Trying to Keep it Native in the Garden. 2024 and Beyond for MrsLee

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Trying to Keep it Native in the Garden. 2024 and Beyond for MrsLee

Jan 9, 3:30 pm

Here is my new shiny thread about the future, not the past.

I doubt I will worry about continuing this thread at the end of the year, just mosey along into the next and not worry about it.

I don't know what my gardening will look like this year with so many unknown health issues. I do believe there is healing in a garden though, so if at all possible, I want to be in mine.

Slowly planting native plants, thinking of water conservation, fire safety, sharing the space with birds, insects and animals. Focusing on the nature that is, and not what I can artificially create.

I am not militant about native plants, I don't intend to remove non-native just because they are that. It seems rude to me. If a plant is willing to live here with our water restrictions, then let it live I say. We were all invasive species at one time or other, but we can all get along with respect and consideration.

On the other hand, as plants die off, they will be replaced with native species as possible.

Jan 9, 5:51 pm

I have a question: lava rock house walls, fences, steps...were they made of chunks of lava rock in some sort of mortar? I can't picture it.

Jan 9, 7:24 pm

>2 fuzzi: Lava comes in many forms. Some are flows that frost and moisture break into flat paver like stones. Some are heavy and solid chunks that one can only gather small to medium stones unless very strong or possesses lifting equipment. If you find a certain type of lava, it is almost like pumice, light and airy and easy to gather large chunks of. Of course there are variations of all that from obsidian to almost granite like rock, My favorite being the white "popcorn" lava.

Our steps and paths were from flat lava rocks. The steps were held together with mortor. The rock walls were made of a variety of types of lava, but mostly of the medium heavy type with small holes, they were carefully fitted together like a woodpile, close and tight (it's an art) and not held together with anything except themselves. They were not tall, about 3'.

In the hills that surrounded our valley were many types of lava flows, and my dad and grandfather knew every one of them. They were hunters in their day. We had property on what was called the Bench. It was a fault that had risen in an earthquake in the distant past and is mostly made of lava flows. The bench has the medium to heavy lava, and lots of it. Sometimes an Indian grinding stone or mortar would be turned up in the fields while plowing, also many arrowheads. These were treasured items.

If I can find a picture of the steps or a lava rock house (my aunt and uncle built one), I will try to remember to post it.

Jan 11, 5:56 pm

>2 fuzzi:

My oldest brother and sister in front of the rock steps.

This is my dad fixing the rock path to be safer for my mom who was walking with a cane, and sometimes a walker by this time. First he had to dig up the rocks which had become buried over the years, then he poured cement and set the rocks in it so they were level.

Originally, my dad had a natural stain and sealer on the redwood boards he used to build the house. He redid the stain and sealer about every 5 years. One year, he was too busy in the potato field to get this done, so he hired two laborers to go get the stain and sealer. At the store, they asked for "Red wood" stain. By the time dad had a chance to check on them, they had half the house done in this hideous red stain. Mom wept. There was nothing to do but let them finish, but I think it rankled us all every time we looked at the house after that.

Jan 11, 6:05 pm

>4 MrsLee: such cuties!

Jan 12, 5:21 pm

>4 MrsLee: The old adage is still true, if you want something done right...

I thought you might be interested in this:

Jan 12, 7:14 pm

>6 Karlstar: Inspirational, thank you.

Jan 19, 6:50 pm

Went out to scavenge for green onions for salmon patties for dinner tonight. Not many, but I cleaned up the pot, got as many morning glory vines down as possible (they were dried and seeds bursting, so I'm sure there will be plenty again this year). I cut back my oregano, bringing the branches in to dry. Found a pot of succulents which has no drainage; they were swimming so I drained the water and put them on the porch. Hopefully they won't get as wet there. I also thanked a perennial sweetpea that is still alive from the wedding and beginning to bloom again.

