Thursday, June 2, 2011

Plants & the Cat...

We have this "issue" when we go to bed most nights.  Our cat, Baby, loves to sleep on my other half's pillow!  He really loves to sleep anywhere up by our heads, but usually it's on his pillow.  This is only an issue because my other half takes up all of his "half" the bed (length wise) and part of mine most of the time too!  So, there really isn't room for a 20 pound cat up there!  None the less, he was a happy kitty last night while we watched the last bit of X-Men 2 (it was on the Fx movie channel last night) before heading off to sleep.  I think he likes watching television with us too, lol.  He actually laid down with me and watched the entire movie and normally hangs out with me when ever I watch anything on either television! 
Tiny Marigold Bloom!
Most of my flowers aren't doing very well, I seem to be better at growing herbs and some veggies!  However, my Marigolds are doing pretty awesome if you consider I started them from seeds!  They are tiny, nothing like the monster plants you can buy in the pony-packs, but they are really pretty!  One has even bloomed!  They aren't pink or purple as I had suspected, they are actually my favorite color of Marigold, deep red with a yellow/orange trim!  I'm not a huge fan of the "plain, old" single colored ones, lol.  If bud color is anything to go by, all of my successful Marigolds are the same color combo too.  Kind of odd from a packet of mixed seeds, but I'll take it!  I have at least a dozen more blooms on my little plants!
Strawberries, Petunias, & Snap Dragons
My store bought flowers are doing good now as well, now that they have a regular supply of water, lol!  All of them have bloomed nicely, even the little Snap Dragons, which are all pink/purple!  The strawberries that my other half got me are doing awesome!  I have several little blooms going there as well!  I love fresh strawberries!  I'm not technically to a level of low carbing to have fruits yet, but for the few berries I'll get, I'll make an exception!  We're on a "modified phase one" at the moment.  We've been on Induction (Phase 1 of Atkins) since January, it's really time to move to phase two, but we (mostly I) have so much to loose, it doesn't hurt to stay longer!  We eat the occasional nut, fruit, and even the occasional whole grain!  As for the grains, we stick to the lower carb Flat Out flat breads and lower carb, whole wheat (high fiber) tortillas.  We actually made sandwich roll ups a few nights ago for dinner using a La Tortilla Factory High Fiber Tortilla as the bread (6g net carb per tortilla, we limit ourselves to one a week at most)!  I expect a handful or so of Strawberries this summer (I have no idea of the type of plants they are, one offs or ever bearing) and I doubt my Raspberries will even fruit this year.  I should be okay with that small amount!

Sweet & Sour Shrimp
A more typical meal looks more like the dinner we had last night.  I made Lisa's Five Spice Sweet and Sour sauce again (I love this stuff!), but this time we added cooked shrimp to it instead of the chicken!  I have added Chicken, Tofu, and Shrimp to this sauce so far, every time it's a hit!  I served it atop a bed of "gourmet greens", which came from a bag on the freezer section.  It's a mix of Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, and a few whole Baby Carrots (there were 3 carrots in my serving), according to the bag, there are 3g net carb in a 1-cup serving!  The shrimp I had was a frozen bag of pre-cooked, tail-on Shrimp.  I had ran cold water over these while I mixed the sauce and got the veggies on to boil.  After that, I simply pinched near the base of the tail and popped the tails right off!  It would be much simpler to purchase the shrimp with the tails already off though.  I've made this with Shrimp before and left the tails on, it works, but is not as easy to eat!

My herbs are all doing very well again this year.  Maybe it's the cool, wet Springs we've had the last couple of we are on the second day of June and the high today is only 58 degrees!  But, it seems to have really benefitted the "flavor makers" in my little (oay, not so little this year) patio garden!  The Catnip is already threatening to reach my roof, but that's okay, it means good harvests throughout the Summer, the cats enjoy those!  However, my expedition into growing my own sweetener (in the form of a little Stevia plant) has gone bust, the little plant just didn't seem to thrive and appears to have totally died off now.  I knew going in that it was an extremely difficult plant to grow, so I will do a little more research on them and try again next year!  Between the Catnip and the Stevia though, lives my Apple Mint plant!  This one is going great too!  Nice big, minty leaves on this one!  It appears a wee bit "fuzzy" though, lol.
Apple Mint
Chocolate Mint
My other mint plant is my Chocolate Mint!  It is also growing well, however, the leaves aren't quite as large as last year's plant.  If that's the only down side, I'm good with it!  It smells wonderful and is living next to my Pineapple Sage that is growing great and smelling even better!  I think it may be time to pick some of the Pineapple Sage and start experimenting with a Chicken dish! 
Pineapple Sage
However, since City Cup starts this Friday evening (at Snoop's if anyone wants to brave the crowds and cheer on all the pool players), it will have to wait until Sunday or Monday depending on how well my group of guys does!  My other half's team (What the...) made it into both 8-ball and 9-ball this year!  Last year they won the "losers bracket" of 9-ball and went on to Las Vegas!  Potentially they could make it to Vegas again this year for the full 2 weeks!  But, since most of his team members can't take that much time out of work and away from their families, we're hoping they win either 8- or 9-ball, otherwise they'll have to forfeit one of the trips.  My next 3 weekends will be interesting to say the least as I run back and forth between the bar and the house (we live a few blocks away from Snoop's), bringing low carb snacks and treats and even lunch and dinner depending on the schedule works out!  8-ball matches are easier to take time away from as start times are set, 9-ball moves much more quickly (or slowly) depending on how things go in each match up.  So, I may be needed to make food runs in between finishing up the chicken coop and run (that needs done desperately now)!
I am apparently very good at growing Parsley, lol!  One of those "make it looks pretty" type herbs...I don't think Parsley adds any flavor...  My little "from seed" plants are doing great though!  I see lits of color this Summer!
Unknown Thorny plant!

And then there's this little "guy"...I have no clue what it is!  It popped up with my Sage seeds.  At first I thought it was just a really odd way for Sage to start life (it was the first to sprout and really grow), but now it is huge in comparrison to its planter mates!  Also, this thing has thorns  all over and spikes on the end of each leaf!  And, it's a trailing plant, whatever it is, or maybe a creeper/climber?  The part of the picture that looks like I removed something from around the plant is actually just the little thorns gleaming in the sunlight!  Any guesses on what this thing is would be apprectiated!

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