Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Break Part III

After Dallas, we adventured to Waco, Texas. It is a college town. Known for a news-worthy event, Dr. Pepper Museum, and Baylor College. At least that is what I know. Now it is also known for the show Fixer Upper and Magnolia Market.

Since I have never been and I wanted to go see what this Magnolia Market was all about, we headed there. Even though it was out of the way.

Our first stop: The Dr. Pepper Museum

The adorable front!

A bottle cap horse

This is a recipe for blueberry muffins using Dr. Pepper

Old Soda Machines. They are so much prettier than now. 

We enjoyed the Dr. Pepper museum. It was a small place. There were some neat things to see. Like the bottling room and the well they dug I am assuming to get water to make the soda. 
I feel like I was quickly moving through the exhibits because I was excited for where we were going next!

Magnolia Market

There was no line to get into the shop, we got lucky with that. 
The inside was PACKED!
So much so that you would bump into people while you were trying to move around. 
Poor Joey needed to go outside to get some air. 
I stuck it out and got some neat things for our house. 

After the Magnolia Market, we ate lunch and headed home. 
I loved being able to go with Joey on his business trip. 
It was a great and memorable adventure. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spring Break Part II

After I visited the Dallas World Aquarium, I wanted to go check out the Dallas Arboretum. The timing of the year could not have been more perfect. I went right when all the flowers were in full bloom!

Enough typing, just look.

The cherry blossom  trees were in full bloom! 
The arboretum is home to about 140 of them. 
They are gorgeous!


Tulips! Oh so many tulips in all colors! 

This is my favorite picture from the day. 

Red Japanese Maple Tree with the waterfall in the background

If you look to the right of the bush, you can see the cedar waxwings that were flying all around it to eat the berries!
I have never seen them before. I also got a motion picture of them. 
I forgot I turned the feature on and it was a pleasant surprise. 

This picture and the two pictures below are also my favorites from the day. 

It was a gray and overcast day, but it was great for pictures!

After I drove Joey to his work site one day, I decided to explore the town we were staying in, McKinney.
McKinney, Texas is north of Dallas. It has an adorable town center. 
Sadly, it was early and I did not get to visit the shops. 

This building was beautiful!

This the side of the building. Further down, past the spiral staircase(!!) was a magic shop and a book store. I'm pretty sure it was one of those awesome bookstores that has a cat. 
Galveston has one of those and I love the feel of it. 

One of the shops had this gorgeous tile work out front. 

This place looked like it was out of Stars Hallow (Gilmore Girls reference)

That concludes our time in Dallas! After we left Dallas, Joey was super awesome and fulfilled my want to visit Waco. I had never been to Waco, plus I wanted to visit Magnolia Market and the Dr. Pepper Museum. That was our next stop. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Spring Break Part 1

So back in March I was able to travel with Joey to Dallas. He had to travel due to business. I saw it as  an opportunity for an adventure! I have never been to Dallas to stop and explore. 

One of the first places I went was the Dallas World Aquarium. If you are in the area, I highly recommend it! Go early because it gets crowded!
Once you walk in, this is what you are greeted with. 
A two story waterfall that has monkeys climbing and birds flying all around it. 

A three-toed sloth! My first time I have seen a real-life sloth :)

They also had a two-toed sloth which was harder to photograph. 
She was located over a staircase. 

They have many tanks in their aquarium exhibit. I loved that it was categorized by area of the world. 
I do not remember this guy's natural area, but he sure was watching me!

I loved that you could see the underside of this sea anemone. 

The aquarium had many neat sea horses!

They even had baby sea horses! 
Look closely, they are that teenie! 

These are garden eels! 
They sway with the current and mimic grass. 
When a predator comes near, they pull themselves back into the sand. 

An Axolotl! 
I almost missed this guy! It was in a tank that followed some stairs. 
I love axolotls! 
Google it, it will make you smile!

I believe this is a spotted owl

Not a great picture, but it's an ANTEATER!

Tortoises are so neat to watch

A sea manatee! 
I waited a while on this one! 
It was in the corner eating for a while, then I decided to come back after visiting the penguins. 
Jackpot! It came out to say hello. 

