Friday, April 30, 2010

Garden Blogger's Death Day :: April 2010

Ding, Ding, Ding… bring out your dead!

Welcome to the first Garden Blogger's Death Day for the Spring planting gardening season of 2010!! It's GBDD for April, 2010! This is the day for gardeners who overwater, underwater, maim, prune or otherwise neglect their plants to a state of dismal droopage or untimely death. This is the day for gardeners like me with black thumbs who kill more than they cultivate, for cadmium-green-thumbed gardeners who have a lapse in judgment and commit accidental planticide, and for any poor soul whose plants fall victim to that fickle mother who controls us all - Mother Nature.

I've done quite well with this year's garden, but I always start off cocky and confident and end hungry and shamed. Each planting season I do get better and I find that less plants fall to my black-thumbed wrath each time I start a new garden. But, of course, there are always victims.

Here is my nice little square of 16 carrots - please excuse the ugly weed poking up in the front of the picture. As you can see, I only had three carrots poke through the soil. The other 13 have died a sad little seedy death in my garden. I blame the heat since that's always a safe bet around here.

Now this one I'm mad about. I've tried to grow English Peas a few times now and every time something happens to them when they get about this height. This time it's that huge mound of ants you see at the bottom. They've raised the soil, pushed the plants over to one side and flat-out displaced my peas and overtaken at least a third of this raised bed. I am working on a plan to annihilate the buggers, but I think it's a little late for my peas. RIP English Peas. One day the planets will align correctly and I'll find a way for you to survive in my garden.

This bottom half of a tomato plant falls right into the category of "I know better," which says a lot since I rarely know better when it comes to gardening. I often fly by the seat of my pants so the fact that I screwed up AND I knew better says a lot. This tomato plant was tall and gorgeous and full of wonderful little yellow flowers. I knew I should put a cage on it, but I can procrastinate better than anyone. Then a big storm came through this past weekend and the plant fell over and broke in half. Well isn't that special? I put a cage on it and noticed that I have a little growth out of the top of the main stem, so hopefully all is not lost.

Overall this was a nice quiet first Death Day of 2010 for me! I have something eating my eggplant, strange white spots on my spinach, a prematurely flowering broccoli and sickly parsnips, so I fear that May's Death Day might be chock full of crime scene photos if I don't get my act together this month.

So how about all of you? What fell victim to your gardening wrath this month? Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog showing what you killed or maimed this month. We're here for you. Let's not judge, but support each other like a good pair of pantyhose or a well-staked garden trellis.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A prematurely flowering broccoli and a Garden Bloggers Death Day Announcement!

I've been a bit busy lately and the blog has taken a nice comfy seat on the backburner. I've finally found a spare couple of minutes tonight and thought I'd share my latest gardening dilemma with you. I have a prematurely flowering broccoli. What gives?

It's a new plant and with the first little heads of broccoli came yellow flowers. It never grew a nice large head of broccoli - I got funky small little broccoli buds and yellow flowers. I can't eat yellow flowers with my dinner! What happened to my broccoli? Do I need to get rid of the plant now?

Any ideas? I've never had this happen before and I'm perlexed - as usual.


And my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT is that I'm holding the first Garden Blogger's Death Day of 2010 on April 30th for the Spring 2010 planting season!!

Garden Blogger's Death Day is the day for gardeners who overwater, underwater, maim, prune or otherwise neglect their plants to a state of dismal droopage or untimely death. This is the day for gardeners like me with black thumbs who kill more than they cultivate, for cadmium-green-thumbed gardeners who have a lapse in judgment and commit accidental planticide, and for any poor soul whose plants fall victim to that fickle mother who controls us all - Mother Nature.

So join me on April 30th for GBDD! Post on your blog what fell victim to your gardening wrath this month. Feel free to leave a comment explaining what you killed or maimed this month. If you have a blog leave a link to it so we can visit and check out post mortem photos too.

Remember, we're here for you. Let's not judge, but support each other like a good pair of pantyhose or a well-staked garden trellis.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! Add to my green list!

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day - the day where we're all supposed to stop and think about how we're treating the only home we'll ever have, and maybe find a way to tread a little lighter. I'm a huge follower of environmental news and the more I read, the more I worry about the future of the planet. I do worry that we'll damage things beyond the point of no return if everyone doesn't try to do something to make a difference.

