Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Was Seeing Red!

I was in a panic.
There was spilled nail polish on my floor-
my wooden floor.
Red Polish!

I've told my granddaughter, Taylor, a gazillion times, 

   Paint Your Nails at the Table
Line the Table with Newspaper!!!!

I rushed to pick it up before more leaked out. 
Just then . . . 

 I FELL for it!

Taylor and her mom had been to the wax museum downtown
and they must have had a magic shop,
or  a gift shop with practical jokes.
It was fake polish!

We all had a good laugh,
especially Taylor!

(Good thing too, because she wouldn't have been laughing
had it been real polish.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Sighting and the Save

I was working in the garden and thought I saw something 
out of the corner of my eye. A flash of yellow followed by 
 rustling grasses and a hint of silky brown curls diving beneath the tomatoes.
It was near the area where I saw the baby copperhead so I 
had to be very careful.  Proceed with caution.

Suddenly, from the midst of the tomatoes, 
it popped out and ran as fast as it could.
It caught me off guard so I was powerless to capture it.

 I am not exactly sure what this creature might be 
but I am certain it is searching for a mate.
 How it found my garden I"ll never know.

I did a little on line research. Now I have an idea of what I am dealing with.

It's a Sasquash!!

As if I were stalking a squash bug, I crept up real quiet like
hoping to grab the little monster and make a few bucks
selling the photos to the National Enquirer.
Just as quickly as the the thought crossed my mind,
off it went again!  Across the yard, over the drive,
around the house and down the hill.
I took off after it.  I'm not missing this opportunity.

OH OH!  The Coop!

I ran down to the coop, but it was too late.
The chicks saw it too!

Bwaaak! Bwaak!
There it is, there it is!

Don't worry girls, I'll take care of it.

 It's in the nesting box and it has the EGGS!
And look, is that a feather by its mouth?
I hope it's not too late.

I took a count. No one is missing.
Whew! What a relief.
I  took out my trusty LED flashlight and blinded the beast.
I grabbed it and threw it into the food processor, grinding it to bits.
The day was saved.

But what will become of the beast?
Hmmm, I wonder.


We are overrun with zucchini, yellow squash and now tomatoes!!
Now it's time to get into high gear and start processing.  It looks like
we may be canning every night or two for awhile.

Tom is home, recuperating from knee surgery, so he has been
getting everything prepped while I am at work.
 I got to relax and watch last night as he finished up these pints.
 Here is what he has to say-  from Facebook

This has been the coolest summer we've seen in a long, long time. Consequently, the tomatoes have been really slow about ripening. Looks like they're finally starting to be ready for picking and canning.

So, the small batch cannery is opening for another season. If everything goes right we'll be canning a few pints a night. Tomatoes, pickles, squash, peppers, beans...whatever's ready that day.

The whole idea is to stay ahead of the harvest. I don't like spending ten hours in the kitchen and that's what'll happen if we don't keep up.

The first batch of tomato sauce is simmering on the stove. The old Victorio Strainer makes short work of the fruit. We bought this at the parish garage sale a few years ago for $5 and it's become a cornerstone of the season. Great tool! They still make them today, albeit with a bit more plastic. Our is from the '70's. We know the lady that donated it to the church so we got a little history with the tool.

We've bought a few more pieces for it so now it'll process berries, grapes, pumpkins...just about anything we grow.

 He made a fantastic spaghetti sauce the other night,
full of our own basil and tomatoes.

He sliced our zucchini and yellow squash into thin ribbons
coupled with red onions.  We found a recipe for refrigerator
squash pickles on line so we're testing this jar to see how we like it.  
If it tastes as good as it looks, we'll can a few jars.

Lastly, an update on our peaches.
If you remember this photo from the last post,
this is the first year we really had good sized peaches.
 Guess how many I have now!!!!

Well, that is not quite true.  I have three.
Three badly deformed, bug eaten peaches
and, a lot of pits all over the ground.

Maybe, they got all but the above mentioned three that
were up on the highest branch. 

As my husband said about our garden losses: 
 I like to think that we're just converting vegetables to meat for the fall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Snake on the Cukes

 I took a little garden walk to see how things were shaping up.
This is one of the first years we have decent sized peaches,
although I still have little to no hope of eating any.
The raccoon have stolen and half eaten several, the 
remains scattered beneath the tree.  Bugs are making their
way to the fruit too but still, it's nice to see at least the start of fruit.

