Wednesday, September 18, 2019

More Monarch Butterflies emerged in our NJ garden! #monarchmigration #gardenchat

photo by Harry Wind - edited by Diana Wind
Dorian was born! 
Dorian's chrysalis bobbed back and forth beneath a protective milkweed leaf as winds from Hurricane Dorian passed us along the Jersey coast after battering the Bahamas. As days passed by and the winds passed, Mother nature's course continued. The leaf started curling and browning. It probably wasn't the best idea to form a chrysalis under a milkweed leaf.  Amazingly, no other caterpillars ate that leaf and this story has a happy ending.

Dorian was born! As the sun warmed the morning air, this beautiful Monarch butterfly crawled out of the chrysalis. Nearby, another beauty did too. Yes, two more adult Monarchs to join the 2019 Monarch migration.

Harry noticed that they literally hung out around their chrysalis' mid-morning for a few hours while their wings dried. Learning about the amazing life cycle of Monarch butterflies has been the highlight of our summer. Dorian took 15 days to eclose (emerge). All I can say is, plant Milkweed and they will come. 

Happy Monarch Watching!
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 6, 2019

@monarchwatch @SaveOurMonarchs @journeynorthorg Our milkweed meadow monarch watch update #monarchbutterfly

Our Milkweed Meadow
Monarch Report
My last post talked about the many monarch caterpillars we have this summer thanks to allowing milkweed to grow in our front yard. In the USA, monarch butterfly populations have been declining rapidly due to habitat loss of mainly milkweed. Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive. We grow it just for the monarchs.

We love milkweed's pleasant fragrance; it's a native plant. And, you do not need a green thumb to grow it. Any homeowner can grow it. Ours grows in a small area that we don't mow or water - basically, a mini (pocket) meadow.
This morning I went out to look for a monarch caterpillar that I noticed Sept. 2nd, hanging under a milkweed leaf in the classic "J" shape - shown in the top photo. And, sure enough, the caterpillar must have shed it's skin soon after I saw it and produced an outer green protective, thimble-sized, pupa (chrysalis) in perfect form. 

Wow! Super exciting to see; and, beautiful too. I never realized chrysalis have a sparkly gold band at the top. I also discovered another chrysalis hanging from a branch in a nearby shrub. 

When metamorphosis is complete, a spectacular monarch butterfly will emerge and join the others in a captivating fall migration. These special, fourth generation, monarch butterflies live the longest. This generation of south-bound butterflies travel over 2,000 miles to their over-wintering destination high up in the mountains of Central Mexico. And, when winter is over, they turn around and fly back to the USA - absolutely an amazing journey.

Updates: 9/15/19- The good news is the chrysalis under the milkweed leaf is still hanging. The bad news is that the leaf is shriveling up and dying now and won't last much longer. ...Come on butterfly... come on!! I just saw a monarch butterfly, but it wasn't this one. I have been watching 2 other chrysalis too; 3 in all. The one in the sun on a shrub branch has beads of sweat on it and you can see the darker butterfly wings inside! 

9/16/19- Guess What? Harry said the chrysalis on the shrub was dark in color this morning. By the time I got home from work, later in the day, the monarch was gone! The other 2, including the chrysalis on the dying milkweed leaf, have turned darker in color and look ready now too. My bet is sometime in the morning. I also saw another caterpillar! The Monarch life cycle is fascinating.

Related Links
Journey South
Monarch Butterflies Migrate 3,000 miles  
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 2, 2019

@monarchwatch Success! Monarch caterpillars all over our milkweed meadow. Yay! #savethemonarchs

Grow a Milkweed Meadow 
for Monarch Success!

Our pocket meadow is proving to be a huge success! Harry's Meadow covers a small piece of our front lawn that we decided not to mow. With a little encouragement and select weeding, common milkweed is flourishing. Milkweed leaves are where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. When monarch caterpillars emerge, they are at the table of their only food source - milkweed. 

