Mission Accomplished

It was 8 long years before I got the call that a plot in my preferred community garden site was available.  I was in Kenya at the time and the phone I was using wasn't very reliable for checking email on a regular basis.  Fortunately I  borrowed a laptop from a young Kenyan friend of mine and it helped me check on and respond to my messages.

The summer of 2019 was my first year at the community plot. I wasn't quick enough to take advantage of the compost and additional soil purchased by the garden committee as I've discovered that most people at the community plots are real keen gardeners. Their gardens are already growing by the time I'm thinking about cleaning the debris and preparing the soil.  Thankfully my garden grew nicely without all the additional amendments.

This year I stayed away from preparing the garden even longer than last year due to Covid 19 and I missed out completely on the soil and compost.  It seems like I wasn't the only one to miss out so I'm not sure who used it all.  I  heard we have a number of new gardeners this year as many of last year's gardeners waited years like I did for a plot.  In the years they were waiting several had moved out of the neighbourhood and they found it simply too hard to visit and work on their gardens on a regular basis so their gardens became quite overgrown.  I bought some manure if I need it but I don't have additional top soil this year. Somehow I seem to have ended up with a lot of potting soil of which I still have lots.
The path leading to the garden shed where all the tools are stored for use by the community gardeners.

We have a nicely kept and well organized gardening tool shed. In the summer of Covid 19-2020, the tools are off limits so as to avoid the potential spread of viruses. We can bring our own tools and we still have access to the two water hoses at either end of the gardens.

I spent a few days last week cleaning out the weeds and also some plants from the garden plot I rent. While the plot isn't really that big it still requires a lot of work to pluck out weeds and plants seeded by the wind, rake all the wood, debris and green debris then dump it all in the garbage containers, and finally, to break up the hardened dirt and plant the seeds.

I'm a very slow worker and take frequent breaks to rest my back.  The plot is a raised bed.  I don't know why they call it raised bed because it is only a few inches above the ground.  Given it's so low and very close to the neighboring plot, a bit of gymnastics are required to hoe, rake and plant.  It is also not a good idea to squat in the garden because then you tamp down the soil and it quickly gets compacted.  If i was younger it would surely be a lot easier but I don't let that deter me.

I felt terrific after finally getting the garden in for another year.   I went back  later in the week to clean up some of the green debris I left on the outer edges. We are supposed to ensure the pathways are kept free of such things.  Fortuitously I finished the planting on Saturday and it rained on Monday and Tuesday.  I  prefer when it rains a few times a month because it really does a garden good.  Much better than watering by hand.

Back at home, my little balcony garden is sprouting various things and I'm looking forward to seeing what grows.



I captured this park view just beyond the garden.
The sun was setting and most people had left for the day. 
The swirly clouds in the sky are rather peaceful and lovely.
Can you make out any shapes in the clouds?

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It's been raining quite heavily again so when that happens I usually crave banana bread or muffins.  This week I was craving banana bread and a friend gave me a recipe to try.  Instead I ended up trying a recipe developed by pastry chef Anna Olson who I've watched on Canadian television for years.


 
Here is her recipe.

 Ingredients

1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups (375-400 g) mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
6 Tbsp (90 g) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
½ cup (100 g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 g) baking soda
¼ tsp (0.75 g) salt
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips or toasted walnut pieces (optional)

Directions 

  Preheat the oven to 325 ºF (160 ºC) and grease a 9-x-5-inch (2L) loaf pan.
2. Whisk the banana, melted butter, granulated and brown sugar together until well-blended. Whisk in the egg and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the banana mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips or walnut pieces (if using). Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the top with a little sugar. Bake for about 75 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the tin, then turn it out to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Makes one 9 x 5 loaf.

It was a fairly dense, yet moist loaf, which I liked.

♥♥♥
If you were here with me I'd offer you a slice and a hot tea or coffee out on the patio as long as it wasn't raining :-)

When I did my first taste test I thought it was a bit sweet however it contains far less sugar and fewer eggs than  many other banana bread recipes I've looked at. The bread was even better the next day.
I think I've found a keeper. I believe I have another keeper on my blog somewhere which I will have to search for and try again to compare.
Once I try my friend's recipe, I may actually have 3 great recipes and that will likely be enough.
I've been searching for a great recipe for a long time.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday this week.
Thank you for stopping by.

33 comments:

  1. Hello, gardening work is hard but so rewarding. It is good to go slow and rest your body. Your banana bread looks yummy. Pretty skywatch! Have a great day and a happy weekend.

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    1. Hi Eileen, I'm not what you would call a natural gardener so I think I feel everything more so than someone who has been gardening for far longer. It's good advice to go slow and rest. The banana bread was yummy and I'm enjoying it with coffee. You have a great weekend my friend.

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  2. Sounds like you are doing well and oh, how I wish i could taste a bit of that banana bread. In case I get there I only dring herbal tea 😊 Stay safe, Diane

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    1. Hi Diane, yes I am doing very well thank you. I hope you are too. I'd love to share my banana bread with you and when you get here I have a variety of herbal teas including Rooibos which maybe you drank while you were in South Africa :-) Stay safe too my friend.

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    2. I like most herbal teas but I hate Rooibos :-) Diane

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  3. Isn't that so satisfying to get things planted? We are waiting for the nighttime frosts to go away, we had snow here the other day still, in central NY state. Thank you for the banana bread recipe! With this lockdown, one of my older daughters (she's 33!) moved back in here because she shares a house with two of my other girls who are nurses, and are quite possibly exposed on a regular basis...anyway, this daughter LOVES banana bread. If she comes in from work and I've made it for her, there will be joy! And, we just happen to have some over ripe bananas!
    Della

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    1. Hi Della, it is very satisfying once the seeds or starter plants are in. This year it was mostly seeds and thankfully many are sprouting. I'm glad the banana bread recipe was needed and I really hope your daughter loves this one. I do make a fair bit of banana bread myself and it's been hard to find a recipe I really like but this one is good. Enjoy your weekend and I pray your daughters stay safe.

