Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gardening and Spring Cleaning

I have been quite the busy bee these past few days, as my Grandmother used to call me. I did  a lot of general house work, cleaning, decluttering, etc. Basically all (or most) of the tasks that have been put on the back burner.  I just haven't really been home that much because of work and trips away etc so I'm happy to say that many of the things that have been bugging me for some time got done and I feel quite accomplished as I type this albeit full of muscle aches because of the yard work, but they're good aches if you know what I mean. 


For me personally gardening is more therapeutic than running because I tend to think a lot about my problems and what I have to do later in the day when I run whereas with gardening all I'm focused on at the moment is what I'm doing with my hands so my mind just turns down the volume, if you will, and relaxes. I know I got a good workout because boy was I sore the next day..


I'm quite embarrassed to be showing you these before pictures because my yard, although small, really needed some work...I mean REALLY ... 


So I put on my gardening gloves and started weeding...and weeding some more.  I initially wanted to call a gardener to do the dirty work for me but it was a beautiful day out and I thought to myself, why do I have to pay someone when I am perfectly capable myself? Plus, it'll be good for me! So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. 

Why did I let it get this bad you ask? It's just not an area of our house that I'm particularly happy with I guess.  I don't do anything to the yard in the winter months and I wasn't home enough to deal with it since Spring arrived.  I just finally got around to it now.  I am definitely more of a flower person and when we moved in there were already all these fruit trees and its not like I want to uproot them but unfortunately there's not that much room for flowers so this is it for the time being. I guess this little area is still a work in progress. So for now... I just pulled out all the weeds. 


And it looks a whole lot better :-)


 While I was weeding, I did however find either a really thorny weed or a wild rose bush. So I just left it there. Who knows, I may get some flowers after all in my garden!

On another note, my kumquat tree is full of fruits! Don't really know what to do with them so I might just make a pie or some jam. We shall see. 


That pretty much covers the yard area. Now let's move onto the patio which I am quite happy with. 

We brought out the patio furniture and I stained the bench just to freshen it up a bit since it was looking rather weathered down. Here it is before.


And after two coats of stain voila'!


It looks much better now as the stain matches the other outdoor furniture. I also planted some beautiful red roses that I bought. I love adding flowers to the outdoor space but I'm not the best at watering so I just hope they don't die... Mental note: I need to be better at keeping my plants watered.  


Then I added some white geraniums by my front door and I love the look. Now that's a flower that doesn't need much TLC! Geraniums  smell beautifully and if you forget to water them once or twice they won't mind too much. So you know I stocked up on those LOL.


Here's my little helper holding down the fort  :-) 


We put up the gazebo but still have to get around to covering it. I can't wait to eat outside more now that the weather is nicer. 


Aren't those flowers pretty? Not too sure what they're called but they are gorgeous. I know they need a lot of water because by the end of the day they were already starting to wilt a little but as soon as I gave them some water they perked right back up. So I need to make sure to water them every day. 

Another project I've been putting off for way too long was deep cleaning my oven. I took care of that as well this past weekend and am super proud! The glass on the front door was BAD.  I would scrub and scrub but the grease and grime would just not budge! 

I found some tutorials online for removing the oven door and it really wasn't that hard. There are two little clamps at the bottom that you unlock and the door just comes right off. 


I was always so embarrassed about my dirty oven door and didn't even know where to begin on how to clean it thoroughly. I happened to have a can of this stuff lying around that I think my aunt bought me and it was fantastic. 


Here's a close up of the dirty oven glass. I am telling you that stuff was NOT budging no matter how hard I tried. 


So I followed the directions on the can and let the stuff sit for about an hour.


 I tried it without turning on the oven the first time but it didn't really work too well.  So I redid it again with the oven preheated and that's when the grime really started coming off. 


When I finished wiping everything down with a damp cloth, some water got in between the double glass door so I just took a yard stick wrapped with a clean towel and got in between the glass through the bottom and that took care of any streaks that were left in between the glass.  


I love how it turned out and it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Now I know exactly what to do so I'm not going to let my oven get so grimy. 


