Posts tagged: garden harvest

Cooking with Borage Leaves — Borage Burritos and Green Smoothies

By , July 14, 2020

Borage Burrito Bowl

This year in my garden, borage is coming up everywhere!

It’s a prolific self-seeder and I could always use it as green manure in my compost pile — but the bees love its flowers, which is reason enough to leave it alone.

I’ve had some bad luck with cabbage and cauliflower this year, and other crops have been inexplicably stunted while others have been growing normally. There’s always an element of mystery to the garden from year to year…I’ve noticed for years that there’s always a crop that fails and it’s just a question of which one it’ll be.

Borage is certainly not one of my failing crops this year. So in the spirit of eating what’s being effortlessly provided to me, I’ve gotten brave, picked those prickly leaves, and done some experimentation.

Now borage flowers are also edible, and they’re nice to nibble on while out in the garden, but I have mountains of borage leaves and I wanted to see if they could be a real, true, edible crop for me. And my conclusion is Yes.

I’ve been using the leaves in two ways — raw, in green smoothies, and steamed, added to other dishes.

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Raw leaves:

I start each day with a green smoothie, heavy on the greens. I have always used cilantro, parsley, or a combo of the two, but I’ve been loving the borage as my green. Cilantro and parsley are strong flavors, but the borage is wonderfully mild, and I love its fresh cucumber taste. And even better than cucumbers, there’s no hint of bitterness whatsoever. The prickles on the leaves get pulverized, and there is no hint of mouth or throat irritation, which I had wondered about.

The raw borage leaves also freeze well and can be added to the smoothie directly from the freezer.

I use a good handful of borage each morning, and sometimes also some cilantro:

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Steamed leaves:

Borage leaves of any size can be steamed, but I like the small and medium size rather than the giant ones with larger prickles. The prickles do cook down into pretty much nothing (and they don’t irritate your mouth or throat when eaten), but even still I like the smaller leaves a little better.

I chop my borage leaves, and since I have Gastroparesis, I steam them for over an hour so they’re very, very tender.

If you don’t have a compromised stomach, feel free to steam them for a more normal length of time.

The color and taste of the steamed borage reminds me of steamed nettles. Dark color… mild taste… nothing exciting, but perfect for stirring into another dish that already has its own bold flavors, like minestrone soup, a vegetable stew, chili, maybe a lentil salad, or…Borage Burritos!

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Borage Burritos (or Burrito Bowl)

Borage leaves, chopped and steamed

Brown rice or Millet, cooked

Your favorite jarred green chile sauce

Your favorite jarred salsa

Mexican-style seasoning, like Penzey’s Southwest, Fajita Seasoning, Arizona Dreaming, etc

Shredded cheese (or avocado bits)

Fresh cilantro

Corn or flour tortilla (optional)

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Combine the steamed borage leaves with an equal amount of cooked brown rice or millet.

(I like brown rice cooked very soft, so I use 1 cup rice to 3 cups water, cooked for 2 hours. I cook millet with that same 1:3 ratio, cooked for 1 hour.)

Stir in the green chile sauce, salsa, and Mexican seasoning to taste.

Heat up until nice and hot.

Stir in shredded cheese, sprinkle on cilantro.

Serve in a bowl, or wrapped in a warm corn or flour tortilla (which you can smother with more green chile sauce and cheese if you like).

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How to Make Lavender Glycerite

By , June 7, 2020

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In the evening time before bed, after I take all my nasty-tasting pills and potions, I squeeze a dropperfull or two of my homemade lavender glycerite onto my tongue and savor the delightful sweet floral lavender taste.

It’s a wonderful way to wash a bad taste out of your mouth and reward yourself for getting all that stuff down the hatch. It will often physically bring a smile to my face, it tastes so wonderful!

It’s very simple to make, and lavender season is upon us.

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(This really is an easy project, but if you don’t have access to fresh lavender, may I suggest the absolutely heavenly Rose Petal Elixir made by Avena Botanicals with roses from their own biodynamic gardens. They also sell a Lavender Glycerite which I haven’t tried.)

