Monday, June 6, 2022

Sunny Sunday

 

Sunflower

The first sunflower has bloomed.  It's a fairly small sunflower, but, I'm hoping there will be some seeds to collect.  But, apparently, just about the entire sunflower plant is edible!  According to what I've read online, the seedlings can be eaten raw or stir-fried when they are about 4-6 inches high, the tender stalks can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked, the young leaves can be eaten raw, the more mature leaves can be cooked as greens, the flower buds can be cooked and eaten, and the petals can be eaten raw in a salad!   I like sunflower seeds, but, I haven't eaten any other part of the plant.  Still, it's good to know, isn't it?  Maybe next year, I'll grow more sunflowers and experiment!

My daughter said it rained last night in Berkeley, but, it didn't make its way down here.  In my area, so far this year, we've had 0.15 inches of rain in January ("normal" would have been 2.97 inches), 0.03 inches in February (normal would have been 3.95 inches), a whole 1.57 inches in March (normal = 2.43 inches), 0.27 inches in April (normal = 0.74), 0.01 inches in May (normal = 0.29), and nothing yet, in June (normal = 0.09).  May through October is our dry season, so no rain is normal.

Today, I did a load of laundry in the morning, put the washed sofa covers back on the family room sofa and covered the sofa with a dust sheet (easier to wash the dust sheet than the sofa covers).  Neighbor T called and we chatted for a bit. 

In the afternoon, I took two jars of peach jam over to neighbor S; one jar is for her mother.  She asked me if I wanted the jars back and I said yes, please, if she didn't want them.  I have now used up all my half-pint jars and will need to buy more for any other jams I might make this year.  I have another box and half of the one pint jars, which are good for chutneys.  

My daughter called to say she was going to a particular grocery store and asked if I wanted any items from there.  They have cashew nuts, etc., at fairly reasonable prices ($6.99/lb. for pieces; $7.99/lb. for whole) and I gave her a list of items to buy for me!  Yes, the same items are available at their store down here, too, but, since I am not shopping in person down here, and this store doesn't have curbside pick up or delivery, and my daughter was shopping there, any way, I'm having her be my personal shopper and bring the items down with her!  She doesn't mind and, as she said, she knows I'll give her cooked food to take back with her when she goes back.  LOL.

I walked around the back yard in the evening and noticed that there was one last peach, partially hidden by the leaves, that M had not seen to pick on Friday.  It was too high up in the tree for me to reach to pick, so I used a rake to break it.  Of course, it fell on the ground and it was so ripe that it got smooshed!  Even so, I picked it up, washed off the dirt, and cut it up.  It was fine, inside, but, rather mushy because it was so ripe.  Well, waste not, want not - I put the cut up peach into a small saucepan, added some sugar and the juice of one lemon and cooked it!  Another half a jar of pourable peach sauce!  The consistency is between the topping and the jam!  

Now that the peaches have been harvested, I'm waiting for my five plums to ripen:

Plums

Two of the five plums; the top one looks almost ready, doesn't it?  The tree was planted last year and it didn't produce any fruits last year.  This year, it started out with about 10 fruits, but, some didn't grow big and dropped off.  I think it is good that the tree is concentrating on establishing itself during the first couple of years.  If all goes well, we'll get a bigger harvest in years to come.  This year, the nectarine tree (also planted last year) didn't set any fruit.  But, last year, it produced two of the sweetest nectarines we've ever tasted!  

I had made some fried rice for brunch, today, with leftover rice, leftover stir-fried broccoli, a sausage I had cooked and frozen, previously, which I thawed and cut up into small pieces, and a handful of roasted peanuts:

Sausage Fried Rice

Dinner was a bowl of my chicken and vegetable soup and buttered toast: 

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I had grapes afterwards and some yogurt with peach sauce stirred into it.  

Later in the evening, I chatted on the phone with friend R and video chatted with my daughter. 

I also gave Dancer his flea prevention medicine, but, we won't tell him, OK?

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny and warm day
- My daughter being my personal shopper!
- Working appliances
- Garden fruit and flowers
- What I managed to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was distributing jars of jam to neighbors.

Monday's To Do List:
- Drop off the ballot at the ballot box in the library
- Put gas to the car
- Wash the bed sheets/remake the bed
- Dust the living room and dining room
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Cut up the rest of the peaches to freeze

How was your Sunday?  What have you planned for Monday?




22 comments:

  1. I did not know that other than the sunflower seeds, that the plant was edible. I have a small crop of sunflower seedlings ready to plant outside so perfect timing in sharing that info. Good for you getting that last peach off the tree. Looks like your plums are going to be a bumper crop. I have read that southern California is experiencing one of the worse droughts ever, which is climate change evidence. :(

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    1. I hope your sunflower seedlings will grow well, Mary-Lou. I am trying to find out more about the plants that I grow. I'm thinking that, if I am spending the money, time, and effort to grow them, then, I'd like to be able to harvest more than one item from them if possible. Obviously, being edible does not necessarily mean they'll be tasty and I will enjoy eating them, but, if the choice is going hungry or eating what I have in the garden, then, I'd like to know which garden plants are edible!

      Now that the last peach has been picked, I'm looking into peach leaves! According to what I've read on-line, peach leaves are edible but, should be cooked or dried and used as a tea; they maybe used as a flavoring ingredient! Who knew?

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  2. Generally, the birds eat the sunflower seeds before I get them harvested, but I didn't know about eating the rest of the plant (which bugs devour sometimes.)

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    1. I have a feeling that the birds will eat my sunflower seeds, too, June. But, it's good to know that the rest of the plant is edible, too, isn't it? Apparently peach leaves are edible, too, but, must be cooked first; I've read that they are used to flavor milk, etc. Obviously one can't go by everything one reads on-line, but, there's a lot that we don't know about the plants we grow!

