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It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

It’s A New Year!!

Well, so much for my attempt to blog more LOL!

With the little people here and orders I’m keeping pretty busy.  I miss you all!  I’ve been trying to keep up with every one’s posts.  We had to change internet providers and switching (remembering) all those passwords has been a challenge.  I ’think”  I’ve got it now.


Christmas is done and over….It went way to fast. We took the tree down today and I “Think” we will only find one or two errant decorations. We didn’t put out as much this year…it seemed like we ran out of time to decorate. It was wonderful as it was.  We went to midnight Mass & had a beautiful service. To make it even better, it was the first time there wasn’t ice in years. no slip sliding into church.

Through the week we were able to spend time with all of our children except our son.  A collage student’s budget only stretches so far but, we were able to Skype with him and Brianne.

We rang in the new year with my family and had a wonderful relaxing evening.  Great company, a glass of wine and as always to much food.   First time in years we’ve been “out” for the evening.  We generally stay in to avoid traveling with the crazies but we went from one rural area to another so it was fine.   Actually the roads were nearly empty so that was nice.  Yesterday we took the tree down and puttered around the house doing nothing in particular…...it was a nice change.

I’m so ready for spring!

Our weather has yo-yo’d like crazy. We had earlier than ever snows, then right before Christmas it hit 70!  There’s not been a bit of real snow since.  We’ve had a dusting or 2 but that’s it. There are dandelion's in the field for goodness sake! All the trees are forming buds, the mums are starting to sprout!  If it stays nice the rest of the week I’ll get the flowerbeds and herb garden cleaned out. Our weather changed to rain and super nasty to fast & I didn’t get them cleaned out.  EEEP!  If I can get it done now it should be pretty good when real spring hits.

OK, can we talk about stink bugs?

stink bugs

We have been invaded!  I bet I kill about 20 a day..in the house…and that’s a low estimate….one just landed on my keyboard….they don’t hurt anything but creep me out. Nasty little critters. I found 3 in the curtains (I’d just washed and rehung) and sucked them up in the vacuum.... BIG mistake.  The entire front of the house stunk to high heaven.  From what I’ve read this has been an unusually bad year here for them.  Mr. Fix-It pulled his coveralls off the hook in the garage and had about 100 of those suckers (frozen) fall out the legs ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! 

Any tried and true tips for getting rid of them?


We rang in the new year with my family and had a wonderful relaxing evening.  Great company, a glass of wine and as always to much food.   First time in years we’ve been “out” for the evening.  We generally stay in to avoid traveling with the crazies but we went from one rural area to another so it was fine.   Actually the roads were nearly empty so that was nice.  Yesterday we took the tree down and puttered around the house doing nothing in particular…...it was a nice change.


Supper for tonight is in the crock pot.  I’m trying to clean out/use up items from the fridge freezer using the reach in and grab something method.  Tonight will be pulled pork in BBQ sauce and slaw. The pork was from a pig roast earlier in the fall that I’d bagged up in  meal sized leftovers.  It may not have the full original flavor but I think the BBQ sauce will help with that.

A list of errands in town awaits so I’ve got to run

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and relaxing New Year!

2014 is going to ROCK!


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Clearing Freezer Space

It’s deer season.  With any luck we will be needing freezer space.

Last night I pulled out a few bags of tomato’s I’d frozen. I had the thought of saving some of the canning for when all that heat would be appreciated. Since it was mid 30”s this morning …the heat was appreciated!

Let me tell you, working with frozen tomato’s is so much easier than fresh.  I’d much rather slip skins from a cold tomato than a hot one any day. 

I’ve read on a few canning sites about using the crockpot to cook the sauce down and decided to try it.  I tossed a few bags of frozen maters into the crockpot and set to low, let it do it’s thing overnight.  That worked but was a bit messy.  Next time I wont let them cook overnight maybe only an hour or so till they are thawed just enough to slip the skins


3 of the many bags waiting in my freezer

after they thawed & started weeping I poured all the liquid off and ran them through the food processer.  If I was working one batch I would have left it  in the crockpot to reduce & thicken but, I had more bags to go so on the stove this sauce went.

