Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grilled Pork & Peanut Noodles in an RV

 We are in the middle of another "Austerity Month" in the ol' RV lately. I'm glad I planted the garden! Anyhow, we do have fully stocked freezers and that's good. Bob went freezer spelunking and came up with a package of 3 pork steaks. We had, originally, thought that we would season with some Turkish seasoning blend, maybe some extra ground sumac, and grill them and have rice and vegetables for dinner. I got to thinking that I would love some Asian-inspired noodles instead. We've had a lot of rice lately and I wasn't really in the mood.
 Our local produce market sells red bell peppers 3 for $1.29, which, if you've done any sort of comparison shopping is a fantastic price. Onions are one thing that I always have on hand and the same with fresh garlic. Carrots are another one of my refrigerator staples. They last for a long time and if you buy them in bulk, they are 50 cents per pound and adding a carrot or two into a dish stretches it and adds much needed nutrients. Besides, many colors on a plate or in a bowl does have eye appeal.
I had Bob season the pork steaks simply with salt and pepper and grill them. I sliced up an onion, a red bell pepper and julienned 2 carrots. I wanted everything to roughly noodle shaped. I also minced up 2 cloves of garlic.
 I thinly sliced 2 of the pork steaks (we put the other one back into the freezer for pork fried rice at a later date) and grabbed a handful of snow peas that I'm growing in my garden. I sauteed the vegetables up in my large skillet with the garlic. When they were crisp-tender, I added in the pork and cooked for a few more minutes. Then I added some boiled spaghetti noodles.
At the very end of the cooking time (about 7 minutes total), I added a couple of big spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter and a few tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce.
And that, my friends, was an Asian-inspired feast fit for a king (or RVers, in our case).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reynolds High School Shooting in Troutdale, Oregon

Yesterday, another tragedy. This one happened very close to home for me. I think that I'm taking this almost as personally as I did when the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy happened on December 14, 2012. I can't ever forget Sandy Hook. It happened on my and Bob's 7th wedding anniversary.
I spent a good portion of yesterday on Twitter pleading with the Portland media to not make the shooter infamous. I begged them to not publish this person's name. My idea is to simply cremate these people and flush them down the toilet to be with all the other nameless turds. Send out a message loud and clear that this bullshit cannot and will not be tolerated any longer! Our nation's children deserve better than this.
I was outside talking to my neighbor regarding this tragedy when the manager of the RV park walked up. We chatted for a minute about this subject. She said, and quite callously...especially being the wife of a pastor...that she doesn't believe in gun control. That's fine. Everyone's entitled to their opinion and I completely respect hers. I don't understand the reasoning behind it, though. My neighbor and I were told that she doesn't believe in gun control because of pirates and cowboys and Indians...they all killed one another. Don't ask me, I don't know. If there were any form of logic to that equation, I would have been all ears with it. But, because pirates shot each other and, as she put it, Indians killed cowboys and cowboys killed Indians (her words, not mine), we should not have gun control. Um, yeah, sure, ok...I'm still not sure how this would all tie in with children taking weapons to school and exterminating each other!?!?!?
I'm not entirely convinced that gun control is the answer to this spreading epidemic. I'm not saying that it couldn't help, but I'm not sure that it would. Do I think that there need to be new laws in place before a person can simply waltz into Walmart and buy a weapon? You bet I do. I've always had an issue with that. I don't think pawn shops should be able to sell them, either. Until recent years, in the state of Washington, a person had to go and buy a bottle of booze from a state run liquor store and I don't see any problem with having state run weapon stores. Don't even get me started on assault weapons, either. Those were invented with one purpose only...too kill and kill a large number in a very short amount of time. Being the wife of a disabled Vietnam veteran who feels the same way as I do, I think I'm very justified in saying that I believe that only the military should have access to these weapons, not the general public. I know there will be people who disagree and that is completely ok...feel free...but don't get into a pissing match with me on my own blog. They invented the delete and ban button for a reason. It seems to me that obtaining a weapon in the United States is easier than obtaining a driver's license.
As I have been reading from the Oregonian's news the comments...I see that both sides of the political fence are out in full force, playing the blame game. If you're a liberal, you are stupid. If you're a conservative, you're even more stupid...seriously, folks, who has time for this shit??? I say that everyone needs to freaking knock it off and come up with a solution! There have been 74 school campus shootings from December 14, 2012 (Sandy Hook) until now. SEVENTY-FOUR!! There are studies out there showing the various psychological "medications" that each of these shooters were either on or had been on prior to their rampages. I really do believe that this avenue needs to be investigated to the fullest extent. We owe that to the kids.
The simple act of going to school should not be a matter of life or death for children and we owe them, at the very least, the decency to investigate why this is happening and get politics and politicians the hell out of the solution.
I hate to say this but I'm rather ashamed at what my country has become. I am ashamed that the whole antidepressant/medication/school shooting avenue hasn't been explored more. I'm ashamed that there are these two sides arguing back and forth when they should be together and focusing on a solution. Shame on us, America...we should and could do better for the kids.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Container Garden Update, May 2014, in an RV

