Monthly Archives: June 2015

Peppers harvested from my garden!

#dirtclods2015: It’s June, Y’all

12th June 2015

The First Tomato of 2015 Southern Fried Soprano

I don’t know if I am more embarrassed or proud to admit that as of today, June 12th, 2015, I have officially harvested at least twice the amount of produce than I did in 2014’s garden.

Before you think I’m just downplaying my success, let me tell you that aside from one cucumber, two Yellow Pear tomatoes, and four peppers (which I promptly chopped up and put into delicious hamburgers), my garden last year was mostly a spectacular failure.

And yet, the Giant Failure that was my garden was also, coincidentally, one of the greatest sources of my happiness in 2014. I learned so much from last year’s garden and its assorted problems–I learned about squash vine borers, the ravenous appetite of bunnies, and the very entropic behavior of plant disease.

Even though I didn’t harvest a lot of actual fruit, I reaped so many lessons from my garden that it was well worth every single tear I shed over my destroyed pumpkins or my diseased tomatoes. 

I took those tears and resolved to learn something from my failures. The results have been pretty sweet so far. Check it out:

Peppers harvested from my garden!

I became a Real Southern Girl™ this past Wednesday when I made my own pepper jelly for the first time using those beauties you see above (two small serrano peppers, one cowhorn pepper, and two Mucho Nacho jalapeños). I have always wanted to start preserving, canning, and pickling.

I had such a good time making my jelly. I am hoping that with each time I can, I’ll become a teensy more efficient. I hate making such a mess.

Honestly, I feel like if I could go back and do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t have started with making jelly.. I feel like I started a video game on expert mode and somehow skipped to the final boss. Still, there are six little glass jars of gorgeous pepper jelly in my house (and I didn’t even need to artificially color my jelly, like so many recipes!).

My tomatoes are coming along pretty swimmingly. I’ve picked about six or so cherry tomatoes from my two Mexico Midgets, and I’m happy that every one of my tomato plants, even the weirdo Indian Stripe that was.. for some reason… growing on the ground (despite it being planted in a pot??), is flowering! I let Mama Tixqueen have the first tomato.

A secret: I haven’t tried any of my tomatoes yet, despite having a handful sitting on my window sill. I’m really waiting for the big ones to start ripening!

The first bean from my garden!

This little bean here? That’s a miracle. I managed to grow a bean! Despite beans being one of the easiest veggies to home-grow… yours truly has never been able to manage a full bean, thanks to some very hungry bunnies. UNTIL NOW.

As for the rest? My cucumbers have started flowering (after a successful replant), I’ve got an okra plant that’s getting taller, my peppers section looks like a forest it’s doing so well and my squash and eggplant aren’t dead yet.

I’d call this a success so far.

How’s your garden growing, friends?

My Arkansas Bucket List

8th June 2015

In 53 short days, I will no longer be living in Arkansas full-time.

I read that sentence, and while I understand it–I know what it means–I don’t really grasp the gravity of it. The last time I left home “officially” was for college, and I was more than ready to leave. I was 18 years old. I hadn’t applied anywhere in-state for school. I had two feet out the door.

That was six years ago, though, and one undergraduate degree later, I’m again getting ready to leave my home state for school, this time in Kansas. I can’t help but think about all the things I’ve left undone here.

One thing Arkansas isn’t offering, though, is enough opportunities for classical musicians like myself. And so we leave. We have to, if we want to have any sort of performing career. (And God bless the people who are working here to revive the arts community here in central Arkansas and beyond).

Arkansas is my home. It’s not a perfect place, by any means–sit down with me some time and I’ll be glad to tell you all about a few things that need fixing. But it’s filled with good people who are working tirelessly to enrich their communities and to change the not-so-great parts. I’ve gotten to meet these folks and witness first-hand some of their efforts. I’m convinced Arkansas is changing and growing for the better.

Anyway. None of that really obscures the fact that come August, I will no longer be a full-time resident (except for tax purposes, if you know what I meaaaaan) of Little Rock. Time is ticking and I have so much left to do! Cue the sirens.

I want these last 53 days to be memorable, so of course I had to do the typical millennial thing and create a bucket list. Arkansas has a LOT of cool stuff that I’ve yet to do and experience–picking these 5 things was not the easiest task in the world.

Thankfully, this is just a ‘summer 2015’ bucket list and not a ‘I’m never coming back, see you later Arkansas’ list. WITHOUT FURTHER ADO.

My Arkansas Bucket List

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