I quickly snapped this shot just as the butterfly was 
landing on the zinnias over at the big garden.  

We use cattle panels to attach any plant that can grow
vertically to save room and keep things orderly.  
I have cucumbers, beans, a volunteer cherry
tomato (that is tending to vine) plus THIS!
Is it a volunteer squash or 
I really don't know at this point but I"ll keep watch.

As I was keeping watch over this long cucumber,
I saw something unusual but didn't capture it on camera.
I must have been one of the pantyhose ties, similar to
the one pictured here, that allows a little wiggle room
as the plants mature.

But the one I saw was curled around the cucumber vines.
It had little dark bow ties running down its back,
and it had eyes.
My pantyhose don't have eyes.

Copperhead baby!

Great.  A baby copperhead is just as bad, 
if not worse, than a copperhead mama or papa.
They don't usually kill you in Missouri although we
just had a recent case where a man died, being bitten
several times. He went into anaphylactic shock.
Mostly, you need to get treatment and will be real sick.

It isn't unusual for us to have copperheads
but they are not typically wound around my cucumber vines.
They like to sun on our retaining wall blocks
so we just move them back into the woods, if possible.
I'll have to be extra careful as I gather my harvest.
I will poke around with a stick first.


On the brighter side, I have my little side garden that
has the beginning of a cuke!  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Eggsactly What is Going On?

Now I know my chicks love me!
I received pretty little presents from them 
since I've been tending to them while my husband
is recuperating from knee surgery.

When I go down to the coop, I bring treats!!
Green leafy treats, juicy squashy treats, 
sometimes growing in the wild kind of treats
  which they find the yummiest.

Normally I have all brown eggs since we migrated to Buffs.
There is an old Araucana but she is pretty old.
We have two cross breeds though so I think the blue is
coming out on occasion, none of them is a youngster.

Then, out of the blue
(excuse the pun)
they presented me with a tiny brown egg.
Cute and adorable to say the least,
but we'd need about 20 to make a decent omelet!

My husband says I've spoiled them.
He tried to put the chicks up before we went
to our friend's house last night; however, when
they heard someone approaching, they all ran out
to see what treats may be headed their way.
 We had to leave them out and he tracked back 
later to lock up their coop.  We're pretty secure
but you don't like to take chances, especially
with the new fox that has appeared in the yard.

See!  Here they are.
"What did you bring us today?"

( We don't wash our eggs until we are ready to use them
unless they are horribly dirty.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A PotOMeat and Squashes

I'll be the first to admit that I am not much of a meat eater,
not quite a vegetarian either- 
because there is Bacon- you can't turn down bacon!
That being said, my husband makes the BEST
St Louis pork steaks ever-- tender,
gooey, Malls BBQ sauce covered pork steaks.

They are fall of the bone good,
especially paired with zucchini or yellow squash.
Here we marinated sliced zucchini in Italian dressing,
and put them on the grill after seasoning.

(It is at this point that he left me in charge of the grill
which was soon engulfed in flames as the Italian 
dressing dripped onto the hot coals.  
Never, never leave me in charge of the bbq!)

The yellow squash was mixed with sausage, bacon,
tomatoes, onion and cheese.  Then wrapped in foil and grilled.
The deviled eggs are compliments of our chicks.
Tom has me add Durkee's Famous Sauce that 
gives them a little tang.  I just cut down the mayo
or mustard (or a little of both) and add the Durkee's.
It is sort of between a mayo and a mustard.

Another favorite was baked zucchini, marinaded
in dressing, sprinkled with seasonings and covered
in cheese that melted all over the top!

Paired with a piece of cheesy Texas toast, it was 
a perfect meal!  
(Tom would say it was missing meat)

I've got a fridge full of squash so I better get busy
making some pickled squash, squash muffins, squash bread
and whatever else I can find on line!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chipotle Burrito WOW

What a surprise!
Our manager supplied lunch at our team meeting
but wouldn't let us know what was on the menu.
Typically we pick up some pizzas and sodas
but it was time to change it up a bit.

