Did you know this about squash?

Squash is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. That’s a serious nutritional power-packed veggie. Yellow squash is also rich in manganese. This mineral helps to boost bone strength and helps the body’s ability to process fats and carbohydrates. Pretty cool don’t you think? BTW this super veggies is one of the easiest to grow yourself. You can even grow it in a pot, if you don’t have a lot of space.

…and the flowers are so beautiful. One squash plant produces vegetables over a long period of time. I have 12 squash plants in my garden. Half of them are planted in the ground, and half in pots. Starting in April I plant a couple seeds every other week, to spread out the harvest over the summer months. We’ve been eating squash in every thinkable shape for over a month, and we’ve also been able to share many pounds with our friends. The twelve seeds I planted will provide abundance of squash for the rest of the season. I paid $2.25 for a seed package of organic yellow squash. So far this season I’ve harvested  more than 100 all organic yellow squash, and we’re not even half way through yet. The plants are setting new flowers every day. Eating good, quality, organic food doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact it’s the other way around. If I’m counting low the $2.25 I invested in the seed package will yield 200 squash. Very likely more. You do the math.

Yes, there is some work included in the deal. I planted the squash in compost from our household scraps, and I’ve been mulching my plants with organic matters that I collected outside (available for free,) and watered  my plants every day since I planted the seeds in April. Gardening may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. In Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget , the book I’m working on, I’m going to include some numbers. The actual cost of  creating a sustainable garden, and what you can expect to save, compared to purchasing organic produce at a grocery store.

The joy included doesn’t have a price tag 😉

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share; Hiking Chaos Crags Trail, Garden & Horse Update

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Another busy week, turns into weekend. Earlier this week I was looking at some of my favorite Instagram accounts, thoroughly enjoying my friends vacation photos, and at the same time realizing that I don’t need, or want a vacation! I love my life. It’s not perfect, but there is balance; fun work projects, play, adventure, gardening (- healthy food, and great overall health,) horses, and time with my most precious daughter. On top of that, there is peace, and absence of drama (the last being a high priority.) I understand this statement may sound obnoxious in some peoples eyes. That’s not my point. I am just happy. And you know what? It’s almost scary.

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How would you like you coffee today? Ice coffee? Or some strong, fresh brew from the pot? How was your week?

The garden is growing like crazy. The green foliage is like a jungle in some places. There’s hundreds of green tomatoes on my tomato plants, that paused their ripening due to the hot weather. Maybe not completely paused, I did plant heat resistant varieties, but things are definitely going slower on the ripening front, now when we consistently have three digit temperatures. I’ve harvested hundreds of squash by now. Even bartered some for fresh eggs. My fig propagation project is making awesome progress. (I admit, I’ve kept adding new cuttings. I can’t help myself..)

We escaped the heat, or almost escaped the heat on a fantastic hike last weekend. The temperatures were in the three digits at home, and only 85 on the trail.

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We hiked Chaos Crags Trails, in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is my daughter as we’re starting out. It scared me a little when I realized that it was 85 degrees, and not so much shade. I almost decided to skip this trail, and pick something cooler. I’m happy that I didn’t. There was a breeze, and my daughter really liked this trail.

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It’s a 3.7 mile, moderate, out and back trail. Uphill on the way to this crater, that is the destination, and downhill on the way back. When we hiked down, we met a hiker not carrying any water, that seem very dangerous, as it was hot hiking uphill. I would of given him a bottle, or two, but he hiked on before I realized that he wasn’t carrying anything.

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View from the bottom of the crater.

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We enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading back. On all our previous hikes, I’ve carried the food, drinks, and extra water. My daughter have her 6th birthday coming up in July. The summer when I turned 6 years old, my mom gave me a back pack, so that I could carry my own food/clothing on our adventures (hikes/cross country skiing.) The back pack she gave me was a Fjällräven Kånken. I used it for about 15 years, before accidentally losing it on one adventure. It did not break, or tear. They still make the same model! I ordered one for my daughter, to keep the tradition going. (I also ordered a new one for myself.) I gave my daughter her backpack in a gift wrap, the morning before this hike. (She’s going to spend her birthday with her dad.) For the first time she carried her own things. No complains! I think she was rather proud.

Ghost is not bothered at all by the heat. Not unexpected, since he’s an Arabian/Mustang Cross. He can run, and play like crazy in the pasture for a couple hours, and barely break a sweat behind his ears. Training wise we’re taking it slow, and he appreciate it. Things are going in the right direction. We work a few minutes, several times a day.

Fancy’s health is improving, and I am riding her lightly. Yesterday I decided to long rein her for the first time. It’s a common method to start schooling young horses, or restarting  troubled horses. Maybe not so common here in cowboy country, but it’s a widespread tradition in Europe, and other places around the world. Long reining can be a soft exercise, almost like yoga, for horses. They can use their muscles, and even create muscles where they are missing, and become softer, without a lot of pressure on their body. When long reining a horse, you walk behind the horse, having long reins attached to some kind of halter/headstall (most people use a regular headstall with a bit,) and usually looped through a special long reining girth, or saddle (to avoid them hanging to far down on the sides, and being stepped on.) It’s similar to driving a horse in a carriage, except you don’t have a carriage attached behind the horse.

