Friday, June 27, 2014

Sidelined . . .

I've got an ear infection that is wreaking havoc with my equilibrium and making me dizzy enough that I can't do normal things . . . which is driving me to a new degree of bonkers.  It's a real pain in the ear patoot.

(Some people will do anything to get out of their post-a-day the whole month of June.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mid-Week Mumblings

Boy, did I ever goof.  I blew my opportunity to have a lovely picture to include with this post.

Neither hubby nor I was super-hungry tonight so I just made us each a big salad with chopped hard-boiled egg and some chunks of ham in it.

But the exciting part was that the salad was (are you ready for this?) made up completely of greens from the garden!  Yep, I finally had big enough plants to snip some leaves.  Several varieties of both green and red lettuce, spinach, kale, mizuna mustard, arugula and scallions.  The chunks of carrots were from last year's garden but I think they should still count as homegrown, although not technically fresh.  I tell ya, greens freshly harvested from your own garden taste soooo much better than anything you can purchase.

Oh, heck.  I had to go take a picture of the container of greens left in the refridge.  (How pathetic is that?)  Not as pretty as the salads were but photographic proof of the first great green-ness from the garden anyway.

These are our little chicks (not so little anymore) from this spring.  At the end of every day before trooping into their house for the night, they gather on the rim of this 4' x 8' box that is in the poultry yard.  It seems to be a ritual for them.  I can't help but wonder why they do it.  Is it to check in with each other, have a little chat and recap of their day?  Is it to share info on where the best bugs and worms are found?  It it to count beaks and see if everyone is present and accounted for?  What goes on in those little bird brains?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crikey, It Feels Like November

A good friend had to clear a plot of land for a house site and asked us if we wanted the trees he harvested.

What a good friend.  What a LOT of free wood.  To say we're appreciative is an understatement.

It rained hard again this morning, but stopped shortly before noon.  The sky was still gray and gloomy, but we took advantage of no rain falling and worked on wood.

Here I am in a knitted cap with my hoodie pulled up over it.  The temp was in the low 50s, but there was a stiff (damp) wind blowing that made it feel absolutely cold.  Felt more like November than June out there.  (Papa Pea loved it for his chainsawing work.)

Anybody have a pattern for knitted wool coats for vegetable plants in the garden?

Addendum:  We just had another load dropped off in the wood working area . . . the pile in the picture below just above the logs we've started to cut.

Delivered right to our yard at no charge.  Are we blessed or what?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sun, Cucumbers and Mug Rugs

Hooray, hooray, we had sun all day!  What a treat.  I had weeded the complete garden a few days ago before the heavy rains began (I was so proud of myself) but . . . you guessed it.  On a walk through the garden this afternoon, a whole bunch of the little green devils were poking up out of the soil.  Apparently the weeds are appreciating the sunlight, too.

Look, look!  I have cucumber plants that are almost 4" high!  I say this (tongue in cheek) only because SOME people I know (yes, Stephanie, I'm talking about you) are already EATING CUCUMBERS!

A friend was recently making some mug rugs to give as gifts.  I was thinking about hers when I took a good look at mine in my quilt room.  I have three; one by each sewing machine and one on the cutting table.  (I drink a lot.)  They were a'lookin' pretty shabby (wonder how many years old they actually are?)  so I decided I needed to make some replacements . . . shown above.

I had to make this one using the fabric from my recently completed summer top.  I still have enough of it that I see pot holders appearing shortly.

I'm very attached to this cheapo glass we have.  It says, "Beer Is My Life."  Yup, that's me alright.  Although a cold beer sure can be tasty in hot weather, if I drink a whole beer I'm down for the count.  (I'm really what we used to call a cheap date.)

That's all for today, folks.  (Is June over yet?)  Hope your week is starting out as a good one.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Of Rain and Emptying the Root Cellar

Well, I missed posting yesterday for lack of a single thing to say.  Get out the wet noodle . . . I'm ready to take my punishment.

I have nothing (much) to post about today either, but I have to get a new post up so that picture of me in my custom-made blooper blouse will disappear.  (Why is it that almost no one likes pictures of themselves?)