A few weeks ago we enjoyed watching and photographing monarch butterflies. We have had a banner year for butterflies - more than ever! Some of the attraction may be that our yard now has many plants that are good nectar sources, including: Milkweed, Joe Pye weed, Echinacea, Liatris and Mexican Sunflowers. 

A few weeks ago, monarch butterflies mated and laid their eggs. Now, we are seeing lots of monarch caterpillars (larvae stage) on the milkweed plants eating the leaves. 

These feeding monarch caterpillars take 10-14 days to molt (5-stages) and grow before leaving the caterpillar larva stage. 

After the larva stage comes the pupa stage, when their chrysalis hangs camouflaged somewhere. It takes another 10-14 days to develop into beautiful monarch butterflies. These late summer monarchs are the 4th generation that join the monarch migration to over-winter in Central Mexico!

Our meadow didn't start out as all milkweed. The area has been invaded by Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), an undesirable, invasive weed. We continue to pull it out to make room for milkweed to spread.  

Along with monarch caterpillars we also have lots of orange milkweed bugs. We decided to leave the bugs alone and let them do their thing. They seem to be coexisting on the milkweed plants along with the feasting caterpillars. Yesterday, I stopped counting at 11 caterpillars and one monarch butterfly!

I have been looking around the meadow for where the caterpillars may go to form their monarch chrysalis for metamorphosis. I noticed a caterpillar hanging straight down from a dying Queen Anne's lace plant. Could this be the chrysalis spot for that caterpillar?

In searching for more information I came across the links below that I found helpful. And, I joined and reported our sightings on Journey North.

Happy Gardening and Monarch Watching!

Related Links
Monarch Life Cycle
Monarch Biology
Advocate to your elected officials

update 9/2/19: the hanging caterpillar from the Queen Anne's lace plant was dead. Not sure what killed it. The good news is that today I did spot a live monarch caterpillar going into the pupa stage underneath a milkweed leaf.

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.Top photo of monarch caterpillar on leaf edge was also posted on Journey North who was given permission for use.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Discover new flavors and tastes of fruits and veggies at your local Farmers' Market #GardenCuizine #GroundCherries

Ground Cherries 
Strawberry Husk Tomatoes

Have you ever tasted Ground Cherries, Physalis pruinosa (Strawberry Husk Tomatoes)? I came across them yesterday in our local NJ Farmers' Market in the Burlington County Agriculture Center. I remember hearing about them when I was a writer for Dave's Garden.

The vendor described them as yellow tomatoes. I noticed that they had a papery looking husk, similar to a tomatillo, and asked her, "How could they be tomatoes?" She picked out one from the container and pinched the paper covering at the bottom. A small yellow tomato emerged; she let me taste it. 

Wow! The sweet, pleasant flavor surprised me. I can't really describe it other than it was good! Some describe the taste as a tropical blend of mango and pineapple. The yellow-looking tomato was small, about the same size as a Petit Moineau currant tomato.

Harry thought the skins were thick and chewy. I ate the whole fruit, and so did Mom, who is a picky eater. I guess you would just have to taste them for yourself and see what you think. I would buy them again. 

I may save some seeds to try and grow them next season. If you want to buy seeds, they are readily available from heirloom seed companies.
 

Ground Cherries get a thumbs up from me and Mom! I'm sure they would taste great in baked goods, jams, jellies and sauces.

Enjoy Discovering New Fruits and Vegetables!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Ground Cherries: 1 ounce (28g, about 14 or 1 handful): 15 calories, 3 mg Vitamin C (5% DV), 202 IU Vitamin A (4%DV), Niacin 3.8 mg (4% DV), only 3g total carbohydrates

Related Links
Grandma Ott's Ground Cherry Jam
Freezing Ground Cherries

Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

More birds and blooms! #gardening #naturephotography

Backyard Birds and Blooms!

Shown above sits a magnificent Ruby-throated hummingbird; she let me take her portrait yesterday. Female hummingbirds feature a beautiful iridescent back; they don't have a ruby red-colored throat like males do. 

