Thursday, July 31, 2008


Now, there have been some failures and successes in the garden this year, but overall, I love the way a messy garden looks. Organized chaos. The sunflowers just make me grin. This one in particular, at it's full height, measured just over ten feet. It is perfect.

Now if only I could actually GET the picture on here. . . . (20 minutes roll by, with me sighing and sucking my teeth (you know, that noise that used to get you into trouble if you did it after your mother asked you to babysit your little sister?!?!) and almost cussing at this photo-loading process with a slightly lame computer and the gloriousness of dial-up) (just keeping' it real).

Ok, phew. That only took 17 tries. Let's do it again, just for fun.

Yeah. So, it's over on the right side, because lately, "everything is an experiment". But isn't that a really cool picture?
They're all over the place, the sunflowers - up in front by the driveway, by the house, and scattered un-strategically in and around the garden. I've got to do this again next year. Good news is I won't have to buy any seeds.
(insert sheepish and slightly dorky smile here)

On Gardening

It's not really a lot of fun. I mean, it IS, but then again, it ISN'T. (how generic a statement is that?!!??!) (p.s. using italics to demonstrate a certain (sarcastic and almost witty) tone of voice in one's blog IS fun!)(try it!) (see?!)

Ok, where were we? Ah yes, weed-en-ing - AKA: gardening. So we picked potatoes yesterday, me following husband and toddler on the tractor. I think I had the short end of the stick. Holding the bucket, I'd follow behind the tractor as he dug up the potatoes. I found: LOTS of rocks, that look painfully similar to potatoes. Then there was the baby snake which ruined the entire ambiance of the earthy, farm-girl picking potato experience. *shudder* And I found ONE bucket full of potatoes. (about 10 lbs.) I'm not so sure that all the hard work of tilling up the ground, then finishing with the rototiller and finally, planting the potatoes, picking off tthe thousands of bugs (worms, beetles, etc.) (trying to be "green" there, by not using pesticides!) (which didn't work anyways) and fertilizing and watering was even worth it!!

Now I have a big patch of dirt to put something else in. I'm thinking I've got 90 days to Oct. 31st which is pumpkin time, and seeing as how the average Jack-O-Lantern takes about 100 days to mature, I might can speed up the process with a bit of Miracle-Grow, or the likes (read: goat, rabbit, pig, and chicken manure).

Somehow, potatoes just don't seem so appetizing at this point. I'm hoping (and praying) that the sweet potatoes turn out better. They look great, the plants are enormous and beautiful. (fieldmouse mental note: sweet potato plant makes a beautiful addition to landscape)

I've been up to my ears in zuccchini and butterstick squash - irritating all my friends and neighbors with bags of them after I've shredded and frozen all I care to annoy my husband with throughout the winter. (shredded zucchini makes excellent zucchini bread (aka: CAKE) and mixed with the squash it's a fabulous way to sneak vegetables into lasagne (voila! one dish meal!) and other casseroles.

Cucumbers? haha. I call them sneaky cucumbers. One day they're 2 inches long and puny looking and 36 hours later they're HUGE! Making it difficult to produce pickles with them, simply given the size of the suddenly seemingly miniature jars I picked up JUST for this occasion. (another fieldmouse mental note: check for sneaky cucumbers at LEAST 12 times a day)

Let's discuss green beans. One simple rule; don't wait to long to pick them. Evidenced by the jerky-like consistency I experienced a few days ago. Here's how it went; 1. go out to garden to pick green beans. Return to garage to get bucket. Chide oneself for not wearing long sleeves and *normal* shoes as bugs bite mercilessly. Traipse out to green-bean-rows and peer in. Go back inside and turn the air conditioner on. When husband comes home from work beg him to rototill in between green-bean-rows and express grave concern for snakes. Relieved of bean picking duties for at least 20 hours, proceed to do other meaningless and trivial things. Like deadhead flowers. And water everything just because it's fun to play with the hose.

(meanwhile, husband rototills in between green-bean-rows)

Put long sleeve shirt on and put bug spray on *non-normal albeit preferred farmhouse footwear of flip-flops* and remember bucket. Traipse again out to garden and start picking beans. Mutter to oneself about how this is back-breaking work. Who decided to plant 1/2-runners anyways? (mental fieldmouse note: plant POLEBEANS next year so as to avoid back-breaking work) Pick beans. Eat some. Pick some more. Decide I don't like green beans as much as I thought after all.

