Friday, April 28, 2017

Garden Friday

We've been enjoying watching these baby finches growing up.
Their parents fashioned a nest in the ideal spot,
under the cover of the front porch.
Not only does it do a great job of protecting them from the elements and predators,
it's the perfect location to do a bit of bird watching from inside the front door.

 We noticed in the last two days that the natives are getting restless.
From what we can see, there are at least four fledglings sharing the nest.
It's probably getting mighty crowded in there.

Here, Momma and Daddy are checking on the youngsters.
Whenever they approach, the mouths fly open,
awaiting some scrumptious morsel.
Hopefully, we will get to see them test their wings.


 Not too much going on in the garden these days.
Things are making slow progress,
and I'm in need of more containers to transplant some of these crops.

The tomatoes have really popped,
and I am looking forward to being able to make homemade gravy
with some homegrown San Marzano tomatoes.

Everything got a good dose of compost tea yesterday.

 The thyme recently sown is beginning to germinate.
This is one of my favorite herbs because it can be used 
in so many dishes.
The smell is heavenly.

Another container of snap peas was sown and has sprouted.
For some reason, in both containers,
only two of the four seeds have germinated.

 When checking on things in the side yard this weekend, 
we noticed that half of the apple tree in the backyard had fallen over.

The interior section had been badly damaged,
practically snapping it in half.
We think black ants were the culprits.

It was loaded with little green apples.
The man who came to cut off the fallen limbs said
that the tree could be as old as the house,
which is over 100 years old.
My friend Lynn even thought it could have been planted by
Johnny Appleseed.
Isn't that a delightful thought?

Half of it is still standing,
although with the damage so extensive,
we don't know if it will make it.
Time will tell if there will be any apples to be picked.

How's your spring garden coming along?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gettin' to Know Lincolnton

Lincolnton, NC Earth Day Event

Saturday was the perfect day to visit downtown Lincolnton,
a small community about 20 minutes from where we currently live. 
The event taking place was a combination of farmers' market,
art and craft show and Earth Day celebration.
Food trucks galore could be found and 
also featured were local vineyards and breweries.
There was truly something for everyone!

 An array of elegant boards, bowls, and trays were displayed by this vendor.
It's so inspiring to see folks showcase their various talents.

 This booth housed a variety of wooden toys, boxes and birdhouses.
Having recently moved from the Orlando area,
we especially enjoyed the Mickey and Minnie shacks.

These gorgeous birdhouses are made from wine corks
surrounding a frame made from cabinet grade plywood.
Built to last and attractive too.
Can't beat that combination!

These beautiful lunch sacks were hand sewn.
The insides are lined with insulating fabric,
to keep your food either warm or cold!

These birdhouses were a hoot.
They are fashioned from old beer and soda cans.
What a great salute to this Earth Day event!

Look at these brilliant pieces of yard art.
I could see adding a few of these to our new homestead.

 Benches line the sidewalks, 
a welcome respite for weary shoppers.


This old water meter cover caught my eye on the way out.
I just have an appreciation for stuff that's been around
longer than me.
a beautiful brick church in downtown Lincolnton

Many more events are upcoming in Lincolnton.
We enjoy the small town feeling
and look forward to visiting future festivals.

Did you do something special for Earth Day?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Garden Friday

We've had a marvelous mix of cool nights, sunshine and a blast of rain.
On Wednesday, it gently rained almost all day,
giving the garden a good dose of just what it needed.

I'm not sure if it's the season, or the rain, or a combination of things,
but the seedlings seemed to be very happy in their little containers. 
Yesterday, transplanting was in order.

Our side yard garden is making good progress.
I've been harvesting the Romaine lettuce for the last couple of weeks.

 The snap peas are tall enough to need staking.
Did you know you can eat the tendrils and leaves too?
It's a good idea to let them grow big and tall before using them.
They make a tasty addition to any salad.

 The bucket o'carrots is starting to fill in.
As soon as I get another large bucket, I will be sowing more.