Birds love perching on tomato stakes! We have red cannas planted along our garden border that attracts hummingbirds.
swallowtails galore on our peanut butter shrub blooms
We've been having a daily parade of butterflies in our gardens lately. And, we're seeing a high showing of monarchs too! Yay! I'm thinking that Harry's native garden meadow has been a major attraction since it features common milkweed - a monarch favorite.
All pollinators especially love Joe Pye Weed!
Bee Happy!
Bluejays love peanuts!
To make a garden for wildlife in your yard, simply add bird feeders, fresh water sources, nesting areas and native plants. If you're like us, you will really enjoy watching the many kinds of songbirds and wildlife that your gardens will attract.

Happy Gardening!


Related links
Garden for Wildlife

photographs and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Echineacea blooms attract butterflies! #naturephotography

To attract birds and butterflies we added six more pink native Echinacea to our front yard garden. The bunnies trimmed a few for us; but, left us a few with buds. One just started blooming! We've been enjoying the butterflies that Echinacea attracts.
Shown above was a female Monarch visitor yesterday. This morning we spotted an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on that particular bloom. Before the season is over we will surely see bright yellow goldfinches too; they also love Echineacea pupurea coneflowers.

Happy Gardening!


Related Links
How to identify a Monarch butterfly

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kayaking lesson in NJ Pinelands with Harry! @PinesAdventures @PinesAlliance #fun #physicalactivity

Smile Harry!
Harry and I learned basic kayaking skills in an introductory 3-hour class yesterday hosted by Pinelands Adventures in Shamong, NJ. No one in our group tipped over. If we can do it, you can do it! The weather was perfect too, as you can see in the photos. For us, this great outdoor activity was even a better workout than canoeing.

We decided to try kayaking since our canoe is too big for some of the twisting and turning rivers here in NJ. A smaller, 8-13 foot kayak can better maneuver than a 16.5 foot canoe.

Before we began, as with any outdoor sport in the summer, we made sure to start with eating a hearty breakfast. We took our hiking water bottles filled with plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated in the hot afternoon sun. We also packed bananas for a healthy snack along with good 'ol PB and J for lunch. 

Here is a really short video clip that I took during a break while floating on the water. There were songbirds, turtles and lots of yellow blooming water lilies.
We practiced our newly learned paddle strokes on Paradise lake, a calm, quiet and peaceful, private lake that was once a cranberry bog. Special thanks to John Volpa for teaching us.
 
This was our third event at Pinelands Adventures. We look forward to going back for more fun and adventures. Maybe our next trip will be a self-guided kayak paddling trip.
Photos, video and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Our tallest flowering plant; blooming now through fall! Cup plant #gardening #nativeplants

Cup plant Blooms

Daisy-like, yellow, native garden Cup plants
(Silphium perfoliatum) are blooming now through fall in our NJ garden. Cup plants grow even taller than Jerusalem Artichokes, which are tall too. We have them both growing together on the edge of our veggie garden.


Cup plants prefer wet soil, but can grow in average soil. With all the rain we've been having, our Cup plants are thriving; they grow as tall as 9 feet!

The name comes from the way the leaves wrap around the thick stems making a "cup" that water collects in. A little watering hole for birds and insects.

Photograph and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine #gardening CANCER WARNING on my gardening gloves... say what?

Today in Our Garden
July 14, 2019

We've had a great gardening weekend, as always! I was hoping to attend Pat Sutton's garden tour yesterday, but we didn't get our reply registered in time. Maybe we will make it next year. As it turned out we got a lot done in our own wildlife friendly, native garden.

We added a few new stepping stones in Harry's Native Pocket Meadow. Recently, we have been diligently weeding out invasive mugwort. 

Check out the video I posted on Twitter this morning. Click here. Native plants in the video include: Hairy Mountain Mint, Woodland Sunflower, Blazing Star Liatris, Echinacea and Big Blue Stem grass.

