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

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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

Weekend Coffee Share

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I don’t know where to begin this week. It’s been a great week. We’re starting to settle in at our new place. I really like it so far. Things are coming together. I have both my horses here, and they are getting along great. Do you have time for a cup of coffee? I’ll tell you all about it. I just need to get myself a refill first. Just a second.. How is your coffee ? Ooo, good 🙂 

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I’ve told myself more than once, that I’m not having a another rental (with land,) ever again. It’s emotionally draining to set up someone else’s property, put your soul into it, and then leave it. All those hot summer days fixing fences, digging gardens, pruning trees, all that becomes part of you. At least that’s how I feel. This time it’s slightly different. The property isn’t huge, less than 1.5 acres. The pasture is already fenced (I did enforce some parts of it that needs reinforcements, but mostly is was good.) The house is beautiful, underneath a few layers of dirt. Working on getting it cleaned, room by room. I accidentally started the fire alarm when I used the stove top for the first time. Before I even had any food on, just old grease starting to smoke. I did the same thing the first time I started the oven last night..old grease.Yuck! The house was designed by an artist, and have some gorgeous mosaic on the living room floor, and in the master bathroom. I know that I’m going to spend at least a year here. (Most likely. Unless something completely unexpected happens.) Therefor, I am making it my home. I am putting a piece of my soul into it, but not my whole soul. I am going to be able to leave when its time. (I’m sure we could stay longer than a year, if we want.) Until then, I’m planning on enjoying every day here. Naturally I am taking great care of the place, but if I owned it, I would dig out old flower beds (that aren’t that beautiful any longer,) plant fruit trees, and make more permanent beautifying changes. Now it’s more about upkeep, and enjoying. 

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I did put in a new garden area. It’s for an annual vegetable garden. I am going to enjoy that area every day, so that is worth it to me, even if I only would have a garden there one year. I finished fencing the area, and planted some of my seedlings this week. I’m hoping for a prolific harvest. It is peaceful here. The sounds you hear are mostly birds singing, and an occasional dog barking (usually not mine.) I met two of my neighbors, an older couple, they seem to be good people. I love having my horses outside the door. I give them love several times a day. If I want to take a break from working in the garden, it takes me 30 seconds to walk over to my horses. I feel grateful, and happy about where I am right now.  

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I planted cherry tomato seedlings, earlier this week, that my daughter and I grown from seeds, under a heat lamp.

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These rows are all going to be cherry tomatoes. It’s my daughter’s favorite vegetable. We eat lots of them every day. The seedlings are tiny now, you can barely see them in this photo. LOL. Just wait and see, they’ll be HUGE very soon.

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I have a little trick I do, after planting the seedlings, I water a circle around them, with a diluted 3/4 water + 1/4 vinegar solution. It serves two purposes, as a fertilizer, and it keeps ants away. We have lots of ants.

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This is a newly planted (it survived two nights outside when writing this,) squash seedling. Also grown from seed inside, under a grow light.

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I planted my squash seedling along one of the fence lines to the garden. That way they have support from the fence, as they grow bigger. I planted them in compost from last year, so they should be very happy.

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Next to my squash, I planted spinach. I planted them from seed, directly into my garden outside. I planted them yesterday, so it’s going to take some time before I see the spinach.

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Next to the spinach, is the garlic I planted from cloves inside, a couple weeks ago. I just transplanted them to my outdoor garden yesterday.

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The view of my three most loyal friends, seen from my garden. They love hanging out in the shade, close to where I happen to be.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time bonding with my new horse Fancy this week. I groom her a couple times a day, and she seem to enjoy the attention. I started to work on her hooves yesterday. They have been badly neglected. I’m going to work a little bit on them every day. (I took a class in barefoot trimming years ago. So that I can work on my own horses, at least in between trimmings. Or if I take in a rescue with trust issues. If they are going to be worked a lot, I hire a professional.)

BTW, did you happen to see the photos my 5 year old daughter took of Ghost and me, earlier this week?

Are you enjoying spring yet? Or do you still have snow lingering? We’ve had temperatures in the 60’s in the beginning of this week, and then it slowly been going up. I’ve been waiting for warmer weather, to give the horses well needed baths. Going to take care of that this afternoon. This weekend we’re having mid 80’s. It’s rodeo weekend here. It’s a big event, the third weekend of April every year. The Red Bluff Round-Up is actually the largest three day rodeo in the country. The opening show is tonight, but I don’t think I will be going tonight. I will enjoy the rodeo Saturday, and Sunday though. Both my daughter, and I are excited. It’s very festive; a parade through town Saturday, music, clowns, beautiful horses, action, and happy people. I’m not much of going to big events, but I do enjoy going to a few rodeos every year. Country lifestyle & horses, what is there not to like? Sunday is wear pink day (to honor breast cancer survivors.) I bought my daughter a new pink outfit yesterday. I couldn’t find anything for me. I look horrible in pink. I did try a few outfits yesterday.. I’ll see if I can find something today. 

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I hope you’re having a fantastic week so far, and that it continues in the same awesome way. Thanks for having coffee with me, I enjoyed the conversation, and lovely company very much! 

Love,

Ms Zen