Monday, April 28, 2008

Fresh Coconuts

We've been enjoying fresh coconuts here recently. I mean right from the tree fresh, not the dried brown ones you sometimes see at the grocery store. I was skeptical the first time our friend sent some home with my husband. I mean, in Maine we just didn't grow coconuts.

This is our second year of fresh coconuts. We kind of have a method down, because coconuts are not easy to break into. First we drill a hole, for the straw to go through. We drink out the sweet coconut milk, which is very watery. Then my husband cracks it open usually with a hammer and we eat the coconut "jelly".

In trade for these, we pick some mangoes off of our mango tree to give our friend. I cannot remember where he grew up, but he enjoys mangoes when they are green and almost hard. We have more than enough mangoes to go around, so we love sharing them. He eats them as is and makes chutneys. I'll have to try making fresh chutney myself one of these days.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Winter Storm

Seems like a misplaced title towards the end of April, doesn't it? This is the title of a book that I just received from UPS yesterday. Winter Storm was written by my cousin. He's been talking about being a writer since we were little kids. To see him achieve one of his dreams is wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading this, and I'm already on chapter 3!

On a side note, when we were growing up I was one of three cousins that were similar in ages. Of course, my other two cousins were boys. I got left in the dust sometimes, and would watch them sneak away on family gatherings. They used to work on multiple things together, including the ever so important comic book readings. But, we also used to visit and probably drive our Grandfather up the wall with our antics. We lost our Grandmother at a young age which I believe brought us even closer. All three of us are still close to this day, and since we were only children growing up, it means even more to me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Arbor Day

Happy Arbor Day!

Thanks to a fellow gardener, my Husband, son and I headed out to a local Arbor Day festival. Not the type of festival most people would think of, but a festival full of the most helpful master gardeners and native trees. I learned a lot about Florida gardening and trees from a wonderful master gardener. He gave us great advice of finally ridding our yard from the invasive Brazilian Pepper Tree. We of course couldn't leave without a couple new native plants. He helped us pick out a lovely Dahoon Holly Tree, and a hummingbird attracting Firebush.

We haven't planted either yet. We spent the day sawing/trimming/cleaning up our Cabbage Palm. They aren't very spectacular, but do look much better cleaned up.

I'll leave you with a link that is fitting for Arbor Day, I think.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Loving Florida

I wouldn't have been able to convince myself that my new dentist and staff were going to be as wonderful as they were. Never in a million years. But, I'm relieved to say they are wonderful, gentle and funny.

As for loving Florida, this article, just reminds me how close to nature we are getting. Especially during Alligator mating season, and with the over building that is going on. The pictures are worth clicking on. I don't live near the woman in the article, and I'm thankful I don't live in that neighborhood. I'd never sleep again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fear of the Dentist

I have an appointment bright and early tomorrow with a new dentist. This has been causing me extreme stress ever since I called to make the appointment Thursday morning. Part of me was relieved I could get in so fast, but the rest of me felt like I was going to throw up.

I had a really traumatic experience with a dentist 7 years ago. Previously, I didn't "love" the dentist, but I didn't mind going for my cleanings. I am now a hysterical mess by the time I am in the dental chair. The last few visits were with a dentist who was nice, but not someone I felt 100% sure they could actually help me if I had a dental problem. I also had the Boy with me, and that kept me from thinking to much about my own anxiety. I had to put on a show because I don't want to pass on my phobia to my son.

Tomorrow, I will be sitting in that cold chair all by myself. Trying to remind myself that I am going to be OK. They are aware that I am a paranoid dental phobic, and that I have a horrid case of grinding and clenching in my sleep. Hopefully, they will take things step by step with me. Maybe I will have found a new dentist, that is a wonderful as my dentist in Maine. Who is the reason I got my teeth cleaned and cared for after the evil dentist who caused my fear.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Family Made Arbor

We've been talking for a short time about putting an arbor up in our garden. Not really for anything more than to grow some vines on, and make it even more butterfly friendly. After searching around, we didn't see much that we liked. Or, things seemed to cost a lot for no apparent reason.

My husband and son made an arbor on Monday. They bought the wood, painted it, and put it all together. It was finally in it's resting spot last night. I cannot say how much I love this. All I can see is how beautiful it will be with tons of flowering vines. I also am loving how proud my son is of his building skills. Here are some pictures. Once I pick up the vines I am looking for(I have a specific vine in mind), I'll add more pictures.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A New Decade Has Begun

On Sunday I turned 30. It's a birthday that seemed so far away, for so many years that it kind of snuck up on me. I don't feel particularly different, but I was a bit sad for some reason. I think it's that stigma people put on leaving your twenties. I enjoyed my twenties, but I'm really looking forward to my thirties.

Some random facts about me:

~I graduated high school a year early

~I met my husband when I was 18

~We moved in together 6 months later

~I was married when I was 22

~I had my son when I was 25

~I moved from Maine to Florida at 26

~I have had two miscarriages, that I am positive about

~I have always had a love of photography

~I am going to enjoy every moment to the best of my ability, life is too short

Here are some pictures from my birthday:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thankful for my Husband

Over the past weekend, my Husband built me a raised bed for planting. It is exactly what I wanted, and looks even better than I imagined. The Boy was a huge help, and loved helping. The first and only plant thus far is a Desert Rose. I'm sure more will be planted soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Blueberry Tree

We added another fruit tree to our yard. It is right next to our Mulberry tree. Since I grew up in Maine, blueberries used to be one of my favorite parts of summer. I used to go out to an area behind our house with my Gram to pick blueberries. We'd bring home a bucket or two each trip, and would make blueberry biscuits with some of them. Or course, we'd eat them fresh too.

I've missed blueberries since living in Florida. They are very expensive to buy, and usually shipped from across the globe. So, I've been buying more locally grown fruits. When we found the blueberry tree, I was skeptical. I've always thought it was strictly a northern plant. Thankfully, the University of Florida has come up with some tropical blueberry varieties.

Blueberries need acidic soil. So, after some advice, we planted it with peat moss, pine needles and pine bark. I believe our soil still needs some more acidity so we are picking up a soil test kit today.

Here are some photos of our new "baby".

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tomato Plant

We were pretty excited last night. Alongside some delicious black bean and avocado burritos, we had something fresh from the garden. Clearly, I'm proud.

From plant~

To the table~

First Slice~

Ready to serve~

It was only one, but there are a few more getting ripe at the moment. Most delicious tomato we have eaten, not including the ones from our local farm!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In the Garden...... well almost

I have a lot of ideas on how I'd like my backyard garden to look. It's pretty funny because it always turns into something completely different. I have a lot of open space to work with, but I cannot turn my whole back yard into a sea of flowers. The Boy would be very upset that he couldn't swing or play soccer. So, I perimeter garden. Or, I rip up things and move them so I can add even more new plants.

It's never good when I make a trip to the local garden store. I can always find a reason to pick up just one more plant. So, while there with the Husband and Boy yesterday, I was trying to be good. Until my husband pulled out the most beautiful tree. He thought it would work in the front yard, and I didn't need convincing. So, we brought our new tree home.

It's not planted yet, but I will take shots when we get it in. We also got some new mulch made of rubber. Supposedly it won't attract ants and doesn't need to be replaced each year. We shall see.