Husband gave me a new orchid for my birthday. It is so pretty. Yellow background with purple streaks. Hope I can keep it alive. It's pot has no drainage and I can't get under the moss to see the set up. May have to repot when it's done blooming.

My houseplants need an overhaul this spring. Some need replanting, others topped off, some just a shower, although I can't lift most of them. Almost all need fertilizer and a cleanup.

My sister worked on the maidenhair fern which was in my grandmother Nora's yard/house. Cat started eating on it, so I put it on the porch. Now that it freezes sometimes I brought it in to the bathroom. Cat doesn't go on that counter much. Had to put my bedroom spider plant in sn unreachable place too. Sadly, there is not much sun for it there. At least it is growing new leaves. I planted Cat grass for cat yesterday. If he likes it I will get more and a bigger, heavier container to grow it in.

Jan 21, 9:31 pm

I'm trying to grow cat grass for the kitties. Does that count as a garden thing? If this works, I will get a heavier pot and make it a centerpiece for my round coffee table. Maybe with an elf or dragon peeking out of the grass. Although that will have to be cat-proof.

I found a millipede on the floor day before yesterday. Tried to give it a home in my bug jar for grandson to see; with some dead house plant leaves, or almost dead which I moistened. He curled up and dissolved in the bottom of the jar, so today it is in its final resting place in a flower bed.

Jan 27, 5:20 pm

Today we went to Home Depot for heavy planting containers for the cat grass, and a bathroom faucet. We found both of those, and so much more!

Husband decided he needed some sand to fix some of our rock patio unevenness, and some cement blocks for something to do with a nonworking gate in the fence below our house. I think there is a gap he is trying to keep dogs from squeezing through.

While he was doing that, COLOR caught my eye. I bought two red cyclamen plants; they usually do well for me with minimum effort. Then I saw primroses and thought they would be a nice seasonal splash of color for my little red wagons out front. Across from the primroses were Johnny Jump-ups. Violets, apricot, yellow, blues, they used to do very well here and reseed every year, so I bought 3 six-packs.

While I was looking for the pots for the cat grass (I bought two), I also saw a lovely orchid pot and since I received a new orchid for my birthday and it seems to be in a planter with no drainage, I thought I should replant it when it finishes blooming. Walked past the brand of garden gloves I love, Daizy (I think?) made of goat skin. They are the best I've had; flexible and strong enough to keep rose thorns out. Even though I bought a pair last year, I decided to get this pair as a backup because I had a hard time finding them last year. Home Depot did very well out of us today.

Jan 27, 5:23 pm

Oh, then on Amazon I bought a big bag of cat grass seeds (oats and barley), and Amazon suggested I look at the other seeds this company offers. They had a pack of ten different varieties of sunflower seeds so I thought I would try them on my terraces in the backyard. If they grow and the deer let them bloom, the birds and my daughter-in-law will be happy (her favorite flower), so will I.

Guess it is that time of year when the garden person in me is perking up. I had better get all that planting done before my next infusion in February though.

Jan 27, 7:34 pm

>10 MrsLee: enjoyed shopping with you, vicariously.

We have wild ground-cover similar to Johnny Jump Ups, think it's called Maszu.

I have been very disappointed with the quality of name brand seeds I have purchased locally. Even Burpee seeds had poor germination, and I was wondering if they weren't stored properly? So this year I ordered seeds from Baker Creek. I bought squash and borage from them last year, and was very pleased with the quality, so went whole hog. I ordered about four varieties of Summer squash, looseleaf lettuce, cantaloupes, other stuff. I'm looking forward to Spring planting.

Jan 27, 11:02 pm

>12 fuzzi: I envy you your vegetable garden. Between the soil, heat and pests here, I don't have the will to fight that battle. Oh how I love vegetables from my garden though! Oh well. Farmer's Market is a close second.

