1
The Story of Mr. Caterpillar and the Jalapeno Plant
2
What are we picking? It’s a green harvest!
3
Crazy Tomato and Watermelon Harvest – 83 pounds worth!
4
What I LOVE: My Awesome Dad and his Garden Peppers
5
How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month
6
Tomato Season.. Picking By the Bucket!
7
Step Into Crista’s Garden
8
Changing of the Guard, From Peas to Beans
9
PSA: Cocoa Husks + Rhododendron = NO! DONT DO IT!
10
Radish and Lettuce Picking In the Garden
11
What’s Growing in the Garden!
12
Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!
13
Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing
14
Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!
15
Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!
16
First Planting In The Garden This Year….
17
Tour of Disney World’s Behind The Seeds Greenhouse!
18
How to Freeze Sugar Snap Peas (Without blanching!)
19
The Little Jalapeno Plant That Could… Grow All Winter Long!
20
Rininging in the New Year With a Fresh Broccoli Harvest Under The Greenhouse

The Story of Mr. Caterpillar and the Jalapeno Plant

This is a sad story about Mr. Caterpillar.

A few weeks ago we went up to the roof and noticed one of our jalapeno plants was bare.  A few days before it was filled with peppers and leaves, and then suddenly it was close to being empty.
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What are we picking? It’s a green harvest!

With a ton of red picking with our tomatoes, it’s time to show some love to the green veggies.

We’re picking tomatoes like wild people but we’re also picking a ton of other vegetables.  Right now there’s tomatillos, peppers (jalapeno and bell), soy beans, green beans, yellow beans, watermelon, cantaloupes, cucumbers, radishes and carrots growing.  As soon as the soybeans are picked, broccoli will make it’s way to their bins.  Once the carrots and radishes are harvested, a quick seed refresh will be planted to hope we can get them regrown by first frost. In our previous onion 4×4 containers a new batch of sugar snap peas were just planted in hopes they will make it before frost as well, although every year they seem to miss it by a week or two.

What’s growing and what are we picking in the garden that’s green? Let’s dive in.

Beans! Yellow beans, green beans, they’re everywhere!  In the beginning years of the garden we didn’t have much luck with pole and bush beans but starting last year we tried it again and it worked. This year we decided to expand to pole beans and they are growing awesome.  We added new fresh compost fertilizer to the soil and these beans took off.  Matthew is 6 feet so check out how big they’ve gotten.  The right side won with getting to the top first. :D)
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We have multiple gallon sized bags full of green beans in the fridge with us picking more every day.  We’ve been enjoying them for dinner sauteed and in vegetable soup (recipe coming soon) and I’ve been freezing a few bags to save until Winter.
Its a Green Harvest

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Crazy Tomato and Watermelon Harvest – 83 pounds worth!

This week was a big harvest weekend where we spent a whole evening picking vegetables and the entire day of Sunday making stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  I am pretty sure that I will never need to buy tomato sauce again.  This Summer we bought a mini storage freezer just for our garden and it’s about 75% full and we have a good 2 months left of gardening this year (not counting Fall veggies).  I’m going to have open a produce stand, anyone want to stop by?  I give veggies out for free! :D)

(I apologize for the quality of these pictures, it was already dark out by the time we got the tomatoes inside)

First up tomatoes.  We picked 43 pounds of tomatoes this weekend!  Wild, right?  
This is a really heavy crate, too heavy for my weak arms.  I picked it up, Matthew snapped the picture, I threw the crate down and then fell to the floor in weak power.
Hahahahaha...help!

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What I LOVE: My Awesome Dad and his Garden Peppers

In this new series, I’m sharing current things that I love.  Maybe it’s cats, maybe it’s a new restaurant, maybe it’s a new cookie, maybe it’s… anything!

The title of this should also read: Dad’s Green Peppers, AKA My Dad Is Cool

We grow peppers and they do pretty good.  We grow bell peppers and jalapeno peppers and we pick multiple pounds a week.  But then my dad shows up and shows me how he grows them in Pennsylvania.  Goodness gracious, Pennsylvania grows them good.  

Every year my dad starts a garden in the back yard.  As a kid we had a very small yard but he would still grow tomatoes.  The tomatoes would grow so tall they would block the kitchen window.  It also made it easy because we could use the sink hose to water these tomatoes out the window.   My dad moved into a new house a few years ago and he has a much larger garden area now.  Every Spring he buys his plants from farmers and he always buys alot more than one person usually buys.  And every year halfway during the Summer he tells me he’s never buying them again because he has too many.  And then the next year comes around and he does the same thing.  And this Summer he continued this tradition and bought even more.  My dad has over 20 pepper plants, for one man.  I laugh because it’s funny, cute and amazing all at the same time. 