Weather-wise we are stuck in this wet, drippy, foggy, chilly period.  With more of it forecast for the coming week.  No visible puddles (when the moisture is not actively falling from the sky) in the garden, but oh my, do the plants look sad and in need of an infusion of sunshine.  I shan't complain (much) though because from the middle on down to the southern part of our fine state, Minnesota is experiencing serious flooding.  Not a good situation for anyone, but I'm sure the struggling farmers will be affect adversely.

Hubby and I just finished sorting through the remaining potatoes from last year's crop.  I knew from when I looked through them for small ones to plant that they had started to grow very healthy sprouts, but I hoped there were some that were still fit for eating.  Nope.  Negative on that score.  I waited too long to go through them and should have either entered us in a mashed potato marathon or dehydrated them or canned them.  They all went into the compost.  My bad.

We also had about a half bucket of carrots left that were getting pretty hairy but are still very firm and sweet tasting.  So a little brushing took care of the "hair" and they're now stored in the spare fridge and will get eaten up PDQ.

These are the first lupines of the season I picked for a shelf in the bathroom.  In previous years, they've blanketed the hillside in back of our wood working area but this year only about half as many are showing.  Either the winter was too harsh for them or they've had way too much water gushing over their feet.  I hope they will re-seed themselves so next year there's a more spectacular display. 

Hope you all had a good weekend!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Sewn Top Resurrected!

It was an inside day for us chickens today.  (Well, no, our crazy chickens were actually outside all day . . . in the rain.)  But we were inside.  We got one and 2/10ths inches of rain, and the day felt pretty cool since it was only in the 50s.

I was determined to see if I could find a way of altering the top I've been making so it was at least usable.  You know, so I could wear it without fear of it falling off and landing in a puddle of fabric on my gardening shoes if I made a wrong move.

I appreciated all of your suggestions of ways to make it smaller across the shoulders and (cough, cough) chest area, but I thought the easiest solution might be to loosen part of the neck facing (really more of a rolled binding) and gather up the front on either side of the ties as much as possible.  So that's what I did and . . . 

. . . ta-dah, it worked!  It's not perfect, that's for sure, but plenty good enough for a cool top to wear in the garden.  (Whew, snookered through that one, I did.)  And I am glad it's done!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Good Fer Nuthin'

That's what I felt like all day today, but I put on my big girl panties and managed to get a few things done anyway.

Why was my wagon draggin'?  Because of lack of sleep last night when we shared our bedroom with some hungry mosquitoes.

Having a bit of an allergy to the bites of insects, I tend to swell up like a pumpkin and have intensive, long-lasting itching from every bite I get.

And I sure do get bites.  If there is a blood sucking insect within ten miles, it will keep searching until it locates me and then dive in for the kill.

No matter how careful we try to be when going in and out the doors during a day's time, we seem to be ending up with some mosquitoes inside this year.

Such was the situation last night.  And it made for a very uncomfortable, sleepless night for me.

This morning when Papa Pea came in from morning chores, he announced that the mosquitoes (outside) were ferocious and given the fact that I already looked like something the cat dragged in pretty beat up, I should stay in today leaving the wood working to him.  I was hardly fit company for myself let alone anyone else so I did stay inside while I baked a rhubarb pie and made two bowls of pasta salad . . . one for me with mayo as a dressing and one for hubby who prefers an Italian-type dressing on his.

Then a couple of hours later when my dear husband stopped in for some liquid libation, he said the bugs had disappeared and it was very pleasant back at the wood working area.  Of course, I didn't want to miss out on any of the fun so I did go out to work with him until noon time.

After lunch I worked in the garden.  Got the last of the weeding done and replanted some bare spots in the row of green beans.

Then thinking about needing (really needing) a good night's sleep tonight, we dug out the mosquito netting I made years ago that fits over our bed and keeps those rasty mosquitoes away from us.  We haven't had to put up the netting for several years, but this year it was time to pull it out again because the mosquitoes are B.A.D.