This was only the beginning of one of my days in Dallas. 
After I left the Aquarium, I decided to venture to the Dallas Arboretum. 
Those pictures are in the next post. 
So many beautiful flowers! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How Did My Garden Grow?!

One of the most proud moments I had in 2015 was growing my garden!

If you want to look at the beginning stages go here.

I stopped updating on week 4!! Ack!

Well you guys here is what happened:

You can tell my cherry tomato went CRAZY! This was I believe early summer

This is getting more into August.


I planted:
-Yellow bell pepper (Bertha)
-Red bell pepper
-2 basil plants
- lavender
-Better Boy tomato
-Sweet 100 (cherry tomato)

-2 cucumbers
-2 strawberry (experiment)
-2 squash

-chocolate mint
-spicy global basil

Time of year Planted:  Spring Break (March 16th)

First to bloom/produce: cucumbers
-These did very well when I got them in!
These produced a lot! They were not pickling cucumbers(it did not say that on the tag). They could grow long and were still great. Plus there was no grassy taste, like the store-bought ones. These were done by the time it got hot here. I loved making refrigerator pickles from these! It is super simple and delicious! (recipe here)

-Basil also did very well. It needs to be trimmed and/or staked. Mine grew to about 2-3 feet tall. This is great to make pesto. Make sure you water the base of the plant, not the leaves. Once our summer warmed up, and I got a little lazy with watering. These suckers were toast. I didn't mind though since I was done with wanting to pick it.

-Tomatoes were good. I got like 1,000 cherry tomatoes,,,which we did not need/want. The plant needs to be cut back. I didn't know this! It grew out of the cage, all along the back of the bed. By the time I caught it, it was making baby tomatoes, so I felt bad cutting all those tomatoes-in-the-making off.
*I will not plant this again.

-Better Boy tomatoes are the "bigger" ones. I use quotations because they never got bigger than a tennis ball. It did not produce that many. When I used them for salsa, I needed to go buy more at the store to make sure I had enough.
*I will not plant these again.

-The peppers produced some in the summer. They started after the cucumbers were done. They need a LOT of water for the hot Texas days. Believe it or not, it seems like they have been making more in Sept-November. It has been pretty warm this past fall, so they liked the cooler warmer days. The bell peppers all start out as green, the length of time you leave them on the plant determines their color.

The "mammoth" jalapenos were not super huge. They were about 4-5 inches long. They were not very spicy, but still has a little kick. These were perfect to pickle! Basically all the jalapenos we got were pickled. I follow this recipe from Simply Scratch (here). I actually don't do a water bath. I just boil the mixture and the jar will seal itself with the hot liquid. I do not take risks with it though, I place all the jars I pickle in our garage fridge, just to make sure they keep. I also use apple cider vinegar instead of normal white. Either is fine, but I like the apple cider.

Squash plants were okay. I had trouble with darn pill bugs eating the squash while it was still making. I got smart and started propping the squashlings on a plastic plant container to keep them off the dirt while they grew. We got maybe a dozen squash from the two plants. Not a whole lot, but it was good.

-Strawberries. They made a bigger than a dime most of the time. This is the biggest one

 If you go out to the garden, they are still alive and growing. Just not making any fruit.

The lavender did okay. It flowered and grew, but never that big. The Memorial Day rain/flood drowned it though. It needs dry type soil (think Mediterranean).

Other Herbs:
-They did great! My chives grew faster than we used them. I dried some of the spices and refilled my spice jars with fresh stuff.

The chocolate mint, chives, and oregano are still going strong right now. Chocolate mint is actually creeping into the beds more and more. The spicy global basil died probably last month.

To be honest I stopped watering my garden when fall came. I figured I would let everything just grow out and then winterize it. However, my peppers, non-producing strawberries, and herbs have other plans! I'll let them go as long as they want.

For my garden this year I plan:

- Making a 3rd bed. One for mostly squash and zucchini.

- 2 or 3 jalapeno plants.
- 2 cucumber plants
- 2 bell pepper plants
- 2 or 3 big tomatoes
- Dill
-Poblano pepper?

I liked what I grew this past Spring. I think the plan is just to add to those. I want enough to make refrigerator pickles and salsa again.

I really gardening. It is so relaxing and rewarding for me. I am looking forward to growing more things this year!