A few weeks ago when he started planting the peppers he made a joke that he would ship me them as they started to grow. I laughed.

So you can imagine that I burst into laughter when a big box appeared at my door and when opening it up, I saw this:

 Dad Rules Green Peppers_1

 That’s right, my dad shipped me peppers.

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How to Store Lettuce to Last for a Month

How to Store Lettuce to Last a ENTIRE MONTH!  This easy tip shows you how to wrap your lettuce in aluminum foil to keep it fresh in the refrigerator.  The lettuce stays so crisp after a month I can even use it for salads! 

Lettuce only lasting a few days? Never again! With this easy method using aluminum foil you can store lettuce to last for a month!

In June we pick lettuce.  We pick lots of lettuce.  I’m talking so much lettuce you begin to get lettuce anxiety.  Have you ever had it?  It’s when you dream of lettuce chasing you with baskets to capture you.   It’s rough.
How to Store Lettuce to Last a ENTIRE MONTH!  This easy tip shows you how to wrap your lettuce in aluminum foil to keep it fresh in the refrigerator.  The lettuce stays so crisp after a month I can even use it for salads!

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Tomato Season.. Picking By the Bucket!

You guys, it’s raining tomatoes on me!  Send help… bring canning jars and freezer bags, I’ve got tomato sauces lined up and ready for you!

This Summer we planted triple the amount of tomato plants which is resulting in a whole lot of tomatoes.  How many?  We bought a small freezer for our garden goodies that we freeze, mostly tomato sauce.  Already a few racks  in the freezer are full of sauce!  My goal is to go a entire year without having to buy any tomato sauce, so I’ve been stocking up!  Last year I lasted until April and then I had to cave and buy a jar in the store, but I’m hoping to last until next year’s tomato season.  

Tomato Season
(yes, that’s what I do when I’m bored, I surround FiFi Bofinkles with tomatoes and march them up her belly, she loves it, I swear)

 We mainly grow 3 types of tomatoes, cherry, roma and beef.  Here’s my original post on when we planted the seeds and moved them outside.  Besides sauces, I’m slicing and dicing salsa like a crazy woman, throwing cherry tomatoes in my mouth and dabbing a touch of salt on a sliced beef tomato and eating it raw.     By the way, my favorite tomato sauce recipe is this one that I use almost every time.  You can substitute cherry tomatoes for your kind, I use it the same way for beef and roma tomatoes.

Here’s some of our plants, all in 27 or 5 gallon containers.  On a rooftop.  Gosh, I love saying that.  Tomato high 5.  Did I mention (I know I didn’t) that we already picked over 120 pounds of vegetables so far this year? On a rooftop.  Garden love high 5 and back flips (careful). 

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Step Into Crista’s Garden

Hey guys,
I’m missing the Blogher conference in NYC because I’m in Los Angeles right now working on a top secret fun job, but while I’m gone, I wanted to share with you Crista’s garden.  This is a ongoing “peeking” feature that I’ve been wanting to grow that showcases people’s growing spaces, from big gardens to plants that live on NYC fire escapes. I hope you enjoy!  And if are interested in getting your garden featured, leave a comment and I’ll contact you!  And to everyone at the Blogher conference, I hope you are taking lots of pictures and having fun!   Brooklyn Farm Girl will be featured doing the Voices of the Year ceremony, so if you can, grab some pics for me!

So now without any more yapping, meet Crista from peace.love.quinoa
peacelovequinoa1

Can you tell me about peace. love. quinoa and how it relates to growing your own?  How did you come up with your blog’s name?
When I first conceptualized my blog, I struggled with a name for it – I honestly thought a name would come to me easier than it did. After listing out the things that are important to me, the things that define me as a person and would eventually define my blog’s brand, I found three words: peace, love, and quinoa. The three words sounded good together and quickly became my blogs name.

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Changing of the Guard, From Peas to Beans

 The transition from June to July is always a large change in the plants.  Collard greens gets replaced by pumpkins,  broccoli and cauliflower gets replaced by soybeans and cucumbers.  Lettuce gets replaced by cantaloupe.  Watermelons get added into the raspberry bins.  And our beloved sugar snap peas get replaced with beans.. lots and lots of beans… to replace lots and lots of sugar snap peas.

This year the sugar snap pea plants did great, but they’re always done well with producing a bunch of peas.  They’re one of the most consistent plants with good yields in both Spring and Fall.
Baked Sugar Snap Peas_8

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PSA: Cocoa Husks + Rhododendron = NO! DONT DO IT!