The bit that didn’t fit in the pan I used to thaw the next few bags of tomato's and left them to cook till the sauce pan was available


Worked pretty slick!  I’ll be doing this again for sure.

I ended up with 5 quarts and 7 pints cooling on the counter, not a huge batch but a good start.


All the tomato skins I saved and popped in the dehydrator


I ended up with all 9 trays loaded


Last time I tried dehydrating the skins for tomato powder I scorched them.  Forgot they were in the dehydrator and the scorch taste carried to all the skins.

This time I’m turning that sucker off before I go to bed!

Have you tried freezing part of your summer harvest and canning in winter?

Stay warm out there!



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life’s Wake up Call

Yesterday morning I woke in a massive panic.  I must have been dreaming of Thanksgiving, & running through my to-do list.

  I woke in a full on panic knowing I have of a frozen… rock solid turkey and it was TUESDAY!!!  There is no way it would have time to thaw for Thursday’s family supper.  I sat down after putting the coffee on and came up with a “Gotta Do list that would take 3 people to complete. Think of it… actually writing legibly B.C.  (before coffee). About the time I was half way through my first cup and ready to tackle the stairs to the basement freezer, my daughter text me.  Good thing she did because I saw the date flash on my phone & realized Thanksgiving is NEXT Thursday.  What a way to start the day!  Talk about blood pressure check. 

It was my wake-up call.

This past year has seemingly been one of constantly playing catch-up. I couldn’t find my routine blending the house, garden & kids. 

We’ve had a few changes and family events which I now know took more of an emotional toll on me than I realized. I was letting others choices control my attitude & taking their bad behavior personally.  I thought I was working through & handling what needed dealt with…yesterday morning was a wake-up call in a way…made me realize I’ve kinda shut down, withdrawn and become a bit numb. 

This morning has me thinking about letting go of people & burdens that are not mine… things/activities I’ve missed that I enjoy & changes I need to make to blend them back in.   Blogging I miss.  Although most of my content is nothing earth shattering, it’s mine.  I miss it (blogging).

Looking back through here this morning I realized I have little record of this summers garden…what worked, what flopped. 

How did I miss an entire garden year?

Well, it is what it is right?

Moving forward from here with a much lighter heart.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gardening on the Cheap-Free Grapevine!

Every year we try to add a new food producer/source to our land. Most of the time we can find what we want or need by trading or, best of all free.ie.”Gardening on the Cheap!

We had the offer of domestic Concord grape vine from family.  It was an established 15yr old vine they were planning to pull out & change in landscaping   The vine is/was a super heavy producer ….even totally ignored the past 10 years. I nearly cried at the thought of destroying it and asked if we could dig it up. The thought of just ripping it out was heartbreaking to us.  We planned to add grapes in the near future so it was a no brainer to at least try.  Being Texas transplants and used to 0 yard maintenance they were happy to let us have it.   We dug and dug…then dug some more attempting to get the entire root ball. Mercy this thing was big! We left a mini crater in the ground.   I’m not sure if it will survive our efforts but it was sure worth the try.  We trimmed about 15 ft. of vine from the fence & planted a bunch of the cuttings along the new trellis. I know we way over planted the cuttings but I figure only a few will survive. I’ve been keeping it watered & 1-2 of the cuttings have bits of green showing so I have hopes some may live & our cooler weather is really helping cut down on the plant stress.


Hard to tell but the main stalk is nearly as large as my wrist.

The kitchen garden has done well.  I’ve added bits here and there through the season.  Mostly herbs & nearly all were transplants or cuttings I was given. Carrots seem to love this soil.  The area originally had a sand base under the pool (which I have amended) so the soil is loose and loamy. Beets have done well as have lettuces.


