Monday, August 29, 2016

Are the Hives Strong?

Are the hives strong?  
No, not really.  One hive is better than the other two,
one is so weak that we can't figure out what is happening.
It's almost like they don't know what to do.  That one is
the combination of the two week hives from our original

They were hungry though.  There has been plenty for them to eat.
First the wild grapes bloomed, garden flowers, the elderberry fields
down the road and wildflowers.  My daughter had left a 
Mountain Dew on the porch table so I poured it out over
the rail which meant that some hit the bushes.
The bees flocked to it and suddenly we had hundreds
of bees licking the sugar off the leaves.
I gave them some sugar syrup in the same manner
and the flocked there.  Lots and lots of bees.

So we filled their sugar feeders and the strong hive
ate it all immediately.  The second hive about half of it
and the third hive had no clue.
I also saw some small beetles which may or may 
not be a problem.

We'll go visit our beekeeper store this weekend and discuss it.
I don't think we'll get honey.
Our best hope is that the bees survive the winter!  

Friday, August 26, 2016

It's Alive, My Rooted Rose

I had about given up, ready to throw out the rose
cuttings I made after my husband cut through the main 
stem to to remove it from the house.
But here it was today,
just as if it knew its fate.
You can see the new growth popping out, in 
fact, there are several all up and down the stem.

It was magnificent this year.
We had a great Spring resulting in tremendous growth.
It's a wild climber, going up two stories but unfortunately
climbing the down spout and trying to get 
beneath the siding.

The bees love it and it's oh so pretty!
I thought I would try saving it, replanting and
allowing it to grow up one of the trees at the 
edge of the woods.  

I tried sticking a cutting in a potato but it doesn't 
appear to be working, even with rooting hormone.

I put one in straight water.  Nice leaves but I can
see they are starting to fail.

This one was cut, dipped in rooting hormone and 
planted in an indoor potting soil- Success!
Now let's see if it will continue to grow!

Now, can someone tell me how to keep a misplaced
wisteria root from climbing my front siding?  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tomatillo, a Citrus Balloon

When I tell people we grow tomatillos most don't know
what we are referring to so I thought I would
introduce you to these fun little fruits.

From what I understand, these are an ancient fruit going
back to Aztec times, related to the tomato but with a 
paper husk and the fruit having a citrus flavor.
They are the little green chunks in salsa that 
is not a green pepper.

Like a tomato, they vine and the stems are full
of tiny roots so they could be grown on the 
ground but it's much easier to pick when we 
grow them up cattle panels.   The paper husks
will fill with the fruit and start to split when ripe.
We pick them often and make small batches of 
salsa verde, or you could put them into a regular
red sauce in tiny chunks.  

My husband loves his salsa verde, topping everything
from breakfast eggs and sausage to his chicken tortilla.

They are very easy to grow as long as the soil is not too wet.
They don't attract many pests either; however, I found 
my squash bugs think they are little love balloons!
Fortunately for me, they are easy to spot riding atop
a big tomatillo!  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Crooked Neck Squash Cake

I have a Bunch of them!
Crooked Neck Squash.
All yellow and warty, full of seeds and growing like
weeds.  I still have babies popping out all over,
although the plants are looking on the downhill side this week.

We have stuffed them, pickled them and grilled them,
now I baked them
and they were good!

I found this yellow squash cake recipe on line.
This is way too sugary for me (but I had a slice anyway).
For that reason I didn't frost it as suggested in the recipe
and I made a couple of changes so you can 
follow the recipe below or click the link
at the beginning of this paragraph to get the original 
with the frosting recipe too.

It was a big hit at home, in fact I sent a good third
of it home with my granddaughter.
Everyone at worked that tried it came back for more.
I hope you will like it too!

Crooked Neck Squash Cake Recipe

  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups  yellow squash (I peeled the warts and put them through the food processer so they were grated)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I omitted this- it was an accident but didn't make any difference, they all loved it without the extra vanilla

  • Use a very large bowl and add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir this up well.
  • Combine the eggs, oil and squash in a medium bowl and mix.
  • Add the squash mix to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  • Grease a 9 X 13 pan and add the mixture
          Bake this at 350 degrees F for about 45-50 minutes

         Let cake cool and cover.  

Look Who Came to Visit

We had garden visitors, uninvited ones at that!
We were paging through the trail cam photos,
typically a cat or perhaps one of us tending the 
vegetables--until this!

Now why are they looking at my tomatoes?
I don't mind that they are standing right in the middle
of the green peppers, they didn't do anything anyway, but 
I have never had them bother tomatoes before.
Maybe there are some tasty weeds growing beneath them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pork Rind Tortillas

We have been eating a low carb diet called KETO,
or at least I am following it as much as I can
with my colitis complications.  While I sat this dinner out
due to a flare up, my husband made these Pork Rind tortillas 
to use for a taco shell.  He got the recipe at the site below:

They are not exactly the same texture as a tortilla,
in fact they look a little like flat pancakes but
he said they worked out fine for dinner.  

I pasted the recipe below, you can also use the link
by clicking "Recipe Credit"

Keto Pork Rind Tortillas

  • Servings: 12 six inch tortillas
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy


  • 4 oz. Hot & Spicy Pork Rinds (regular work just fine, too)
  • 1 (eight oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin


  1. Place pork rinds into a food processor and blitz for about 10 seconds, until they are dust.
  2. Add all other ingredients to food processor and blitz for about 45 more seconds. Until you have a nice smooth batter.
  3. Preheat an electric griddle to high. (Using a non-stick pan on the stove top would work also, I would just set the heat to medium-high)
  4. Spray cooking surface with a little spray oil (I use either coconut oil or olive oil spray) and pour 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle.
  5. Gently spread the batter as thin as you can with a rubber spatula and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Flip tortilla and continue to cook for about 45 more seconds.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
*These tortillas can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic, or stored in the freezer!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


I was never very domestic when I was younger.
I avoided Home Ec, I didn't sew or cook and,
to tell the truth, I still struggle with measurements
when having to increase a recipe.  I typically give
up and just measure twice if I have to double it.

