Friday, December 19, 2014

Orange You Glad?

I've long been interested in the DIY, the Do it Yourselfer Lifestyle. I haven't been content to just go & buy something at the store. If you've spent anytime reading my blog, or my arty blog, you might have picked up on this, a time or seven, maybe? Not only did I teach myself to loom knit, but I took the time to unlock the secrets of making or creating my very own yarn, and not just any yarn, but banana yarn. From yes, banana trees. So not only eco-friendly in that no animals were hurt, no extra pollution in the feeding, cleaning up after those animals, but also eco-friendly in that after the banana tree (actually a grass) is cut down, there is another product created from it. Banana yarn. You can read more about that on my other blog.



This blog is generally reserved for recipes or ideas I have for good, wholesome yummy vegan food. I had planned on it being a place where I could also post restaurant reviews, I had big plans on going & checking out every vegan place possible in the 508, 413, 617 area codes. I have children tho,three of them now, count them, one, two, three, and for the longest time traveling with them was unbearable. Thank you, Amazon Kindle, you have saved my life. Now that they are more content traveling longer distances, I hope to begin making up that deficit. And soon!



So why all the photos of tangerines and tangerine juice? Because I'm not content to buy plain old, boring orange juice in a bottle from the store. One reason, did you know orange juice or any juice, rather, is boiled, stored in huge vats, for over a year, then flavored, bottled and shipped to your local store? MMM, that sounds good, right? Yeah. No. I didn't think you'd like knowing that either. It's true. Let you fingers do the walking. I began this journey by buying a juicer, so I could make my children juice. Just a little vintage, green glass juicer from the consingment shop. Nothing fancy. Probably made in the 1920's.



Like with most things, seeing tangerines or satsumas growing in Tower Hill Botanical Gardens intrigued me. If they can do it there, why not me? Why not my home? I'll you why not you or not me. Certainly not me. Light. You need oooooodles of light to make citrus happy. But that didn't stop me. I read "in the winter, bring them indoors, put them in a sunny window & they will thrive." That's it. That's all the research I did. I was sold. Signed. Sealed. Delivered. I waited for an off season sale, ordered, waited with burning anticipation till spring (just like every year) and I was off and running. After a little stress or shock to the lovely Meyer Lemon tree I purchased, I thought all was going well.



I was wrong, the second shock or stress when I brought the Meyer Lemon (Thank you Martha S. for introducing me to the Meyer Lemon, I'll blame you! ;) ) in after a chillier summer than I can ever remember, I believe I killed it. Probably too much food, too little light, too little water? Bugs?? Who knows, really? But once again, I was not daunted. I had already purchased a Key Lime tree at this point. I think it might be dying too, but I'm still seeing green and trying to save it. Then I purchased four, the Fab Four citrus trees. One Nagami Kumquat, one Moro Blood Orange, One Thai Lime and a Calamondin Orange too. Oh and I bought them right in the middle of winter too. You know that Massachusetts isn't that far off from Sweden, right? I mean geographically we're petty far away from each other, but there is a reason there are so many Irish & Nordic descendents in this part of the country. Lack of light in the winter. Cold. Snow. Short lovely summers. Just like home! ;)



But that didn't stop the Victorians from bringing citrus from Japan and China. It sure hasn't stopped me from trying and trying and adding more and more and more features to my indoor garden. I started with one seedling mat, got another one, got four lights, added another one.. and more and more and more.. It's neverending over here. I am almost ready to get more lights & add another seed mat. I gotta just move the kitchen table to the living room. My kitchen has a glass slider to the back patio, so this is the perfect spot to move the citrus over to, once the fair weather returns.



During the issues with my Meyer Lemon, I looked on Facebook and found a group dedicated to growing citrus plants. I have learned soooooo much from them & met so many nice people! I'm very thankful for all their help! FINALLY feel like I'm going or growing in the right way with my citrus trees. I also learned there that Logee's Fruit for Home and Garden is practically right down my street! Who knew? I had thought I would have to order them all via USPS etc and worry about them getting a chill. Now I can just drive on down & pick them up in my nice, warm car!

Check out this cool video tour of Logee's:



About a week ago now, I took the family down to Logee's. We were given a nice little tour. I explained the predicament I was having with the Nagami Kumquat I had recently purchased. They helped me, even tho I didn't get it from there. My photos online were making it look like Citrus Greening, and since that is a very dangerous disease for citrus, I wrapped it in a plastic bag & pretended it was filled with a deadly poison. Had the co-owner look at it. He said it was probably a little chill, shock from the ride from MI. to MA., maybe it needed some iron. I picked up some fertilizers & took them home. I've now fed everyone a bit of iron. Figured I'd hit em all just in case. No need for any of the trees getting grumpy on me.