He came in just as I was finalizing my presentation,
perfect timing because lunch was next on the agenda.

We were all pleasantly surprised.
This was one of the very best burritos I ever had.
He laid out the assortment of beef, carnitas and chicken burritos
all stuffed with beans, rice, tomatoes, a small amount of lettuce
 cheese and some sort of seasoning.  

Along with it, there was a variety of 
salsas both green and red, sour cream, avacado, fresh tomato salsa,
and roasted chili corn salsa.

Their tortilla chips are extremely salty, which is a plus.
They use lime and kosher salt on them-delicious.
It was so big I couldn't finish and ended up taking the 
second half home for dinner!
This photo is of only 1/2 of the burrito.

 It looks like you can take the ingredients and choose among
burritos, taco, salad, soft taco and a burrito bowl.
You can find the menu link here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Drunken Fly Catcher

They are everywhere!
Fruit flies here, fruit flies there.
Where the heck did they come from?

I'm not sure but I do know where they are going.
I set up a fly catcher using a Ball jar and open ended cone
made of rolled up paper and taped down so they can't escape.
Inside I place a cucumber, a piece of tomato and

Wine, you say?
Sure, it's sweet and attracts them, so why not?
I did notice an odd thing.  They were staggering.
 Looking closer- they were drunk.
Sloshed, hammered, buzzed, three sheet to the wind!

Then I heard it, a soft rhythmic buzzing.
I held the jar up to my ear - I KNOW that tune!
 They are Singing!!
Drunken fruit flies singing 

Fly Me to the Moon
I'll Fly Away
and finally
Come Fly With Me

 Some won't believe me, 
I can hardly believe it myself.
All I know is my song will be:

Shoo Fly,  Don't Bother Me!

Just kidding, guys!
I did make the fly catcher and I did use wine.
It works, they fly in and can't get out
so I release them to the wild twice a day.
I think they made their way into my (inside) potting soil
so now i have to figure out how to get rid of them there.
If nothing else, there are gnats.

In the meantime, here are some other tips on 
getting rid of flies.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Share a Coke with . . .

Now for the AWWWW moment of the day.
Look what I found- Cokes for Tom and Kathy.

My husband is recovering from his knee surgery so
I made the trip to Wal-Mart, picking up a few items
(that I couldn't get locally)
and what did I find??

Cokes for US!!
So now Tom (the hubby) and Kathy (me) can 
share a Coke together.

His knee is coming along well, in fact I have to hold him back,
trying to make him follow doctor orders.
He's doing pretty well but pretty tired of twice daily 
injections in his stomach to prevent post op blood clots.
Hopefully he'll recover quickly and get back to work.

In the meantime, we'll sit and share a Coke.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Hospital Visit- Meniscus Tear

My husband had surgery yesterday for a tear in his meniscus. 
The injury is a result of many years of being a carpenter
and other such activities that abuse the knees.
The final blow came in the chicken coop.
I had taken the day off to volunteer at the church rummage 
sale but after driving only a mile from home, my cell rang.

Come  home and bring a ladder.
He had been in the coop tending to the birds
and while attempting to jump down, he felt something
go very wrong in his knee.  He was stuck in the coop
and the birds knew it.  It was pay back time.
I had no time to waste so I quickly turned around and 
drove home, grabbed a step stool and helped him out
of the coop before they took their revenge.
Whew, safe.

I left him to call the doctor while I headed to church,
knowing there was no way to get an appointment that day.
By the time it was all said and done, 
after the insurance had approved everything,
after payment for procedures not yet performed,
he was scheduled (for the 2nd time) for surgery Thursday.
Somehow, even though he told EVERYONE he spoke with 
about his past blood clots, the doctor didn't notice until
right before the first surgery was scheduled.
Then he had to have a dopler test to check for clots
before they could proceed.

All went well, he wasn't in great pain and I took him home
and plopped him in my recliner
(his looks like a Craig's List reject and the foot piece falls unexpectedly).
The blue bandage is really a super huge ice pack with dual
panels that slides in sideways and completely wraps the knee
with velcro holding it in place.  There is another bandage beneath
and other bandages covering stitches.  He can take this all off Sunday.