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  4. Hi Penny,
    ...your bread looks amazing...and I so wish we had a garden plot...we live out in the country but we have a very shady lot...and luckily we have lots of gardening parishioners who are happy to share their produce with us...
    ~Have a lovely day!

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    1. Hi Teresa, I didn't realize you didn't have a garden plot as you live in the country but I did know you get a lot of produce from parishioners which is so nice of them. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

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  5. It's good you have your garden arranged to your satisfaction, and well watered in. Buena fortuna.

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    1. I'm so happy to have the rain do some of my work for me, lol.

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  6. I kow your garden is lots of work, but such a blessing too!
    The sky shot is pretty.
    I would love to sit and visit with you and have a piece of that bread. :)

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    1. Yeah, a real gardener wouldn't say it's a lot of work, lol so that tells you about me. I do love the garden though and love to see what sprouts up. I also love the sky, and banana bread which I would love to share with you :-)

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  7. Gardens are a lot of work but the rewards are great.

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  8. ...community garden plots have become very popular here. One that I pass by often always has people working and tending their little piece of heaven. Enjoy yours.

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    1. Tom, they are very popular here too and so many more people would love to have one. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  9. I love banana bread! Pretty sky in your park view photo.

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    1. Banana bread is so quick to whip up and makes a nice treat. Thank you for your visit.

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  10. Beautiful. I've recently been having Pear and Raspberry Bread too.

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    1. Thank you Jim. The Pear and Raspberry Bread sounds delicious!

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  11. My wife is a certified master gardener but the gardening aspect was put on hold the last several years as she became an exercise instructor and spent a lot of time doing that. With the pandemic, all the exercise classes are cancelled and she took up gardening again. She never does anything halfway so our back and front yards are blooming again and we have all sorts of birds and squirrels spending time there.

    My problem is that I earned money by helping people with their gardening when I was in high school and college. So I did all that stuff for hours a day and I'm done with it. I still help Heather of course with digging and moving stuff around and all that. What I tell her is that I just want the baby, not the birthing pains.

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    1. So wonderful that your wife is a master gardener. I know it takes dedication to the art form of gardening. It sounds like your wife also enjoyed leading exercise classes but it's great that she can return to gardening in the meantime. You are right about having birds and squirrels visit when the garden is blooming. I am trying to attract hummingbirds and butterflies so I've planted a lot of wildflowers and I hope they come up. I understand if you personally don't want to garden for a hobby.

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  12. Great post and neat cloud shot ~ ^_^

    Be Well, Be Safe,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  13. I thought I had already replied to this, but I think I just read it on my phone and didn't get back to reply. It's harder for me to respond on my phone than on my computer.I can't wait to see how your garden will grow! So glad you have had rain to help it along. We need rain SO badly here. Your banana nut bread looks wonderful. I have to bake some today as I have some overripe bananas that need to get used up. Your recipe sounds similar to mine, except I've never used both brown and white sugar. I may try that and see how it turns out. Plus lately I have been using applesauce to replace the shortening (butter), and it comes out very nice and moist. I prefer nuts in mine. Somehow I can't quite imagine chocolate chips in banana bread! LOL. Have a wonderful day, and I pray your garden grows lots of wonderful stuff!!

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    1. Hi Pamela, I have the same issue as you about reading posts on the phone and then preferring to respond on the computer. It is just far easier to type comments without typos :-) I hope you got some rain and also that you were able to make banana bread. In the past I have also used apple sauce in place of sugar but I do not usually have the sauce on hand or the right apples to make it. Same with nuts. I seldom have walnuts or pecans though I do love them in my banana bread too. Try the chocolate chips. I'm sure you will like them.

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  14. That's great Joyful that you could get back to your garden plot!! The sky and your photos reflects your joy!! Our sky here has been similar with those wispy tent-like strokes!! The banana bread looks amazing!! And such a comfort food!! I may try a banana bread!! It just looks perfect!! very inviting to have with you:))
    Blessings and enjoy the garden and seeing your garden grow!! Much love!! xoxo

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    1. Thank you Shayndel. I was very pleased to finally get back to the community garden. You are right about the sky and the day giving me joy. Wouldn't it be lovely to share some banana bread or challah bread together? I'm looking forward to watching the progress of my garden. I just love it when the sprouts shoot up from the seeds in the ground. Much love to you. xx

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  15. Well done, Penny. That's a ton of hard work -- just hauling dirt and manure is a pain. But you will reap wonderful benefits here in good time. I'm not a very good gardener -- I have neither the back nor the patience -- but I really admire those who spend a lot of time with it and have wonderful things to show for their efforts. And the bread recipe looks terrific. I'm going to remember this one. Sometimes my bananas don't get eaten in time!

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  16. What a beautiful garden, so well kept! I cannot grow even a basil plant in a pot. For several years I have been trying to grow coriander from coriander seeds but unsuccessfully. We cannot get fresh coriander here in Sicily so I would love to grow it, but I have no talent in gardening. That banana cake looks delicious, I have kept the recipe. I love banana bread.

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  17. The sky is so lovely that made me feel tender. I can almost smell the aroma of the bread right out from the oven. I wish I could be there with you. Take care.

    Yoko

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