes in the refrigerator. Oh no! Hadn’t heard that before. Why on earth not?

According to

“According to the New Scientist, we shouldn’t be storing raw potatoes in the fridge because it can lead to the formation of acrylamide during cooking.

At low temperatures, an enzyme breaks down the sugar sucrose into glucose and fructose, which can form acrylamide during cooking.

Acrylamide has hit the headlines thanks to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), which has launched a warning of the possible cancer risk associated with this chemical.”

Well, after reading such articles as that, I looked into the best ways to store potatoes. The best place to store potatoes is in a cool, dry place such as a cellar or basement. This, however, poses a problem for me. I live in California. This is not the midwest. No one has cellars or basements in California. Now what?

I started to leave the spuds out on the counter. Of course this is a big no-no. Potatoes do not like light and we have plenty of that in California. If left on the counter, they will start to sprout and turn slightly green inside.

So, I read where putting the spuds in a basket or well ventillated bag in a pantry would do. Ok, so I had found room in the pantry, put them in a brown bag, poked holes in it for ventillation, and closed the top. Again, this did not work. The spuds did not last long. I think I suffocated them…

The next method, I am proud to say, is working like a charm and so simple to do. I take a small brown paper lunch bag and roll down the sides, then I gently place the potatoes inside the bag. Keeping the bag open at top, I then place it inside my pantry. Voila! The potatoes seem to be happy enough and have plenty of airflow and are kept in the dark as to what is going on in the light of day. They have not sprouted and seem to be doing well. Of course, it is only spring here in California and the really hot days of summer are not upon us yet. We shall see how they like the pantry in a few months time but for now all is well.

Another thought I had….the grocery stores seem to like to store the single potatoes in the refrigerated shelves that then spray water on them every so many minutes. This is probably (in my oppinion) a bad thing. Only the 3 or 5 pound bags are stored dry and out of refrigeration. Although a few stores do carry singles stored witout refrigeration, most do not. So it is probably important to purchase potatoes that are stored properly before getting to one’s house.

As always, Happy Harvesting!

Planting Peanuts


It was a beautiful So Cal spring weekend so my husband and I payed a visit to the nursery. We soon had our hands full of plants. Tomatoes, beans, peppers, and what was this…peanuts!

Yes, the nursery had peanuts. Having never grown peanuts before, I wanted to give this a go. So, peanuts in hand, we set about to get some seeds. I went inside while my husband got a cart, our hands becoming quite full. We picked-up some carrot and zucchini seeds and decided this would be enough to get started.

At home, we planted the garden. My husband had already prepared most of the raised beds for planting. We added some more seeds that we had on hand at home, lettuce and cilantro. This was a good start to the garden. There is plenty of space left in the beds, however, we still have plenty of time to plant. Spring has only begun after all.

I did some research on the peanut plants. Our pack had three. Apparently, the plant will grow yellow flowers which will turn back down and poke into the soil. The peanuts will grow from these flowers. So, it is recommended to keep the soil loose so the flowers will be able to penetrate the soil. Well, I am hoping for at least half a dozen peanuts so that we can all try one. If anyone has had success (or failure for that matter) with peanuts, I would love any advice.

I will keep posting peanut updates as they come in.

As always, Happy Gardening!

An Egret Dropped in for Lunch


I looked out the window and saw an egret in our yard. While we have had egrets in the yard before, they are always a treat to watch. This particular egret was especially interesting.

The egret started out near a brick pile and was hunting around for something. It seemed to catch something but I could not make out what it caught. He then, slowly made his way around our potting table. I know for a fact that lizards hang out up there and the egret seemed to sense it as well. I saw the lizard run for cover under some potting items. The egret slowly moved on.

I went out front to get the mail and then saw the egret by our hedge. I decided to go back in the house to get my camera. I quietly took a few photos and then started a video. Amazingly, the video caught the egret catching and devouring a lizard. Amazing, but actually a bit gross as well. He then headed back past the potting table and this time was lucky enough to snatch the lizard from the table. (Photo above)

I learned a lot from watching this egret. I never even knew that egrets ate lizards. They are very quiet and sneaky predators. Lizards are, after all, pretty fast and hard to catch. Remember the post I shared when one got into my house? Maybe next time a lizard gets into the house I should find an egret to help me out….

From a little research, I found out that egrets eat a lot more than I thought. I assumed they ate fish, which is correct. However, they also eat other small animals. Egrets are carnivorous birds. They eat fish, aquatic animals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, small birds, and small animals. The list of small animals on the menu can include mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, meerkats, etc. The egret swallows its food whole. That long, elegant neck can surely stretch out a bit! I saw the egret swallow the lizard, but a larger animal, oh my!

As always, Happy Nature Watching!

My Take on Rules for Visiting

Book Reviews

My latest read was a book I asked for and received for Christmas, Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane. Rules for Visiting was an easy read. This book will make one think of the way in which they live their life and the role friendship plays.

The novel is about May, a botanist, and how she decides to catch up with old friends, and perhaps find herself, during bonus time off from her work. May is a gardener at the local university. Being granted a months vacation from her job, May decides to take four seperate vacations to visit friends from her childhood through her college days. While May does have friends of her own, she is often intrigued by other peoples relationships with their frineds. Why does her life seem lacking? Will she find what she is looking for?

