Chef Emeril Lagasse Promotes Farm-To-Table, Visits a Future Growing Farm in Florida.

Tower Garden Farm in Florida

So having a salt water fish tank seemed easier than getting a dog. Or so we thought. All was going fairly well a week ago, until the “fog” appeared. The kids were off to  school and I happened to walk by the fish tank.  The water in our little 10 gallon tank was completely cloudy, no movement in sight. I walked over with a fear of what I would actually find.  I saw one of the clown fish was down, looking a little more peach, than orange. I could not bear to see what else may be at the bottom of the tank. I started to feel sad, wondering what the heck happened to our tank? Later I went to see what other collateral damage had occurred and that is when I saw the other “peach” clownfish and the shrimp and the blue crab was looking more gray than blue. I immediately called our fish store and asked how this could happen. The filter seemed to be running fine but the fog was not going away and apparently it was taking down every thing in the tank. The fish store said it could have been from lotion or perfume on my hand from cleaning the tank that weekend. I immediately knew that must have been the issue. My beloved Frank usually cleans the tank, but I decided to tackle it since he was working so much lately. Somehow the kids noticed the fog when they got home but luckily did not check on the fish. We did not let them know until the next day. Somehow two hermit crabs and a starfish survived the fog. We were all sad about the fate of our wet friends.

So we got another bigger tank, 30 gallons, new water, new filters, new sand, new plants and a fancy new stand Frank spent a lot of the weekend building. Life was good again. The starfish did not make it but the two hermits seemed happy as pie in their new abode. We are waiting to get more fish until we know the water is balanced and it will be safe to introduce new fish. But there is always a “catch” with fish. Apparently our kids (ages 5 and 8) thought they should feed the two hermit crabs like it was an all you can eat buffet. First the 8 year old was trying to feed them breakfast, and ended up getting most of the jar of food all over the carpet and ladder we had up. And then the next day the 5 year old decided they needed more food, and wanted to give them some. I told her they only need 4 little bits of food since there are only two hermits. I left her at the tank, on the ladder with the food, thinking she would follow my directions. Silly mom.

Later that night, Frank beat us home and went to check out the fish tank. He could not believe his eyes, almost the entire sandy floor was covered in fish food pellets. The  four pellets I thought were going in the tank, turned into 400. The problem becomes the ammonia that can be produced and that in turn can kill whatever is still living in the tank. All his hard work to get the tank stable was down the drain. And if that was not bad enough, he proceeded to step in gum near the kitchen sink and trip over some pajama’s left on the floor.

Today is a new day and the hermit crabs are still alive. My lower back issues are getting better and we are eating eggplant and green peppers and tomatoes from our Tower Gardens. Life comes at you fast, best to make the best of every situation and enjoy a great hard apple cider along the way.

 

Susan is a busy mom of two angelic elementary aged cherubs and wife to beloved Husband who likes building things in his free time. She likes to educate others about fruits and vegetables and how to grown cool produce in two Tower Gardens in the backyard. She has written stories since age 12.

 

 

Garden Lovers Come All Shapes and Sizes.

photo (1)photo (3)Garden Lovers Come In All Shapes and Sizes.

I have not  been diligent about checking on my garden this year. It is true. Between the rain and the vacations, my garden has been thriving with not much management.  Cucumbers apparently love the rain, but tomatoes not so much. I am just now getting more cherry tomatoes than I know what to do with and it’s September.  I have never had to worry about insects, rodents or nosey neighbors checking out what delightful produce I was growing. That was until two weeks ago.

Back from vacations, and seeing the sun making an appearance, I checked on my garden a little more religiously than I had all summer. Who would have thought that in my quest to grow the ultimate  garden on the face of the planet, that I would have to contend with a few  furry creatures.  I have read to my children about these guys- you may remember the story. The cute little guy  eats through an apple, a slice of cake, a salami, an orange, and several other items and then gets a major case of indigestion that no amount of Tums can fix. Easy to do if you eat that much and your stomach must be the size of grain of sand. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach you are going to be sorry. A few munches of grass, the furry cutie pie is back to normal and later becomes a beautiful butterfly. Great story, if you are a caterpillar or a 6 year old.

Well, let me tell you a different furry guy story. Apparently they have a strong love of Kale as I recently discovered. I myself have become a strong lover of anything Kale. What is there not to love?  Kale chips, Kale stir fry;  you name it I will probably put Kale in it. It is very good for you and apparently there is a shortage of Kale across the US since it is now so popular. My new visitors must be in the know, because they managed to consume, not one leaf, not two leaves, but several entire plants of Kale in a short time frame.  I could not believe my eyes. I was picking  Kale from my garden, rain or shine and putting  it in everything until this one visit.  I looked in disbelief!  These guys had managed to consume several leaves yet  managed to leave  frail kale skeletons, a bizarre aftermath of all their hard work and destruction.  The Kale skeleton’s hovered among all my other amazing produce like a bad dream.  They did not touch my lettuce, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, nor my eggplant. Only my beloved kale.

Getting rid these guys was easy, I just picked them off what remained of my bountiful kale harvest and put them in the compost bin. A few days later I found two very, very large caterpillars nearby  that apparently had not only eaten any remaining Kale they could find, but several of their friends as well.  Spinning a huge cocoon must be easy work with all that Kale in your belly. Just think of all the phytonutrients!  Apparently caterpillars know a good thing when they find it and also know which produce is in style. Kale and brussel sprout stir fry would sure be hit with them as well. Enjoy!

Chop up the leaves from a large bunch of  Kale into thin slices yet discard the  stem and skeleton parts. Chop up 8-10 brussel sprouts into thin slices. Mix all with virgin olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Stir fry over medium high heat, while adding a teaspoon of sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce or more  and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Saute until slightly wilted and serve warm. Enjoy!

Hugs and health,

Susan Cannizzaro

Susan is a busy mom of two small children, an avid tennis player, a  lover of all kinds of produce and inspires others to eat healthy by consuming more fruits and vegetables and growing amazing aeroponic produce. To find out more about how to Own Your Health and Your Life, check out mrscjuiceplus.com.