I’m hoping you came to this page because you were thinking about adding cocoa husks as mulch for your Rhododendron plants.  Because you love your Rhododendrons so much you looked this up on almighty Google before doing the mulching deed.  So now I answer your question..

Can I add cocoa husks as mulch to my Rhododendron plant?
NO! DON’T DO IT!  
ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Our 3 year old beloved Rhododendron plant had some weeds starting in the container, so we decided to add some mulch around it.  It sure gets hot on that roof, so we thought it would help lock in that moisture too.   That day in the garden though we didn’t have our phones on us to first look if this was a good idea.. so we did it.  Cocoa husks acts like great mulch for lots of plants and it’s fantastic as compost material, so this would be ok, right?

Two weeks later, we home from a short few day trip and this is what we see. Our baby, almost dead.
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Radish and Lettuce Picking In the Garden

As we gear up for Phase 2 of the garden (that’s Summer time), our Spring plants are in full bloom and ready to be picked. If you open up our fridge right now you’ll see bags and bags of wrapped greens, peas and more.

Soon we’ll be transitioning our containers to the Summer soybeans, watermelons and cantaloupes which means many of our leafy greens need to be picked. Radishes are usually planted 3-4 times a year and the first harvest is already ready. As soon as the radishes are picked, then the new seeds are planted immediately after (literally minutes later!). The radishes reside next to the carrots which we’re all anxiously waiting for.

First up, the lettuce.
The seeds were planted on March 31 and transplanted outside to their containers on May 7.  Remember when they were just babies?
Garden May 15 2015_38

Well look at them a month later…! They are bigger than my head!
Our lettuce heads ready to be picked!  #lettuce #greens #vegetablegarden #vegetables #containergarden #rooftopgarden

 

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What’s Growing in the Garden!

Hey friends,
Happy Monday – did you have a good weekend?  How’s your garden looking?  Have you started planting your veggies?

Here’s a garden update with MANY photos!  I wanted to show you how we have expanded the garden and also what’s growing in it.    So let’s take a look around the garden!

Welcome….!
Garden May 15 2015

Hey Matthew!
Garden May 15 2015_46

Broccoli – we spotted our first head!
Garden May 15 2015_1

 

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Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!


So you’ve just made a beautiful lasagna.  Your kitchen smells like the best Italian kitchen in the world and you can’t wait to cut a big cheesy slice.  What would be perfect?  Throwing some fresh oregano or basil on top.    Wouldn’t you love to just walk on over to your window, reach into a pot, grab a few pieces and then *hocus pocus* you have fresh herbs on top of your lasagna and you’re ready to dig in?  Well you can!
Planting Herbs Inside to Add some Apartment Green_9
We grow lots of vegetables and herbs in our rooftop garden, but I also love growing herbs inside.   Growing herbs inside is a great idea for many reasons. First, it’s easily accessible.  Need fresh oregano? No need to throw your shoes on (and maybe pants – let’s be honest) to run to the garden. Second, you can grow herbs all year inside.  It’s easy to grow basil, oregano, mint and more inside next to your window no matter the season. Lastly, it sure looks pretty.   Want to spruce your home up with some greens and life?  Grow herbs and visit Burpee Home Gardens!
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Lots of friends often ask me about growing their own herbs and they tend to be a bit scared.  They have many questions and many fears behind all of them.  I always give them a hug and tell them it will be ok!  Sure, you can grow herbs from seeds (which is very economical) but you can also get herb plants that have already started to grow.  This is perfect for both beginning gardeners and experienced ones who want something quickly to plant.    You can find these herb plants at your local home store which is what I did when I bought oregano and cilantro. 
 

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Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  Hope you like what’s growing in the garden! #CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias

Coke-Happy-Hour_4-combo

Hey guys,

Sorry I’ve been a bit missing here at Brooklyn Farm Girl.  If you follow me on Instagram (I hope you are!) then you know I’m still around, but it’s been a busy few months. Right now we’re putting finishing touches on a Mother’s Day video that I will post on Friday – get ready for bling bling envy!   Besides working and trying to find time for the cats (I miss them so much when we work to midnight!) we also need to spend time in the garden! Right now the Spring garden is planted and we are putting aside a day this weekend to bring in the Summer plants (tomatoes! tomatillos! peppers! more!).    With such a busy schedule right now I really value our time in the garden as it’s the best time to relax (sometimes I even leave my phone downstairs so no phone calls or emails, gasp!).     Happy Hour in the garden is the best time, it’s around 6-7PM where the sun set is setting and you can see it glaring off the skyscrapers in Manhattan.  We cheers with some Diet Coke, hold hands, and marvel at our baby broccoli plants.  I think we all need a garden moment.
I think our plants grow so well because of the view they see everyday.  #strawberry #skyline #worldtradetower #sunset #sky #vegetablegarden #rooftop #NYC #Brooklyn #vegetables #healthyeating #garden #gardening #urbanfarming #urbangarden #containergarden #

 

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Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!