Jan 28, 5:18 pm

>13 MrsLee: I'd stopped vegetable gardening due to heat and my inability to tackle the soil. During Covid I decided to try gardening on a small scale, one raised bed (4'x8'). Tomatoes and beans did well, and I was able to handle sowing, weeding, watering on the smaller scale. I added two more a year ago, had tomatoes, peppers, Summer squash, melons, and beans. For Christmas I ordered two more raised bed kits. I see them as an investment.

Jan 29, 3:28 pm

Finished planting my wagons today. It feels good to get my hands (and about everything else) dirty again.

Another day of sunshine and open doors and windows here today. Starting Wednesday, we are supposed to have another week of rain. I'm taking a chance and not watering the new plants because the wagons are not draining well and we are going to fet a lot of rain.

Jan 29, 6:29 pm

>15 MrsLee: getting your hands in dirt is good for you, physically as well as emotionally satisfying.

Jan 30, 4:05 am

My little project. These wagons were full of weeds. They always get full of weeds no matter how many times I have cleaned them out. The one on the right has oxalis which I have carefully taken out every year, sometimes twice a year for three years now. The one on the left I planted this last year for the wedding. It doesn't have good drainage and the plants in it died, but a weed came up and was solid through it! I think it is a weed I am rather fond of, it has little orange flowers on it, so I left about four in there. I like to live dangerously.

Jan 30, 8:48 am

>17 MrsLee: oh, I like those. I have a wheelbarrow planter that my dh created for me.

Fev 8, 8:37 pm

I spent about ten minutes in the yard today. It was a beautiful day, but cold. I cut a broken branch off of my elderberry bush. We had some high winds last week that blew a big branch out of my redwood onto the elderberry bush. It was the worst kind of break, a tear lengthwise through the branch. I tried to bind it with some wire, we shall see. The branch I cut off I shoved into a pot of dirt on the off chance it will make roots and grow.

I went outside to distribute some of my cat's hair on a tree for the birds. He has the softest fur. I have found bird nests on the ground lined with his fur before. I had to walk around a little to see what is happening. The violets are lovely, some narcissus are blooming, and other bulbs are sending up flower stalks. The quince bush is lovely and there is a little bit of bergenia beginning to bloom.

Fev 9, 7:43 pm

>19 MrsLee: you're slightly ahead of us. For natives we have deadnettle starting to bloom, no violets yet. The Camellia opened its first blossom, and the daffodils are forming buds on the ends of their stalks.

Fev 9, 8:07 pm

>20 fuzzi: We have had a very mild year this year, compared to last year. I think we will be seeing a lot of early blooms.

Fev 10, 7:39 am

I just read all the messages. Garden sounds great. I had some snow yesterday.

Fev 24, 5:12 pm

I managed half an hour in the yard. Cut dead stems/blossoms off the pinks and some calendulas. Since I couldn't find where the contractors put my garden gloves, and my legs felt like wet pasta, I called it quits. Not before I admired the pretty pink camellia that is starting to bloom.

Fev 27, 10:09 am

>23 MrsLee: good for you.

Why would the contractors use your gloves?

Fev 27, 11:46 am

>24 fuzzi: They didn't use them (I don't think), they removed everything from the bathroom cabinets before they removed the cabinets. It was a surprise to me that they were removing the cabinets, or I would have emptied them myself. I found my clippers and other tools (I keep my special garden tools in the house because they are for my use only), but not the gloves. Couldn't get into the bedroom where they had stashed stuff, now all that stuff is in the living room, but in such piles I can't get there either.

They laid the new flooring in the living room and bathroom yesterday. Hoping for more progress today. I like it, so that's a good thing. It is much darker than what I had, but I think it suits me better.

I bought it hoping to tone down the pink tone in the pickled oak cabinets that are out there. I am not a fan of pink. My grandmother picked these because she had spent forty years in a kitchen with almost black mahogany cabinets and she wanted lightness. Same cabinets I have in the main house now, but about 16 years ago we stripped and sanded them as much as possible to lighten them. It helped a little. Pickled Oak was all the rage in the 1990s. I hate it. I don't have the means or the energy to paint them, so I looked online for easier solutions. One was to get the daytime LED lighting which we did the last time we had to replace the ceiling light. It helped a lot. Another was that if you had to replace the floor, get something darker that would draw out the wood tones. So we shall see. Whether it helps or not, at least I love it in the other rooms.