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Lavender Glycerite

Ingredients:

Fresh lavender flowers and flower buds

Pure food-grade vegetable glycerin (widely available online or at health food stores — vitacost.com is where I usually get stuff like this)

Supplies:

Glass jar with lid

Mesh sieve or funnel

Coffee filter

Clean dropper bottle (1, 2, or 4 oz size)

 

What to do:

1. Remove most of the stems from your lavender, and chop up the flowers and flower buds with a knife.

2. Place the chopped lavender into your glass jar. (In the pictures above, I’m using an 8-oz wide mouth Mason jar.)

3. Pour vegetable glycerin into the jar until it completely covers the lavender. Stir a few times to release any big air bubbles and top it up with glycerin if needed. Be sure all the lavender is submerged.

4. Screw the lid onto your jar, then label and date it with masking tape and a sharpie.

5. Place the jar into a dark cupboard where you will see it often…

6. Shake the jar once a day, or every couple days.

7. Let it sit in the cupboard at least 2 weeks (I leave mine 4-8 weeks).

8. When you’re ready to strain, place a coffee filter inside a mesh sieve (or funnel). Place the sieve over a bowl, a measuring cup, or another glass jar. Pour the lavender glycerite into the coffee filter and when it has all been filtered, wash your hands and gather the filter around the remaining lavender and gently squeeze to extract the rest of the glycerin. The finished lavender glycerite will look like honey — a light amber color.

9. Pour an ounce or two of your strained glycerite into a dropper bottle to keep in your bathroom. If needed, transfer the rest into another glass jar (or the same one that’s been rinsed and dried), cap it, label it, and date it.

10. Transfer the jar into the refrigerator to store it. It will keep at least a year, and probably significantly longer.

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Autumn Scenes

By , November 17, 2019

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Late-August Vegetable Garden Tour

By , August 26, 2019

Hello!

It’s a busy time of year in my garden; in late August the produce is really starting to flood in, meaning a LOT of kitchen time between now and October!

All the time and effort spent thus far in my garden is really starting to pay off though. We have our own private organic farmer’s market just outside the back gate! Here, I’ll show you…

Let’s start in the fruit “orchard” where we have one apple tree, two peach trees, and three or four grape vines. Believe it or not, these are two of the peach trees I started from seed, documented in this post from 9 years ago! I make the grape jam that I love from the grapes, and have been starting to use our cut-up Winesap apples as the fruit in my morning green shake. Later on, I’ll make big batches of applesauce with them.

Standing at the North end of the garden:

Standing at the South end of the garden:

Celery:

Honeydew melons:

Watermelons:

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Garden Update! Spring Equinox thru Mid-Summer

By , August 1, 2016

Sunflower, (c) The Herbangardener

Hi folks!!

I hope this update finds you all well. Happy Summer! A lot has happened in our garden so I’ll show you that in pictures.

Overall, gardening in the countryside vs. the city is harder. City gardening was a heavenly bubble of moderated influences — not as hot, not as cold, not as windy, not as many bugs, not as many weeds.

Out where we are now, we are really in the thick of the elements. Weather, wind, bugs, weeds — it’s all here in very full force. It began with the bindweed. Uttering the word Bindweed in the presence of a gardener is enough to elicit shudders and perhaps convulsions. This land is covered in bindweed, whose roots plunge to the center of the earth, and when we rototilled the land for the garden plot, we chopped up bindweed roots into a zillion little pieces. Each minuscule piece of root, since bindweed is a perennial weed, sprouts into a whole new bindweed plant. And once the garden was sufficiently covered in bindweed, the grasshoppers hatched. Once the garden was being skeletonized by grasshoppers, the bindweed problem looked like child’s play. Bindweed doesn’t munch voraciously at least. Whenever we would walk out there, thousands of grasshoppers would scatter in front of us like a hail storm, or like popcorn. Biblical scale stuff here. Locals say they’ve never seen anything like it. The ‘hoppers ate everything and it was a real downer to go out into the garden at all. The front flower garden was also getting decimated. This year’s gardens are one big experiment anyway, since gardening even a couple hours away is very different, and the local climate must be learned. Still, it was hard to see all that hard, hard labor being ruined.