All my friends know that I'm an out-and-proud tree hugger. In my eyes, I'm not hardcore, but many of my friends seem to think I'm over the top. I think it's really important to raise my children with a respect for themselves, their food, and their environment. I want them to know where food comes from, where garbage goes, where water comes from, what pollution is, etc. Raising them to respect our planet is one of my most important parenting goals.

That being said, here's the list of 20 things we do in our family to tread as lightly as we can on our home turf. And before anyone thinks this is some sort of go-green brag to be the best, it's not…it's just my list of things WE do with the hopes of inspiring someone out there to pick one thing off my list and add it to your family's routine. Do you do something earth-friendly that's not on my list? Please let me know in the comments section - I'm always interested in learning new ways to live a little greener.

1) We have a vegetable garden! Of course. It might not be perfect, but any space dedicated to growing your own vegetables is a well-used space. There's really nothing better than a garden-to-table meal.

2) We compost. All meat scraps go to the dogs. All cooked veggie scraps (and rice, pasta, etc.) go to the chickens and everything else goes in the compost. We couldn't afford to buy a big fancy composter so we made one out of a garbage can and it works just fine.

3) I make our own cleaning products. I do have a couple of store-bought chemicals cleaners, but about 90% of what we use is homemade by me. You can clean almost anything in your house with vinegar, baking soda, Borax, hot water, essential oils, rubbing alcohol and good old-fashioned elbow grease. You'd be surprised that most homemade products work so much better than chemical-laden store-bought junk - plus you're reusing the same container instead of just tossing it in the trash and you're not bringing chemicals into your home (and then flushing them down your sink).

4) We used to cloth diaper our kids. This freaks people out for some reason. But modern cloth diapers are just as easy as disposables, but don't get tossed in landfills where it turns out they never really degrade. How crazy is that?

5) We use cloth napkins as much as we can and really limit paper towel use.

6) I make reusable cloth snack bags for the hubby and boys to take their lunch in, meaning we don't use and toss ziploc bags, which is a major pet peeve of mine.

7) We don't water our lawn. Yeah, it doesn't always look pretty, but the lawn always comes back because it will eventually rain.

8) We don't use chemicals on our lawn. No weed and feed here. And yup, we end up with a lot of weeds that need to be mowed down, but I read that people's yards are about the most polluted places on the planet due to all the lawn chemicals and I didn't want my kids and pets running through a chemical landmine every day.

9) We have pet chickens to provide our family with fresh eggs and to provide our compost heap with nitrogen-laden chicken poo! They're a joy to have and another small step toward grasping the fringe of sustainability.

10) We recycle everything we can. The garbage company picks up cans, plastic, glass, newspaper, magazines and cardboard, which is amazing! We also recycle batteries, but we have to drive those down to the local battery store. Between the chickens, compost and recycling we hardly have any trash anymore.

11) We've got a heat blanket on the hot water heater. This is something anyone can do. It's a silver insulated blanket that just wraps around the hot water heater and you duct tape it on. I've read it reduces energy costs by 25-45%, so for $20 it's well worth it.

12) We've replaced most of the bulbs in our house with CFLs, which are pricey but do last a lot longer and use a lot less energy than regular light bulbs.

13) We keep our A/C set on 80 degrees most of the year, which a lot of our Florida neighbors think is outrageous. But we're used to it and it's a huge energy saver.

14) We limit our consumption of meat and try to eat vegetarian meals a couple of days a week. We can't afford to buy grass-fed beef, but we only buy Murray's chicken, which is certified humane and we try to buy Maverick Ranch meat products from time to time.

15) I try to buy local when I can. I joined a vegetable co-op so when my garden isn't producing I can get local vegetables for the family's meals. I try to buy local honey as well since we have an apiary that supplies to a few produce stands around town.

16) We don't eat any fast food, unless you count the periodic pizza a few times a year. We won't patronize McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, etc. because we don't think they're healthy and we don't like how they try to suck children in by channeling their advertising to kids, offering kids toys and kids play places. My poor deprived children have never been into a McDonald's and actually enjoy giving speeches to others about the evils of the company. My 6-year-old likes to say they trick you into thinking their food is healthy by giving you a free toy, but he's not buying it. I know the day will come when they'll venture into a FF restaurant, but not at this age - and not on my watch.