Every time it rains I remind myself I need to get a raincoat.  Then the raining stops and I forget.  Then it rains again and I remind myself I need to get a raincoat. Then the raining stops…  Does this happen to anyone else?   April showers bring May flowers they say and this week is a rainy one.   

On Saturday it was near 80 degrees (too soon!).  We no longer have to worry about frost during the night.  Now it’s the usual garden business to worry about.   One thing that is looking good is all the Spring seedlings.  Besides the carrots and radishes, the Spring garden is officially planted.  We were able to get the onions, kale and pak choi planted a day after we planted the broccoli and friends.  It feels nice to be back up on the roof everyday checking on the plants and watering the containers.  

So the Spring garden is: broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, onions, kale, pak choi, sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes.    Don’t forget you can follow along with planting dates in my seed calendar too.  

Now to the planting, first up, the onions.  Like the sugar snap peas, we went a bit crazy with onions this year.  We planted 68 onions this year, which is about 48 more than we were planning.  What happens is you plant what you were going to, and then you look at the sad leftover onion seedlings and know they will just go to waste if you don’t plant them.  So you save those onions and make room in other containers.  The funny part of all this is that onions are one thing in the garden I don’t eat. I’ve never been a onion fan so I’m going to leave it to Matthew to eat all those onions, good luck! 
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015

Onion seeds are itty bitty tiny little things, so when you see how big this little seeds roots are already before you plant, you need to smile.
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015_5

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Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!

It’s that time of the year again… a sugar snap pea planting post!
Every year I post about them with pretty much the same pictures and details, and every single year I post about them with crazy enthusiasm.  I mean there’s no garden without sugar snap peas growing!  

Last year we grew a bunch of sugar snap pea plants but this year (as always) we kicked it up a bit.  There will be 93 sugar snap pea plants!  There’s 22 in one 4×4 box in the back, 22 in another 4×4 box in the back and then 49 plants that will take up a entire 4×4 box.   We’re one sugar snap pea loving family as you can tell. 

About a week ago we started pre-sprouting the peas inside.  Pre-sprouting will make sure your peas will grow once they’re in the soil as you’ll visually see they have already started.   This makes growing more stress free as if it’s already pre-sprouted you can be pretty sure it will pop through the soil in a few days and that it’s not rotting underneath.  Here’s a how to pre-sprout your peas tutorial I made a couple years ago.

After they sit in their plastic baggy for a few days, you’ll take them out and see they’ve all sprouted.  That means they’re ready for the ground!

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015_1

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First Planting In The Garden This Year….

With the weather slowly transitioning to Spring we decided to make use of the 55 degree temperatures (but windy!) this weekend and get the garden rolling out.  In January we planted our Spring seeds and they have anxiously been waiting to move outside.  The broccoli grew so tall inside that we couldn’t raise our grow lights anymore.  Besides the sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes that will be planted directly into the soil, here’s the lineup of the Spring garden.
First-Planting-of-the-Year-2015-Seedlings

This year we planted many more broccoli plants then cauliflower.   We use broccoli in so many more dishes and it freezes great so it seemed like the best choice to take advantage of the container space.  We also have a ton of onions for Matthew to enjoy.   We are going to be trying to grow collard greens for the first time this year and I’m hoping for success so I can make this recipe every single day.

The seedlings were moved outside a few days ago to slowly transition.  We do this so they can harden off and not get shocked by the new weather they’re experiencing.  For the first week we’ll throw fabric on top of the seedlings to protect then from the sun. Everyday they’ll be exposed to the sun a bit longer so by the time the week is over they will be able to hand it completely.
First Planting of the Year 2015 Broccoli

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Tour of Disney World’s Behind The Seeds Greenhouse!

Do you remember when we went to Disney World for my birthday in October?  Yes, it was great!
Disney World October 2014_5

We went to Disney a few years ago and we did the automated tour through their greenhouse.  It was fun, but I wanted to get personal with the plants.  Not only did I want to see all the vegetables up close but I also wanted to  learn about their hydroponics system.    When I got home that year I found out they have a behind the scenes tour of their greenhouse so I was sure that on our next visit we scheduled this tour in.  

