Thursday, June 26, 2008

I've been a baddddd blogger!

Sorry everyone, okay, all two of you, for being a lax blogger! I really have no excuse, just the usual business of life.

So, what have I been doing? Lately, I have been spending quite a bit of time on Kubota Jane cleaning up various fields. Remember the field I cleared last fall? Well, I don't have a picture, but I told you about it, I'm sure. This is what is looked like when I could finally drive over the repaired creek crossing to check it out.

I had this field down to bare dirt in the fall!

After some time with my tractor, this is what you get.

This is the back field after mowing last summer.

Gratuitous picture of me on Kubota Jane.

This is how the field looks now. I guess I have more tractor work to do...darn!

I started this morning by picking more blackberries.

I got two quarts today, for which I earn $4.00 (whoo hoo!) and had a run in with a big-ass large snake (eeww!) I was armed, but since he wasn't bothering me, I didn't shoot him. I thought that was a fair tradeoff.

This is today's harvest:

Taken this morning. I got 5 yellow pear tomatoes this afternoon!

Two quarts of blackberries, 3 zuckes, and 3 "stuffing" peppers that you couldn't stuff anything into!

And now the garden update in photos. Sorry for the blurry ones... it was hot AND breezy this afternoon!

Roma tomatoes about ripe.

Loaded Gala apple tree.

Improvised PVC apple support.

A pair of pears.

The lone "puzzy" peach.

Stuffing peppers looking good!

Okay, these peppers are really small too!

The Thai Pink Egg tomatoes are really set!

I guess that's it. I have been working in my studio on a valance for Studly, but there isn't anything to see yet. Both my girls are working at the same vet clinic! yesterday, a Siberian tiger came in with a broken tooth, and a guy drove 4 hours to bring in his two large hawks for... well, something medical. Their days are more exciting than mine, but I get to eat the "fruits" of my labor!! Bwahaha!

Friday, June 20, 2008

First fruits of the season!

A couple of days ago, I took this picture of my first ripening tomato. A lovely looking striped hybrid called Red Lightening that I am trying for the first time this year.

Today, I wanted to check on how completely the color was on the fruit and to see how firmly it was still attached to the vine. You know, in case it wanted to drop into my hand for eating!

Rotten tomato... definitely a boy!

Unfortunately, as I checked it's underside (to see if it was a boy tomato or a girl one,) there was an enormous spot of blossom end rot! Arg! It was promptly snipped from the vine, so it wouldn't spread it's rottenness to the other innocent tomatoes and I pitched it into the woods with my best girly throw.

Miss Sassy took off after the tomato as if it was a shiny red ball, retrieved it, and then promptly ate it on the lawn. Sorry, no pictures of my garbage disposing dog! But she was kind of like Nick was last year with his frozen watermelon!

After the tomato-eater and her consort were back in the house, I went out to see what wild blackberries were ready to be plucked. I came back an hour later with this many:

About a quart of fresh blackberries.

which I took down to the farmer's market and sold for $2.00 for the quart. Yep. I'm a farmer, and I make $2.00 an hour being assaulted by vicious blackberry plants and dive-bombed by flying, buzzing insects!

But I also pulled some wild garlic plants, which had already bloomed (this is how I knew they were garlic... duh!) so I'm not sure how good the bulbs will be. They are on the porch drying and trying to keep from being eaten by the garbage disposal dog!

Oh! And I just now harvested my first spaghetti squash! I micro-cooked it and added butter, garlic and parmesan...yum!

Little, but it's so tasty!

So, I am a happy, underpaid farmer/forager with a veggie-eating canine companion! Life is good!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I love me a good rummage!

While out running errands last week, I past by the local Christian university, holding it annual rummage sale. I usually stop in, never take a pre-offered shopping bag, and come away with nothing.

Not this time. This time, I decided to take a shopping tote at the door and proceeded to find (for me) a haul!

A graniteware coffee pot, missing the lid knob, which I will plant with something pretty. A blue glass insulator, and a yellow and blue ceramic baby food warmer, complete with the metal plug for the hot water chamber. Might keep this on my sewing table, or sell it on Ebay. Any thoughts? In the very back is a cute little display rack made from wooden advertising rulers glued together.

Then I found this box of spools of embroidery thread. Might use them, might just display them. Yes, I will put them in something nicer than an old shoebox! Don't you just love this vintage knitted baby boy's outfit?? Haven't decided what to do with this. Any suggestions??

A large tablecloth with brown and sherbety-orange flowers.

And finally, three tea towels and a bit of vintage fabric. I love the rooster/peacock on the towel to the left. The brown linen piece is a brand new towel with flowers of Australia.

Not bad for all of $6! So glad I used their magic shopping tote!

Otherwise, things have been kinda slow around here. For the past few months I have been struggling with stabbing pains from my spine, through my left shoulder and down into the elbow. It feels like when you hit your funny bone, only the twinges never go away! Now, the index finger and thumb on my left hand have gone numb.

The doctor has been chasing the pain around with a syringe of steroids, but it never helps much. I finally went for a an MRI on Sunday (Happy Father's Day, Stud Muffin and please take me to the hospital!) The report indicates that I have bone spurs on 3 vertebrae and I have an appointment with a neurologist in the middle of July. Not surprisingly, the scan of my brain came back as "unremarkable!" I'll say!