It feels great to get so much done and while sometimes all you want to do is sit on your bum and veg out other times it's good to roll your sleeves up and do the dirty work! I also find that it's much more rewarding if you do it yourself. 

Hope all is well with you all! Be back soon.

xoxo, 




Thursday, May 26, 2016

Loquat Crumble Pie



These are the loquats that I picked from my tree last weekend. I had no idea what to do with them at first and I knew I had to use them all or else they would go bad since they are completely organic and once picked they tend to go pretty fast.



I thought about making marmalade but again it probably wouldn't keep for that long since I wouldn't be using any preservatives so I kept looking for some ideas and I stumbled upon this...




Ok then! I decided to try making a loquat pie and see just how amazing they really are! 




...Pretty amazing I have to admit. 

Begin by peeling and de-seeding the loquats cutting them into fourths. This takes some time but it's not as bad as it seems. 


I used about 4 cups of loquats. Add to a pot with about 2 cups of water and let cook on medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes. 


Next make a mixture of:

 1 cup of sugar, 
1/2 cup of all purpose flour, 
1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 
1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
pinch of salt. 


Once the loquats are cooked through add the flour mixture and continue stirring until it thickens up nicely. 


After about a couple minutes the filling is ready. Set aside and let cool while you make the pie crust. My kitchen was smelling so good at this point and it was at that time I realized that this recipe was a keeper!



I used the pie recipe found here and used half of the ingredients because I only made the bottom portion of the pie crust and for the top I made a crumble crust by mixing 1 stick of room temperature butter, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Mix until crumbly and cover the pie. 



Bake in a preheated oven for 350° for 30 minutes. It you see the top start to brown too much cover with aluminum foil. 


I decorated with some powdered sugar and served with vanilla ice cream :-)


and with this I think I might have to agree with Kristen Stewart...loquats make the best pies!


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decor, gardening, DIY, inspiration and recipes

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Golden Afternoon



I debated on whether to write about the delicious Chicken Marsala I made this past weekend or posting about my garden.  I decided to share with you my outdoor space that unfortunately we haven't gotten around to using much yet because the temperature has dropped again.  



We had a few weeks of really warm - almost summer like - weather and now all of a sudden we're back to cold and rainy blah!  Saturday afternoon though was lovely so I was able to get a few shots of my blooming garden. 


This is my loquat tree and for the first time in the 5 years we've lived in our home it is full of fruits! They are still maturing but I can't wait to taste them. 


Above is another picture of my loquat Tree. 


Here you can see baby pomegranate's sprouting.  Can't wait to make some Pomegranate Martinis as soon as they mature!  It's a little early for that though... 


Above you can see some tart cherries starting to bud. Tart cherries are different than regular cherries in that they are smaller and more acidic. They are called "Amarene" in Italian and are great for making jam or used in baking pies. They are mainly native of Europe and Southwest Asia. They are still really tiny now so I will get a better picture once they mature. 


I also have two lemon trees but I'm having some problems with them... They used to grow so many more fruits but these past two years they haven't really been growing much. Not sure what the problem is.  I might have to call a gardener and see if they have some type of pest or disease. There is however a cement wall behind them so they might not be getting enough sun.  Not too sure what's going on there... 


Lastly I have a little kumquat tree. 

He's just a little guy but usually gives me lots of sweet citrusy goodness :-)  It's still early for him though. 

I also have a grapevine but didn't get any pictures. I'll make sure to get some pictures once it blooms.

Here is the rest of my outdoor space where we like to sit outside and take in the sunshine and just relax. 


My garden is behind the fence you see in the photo below. I know in the pictures above it seems like a big space to have all those trees but it really isn't that big. The trees are just close together. They were there when we moved in and I can't really say that I like them that way. I probably would have done things a bit differently.  I would have loved to add a rose garden. 


Here is a better view of the patio.


I got those front door planters for real cheap and I just love them. I added two hydrangea plants to add some color. I just hope they don't die on me...


Hope you enjoyed the tour of my garden and I'll be back soon with the Chicken Marsala recipe! 

PS - someone else wants to say hello



Hope you're having a great week :-)