Let’s Grow Green

April 5th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Vegetable Lovin' - (5 Comments)

It’s that time of year again. Here in Zone 6A the early spring like weather is upon us and has been hanging around for a while now. It’s time get some greens and spring vegetables in the ground.

Spring Greens

First up, I did my part in expanding one of our small, city lot beds into an ever-so-slightly bigger bed.

More Space

“my part” = moving the boarder to the edge of the tilled soil that Zak dug up a couple weeks ago.

One Foot Bigger

more garden = less grass to mow. Check it.

Slightly Bigger Garden Bed

Swiss chard is your friend.

Swiss Chard

Hi, friend!

(That’s not the secret.)

Actually, Swiss chard has TWO secrets to tell you.  One for now, one for later.


Swiss chard is super easy to grow.

No, really. You throw the seeds in the ground, water them if you think of it, spit on them even! Walk away and BAM!  Swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Growing in Your Garden

Remember that secret for next spring. I’ll probably remind you, so don’t worry.

The other secret – the one you can use right now – is that Swiss chard is just like kale in salad.

Berry Christmas In July

July 6th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast - (6 Comments)

We were out of town for the long holiday weekend, but I was excited to get back knowing the black raspberries in the backyard had probably started to ripen while we were away.

We didn’t get home until nearly dark last night, so I accepted the fact I was going to have wait until sunrise to see what berry surprise awaited me for breakfast this morning.

That is of course, until I remembered the reason they invented flashlights:

Blackberries In the Dark

to spy on your ripe berries in the dark.

This is purslane.

Most people would call purslane a weed.  Fewer people know that you can eat it. The internet tells me that purslane is really good for you, so it must be true.

I was 14 when I was hired by my grandfather as a professional weed puller and lawn mower.  “Professional”, because I was paid $2.50 an hour for my mad weed pullin’ skillz.

(I just realized those two items are in my current job description, except now I make $0.00 an hour.  Does that mean I’m back to amateur status?)

Well, I’ve got good news – and I’ve got bad news.

Guess What

The bad news is, squirrels don’t give a rats ass about marigolds.

Marigolds Don't Work

I came home from running errands this afternoon to find this guy checking out my berry patch loot.

Strawberry Squirrel Stare Down

I didn’t want to believe it was true, so I stalked him to see what he’d do.

Making a Run For It

Sure enough, in he went!  See?  He doesn’t care about marigolds! Freaking squirrel!  Why don’t you just pick a bouquet of them already and be done with it, you… you… SQUIRREL.

Lettuce Procreate

June 6th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Healthy Habits - (2 Comments)

Lettuce plants and kids have a lot in common.

Lettuce Gets Morning Sunshines

Some days they’re so cute you can’t help but nuzzle your face right into them, and then other days you’re tempted to just bite their little heads right off.

How’s your lettuce container garden coming along?  (It’s still not too late to start one, you know.)  Mine is one month old and has been relocated from full sun in the backyard to part shade on the railing of the front porch.  It now only gets a wee bit o’ sunshine the in the early AM hours and then lollygags about in the shade for the rest of the day – asking for something to eat and then begging me to play Old Maid when I’m done folding the laundry.

About a month ago, I’d finally had it with the remaining black walnuts in my attic. I couldn’t take the guilt I felt from hoarding these practically uncrackable nuts, robbing the poor squirrels of their winter sustenance. I could hear the nuts up there through the floor boards at night – directly over our bedroom no less – thumping. The Tell-Tale Nuts.

Feeling completely defeated and annoyed at all the work involved in getting these dang nuts open, I decided that it made the most sense to give what remained of my stash back to the expert nut crackers.

Grow Your Own

May 17th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Healthy Habits - (9 Comments)

Last year we devoted an entire bed in our garden to growing spinach, moving in other vegetable plants when all the spinach we’d planted had been harvested.  I absolutely loved growing my own spinach, and I especially loved the ease at which I could bolt out the back door, snag a couple of leaves from the ground and shove it into a wrap, salad or sandwich and then straight into my mouth.  Local and organic?  These are a few of my favorite things.

What a Nut Job

October 17th, 2010 | Posted by Alison Spath in Life - (12 Comments)

“What the hell are those things?” you’re surely saying out loud right now. I don’t blame you. About a month ago I was saying that exact same thing because I didn’t know either.


Turns out we’ve got a black walnut tree at this here city residence of ours. Right about this time of year, said black walnut tree drops about 643 black walnuts into my tiny back yard. My hyperbolic guesstimative calculations figure that’s about 25 walnuts per square foot of green space.

Black Walnut Tree

A dear reader named Kenzie left a comment the other day asking me to do a post about how I make my salads and what I put in them. Turns out I just so happen to have “Big Giant Salad” on the dinner menu tonight! Here’s how I make a salad that will knock your (and maybe even someone else’s!) socks off.

Step 1: Start with a beautiful head of lettuce. Something OTHER than iceberg for crying out loud please. Red leaf is typically my head of choice, but green leaf or romaine work nicely.  Don’t be afraid to throw in spinach, arugula, dandelion or other mixed field greens too if you’ve got ’em.