Our lizards weren't out yet at the time of my video. We have lizards everywhere in the front and back yard. They are friendly and like the sound of human voices. They wait until the concrete stones are nice and hot from the sun before they emerge from their hiding places. I did get another video clip with a Lizzy. Stay tuned. I'll post it asap.

Yesterday, we got the supplies we were looking for; Harry replaced another rotted out raised bed. Raised beds made w/wood don't last forever. Wood rots and gets termites. We had some cedar planks that rotted and needed to be replaced. We bought concrete corner pieces and wood at Home Depot for the new bed (shown in photo above).

I also bought a much needed pair of new garden gloves. I was shocked that they came with a cancer warning!! Say what? ...Go figure, a cancer warning on gardening gloves! I found that really strange. I got the gloves at Home Depot and they said: WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov on the label. Had I read the label before I got them I would not have gotten them. I still have no idea what in the world is in my gardening gloves that could lead to cancer. Why would Home Depot even carry them? "Made in China"...

I took Mom out for a garden tour today! She hasn't been out back in a while. Here are a few photos of our outing. Lots of butterflies and blooms; we had fun!
 Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 28, 2019

@JerseyFreshNJDA Blueberry season is here! #GardenCuizine @blueberry411 #FindJerseyFresh #JerseyFresh

My Handful of Blues
Good Source Vitamin C

How do you like my handful of blueberries? Harry took this pic last weekend just before we washed the blueberries and froze them. We always get a case or two from Trinity Church's annual Blueberry Festival in Moorestown, NJ. 


Now is the best time to stock up on blueberries. Fresh blueberries taste great in fruit smoothies and add nutrients to so many recipes. This morning we enjoyed Harry's homemade, gluten-free blueberry pancakes for breakfast!

Blueberry season began June 15th and continues through August 15th. Be sure to pick up your Jersey Blues and enjoy. Blueberries provide a good source of Vitamin C and many other healthful nutrients.

Blueberry Nutrition: 2 ounces: 32 calories, 1.4g dietary fiber (6% DV), 5.4 mg Vitamin C (10% DV), 8.2g carbohydrates, 43 mg potassium (2% DV), plus other nutrients!

Related Links
Blueberries Health Research

Photograph and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Why does it always rain when the Irises bloom? #gardenchat #gardencuizine

It Always Rains 
when the Irises Bloom!
Today is another chilly, rainy day in our Jersey garden. It's so cool, we even had a fire last night! I'll never complain about rain; but, why does it always rain when the irises bloom? Have you ever noticed that? 

For those of you who don't grow Iris, the blooms can get so heavy from the rain drops, they often tip over! This year is a stellar season for our Iris.
Carpet of Petals!
Our Kwanzan cherry tree blooms were amazing too. The flowers never last long enough though. The delicate petals fall off in mass like a pink snowfall and cover everything! It was a beautiful sight. Even the bird bath under that tree was full of pink! 

And, speaking of pink, Harry and I missed the Komen More than Pink walk yesterday in Philly. The weather was awful. All donations still counted. If you want to donate, Google "Senior Stars Komen walk Philly" and you will get my fund raising page. Our goal was $500.00. We still have a long way to go.
After several failed attempts, one black pussy willow shrub is finally well established. We have it planted near a bird bath so it gets water when the BB is refreshed. We got the plant from a Dave's Garden swap long ago. I miss those special events. The catkins are interesting when you look closely at them. Salix is an early bloomer and one of our first shrubs to bloom.

Wygelias, Tulip tree, Azaleas and Viburnums are blooming now.
Perennial Helebores and Baptisia are still blooming. The plant shown was from a DG swap too! Money plants and Easter plants like hyacinths, daffodils and tulips are all finished blooming now. 

Pink and white wave petunias and pink cascading geraniums will be planted in coconut fiber lined hanging baskets. Annuals will bring you joy all summer long!