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  3. I am silently laughing as I see your post about the plums. I just watched through the window as my friendly squirrel just snagged the last remaining apple growing on the apple tree in my back yard. We have never had even one apple make it to maturity. I hope those little well fed buggers are happy!
    I save all my jars with lug lids (pickles and what not) and use them for water bath canning jams or jellies. They seal perfectly well and I can save my canning jars for canning more temperamental foods

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    1. Oh, no! Sounds like you need a squirrel deterrent system! I save all my jars, too, but, use them mostly for storage or for my home-use jams and chutneys. I prefer to use canning jars for the jams and chutneys I give as gifts.

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  4. I can totally sympathise with Anne. If it isn't squirrels, it's birds... I have had one raspberry so far, and have just watched a jay devouring several other, underripe ones. Something (jay or pigeon) had also pecked at the three strawberries I picked at the weekend. I do still have not one, not two, but THREE blackcurrants slowly changing colour ... so if you think you can make me jealous talking about your peaches and plums, you're barking up the wrong (fruit) tree! Hahaha! Anyway, now that I know you have a nectarine tree I have decided to postpone my visit until it is properly established. I like nectarines - peaches, not so much.
    Your fried rice looks yummy. Hope you get some decent rainfall soon. (I know it's not likely, but let's hope.)

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    1. Yay for the THREE blackcurrants! They should be enough to make a homemade version of Ribena, which I was given when I was a child; it was considered to be a tonic that children needed!
      Would it be possible to put some netting or something over the berry bushes and plants to keep the birds out? Some years, the birds eat some of my peaches, too, but, this year, there wasn't much evidence of it.
      Oh, I'm sorry you will have to postpone your visit until next year, but, with our Covid numbers rising, it might be the safer thing to do. :)
      Thank you for your hopes for rain. :)

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  5. I had no idea that other parts of the sunflower could be eaten, having only enjoyed the seeds. That photo is lovely, by the way. I had sunflower plants years ago and I was entertained by watching a blue jay hanging upside down on the ripe flower, pecking at the seeds, and a smaller plant with flower head bent low to the ground had a chipmunk up on tippy toe getting at the seeds!

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    1. It's what I've read online, Bushlady, but, it seems to me that we've moved away from eating the whole plant and focusing on only one or two parts (broccoli florets only, instead of the leaves as well. We end up tossing a lot of potential food as a result, I think. Those birds and other critters work hard to eat all the good stuff we grow, don't they? :D

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  6. Your meals look delicious. I didn't know the other parts of the sunflower plant were edible, either. The finches love mine. Growing fruit is so rewarding. I will have to replant nectarines and plums, like you.

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    1. Thank you, Stephenie. I read online that the other parts of the sunflower plant are edible. Obviously, one shouldn't believe everything one reads online, but, it might be something to check into. I'd like to know if I can consume more of the plants that I grow, to maximize my returns, so to speak. :D

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  7. Your sunflower looks lovely! Disappointingly, ours haven't grown at all this year :(

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    1. Thank you, Jules. Sorry to hear that your sunflowers haven't grown this year. Maybe they'll still surprise you as the weather warms up!

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  8. I had no idea all parts of the sunflower could be eaten although I'm not sure I would like to myself.

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    1. Well, that is what I read online; I haven't tried eating any other parts of the sunflower besides seeds, myself! But, I like knowing that various other parts of plants can be consumed, besides what we usually harvest; less waste in my opinion. :)

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  9. Oh my - your rainfall numbers are devastating. And to be shut out with the normally rainy month of February is bad.
    You mentioned in a previous comment how you didn't want to mess with your washing machine hoses to get the drain water.
    (me neither!)
    But one year we had a bad drought situation. It was in the spring and I had just transplanted a lot of things that needed watering.
    I started to turn the washer off before the second rinse cycle began to drain and dip out some of the water with a plastic pitcher. I could get
    5 - 7 pitchers easily off the top which really helped my efforts.
    When the temperatures get higher (usually in July) we will turn our dehumidifier on in the basement and that will give me 2-3 gallons a day which along with saving my kitchen water should take care of my needs.
    I will just use the hose for clean water for the birdbath.

    Your fruit situation is improving every year with all that you are producing. Those plums look delicious as does that stir fry which looks especially yummy.

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    1. Thank you for explaining how you save the rinse water from the washer, Debra. I'm going to see if I can do something similar. My new washer is supposed to use less water (it has no agitator, it weighs the clothes or something and adds enough water to get them wet - every time I've stopped the machine to add a forgotten item, I don't see any standing water, just wet clothes, etc.) But, I admit I have not stopped the machine later on in the washing process, just at the start.

      I'm hoping my daughter's visit will coincide with the plums being ripe enough to eat! If the birds leave them alone, that is!

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  10. It's lovely to see the sunflowers. I had no idea all the parts of the plant is edible - I've only ever had the seeds. Lyssa has just enlightened me about fuchsias - apparently the berries are edible as well.

    I've spent the day at home, tackling some housework and looking for ideas for social activities to add to the diary.

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    1. M gave me four sunflower seedlings and the shortest of them flowered, the other three are still growing! I looked online about the fuchsia and, apparently, the flowers are edible, too! The article said that the petals can be added to salads! The berries can be eaten out of hand or made into jam, added to muffins, etc. Good to know!

      Hope you are able to set up some nice social activities to look forward to this month. :)

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  11. Your sunflower looks lovely. Sadly, ours haven't grown at all this time. I'm really disappointed, as this will be our first year in quite a while that we haven't managed to grow any. Xx

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry to hear your sunflowers haven't grown yet, this year. Maybe they'll still spring up, one warm, sunny day! I remember you had the most gorgeous red sunflowers, last year.

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