Sigh. Gardening is hard work!!

I cut off the ends, and tried to get as much of the 'strings' off and then cut them in 2" pieces. Blanched them. Cooled them. Stuck them in freezer quart bags and froze them. I think I'll save them for when we don't have company.

Cantaloupes, watermelons, butternut squash are doing well. I love the gigantic leaves of melon plants.

The tomatoes are completely out of control. I'm in love. There's just something totally romantic about picking a vine-ripened tomato from the garden and taking a big, juicy bite. No pesticides, or wax, or gas, or artificial coloring. Truth. All in the taste of a tomato. Hope.

(as an aside: Kathy and her sister Sheila came over Tues and brought Eric, toddlers hero, and they stayed the night. Kathy made a tomato salad that was to die for!!! FRESH tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, garlic, basil, dill, salt, pepper - a bit of EVOO (extravirginoliveoil for you non-Rachael Ray folks) and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. I'm telling you, this could quite possibly be next in line for semi-famous Hope Farms foods. I'm thinking the Hope Farms Banana Bread will always be at the top, but this has got to be the next runner-up. Never fear that we are highly culinarily accomplished though, because Kathy brought a "bake it yourself" pizza from Costco and with the help of a wee bit of red wine, we proceeded to burn the daylights out of it in my lovely (gag) oven....Good times people. Good times.)

Corn? I can't talk about the corn. (i'm becoming verclempt - talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic: Barbara Streisands legs are like butter) We'll have to (quietly) talk about corn later. M-kay? M-KAY.

Sigh. I fear I've tired of garden talk for now. Must go pick corn.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

While you were out.....

Remember those message pads at work? Yeah. (not that those are remotely related to what I'm about to say, but...I was amused for some reason by the phrase, "While you were out"....) I need for my computer to submit an absence excuse note because my lack of blogging can possibly be blamed on 1. the fan is probably out in this laptop and 2. general lack of interest in posting a blog only to have it lost either by blogger not being able to connect to its' server OR because of #1 the entire computer just shuts off in the middle of brilliant blogness over here. Not that I'm a consistent blogger, as all of my riveted and loyal readers will tell you (Hi Wendy and Bubba!!) or 3. that sheer laziness thing.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time reading a blog for the last couple of days which can at least explain a small part of my large absence from here, the rest can be explained by a. sheer laziness (it's persistent albeit annoying) b. the flu from hell c. company from CA and NJ and d. the garden. Not necessarily in that order.

Speaking of The garden. How does it grow you ask? Well, the weeds are doing spectacularly well, my friends. I picked green beans yesterday and I think the grass has been tipping back Miracle Grow while I'm not looking. I'm looking forward to the 289 tomatoes on my 60+ tomato plants coming ripe all at once, that is if I can keep my chickens from eating them first. There is nothing like a vine-ripened-tomato off the vine, no?

Speaking of chickens, there are two roosters about to become Sunday Suppers. Invite anyone? I hear tell in these parts that there is nothing better than a fresh chicken. I told husband that he gets to kill the first one, so I can watch and learn. I plan to skin them whole and go from there. Will keep you posted (with pictures?) on the haps of that.

While we're in Barnyard talk, the piglets are growing well and getting quite aggressive with welcoming me to their stall while I dump slop in their slop-pan.

Oh HEY! BIG NEWS!!! I'm down to TWO GOATS. Yep, Nanny and her most-annoying-offspring are gone. Nanny went to "J's" and will co-exist with a bunch of other goats and probably have more annoying offspring. The buckling left yesterday in the back of a pick-up truck being driven by a Hispanic man most happy to bring his wife a birthday present. They will be eating goat-meat today. I had a bit of a moment with God yesterday, asking him to forgive me if by selling the goat to a man I knew was going to butcher him, I was doing anything immoral. The moment passed. How is it any different than the cattle, swine, or poultry slaughtered and put onto my dinner plate? Sigh. So, now my two favorite goats (as an aside, I just finished reading Heidi - and I now go around calling Dory my little "Schneehopli") Dory and Will are most spoiled and loved upon.

Husband finished cleaning out the last neglected stall in the barn yesterday and we put the two goats in there last night. Now we've just to begin the destruction and construction of the horse shelter on the east side of the barn.

Well since it's Saturday and in keeping with my laziness theme, I'm going to sign off, but if for some reason I'm inspired and find a block of time to myself where I'm not reading other blogs, I'll be back for a two-for-one.


While i was out.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button