As for our veggies, I didn't grow as many plants from seeds this year. I did plant our usual heirlooms that are hard to find at garden centers. They are now on my "to do list" to get them in the ground. 


In the next few weeks we will lug the bags of canna tubers up from the basement. They need to get in the ground asap too. 

We most likely will have extra heirloom tomatoes and cannas that will be offered for a good will donation at the Trinity Church, Moorestown, NJ, Blueberry Festival - June 21 at 5:00 pm. Come visit us!

What's growing in your garden?

Happy Gardening!

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wnd. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Dad's Pickled Beets with Eggs #GardenCuizine Brain Health #recipe

Dad's Pickled Beets with Eggs
Growing up, I remember loving pink, hard cooked eggs. The eggs were served family style in a bowl with pickled beets that Dad made. Funny, all these years gone by since his passing (RIP Dad) and I've never made pickled beets and eggs until now. I made them using last week's leftover hard cooked eggs and 3 whole beets in the cooking liquid that I saved from my kid's "Brain Health" cooking class.
  • Eggs contain many beneficial nutrients, including: protein, Vitamin D and Choline. Choline is good for brain health.
To make Pickled Beets with Eggs, cook however many eggs and beets you want to use. One medium beet per person works well. You can use canned beets, but it is so easy to cook your own. Or, better yet, grow your own! 

Whole beets are readily available in the produce section in markets. Simply cut the tops off (compost or use the greens in another recipe), leaving a 1/2-inch on the beet. Rinse and place unpeeled beets in a saucepan. Cover with plenty of water and boil until tender when pierced. Refrigerate. (I leave the cooked beets whole in the cooking liquid until ready to peel and eat.)

Ingredients

Hard cooked eggs

Cooked, peeled, sliced beets 
Beet water - reserved from cooking
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Putting it all together
  1. Peel your cooked eggs and add to a large mason jar
  2. In a medium sized pot, add sliced beets and their cooking liquid
  3. Add the vinegar, sugar and cinnamon; bring to a boil, gently stir to combine
  4. Reduce heat to simmer; when the cinnamon looks blended in an all combined, turn off heat. Allow to cool at least 15 min. before transferring to the egg jar. 
  5. Let sit another 10-15 min. to color eggs. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve family style at the table.
If you're eating the beets at a meal, they taste great served warm or cold. Save your leftovers! 

I don't like the eggs soaked overnight in the beet liquid; they soak up too much natural color. Save leftover naturally dyed eggs in a separate container without liquid. Pink eggs make a healthy snack!

Enjoy!

Nutrition Data Beets: 1/2 cup slices (85g): 37 calories; 8.5g total carbohydrate; Dietary Fiber 2g; Folate 68 mcg (17% DV); Potassium 259mg (7% DV) plus other nutrients
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring is in the air! @PhilaFlowerShow #flowerpower @PHSGardening @FTDWorldCup2019

Philadelphia Flower Show
2019

Did you attend this year's Philadelphia Flower Show? Harry and I went on Friday. The show ran from March 2 - 10, 2019 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 


A highlight this year for us was the new amateur photography competition! We will be sure to enter in 2020! As for the rest of the show? 

In comparing 2019 with past shows, at first, we were disappointed. It seemed like there was more open space. I thought PHS could have done so much more with the theme "Flower Power". My expectation of Flower Power was different than PHS's intent. 
My interpretation of the "Flower Power" theme was all about the late '60's, early '70's anti-Vietnam war movement, which was indeed captured in a few displays. We joined the crowds who gravitated to take selfies and photos in front of a huge, floral studded (sunflowers and roses etc), PEACE sign and the City of Brotherly LOVE exhibits.
Another display that fit my expectation of "Flower Power" had a glistening guitar in a purple plant  arrangement on a colorful, tie-die table cloth featuring a Jimmy Hendrix album. I guess we expected more music, peace signs and tie die. And, maybe even a flower power painted VW beetle. Instead, we saw a brand new, dreamy, white Subaru.