My Citrus trees on their heat mat:



My Poncirus Trifoliata a friend sent me, (below photo) that I grew from seed. This is an "orange" tree that grows wild in some areas in the USA, and even far up to Canada. You can go to Boston & see it growing too. It's a bitter orange, you can eat it, but it's like I said, bitter. Very seedy, maybe good like adding one of them to some really sweet orange juice to kind of balance it, and get the great health benefits from it. It is mainly used now as a rootstock to make citrus trees hardier. The Japanese & Chinese use it in herbal, healing medicine, also another subject right up my alley. Some people do use them in the yards. It's very thorny, think railroad spike! Good for keeping the vampires away!



Now with new bandmates, the Fab Four Citrus Trees have new pals!



A friend was selling some of his citrus trees recently and I snapped them up! The variegated one is called Fortunella, it's a Nagami Kumquat Hybrid. Green with stripes, orange when ripened. Very very pretty tree. The other is a Cara Cara Navel. This is the orange juice orange. YUM! Since my Meyer Lemon died, I've been planning on replacing it, but I drink lemon water every morning (One whole organic lemon freshly squeezed into a tepid glass of water.) and once I met the Mother Lemon at Logee's, I changed my mind. I might get a baby Meyer from them too sometime. But I am really really excited about getting a Ponderosa Lemon to join the orchard next. I have really high ceilings in the living room here, figure it can grow like the dickens. I'll just get another light. From what I've heard, the electric company won't mind. ;)



Thank you for stopping by. You can leave comments in the comment area or join the Indoor Citrus Group on FB.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

UnSelfish



I am creating a book of #Selfies, but I want them to be special ones. Ones of you & your rescued or adopted pet. I am looking into a couple of different options for publishing the book or self publishing it. I am planning on having a portion of the proceeds to be donated to a charity. I have been donating for years to various organizations via my etsy shop. I thought this was another fun way to give back & help spread the good news about adopting a pet or rescuing one. A rescue organization is who I'm hoping to help out. I will update more later when I find the organization to benefit & the percentage of funds going to help them in their great, but hard work. You can email the photos & your rescue or adoption story to my email address if you'd like to get in on the action. hskoconnorATgmaildotcom is the place. Use the subject line: Unselfish. I cannot promise everyone will get into the book tho. I'm sure I'll update or edit this as more details become available. The photo doesn't actually have to be done with a camera phone. The higher the resolution, the better. A little story to go with the photo about how you & your rescued or adopted pet met is even better! Any questions ask here or on my FB page!

Thank you! --Heather :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Farming Humans

The film Producer, Miles Aaron Shan contacted me he is trying to get his vegan documentary made. It's called FARMING HUMANS and focuses on 12 volunteers who are treated like barn animals for 10 days. The networks don't want you to know the truth. Check out their facebook event:Farming Humans. There is also a blog interview tonight at 5PM as well, on blog talk radio. Their Go Fund Me page is here! They also have an Indiegogo page as well. What a eye-opening documentary this will be! Check it out!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Gardening Time is Here!

But of course, true to form, I haven't been waiting all winter. I've been gardening already! The below photo shows my moss terrarium.



My moss terrarium again, another view.



Then in early to mid April a new friend showed up from Fast Growing Trees. Actually I've been calling him my third son. The kids have been calling him Lemmy & it has stuck.



He has his own set of wheels for crying out loud. This is to get him to the backdoor easier & to the sun where ever it happens to be in the house. I am going to get him a LED light tho for the winters, even with a southern exposure it's grey here a lot. I am not taking any chances with his health! He will be organic & spoiled rotten like the rest of the kids. I'm planning on making him compost tea & using Sea-90 for fertilizer.

You'd think they sent me the wrong plant, wouldn't ya? I had a quick thought like that too. But lemons come small & green, just like limes do.



This is one of the baby limes that just began turning from a flower to the fruit. So exciting! Especially since I've been reading & really healthy plants are the ones that do this & often. There are tons of these little guys all over the tree.



Plus there are also lots & lots of lovely lemon flowers. Oh man, they are delicious smelling! Just yummy! I wish I could share/describe the scent with you! It's glorious!



