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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homemade Tomato Soup!

Tomato harvest, what to do? Tomato soup for dinner!
3½ pounds of  Principe Borghese and a couple of Brandywines.
Chop up one onion and smash 6 cloves of garlic.
Saute onions & garlic until soft.
Add tomatoes, smash so their skins break.
Let simmer for about an hour.

Into the "witch's hat"!
Put through food mill to remove seeds and skins
Don't forget to scrape all the thick goodness from the outside!
If it's thick enough for you now ... EAT!
If not, continue reading ... 
Melt ½ cup of butter
Whisk in ½ cup of flour until it's thick ..
continue cooking while constantly whisking
for a couple minutes so the flour cooks
and doesn't taste "floury"
Quickly stir in a ladle full of the soup, keep stirring!
Add a few ladles until it's no longer thick,
then add to the soup while constantly whisking!
Enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting a handle on the weeds!

     I spent 2 hours in the garden tonight after I got home from work. There is little that brings me more joy than spending time working in my gardens. Even though I live on a very busy street, when I go to my backyard it is so quiet and peaceful the worst day just melts away.
     The weeds are taking over because of the early warm weather in March, but slowly, one bed at a time,  I'm making headway! Bed #3 is completely cleaned out and planted with 4 red peppers, 4 jalapenos & 1 zucchini, all from the farmer's market. It started raining as soon as I had my tools put away. I love it when Mother Nature does some of the work for me! Being good to her pays off! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Farmer's Market

Today was the first farmer's market in the parking lot of the grocery store that I work at. It's held Sunday mornings, which works out great for me since I work every Sunday morning from 4AM-10AM. Today I was done early, 8AM so I got out there and hit the market! There's not much in the way of produce quite yet since it's still pretty early, but I did pick up a few veggies as well as some plants!
Here's what I got today
1 pound of sugar snap peas $3
1 big bunch of (30) radishes $1
Bag of baby mixed lettuce, 5 oz (about 16 C) $2
Parsley plant $2
Basil plant $2
4 Red pepper plants $4, plus he threw in 2 Juliet grape tomato plants FREE
4 Red lettuce plants $1
4 Brussels sprouts plants $3
3 cabbage plants $3
4 Jalapeno plants $8, plus he threw in a FREE zucchini plant

Today's total - $29
Quite a bargain. It pays to get to know your farmer's and go to the same ones if they have what you want. They have a tendency to throw in freebies and give generous "pounds" ... so a pound ends up usually being 20 ounces or so! Can't do that at the grocery store!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time to get going! Spring is here!

I have been gardening for many years, so there's few things I haven't grown at one time or another. I've already started most of my seeds, including 5 varieties of peppers, 6 varieties of tomatoes (including a new one I've never tried before, "Principe Borghese"), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli. Today I will start beets and carrots. It's a little early for where I live, but it's been such a mild spring I'm going for it! I am going to try PEANUTS for the first time this year! I'm super excited about that. I also am going to try growing all my herbs from seed. I haven't had much luck with that in the past and usually end up going to the farmer's market or garden center for the plants. Then they do fine, it's just the starting I have trouble with. I'm determined to grow them from seed! On with my day ... lots to do!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Best March ever!

As of today, this month is on track to be the warmest March on record here where I live with an average temperature of 49°. I am loving it!
The daffodils are in full bloom, and the tulips should be very soon! Rhubarb is up, and so are the chives!
There is little else as fine as a baked potato with the first chives of the spring on it! Yum!
I already have radishes sprouting in the garden, and the weather shows no sign of changing too much. Since radishes don't mind cool weather, it can drop down quite a bit and I'm betting they'll still do fine. I also planted broccoli directly in the garden. I was all set to start it in pots, but thought "Why? It will grow outside just as fast, maybe faster, than in pots" ... so I also planted that! I put in some spinach too. All these like cooler weather, and in the past when I've waited during mild springs, I've regretted it because all of a sudden it would get too hot and they'd all bolt and I'd get nothing. I figured I'd go a different route this year, after all, it's just a few seeds and I can always replant if we do get a major snow storm or something!
I have a lot of cleaning out to do too. It appears my strawberry patch has been over run with weeds and only a few plants have survived, so I'll be digging those out and relocating them, then removing the mass amount of weeds. They never did well in that spot anyway.
My blueberry bushes are looking pitiful. They should be 5 feet tall by now, and they're only about 3 feet tall. I am not buying anything from that company again, too many bad experiences. They replaced the bushes when they failed to grow, but only after I could prove to them when I'd bought them and sent back the original packing materials and the original receipt and the original shipping label. Such a hassle, but thankfully I had kept all that after reading their return policy. The new bushes are growing, but not nearly as well as they should be.
Now, our last frost free date is April 27 here, so I am really pushing it, but I like living on the edge! lol! The lilacs are all leafy, and they know better than I when spring has sprung, so I'm going with them. We'll see how my bet pays off!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dreaming of Death

I wonder how many people dream of Death … not just dying, actually meeting Death, the being. I have this dream often. Last night my dream was very real once again, but this one was different than the rest.

In my dream, Death is always around me, like a friend. He walks over, puts his arm around my shoulders and we start walking together, talking like friends. Then I look into his face and realize he’s Death and I scream, “I’m not ready yet!” He then goes away.

But, as I said, this time it was different. This time I said to him “I’m ready now”. Then, I was floating. I was looking down at my lifeless body lying in bed. As I was floating I realized what was happening. I wanted to scream, but no sound would come out. I was terrified because I knew this time I was dying. Finally, I managed to get the tiniest sound out. I then woke up …

So it makes me wonder how many others have dreams like this? What do they mean? Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring gardening

I'm trying desperately to get my gardens in this year and keep them up, but I'm already feeling behind and it's only May! I have a knee injury which keeps me from kneeling, stooping and crouching ... all important movements in the life of a gardener! My condition has even been nicknamed "gardener's knee" because it's often caused by crawling around on the ground. Mine was caused by my "day job" a little over a year ago, which involves all those movements dozens of times a day. Ironically, it was fine all winter and then in about March it hit again. Of course, there's no way to "prove" it was caused by work, so no, can't get any workman's comp or anything like that for it ... but I don't care about that! I just want to garden! Anyway, I bought some "new" tools at garage sales that are helping a bit ... a very old, very sturdy and very well taken care of cultivator that is a monster at pulling out deep weeds without getting down on the ground! I just love it and only paid $1 for it! I had lettuce that came up on it's own from seeds I planted last fall, so I am eating fresh lettuce from my garden and of course the chives and things that grow on their own. I did get 6 new blueberry plants in also, and put hay all around them so they are done for a while. So, I'm working slowly but surely on getting the gardens in ... Wish me luck ... this weekend hopefully peppers and tomatoes!

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More about me than you may want to know!

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I love to work in my gardens ... flowers, herbs and vegetables all intermingled. I am an organic gardener and use companion plantings to help control the pests and diseases. I also love to help "young people" learn that they can make a meal from scratch just as fast as they can open a box of Hamburger Helper or go through the drive through. I run a business from my home teaching people to cook & selling the tools to do so. I work full time at the local grocery store, so I see many sides to the food we eat. Most of it is not good. We need to get back to feeding ourselves as much as possible and stop shipping our food thousands of miles! I also am an avid supporter of the Humane Society, La Crescent Animal Rescue and other local groups that help animals. Recycling, composting and re-purposing are also very important causes to me! I run an online greeting card business and a business that sells plant based cleaning products & natural supplements as well.