Was it amazing? Yes.
Should you check it out when you’re in Disney?  Yes!
If you love to garden or cook you will love Disney World’s Behind The Seeds Greenhouse tour.

The tour takes place at Epcot and runs pretty much once an hour from 10AM-5PM.  The price is $20 for adults.  You can make reservations ahead of time, but we just stopped by and signed in and then came back at our time.   Our group was only 8 people so although this tour is amazing it doesn’t seem to get that busy.  

You’ll meet your guide at the time you made your reservation for and will be whisked backstage from a back door. Then you’ll walk through a few more doors and end up directly in the greenhouse.  Your guide will be one of the employees  of the greenhouse who is knowledgeable about hydroponics and can ask answer (almost) all of your questions.   Our guide was Ashley who was great.  
Behind the Seeds Tour at Disney World_2

 And then you’re off on an amazing adventure through their hydroponic garden.  The entire greenhouse is inspiring and when you see how quickly the vegetables grow (and to what size) your jaw will be hanging on the floor. 

Behind the Seeds Tour at Disney World_41

Behind the Seeds Tour at Disney World_36

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How to Freeze Sugar Snap Peas (Without blanching!)

Well it’s February, Winter and extra chilly.  We’re talking 2 winter coats, tights under jeans kinda chilly.  Over the Winter we’ll still be growing broccoli, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts under the greenhouse but I need some enthusiasm for the greens in the Spring.  It seems like just yesterday we were planting and picking the sugar snap peas, so that got me dreaming of Spring…

Sugar Snap Pea Planting 2014

We always grow sugar snap peas twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.  The issue is always getting them planted early enough so they could grow their full height before the enemy hits: frost.  It’s about cheering on all the veggies to get growing before we have to protect them (and they go on their tropical but yet still chilly vacation under the greenhouse).

In this post I wanted to get you ready for sugar snap pea season because we need a little cheer in these dreary days.  Maybe once the garden season starts and you are picking your sugar snap peas work will become really busy so you’ll have a hard time keeping up.  Or maybe you’re at the grocery store and you see a great deal on Sugar Snap Peas and would like to stock up.    I don’t really want to set time aside to blanch these peas and dry them, so I got to thinking about how well the bok choy freezes without blanching, could this be done for the peas?  The answer is a big yes!

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The Little Jalapeno Plant That Could… Grow All Winter Long!

The Spring garden season has begun already, can you believe that? Seeds have been planted inside that will be transplanted in March. There’s broccoli, cauliflower, kale, onions, bok choy and collard greens planted so far. I’ll be doing a full post on planning soon, so keep a eye out on it!

But for this post, I wanted to celebrate a jalapeno plant. This special jalapeno plant grew all Summer long and somehow as of January 22, in the middle of Winter, it’s still producing jalapeno peppers every single week. How did we do it? Well we didn’t, the plant did it. How did we help it? Well that I an discuss….

The Amazing Jalapeno Plant

First, a little list of dates as you know I love the facts.
Jalapeno seed planted: March 22
Transplanted seedling to the roof: May 1
Moved From Roof to Inside: November 10, 2014
January 21, 2015: Still producing peppers inside…

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Rininging in the New Year With a Fresh Broccoli Harvest Under The Greenhouse

It’s the last day of 2014.  Doesn’t it feel like I was just saying that about 2013?  

Now a new year begins with new years resolutions, positive spirits and the never ending mistake of continuing to write the year 2014 until at least May.  I have some specific resolutions in 2014 (not really resolutions but goals – run a 5K, build permanent greenhouses, learn to budget), but more so they are vague but yet personal on other levels, “be positive”, “do you”. I feel like 2015 can be a important chapter in life, both professionally and personally so I’m here to welcome it in!  

Do you have any resolutions?  This year is the year to learn how to make social networking work.   I’m best on Instagram, ok on Facebook, not that great on Twitter and only on Pinterest in the PM.  I try to do them all, but how does anyone have time in the day to successfully post interesting and witty thoughts on them?  In January I’m going to really investigate how to value social networking more, attend a festival of like minded women and look to how to extend Brooklyn Farm Girl.  There are already a few things cooking in my brain pipes, so I’m excited to start the year off with a bang.

I recently got a new phone, Motorola Moto X which I’ve been trying to customize to fit my lifestyle.  How much time do I spend on the street looking at maps or texting on a corner or walking West on a street while meaning to walk East (hey, it happens – alot).  2 years ago I made a switch with my phone and again this December I made another big switch to the Android World.  Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been playing with all the customized features and finding the right apps to help me during the day.

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