29 May 2013

Just in Case You Would Like to know...

If you are interested in avoiding Monsanto "Food" here is a link to a list of the companies that are owned by Monsanto: http://www.realfarmacy.com/printable-list-of-monsanto-owned-food-producers/

22 May 2013

Breakfast in Costa Rica

Good morning everyone! I found some very pretty "Champagne" mangoes at Sam's the other day and they made me homesick for Costa Rica. I made all kinds of wonderful beverages with the mangoes on the farm there. Of course we also had loads of other fruits to add to our juices, star fruit, mandarines, mora (a Costa Rican blackberry), bananas as sweet and creamy as vanilla ice cream, several varieties of oranges and water apples, (which we seldom got any of since the birds and small Tico children usually got to them first!) Today I think  I am going to share one of my favorites, made with mango, pineapple, apples, carrots and oranges. The ones I made in Costa Rica actually used mandarines instead of oranges from the huge grove of trees on the farm, but since we are here in the States, I will have to substitute oranges for the mandarines and added carrots to give it more body.  It is a meal in itself!

There were several varieties of mangoes on the farm, but predominantly Tommy Atkins mango, which is the large mango usually found in the grocery stores in the USA starting in late April or early May, and the Ataulfo mango, which is known stateside as the "Champagne" mango. The mango trees lined the lane from the farm house to the cabina for 1000 feet (about 1/5 of a mile). Where the lane terminated and the pastures began there was a huge Ataulfo mango tree that towered 100 feet into the rain forest canopy. The spread of it's branches shaded the area for 50 feet in any direction. Many beautiful tropical plants found shelter there from the pounding rains and heat of equatorial sun. In a hole in the trunk well off the ground, a pair of Keel Billed Toucans raised their young. It was one of my favorite spots on  farm and in good weather in April/May, you would find me "hiding" from the toucans, trying to get some shots of them as they flew in and out of the nest to take turns sitting on the eggs, and later to feed their young ones. The tree was the source of food and shelter for so many plants and animals it would be hard to count, but I know for a fact that we were well fed from it's bounty!

 Mango Tango
This drink is rich and flavorful, sweet but not over the top, with a nice warm after zing from the cayenne. This is a breakfast all by itself and will hold me until lunch with no problem!

2 mangoes skin and seeds removed (see Much Adieu About Mangoes for an easy way to prepare a mango)
2 oranges, peeled and broken into small sections ( for Juicer) or if using a blender juice 2-3 oranges with handheld citrus juicer, or 3/4 to 1 cup orange juice from the store.
1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, or 1 cup pineapple juice
1 apple, cored and cut into 6-8 pieces, (for Juicer), or if using blender 1 cup apple juice.
4 large carrots , tops removed, or if using blender 1 cup bottled fresh carrot juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp. cayenne, or less according to preferences.

 This is best done in a juicer since it is hard to get apples and carrots smooth enough in a blender. If you don't have a juicer, it can be done in a blender, I would just suggest that you use bottled juice for the apple and carrots and possibly the pineapple.

For Juicer:
Put all the fruit through the juicer and add cayenne to the catch pitcher and stir. Chill if desired.
For Blender:
Blend mango and pineapple, adding juices and cayenne as you blend. (If you don't enjoy as much zing as I do, you can cut down on the cayenne or leave it out, but if you can, try to leave some of the cayenne in for the health benefits.)

This also makes great refreshing pop sickles, but if you're making them for the kids you might want to leave out the cayenne!

I thought it might be fun to have breakfast in Costa Rica, so I am including a video of the toucans on the farm where we lived in Costa Rica! So make your Mango Tango and take a trip with me to see the Toucans! Many thanks to my dear husband who spent many hours sifting through all the video I shot to compile this video clip for me! Unfortunately size restrictions prevent me from posting the video at a good resolution, so some of the detail in the birds is lost, but you will get the idea anyway! I hope you enjoy!

Blog Hops this post is linked to:
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #73

19 May 2013


Today is Shavuot, the forth of seven Biblical Feasts. It is the celebration of the Giving of Torah, when God met with His people at Sinai. Normally Sunday is the first day of our work week and we are busy outside in the garden, but since today is a Holy Day, there will be no work done today.

It has been a rainy day,  in fits and spurts, so I took the opportunity between rain showers to get some photos of the rose trellis that is in full bloom. As I stroll through the wet grass, the profusion of blooms on the rose trellis is a feast for my eyes and is complimented by the scent of honeysuckle that is blooming in the nearby woods... pure bliss.... Both the roses and the honeysuckle are fleeting; the rose on this trellis blooms for only a few weeks and then is done for the season, unless we are fortunate enough to be blessed with a second flush of roses in the fall as we were last year. The honeysuckle will only bloom for a few weeks as well. I try to spend as much time outside in the evenings as possible, enjoying both the combination of the perfume of the honeysuckle wafting up from the woods and the glow that the roses take on at the gloaming of the evening. It is enchanting, like something from a fairytale.

This rose trellis was part of a Father's Day gift that I gave my husband in 2001. He was away for a weekend camping trip in the mountains with one of our sons, so I had the trellis, privacy fence and a deck built for his hot tub while he was gone. It was quite a surprise for him when he returned home from that trip!
 Of course it was a year or so before the rose covered the trellis completely, but it did make its way to the top by the end of the summer. By the next Father's Day the trellis was full of roses and was lovely to look at in the evenings from the hot tub since pale-colored roses make a wonderful show on moonlit nights.

Over the years the other plants we had planted in that area had to give way to this rose's robust habit. There isn't time to fuss with plants that can't hold their own...we are survival of the fittest gardeners, so I didn't grieve much when the Lady Banks Rose lost her place on the privacy fence.

It is necessary to use a little discipline on the other side of the trellis, as we have espalier fruit trees growing along the pathway that appreciate a little more light than the rose was willing to offer so, after it blooms, we prune the rose back pretty hard on that side of the pathway to allow the pear and apple trees their day in the sun.

Well day is done and the rain has stopped, the sun is down and the feast day is over. Tomorrow will be a full day with much to do in the garden, there is kombucha to bottle and menus to plan...but for tonight I think I will take a glass of wine out on the deck and enjoy the evening. I hope that you all have a blessed and restful evening!

15 May 2013


Hi! I have been outside working on garden projects from dawn till dusk for almost two weeks. The house is sadly neglected and will remain so until I can get caught up outside. I have not had time to blog, but I have been composing my next several blog entries in my head, so as soon as the late spring garden crush has passed, I will have plenty to write about!  Here is a photo of some of the foxgloves that I will be adding to the herb garden this year. I  just staged them with the bunny planter for the photo, but decided that they looked so good there that I will get some more to plant around the bunny!  What are you doing to stay busy this time of year? I will be back blogging as soon as I can get all my plants in the ground. I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the warmer weather!
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