Now I can hardly wait to get into bed tonight and thumb my nose at those horribly irritating buzzing little buggers trying to get at me as I drift off into a good night's sleep.  Tomorrow I plan on being back up to snuff and able to whip my weight in wildcats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This Is All I've Got!

It doesn't amount to much more than a run-down of my day, but . . . it's all I've got.

This morning we put in several hours of wood working.  (Nothing new about that.)  The great news is that we're just a couple of wheelbarrows short of having the first wood shed filled.  It's taken us two weeks of working on this project sporadically, whenever we can.  We hope to have the other wood shed filled by July 1st.  To accomplish that, we may have to work a little (or a lot) harder (or faster).  Or hire help.  A crew of 12 would be nice.  (Note to fantasy crew:  Please bring your own chainsaw and a brown bag lunch every day.  Thank you.)  

This afternoon Papa Pea mowed our small hay field.  His goal is always to mow it June 1st, July 1st, and August 1st.  Yep, he's a little behind this season, but he's been a busy boy.

I'm not sure where I squeezed it in, but I do remember finally finishing my Monday's ironing sometime today.  If I don't get the washing and ironing both done on Monday, the ironing tends to go by the wayside.

While hubby was mowing, I weeded the garden.  Got everything shipshaped up with only the raspberry and strawberry patches to do yet.  I moved some transplants and put in seeds in a few spots so went out after dinner to water.

I'm so pleased to have gotten such great germination on the corn planted in my little mounded-up rows.

I made a taco salad for dinner and had thoughts of making a rhubarb pie tonight.  But I just don't have the oompf to go out to harvest the rhubarb and then make the pie.  Maybe tomorrow.

Seems like a good night to get the dishes done, get all ready for bed and perhaps watch a DVD.  Or part of one . . . which is probably all I'll manage before conking out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Well, Poop!

I haven't done any sewing of clothing in a very long time.  (Other than Susan's infamous apron challenge a couple years ago.  We all remember how much fun that was.  No, it really was.  Right, Carolyn?)  This winter I had every intention of making some light, cool, loose-fitting tops to wear in the garden this summer.  Don't ask me where all my time went over the winter months, but I didn't get around to even starting this project other than purchasing a couple of patterns that appealed to me.

Then this spring I found and bought this fabric I really liked.

Last Sunday when we had so much rain, I finally got around to cutting out one of the tops I wanted to make using the fabric shown above.

I chose the sleeveless version of the top.

After dinner last night I got the facing put on around the scoop neck and tried it on.  Ummm, something was not right.  I liked the fit of the body of the top which was loose and comfy, I could see the length was going to be good with a narrow hem, and the armholes (as of yet lacking the facings) would fit quite nicely.

But the neckline . . . uhhhh.  The neckline is WIDE.  And DEEP.  The shoulder pieces sit way out on the edges of my shoulders leaving my bra straps hangin' out in full view.  The scoop of the scoop neck is so low my knees show the top of my bra shows.

Now I'm left wondering how I can salvage the project.  There is some gentle gathering on either side of the front seam with a cute bow tie in the center.  I think if I take the neck facing off and make the gathering much heavier, it might pull the neckline in enough.  Maybe.  I'm not looking forward to taking the neck facing off, but I don't know what else to try.

Anybody got any other suggestions?  As I say, poop.  Poop, poop, poop!  Not a very good start to getting back into sewing some clothes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Uff Da!

We put in a long day working on our wood supply today.  When coming inside and attempting to sit down on the commode elicits an involuntary groan, you know you've over-used your muscles a wee bit.

I think we felt we had a little catching up to do because we failed to get anything done to further our wood working endeavors over the past weekend.  It rained both days; Saturday we got 1/2" and Sunday gave us 1".

Our temperatures at night have still been dropping down into the 40s so I was beginning to worry about the beans and corn I planted a little over a week ago.  But when I took a quick run through the garden before dinner tonight, I was thrilled to see beans up about an inch and even some teenie-tiny corn sprouts poking through the soil.

The green leaves of the potatoes seem pretty sparse to me, but I remember saying the same thing last year, and we ended up with a fantastic crop.  This is my unfavoritest time of the garden . . . while waiting for everything germinate and sprout.