17) We try not to buy products from companies that have bad environmental reputations. This one is a tough one - we read up on companies and try to avoid food from places that don't gel with our mindset, such as Perdue chicken. This one is easier said than done though. You can watch "The Future of Food" to learn more about this.

18) We try to eat homemade as often as possible. This means homemade pizzas, burgers, fries, cookies, bread, dinners, lunches etc. We avoid processed food and try extremely hard to make as much food as we can from scratch.

19) We eat some organics, but not as much as we'd like. The price is out of our budget for most things, so I'll get one or two organic purchases with each week's groceries and call it a day.

20) We keep our options open and read as much as we can about the environment, food, choices, etc. The more we learn the more educated choices we can make. I'm reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" right now and it's eye-opening.

I hope something on here inspired someone out there to make a change. If there's something you do that's not on my list, please let me know in the comments section! I'd love to learn about it.

Thanks and Happy Earth Day!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My live nesting bird cam obsession

It's Spring and with Spring comes nesting birds and cute little wobbly baby birds growing up under mama's wing. I've started a fun new obsession this Spring - watching live webcams from inside the nests of three eagle families and one owl family. They're so captivating to watch so I thought I'd share it with you so that you can ignore your responsibilities by watching a mother owl trying to sleep while four little owlets drive her insane. I have taken a screen shot of each bird family below with links to the live cams.

Here's a screen shot I took tonight of the owlets waiting for mama to come back with a nice mouse for dinner.

Here's Molly and McGhee's live cam from San Marcos, California. A man built an owl nesting box in his back yard and waited a couple of years hoping someone would move in. He's now got a gorgeous family of Barn Owls living live on the web in his own back yard and he has close to 9 million followers online.

FYI, the man behind the cam is Carlos and he periodically comes on the cam in a picture-in-picture and talks about what's been happening with the owl family. Take last night for example, Molly left the owlets for about 20 hours and everyone was extremely worried about her. She eventually came back with a mouse a minute after McGhee, much to everyone's relief. It turns out that she'll start leaving them longer now that they're older and a few of them can swallow prey whole. (Also, a couple of books are being written about Molly's story - one is a children's book for less than $5).

You can check out their blog and info page here. They have some gorgeous photos and owl facts you won't want to miss.

I've also been quite captivated with nesting eagles, thanks to friends of mine constantly passing along eagle webcams. Here are three eagle families in three very different stages of life.

The first one is an eagle couple on Hornby Island in Canada who recently laid two eggs. Apparently it's getting close to chick hatching time, which would be amazing to watch live. I like watching the mama eagle turn the eggs from time to time and otherwise sit there keeping them warm looking slightly bored. Here's a pic I grabbed this afternoon of mama eagle giving us a peek at her eggs.

The next eagle family in British Columbia has a tiny little baby eagle in the nest. I've only seen one, although there could be another hidden one or one that hasn't hatched yet. Mom and Dad eagle both bring food back and rip it up into tiny little strips for their baby to gobble down. So far I've only seen them bring back fish. You can just see the little baby reaching up his head and taking some food on this picture.

The final eagle family in Norfolk, Virginia, has three big fat babies who are getting adult feathers and losing their chick fluff. I've seen both eagle parents visit the nest with food for the kids. This site is great because they often do a live chat where the eagle experts from the park will answer questions from you about the birds.

A little warning - all of these webcams have microphones attached to them. If you have one of the webcams up on your computer and turn your head you risk hearing a loud SCREEEEEEEEEEECH! that will cause any dog to come out of their skin and cause you to do a very embarrassing jump in your chair. Also, be prepared to watch these birds of prey bring back dinner for their babies and rip it to shreds. It's such an amazing look into these birds lives and I've become quite addicted to my own form of reality tv!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rural Schoolin'

My oldest son's elementary school is a nice country school, which is pretty rare in the Florida school system where we're famous for sprawling suburban schools holding three times the number of kids they were designed for. Now my son's school isn't a quaint one-room schoolhouse or anything. It's a nice-looking school with over 500 kids, but it's in a quiet rural area and there are plenty of old-Florida-type country folk who send their kids there. It's an interesting mix of people and as far as public schools go (especially in Florida), it's a pretty good school.

I thought I'd give you a glimpse into this place.

First of all there's this sign on the car ramp that I always found amusing. (Please excuse all the photos in this entry - all were taken with my camera phone).

Seriously, no horses allowed on the sidewalk? I thought it was a cute old-fashioned reminder of how things used to be.