The 1 cherry tomato plant I put in here just took off like gang busters and is still producing heavily.

Lettuce is coming up faster than we can eat it.


There are various mints, sage, lavender, chives, oregano, thyme, bee balm planted willy nilly in and around veggies as I was given the starts. I’ll say one thing, this area has been virtually bug free, although next year may be a different story I’m enjoying it now.  I need to get out there and do a bit of rearranging/spacing  & separating. I think I want to ring the entire area with lavender. The blooms I want to harvest & dry to use to protect  the wool stash from potential moth problems.

Well, The dust bunnies in my house are scheduling a party tonight their friends all come and don’t leave so I need to go break it up now

Have a wonderful day


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Over  the garden survived my neglect.  However there were a few additions that I’m pretty happy about.

Raspberries, 20 ft trellis and 5 plants. Looks like one did not survive the heat/transplanting but I’ll know for sure in the spring.  I do have unlimited access to more plants.

Blackberries, a second trellis and 5 additional plants.

Asparagus, added to the 1st raised bed. I transplanted mature plants…it was the wrong time of year but they were going to be covered over by a driveway. It was worth the try. It looks like they lived as there was continued growth.  Again we’ll know come spring.

  I’ve located 3 more plants in the area growing wild and want to get those this fall.

Rhubarb,  6  2nd year plants to the 3rd raised bed.  They are doing wonderful, healthy and thriving…tripled in size and continue producing new shoots through mid September..  After 4 years of killing them I’ve not taken one cutting & following nursery advise, mulched the plants with their own leaves as they withered.  Next year should be a bountiful harvest. 

Concord Grapes, Transplanted a 10-15 yr old vine that was scheduled to be ripped out.  Again wrong time of year but, the only investment was the trellis (which we would have put in next year)

Summer is fading fast

This morning I actually put a denim shirt over my singlet when I was on the patio with my morning coffee.  There was a definite chill in the air. Trees in back are dropping leaves..most are just plain brown from the late summer heat.

Over the weekend we harvested the last of the potato’s.  All in all I estimate roughly 30-40 lbs. if I add in those I snitched for meals the past few weeks.  We started out with just 2 Lbs. of seed taters.  My watering,( or lack there of) was inconsistent enough about 1/3 have healed splits in them.  I’m hoping they will still store well. If I had stayed on top of watering I probably would have had a much higher yield.  For the first year in the ground I’m happy with what we have & learned a lot. For example, I learned you don’t need a 6 inch trench..(which I did in the first small section.).  I think you can just about toss the spuds on the ground!  In the main tater bed I planted half of the spuds trenched a few inches & the other half I scratched a planting line. I kept them well covered with loads of compost & there really was no difference between the 2 sections. They actually produced much more than the smaller deeply planted bed. 


Most of the tomato’s in the main garden are done & the plants pulled.  This is the last large harvest I’m sure. They are all bagged in the freezer with the rest of the harvest waiting for canning in cooler weather.

Most of my potato’s produced these tater berries.  After doing a bit of research I learned you can plant them & they will produce seed taters which can then be planted the following year.  I may save a few to try but, I’m not dedicating much space for a 3 year process…..although I probably should


I’ve been so wrapped up in everything else I totally forgot about the strawberry bed once they were done.

It’s loaded with weeds & I’m afraid a lot of plants got choked out or are dead.  It’s on the list for the next few days chores.  Spring will tell if any survived


Remember the weird random squash that came up and took over the garden?

After the vine died back this is what I have.  Can anyone recognize the squash/pumpkin? It has a squash/pumpkin smell and texture…..


But hit with a lawn mower its yellow inside


I bet there are over 30 out there in the garden waiting to be harvested!  Now I need to figure how to store and preserve them

The herb garden is doing pretty well so far….I’ll get photo’s tomorrow

Have a great evening