About 5 o'clock tonight our clear, blue skies of today disappeared and clouds moved in.  Now at 6:30 it's quite gray (AND buggy) outside so my plans for attacking the upsurge of millions of weeds in the garden is going to have to wait.  Possible rain is forecast for tomorrow, too, so I don't know what our plan for the day will be.  We'll have to wait and see what it looks like in the morning.

Now I'm going to get cleaned up by taking a long shower and going to bed early.  Hope you all have a good evening!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Another Project, Another Post

Out of desperation (!) to have something to post every day for the month, I've been forced to tackle some unfinished projects in my quilt room.  (Why is it oh-so-easy to start projects, but not nearly as effortless to finish them?)

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night (past midnight . . . eeep!) to finish this little piece.

This was started many years moons ago when I realized I didn't have a summer-y "welcome" piece to hang inside our enclosed porch by the door leading into the house.

I had actually completely forgotten about it until sometime this winter when I was going through a box (okay, a big box) of UFOs.  I pulled it out then thinking I'd get right on it and have it done waaay before summer months rolled around this year.  (Ah, such lofty expectations!)

But it's done now, and I have a seasonal welcome by the back door . . . and a post for today!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Am I Repeating Myself? Yes.

What do you do when you have absolutely nothing scintilating (or even halfway interesting) to say?  Well, you repeat yourself.  Or at least that's what I'm going to do for my post today.

Last night I was thinking of my favorite aunt.  She's been gone now for several years but my memories of her are still near and dear.

Back when I first started blogging, I wrote a story she told.  (At that time, I think I had maybe two readers [one being my daughter] so the following will most likely be new to you.)

The Taciturn Jogger

Several years ago, my dear aunt who is advanced in years but is young in spirit and has always maintained her friendly personality, decided it would be good for her to start each day by going for a brisk walk.

So first thing every morning, as soon as her alarm rang, she would rise, wash her face, put on some comfortable clothes and walking shoes and head out the door.  She would walk her measured distance, then turn around and proceed back home.

Each morning she passed a young male jogger, probably in his thirties, at the same point of her walk.  He would be coming toward her, dripping with sweat, and moving at a pretty good clip.  She always greeted him with a few words.  "Beautiful morning, isn't it?"  "How are you today?"  "We'd better hurry, it looks like rain."

Although he always looked her in the eye, he never acknowledged her by saying a word in return.  His stern facial expression didn't alter, and he just moved swiftly past her.

One morning, her alarm failed to go off.  She woke later but left the house for her walk as soon as she could.  Obviously, she met her taciturn jogger at a different spot than usual on their route.  As they approached each other, before my aunt could speak her greeting, the jogger said in an accusatory voice, "You're late.  I was worried about you."

Never hesitating or missing a stride, he kept going right on by.

The End

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Show and Tell

Or, as we called it in the quilt group I once belonged to, "Bring and Brag."

I took this quilted wall hanging down from the kitchen wall yesterday morning, and it occurred to me that I don't think I've ever shown it on the blog.

It's a "chicken" quilt I made for Papa Pea's elementary classroom years ago.  Each spring he would fill two incubators with either duck or chicken eggs and hatch them as a part of his science program.  This event was always wildly popular, and as the date came close to the eggs hatching, kids from other classrooms and many of the teachers would stop in to observe the process.

I fussy cut the chickens in the center on-point out of the over-all chicken print fabric I used for the border.

Isn't this fabric great?  How I wish I had purchased much more of it because it would make such good placemats or pot holders.

I finished the smaller second crocheted rug to match the other one in the entryroom.  (Now I see I need to get a black mat for in front of the door rather than the green one that is there.)

You can't see much of it with the dog's dishes on it, can you?

We had rain all day yesterday for a total of 1/2" in our rain gauge.  Then terrifically strong winds developed in the late afternoon and were still roaring when we went to bed last night.  I was waiting for my cold frames on top of the raised beds to blow off (they are tied down) but they held.  I did lose a few hot caps I had protecting warm weather plants.  A couple sailed over the 7' high deer fencing into the woods.  I'll be going on a treasure hunt to retrieve those this morning.