Then I saw this.

And realized that it's a necessary sign. People picking their kids up on horses seem to stay across the street by the church - thanks to the sign I assume. Score one point for the school signage committee.

I was there this morning since I volunteer weekly in my son's class, and as I was walking out of the front office after signing in, I saw a man in a parking lot with a cage in each hand walking toward the office.

He was what we'd call "a good ole' boy" - that's someone who was born and raised in rural FL and probably drives a pick up truck and has a large supply of old mesh-style ballcaps. This guy was a well-tanned man in his mid-50s with worn boots, dirty jeans, an old plaid short-sleeved shirt, an old redneck ball cap and a rusty old cage in each hand containing…

…you'll never guess…

…wait for it...

...really fancy show chickens.

I squealed with girl delight when I saw the two birds in the cage in his left hand. "Ohhh!!! Silkies! Can I see them?" I blurted out. The guy looked shocked and said "Dang. Don't meet many people who know these birds are silkies." We stopped and chatted in front of the school office for a good 20 minutes - him, the chicken man - me, the chicken girl - instant repoire. We talked about the types of chickens he raises, we laughed about the absurdity of "showgirls" and just plain talked turkey while his little bantam Serama rooster crowed along.

Turns out the guy was bringing the chickens in for a presentation to the kindergarten classes. Since I was volunteering in my son's class I got to see his presentation. He also delivered a huge box of fertile eggs and an incubator and the kids are going to try and hatch some chicks! He's coming back in 2 weeks to show the kids how to candle the eggs and look for a chick embryo.

I always seem to come away with a story when I visit my son's school. This time I came away with a chicken man's business card and I now have a local connection for purchasing chickens, should I ever decide to expand my clandestine chicken operation by a bird or two. Shhh...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wildlife Weekend :: Florida Beach Nature Walk

This week is Spring Break for my boys and we had plans to go back down to visit my mom for a few days, but the planets didn't align correctly and it just didn't work out. Although we stayed at the house, we managed to pack every day with plenty of fun-filled activities from painting to geo-caching to theme parks to swimming in the pool until they dropped.

But since it IS Spring Break and Spring Break in Florida is all about the beach, I thought I'd post these photos from our visit my mom's house a few weeks back. Taking my boys to the very beach where I grew up is a fun experience and I enjoy watching them learn about all the beachy things I took for granted as a kid.

Running along the sandbar - it's a semi-attached sandbar, depending on what the tide has done the previous hurricane season. The vibe of the beach is pretty dependent on what's thriving - or dying - along the shore. Stingray season - not so much fun... this time it was seaweed and jellyfish - lots and lots of brightly colored dead jellyfish. Most of the time there's hardly any seaweed and no jellyfish, but both happened to be in season on this day.

Most of the jellyfish were black or orange or white and resembled rocks. There are NO rocks on Florida Gulf beaches, so if you see something in that photo that looks like a rock, it's a dead jellyfish.

I tried to convince the boys that this jellyfish was a disembodied brain from some sort of underwater Frankenstein. I almost sold them on it.

Pretty coral of all colors and textures.

A few horseshoe crabs...mostly dead ones though. Did you know that horseshoe crabs haven't evolved much in 250 million years? They look pretty much like they did back in the time of dinosaurs. And did you know they have a copper-based blue blood? And that this blue blood is used by science to test out new medicines? Interesting stuff.

They might not have fall leaves in Southern Florida, but the mangrove leaves turn pretty colors at times. Mangroves are one of the most important living things in coastal areas - their roots hold the coast together and the area under the mangrove roots are fish nurseries.

Ever wonder where baby shells come from? This is a shell egg casing. Some people refer to it as a "mermaid's necklace." This one is a whelk egg casing and it is filled with tiny shell eggs from the female shell. Once it's done its job, it floats away, washes ashore and dries out.

The boys found some beautiful conch shells. This one is a Florida Fighting Conch. We showed them the difference between a live shell and a dead shell and explained that if you find a live shell on the beach you always throw it back in the water - as far as you can out of the reach of uneducated tourists.

Check out this freaky-looking jellyfish. I think it's a Moon Jellyfish. Was good to teach the important lesson about being stung by a jellyfish - they can still sting you even when dead, so don't step on one just in case the tentacles are lurking under a thin layer of sand.