Indeed, there was more to it; "Flower Power" was not just about the Flower Power movement. That was only a part of the big picture.

The 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show theme was also about how flowers inspire and enrich our lives in ways of healing, community, hope, transformation and peace. 

Upon learning that, the very touching Sara's Smiles foundation exhibit all made more sense as to fitting in perfectly with the theme. The story of little Sara is sad. She passed away at age 5 from brain cancer. Sara's Smiles foundation helps other children battling cancer.

I also found it fascinating to learn about the presenting sponsor, Main Line Health. They include the healing power of plants at their facilities. Patients can experience a wellness garden and a sensory garden with aromatherapy. Wow! All hospitals should consider doing this.
The big "missed it..." for us at the 2019 Philadelphia Flower show was that we walked right by PHS's major event feature - the FTD World Cup! How did we miss this? When we walked in to the staging area it was dimly lit with TV monitors high overhead and adjacent to the stage; unfortunately, we didn't stay long enough to learn what was happening.

Turns out, what was happening was the most major event for floral designers around the world; the FTD World's Cup! The event had not been held in the US since 1985 so it was a big deal for Philadelphia.

Floral designers traveled from 23 countries to compete. Bart Hassam of Australia won with his gorgeous arrangements. His largest display featured green blooms and heleconia. To see more, take a look at the below videos with Swedish floral designer/Master of Ceremonies, Per Benjamin and Alicia Vitarelli from channel 6.

Hervé Frézal from France used lots of asparagus in his organic design. And, the Mexican designer, Leopoldo Gómez, incorporated another favorite of mine, protea, in his design. He also used dried gourds for his flower vases rather than the more commonly used glass tubes.

Glass always catches my eye. We passed this on the way to the butterfly exhibit.
We never did make it to the butterfly exhibit; it was super crowded and the waiting line looked really long. We opted to spend all our time in the main hall and passed on the butterflies. Maybe next year! By 2020, we'll be ready for a Riviera Holiday!

Related Links
Video 2019 FTD World Cup Round One
Video 2019 FTD World Cup Round Two
Video 2019 FTD World Cup Round Three 
Video 2019 FTD World Cup Saturday afternoon 
Video 2019 FTD Semifinals part one
Video 2019 FTD Semifinals part two
Video 2019 FTD Semifinals

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Healthy Kids Snacks educational story video #GardenCuizine @CUMaurice #eaglesknowbest #preventdiabetes

Provide Kids Healthy Snacks to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Diabetes

Over the past few years New Jersey's endangered American Bald Eagles have made a strong return, especially in South Jersey, not too far from where I work in Cumberland county. 

American Bald Eagles get illustrated in story telling and are the symbol of strength and power featured in designs on the US National seal, passports and money.

The recovering Bald Eagle population is wonderful news. Especially for bird watching enthusiasts, biologists and environmentalists who knew that Eagles had rapidly declined after pesticide use of DDT in the 1950's through 1972 when it was finally banned. 

According to Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, there was only one Eagle's nest left in NJ by1982. Since then a lot of people have worked hard to save the American Eagle from extinction.

Today, majestic Bald Eagles can be seen soaring throughout the state of NJ, usually near water. The majority fly near their huge nests, built in tall trees, along the Delaware Bay in Salem and Cumberland counties. Eagles lay their eggs right now, from mid February to early March.

Harry and I were thrilled to tour that beautiful area with the group Citizens United Maurice River. The winter morning we went was misty and cold. As we looked across the wetlands, three, white, mute swans photo-bombed my attempt at photographing Eagles! That photo turned out to be one of my favorite pictures, "Misty Mute Swans Soaring South Jersey Wetlands."