Fev 27, 2:21 pm

>25 MrsLee: well, I just learned something new today, the definition of pickled oak.

I have no idea what wood or finish is underneath the paint covering my kitchen cabinets/cupboards, layers of paint from about 50 years. I have no interest in doing anything to them except maybe, MAYBE someday replacing them. They're original, and the bottoms are warped so items placed inside have a tendency to slide or fall over. I can't stack cans, either, the cupboards aren't tall enough. Bleh.

Fev 27, 7:37 pm

>26 fuzzi: I didn't know the name for it either, until the other day I was searching for solutions and typed in something like "how to get rid of pink undertones on white cabinets." I found a hate group dedicated to eliminating them. My people!

Fev 28, 9:09 am

>27 MrsLee: bwahaha!

I hate the gray look that is so popular right now. Ick. I'd rather have everything white, though soft pastels are preferred.

Fev 28, 9:19 am

Grey has always been my wished for background color for walls, and played a small part in choosing my current home. (Love it when someone else has already done the messy part!). I am a color junkie, and it suits well my wall hangings and decor.
My mother chose to paint her kitchen pink when they first bought their house in 1959. She was totally sick of it when they moved out in the 90s.
The first house I bought had a kitchen painted and wallpapered in a teal blue the color of a swimming pool. You felt like you were sitting at the bottom of the pool.
I’ve thought about painting my kitchen cabinets sage green; but I’m pretty content with the white the last owners chose.

Fev 28, 11:43 am

>29 2wonderY: I have to laugh at the "Our Old House" group on FB. I follow them because at times during my cancer treatment the only thing my brain can manage is scrolling on FB, so I decided to join some groups with interesting photos. Anyway, they are always complaining about the "flippers" who buy an old house, rip out anything with character and paint everything grey and white.

All these years I've put up with my very dark kitchen cabinets, and now they are in style again! Everyone (well, lots of folks) seem to be painting their cabinets black or very dark colors. :)

Editado: Mar 2, 12:03 am

Wild, wet and windy here today. I spent the day putting our bathroom back together after the repairmen fixed the flooring. I'm happy with what I chose. It gives my bathroom a woodland feel, and, it really helped tone down the pickled oak pink cabinets! Woo Hoo! I'm cleaning and organizing as I go, moving pretty slow due to lack of energy, but slow and steady will win the race. Still have the living area, kitchen and bedroom to do.

Didn't notice the blue tape until I posted this in the Green Dragon. If you want to see the toilet, you can go to that thread. It isn't very exciting. :)

Think I will work on the bedroom tomorrow because most of the clutter (files and boxes of family history) are in my dining area at the moment. Since that is the main passageway from our living room to the kitchen, its a pain to have a narrow path.

Mar 2, 10:27 pm

The flooring is so pretty!!

Mar 3, 11:42 am

>32 lesmel: Thank you! I almost walked right by it thinking it was too dark, but I'm glad I gave it a second look.

Mar 4, 6:32 am

>31 MrsLee: it looks very nice. When I had my bathroom floor redone I didn't think I wanted the wood-look. Now I'm not so sure.

Mar 4, 10:48 pm

>33 MrsLee: Is this laminate, tile, hardwood?

Mar 5, 10:28 am

>35 lesmel: I think they call it vinyl plank flooring. It snaps together, but they did an awful lot of hammering to get it good and tight. It isn't the most environmental, but the cost was reasonable and the contractor said it was the most waterproof and scratch resistant that he knew of.

Mar 10, 11:41 am

We wanted a manageable evergreen fruit tree to plant between our house and the neighbor's. Bought a pink grapefruit tree. Hopefully it will survive the summer, and the winter if we get a cold one.