What's a beach without some driftwood?

No matter how pretty the scenery is, if you've got two little boys, they'll zero in on the dead fish. It made me glad we didn't bring the dogs because they love to roll in some dead-stink.

Much of the sandbar is roped off because it's an endangered sea bird nesting area. But, as we know, it only takes one minor Tropical Storm to wash it all away.

Here are two of the shells we brought home. They'll be making an important appearance at Kindergarten and Preschool show and tell next week...if we ever remember to bring them!

I hope you all enjoyed a little peek at our beach walk! It feels like old hat to me, but I'm sure there are some landlocked readers who don't see this type of thing every day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Broiled grapefruit for brekkers

I do love Florida citrus and I really love a good grapefruit. There's an older couple with a nice sized grove up the street and when it's in season we buy our oranges, marmalade, pomegranate jam, lemons and grapefruit from them. Right now they're selling 2 grapefruit for 25 cents. How can you beat that?

I came home with an enormous sack full of grapefruit the other day when Farmer B started reminiscing about the toasted grapefruit that his mother used to make them on cold mornings.

I instantly recoiled. Warm citrus? Hot citrus? Cooked citrus? Blech. But then late one night he was at work and the grapefruit pile was staring at me and I thought I should give it a shot. Afterall, I'll try almost any food item once.

I followed his instructions along with some I found online and the hot, soupy beast emerged from the oven.

I smelled it and was intrigued. I ate it and I was hooked. I now spend my days hovering around the broiler jonesing for my next hot grapefruit. I'm going through about two grapefruits a day at this point - one for breakfast and one for a late-night dessert.

If you want to try it, here's the super simple instructions.

Boiled grapefruit

Put the oven broiler on while you cut the grapefruit in half. Remove the seeds and cut around the little walls and edges.

Sprinkle the grapefruit with brown sugar.

Place it on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and put in the oven on the middle shelf and broil for about 6 minutes.

Then move to the top shelf for about 60 to 90 seconds - watch this step like a hawk. You don't want blackened grapefruit - you just want a bit of stylish singeing on the edges.

Remove and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Help! I've got ants in my plants!

In the back row of one of my raised beds I have evil, red intruders. An enormous nest of fire ants has moved in and has overrun at least half of the bed.

I noticed the soil around the pea seedlings was much higher than it should be so I grabbed a handful of soil and it was alive with ants. After doing a girly squeal, hand fling and dance I realized I have a red ant problem and I don't know how to fix it. I also have an empty square that's begging for something to be planted in it too, but when I dug into it red ants streamed up my Garfield trowel.

I wouldn't say I'm going 100% organic with the vegetable garden, but we are doing our best not to use any unnatural chemicals or pesticides. So dumping a bucket of ant-killing insecticide into my vegetables doesn't appeal to me, but I've lived in Florida long enough to know that fire ants don't move easily. It takes a lot to tick them off. I've never met an organic product that does anything other than amuse the ants or beef them up like they're on steroids. My dad once told me that he treated a fire ant nest with a natural pesticide and the ants threw it back at him in disgust.

Anyone got any suggestions for me? As it stands I'm afraid to go near the garden at this point because it's like a mine field. I've got a sneaking suspicion that there's a sleeper cell of fire ants in my other raised bed too, so my problem is definitely spreading.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Final Nighttime Space Shuttle Launch photos!

We got up about 10 minutes early today to dash out into the backyard and watch the Space Shuttle Discovery take off at 6:21 a.m. I love night launches because the sky goes from a dark black to a brilliant orange in the blink of an eye. Granted this was a sunrise launch, but the shuttle lifted off a few minutes before the sun rose so we still got the benefit of a night launch. I read that this was the last night launch scheduled for the shuttle program, so I didn't want to miss it.

My oldest son was all geeked up to watch it too, so I woke him up and we dashed out in the backyard with a flashlight and a camera and looked East. I realized at about that moment that I did not have the camera on the right setting and wouldn’t be able to find the correct setting in about 5 seconds in the dark with a flashlight. I knew the photos wouldn't look very good, but I took them regardless and tried to focus on enjoying the experience, especially through my son's eyes.

When we look East we walk to our back fence and can see our neighbor's house, which is usually pretty hard to see from our house. We're a straight shot to the space coast so the shuttle launches are quite an experience, no matter how many times you see it go up.

