Philadelphia Gardens - Photography


For the past few years I have been a bit obsessed with finding little gardens in the Philadelphia area, mainly in the areas where I live and work because it gives me an excuse to get out on my bike at lunch with my camera to enjoy the sun. Well, today, even though there was no sun, I rode to one of my favorite spots to grab a few photos.

IMG_1933 - IMG_1920 - IMG_1911 - IMG_1927 When I tell you that pretty much only 1 in 100 people near where I live have a garden that's not an exaggeration. Although my neighborhood is dominated by immigrants from Southeast Asia whose former livelihood was determined by growing their own food, few have carried on their growing to their new homes. The area just south and west of my neck of the woods is full of descendants of Italian immigrants who now rely on the ACME more for their produce. Granted, we all have concrete slabs for backyards (if you even are blessed to HAVE a yard) and flat fronted homes where you need to worry about someone either stealing or breaking your flowepots (sad isn't it). A few of us have been crafty enough to establish sorts of raised beds and/or utilize pot to grow some flowers and veggies throughout the warmer seasons. Others, for instance those in Center City regions, enter a lottery to obtain a spot in a community garden where they can grow herbs, produce and flowers. The photos above are from one such community garden near the Schuylkill River. Some days, if you are incredibly lucky, you can enter the garden if a plot manager is there tending to their beds (if you ask nicely and are, of course, only taking photos and not trying to sneak away some peppers!), but today the gates were locks so I could only snap a few photos from the plants in the perimeter. I did, however, snag a few of a fuzzy little bumble bee, which totally made my day.

A Trip to the Orchard: Peaches, Peaches, Peaches Galore!

This weekend we took a trip to our local orchard to do some peach and veggie picking. I had been itching to make some jellies and wanted to get out of the house and into some nature so we took a drive to Styer Orchards in Langhorne. We had been there once before and after our last several trips to Linvilla Orchards had been a bust (ignorant crowds, people stealing food, and high prices) I vowed to not waste my time or gas on the trip. Don't get me wrong, Livilla is cute, but it is more of a "tourist attraction" than anything and I kid you not, their fields are full of people who will literally camp out with their families and devour a hundred dollars work of fruit and vegetables out of the view of the workers and wander out purchasing maybe $8 work of anything to cover up their theft! As a result the honest-paying customers are not paying MORE than grocery store price. Plus, we also learned that they use high amounts of pesticides on all of their crops so that what actually makes it to the register is not inflicted with diseases. So, unless there is a good reason to drive there, I will not be paying $3.99 a lb for non-organic peaches that I have to hike out and pick for myself. No sir!

Now Styer's: I have to say, I absolutely love this little place. It is family run, super friendly, and just a plain old-style pick your own orchard. No fuss. No mess. Just rows and rows of fruits. There is also a cute country store at the beginning of the property that used to be part of the farm but is now managed by the township. We stopped in to grab some apple cider and a cup of locally-made ice cream from Goodnoe Farms. What a better way to perk up a cranky toddler than with chocolate ice cream, right?

We ended up with about 30lbs (easily) of fresh peaches, peppers, and tomatoes along with a few potted herbs for only $30! That's it! Needless to say I spent a good portion of yesterday cleaning and peeling peaches.

In all, about 20lbs of peaches were processed last night into yummy jams. My favorite has to be what I call my "local special" because it utilizes the two most abundant fruits in my region right now - blueberries (from Jersey) and peaches (fro Pennsylvania)! The recipe is super easy as it only has a few ingredients and takes very little time to cook up. I made twelve 8oz jars in no time! And, best off, the jelly set perfectly (unlike some other jams I have made in the past)!

I also made lots of plain peach jam (to my dismay had to be recooked due to, what I think, was either too little or bad pectin!) and some peach & strawberry jam. I love mixing berries into any of my jams and jellies. They are full of those healthy goodies, which, when you are consuming that amount of sugar in one tablespoon is something I need to remind myself of. Also, they just simply taste great. Below you can see the recipe I use for the peachy blueberry jam. Try it out for yourself!

Just some morning bike ride photos....

It's Vintage!

I have been going through so much clutter in the house and came across a handful of vintage items to put up for sale in my shop. Check out the ETSY SHOP for some super cute (and inexpensive" vintage magazines and knick knacks for your home! I am also offering FREE SHIPPING for ALL US ORDERS right now so hurry and grab 'em while they're hot!