Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh quit yer whining!

Marmy's vacation shed still has flowers blooming.

OMG! All the carrying on about how I never post! I told you all that I was boring... didn't you get that memo?!?

Even Marmy has gotten into the act and threatened that she would continue to leave comments full of twaddle if I don't say something new soon!

So now you all have to hear about the coma-inducing scintillating events of my life on the farm!

First off, have I mentioned how hot it is these days?? The kind of hot where all the windows are fogged up with condensation at 2 AM when you take the dogs out for a potty break? And you break a sweat waiting for them to do their thing? And that you have to let the hose run forever until the water isn't boiling anymore? Okay, I guess we have established that it is wicked-witch-melting weather out here.

The mulch pile is pretty much the same as it was.

Freshly dumped.


Hard to believe that I have moved about 10 cart loads and spread the mulch in the flower beds, and the pile still looks the same! With the heat rising so early in the morning, it is taking a lot longer than I thought!

This is the plan: First I put down a layer of cardboard I have swiped from Sam's Club on a regular basis. Hopefully, this will keep the weeds and grass out of the beds a bit better. If not, future archeologists with think I sure used a lot of Playtex, cole slaw, and frozen onion rings!

Oops, ran out of cardboard!

Then I haul the mulch, drag the cart over the rock dry bed, shove it up over the metal edging, and dump it out. Then get on my hands and knees and fling the mulch around until the cardboard is hidden, the bugs have run away and my cleavage is full of shredded wood.

Lookin good!

When the sweat has soaked my clothes, and is dripping into my sunglasses, I call it a day outside. Okay, the sweat isn't dripping from my clothes into my glasses! That would be gross! And I'm not a contortionist!

Once I cool down and take a shower or two, I work in my studio. Lately, I have been working on a few gifts for some friends. here's just a little peek:

A little crocheting.

A little sewing.

That's all you get to see until they are safely sent off.

When Stud Muffin was home a few weekends ago, we attempted to deal with an ornery beaver that has set up housekeeping in the creek.

Ingenious little bugger builds to last!

Normally, "dam-busters" would call on their friend Rick to blow the damn dam up with dynamite, but this one is too close to the wooden bridge. So we used the next best thing... a shot gun. Well, Studly did. I plugged my ears (hard to do while taking pictures!) and shrieked like a little boy as we got showered with beaver creek water!

Studly doing the deed.

Moderate success was had, but without "getting" the beaver himself, I can expect that he will have rebuilt the dam, with rebar and concrete next time, by the time I check on it again.

Studly wants you all to know that buffalos are regal animals. Don't ask. I'm checking into nursing homes for people with Old Timers disease, as we speak. See, I told you I was boring!

What else.

The garden is still producing, but have I mentioned that it's hot? Even the tomato plants are wilty and sunburned.

I have bottled (or canned if you're not Marmy) some tomatoes and made and bottled a bruschetta mixture that is quite tasty, if I do say so myself. And I do, which is great since I will be the only one eating it!!

I had to pull out the Thai Pink Egg tomatoes this morning. They were producing like mad, but the high heat and humidity have burned and started to ferment them! Walking past that bed was a cross between, "What is that smell?!?" and "Hoo, I think I'm getting high!" So, out they went.

The apples are still appling! I bit one (it bit me first, Mom!) and it was tasty! Can't wait for fall when I can pick 'em all!

So there you have it. Incredibly interesting and exciting happenings from Feet First Farm. Oh, and lots of aerobic reclining and ice cream eating.

Next up, deep philosophical discussions and political commentary! Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


You know, when most girls go shopping and are going to splurge, it's for shoes, or handbags, a little bling, perhaps. Guess I'm not most girls.

When I go shopping, it's for...

mulch! An entire dump truck full of mulch!

That's a lot of mulch!

I know, you are all jealous of my huge pile of shredded wood! Bet you all want to rush right out here and help me move all of this to the flower beds with a big wheelbarrow! Please?!?

But, I did contribute to the cost of this pile with my "farm sales" of pink tomatoes... All $8 worth!

Oh, and Stud Muffin wanted me to share this:

A basket full of spaghetti squash.

Oh, not that I have a basket of spaghetti squashes (that I grew myself, ::boast, boast::) but that I have stored them in HIS closet!

WHAT???? Is this not right??

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back from Reno

Well, I made my trip to Reno to visit my darling daughters. I went and now I'm back. You know, no matter how nice it is to travel or take a vacation, nothing beats coming "home" again!

Unfortunately, the trip wasn't as much fun as planned, due to some adjustment issues the girls are having with living and working together. This growing up stuff is hard, and I mean for the parents! Let alone for the kid(s) involved.

So there aren't too many pictures from the trip, but I promised to torture the kids at work, so I did try to do that much.