Couldn't stop there though. I lost most of the plants in pots on my side porch this last summer. Since it is almost impossible to keep potted plants alive outside here in the summer, at least in the sunshine, I thought I would try some shade loving plants to keep on the porch. 2 ferns, some other plants which are normally indoors and I don't know the names of, but a couple have arrowhead shaped leaves, and the colors of the others are spotted green and pink. I planted herbs as well, cilantro, spearmint and sweet (Yerba Buena) mint, lemon thyme and English thyme. Then I saw marigolds! I wanted the bright splash of yellow, orange and gold. So I planted some of them on the porch, although they will need more sun later. I had a friend helping me and she put the rest of the marigolds in a flower bed outside my kitchen window.

Planting things is such a hopeful activity. The primroses and violas I planted in my wagons last month are blooming beautifully and make me happy.

Mar 10, 2:46 pm

>37 MrsLee: growing things bring us joy.

Marigolds are my favorites, especially the Petite varieties.

Mar 14, 11:56 am

All the flowering bushes are bursting. So pretty with pinks, yellows, whites, blues, lavender and salmon.

Mar 14, 3:33 pm

>39 MrsLee: Yay spring!!

I’m finding life coming up through the leaf mulch. Promise of peonies that were hard done to last year.
Also, I took two PeeGee hydrangea cuttings last month from WV. I see today that there is a tiny bit of bud swell and greening.

Mar 17, 12:23 am

>40 2wonderY: I don't think my peonies have poked through yet. At least not the ones down the hill. My yard has some weird micro-climates. Up around the house the plants bloom a week or two before the ones down the hill. It's not that big a hill!

Finally my sunflower seeds are sprouting. Those in the plastic clamshells for fruit are poking up. Those in the cardboard egg carton and mushroom box have not. I can only suppose that the plastic gets warmer? Let's in more light? The mushroom box doesn't have a lid, so gets lots of light. All have been equally moist.

Mar 17, 3:44 pm

Weeded a patch of wild carrots that have been bothering me for awhile. Then I walked around the yard a little cutting back stuff that should have been cut back 2 months ago. I don't think I was out there longer than half an hour, but my legs were wobbly when I decided to walk back up the hill and go inside. :/

Mar 17, 5:41 pm

>42 MrsLee: don't push yourself.

Mar 22, 12:58 pm

My husband's idea of working in the garden is to dig up flowerbeds and cover them with rocks. Back in the day I refused to let him do this, but now, with my limited energy and water being a precious commodity, I have given in.

The latest bed he dug up is on the side of the house. We have a low fence between our house and the neighbor's which holds vinca, sweet pea vines and two grape plants. I would get rid of the sweet peas, but it is impossible, so I try to live with them. They are beautiful when they bloom.

We planted a grapefruit tree there, and the elderflower I planted last year is doing great. 4 miniature pink roses are over there as well. For the new bed of rocks, we will be getting 3 planter pots. These need to be very large, otherwise the sun super-heats the pots and they cook the roots of whatever is planted in them. I'm trying to figure out what to plant in them. I hope to use calendula as a filler, because it will be easier to care for them and harvest without bending to the ground.

My preference for the taller plant in the pot would be a perennial that makes something edible. We have more than enough citrus trees. Maybe guava? My 2 guavas down the hill make pretty (and edible) flowers, but no fruit since the first year I planted them. Will have to see what the nursery has/recommends.

Mar 23, 8:58 am

I plant vinca (not periwinkle), portulaca, and purslane in planters around the house. They handle heat and drought very well. Lantana and pentas are also pretty heat-resistant.

FYI: vinca roseus has been renamed

Mar 23, 11:29 am

>45 fuzzi: Those are nice, but I want some elevation since the planters will be 2-3 feet tall. I have lantana. Oh boy do I have it. All around the yard! It volunteers like crazy. I might get some special color of it, like orange, because birds and butterflies love it (which is the only reason I have put up with its volunteering habits).