So, until then, I am taking Percocet twice a day and some anti-inflammatory drugs and not getting much done. I am on my way towards becoming a real hop-head (as Studly's Aunt Mary used to called it when you take pain killers!) but there isn't anything else to do until the brain guy decides if he want to cut me open and shave off the spurs. Sounds fun, eh? On the good side, Studly thinks I look good in spurs, but that's another story!

This guy is one step ahead of me on the pain meds! Photo by Chuckumentary.

I have been working on my duct tape dummy, but am having trouble crafting a stand for it. I got it stuffed, but when I came back the next morning, it had exploded, looking like a victim on that world famous TV program, CSI: Fluffy-land. There was fluff sticking out everywhere, and duct tape stretched beyond it's limit. And, my lady lumps were looking decidedly flat!! How rude!

I have tried sewing a shirt for myself (not flattering) and have started and stopped a couple of crochet projects. Maybe I will just stare off into space like newborns do, and watch the atoms collide!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Random thoughts

This is for The Barefoot Gardener who commented that she was jealous on the post about making strawberry jam. I'm assuming it was the jam she was jealous of, and not the peas, but you never know.

Anyway, I made some fresh sourdoughish bread the other day to go with my 3/4 jar of jam that I put in the fridge.

Of course, I couldn't wait for the butter to melt on the just-from-the-oven hot bread!


And I'm embarrassed to say that half of the first loaf and almost all of the 3/4 jar of jam are now gone! Oh, those naughty doggies!


I know everyone is quite tired of the tale of my road, so here is the swan song. Although I haven't yet received the bill, Lance called and told me the amount. I was so prepared (and scared) that he was going to say that he needed extra rock, or something and that it was going to cost $20,000, so I had a hard time wrapping my mind (and ears) around his country twang telling me that it came in under $14,000!

If I wasn't convinced that he is as honest as the day is long, I would have suspected that he over-quoted just to look like a hero at the end! It almost seems like a bargain now. Almost.


And finally, my goodies are just about finished for Pink Petal Design's kitchen swap.

This is just a little tease for my partner, Marcia. So, dearie, do you want them now, or should I wait closer to the 20th to send them?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Garden update and other stuff

Time for a little garden update since, well, that's about all that's going on around here! I went out this morning with my two canine helpers to visit the garden. Isn't it purdy?

The raised bed in front contains (barely!) spaghetti squash. And there is good news and bad news here. The good news is that the squash are growing.

The bad news is that the bed has a case of dodder, which a creepy parasitic plant that can actually smell other plants to find and attach to them.

These nasties, sometimes called witch's mantle, witch's hair or devil's hair, can't survive without a host plant to suck the life out of and coil up the host, draping bright orange tendrils over the top of the plant, smothering the host until it dies. Nice, yeah?

I have been madly ripping the dodder off of this poor squash plant, and finally had to yank the whole plant!

If left to it's own devices, this is what would happen!

Photo by Martin LaBar

But the garden news isn't all bad. The tomatoes are plumping up nicely.

The apples are doing well too.

I do have to watch Sassy in the garden, though. Yesterday, I caught her in a raised bed rooting around for carrots. And this morning, I saw her licking peas hanging on the vine!!


Road, glorious road!

I took a little tour of the property down my really nice road this morning.

Even this little turtle liked my road as he crossed it!

I had to check out the beeeg drain pipe. From this

to this:

I drove past the field that I worked so hard on in the fall to clear, Yeah, if you let Mother Nature have her way, she will take it all back!

I even had started dragging the field to remove stumps and roots. Sigh.

The blackberries are starting to ripen!


In the "Slap my *ss and call me Judy" department, last night, Stud Muffin and I had parmesan encrusted Talapia for dinner! I know! Fish and Stud Muffin in the same breath! And it was good!! We will be having that again with angel hair pasta with butter and lemon, just like last night!

Okay, everyone who knows us can get up off of the floor now!


And last, but not least, as I was writing this post, the dogs started barking and whining like crazy! Nick was standing up on the window sill, but I couldn't see anything outside! I let them out the front door, and while Sassy ran off to get a toy, Nick headed straight for the shrubs in front of the new white fence.

He found a turtle!

Nick poked and sniffed, then he barked at it, and then he did what any self-respecting dog would do when the turtle didn't show it's fright at his ferocious barking... he whizzed on the shrubs around the turtle. Take that, you turtle!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fresh food, my favorite thing!

Today was a good day at the farmer's market! Well, first, it was a good day at my farm. The dogs and I picked more peas!

Of course, it was already very hot and humid first thing this morning when we headed for the garden! The dogs are never far behind when I harvest things from the garden. Sassy has even been caught stealing a little apple from the tree!

I shelled the peas this afternoon.

And that wasn't even all of them!

After a cool shower, I set off for the big farmers market in town. Saturday is the best day to go for the most variety. I got some sweet onions, and some peaches, some organic tomatoes and these!

Two of the three quarts I bought, all cleaned and ready to go.

I got these from the cutest young Mennonite couple. They couldn't have been older than early twenties. He could barely grow a goatee, let alone a full beard. But they grow their own produce and I like to support local growers.

I decided to make no-cook, freezer jam. It's so simple!

Very few ingredients needed.

A cup and half of sugar mixed with a package of no-cook freezer pectin.

Then you get to mash up the strawberries with a potato masher!

Add the sugar and pectin mixture and stir for three minutes.

Fill the freezer containers and get an extra jar for the fridge! Let set up for thirty minutes, then freeze (or stash for toast tomorrow!)

Give the bowl to the dogs for the pre-wash cycle! Everybody wins and a good day was had by all!