Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rejuvenate!


Pumpkins to the Rescue


























Garden clean up can often leave you feeling either let down that the growing season is coming to an end and that winter is fast approaching, or it can create an opportunity to reinvent your landscape and shift it forward towards the next season.  I thought you might like to know how I approached one recent dilemma.  After cleaning some spent flowers and dormant perennials, I managed to create a huge gap and a big mess in one of my flowerbeds.  I could plant new flowering annuals or perennials in this spot, but I would risk damaging the perennials that are dormant underneath.  

Ahhhh!  Unsightly! 

I love a colorful garden, so I needed a solution pronto, but I didn't want to spend too much time or money fixing my problem.  Luckily for me, it's pumpkin decorating time!  I had the perfect solution. First, I pulled out from my stash of yard decorations a metal angel, three metal flowers, and a purple martin house ...



Then, I added a few pumpkins and gourds.  I also planted a white mum in a spot unoccupied by a dormant perennial.  If I hadn't had an unoccupied spot, I would have just put this white mum in one of my ceramic pots and placed it over a dormant perennial. 

And voila! ... a new life injected into my garden!  I successfully shifted the mood of my garden from summer to fall on a small budget and with little effort.  My kind of project!


Pumpkins to the Rescue

As I looked at this scene, the pumpkins made me crave pumpkin bread - an added bonus (or not!).  I am not much of a cook (I should have spent more time in the kitchen with my mother!), but I can turn out a delicious pumpkin bread/muffin (with very little effort - this is how I can squeeze in a garden rejuvenation project and a little self pampering!).  My secret trick is using a pumpkin bread/muffin mix from Trader Joe's and spicing it up with a few extra dashes of ground nutmeg and ground ginger; adding a tablespoon of plain greek yogurt for a nice moist consistency and a tad of healthy ingredients; using whole milk instead of water (as suggested on the box) for more of the healthy stuff (so I won't feel too too bad indulging in a big muffin later).  I read somewhere that the eggs and milk should reach room temperature before you mix them with your bread mix.  Also, because I change the consistency of the batter by using milk and adding yogurt, I cook it at a lower temperature (about 15 degrees lower) for a little longer (about 5-15 minutes more, closer to 5 minutes for muffins and closer to 15 for bread) than indicated on the box. 

A freshly baked pumpkin muffin, a cup of hot tea, a soft shawl, a book, and a comfy couch ...

Sweet Autumn Moment

Ahhh ... 
One of my sweet Autumn moments!
What is yours?
                                                                Christa 





BTW:  

1.  The beautiful throw pillows (for indoors or outdoors) in the photo above were designed and made by a friend of mine from college, Andy Kilbury, who is now an interior designer in Albuquerque, NM. One of her favorite things to do is designing throw pillows.  Many of her designs can be flipped for a totally different look.

Throw Pillows, Lonepine Studios

Throw Pillows, Lonepine Studios






Here is another pair of her
colorful designs (still available for sale!).  I wish Andy had a blog displaying her fantastic creations. 




















If you are interested in her work, contact her at:

Andy Kilbury
Lonepine Studios
(505) 220-8272
andy.kilbury@gmail.com

She will also design custom for your space!

Throw Pillows, Lonepine Studios
The other side of the same pillows above


2.  For my pumpkin muffins, I used milk from pasture-raised cows and eggs from our own pasture-raised chickens.  If you can, try to buy your dairy products from pasture-raised animals, because they are so much more nutritious than what is produced by non-pasture-raised animals.  You can read the astounding nutritional differences between pasture-raised eggs and non pasture-raised eggs from my On The Farm - Meet Our Chickens post, 2/6/13.  Not only are they different nutritionally, the pasture-raised eggs are so much tastier (in fact, my husband refuses to eat any other eggs now).

3.  FYI, this is what the Trader Joe's pumpkin bread/muffin mix looks like. Trader Joe's only carries this mix in the Fall.  I always buy enough to last our family several months!








6 comments:

  1. I love your garden transformation! Thanks for the tips, and also for your tips on doctoring up the pumpkin bread mix. Now I want a pumpkin muffin!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb,
      As you can see from Jane's comment below, the Trader Joe's mix is excellent. Other pumpkin bread/muffin mixes might work too.
      Christa

      Delete
  2. As a lucky recipient of your pumpkin muffins i can attest to their deliciousness and total homemade flavor. who would have thunk it?

    And your garden fix is charming.

    xo J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane,
      You probably thought I was being modest when I said I didn't know how to cook. Now you know how I compensate for this shortcoming.
      Christa

      Delete
  3. Gosh autumn looks to be beautiful in your part of the world Christa. It is such a pretty season isn't it? My favourite weather is when it is cool and crisp but beautifully fine. The pumpkin muffin break with a good book and a comfy spot looks blissful! Amanda x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda,
      Autumn is my favorite season. Colors are everywhere and the air is, like you said, cool and crisp.
      Christa

      Delete