The Poorman’s Surf and Turf?


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What if your budget does not allow for steak and lobster, shrimp with bacon is a wonderful flavor, and that could be defined as surf and turf, right? Well, how can we make this healthier?

I remember one of the first dates that I had with my wife. She ordered lobster. This will sound like a line, but she did later admit that she wanted it, because the lobster was the most expensive item on the menu. She had never eaten lobster before, and she did not eat much of it that night (why does he remember that fact after all these years- typical husband). Later, she did learn to love lobsters, and I loved preparing them. There was a point where I was preparing seafood every Friday night. Then a relative lived with s for a while; she was allergic to shellfish, so good bye to lobsters. Later, with the children, the seafood experience in the house has been a mixed bag, and I was not sure how they would take to my using shrimp for a meal last night.
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Cabbage with Sausage and Mashed Potatoes


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There is still a slight chill in the air, so a winter comfort food can feel good.

This is a strange time in the garden. I am harvesting winter vegetables while planting the crop for spring. I am thinking of a tomato salad with basil, since these went into the ground, but I pick kale for dinner. I am pleased to discover that Katya is quite fond of kale. She declares that it is her favorite. I think that this may be due to its appearance (I have a curly leafed kale). My children have been quite good about eating a variety of vegetables. I forget that they are a bit better than some others. My wife was happy when my daughter insisted on buying something at the grocery store, which turned out to be a book (she thought it might be junk food). I heard iron deficiency is a problem in the United States, and this is partly due to the lack of leafy greens in our diet. Leafy greens are found often in my dinners, but I admit my children are not overjoyed with them. BY having them cook with me, they do seem to go after the greens more, taking a sense of pride in the fact of their preparation of the meal.
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Autumn Vegetable Plantings And An October Harvest


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Houston’s winter is not so harsh, so we do have time for new vegetable plantings, while harvesting from our summer crop.

The cold front has moved in, and everyone is expressing relief from the heat. The weather has inspired the casual gardeners to work in their yards. For me the best part has been to sit out on the porch with the family each evening. I read my books, while others play. The insects do not seem to be too bad. I have much of the tea house done. The girls should enjoy that space, but currently the tree house is seeing activity. Dinners have been filled with the harvest from the garden. I used a bit too much curry plant leaves in one dish, and I will not make that mistake again. (Curry plant has a curry like aroma, but the flavor is not the subtle blend of spices that you find in curry). The eggplant, peppers, and tomato plants have come alive again. I am waiting for the cucumbers that were planted in late summer. Then there are the beans. October is a fruitful month.
    I heard a report where a scientist predicted that our summers will commonly see temperatures in the triple digits in the coming years. The prediction goes on to indicate that our winters will be quite mild. The harsh heat and humidity at the end of summer causes many of my plants to go into a stand-by mode. They are growing, but not producing. However, our winters are not so bad for quite a few vegetables. I planted lettuce and collards in a new bed in the front yard. I have my cabbage in place, as well as my broccoli and brussel sprouts. I am hoping for a swiss chard planting soon. I am not sure what my older daughter planted, but I seem to be either finding cilantro or parsley growing in one bed. I have been thinking of growing mustard greens again, but I am not sure if the children will eat them.
    As I have been watering my garden, my neighbor’s tree has spread its limbs over my vegetables. What used to be a sunny space is now shade. I have been spurred on to create more garden beds in the front yard, which my wife is starting to have reservations over. Along the one side was great. Along the front sidewalk was fine. Yet connecting the front beds to the beds near the home along the other side may not fly. I have started to create such a bed by moving the gifted grape pant to this area. The grape was being overtaken by some beans, and I wanted it to have full sun.  There were not many options in existing beds, so I made my move. I am hoping to have the swiss chard go in a bed below  the support frame for the grape. It will take the grape vine time to fill in that space.
    I may have started a bit early, but I moved a crepe myrtle to a new bed. When we moved into our home, the left front bed was framed by several crepe myrtles. They looked nice, but they did not let my Italian cypress fill out. I decided that since I was already rearranging plants and crating new beds that I would move one tree that was in a position that I wanted clear. I dug out this twenty-five foot tree, and dragged it to a new spot along the easement on the other side of my yard. I am watering it every other day. My experience in the past with moving these myrtles has been that the leaves fall off sooner. The tree appears to go dormant or die, but then it comes back in the spring. It takes a year for it to be as active as it once was. I probably should have waited for the tree to go dormant, but if I do loose the tree, I do not mind. I have enough crepe myrtles, and I can always make a cutting to propagate a new specimen.
    I have not worked with many flowering plants for the autumn. I have only planted a few asters. The blue flowers are being picked by the girls to give as gifts to the neighbors. Note to self: I need a lot of flowering plants to keep up with their habit. I should be planting pansies soon. Those flowers make a nice addition to salads. Color more so than flavor.Well, I am going to spend more time in the yard. Just relaxing.

The Garlic is Coming


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The Garlic is Coming

Winter is a great time for garlic in Houston gardens



My daughter is connecting the idea that vegetables are plants, and my experiment from a few weeks back has proven to her that you can buy something at the grocery store to grow. One item that is doing well in my garden is the garlic. I planted the garlic heads just as they were to show her that all of them will grow shoots similar to the green onions that she knows. Being busy with work, and with uncooperative weather, has not allowed me to spend as much time in the garden as I would like, but I am glad that the plants are growing without me.
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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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