Thursday, June 30, 2011


The carrot above was not grown in my Vegetable garden, but it was grown in my yard.  I accidentally left some seed packets outside  last year, which got blown all over our yard.  Earlier this month I discovered this...a odd looking but better tasting carrot than what I've tried to grow in our garden before.

Now, it is not the season to plant carrots, but there's still a lot you can plant, and some that you might want to plant soon here in Texas (if you want to brave the heat, at least):
  • July is the month to plant pumpkins for Halloween jack-o-lanterns (yeah, wow...I gather a pumpkin takes a long time!).

  • The first week of July is the last chance to plant okra, luffa, peanuts, and, in south Texas, sweet potato slips--which are heat lovers and won't have time to mature if planted later.

  • You can find out what  other herbs and vegetables you can plant this month in Texas or anywhere else in the United States HERE.

Hop and Squidoo - Updates

Hello, and welcome fellow Squido Lensmasters! For those who aren't travelling here by blog hop and don't know what Squidoo is, it's just a place where you can make nifty little web pages about any topic you choose, and maybe earn a little money for yourself or a charity in the process.  The hop way to place to share blog posts related to Squidoo (and get help, comments, advice from some great lensmasters). 

Thought I'd hop here today since I have some Texas updates to share, mainly that  I added some summertime and patriotic Texas t-shirts to my Texas T-shirt lens (which currently is benifiting Save the Children...since I donate my portion of the ad revenue and affiliate earnings there).  I also have a shirt lens for California T-shits (which I probably need to update).

I shared recently about my new lens, Nazareth - An Interactive Experience.  This week I made a related lens about how to create Fake Rock Walls.  All the photos were donated by people who had made sets for Nazareth themed Vacation Bible Schools this summer, and I'm so grateful to them!

It's benefiting Save the Children too, and guess what, someone already made a purchase though my one commercial module on that lens (an amazon lens about rock paper)!  What I llike about that (other than extra $ for Save the Children), is that the commercial content blends well with rest of the content. When I posted up the rock wall picture on the Group VBS forum people asked about where I had gotten the rock wall paper, so I knew that it would be useful on the lens too.  

So, how do you feel about the commercial aspects of your lenses (and websites and blogs, for that matter)?  How do you feel about similar commercial sections you encounter on other pages?  Does it contribute to the content?  Does it detract?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winner of Seed Giveaways

Dill Seeds

The winners for the Seed giveaways were Giana from MN and Laurie from TX! Contrats!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Texas and California Giveaways

There are some great Texas and California giveaways going on right now! Check out a few below:

There are lots of great giveaways over at the Texas Summer Giveaway Bash

I've got a Texas Seed Giveay Right here at Texifornia (6/27)

At Mommy Katie you can win aTexas Gift Pack (7/4)

And you can win a Trip to Texas (9/4).

Catalina Express is giving a free round trip pass to Catalina Island to anyone ON THEIR BIRTHDAY! You have to leave on your birthday but can return any time in the next 30 days. Pretty cool!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Aloha Friday - Seeds

Dill Seedheads

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. Every Friday (well, ok, almost every Friday) I ask a simple question for you to answer--nothing that requires a lengthy response.

This week I'm giving away some seeds, some in packets I bought and decided not to use myself, and others from seeds I collected from my own plants in my garden.

So, here's my question:
Have you ever collected seeds from plants in your garden?

You can leave your answer in a comment below.

(Photo of dill seeds by Kirsty Hall)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seed Giveaway (Texas Only) - CLOSED

Hello Texans.  How's your summer gardening going?  Difficult with all this heat, isn't it?  I'd like to give away some seeds to one of my readers from Texas (yeah, this one is just for my Texas readers...I'll be putting up another giveaway for everyone soon).   Here's what I'm giving away:

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil Seeds (from my garden)
One thing I've always been able to get to grow...even in summer heat, even in pots when we in an apartment, is basil.  Several years ago I was given a Cinnamon Basil plant.  It grew wonderfully, but I wasn't all that pleased with the taste (mainly because I'm not that fond of cinnamon, I husband liked it just fine).  Anyways, I collected the seeds, and still have some.  They are several years old, but I've had seeds that old sprout before so I thought I'd like to give them to someone while they still have a chance of germinating.  (Picture by Living in Monrovia on Flickr)

I have not yet tried growing squash here, but I gather it does well.  I decided to try another variety so I'm giving these away.

Native Tufted Grass
I have some beautiful long tufted grass in my yard.  You probably do to...but most likely you keep your yard nicely mowed and weeded and wouldn't know it was there.  I discovered this grass after an experiment I did where I let my back yard go "untamed" for a summer to see what wildlife I discovered.   Thought I'd add some to the pack in case you wanted to try some too, without letting your yard turn into a jungle.   Though this is a plant that could be considered a weed..though in my experience it spreads more slowly than some other native grasses.  The three I left standing in our yard last year have only resulted in 4 more grass tufts, and I actually purposefully spread the seed in some other areas.

Another great find from my backyard wildflower experiment was Horsemint!  I've collected some seeds from this years blooms that I'm adding to my giveaway package.

To enter to win these seeds, just leave your e-mail in a comment below, along with the city in Texas you live in.  Only Texas residents may enter to win this giveaway, but I have another seed giveaway for non-Texans, too.