Bob and I went to a yard sale and picked up 2 of these bears...I love them!
 I haven't been blogging as much I usually do lately. There are a few reasons why. The first reason is that I haven't really been creating a whole lot in the kitchen because I've taken on a garden this year that is a first for me...I've never gardened on this large of a scale before and, definitely, not in containers. My garden is taking most of my spare time. The second reason is that our WiFi here in the RV park is ridiculous! First, it was that the router was way overloaded with everyone streaming Netflix or whatever at the same time. Then, they started to upgrade. Then, I guess, the internet company slowed the speed way down because there was a person(s) in here that were illegally downloading movies. I'm over it because one person screws up and does something that they know they shouldn't and we all have to pay the cost. We pay for Hulu Plus and I've only gotten to use it just a handful of times. We don't get Dish Network reception here where we're at, so I cancelled my service with them in January.
Anyhow, enough bitching and that is time to share what I've been up to in my yard...and my neighbor's yard, because they are super cool and let me have the use of their yard to expand my garden. They will get their pick of whatever produce they want for doing that!
I haven't been able to grow fuschias for a long time because when we lived in Longview, we didn't get enough shaded area to grow them. Fuschias love heat, but they do not like direct sunlight. I bought the little starter plants and potted up two hanging for us and one for our neighbors. Joan is awesome and we love her and her husband, Dick!
 We have taken to growing a lot of things up in the air, suspended from ropes. The fuschia above is one of my hanging pots.
 All sorts of things in the above photo. In the big wooden container is our raspberry bush. Around that are various other things such as the two new mini roses that I added this year. I found them at a store in town and they were marked down to a dollar each. The tall plant on the left hand side is the sage that I've been growing for 5 years now.

 Various types of heirloom tomatoes. At last count, I have 38 potted up. I'm planning on adding about 4 more to the family by the time I'm done. I only have a few hybrids (under 5 of them) and the rest are heirlooms.
Loofah gourd, started from seed in a peat pellet.

 Here is our backyard. Most of the big planters are set in place. We may have to move just a few around, but not many.
 My row of pepper plants. I have a jalapeno, a serrano, a pimento, a Cubanelle, a poblano and an Anaheim. If I find one or two more, like a Marconi, I'll plant them up...but I do have several inside that I started from seed that will be going out soon.
 My smallest raised bed out back. It holds nasturtiums, 2 onions that Bob stuck in there so that they can go to seed, rutabagas, radishes and white beets.
 Another grouping of tomatoes. Once these are caged up, they'll be spaced out more to do their tomato-y thing!