We are all excited by Lemmy's arrival. I've been wanting one for years, and previously I did have key limes, but they died due to getting too dry. I forgot to water them. They were soo tiny too. I should have kept them right next to me all the time like babies. I was a moron! Bad mommy! I learned my lesson tho. Now I will get it right! My compost is full to overfull too. Just waiting to be turned & then have compost tea made from it for all the plants I have going. I have tons of plants growing. Basil, spinach, mint, peppers, hot peppers, apple tree seeds, tomatoes, kale, salad mix. Plus my strawberries are already at full tilt in the garden from last year.



Apparently they LOVE being in raised beds with maple leaves & snow covering them all winter, cause we started last year with maybe three tiny plants. They are now 9 plants strong & sending out shoots for more. I'm really tempted to let the whole box go strawberries! I do think I'll grow some borage, a plant that is really beautiful & also helps keep strawberries happy & bug free.

Every single bit of extra counter space is covered with baby plants. I cannot wait to see how they react with the compost tea & the Sea-90 I've heard incredible things about it. Looking forwards to this growing season.



Even my frog's tank has had amazing growth in it. The Pothos plant has just about taken over! Pretty soon I'm gonna have to start taking out some of it & finding it new homes. I have done nothing for fertilizing it, except to bury the frog poop & add in more fresh soil every now & again.





Now onto the next big project. More raised beds. We learned last year that one was def not enough for this household, plus pinterest keeps intriguing me with using pallets for wood projects. Hubby found a chemical-free & payment free kind of wood pallet from a friend & we're gonna try to make some boxes & even help fix a fence with them.



What kind of gardening have you been up to lately? I'd love to see pictures!
--Heather :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raw Vegan Thin Mints





I found this recipe. But true to form, I didn't follow her directions. I had to use ingredients I had on hand & ingredients that I like. I'm not nut crazy around here. I eat pumpkin seeds more often than not or use sunflower seeds for my mock toona. And coconut. I love me some coconut shreds & coconut flour. I have learned that with our diabetes it is better to stick to foods that don't cause us issues, this means (for the kids) going low on the rice gluten free stuff, and low on the wheat food products too. For me this means skipping all that completely. Enter coconut flour. Oh and coconut oil.. coconut oil is great on or in the body!



Now more often than not, you'll find me complete with a banana, cherry, date, smoothie in hand or a fresh ginger, carrot, cranberry, beet, kale, apple juice. Every now & again I like to have a treat tho. I think these fit the bill pretty well. Altho I don't think mint will be the flavour all the time. I imagine these would be pretty great vanilla or orange or key lime or lemon. MMMMM the possibilities! YUM!

To create the cookie portion, I used a 1/2 cup of coconut flour, 2 TBS (warmed til liquid) coconut oil, mint extract, couple of two-three drops, liquid vanilla stevia (couple three drops) & agave nectar. You can use maple syrup if you prefer. I mixed the ingredients, formed the patties & let them sit. Then I took some warmed coconut oil about the same amount used for the cookies to make the frosting. A couple TBS of raw cacao powder, liquid stevia again, (same amount 1-3 drops) and some (1 TBS) agave nectar. Taste it & see if it's sweet enough, then add a little more if you find it too cacaoish! I like it low on the sweet, kids prefer it sweeter, so I splurged. Mixed the chocolate & other ingredients till chocolate frosting formed. Next I frosted them like little cakes! Then I placed them on a little plate & into the fridge to set up. Once hard let them out & NOM!



These came out really good! I can tell! I liked them, of course. But I always know I've hit the right spot when the kids beg for more! I'll be making these again soon! Great for a chilly afternoon tea party!

<3--Heather :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Banana Yogurt





This is one of our fav daily noms. One of the easiest things to do & my kids hardly even miss having "real" vegan yogurt because of it! I take cherries or frozen mixed berries, like blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries. Sometimes a mix of all three. Then I add them to the blender with a little water & two or three bananas. A tiny pinch of cinnamon too. Blending takes seconds. The mixed berries turn the bananas pink or purple. Then it is very attractive looking poured over mixed, chopped fruit. Don't forget some pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds or chia seeds mixed in too! I have this or a version of it pretty much every day. It keeps my hunger at bay and my blood sugar happily in check.

<3 Heather :)

Best/Worst Foods





WHEW! Thank goodness dates, bananas, and other fruits are not on the baddy list! You can either eat to live or eat to die. It's your choice!

<3 Heather :)