The weather this morning is still a little blowsy and not very sunny so far.  But we are supposed to have a clear day so we'll be outside working playing.  Hope you have a good one whatever you do.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day #12, Eighteen More to Go

This is Day #12 of a post-a-day for the month of June.  (Anybody else counting?)  That means 18 more daily posts to go.  Truth to tell, I really kinda like doing a post every day; I just hope I'm not boring all of you into a deep coma.

Hubby and I had a date yesterday morning.  We went to town together.  He dropped me at our co-op to buy bananas while he went to the gas station to get a couple of gas cans filled.  Then we went to the hardware store (it's just getting better, isn't it?) and bought a big bale of peat moss so I could finish mulching the blueberry patch with a light covering of same.  (Which I did after we got home.  After pulling some very healthy weeds that were trying to take up homesteading there.)  While in the hardware store, I dragged him over to the paint section, and we picked out a few paint chips.  I have to paint the house this summer and although he would prefer the color to stay the same (BOR-ing), I say if I have to go to the trouble of painting (and it really needs it) I want it to look new and different.  We're having lots of trouble deciding on a color.

On the way home we stopped briefly at a greenhouse selling plants.  I wanted a few petunias, but didn't see anything I liked.

Those errands constituted our "date" for this week.  Pretty wild and crazy, huh?

More wood working (yup, it's a regular thing now) when we got home.  Filled one whole row in the shed even though much of the wood Papa Pea chain sawed up was big in diameter and went into a pile to be split before finding its way into the shed.  Had hoped to get that done today but we've awakened to a steady rain falling so we'll probably have to skip the wood working today.

I had one long, narrow area in the field garden that wasn't yet planted so I decided to put in more shell peas.  (Just because we never seem to have enough fresh, frozen peas in the freezer.)  I put up 15' of cattle panels for a trellis and planted peas on either side of it.  Got that done just in time for this nice rain today.

I still have a few Brussels sprout and cabbage and broccoli plants that I saved as extras in case some accident (read: cutworms) happened to the required number I set out in the garden.

So far all of them are looking hale and hardy (red and green cabbages above) so I think I'll go ahead and stick the extras in helter-skelter anywhere I can find a place for hem.

We may not get any apples this year, but it sure looks as though we're gonna get a fantastic blueberry crop.  This is one row of bushes and they are simply covered with blossoms.  That's good.  Blueberries are good.  We love blueberries.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Can Rattle on a Long Time About Nothing

Whadda day!  Yesterday we worked on wood all morning and got a big bunch done.  A quick soup lunch and back out to finish up the last we wanted to get split and in the wood shed.

Then Papa Pea cleaned up the flack from our splitting efforts and limbed a tree we took down on Monday.

Our wood working area in the back is smack up again heavy woods on rapidly rising ground and there was a really tall dead poplar tree leaning toward our work area.  Hubby refused to do any wood working back there until we took the tree down.  He explained that if the tree fell on him, I'd have to work up all the wood by myself.  Hmm, made sense.  We took the tree down.

While he was occupied with clean-up, I used my time to split the last four bundles of slabwood (for kindling) we had left over from last fall when I filled the kindling bin.  I'll need plenty more before the bin is full again but the bundles were stored in the small wood shed that we're filling with wood so I wanted to get them out of there.

Next we tackled the lawn mowing.  That's a job I can't say either of us love.  We simply have too dang much lawn to mow.  But before you conjure up a picture of a manicured, green lushness of Kentucky Bluegrass, let me explain that our "lawn" is primarily green weeds we (try to) keep mowed.  This lawn (aka weeds with a crewcut) goes around the blueberries, around the raspberries, around the fruit trees, around the raised beds, around the field garden, around the pumpkin patch . . . you get the idea.  No great expanse that you can easily mow in neat rows.  It involves lots of ins and outs, pushes and pulls, back and forths.  Finding a way of eliminating these areas that need to be mowed has been a topic of discussion in our house for a few years.  We both agree we want to do away with as much of it as we can, we just haven't figured out how to do it.