Anyway, the CDC story below caught my attention since it includes a wise Eagle. It is taken from one of a series of Eagle books written by Georgia Perez. She features Native American children (who have high risk for diabetes), Miss rabbit, a tricky coyote and a wise Bald Eagle. 
  • Mr. Eagle encourages the children to drink water instead of soda and to select healthy snacks like carrots and cherries instead of chips and cookies.
  • Eating a healthy diet along with exercise has been shown to help prevent childhood obesity and related diseases like diabetes.
  • Bald Eagles know best about good snack choices. We can all learn skills from Mr. Eagle on how to better navigate the environment when others (coyotes) tempt us with tricky treats.
This story inspires me to inquire about being a vendor at the Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival next February in 2020. Keep learning about Eagles and the importance of protecting their habitat. And, remember that healthy food choices help to prevent childhood obesity and diabetes.

Related Links
Conserve Wildlife Endangered Species


Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. Tricky Treats video story illustrations are by Patrick Rolo and Lisa A. Fifield. United States Seal image courtesy of Wikipedia. Public Domain.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Spicy Candied Almonds #GardenCuizine #SuperBowl #Snack

Spicy Candied Almonds

Candied nuts with cinnamon and spice give your body nutrition while providing flavor to your taste-buds. A few is all you need to satisfy and serve as a stand alone snack. For those who can safely eat nuts, spiced nuts make a welcomed homemade gift from your kitchen. I made these at Christmas and just made another batch for Super Bowl Sunday snacking!

Ingredients

2 cups lightly salted whole almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (or more!) ground hot peppers from your garden (or store bought cayenne)
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

Putting it all together

preheat oven to 375 deg F

Spread the almonds onto a foil-lined baking sheet; bake 5 min
Remove from oven and set aside to cool
  • In a medium bowl, sift sugar with spices
  • Add water and vanilla; stir to combine
  • Stir in nuts; save the foil lined cookie sheet
On stove-top, medium heat, preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet
when hot, add nut mixture
  • Cook 3 min, mixture will get bubbly
  • Stir
  • Cook another 3 minutes
Spread onto the foil lined baking sheet
Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight baggie - I let them sit overnight

Serve with other healthy snacks such as fruits, cheese and/or veggies and dip.

Enjoy!
Related Links
My Instagram post
Healthy Super Bowl Party Recipes
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Rain Rain Go Away #NJrain #recordrainfall

When it Rains, it Pours

As of December 29th, the precip in the State of New Jersey was expected to go above 63.25 inches, making it our wettest year on record! On average, NJ’s statewide annual precipitation is 46.36 inches.

We just repaired a few leaks in our home; in the basement and on the roof. I'm not surprised at NJ's record breaking rainfall. Summer of 2018 was so wet. We didn't really need a rain barrel; we had more than enough water for the garden.

Inside, our basement sump pumps are pumping away; leaving us no choice, but to helplessly watch as the water table rises. Water is now visible and creeping along the cracks and corners of the concrete floor.

Outside, wildlife, hibernating critters and feral cats continue to go about their business of surviving the cold, wet winter. With global warming, could this be our new normal? Soggy ground and muddy garden areas haven't had a chance to dry out in between the frequent rain. 

Garden raised beds have green moss growing on the tops of the end caps and the wood is turning moldy green. Even the surrounding garden fence is turning green!

With more water, I wonder if we will get tree frogs when the weather warms? I love their trills and voices in nature. If higher than normal rainfalls continue, I'm sure that tropical plants will thrive. We have some, but will consider planting more moisture loving plants and tropicals such as:
 
Cannas - our dug up rhizomes from last year were huge from all the rain!

Watercress, Lepidium sativum
Parsley, Petroselinum crispum
Joe Pye weed, Eupatorium perfoliatum
Swamp sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius
Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
Japanese iris, Iris ensata
Pickerel weed, Pontederia cordata
Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris
Obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana

After all, it is winter; I'd rather have rain or snow. I hope that we do not get freezing rain like we have the past few years. It was so awful to watch and hear the cracking sounds of established white pine branches snap and fall to the ground.

Related Links
Perennials for Wet Soil
Resource
https://www.njweather.org/content/top-ten-new-jersey-weather-and-climate-events-2018

Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.