Here are the photos (on the wrong setting) that are blurry and off, but it's better than having none at all. I will have the tripod and the right settings for the final launches, I assure you.

It was a quiet, still morning so a few seconds after the shuttle took off we could hear and feel the low, loud rumble of the rockets. We put our hands on our wooden fence to feel the vibration and my son was impressed by that. We watched the two solid rocket boosters fall from the shuttle and we were fascinated by the strange vapor trail-type thing in that last photo. (Farmer B said to Aidan, "Look, they just released the boosters. Can you see them falling in the sky?" Aidan says "WHAT? they released their boosters??? What will they sit on if they got rid of their boosters???")

My son recently had a NASA employee speak to his kindergarten class and he told me that the man said they use a chicken egg to train people. Apparently to use one of the robotic arms they have to successfully pick up a chicken egg and move it without breaking it to pass the test. He wasn't sure if it was ground workers who retrieve the SRB's from the ocean or if it was astronauts in space, but regardless he liked that story since we have chickens - and eggs - in our backyard.

As the shuttle was launching, Farmer B and I really tried to impress upon him the awesomeness of what he was witnessing - that there are only three shuttle missions remaining and then the whole program is ending; that children all over the world would love to be as lucky as him and be able to see the shuttle take off from a vantage point in their own back yard; and of course how brave the astronauts are that are hurtling to space at over 17,000 mph.

This shuttle mission is going to the International Space Station to carry supplies and science equipment and will return to Earth in 13 days on April 18 at 8:35 a.m. It was a strange feeling knowing we'll never see the sky light up orange from the night launch of a space shuttle ever again.

I can't imagine how busy the space coast will be for the final three launches. We'll be camped out in our backyard (if the timing is right) and will try and capture all three of them on film and hopefully in the memories of our boys who will one day be able to tell their children about this.

To see some past entries with shuttle launch photos, click here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!

I'd like to wish a very Happy Easter to all my readers, friends and family!!! Hope you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!!

Saffron enjoying the Spring

Dyed eggs in homemade brown paper nests!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recipe :: Swiss Chard & Walnut Ice Cream

As you may remember, my Swiss Chard is growing like gangbusters and I've been thoroughly enjoying it in quiche along with Canadian bacon, leek and fresh eggs from my chickens. But the chard is growing so much that I knew I had to come up with another use for it. I've sautéed it and mixed it in with omelets, but I wanted to come up with something new and exciting that the whole family would love.

I have been tinkering with this recipe for awhile and it's finally perfected and I'm excited to share it with you. Presenting…

Swiss Chard & Walnut Ice Cream! I like to serve it over a nice warm sponge cake. It's become our family's favorite homemade dessert! Here's the recipe:

Swiss Chard & Walnut Ice Cream


1 1/2 cups of fresh baby Swiss Chard (try to stick to the white/green chard)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Put the baby chard in a blender with the milk and pulverize until well blended. Transfer to a pan and bring to a bare simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the milk into a bowl and reserve. Clean the saucepan.

Combine the heavy cream, 1/3 cup of the sugar and salt in the clean saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Whisk the yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a large bowl. When the cream is hot, very gradually pour it into the yolks and sugar, whisking vigorously at the same time so the yolks don't curdle.
When all the cream has been added, return the whole mixture to the saucepan. Heat slowly just to 170 degrees (or when it coats the back of a wooden spoon). Pour into a large metal bowl and add the reserved, chard-flavored milk.

Cool over an ice bath and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours.

Churn in an ice cream machine according to instructions. As the churning finishes, add the walnuts.

Freeze 4 hours or overnight. For details and a step-by-step photo tutorial, click here


I encourage you all to blend your greens and come up with your own awesome ice cream flavors. It's really something to impress company too - the spinachy, earthy, leafy vibe is such a nice way to top off a meal! It's especially delicious after spending an afternoon doing my other favorite activity when I'm not gardening - photographing wildlife!...specifically the rare Florida Sun Badger - something I had a run-in with on THIS VERY SAME DATE last year.


Now that it is no longer April 1st, I thought I owed it to some late readers to put the hidden message (available from all the links in the blog post above) right here out in the open so there is NO confusion! (especially since I have people who seem intrigued and now want to try this salady-ice cream).

I'm lactose intolerant, for corn's sake! I'd NEVER be making ice cream, let alone any salady ice cream! APRIL FOOL!!
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