At the moment Fancy’s hooves could not take any harder riding, and who knows what kind of memories she really has from riding? Considering that she had her tongue almost cut of in some accident, before I got her. Since I found out about that, I’ve been contemplating if a bitless headstall would be more comfortable for her. I’ve only ridden her at our place, and mostly in a rope halter. I have tried a regular headstall, with a mild snaffle bit as well. She took the bit without hesitating. Her tongue is completely healed now, but is thinner where the bit lays (telling me that a sharp bit likely was the cause of the injury,) and there is deformation there as well. I’m sure we’ll figure it out together. She’s definitely getting the time she needs to heal both her body and mind. Fancy’s first long reining session went well. She seemed a little confused to have me behind her, but did wonderfully well.

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Weekend Coffee Share

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Cherry Tomatoes

Imagine. That morning you walk out to the garden at first light, and your 34 cherry tomato plants magically transformed their beautiful flowers, into tiny tomatoes overnight. That was one of my discoveries in the garden today. Another miracle was that my yellow squash was brimming with the first beautiful produce of the season. That first harvest of the year is equally special for every plant. When my daughter woke up a couple hours later, and I told her, she immediately jumped out of bed, and ran out to the garden. Her joy was immense. After admiring all the beauty, we did a little happy harvest dance together. I just LOVE mornings! How can it not be the best time of the day? 

Are you ready to grab a cup of coffee and join me in the garden? Remind me, how do you like your coffee? Tell me about your week as I walk you through the exciting news in the garden.

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Along the fence line between my two garden areas, I’ve planted cucumber. I’ve never had any luck with cucumber before, but these plants seem to be happy.

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Organic Cucumber

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Sweet corn, (cherry tomatoes in the background.)

Talking about my garden, did you by chance see my post about our fig tree experiment earlier this week? I’m so curious to see the results of all those roots getting established.

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Yellow Squash Plant 

I’ve tried to train my squash to grow vertically this year. I had some success with it, they are not directly on the ground. They have a tendency to spread out low on the ground. When they are close to the ground they are more prone to pests, and rot. The white powder on the ground is dried sea algae, a natural organic repellent to ants, centipedes, cockroaches, and most other bugs that hurt your plants. It might not look beautiful, but it works, and is totally safe for humans and other animals.

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There’s always something happening in the garden this time of the year. Guess who’s going to eat lots of squash for a few weeks? LOL. Last year we invented a recipe where we cut them lengthwise, and used the long slices as pizza crust. Yum yum.. If you have delicious recipes with squash and zucchini, please share them! We’re going to have lots and lots. Zucchini bread was a another favorite last year.

My horses Ghost, and Fancy, are both doing great. Ghost and I are on friendly terms. He is very sweet, and appreciate his time off. I have started to put a halter on him a couple times a day, and do some short leading exercises. Without a halter his like a puppy dog. With a halter he has good days, when he is like a puppy dog, and bad days, when he freaks out and is super claustrophobic. We’re having mostly good days now.

Something fun happened yesterday when I came home. I usually park my truck in the shade, under some trees, right next to the pasture. If I come, or go somewhere, Ghost is there to loudly wish me good bye, or welcome me home. Yesterday after I parked my truck I walked into the pasture, to say hello, and check on the water. I have a big bath tub with water for the horses. It was 3/4 full when I checked it. I decided to not fill it up more at the time. (I wanted to clean it out, when it was a little less water in it.) When I start to walk away, I hear the sound of water. I turn around, to see Ghost, who had walked with me from my truck, to the water, turn the water on with his teeth. He looked awfully proud of himself!

My daughter tried Fancy’s jog for the first time this week, and also had her first ride outside the round pen. I’ve never seen a bigger smile on her face. Maybe you remember that I bought a brand new dressage saddle for Ghost earlier this spring? I tried it on him right after buying it, and it fits him perfectly. It’s one of the nicest saddle I ever owned. However, after deciding that Ghost isn’t ready to be started under saddle (I’m very happy with that decision,) I have never actually ridden in it. I look at it every day.. I haven’t had a girth in the right size for Fancy. We’ve been using a western saddle on her. I grew up riding English, and feel more at home in a dressage saddle. I ordered a dressage girth in Fancy’s size, a few days ago. It’s suppose to come tonight! I am pretty sure that the saddle will fit her. She is ready to carry my weight for at least short rides. I am very excited about actually being able to ride again. And of course start using my new saddle. Hopefully I have some photos of that next weekend.

Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them! Would you like another cup of coffee?

 

Love,

Ms Zen