And, yet, more tomatoes...we really dig tomatoes around here, if you can't tell!
 This is one of the baby blueberry bushes that I got this year. I'm happy to report that they seemed to have survived the mailing process just fine and are sprouting new, green growth. These will be an actual blue blueberry...not pink like the ones I put in last year. I'll get to those in a minute.
 And even more tomatoes!!!! I'm companion planting pots of borage with them. Borage and tomatoes love each other and borage is a wonderful herb to have. If you harvest the leaves while they are young, they have a cucumber flavor to them. If you let them go, the leaves can be used as a poultice for burns, insect bites and bee stings. They also get quite tall and have beautiful purple flowers. As my smaller pots of marigolds grow, they will be placed all around the tomatoes, too. I've learned that carrots are a great tomato companion, too.
 This is my Asian greens raised bed. It has mizuna, pak choi, bok choy, edible crysanthemum...all sorts of wonderful edibles! We are going to turn that pallet into another vertical garden.
 I transplanted herbs from the greenhouse into this large 30 gallon pot yesterday. It has salad burnet (another wonderful cucumber tasting herb), Italian parsley and chervil.
 I found these irises growing wild on the bank out back. I dug this one up and potted it.
 And...even MORE tomatoes!
 The two smaller boxes are my potato beds. I've got the closest one planted with red potatoes and the other one will be planted up with the sweet potato that I'm rooting inside right now.
 This is my new pumpkin patch. There are 3 types of pumpkins in there along with nasturtiums. I've got white pumpkins, Amish Jarrahdale and Old Timey Cornfield pumpkins. I started the seeds in the greenhouse.
 This is the winter squash bed. It has butternut and acorn squash growing. Again, I started the seeds in the greenhouse for these, too.
 I'm growing concord grapes this is my "arbor"!

My largest raised bed is all planted up with Glass Gem Corn and various types of beans...both bush and runners. I have everything from Asian Red Noodle Beans to bush limas and bush kidneys planted in there.
The backyard!

 We had a lot of wood leftover after building the raised beds. I lined the fence with the boards so that my pots of melons and gourds and whatever else needs to climb could set on them.
Even more tomatoes!! There is also comfrey, thyme and lavender there, too...I'll place them later on.

 This is what the backyard looks like as you walk around the back of the trailer.
 This is my pallet garden. I planted it up with various lettuces, spinach and greens. We were going to set it to grow vertically, but it didn't work out that way. No matter, I'm not about to be deterred by that little detail!

 Bob and I went to a yard sale and I found these bag planters. I gave one of them to my sister and I planted the other with nasturtiums. They like it.

 Here is one side of the memorial garden that I planted in Ralph's memory.
 My lettuce filled gutter garden. It's coming right along. I love to grow different types of lettuces.
The gutter garden!

Gourds from my friend SuZan!

 There is a funny story behind this little tomato plant. Last fall was when I got into seed trading. I started with some chile seeds that I saved and dried. I traded for some lettuce and I got a package that said "Hillbilly Leaf". Well, I was naive. I thought it was a type of lettuce. When Bob made up all those water (milk) jug greenhouses for me in March, I got out my lettuces and went to work. I slid the seeds of the "Hillbilly Leaf" out into my hand, looked at Bob, and said, "These aren't lettuce seeds...these are tomato or pepper seeds!" I planted them anyway. That was on March 11. Everything but the Hillbilly sprouted up and has grown wonderfully. I was finally to the point that I was going to toss the Hillbilly Leaf container out, but I opened the top, looked inside and saw this guy standing there. It is, indeed, a tomato. A very hardy tomato. I'm going to let him just do his thing and I hope to get some fruit from him in order to save the seeds. I didn't have him on a heat mat, under grow lights or any of that. He's a tough lil guy!
Geraniums, oregano and a second year lettuce plant that I will let go to seed.
 Various pots that are seeded with different things: zinnia, marigold, nasturtium, hollyhocks and calendula.
The front yard.

The side of the driveway and Joan's front yard and part of her in-ground garden that we spent a day digging.

This is Ralph's pansy. It is on it's 3rd year. I got it from the farmers market and Ralph loved it. I finally found him one last summer. I'll keep this as long as it wants to grow. Ralph just loved this pansy!


Five types of radishes...from daikon to watermelon...they are growing in this box.

My peas are coming right along.

Front yard

Cabbages and Romanesco (alien) broccoli

My front raised bed and all the stuff growing by it, like garlic and lettuces.

One of the petunias that I picked up from the Longview farmers market this last weekend.

This is my new favorite petunia. It's called Moonlight Eclipse. It is gorgeous with the green ring around the purple. I'm going to attempt to winter this over in my greenhouse.

Thanks for taking the RV park container garden tour with me...PEACE!