 The first beets will be a welcome addition to the table.
We've planted both red and orange.
It's been a while since I've had home-grown.

 The broccoli doesn't mind being in a 5-gallon bucket.
There are a few more seedlings to find containers for.
I was hoping to acquire buckets from our local grocery store,
but they seldom have them available.
I'll need to find another resource.

 This styrofoam packing material came with a recent order.
It'll come in handy in the garden.

It gets broken into large pieces and placed in the buckets.
This allows us to use less potting soil,
which saves us money and also keeps the pots lighter 
in case they need to be moved. 
It also keeps the soil from washing out of the containers.

We should have an abundance of lettuce to harvest in a few weeks!

 Another task that needed attention 
was the transplanting of these sunflowers.
We used our toilet paper rolls to sow the seeds.

They always germinate well.
These are the Mammoth sunflower variety.

The only thing you need to remember 
is to unfold the bottom before placing it in the hole.
This allows the roots to find their way into the soil.

Some got planted this way in the front of the house.
We will most likely add them in a few other spots
and use the direct sowing method.
Sunflowers are one of the easiest things to grow at this time of year.
They make a great first impression on young gardeners,
especially when they mature and tower over them!

This beautiful jasmine bush frames the front porch.
The smell is heavenly.
I'll have to remember to collect some seeds to take with us when we move.

What's growing in your garden on this fine spring day?



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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kitchen Sink Pasta (Vegan option)

Wednesday night is pasta night around here.
Being of Italian descent, it was a staple growing up
and it is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.
This is called "Kitchen Sink Pasta" because it is concocted
with everything and anything leftover in the fridge.
In just 30 minutes, a delicious meal can be had.

As the pasta was cooking (20 minutes), 
I reserved about 1/4 cup of the liquid to add later.
After draining the pasta, I threw in 2 fresh tomatoes (diced) into a little olive oil,
some salt and Italian seasoning,  2 cloves of garlic, the reserved cooking liquid and about 1/4 C vegetable stock.
This got simmered until the tomatoes started to break down (8 minutes).
The pasta got added back in to the pot and I threw in
some cooked white beans, goat cheese (omit for vegan option) and steamed broccoli.

We didn't add any other type of cheese, 
but you certainly could top this with some parmesan or nutritional yeast to keep it vegan.
Any of your favorite goodies can be added for a combination your family will love.
The bonus is that this tastes even better the second day.

What's your favorite pasta medley?

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Going Local-Memory Lane Museum

Big K had the day off yesterday,
so we decided to pay a visit to this museum that we pass all the time
going back and forth to Mooresville.
The Memory Lane Museum is located about 30 minutes north of Charlotte,
but only about 10 minutes from where we are staying.

Inside the expansive warehouse,
we found a treasure trove of vintage automobiles and memorabilia 
as far as the eye could see.

With over 150 exhibit pieces,
the motor enthusiast is sure to find something that floats their boat.
Race cars, motorcycles, toy cars and vintage automobiles
are some of the gems you'll find here.

Here's an old milk delivery truck,
which must have taken over after the horse-drawn carts were discontinued.

Quite a number of these antique cars were used in movies
that were shot locally.

A slew of early stock cars were available to enjoy.

Here's a whimsical creation based on the US space vehicles.

One of my favorite things was this wall of pedal car tractors.
Imagine all the fun that was had by the weest of farmers.

There were a ton of vintage bikes as well.
These bicycles were works of art back in the day.

This is The Whizzer, which was based on the earliest of motorcycles.
It's a gas-powered bicycle.
These types of bikes are still available today, although they are not street legal.

These roller skates bring back memories.
Every kid on our block had these kind
that attached to their gym shoes sneakers.
No one wore helmets or knee pads.
Those were the days, huh?

Remember the old coke machines
that had the glass bottles inside the door?
That was when soda was a once in a while treat.

Another fun field trip,
especially for my two "car guys".
We love getting to know our new state,
one museum at a time.
If you're in the area, feel free to call for more information at (704)662-3673.

Other Going Local posts:
Hardware Upgrade 
New Library