I planted 20 tomatoes into Walls-O-Water and thank goodness I did, since the Walls were able to shield the tomatoes from the grasshoppers. Because later, I planted out 35 small tomato seedlings that I’d nurtured over the course of a couple months. By the end of the day, they were all gone. Eaten to the ground, along with the bell pepper seedlings I’d planted. They even ate the onions. And the rhubarb. Potatoes. Broad beans. Spinach. Chard. Cabbage (which also had flea beetles). Two whole entire 70′ rows of bean seedlings, after I spent hours in 100-degree heat loosening the soil, amending, and planting bean seeds.

The things they didn’t eat were squash, cantaloupe, and honeydew vines. They ate the just-sprouted zucchini cotyledons down to nubs but not the mature squash leaves. But fear not–there was a bug for those. Cucumber beetles descended upon the curcurbits in force, and killed the honeydew vines outright (actually what probably happened is that they transmitted bacterial wilt to the vines which killed them).

Why don’t the little bastards go for the bindweed??

Pulling out bindweed (well you don’t pull it out really; its stems break off just below soil level) is a project for the shoulder hours of morning and evening, but once the sun goes down enough so that I don’t desiccate to death out in the heat, the mosquitoes would come out in full force and I wore long sleeves, long pants, boots, and still got bites and spent half the time swatting around my head with muddy hands. I have yet to drag myself out of bed and get out there pre-dawn, but one day I will do that, as I’m curious if the mozzies will be out before dawn.

One day a couple weeks ago, we had had enough. The vigor of the bindweed was demoralizing but the explosive number of grasshoppers was overwhelming and disturbing and they were doing so much damage that we couldn’t take it any longer. I’ve always been an organic gardener, but let me tell you that “Permethrin!!” was written more than a few times in my daily gratitude journal after we finally broke down and sprayed the grape vines, veggie, and flower gardens.

It was a strange feeling to gear up in my poison suit of long pants, long shirt, rubber gloves, respirator, and spray my garden. I’m sorry to say some beneficial bugs, and bees, were sacrificed and that was hard to see. So Sad. Caught in the crossfire. Permethrin is pretty much an instant-results chemical, which we really appreciated; the grasshoppers began dying immediately. We followed up with Nolo bait around the property and gardens. Nolo bait is an organic grasshopper-specific control that takes longer to act, but can impact future generations too because it’s a microsporidial infection that passes from one ‘hopper to another.

Hopefully the pesticide will be a one-timer, but I am SO glad we sprayed. As soon as we relieved the garden of its infestations (cucumber beetles too! flea beetles! even the mosquitoes I think!), it just took off. Exploded with growth. Lesson learned there — I cannot be depressed while going into my garden. It’s spirit-food as well as physical food. I need to have things be flourishing. I need to address the bugs sooner and if a crisis imbalance develops like the grasshoppers in this region this year, I am not above spraying non-organic-approved pesticide in defence of my food. And, um, my flowers. (We have glorious heavenly blue morning glories now that their vines aren’t being chomped off daily!)

Good news in the garden is that despite the bindweed (and before the ‘hoppers!), I harvested a couple giant trashbags full of organic spinach! A bunch of beautiful organic lettuce. Incredible sweet peas. Cilantro and parsley (two things the hoppers don’t touch!) And I’ve finally gotten the irrigation situation down to where I’m quite happy. I was very disoriented with this gated pipe irrigation, where you run water down furrowed rows. I’ve never watered stuff from the bottom and sides before, and it took some frustration, research, experimentation, observation, and tweaking to come to what we’ve got going now. Right now, it’s awesome. Everything gets a very proper drink of water and that is all they seem to ask. The soil is former bottomland, I think, due to its sandiness (I’ve always worked in clay — this is totally new!) and proximity to a nearby river. So, it seems pretty fertile on its own. Add to that the horse manure from past horses pasturing on the land, and the coffee grounds and fresh grass clippings I’ve added, and things seem to be growing themselves. I’ve applied no commercial fertilizer or even compost, although I’ve got compost ready to apply now. In all, I think the garden has good bones and it should only get better as I learn about the local climate. Onto the pictures now!

Sprouted potatoes for planting in garden(c) The Herbangardener

Planting potatoes in Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Early spring Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Grass clippings on Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Walls o water and Early Spring Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Columbine, (c) The Herbangardener

Front Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Planning seeds for Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Walls o water, onions, lettuce in Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Sweet peas in Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Well pump pulled out, (c) The HerbangardenerGetting a new well pump put into our domestic well which waters the lawn and flower garden. This is the old one, pulled out.