Anywho, we attacked the lawn mowing with two mowers (both mechanical and human) and got it done in a few couple hours.  We squeak by mowing only every 10-14 days, so now we don't have to think about that for a while.  (By the way, why can't a freshly mowed yard stay looking freshly mowed for more than a day?)

My potatoes.  I was really stressing about my potatoes.  About them failing to poke through the soil to see the light of day.  Supposedly, most taters will sprout within 8-12 days.  Yesterday was Day #12 for mine and during my early morning garden stroll, I saw nary a one.  But hallelujah, right before I started mowing in the afternoon, I counted six of the little buggers showing.  Phew!  I was not looking forward to having to replant them.

We had Stuffed Green Peppers and corn for dinner last night.  (I had to figure out a way to get a picture into this wordy post, didn't I?)  The stuffed peppers are one of my "convenience" foods from the freezer and last night I needed convenience.  

For dessert, a little piece of Rhubarb Cream Pie.  (Gosh, that piece looks HUGE in the picture, doesn't it?  Well . . . maybe it wasn't so little.)  What did you have for dinner?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Land O' Goshen, We Did It!

We finally (finally, finally, FINALLY!) got started putting up our wood supply for next winter.

Geesh, I didn't think we were ever going to get at it.

We like to have both of our wood sheds full to the brim by the end of April each year.  Sure didn't happen this year . . . mainly because the month of April was too wet, and there was still too much snow on the ground to make it safe for wood working.

Then at the end of April we both succumbed to those ugly-bugly germs that took us out of commission for three weeks.

Then it was "as soon as I get the garden in" or sixty-five other things that kept us from starting on our wood supply.

But yesterday we finally made a start at it and, "the good lord willin' and the creek don't rise," we plan on staying with it the majority of our waking hours all the rest of this week.

The above shows the very back of the smaller of our wood sheds starting to fill with cut and split wood, but it's a start.  As hubby is fond of saying, "It's better'n money in the bank."  Hopefully, we'll be making many more deposits (pun intented) in the very near future!

Monday, June 9, 2014

More Planting, Getting Close to Done

I planted squash, pumpkins and some decorative gourds last Friday.  Our weather, especially the nights, is still not what the warm weather crops would like to have, but I decided to get them in and take my chances.

Saturday we had an all-day rain so nothing was accomplished outside.  Yesterday I thought the garden would be too wet to work in.  I waited until around 11 a.m. before going out to check and happily found the soil was just fine.

In Dick Raymond's book, Joy of Gardening, he gives some tips for growing corn in cooler climates.  He gardened in Vermont so I've found much of the info in his book can be applied to our area.  He advocates planting corn in a raised bed.  Not a raised bed such as the 4' x 8' ones I have, but a row in the field garden that is elevated 6 to 8".

So I laid out my rows and using a rake made a long mound the whole length of each corn row, lightly flattening and packing down the top of the mound with the flat side of a hoe, then planting my corn seed in the top of the mound.

Dick Raymond maintains that after a heavy rain (which corn isn't particularly fond of) the raised bed or "mound" the corn is planted in dries out faster than corn planted on flat ground and possibly sitting in water.  The mound with its raised, slanted sides warms up earlier and captures more sun and heat throughout the season.

I've never tried this before.  Matter of fact, I'd given up trying to grow corn after so many years of failure until I stumbled onto Painted Mountain corn two years ago.  I put in a smallish test plot and found it was a corn I could successfully grow here.  It almost seemed too good to be true.  Developed in the mountains of Montana, the ears can be eaten as sweet corn as soon as the kernels are fully developed.  The dried corn grinds well and can be used as cornmeal or a high-nutrition flour.  The dried corn can also be fed to livestock.

Then last year when I tripled the planting of it, I had a total crop failure.  First off, I planted the corn in a part of the field garden that only gets about two-thirds of the sunlight offered each day.  (My bad.)  Then we had a couple of destructive windstorms that knocked it nearly flat . . . twice.  (Mother Nature's bad.)  The ears never matured at all and were only teeny-tiny not even half formed ears when heavy frost hit in the fall.

