Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Actually get a Vacation! And, I get to spend it at home!!!!!!!!

My last post did not take, excepting for the title. I will try again.
My husband and son are at Boy Scout camp for 9 days, and my daughter has to do an enormous amount of school work during the next 5 days or she will not finish high school until the fall.
It stopped raining for a bit and so I got in a package of corn. I did not prepare the soil: I just put it in with the watermelons.

Those melons have NOT been coming up properly, so I have reseeded a couple of times. The cold weather probably hurt germination. I see that I have 3 cantelopes (I seeded 8), and a half dozen watermelons that appear to be of 2 different varieties. This makes sense because when the first planting appeared to fail I got an old packet of seeds and I put more in. I also see perhaps 3 volenteer tomatos, one of which is 2 feet tall. And, now I will have Peaches and Cream sweet corn.

I think that I will call that strip my "3 sisters garden", pretend that I did it on purpose, and leave it be!

My Peas are winding down: the next time today that I go out today I think that I will use a dibble and plant bush beans. I have contender bush beans bearing now, and beans are SO! good this year! I have been fixing them like they do on a Chines buffet, more or less. The recipe is below.

Cook the green beans slowly in 1 tablespoon of oil.

Add 1 tablespoon of soy, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


I was supposed to add chili paste but I didn't have any, and the dish was excellent without it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am on vacation! I actually get to enjoy my homestead without any housework!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hello Sue!

I have tried to send you a message, but every time I tried to send it I was put back into the Google sign in page. I am afraid that I am not very good with machines, LOL!

The house is very quiet.

The flies have been swatted, and the two TV watchers have gone off to buy a new camping stove.

My Mother in Law is dying.

She had a stroke almost 2 weeks ago, was returned to the Home where she lives, and was sent back to the hospital almost immediately for having not enough oxygen in her blood. There is something else going wrong inside of her, and nobody knows what it is. Not me, and not the doctors.

I remember that MIL taught me the value of kindness, and of how to enjoy every day life. I remember how she raised rabbits under the avacado tree, and worms underneath the cages of rabbits.

I remember that she was raised in a time and a place where women stayed home until they got married: not her! She got a job at a laundry and moved half way across the country to California!

I remember after staying with us for a year while she recovered from a previous illness, that she announced that she had decided to move back to her home in Arkansas. "Oh, OK. When did you want to leave"? I asked. "Today", she replied. "I have made all of the arrangements", she said.

She knew that we were concerned that a woman in her 80's should not live alone, and so she had hoped to forstall any arguements. That was her way, she was never much on arguing. She would just smile kindly and  quietly do as she pleased! I am pretty sure that, as a very young woman, she gave her parents that same smile as she told them she was moving 3000 miles away to go to California......

I believe that the very elderly have a  target on their backs. She did move back to her home but she was hit by more than one con artist, until we simply insisted that she move back to live near us. She was mad at us for 6 months, but we could not think what else to do. The con men had cheated her out of most of the equity in the house, and with the added cost of a mortgage she could no longer meet her expenses.

The Great Depression, WW2, 2 marriages, 3 kids, moving from Tennessee to California to Brazil back to California again and then to Arkansas and, finally, to Kansas. And, she never seemed terribly busy: she just never stopped moving! Slow and steady describes her perfectly! The afghan she knitted last summer won the Grand Prize at the Johnson County fair: even in the Nursing home she never stopped!!!!!!!!

Her medical condition slowly grows worse: the world will be poorer when she has left it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plan 2 for Sweet Potatos!

My sweet potato slips died. I got busy and the weather got hot, and I think I should have watered them TWICE a day instead of in a day and a half! The instructions were daily, but, one morning and the next evening was likely too long when it is hot.

Not a big problem, I had sweet 7 potatos left over from the box I bought last Fall so I planted those potatos. They had all sprouted and I was tired of sweets anyways after a winter of hearty eating: in 5 months or so I should be digging more! I should be ready for them by then.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Well, my son's surgery has gone well and he is healing well, but now my MIL is in the hospital with a stroke.

She is doing much better and she is now out of the ICU and into a regular hospital bed. I expect that she will go back to the nursing home soon. I used to take care of her when she got ill, but I no longer can. Well, she is doing some better, at least!

Of course I burned off some nervous energy working outside: that is my nature. I picked the peas. Then I shelled them for dinner.

Now, in the past I have carefully broken open each pea pod and raked the peas out, but this time I dumped the entire lot of whole peas into boiling water and blanched them for 2-3 minutes. I drained them and I set them aside to cool. The pods were somewhat cooked but the peas were still raw and firm.

I then picked up each pod and I squeezed it in the middle. The pod popped open at one end and I slid my fingers along the pod and I stripped the peas out the end. ZIP! 

Now, not EVERY pod popped open at one end, some of them popped open in the middle but no matter WHERE they popped open  I still found it easy to strip the peas out.

It takes a long time to pick the peas, and then they must be shelled. With frozen peas on sale for $1 for 10 ounces, it has to be a labor of love to raise enough peas to feed a family year round. We had enough peas for my family of 4 tonight, but the picking and the shelling had to have taken me 2 hours of work for simply one meal.

For half of that labor I have gotten enough broccoli for 4 meals. And, the broccoli plants take up just half of the space that the peas do.

Speaking of broccoli, I had to go over it 3 times today to make certain that I had gotten out all of the little green worms. I MUST get down to the Family Tree Nursery to get BT to spray on the plants: if I should ever miss a worm and my kids see it, they will likely never eat my broccoli again! For that matter, I would rather not eat any worms myself!

BT is an organic control that is supposed to work extremely well on those green worms, but not affect people at all. It makes the worms stop eating and then they die. It is a shame that the butterfly is so lovely: there are few things more lovely than the white Cabbage Butterflies flitting along a wonderful garden!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I harvested broccoli today!

Memorial day was 3 days ago, and it took 2 smal heads to serve the 4 of us along with the BBQ  ribs and the potato salad and the trimmings. THAT WAS JUST 3 DAYS AGO!
It has been 90 degrees and humid for those 3 days, and I just had to cut the other 5 heads (now medium sized) because they had gone from tightly packed buds to trying to flower. Huh. Gardens go SO fast! The 2 plants that I harvested for memorial day already have good developing sprouts: I will likely have another picking of shoots in about 5 days.
I am trying to decide between freezing these heads, making a broccoli stead stir-fry, or cooking it to serve as a vegetables. Decisions, decisions!!!!!!!!!!
Sudden weather changes is why the midwest is not a big fruit and vegetable producer like the west coast is: our soil is just as rich but the climate makes the produce less PREDICTABLE! Not to mention sometimes killing the fruit trees: elm and oak do better than peach or apricot but people can have good results in their back yard! A little extra fussing and an acceptance of the odd non-producing year is fine for people with 5 trees, but more difficult for somebody will 1000 trees.
This year I expect very little fruit because of a late cold snap. I accept it in the trees and I reseed any frosted spots in the garden with corn. This year i will have a lot of corn!!!!!!!! 8-)