Do you all like the cammo Crocs?
They are some sort of trail Crocs with very thick soles.
He needed shoes to slip on and agreed to these.
Now he doesn't care what anyone says,
these are super comfortable and you can't feel any rocks
under your feet or get twigs stuck in sandals.
I want a pair too but I can't find women's!

The bad side of this is the twice a day injections he has to give 
himself to prevent post op blood clots.  No training, just a kit.
Thankfully, YouTube had a nice tutorial.
You have to inject yourself in the stomach.
It causes large bruising, being a blood thinner
but he has to do it for only 2 weeks.
In the meantime I'll take care of things he can't 
or I should say, things he should not be doing.

This is why I was so happy that I got my coop deck and door knob.
It's a raise coop because we had to disguise it as a tool shed
due to our subdivision regulations.  At some point we just gave
up and everyone started raising chickens, goats or having other
such violations (like our antennas).  

He could just jump into the coop but at 5' 2", I couldn't even attempt it.
Now I can walk in, the food is right there, gather eggs,
change water with the handy dandy squirter attached to the 
extended hoses going down the hill from the house.
Hopefully his recovery period will be quick because he needs 
to get back to work.  It's been almost 2 months since this 
first started with one delay after the other.
Being a carpenter, you have to take advantage of work
when it's available and right now was the worst time
for this to happen because they had lots of work.
Hopefully some will still be there when he recovers!

He's doing well, much better than some others
who have had the surgery. I have to try and hold
him back from doing too much though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Around and About

The bumble rested on the bee balm as I leaned in close 
to snap his photo.  Completely unconcerned, he lounged
a while longer until something of greater interest caught his eye.
They amaze me, sometimes buzzing at head level while we 
garden as if they were just a bit curious about us. 

There was a tremendous mushroom that appeared overnite
and was gone just as quickly.

Until last night our heavy Spring rains had let up
so now we have to water every couple of days.
My husband says we need a few days in the 90's to 
make the tomatoes happy.  

We have the first of our Cherokee Purple tomatoes,
an heirloom that tastes like a tomato used to
but they have little to no shelf life.  You either eat, 
can or dehydrate them if you want to have some over the winter.
The squash has been great.
Grilled squash marinated in Italian dressing.
Grilled squash seasoned with Montreal Steak seasoning.
Squash "potato" pancakes with Italian breadcrumbs and pepper.
I want to try the squash puppies next! 

My husband wasted no time in making a sandwich
out of our harvest.  Our eggs, our peppers and tomatoes.
He had to rely on the store for the cheese and bread.

I finally have the DECK for the COOP !!!!!
It's still a little step up, more than my 5'2", 
old, creaky legged body wants to manage at 4 AM,
but such an improvement!  I used an old tool box as 
a step stool until the plastic lid caved in.  I haven't been able
to get in since and now it's a breeze!
He even changed the door knob and added a hose
with a spray head to make cleaning and watering easier.

We had a nice 4th holiday, celebrating with neighbors
and our granddaughter, Taylor.  The cooler temperatures
made it one of the coolest I can remember.  We even
put on light jackets once the sun went down! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Garden in Perfection

There are times when something strikes you, something that is all too familiar but buried so deep in the ordinary that you fail to take notice. As it happens, one day it is as if a curtain is lifted and you become awed at its existence.  Today is one of those times. 

As I approached the garden I saw what nature intended, what God designed in His perfectness. In the late morning sunshine the squash spread open its blossoms enticing the bumbles into its very depths, dusting countless hairs and coating every leg with the sweet life creating pollen.   

Arched leaves drooped in thirst on this mild but unusually dry morning.  Before watering I check each leaf for pests, surprised by the discovery of adults and nymphs surrounding a patch of perfectly aligned jeweled eggs, deeply dark and ready to burst with replacements for their comrades that perished at the hands of both man and beast.

The bumbles calmly part allowing me to turn over leaves that lay in their flight plan. I imagine to myself that they are part of the alliance of arachnids, beneficial insects, bees, fowl and human that depend on my bounty.   With God's favor, this is the year it all comes together.  A wet, cool spring to establish roots, gifted compost to provide nutrients, the discovery of wild amaranth luring pests away which allow my vines to flower, and now the sunshine, the warmth that will allow the fruits to mature. 

For this I plant, for this I hope.