But because of the success I had year before last, I wanted to try again this year.  I have visions of plowing up a new section of land and in years to come growing enough for dried corn to feed our chickens.

So yesterday, getting my corn planted took a bit longer than usual because of building the raised beds along each row before planting the corn.  But I did it, and I'm glad.  Barring any bad windstorms or other calamities this summer, I'm looking for a good crop of corn.  Here's hoping!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday's (Pitiful?) Post

I went outside this morning searching for subjects for a Sunday post.

This is it.

Our new little (?) chicks were moved to their outside dwelling a week or so ago.  Since they had plenty of inside room to run around in, we kept them enclosed for several days.  Then about three days ago, Papa Pea opened the door to the great, green pasture outside.  It was a bit of a slow process, but they all eventually ventured out . . . and immediately began feasting on fresh, green grass.  Figuring out how to get back into their secure shelter at night proved to be a challenge at first, but last night, for the first time, they were all inside at lock-down time.

The strawberries started blossoming about a week ago, right on time.

The apple trees?  Well, another story.  They are already about two weeks behind their usual blossoming time and, as you can see, have a ways to go yet.  This pretty much assures us no apple harvest this year.  In a good year when they are in full blossom a week or so before the end of May, we often have a hard time getting the apples to fully mature in the fall.  This year I think we'd better start seeking out a winter's supply of good, organic apples to purchase.  We're currently researching the options of putting in a bunch of dwarf trees which may do better in our climate.

The shell peas are very pleased with this cool weather.  They have popped through the dirt and are happily marching down either side of their trellises.  Good peas, happy peas.

This is what happens when the Head Gardener leaves a hot cap in the path of the Under Gardener who is on a mission to get all his weed whipping done.  Ooops.

My tromp outside over the grounds this morning was wet and a bit buggy.  No work outside yesterday at all since we had rain most of the day.  With a temp this morning only in the 50s, it's gonna be wet out there for a while.  Can I find something to occupy my time inside?  Oh, yeah.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

And Another Rug Hits the Floor!

I think I've caught something from Susan.  I've been finishing up projects that have been hanging fire for a long time.

This is a rug crocheted with heavy rug yarn that I made to blend in with the runner we have in our long, narrow entryroom.

I keep a rug in this room as a place for winter boots.  The boots come in basically clean but most often covered with snow and/or wet.

The door you see here leads to our unheated enclosed porch.  In the summer, work boots and muddy shoes are left out there on the porch, but in the winter boots are kept in the (heated) entryroom so they aren't frozen solid when we put them on to go outside.

To get this shot, I was standing in front of the door (at the opposite end of the entryroom) that leads to our attached garage.

Next project (which I started last night before toppling over sideways on the couch) is to make another rug just like the recently completed one, but a little smaller.  It will go across from the new rug, in the spot where we keep our granddog's dishes.  The pictured multi-colored rug is a crocheted one I made, too, but is falling apart and now doesn't match the decor of the other rugs.  (Obviously, we can't have that.  I mean, what would Martha say?!)  This little rug has done its duty and deserves to look a little worse for wear.  It has to be at least thirty or thirty-five years old!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Joining the Millet Bandwagon

Kristina over at Pioneer Woman at Heart mentioned in a recent post that her husband's blood sugar levels tested out a little high.  So she decided to incorporate into their diet a grain that is said to maintain and/or lower blood sugar levels.  That grain?  Millet.

I used to cook with millet much more often when we were following a vegetarian diet.  Kristina's post reminded me of how much I really like millet, and it's high time I started using more of it again.

Are you familiar with millet?  Some people think it tastes like rice, others liken it to cornmeal.  I think it has a rather bland but pleasant, nutty flavor.  Nutritionally speaking, it contains more essential amino acids than the more popular grains such as wheat, oats, rice, barley and rye.  It's also believed to be an outstanding anti-acid grain.  Most grains form acids in our stomachs, but millet with its high alkaline mineral content counteracts acids and is more easily digested.  Because of this quality it's a desirable food for people with ulcers or sensitive stomachs.

