Saturday, December 31, 2011

Announcing my new garden blog !!

I had been working on a new blog on my new orchard and kitchen garden in Temecula on and off for awhile now. It took me a very time to come up with a name I liked. The last few days I have been desperately trying to format it, work out some graphics and get it up and running already! Of course, Picasa Album would decide to go all wonky on me. I was noticing how I kept losing what I uploaded. When I was reading Autumn Belle's latest posting I was alerted to what Picasa Web Album was doing.

I have decided that I am just letting it go live and work from there. Trying for "perfection" is too tiring and result in nothing being achieved. I am determine that this blog will go live before 2012 Pacific Time. So do go and check out my new blog - I Eat With Scoops, Shovels and Spades.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Season Meals

This Christmas season has been a lazy one. Daughter is home so that is nice but hubby was in Malaysia. It was just the three of us- mother, daughter and son. Just hanging out together, laughing, watching lots of tv and movies and eating what nots. We decided we would make one special dish a day for dinner to celebrate rather than one great feast.

Day after daughter L came home we headed up to Temecula. Her friend J joined up. I made Salmon en Croute up - a dish I just saw being made on that morning by Laura Calder on French Food at Home. It was good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rainy garden offerings

Human nature - never satisfied. With only an annual rainfall of 11 inches, San Diegan wish for more rainfall to fill up our reservoir and water our gardens naturally ( and for free). Then the rain comes down, and the frown appears on the foreheads and smiles turn down :(

I am no exception to this. I LOVE even miss the rain but not winter rain because it is cold! When one grows up in the tropics where you can play in the warm rain, winter rain is a big let down. Strolls through the garden lessen. Thankfully, I live in San Diego, when winter days can unexpectedly be sunny and 75F. When that happens, it is time to spend all day in the garden and the kitchen is close.

I was in my garden despite deary weather to harvest the last of my Persimmons. Took a quick look around and snap some pictures of the plants that keep going despite the weather. You can see the drops of rain on the fruits!!

Pomelo ripe for eating. It holds well on the tree
From the look of the leaves, my Pomelo plant is lacking in Iron. Actually, I think all my citrus plants are in need of iron and some trace minerals... more loving care that is for sure.

Satsuma Tangerine almost ready to be enjoyed
The ripening schedule for the Satsuma Tangerines and Pomelos are in line with Chinese New Year. My kumquats are also getting fairly big and getting some color on them.

Kaffir Lime (Limau Perut)

The Kaffir Lime plant is loaded with fruits.
The flavor and the fragrance of the my Kaffir Lime leaves depends on the weather; the hotter the weather the more intense the flavor and fragrance. I am told there are some variety of Kaffir Lime more fragrant and flavorful but the nurseries are pretty general in their labeling so I have not been able to spot different. Hence, I still have only one plant.

A young fig overwintering. 
I neglected to remove the net I had draped over the fig tree to prevent the birds from eating the ripe figs. As a result the fig grew through a hole in the net cutting itself in half, growing over the net. I am going to have to sacrifice the fig. 

Immature Blueberries already on the plant
This particular pot of Blueberry seems to have acclimatized to the climate in my garden. It has flowers, immature fruits and ripening fruits on the same plants a good part of the year. It is almost winter so it should really quite bare but as you can see my breakfast fruit is being formed on the plant. Definitely a candidate for making cuttings.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Autumn Belle - Beautiful Colorful Persimmon

The Persimmon is ripe when the fruit is the same color as the leaves
It has been getting colder and colder each week the past month of November. Even in San Deigo the leaves on deciduous tree had been changing color and finally fallen off. I managed to take some pictures of my favorite deciduous tree- the bearer of yummy persimmons to share. These pictures of the colorful tree were taken on November 15, 2011.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marsh plants and creatures of the sea

Inlets from the ocean snaking through the marshes
This weekend, a mundane, obligatory trip to the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife National Refuge and Chula Vista Nature Center, with my son and a couple of his friends, turn out a lot nicer than I imagined. I have to commend the boys for being better behaved, then I expected, in light of our docent who was highly `musical'. Beans was not his friend!

It had been years since I had been to the Nature Center. I was impressed with how much it had expanded and how well it was run. Perhaps, it was the time of year, fall -almost winter ( winter starts December 21st), we had a clear and beautiful sight of the whole marsh and the bay, and the city beyond. The pictures do not do it any justice.

I never realized how many endangered species of birds and plants call the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge home. Gunpowder Point on the marsh is only known native US population of Palmer's Frankenia (Frankenia Palmeri Wats). Cuttings from the 2 surviving colony is being propagated.  It was interesting to learn about halophytes like the endangered Saltmarsh Bird's Beak (cordylanthus maritimus) also found on the marsh. I was impressed at how the Nature Center was breeding and returning back to the wild the light footed clapper bird, which was almost extinct. More than 300 birds have been released into the wild todate. Such great work done so close to home and I was unaware until duty called.
The Saltmarsh Bird's Beak - extra salt is excreted out making it look like the plant is sprinkled with sugar
You know what else I was unaware of? I knew that there had been a gunpowder factory on the site during WWI . What I did not know is they were processing kelp at the site to produce acetone and potash key components of gunpowder. Imagine that kelp!