Archive for August, 2010

The School Lunch and My Vegetable Garden


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How healthy is your child’s lunch? Is making a lunch so hard to do? I am looking for ways to bring more vegetables into my children’s lunches.



At the store, my daughter begs for one of these lunches in a box, but I am not happy with the idea. Have I ever bought these quick lunches for the children? Yes, I have given in to their pleas. Not often mind you. I think my four year old daughter has has these boxes four times in her life. I like the idea of a bento box, but these temptations are not in my plan for a healthy meal. I have also noticed a greater push for processed goodies from my children. Soda is only purchased on special occasions, but this is creeping in to our lives more. They do eat fruit; however, I would like this balanced with vegetables. When I peer into my daughter’s lunch kit, I see that she is eating, but she is eating selectively, so I went on a quest to improve the offering.
baking bread Read the rest of this entry »

Earlier Work Pays Off


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Gardening is not always about instant gratification. Work done last fall and spring has benefits in late summer.

The storm hit. Power was out. Trees were felled. My family was at the mall, buying school clothes and supplies. I saw the clouds rolling in quickly, and the brief torrential rain, but it did not seem to bad. Coming closer to home, I realized how bad the storm had been. My neighborhood looked like a hurricane had hit. Still, I had surprisingly little damage. Most of my time cleaning up was spent picking up debris that had come to my yard from the neighbors.
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Do You Plant in This Heat?


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The staff at my local nursery were happy to see me. The parking lot was nearly empty, and the plant choices were not as extensive. Who wants to garden in these hot temperatures?



I have started seeds in various beds, and I am obtaining mixed results. I only chose plants which should have done well, but the bunching onions have succumbed to the heat. Cucumbers and winter squash are growing, as are different bean varieties and broccoli. I am also transplanting, a bit. The plants are already under stress, so I do not really want to stress them more, yet plants which are overgrowing their bounds are my targets. So far so good. The problem that I face is restlessness. In my head, I know that it takes time for the garden to develop, but I see the potential for a spot, and I want to work on it know. This leads me to the garden center.
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Pickled Asparagus in Meatloaf


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Finding ways to make my children happy through a wonderful meal of meatloaf.

The girls and I have been exploring animal life in the garden. Today we spotted a snake that we chased to see where it might go. We tried to  figure out where its home may be. I have not identified the snake yet, but it seemed quite afraid of us. We then spent time examining an emerald green beetle. Finally we harvested okra for dinner. Katya wanted to help make dinner, and Sakura seemed prepared to give her sister the space.  Katya wanted to use pickled asparagus in the dinner, so I was left to come up with a recipe.
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Spinach with Galanga


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With an abundance of spinach and galanga, you can can make a nice summer treat.



My New Zealand spinach is growing profusely, as is my ginger and galanga. July has not been the best harvesting month, so I was glad to have this vegetable in the garden. Insect attacks and rain have not been the best for my vegetable production. There has been okra, eggplant, and beans (along with a few micro-greens), but not in large numbers. I do not want to overload my family with spinach dishes, but this dish went down well, so I thought that I would share it.
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Making Your Own Modern Art for the Garden


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garden sculpturemodern garden artWe have a host of museums in Houston with modern art, and a trip to the de Menil collection inspired me to create a piece for the garden.


My wife thought that we were going to the Center for Contemporary Craft, which is a favorite, but I thought going to see the chapels and museums associated with the de Menil Collection would be nice. Walking in that neighborhood is fun. The sun is shaded by the trees, and I do like to see the gardens. I wanted to have a picnic in the park, but we went to visit a friend  for a late afternoon meal. If you are interested in a calm, modern garden design, take a moment to pay attention to the garden spaces around the Byzantine and Rothko chapels. Great places to sit and meditate. I also like the ground sculpture piece in front of the de Menil. This was all good; however, I was inspired by a sculpture that I had already seen inside the building (I also like how the buildings are made).
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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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