(c) The Herbangardener

Irrigating big Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Grasshopper closeup, (c) The HerbangardenerGrasshopper

Grasshopper infestation on grapevine, (c) The HerbangardenerSee all the grasshoppers on the grapevine?

Cucumber beetles on squash flower, (c) The HerbangardenerCucumber beetles on a winter squash flower

Sweetpea harvest, (c) The Herbangardener

Grasshopper damage on rhubarb, (c) The HerbangardenerGrasshopper damage to the rhubarb plant

(c) The Herbangardener

Bee on sunflower, (c) The Herbangardener  Grackles in garden eating grasshoppers, (c) The HerbangardenerWe love grackles! They help a lot with eating grasshoppers. We just kept the water trays stocked with fresh water for them.

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown Cantaloupe (c) The HerbangardenerCantaloupe!

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

Sunflower, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

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Catching up: Late Summer into Autumn

By , February 3, 2016

Lindsey The Herbangardener, (c) The Herbangardener

Your eyes do not deceive you my friends! Yes I am finally updating my blog.

February of 2016! And I haven’t even shown you the rest of last year’s garden. There’s much to tell you about since we last chatted back in July, but first things first and this post will be for catching up with the rest of the season. Last summer’s garden is a distant memory already and these pictures remind me that it was a pretty good year although at this point I can’t even quite remember the details of it. Right – oh, I know. I remember I was impressed actually with how well things did considering the long-lasting, cool spring we had paired with a few pelting hailstorms, each one progressively more damaging, leaving leaves and stems hanging by threads. All that hard work, seed starting, transplanting, and coddling, shredded! It was a Great Year for roofing companies, let’s just say. I think I may have already talked about the hail — I bet I did, this is sounding familiar. No matter; it was a surprisingly satisfying year with a solid harvest in general and more tomatoes than expected. Then again when you set your expectations to ZERO, a number of things do tend to look surprisingly good! (Do you smell a life lesson too?)

The pictures really do look luscious don’t they? The beauty of this garden absolutely fed me and kept me grounded when I needed to block life out for a while and put my bare feet on the earth and my hands in the soil, or relax with a cup of tea and admire my living, growing, changing, edible creation.

Potato of the Year!

POTATO OF THE YEAR!

(c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Potato harvest (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossom, (c) The Herbangardener

Early Silver Line melon, (c) The Herbangardener

‘Early Silver Line’ Melon – they were seedy and not very sweet, strange texture, not that tasty.

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini harvest, (c) The Herbangardener

Preparing zucchini parmesan, (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glories, (c) The Herbangardener

Geranium (pelargonium), (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries

Pureed elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Elderberry Fluff (cooked & pureed elderberries) – I love it

At the clinic, (c) The Herbangardener

Heart in a basil leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Green Zebra open pollinated tomato, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden Greek salad, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat in the basket, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomatoes heavy on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Verbena, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumbers on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Green cabbage, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple wood bundle, (c) The Herbangardener

Freshly cut ash wood, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glory, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Red Kuri winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting potatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Autumn in the garden, (c) The Herbangardener

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Height of the MidSummer

By , July 24, 2015

In my garden, (c) The Herbangardener

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A completely bearable, beautiful wet summer we have had so far! Since we’ve had no need to turn on the sprinkler system yet, last night was the first time this year that I dragged a hose out and watered a dry patch of lawn. Believe me when I say, this is unheard-of! After a late Spring warmup and some dismaying hail storms early on that defoliated or bruised much of the garden, things are finally looking pretty nice.

Summer clouds (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini leaves, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato flowers, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumber spiral, (c) The Herbangardener

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Pruning fire blight off the apple tree.

Unless you prune during the winter, pruning utensil blades must be wiped off with rubbing alcohol between Each And Every Cut.

This is half of what came off:

Pruning apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

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On her quinceañera:

(c) The Herbangardener

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Squash flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage flower and bee, (c) The Herbangardener

Morning glory flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Summer garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown garlic, (c) The Herbangardener

Backyard garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Zukes and cukes, (c) The Herbangardener

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This tiny being – a wee chickadee – quietly completed its circle of life within the safe boundaries of our backyard.

