Be Careful What You Wish For



Joey and I love feeding the birds in our backyard. There are so many cute little sparrows, house finches, brown-headed cowbirds...all kinds of little birds. Recently there have been lots of little ones being fed and taught to eat by their mothers. It's really treat to watch them. Along with all this is an ever growing flock of pigeons.  I personally don't have anything against pigeons. They are birds and part of God's creatures. However, I don't particularly love having 30 of them hanging out on my roof waiting for me to leave my yard. 

My spiritual advisor, Erin Shannon, has always taught me to manifest what I desired and if was meant to be, it would be. (Que Sera Sera.) I really wanted the pigeons to go away. I was hoping that they would just lose interest in Price Street and head over to Hillside. Kind of like how gays lose interest in one bar and start going to another. In my ideal world that's what I wanted to happen.  Well, that's not what happened. Last night we got a Hawk.  Yes, a hawk came to visit our little garden on Price Street.  Worse than that he came for more than a cocktail. He had dinner.

Now I am all for the circle of life and all that, but I just don't want to see it. He got one of the baby birds that we have been watching be trained by his mother. My first thought was, "HAWKS, in Daly City?!"  Really, I thought they were busy in San Francisco.  And just to be clear, Universe, I have been trying to manifest the wild parrots to make their way over here, not their natural predators!

So, now we have a hawk who, by the way, scared the pigeons for about an hour. They are back this morning, albeit in a much smaller flock  but they came along with their little sparrow buddies. They must be our diehard patrons.

I have made a decision. Pigeons, go to town, take care of my little sparrow buddies. Hopefully the hawk will find Price Street much too boring and will make his way over to Folsom.

Garlic Parmesan Croutons




The other day Joey brought home a huge bag of leftover sourdough from work. Usually we just grind them up in the food processor and feed them to the birds in our backyard, but this time I decided to make croutons. This is so simple I almost feel silly posting it, but a friend asked me how I made them so here goes. All the measurements are just approximations. You should just use as much or as little of each of the items as you need.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (enough to coat the bread) 
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated (I used Kraft in the container and it worked perfectly) 
  • 4 cups bread cubes, crusts removed and cut in 3/4 inch cubes


Directions

  1. Adjust oven racks to the center postion in your oven and heat to 350F
  2. Whisk the oil, garlic and salt together in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the bread cubes and toss until thoroughly coated. 
  4. Gradually add the parmesan cheese while tossing bread cubes 
  5. Lightly coat two cooking sheets with non-stick spray 
  6. Spread the bread cubes onto baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 
  7. Allow the croutons to cool to room temperature before serving 
  8. Once cooled store croutons in air-tight container

A Visit To Sloat and Our First New Plants



Yesterday Joey and I took our first trip to Sloat Gareden Center in San Francisco. Bernie, our landscaper had recommended it and I have never been to a proper nursery besides Lowes and Home Depot. Sloat is located right near the ocean and with the beautiful sunshine we had it was a perfect day for it.

Main store of sloat is packed with everything you would need for gardening from seed packets, tools, footwear, pots to wind chimes. The prices are pretty steep for most things, so make sure you have your amazon price check application with you.  While Joey and I try our hardest to support our local merchants paying $25.00 more for a bird feeder at Sloats compared to Amazon was just not worth it for us. We bought enough there, so it's not like we walked out empty handed.  We actually bought a lot!

The most exciting things we bought are two new plants for our garden. The ver first we have bought! First we got a Star Jasmine plant.  We have wanted one since even before we started working on our garden and this one just called to us. It wasn't the largest one there, but it's a good size and it's going to grown beautifully in our yard.

Our second plant was a Salvia Leucantha, or Mexican Bush Sage.  We had seen them there other day and feel in love with the fuzzy purple flowers.  I think we are probably going to get a few more of these, but I want to see how the go first. That's the great thing about the garden. It's all ours and we can be little gardening Mrs. Butterworths and take our own sweet time on what we add to it.

I had a lot of garden chores to do, so I haven't transplanted the plants yet. I am going to give them a week to get use to the surroundings then transplant them next weekend when I have some free time. I am so excited! Just those two additions have added a lot to our yard.

I am still really enjoying the whole yard work thing. I spend four glorious hours out there yesterday and could have spent four more. However, the Tony were calling and I just couldn't miss those. (After seeing them, though, I kind of could have.)  I have next weekend, though, and I can't wait to get out there again!



Milk. It Does the Roses Good


One of the things Joey and I inherited with our house is eight rose bushes in the front yard.  I mentioned before I was going to get rid of them, but thought I would try one season of growing them and I am so glad I did.  Look at them!  They are beautiful!! I have really enjoyed watching them grow and the beautiful roses that seem to appear daily.  What I don't love, however, is that powdery mildew and black spot that roses are known for.  

Every day when I get home from work I have to comb my roses for these evil demons.  If I keep on top of it I can keep both at bay - almost.  When it's particularly damp, which is often here in Daly City, it's a big problem.  Miss one day and it's a mildew fest. I searched and search the web for an organic way to take care of this and came across a post on a message board singing the praises for milk and water.  Milk?! For my roses?
Several people said spraying a solution of 1 part milk to 2 parts water and a weekly basis would keep the mildew and black spot at bay. No one could seem to explain why, but it was worth a shot so I gave it a go.

Guess what? It works! My roses are practically mildew and black spot free. Done on a weekly basis it really does keep your roses healthy.  That is the key, though - a weekly basis. Miss a week and you'll be sorry. Trust me, I know.

I kept this little secret to myself because, well, I don't have a any friends that grow roses and I kind of felt silly spraying my roses with milk. Also, what do I know about gardening to give tips?


A couple of weeks ago, my favorite garden blogger, Kevin Lee Jacobs from A Garden for the House, wrote that he was trying the same thing!  Well, if Mr. Jacobs is recommending it, then I must be doing something right. So, if you have roses and they need a little TLC, try the milk and water solution. Your mildew and black spot problems will vanish.

My First Gardening Class


On Saturday Joey and I took a class on safe, effective pest and disease control at Common Ground in Palo Alto. It's my first time to Common Ground and my first gardening class as well. The class was taught by Teresa Lovell from Our Water Our World. She taught us about Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

What is IPM? Well, it's a is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. At least that's what the EPA site says. Basically you identify the pest to determine if they are good or bad (yes, there are good ones) then determine if they need control. If so look for natural ways to prevent and control the pests.

We talked mostly about ants, aphids, snail and squirrels. Luckily I don't have a lot of any of these, but part of that is that I have found great ways of keeping them controlled. Well, except squirrels, we don't have any of those that I have seen. Pigeons is a whole other story, but that's for a later time.

I found the class really informative and Teresa was a great instructor. After the class we went to the Common Ground store where then have lots of great books, tools and all sorts of organic gardening resources. Joey bought me my first garden hat. What do you think? I think it's very "Whales of August." I love it! I also got my first seed packets. I got sunflowers, nasturtiums and morning glories. I know it's late in the season, but I am going to try my hand at growing them anyway. Our summer really isn't until October, so they might just grow!
We had a really great day at Common Ground and I am sure we will take another class there sometime in the future. If you live in the area you should drop by or check them out online.



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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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