Back in 2010 I did a blog post on a Millet Loaf I make that is a favorite meal of my husband's.  Click here if you want to take a look at that recipe.

This morning while I was making a pot of potato soup, I cooked up enough millet to make some of my Millet Burgers.  (Recipe to follow.)

You may recognize these little pearly seeds as something you see in the bird seed mix you put out for the wild birds.  Despite millet's shining virtues, it's long been a neglected grain in the United States.  We grow it chiefly for hay or pasture . . . and bird food!

So here's my recipe for:

Millet Burgers

1/2 cup uncooked millet
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Good sprinkle pepper

To cook the millet, gradually add 1/2 cup millet to 2 cups of boiling water, stirring constantly.  Cover and cook over low heat about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed.

The millet will be cooked when there's no more water in the bottom of the pan.  Just be careful not to cook it too long . . . or you'll have burned millet and a nasty pan to clean.

Combine remaining ingredients with the cooked millet and mix well.

Form into patties and fry in oil (don't skimp or the burgers will stick to the bottom of the pan) in skillet until nicely browned on both sides.  Makes about 6 medium-sized burgers.

I cooked up two of the burgers for our dinner last night.  Neither of us were very hungry so we just had a Millet Burger and a big helping of green beans per Krazo Acres' way of fixing them.  (Carolyn, I never make beans any other way anymore.  Mmmm, so good!)

The patties are a little delicate to handle, but not a problem if you're aware of that.  We had two for dinner last night, I made another couple of them to have with our eggs this morning and froze the last two for a quick meal at a later date.

You can change the flavor of the Millet Burgers by adding different seasonings other than the thyme.  I like them with the seasonings you would put in a sausage mixture.  I've also added some BBQ sauce to the pan after frying the patties and let them simmer in that for a couple of minutes.  Or after turning to brown the second side, put a slice of fresh tomato and slice of cheese on top to melt a bit before serving.

Cooked millet is also great as a hot breakfast cereal.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, sunflower seeds, raisins and milk or cream.

There are probably endless possibilities for incorporating millet into your diet.  Why not hop on the millet bandwagon with Kristina and me and share your recipes!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quick Walk Through the Garden Last Night

And it was a quick walk because the *&^%! no see'ums have finally made an appearance.  They're late coming out this year, and I think we've all foolishly secretely been hoping the cold, snow-filled winter managed to kill them all off . . . but, of course, that didn't happen.  So far, we've not seen any mosquitoes or black flies, but I know they must be lurking nearby practicing up on their blood sucking skills.

Anyway, here's a short peek at the garden.

The two beds (one show here) of garlic are growing well, but I'm kinda concerned about the yellow coloration here and there on the otherwise healthy looking plants.

I have an eight foot long row of slicing cucumbers in one of the raised beds under a cold frame.  This is a section of the row I planted that obviously is ready to be thinned.  Not bad germination for seeds from 2008, huh?  (Kinda pushed the envelope on those old seeds, didn't I?)  Needless to say, I planted the seeds fairly thickly, because I wasn't sure about their viability.  Turns out the Marketmore 76ers were still right good seeds!

The Brussels sprouts are looking good, although still only about 6" tall.  I have two rows of them with eight plants in each row.

I always plant my green peppers under a cold frame where they stay all season long because our summer nights regularly drop down cooler than peppers like it.  Yesterday when I set them out, I got to thinking (ouch) and asked Papa Pea if he thought starting them out under hot caps would provide them with more warmth than the cold frame.  He said it probably would so that's what I've done.  The hot caps are only a foot tall so the peppers will outgrow them and then I will have to put the cold frame over them.  Hopefully, by then the peppers will have a really good, strong start.

Even though we've been having warm days with lots of sunshine, our night time temps have been (and will be for the next week anyway) down in the 40s.  So I've held off putting in my beans, squash, corn and other warm weather crops.  Those 40 degrees at night tend to cool off the soil, and I don't want to risk those seeds not germinating well.