Organic Eggplant

 

Eggplants belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae, and is grown for its purple edible fruit. I took this photo today a year ago, in the big garden I had back then. In northern California, where I used to live, it’s time to harvest those delicious purple veggies now. I think they are among the most beautiful vegetables there is. There deep purple color is magnetic, and hypnotizing. When you’re walking through a vegetable garden, and there is eggplants somewhere there, your eyes can’t help but look at them.

Eggplants are loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. They benefit the heart, brain, skin, and bones. They can control and manage type 2 diabetes and improve digestion as well.

A happy eggplant photo for your beautiful Thursday!

Love,

Ms Zen

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