Mar 24, 12:56 am

We had quite the hailstorm, lightening and thunder here today. My loving husband ran outside and covered my seedlings in between downpours.

Mar 24, 8:43 pm

Went to check on the seedlings this morning. I've been keeping them in plastic storage stackable drawers. They get light and have protection from the weather; I thought. I could hardly open the drawers as there was 4" of water in them! Some of the planters were floating, others were underwater. We protected them from the hail, but not the flood. This is why I hate gardening.

Mar 28, 7:31 pm

>48 MrsLee: Part 2.

So I rescued the seedlings from the depths of the water. The soil was surprisingly intact, and the plants were ok. They dried out for a couple of days, but yesterday high winds and rain were predicted. I didn't want them to blow away, so I removed the drawers from the cases and put them under the picnic table against the house. Table is covered with a plastic tablecloth, no holes in it. We had the high winds and a LOT of rain, and I was feeling pretty smug for thinking about protecting the seedlings.

Went to check on them this morning and one drawer was completely full of water, the other was only half full. These drawers are about 15" deep! I don't even know how that happened! I gave up the plants for lost, then realized that the ones in the cardboard egg carton were floating (submerged but floating) so I pulled them out, then pulled the others out from the bottom, under all that water. I've lost some, not sure the others will live, but I put them on the side porch this time and we will see what happens. More wild weather expected. Yes, I could bring them in the house, but with company coming I don't want my counters covered in dirty containers, plus I'm just mad at this point and don't care much.

Mar 28, 9:59 pm


Abr 1, 6:44 pm

No gardening done this weekend, but time spent in the garden. My two grandsons and their parents were here, also my daughter.

First there was an egg hunt in the rock garden out front. Later that evening there was a second egg hunt in the backyard, in the dark. Plastic eggs were filled with glow sticks and my yard was full of glow. Lots of fun. The frogs were cheering on the egg hunter.

Seedlings live. If I can feel alive, I want to plant them tomorrow or the next day at the latest. Liver is getting worse. More and heavier drugs are prescribed. Not looking forward to a liver biopsy. I keep thinking if I can just get over this hump then life can be better, but there always seems to be another hump. Have to do what I can when I can and be satisfied.

Daffodils are almost finished, so are all the redbud, but they were so pretty this year! Woodland hyacinth and lavender are taking on the job of color in the yard. Transitioning from pink to blue. Butterflies and bees seem happy. Orange blossoms are also about to open. Can't wait for that fragrance. My freesia seemed to go by fast this year. The hail didn't help, I'm sure.

Abr 1, 10:49 pm

Oh so sorry you are in poor health . I hope the biopsy gives you good news

Abr 1, 11:01 pm

>52 cindydavid4: Thank you!

Abr 2, 6:24 am

>51 MrsLee: thank you for sharing. Peace and grace and comfort to you.

I like the idea of the nighttime egg hunt.

Abr 3, 4:34 pm

I managed to do an hour and a half of gentle gardening! Planted some of the sunflower seedlings, pulled weeds first. Watered and put out snail bait on them and on my marigolds. I suspect it is probably slugs, earwigs or pill bugs, we shall see. Might just be lousy plants or too harsh planting methods.

I also pulled up a bucket full of wild onions. I use these in cooking, which you can find in my thread in the Cookbooker's group if you are interested. Watched a lot of videos this morning telling me how to be careful not to damage the bulbs so you will have some next year. HAHAHAHAHA! These suckers have minute bulbs coming from the parent plant, and from the blossoms, as well as seeds from the blossoms. I've been digging at them for 30 years and my grandmother for 30 years before that. They are as hardy as ever.

I also got one of the cat grass pots ready for a new planting. We are expecting rain and thunder showers the next two days, not sure of the proportion or timing.

Abr 6, 1:13 am

Beautiful weather today, but I'm feeling a little sick, so nothing got planted. Still hoping to get the seedlings done this weekend because I have a minor surgery on Monday that will put me out of commission for at least a week while it heals.

