fairy garden fairy house woodworking

Cypress Dome Gnome Home

Tall cypress knees make the frame for this “fairy house” and two pecky cypress boards are the foundation.


container gardening florida gardening potting soil

Excellent Potting Soil

Here is my new, favorite growing medium: Hydra Fiber Foliage Mix (HFFM) made by Jolly Gardener/Old Castle in Florida.

I grow flowers and vegetables in the ground and in pots. But this year I am using a new soil-less growing medium that is a blend of Canadian peat, pine bark, perlite, and hydrafiber. This fiber is specially processed (shredded) pine that loosens the mix, improves drainage and yet retains water.

This blend is the lightest weight “soil” I’ve ever used. The weight is irrelevant, the way it behaves and the way the plants respond is remarkable. When you water, it does not puddle but drains right away. But then it holds just enough water so that roots plunge into it profusely.

I’ve used in in 10″ pots, seed trays and 15 to 25 gallon pots where I grow tomatoes and peppers. Although this media is called foliage mix, it’s fantastic for flowers and vegetables.

fairy garden fairy house

Cypress Knee Fairy House

The arches in this cypress knee look just like an entryway to an imaginary woodland. So I embellished it to complete the scene.

peppers vegetables

Chili Chicken Corn Cheese Casserole

An abundance of ‘New Mex Big Jim’ peppers motivated me to make this casserole. The original recipe is called Chicken Poblano Casserole but there is so much more to it.
This is one of those dishes that takes hours to make and only minutes to eat. The eleven layers combine to make a savory, sweet, chewy dinner. It’s rich in dairy: 1 cup of Cotija cheese, 1 pound of Ricotta, 1/2 pound of shredded “Four Cheese Mexican”, three cups of milk.
I fry three chicken breasts, then simmer in seasoned chicken stock for three hours until it falls apart. Then it shreds easily by hand.
Two of the layers are a mix of the soft cheeses, home-made salsa, and roasted corn, blended with two eggs. The white sauce is blended with roasted, pureed peppers and poured onto the layers of soft, yellow corn tortillas. One time consumers was roasting the peppers, then peeling and deseeding. But they made one colorful, flavorful layer.