Halloween 2012 Activities

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The day of the Recycled 5K I took E and R to Acacia Park for a free plant project event presented by the Nevada Master Gardeners.  The kids got to make garlic necklaces (with real garlic, luckily I love the smell of fresh garlic), plant snapdragon seeds, and generally get their hands dirty.  I was a little bummed when someone broke out a box of cupcakes because I’d hoped that this would be a food free event but one of the other presenters remarked to me that it wasn’t part of the planned activities so I felt better.  E and R were a little sad to see everyone playing with rings that had topped their orange frosted cupcakes but playing at the park improved their spirits…I also promised to make our traditional Halloween vegan and gluten free apple pie early this year so I made it that weekend instead of waiting for the 31st.

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It is hard to see in the picture but I put a bit of crust shaped like a pumpkin on top so E wanted me later on to carve our pumpkin with an image of an apple to mimic the mix up (I guess apple designs should decorate apple pies?), which I thought was cute of her.  (We had picked up our pumpkins earlier in October at Gilcrease Orchard.)  E ended up changing her mind at the last minute and her pumpkin was a smiley face with a tongue sticking out and one eye open and the other closed.  She even modeled it for me as I carved.  Our pumpkin seeds were roasted at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes after being tossed with a little oil and salt and spread out on a jelly roll pan (amazon affiliate link).

On Halloween we just trick-or-treated inside the house both in the morning and in the evening, I am not sure if the kids will want to do something more extensive as they get older but we’ll just cross that bridge when we come to it.  They had a great time this year (E was a snow fairy princess and R was a heavy equipment operator, by the way) and best of all there were no holiday related reactions!

2012 Springs Preserve Plant Sale

I posted last year about the Springs Preserve‘s Plant Sale and though this year’s spring sale was a lot smaller we still found a few plants we needed for the front yard.  While last year the sale covered a number of areas, you can see in this shot I took from the parking lot that there was really just one spot where all the plants were gathered.

You had to backtrack to reach checkout and left the plant area with a slip listing the different price levels/sizes of your prospective purchases which I found odd.  I’m guessing it was easier to route power there?  They did have a few plant containers in the checkout area but I am not sure if it was just overflow.

Best of all, however, the weather was just perfect, not bitter cold and windy like the year before. I love every single one of our new additions in the yard!  I do like the Springs Preserve and hope I don’t sound too critical of their events but this year was a bit of a let down compared to the last year.  I felt like there were less plants from which to choose.  I’m not up on the specific constraints they face but the plant sale seems well attended so I don’t know if they scaled back or why.  We do love having the Springs Preserve in town and like to support their offerings!  Since we finished with the sale so quickly we visited the play area for a little while before we left which was a nice treat.

Springs Preserve Bet on the Farm Farmers Market

Each Thursday at the Springs Preserve you can attend the free Bet on the Farm Farmers Market.  We finally had the chance to make our way up there, though I did not want to wrangle the proper camera since it was just the kids and me so these cell phone shots will have to suffice.  It is indoor which makes sense but you do lose a little of that farmers market feel until you explore the produce!  Below you’ll see the Desert Living Center which is where the market is usually held.

I thought there would be more local offerings but one vendor made the great point that some people expect to find out of season veggies and fruits so why not let the Californians offer them and bring people out to the farmers market in the hopes that they also get some local goodies at the same time.

E’s favorite thing was seeing the different colors of cauliflower – my kids love roasted cauliflower (we use a version of this recipe at 101 cookbooks).

I’ll admit to getting some sticker shock at some of the prices but if you usually buy organic it is understandable.  The non-local items I bought were a cucumber that sadly was rotten when I got it home and some jerusalem artichokes that I roasted and were interesting but not as amazing as I’d heard they’d be.  The local cabbage and fresh dill weed were great, however!  The woman that sold the cabbage let me try some other greens that convinced me to plant some winter greens this year, they were lovely.  Another woman offered me some small fresh turnips to try after selling the dill and they were tempting but I’d already spent about $15.  I do believe in supporting local options when I can so you should totally check out the market but seek out the truly local vendor tables and treat yourself.

As I’ve previously posted, after checking out the market we made our way across the open auditorium (picture above) to the play area.  The Farmers Market is usually every Thursday from 10am to 3pm, check this calendar for details.

Butterflies Visit Our Texas Mountain Laurel

Yesterday morning the Texas Mountain Laurel at the front of our house was teeming with Painted Lady Butterflies so I ran for the camera.  I know I am not good at photography but I was pleased with these photos and thought I’d share.

The tree has been in bloom for about a week and it smells wonderful.

The carpenter bees usually have full run of the trees but for some reason the butterflies had a chance for a visit and were all blissing out long enough for me to get close.  I love Las Vegas in the short spring season we have!

This little guy didn’t seem to mind his broken wing, I can’t help but wonder if his bravery caused him some trouble because he let me get the closest for the longest.  The kids loved seeing all the butterflies!  The rest of our yard is in full bloom, I have to do a follow-up for last year’s garden post, maybe after this year’s Springs Preserve Spring Plant Sale on March 31st.

Neon in September

The sage are in bloom all over town, our yard included!

And I couldn’t resist the bright blue (they almost look neon to me) of these flowers from the front yard, even the lilacs started blooming again for some reason.

We also finally have a contender pumpkin for Halloween (or Thanksgiving, I am giving it a flexible deadline).  I had to do the pollination myself, I should have tried that idea sooner but it has already been a great learning opportunity for E.  I told her some people theorize that talking to plants can actually be a good thing so she always say “grow bigger and bigger pummie!” when she waters it.