Abr 8, 3:50 pm

>56 MrsLee: just seeing this now, praying for a complete and quick recovery.

Abr 8, 8:27 pm

>57 fuzzi: Thank you. I have a cold, canceled the surgery, no seedlings in the ground. But I'm able and willing to read for the first time in a while! So not all bad. :)

Abr 14, 5:14 pm

I made a lilac simple syrup today. Trying to get creative with flavors to use in mocktails since it doesn't look like my liver will be able to tolerate alcohol for a long time. It isn't the alcohol itself that I miss. I actually don't care for the physical effects of alcohol. It is the flavor and creativity, the beauty of the cocktails in the glasses. I don't care for sweet drinks, and without the sweet or the alcohol you aren't left with much. So I reach for flavors. The simple syrup will be sweet, but I will add a bit of citric acid and perhaps some bitters to counteract the sweet. A bit of flavored vinegar can also help.

Recipe I'm using:
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Water
1 c. Lilac blossoms
5-8 blueberries for color
1 t. Citric acid granules
Simmer sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add blossoms and blueberries, simmer 10 minutes. Add Citric acid and stir, strain into bottle. Store in rrefrigerator.I have to use my imagination to get any lilac flavor from this, but that could be due to my cold. Also, sometimes simple syrup gets better flavor after sitting a day or two.

I'm also dehydrating some blossoms for tea.

Abr 14, 5:45 pm

I've never really enjoyed alcohol (6 years of university, never developed a taste for beer!) so I'm always interested in options. This one sounds tasty. It will be a month before our lilacs bloom, but I may just try it then :)

I also use flavoured balsamic vinegars with club soda for cool drinks that are refreshing and sweet enough but not too sweet.

Ginger beer is also a go-to, but it's still pop, so more sugar than is good for me. It has an extra sharpness that ginger ale lacks, though.

Abr 14, 10:14 pm

>60 tardis: I use vinegars also. Did I mention it here? Maybe somewhere else, I found a drink which is very satisfying. I used the leftover vinegar brine from my beets and onions which is a bit of sweet with sour and spices. Poured about 1-2" in bottom of glass, added ice, then sparkling water and gave it a good stir. It was perfect for the couple of hot days we had last week. Refreshing without too much sweet.

Abr 15, 10:11 am

>60 tardis: our local source for flavored balsamics has a wide selection, most of which I have tried in cooking or on salads but they tell me to try it in seltzer as you mentioned. Do you have a suggestion for a tasty ratio? I'm not sure how much vinegar to use before it gets too sour?

Abr 15, 2:22 pm

>61 MrsLee: You mentioned flavoured vinegars above as a possible addition to cut the sweetness of your lilac syrup. It would never have occured to me to use brine from pickles, though! I generally go for the fruit-based infusions.

>62 Darth-Heather: I kind of wing it. Maybe 1 cm in the bottom of the glass, then add the club soda, then taste. The flavoured balsamics do have their own sweetness - you can add quite a bit before it gets sour. It's more about how strong you want the flavour.

Abr 15, 2:33 pm

I think I will look into some shrub recipes. I know I've seen them in my older cookbooks and they are making a comeback.

Abr 17, 10:01 am

>61 MrsLee: oh, that's an idea.

I love pickled/vinegary foods, might be that Germanic heritage? :)

Abr 19, 8:01 pm

Get mint they said. Nothing likes it they said. So why can't I keep mint alive? It was fine and happy 2 days ago and today I'm not sure it will make it. Part of the problem may be that it got dry, but there is also slug/snail slime all over it.

Yesterday I made a shrub that tasted like a mild root beer!.75 oz. of homemade grenadine,.50 oz. tonic syrup,.75 oz. homemade elderberry vinegar, a t. of spice balsamic vinegar made by a local company. Carbonated water to taste. My husband liked it too.

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