Kane’s novel is a wonderful read. A book about life that could easily be made into a movie. It also has plant and tree facts sprinkled throughout the book. This helps define the character and may also teach the reader a thing or two about plants. As always, Happy Reading!



I just got done trimming my lavender plants when this red dragonfly was spotted on our fence. Usually they are blue/green in color. Interesting guy. The dragonfly was sitting still long enough for me to run in and get my camera and take several shots. Why? Because he was visably in the process of having a snack it seemed. Then he was off.

One never knows what will be in the garden from day to day. As always, Happy Gardening!

Recipe Review: Zucchini Snack Cake with Orange Glaze

Cooking, gardening

Yesterday, I wrote about my crazy baking day in the kitchen in order to use a zucchini. I made three different recipes. I decided to put the Zucchini Muffins and the Zucchini Brownies in the freezer. We would have the Zucchini Snack Cake with Orange Glaze for dessert.

There were two reasons for this decision. One being this was a new recipe and I wanted to taste it while it was at its peak. I have made the other two recipes before and already knew how they tasted. The second being that I was not craving chocolate, or desiring a muffin for dessert (more of a breakfast thing). So cake it would be!

I picked the snack cake recipe mainly because it did not contain chocolate. It seems as though all the recipes for zucchini cake throw in a bit of chocolate. But I did not want chocolate. Love chocolate, just not all the time. This recipe also contained orange. Bingo! I was sold. We have an orange tree out back and I not only need to use the zucchini but the oranges as well. Then I saw that the recipe came from a familiar blog (Barefeet in the Kitchen) that I have made recipes from before and they were always delicious.

So here is the recipe:

Did I make any changes? Yes, two very minor changes. The baker said that she prefered to use store bought orange juice as it had more flavor in the cake. Well, I know that the flavor is not in the juice but in the zest. So instead of just using my freshly squeezed orange from our orchard, I also added the zest of the orange to boot. The only other change I made was in the amount of glaze I used on the cake. I wanted to cut down on the sugar content so I reduced the glaze by half and it was plenty. The glaze covered the top of the cake completely. If wanting to cover the sides as well, then use the whole recipe for the glaze.

The cake was easy to make and tasted good. The aroma of oranges flooded my kitchen as this baked. Wonderful! So, if wanting to use up some zucchini and oranges, why not give this recipe a try.

As always, Happy Baking!

Propagated Lavender Takes Off


Ah the joys of gardening! Its the little successes that make it all so worthwhile. Back in June, I propagated lavender from lavender I had in my garden. (There’s a post on this in the gardening section.) Now it is early September and there is evidence of success. A lavender bud has formed on one of the propagated plants. Oh joy!

With the recent success of my blue potato bush and now the lavender, I could really get into propagating plants. I have a vision for where these new plants will be going in my garden. Believe me, I have a lot of space to fill. I plan to have a border of lavender and potato bushes. However, with the propagated plants, it will take a bit longer for them to reach a decent size. Yes, I would get faster results by purchasing more mature plants at the nursery, however, I kind of like this whole propagating thing.

As always, HAPPY Gardening!

Planting Apricots from Seeds


If at all familiar with my blog, one will know that I like to try growing plants from cuttings or seeds. So it will not be of any surprise that I am at it again. This time, however, it was my son’s idea to plant an apricot seed.

It is always best to do a little research before sticking cuttings or seeds into the soil. Our research on the apricot was well advised, as we now have the start of our apricot tree growing. How did we do it? Simple enough reallly. After eating the apricot, we let the pit dry on a paper towel for a few days. When it was hard, my son cracked it open with a hammer. Kinda like cracking a walnut shell really. Inside the pit lies a nice little apricot seed. This was then put into a hole poked into soil and covered with a light topping of soil. I have been careful to water it and keep it moist, especially in the heat we have been having as of late. Low and behold, the seed has produced lovely green leaves. It will be fun to watch this tree form. As always Happy Gardening!


The apricot is front row on the left. Note how well the lavender and the blue potato bush are coming along as well.

Ah, the Difference a Day Makes!


As I was busy baking this morning, I got a little late start on my watering. But I got out there, with hose in hand, ready to give the plants I have been propagating a bath, when low and behold, there is color amongst the green. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Oh my gosh! I am now jumping for joy, full of excitement. The blue potato bush, that I propagated back in June, has a flower! A beautiful, perfect, little flower. Not only does it have a flower, but another bud as well. I am so excited! So much so that I made my daughter come outside so I could show her.

The funny thing is, is that when I watered the plant yesterday, there was no flower. I did not even notice a bud. Maybe I missed the bud, but there was not a flower. Ah, the difference a day makes in the garden. It is the little successes that make all the difference. I hope that my green thumb continues with this one. I have now become attached.

To see my original post on my blue potato bush, see my post titled Propagating Plants. This blog was posted on June 4th. So, about two months was all it took to get to this flowering point. However, not all propagated plants survive, as can be seen in my post titled Propagating Plants – An Update, from July 26. Now that I’ve had success with this propagation, I may try another one to replace the one I lost in July.

As always, Happy Gardening!