Chickadee, (c) The Herbangardener

And to dust we shall return, (c) The Herbangardener

We must honor our fellow Earthly travelers.

Tiny grave, (c) The Herbangardener

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Daisy, (c) The Herbangardener

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Out and about for the joy of it, soaking in Summertime at a beautiful nature space, with my Mom. It was really a special day. Our eyes were even treated to male and female Cedar Waxwings, as well as male and female American Goldfinches. And many, many irresistible baby bunnies!!

(c) The Herbangardener

Bee hives, (c) The Herbangardener

Pond, (c) The Herbangardener

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(c) The Herbangardener

Water lilies, (c) The Herbangardener

Stream, (c) The Herbangardener

American Goldfinch, (c) The Herbangardener

Baby bunny, (c) The Herbangardener

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Lingering Spring and a Touch of Summer

By , June 3, 2015

Oriental poppy orange, (c) The Herbangardener

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~I hope this finds you all well~

Just some photos for today.

We are busy here; isn’t that the way of the world though! The to-do list never seems to shorten does it…

I’ll post more of an update in the coming weeks but for now, enjoy this most glorious time of year with a tour through the garden… pausing to pet the Kitty of course… and maybe you’d like a few strawberries too, still warm from the morning sun, and a cold fizzy glass of homebrew kombucha? (I’ve finally upped production, brewing it by the 3-gallon-full these days and I’m thinking of going to 4!)

Greetings from a wet, chilly Colorado night,

~Lindsey

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(c) The Herbangardener

Purple lily of the valley, (c) The Herbangardener

Mousing, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry,, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat feet (c) The Herbangardener

Star of Persia, (c) The Herbangardener

Maple leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Fern, (c) The Herbangardener

Celebration Song iris, (c) The Herbangardener

Homebrew kombucha, (c) The Herbangardener

Kombucha day, (c) The Herbangardener

Green lawn, (c) The Herbangardener

Johnny Jump Ups, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden strawberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Seedlings, (c) The Herbangardener

Walls o water, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato plant (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Orange oriental poppy, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

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Catching up with photos!

By , November 28, 2014

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Happy late-Autumn to you all! We only recently stepped into real Autumn actually, after the longest and most luxurious Indian Summer here, which topped off a perfect Summer season and glorious Springtime. The garden looked beautiful this year, it was a satisfying harvest for most items, everything was lush, we received rain at regularly spaced intervals, and it never got uncomfortably hot. On the health front, I’ve certainly made progress after referral to a more responsive, take-the-reins style doctor and some quality time on a couple of antibiotics. Another pneumonia came on in the Spring, as well as various other ups and downs, several viruses, and the identification of an immune deficiency. That pretty well glazes over it. It’s been a hard, embittering year. I’ve fought tooth and nail to even be this far. Obamacare itself has been my saving grace, and yet our alleged “world-class” healthcare system is a giant obstacle course, broken in many places. When you’re feeling awful, you don’t have the strength or stamina to run through a marathon obstacle course, yet that’s what a patient often must do if they’re unfortunate enough to be a patient. As I said though, I’ve been feeling far better overall than I have in quite a while, and by hook or by crook, that trend must continue.

Let’s move on though; there’s a lot of good stuff that balances out the infuriating crud, so let’s go on and have a tour through that, okay?

Oh right — and the downtime and move to a new web hosting provider did happen a couple months ago. I was shamelessly puffed-up for weeks afterward, because I blindly googled my way through the manual migration of this wordpress blog and database, augmented by my minimal technical “expertise,” and without benefit of handy-dandy migration plugins or other sanity-saving tools (learned about those too late, after the old hosting was already turned off). I certainly “learned a lot” — which is the euphemism that you use, instead of telling people that you nearly murdered your laptop trying to rebuild your wordpress file structure.

Anyway, get ready — we’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the photos! Starting with the succulent, late Spring garden bounty, through Summertime, and into the late Autumn now…

(c) The Herbangardener

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(c) The Herbangardener

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(c) The Herbangardener

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