The reason this blog exists is that I realized I missed a lot
so I selected some skills that I would learn, enough to get by
but by no means being an expert.
I think I succeeded!  I am by no means an expert!
But I try.

I found this cute quilt along on Facebook.
I love cats and I love bees so this was perfect.
It also helped me with embroidery and applique
 which will end up as a quilt with a bee theme.
  You can find it on Bee-Utiful Quilt a Long
hosted by Pamela Morgan of  Sweet Little Stitches.

I have been able to experiment with fabric crayons
(disregard any blue lines, this is a marking pen that
will wash out easily)

Different embroidery stitches.
I also found a nice quilted interfacing that 
you steam onto the back of your fabric.  It 
keeps it nice and stiff plus fluffy!

More cute artwork to stitch.

I changed up the tractor color
to Ford 8N colors.

This was In-Progress.
I had to applique the top hat and learned
a good lesson.  Wash black fabric first.
It didn't fade when I dipped it in water,
a good sign, but it did run ever so slightly
so I'm looking for a color remover.

I am on the cupcake now.
Notice that each square has a bee somewhere.

See the Moda link for instructions

There is also a Row by Row quilt experience across 
not only Missouri or the US but Canada too.
You visit a quilt shop and get either a free pattern
or a kit which you make and combine to make 
a quilt. There are prizes but I don't enter those
contests.  Good thing too because I really messed
up and made a dumb mistake.

Remember the cooking and measuring.
Well, it's no different in quilting.
Why do I read 18 1/2 and cut at 18?
I pieced it together but will probably go back
and re-do it or applique something over my mistake.

This is the Arch in St Louis of course and my
first real attempt at machine applique other 
than an earlier six inch block where I didn't have
to be as careful.  It was fun and I have several 
more to make.  There is a Facebook group too
under Missouri so I can see some of the local quilts.

So, between pickling, sewing and gardening plus work
I have been very busy! 

If you are interested in the bee or row by row group, 
follow the links.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Another Garden Update

It has been a very strange season in the garden.
A combination of perfect conditions and mixed results
The cool, wet Spring allowed everything to grow without
stress; then the heat set in followed by non-stop rain.
The garden doesn't seem to know exactly where it should be!

Speaking of which, the Bees have been busy
(of course they have)
which resulted in a tremendous cucumber crop,
climbing up the cattle panels and actually onto 
the chicken wire fencing.  

Almost every weekend, and sometimes in between,
we are canning either pint or quart jars of pickles:
cucumber slices, spears, mixed vegetables.

Taylor's had a smiley face!
She (my granddaughter) made a few jars to 
bring back to her place.

The tomatillos are just everywhere
and we have made several jars of 
salsa verde.

Now these are the good parts; however, there is also the bad.
Now the squash bugs have decided to appear, much
later than last year.  I was killing those things left and 
right, every single day, last season.  Now I find them
mating on top of the tomatillos
(love in a hot air balloon?)
so I inspect with duct tape, sticky side out,
wrapped around my hand and get the adults before
they can make the babies, although I am certain I will
soon find the eggs beneath my squash leaves.

We saw a little bird flitting from tomatillo to 
tomatillo so I hope it's a special 
Squash Bug Eating Sparrow or something.

On a lighter note I am progressing with my
Bee-Utiful quilt along sponsored by Moda.
It's been fun watching how to do the embroidery
stitches and experimenting with color and applique.
I can't say I'm "good" at it but coming along and 
learning from my mistakes.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Buggy Time of Year

The cicadas are singing their little cicada tunes
this time of year, shedding their exoskeletons
to leave a ghost body literally hanging onto
whatever they last rested on.

The bugginess has really arrived in the garden.
Other than a few early worms we have been quite lucky
until my husband found our first squash bugs mating
on his tomatillos. Unfortunately for one couple, 
the honeymoon was cut short.

I will start my annual ritual of wrapping duct tape
around my hand, sticky side out, while inspecting 
the underside of leaves for their eggs, 
beautiful little gems from which emerge such
a horrible plague of squash sucking beasts.

Occasionally I miss a few and return to find
tiny juveniles clustered together.  I quickly
push my duct taped hand to them so they are 
literally glued to it, fold over the tape and squeeze.

My husband says Mama squash bugs warn their
children that they must be good or 
the sticky handed lady that will visit.
This is the thing squash bug nightmares are made of.

The fight is on-
just as soon as a tomato begins to redden
something rips it off the vine, leaving only teeth marks
but not consuming the fruit.  That's the frustrating thing.
It's one after the other after the other,
We have water in a ground level tub so it's not thirsty.
It obviously does not enjoy the tomato, why go for more?
Raccoon?  The pretty Fox that walked by me?
We're not sure but my husband is on the warpath.

Then there is this sneaky little pest.
Poison ivy hiding among the weeds.
Luckily I pull that area with gloves
but I'll grab the trimmers this weekend and 
cut this back as much as I can.

On the bright side, my hibiscus bloomed!
Magnificent!  The bumbles are happy and 
I am glad for another pop of color in August.