Get an extra entry for doing any of the following easy good deeds.  A separate comment must be left for each.
  1. Click on The Hunger Site Button to give a FREE donation to charity (advertisers pays for your donation).  Comment letting me know you did.
  2. Play a vocabulary game at Free Rice to donate grains of rice to the hungry.  Comment with one of the words you were quizzed on.
Giveaway ends June 27.  Winner will be e-mailed and has 3 days to claim prize or it will be forfeited and given to someone else. Must be over 18 or have a parent enter for you.

Seed Giveaway - CLOSED

I have some seeds that I decided not to plant (or accidentally bought to much of) which I'm giving away:  Cilantro, Table Queen Squash, and Cannonball Gourd seeds.  They are all sealed in their original packets.  The Cilantro was from last year but the gourd and squash were bought this year.  I'm also adding some horsemint and tufted grass that I discovered in my backyard wildflower expiriment last year and have collected seeds from.  Click here for a picture of both.   

To enter to win these seeds just leave a comment with your e-mail below and what state you're from.  Only US residents may enter to win this giveaway. 

Get an extra entry for doing any of the following easy good deeds.  A separate comment must be left for each.
  1. Click on The Hunger Site Button to give a FREE donation to charity (advertisers pays for your donation).  Comment letting me know you did.
  2. Play a vocabulary game at Free Rice to donate grains of rice to the hungry.  Comment with one of the words you were quizzed on.

Giveaway ends June 27.  The winner will be e-mailed and has 3 days to claim prize or it will be forfeited and given to someone else.  Must be over 18.

FROM TEXAS?  I've got another seed giveaway JUST for Texans here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I've Been Up to Lately (And a Squidoo Hop)

You may have noticed I've been rather scarce the last couple months. May is just wonderfully crazy (with my Birthday, our anniversary, Mother's Day, and end of school stuff). But this May and June I was also helping with this...

For the last two years for Vacation Bible School our church has been transformed into a Bible land.  Last year it was Egypt, and this year it was Nazareth.  So, I've been busy helping set up, and during VBS played the role of a Nazareth farmer planting seeds (hopefully spiritual as well as physical) with a group of about 80 kids.  It was a blast!

These last couple years I've also taken on the job of doing historical research into the places we've been recreating.  This year I decided to turn that research into a squidoo lens.  You can see my Exploring Nazareth lens here.  

For those who don't know what Squidoo is, it's just a place where you can make nifty little web pages about any topic you choose.  And for those of you traveling here from Marsha's Hop and Squidoo, welcome!   I hope you'll check out my new Nazareth lens and maybe take a stop by my Texifornia lens, too.  :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden Bloom Day - June

Last summer, I let my yard grow wild to see what wildflowers would grow if I left it alone.  (You can see the chronicles of that experiment here.)  This summer I am enjoying the wildflowers I discovered, while doing a lot of selective weeding to keep my yard from turing into a jungle again.

Here's my favorite corner of the yard....

It's dried out a little from earlier this month.  You can see that tall tufted grass I love in foreground (looks even prettier in motion), surrounded by frogwort, which makes a great groundcover.  In the back you can see a bed of horsemint, expanded from the two plants that grew last year in that corner.  I love how it comes up just as the wild primrose is fading.  All of that grew without digging, mulching, planting, or watering!    The only thing I did back there was weed!

In another corner of my yard, the first wild sunflower started to bloom today!

Please ignore the junk in the background (we have some building projects going on, and some random summer toys that needed to be put away).

And in my front yard, this pink beauty popped up.

But, I have started to add a few "domestic" plants as well.  Last year I planted some daisies and Salvia.  The daisies didn't make a comeback, but the Salvia returned:

And I planted some new flowers in a nice flower bed with some strawberries:

So, that's what's blooming in my garden!  You can share what's blooming in yours at Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

My Wildflower Experiment

It all started in 2010...the second summer we had spent in our new home. Our first summer had been spent unpacking with little time to even consider what to do with our yard. The next April greeted us with unexpected wild Primroses (my favorite Texas wildflower), and I wondered what other surprises lay hidden waiting to bloom? So, I decided to let our backyard grow wild and find out (and then our lawn-mower broke for a while and things went a little more wild than planned...but I still am happy that I tried it out, because I discovered a lot of beauties along the way). Here's a chronicle of what I discovered.

2010 - The Beginning

The Discovery
Primrose Sky (More Primrose Pictures)

More Wildflowers!

The Experiment Continues

Yet More Surprises
Alas, Time to Mow

It was a fun experiment. I learned that a lot of beautiful things will grow in my garden if I just leave it alone...but that eventually, it will turn into a jungle and kill a lot of your grass.  So, going on from here, I've decided to do selective weeding and mowing.  That means being diligent about weeding what I don't want, while being careful to mow around the wildflowers and tall tufted grasses that I love.

Below you'll find updates on the current state of my backyard and how the process of working towards a "tamed" yard wild plants in going.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Shredded Beef Tacos in Texas!

Taco Cabana just introduced "Brisket Tacos" and they taste JUST LIKE the shredded beef tacos I used to eat in California (except with soft flour tortillas, not hand fried corn tortillas, but still).   So happy!

Now some other place (can't remember where...maybe "On the Border") also has something called "Brisket Tacos."  They do have shredded beef, but it's marinaded in some sort of BBQ sauce that tastes very American, so I wasn't so thrilled with those. 

If anyone else knows any places you can get shredded beef tacos in Texas, please share!