Picture Snob

August 24, 2011

A float recliner for easy living

A floater is perfect for the pool, the lake, or the river, maybe even the ocean! This floater features a backrest, headrest, and an ottoman-style open footrest. It even has a built in cupholder so you can sip while you lounge around.
The Spring Float recliner is made of tough ABS plastic, with a super-quick Jet Valve for easy inflation and deflation. It's also a breeze to carry thanks to the mesh carrying bag, which lets you conveniently tote it to the beach or pool. And when you're done on the water, the Spring Float folds up easily for transport and storage. The Spring Float recliner--which supports up to 250 pounds--measures 17.5 by 2.3 by 20 inches when folded.

You might as well reward yourself for all the hard work you put into the garden!

At Float Recliner

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August 23, 2011

Monsanto has a new GMO! Sweet corn!

Organic consumers association reports on Monsanto's new frankenfood, made specifically for humans. Here is their article.

Monsanto's New Sweet Corn, Another Unregulated, Unlabeled Frankenfood

Government regulation of genetically engineered crops, already weak, is increasingly non-existent. The latest example of this new hands-off policy is the commercialization of Monsanto's first flagship product for the produce aisle: genetically engineered sweet corn, containing the Bt toxin and herbicide-resistant genes.

Monsanto's new sweet corn produces Bt toxin, a genetically modified version of an insecticide from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Until now, Monsanto's Bt corn and cotton crops have mostly been used in animal feed and highly processed ingredients. Even with this limited exposure, Bt toxin has already been found in the blood of pregnant women and fetuses. No one knows what will happen to people who eat Monsanto's new Bt sweet corn, but Bt crops have proven deadly for grazing animals from livestock to monarch butterflies.

Monsanto's new sweet corn is also "RoundUp Ready," meaning it can tolerate unlimited amounts of Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp. Roundup causes endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment. Monsanto's new sweet corn will have a lot more RoundUp on it than non-genetically engineered varieties.

This is outrageous! We've got to fight back against unregulated, unlabeled genetically engineered foods!

Take Action!

Read More in: Industry News

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August 22, 2011

Blackberries are ripe!!!!


My neighbor has about two acres of Himalayan Blackberries gone wild. They become ripe in August and I did the very first picking this week, getting the lower fruit easily. I was able to pick a half gallon in a half an hour. A fully ripe blackberry is one of the most delicious of all the fruits--just so sweet and fragrant and melt in the mouth good. Those are the ones that just fall off the stem.

I brought the berries home and used an old recipe to make a cobbler. Delicious! But one has to give up all thought of health. The recipe starts with melting a cup of butter and pouring it into a 9 by 11 inch pan. Gently cook the berries with 3/4 cup sugar just until juicy. Mix 3/4 cup sugar, one tablespoon baking powder and one cut flour with 2/3 cup milk. Pour the berries into the pan and then pour the pancake like mixture of flour into the berries and bake for 30 minutes. Wow! Try it with some ice cream!

If you decide to plant some vines, be careful where you place them as they tend to escape and spread and can take over an area and they are very difficult to get rid of. But the fruit can't be beat.

At Blackberry Vine

Read More in: Plants

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August 12, 2011

This Summertime salad just keeps on giving


Now that the Sungold tomatoes are ripening and the cucumbers and beans are ready to be picked I can begin to make my favorite summertime green bean salad. The Sungold tomatoes are cherry type and are the sweetest of all the tomatoes. I usually plant a six pack of them to make sure I get enough for all the summertime salads.

The green bean salad I make is very simple. Steam the green beans for about 10 minutes and add them with whatever tomatoes are on hand. Slice cucumbers and a red onion, add olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. It's sooooo simple. I always keep the leftover salad and the next day add more ingredients and serve it again. You can add broccoli and some sweet corn for variety. Potatoes can also be used for a potato salad without mayonnaise.

So enjoy the bounty of the garden in mid summer. These are the months we have been working for all year long.

At Sun Gold Tomato 20 Seeds - Golden Orange Cherry - Sweet

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August 11, 2011

Simple and quick--a great pickled cucumber recipe


This recipe is so simple and it produces pickled cucumbers in a couple of days! I friend gave to me with a quart jar of the pickled cucumbers. So delicious.

