I've been blessed with a lot of cherry tomatoes so I'm going to use them. I picked sixteen off of the plant today.

I'm going to make a cherry tomato/bacon pizza pie with them.

First, I slice each one in half.

Then marinated in olive oil for a day.

With a can of San Marzano tomatoes, some salt, garlic, and oregano (also from the garden), I boiled it for 20 minutes, then simmered for 2 hours.  Near the end, we added a teaspoon of sugar.

I was going to buy a premade pizza dough from our local Italian deli but my wife insisted on making a homemade dough.  Also, my son insisted on pepperoni on top, so what started as a tomato pie ended up being a pizza with a really delicious, fresh tasting sauce.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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The Harvest is Almost Among Us

I picked 16 cherry tomatoes this morning that I'll use for a pizza. This regular hybrid tomato is showing its colors. Harvesting will be commencing very soon for these beauties.

The dragon fruit is about to bloom with this flower...

...this one...

and this one.  Hopefully, that's just the beginning.

The tomatoes and oranges were starting to block the walkway so I cut them back to make a path.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

What You Gonna Do With Those Shoes?

Every gardener needs a good pair of shoes. Not only for protection against any thorns you might drop in trimming but also working around rocks and power tools.

I'm the Cheapskate, so I'm not going to buy a pair strictly for gardening. I just use my oldest pair of tennis shoes. They go to the bottom of the totem pole and become my gardening shoes.

My shoe totem pole is like this: a pair of dress shoes for work, a good pair of brown tennis shoes for traveling (which can be acceptable in most dress situations on the road and also be comfortable), another pair just for casual use, and my gardening shoes.

As the top rung of the shoes get replaced by new pairs, all the others move down a rung.

I've been in need of replacing my work dress shoes and the brown tennis shoes but, again, I'm the Cheapskate so I wait for Famous Footwear to have one of their Buy On Get One 50% off sale.

Finally, they started the sale this week so I'm replacing the top two pairs of shoes. That means everybody else moves down a rung on the ladder.

Time for one more trip around the yard for my trusty New Balance 659s. I've probably had these 15 years.  I need them especially when I'm mowing the lawn with my mower.

Well, that's it. Thank you for your service.

To the bottom of the barrel you go.

Welcome to the next pair of gardening shoes. I hope you give me as good as service as the pair you replaced.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Making Every Drop Count

Notice the three orchids on the top row starting at the second from the left. See how dry they are?

That's why I do sprinkler pattern checks now and again. You'll notice that the spray is not hitting the top row. Resetting it into first pot and re-aiming it fixes that problem.

Chores done, what else is happening this week? To start off, our first dragon fruit bud has come up.

The recently transplanted zucchini is putting out some spectacular flowers.

Anaheim chiles are looking great...

...and the cherry tomato hanging basket is about ready for first harvest.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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A Plant that Grows Where You Don't Want It... a weed.  Well, above, they're herbs but when they block the sidewalk, they have to be treated like weeds and ripped out back to their planter.

Speaking of weeds, that's this week's chore.

This spurge in our front yard rose garden is so big, it's hard to tell there the weed ends and the lawn begins.

Spurge is pretty easy to pull, a trowel helps me find the root stem.

Once I do that, it's not a big deal to bunch it up in my hand and uproot it.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Caught in the Act!

Here are some of the deer that have been coming down from the nearby mountains to feed on my front yard rose garden. This one is helping itself to my nextdoor neighbor's holly topiary.

The drought is serious, folks.  These animals, and many more like them, are really feeling the brunt of it. They can have my roses until the rain returns.

Luckily, the bulk of my garden is behind a tall wall in the backyard, let's see how it's faring this week.

Tomatoes! I'm loving my tomato plants this year. Here, the hanging cherry tomatoes are reddening up. My son and I sampled but they're a bit tart at a redder color than this so we'll let them ripening for quite some time before harvesting. There are a ton of them on the basket.

That's in contrast to last year where I could count my entire tomato harvest on one hand. This hybrid is giving the cherry tomatoes a run in the numbers game and the big ones are the size of a baseball.

I was sweating a little over the heirloom plant but it's getting some nice fruit on it too, now.

In our citrus grove, we've got Myer lemons on the branches...

...more fruit on our Cara Cara orange...

...and a few late blooming Cara Cara flowers, too.

I had a micro-sprinkler clog and I think it affected our corn adversely. I replaced it but I don't know how this will do. In this drought-affected garden, however, it's sink or swim. We'll see if we can get anything edible out of it.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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Shock Treatment

I have an extra volunteer zucchini plant that must have sprouted from one of last years seeds.  I transplanted it to a sunnier spot.

Here it is a couple of hours later, showing signs of extreme shock.

I watered...drenched, with B1 and water but I guess that only goes so far.

Luckily, it's still a hardy plant with lot's of life inside. Three days later, the plant is looking much better.  Now, we'll see if the sunny side of the path is more to it's liking.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Recipes for a Cheapskate: Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

First harvest of 2015!

These two chiles came from this plant that I gave up on two years ago. It's a survivor, though, and it starting to to produce some great looking peppers.

The chicken wire is to prevent squirrels from eating the leaves. They don't care for the fruit but will decimate the leaves if I don't do something.

So here's what I'm going to do...

Slice an opening down the middle of each chile and cook on a comal (a hot flattop).

Once they're blistered up pretty good, try to remove the membrane that sits on the outer layer of the chile.

Fill each one with cream cheese and bacon.

Cook right on the grill on indirect heat.

Serve and eat.

It's kind of like stuffed bell peppers but I find the taste richer, a bit spicier, and they don't give me heartburn like the bell peppers do.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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DINNER TIME! Dutch Oven Beef Stew

It can still get a little chilly at night here in Northern California. A hearty stew is just the thing to take the chill off. This reci...