Put 1/4 cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt in a quart jar. Add one teaspoon dill or celery seed and one tablespoon of powerdered garlic and a few cut garlic cloves. Fill jar half full with water. Add as many cucumbers as will fill the jar and fill to the top with water. Let set in the fridge for two days and open and eat. No heating, no sealing--it couldn't be more simple and they are very fresh crisp and delicious. They don't keep as long as processed pickles, but then they won't last long once you taste them.

For more pickle ideas, this book might help:

At Pickles and Relishes

Read More in: Garden Thoughts | Plants

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August 10, 2011

An old approach to preserving food made new!


Here is an interesting book that argues quite sensibly that canning and freezing are inefficient uses of energy and take many of the nutrients out of the food in the process. Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. It's worthwhile investigating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

The book has chapters on preserving in oil, vinegar, sugar, alcohol, and lactic fermentation. There are helpful instructions on preserving vegetables in a root cellar or in the ground and a discussion of which method works best for each vegetable. Recipes are included. I remember drying tomato paste and rolling it into balls and dipping it in olive oil before storing the little golf ball sized balls in a jar in the cold room. Using one or two of them for a spagetti or a soup was a delight as the flavor was very near to fresh. I think this book is a great addition to the gardener's bookshelf.

At Preserving Food without Canning or Freezing

Read More in: Garden Books

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August 9, 2011

A juicer/steamer makes extracting juice easy and mess free


Here is another great tool for processing your garden bounty. This stainless steel juicer is simple to use. You add fresh fruit in the top container, fill the bottom container with water, and bring to a boil on the stove top. The steam from the boiling water gently extracts the juice, which drips into the center pan where it can be collected from the surgical-quality tube. You can drink the vitamin-rich juice fresh, or save it for making jelly or syrup. Without the center pan and tube, the juicer steamer can also be used to steam vegetables on the stove top.

Instructions and a recipe book come included. One user makes elderberry juice which she cans to use for winter colds and flu! Strawberry, grape, peach and apple all release their juice and their nutrients with this method of processing.

At Stainless-Steel Juicer Steamer

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August 8, 2011

The August garden cruise


So the garden is thriving, the warm weather crops ripening, and the fall lettuce and greens are planted. The weeds are not so critical right except around the new plantings. Most of the vegetables and high and mighty and in control, so weed control begins to lessen. This is time to enjoy the abundance, to give away, to sell or barter the excess!

But if you can't stand to be idle and not try to can, preserve, dry or freeze whatever you can for the winter, then it's time to stock up on some dual purpose canning jars. A pint size jar that you are able to use for canning and/or for freezing is always a good buy and I use canning jars and their lids to store dried herbs, nuts and spices. These jars have an embossed fruit design. There are convenient measurement marks on the side of the jars to help you out with how much to fill.

At Can-or-Freeze Canning Jar 1 Pt

Read More in: Garden Thoughts

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August 5, 2011

Labeling GMOs has to be a grass roots project

It seems like such a no brainer. Label GMOs and let the consumer decide whether they want the product or not. But so far the lobbying industry funded in large part by Monsanto has successfully fought letting people decide for themselves. The only information you can get on a food product is when the label voluntarily says it has no GMOs. Some people are looking for such a designation when theys shop. But the simpiler solution is to have the GMO products themselves labeled as such.

In California there is a ballot initiative to label GMO products. If you are interested in supporting this initiative or are interested in how to start such a campaign in our own state, you can go to www.labelGMOs.org Nothing is going to happen about this situation, where corporations with a vested interest in keeping information secret control the legislatures, without a large grassroots effort to demand to know what is in your food!

Read More in: Industry News

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August 4, 2011

Mid Summer Garden delights and invites a fall planting


So great to be away for 10 days and come back to a garden full of vegies and be able to pick kale, lettuce, summer squash and cucumbers for supper. This is really one of the great pleasures of gardening and of life. To have grown your own food connects you to the earth and the planet and to all life in ways grocery shopping just cannot even begin to touch.

Even though this year the garden is late, the corn is just starting to tassle and there are very few ripe tomatoes, it is still producing enough to feed me and half the neighborhood. Peppers are ripe and green beans just coming on so it's a total cruise from here on to the end of the growing season.

However that shouldn't stop us from thinking about fall planting of lettuces, peas, and greens of all kinds. If your soil is too hot from the summer sun, think about getting a sun shade to protect the seedlings from sunburn. The problem I see with this item is that you have to rig up your own frame to hold the shade fabric in place. I guess you would need staples or a grommet kit to really make it work well.

At Coolaroo shade fabric

Read More in: Garden Tools

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