Almost Grown starts work at the animal clinic very early. Not Quite Grown had the day off. She isn't a morning person, can you tell?

She felt better after some lunch!

Then we talked on the phone. I don't remember where we were, possibly the tire store (some shopping we did!)

Then we got our eyebrows done!

The technician asked NQG how old she was. The lady thought she was 16! She is actually 20, but will appreciate looking younger when she's much older!

My turn. Yeah, not a great picture of me, but then, there is no such thing. The Girls look enormous, but at least I have TWO eyebrows!!

Another day, and I snuck a picture of Almost Grown at work.

It's hard to sneak up on NQG, but I tried.

The girl's are bringing their lunches and walking to work (well, AG is) to save money and take better care of themselves.

And here they both are!

So I went, I saw, we talked and visited. We worked on a few issues and had some laughs. I miss my girls and wish they could come home more often. Did I mention that this growing up stuff is hard on me??

I got home to find a package waiting for me from Akhila as part of her Pay It Forward.

Handmade linen potholders!

Check out the embroidery!

I finished my Pay It Forward a while ago, and frankly, had forgotten that I hadn't received her package! I love random surprises, don't you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I am leaving for 5 days, and Studly won't eat even one of these while I'm gone!!

(Madly shoving tomatoes into envelopes and sending them to everyone I have ever met! Oops, leakage at the corners!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why I will never be invited on a cooking show

This is such a case of "do as I say, not as I do!"

Today I canned pickled beets. " Why?," I have asked myself over and over. Something to do with self-sufficiency or some such twaddle.

The Beet Is On by phxpma.

It has been 96 degrees on my covered porch most of the day.

I have been running hither (great word!) and yon (ooh, another one!) placing sprinklers around the yard(s) trying to keep the lawn from bursting into spontaneous flames.

I got fed up with losing the battle of the dodder and ripped up the entire squash bed and covered it in a heavy sheet of plastic to bake the frickin' weeds to death. Did I mention it was and still is 96 degrees on my covered porch??

And then there were the beets that I bought at the farmer's market sitting on the table mocking me! Really! They sat there in all their knobby smugness and actually dared me to do something with them. Which I have never attempted before.

Photo by Jim Carson.

So, I found this simple sounding recipe for pickled beets and thought I could surely handle it. You cook the beets, cut the tops off and peel, put the spices in the jars, stuff the beets in and cover with a boiling sugar and vinegar. Process for about a year and a half in a boiling water bath and Ta Da!! Magic.

I got as far as step two before I ran into trouble. In spite of the sniggering I heard coming from the cooking pot, I was smart enough to put on rubber gloves before touching the bleeders. Cutting off the tops and bottoms, no problem.

Peel them?? How do you do that, like a banana, from the top down?? Do you need a knife or peeler? Does William Sonoma sell at beet peeling gizmo to do the job? Okay, you squeeze them around in your rubber glove hand, which BTW, is just like trying to type with baseball mitts on each hand, and if you're lucky, the skin kinda rubs off.

The carnage.

The first beet squirted out of my hand, slicker than snot on a doorknob and ricocheted around the sink until I caught it. Unfortunately, I caught it up against my chest and then I looked like I was trying to paint nipples on my shirt so everyone would know I was a girl! (I was once mistaken for a boy while buying tampons at the drug store when I was a teenager, but that is a story for another time!)

{Note: I'm thinking that Rachel Ray probably wouldn't appreciate me shooting flaming hot beets at her, the cameramen or the adoring audience members. Not to mention the string of swear words that escaped my mouth when I wasn't looking?}

But, in the end, I sorta peeled each and every chortling beet, but not without shrieks of "sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!" and bits of slimy skin flipping around the entire kitchen! I know there are some pieces on the drainboard, but it was already covered up with drying pots, so they will have to stay (and stain) awhile longer.

The aftermath.

The recipe said to put the peeled beets into the jar while still hot. Okay, I'm slow, excuuuuuuse meeeee! Mine were still warm, so I forged ahead. Spices in, hateful beets in, and ladle the scorching vinegar neatly into the really hot jar. I am imagining the conversation at the ER as I explain how I lost the battle to can beets, got third degree burns all over my right hand, melted a rubber glove onto the left, but no, that isn't blood seeping through my shirt in the area of The Girls.

Cap the suckers and plunk them into the pot of boiling water.

Wait elevendy-hundred years while the swimming -pool size pot of water returns to a boil. Clean the kitchen, find beety fingerprints on the microwave timer, the stove knobs and the side of my nose (don't ask!) Start timing and go wash the stains out of the shirt.

When the beet smeared timer goes off, retrieve the jars from the pink tinged churning water.

Run outside AGAIN to move the watering. Come back inside and notice that the house smells like Babushka has been making kraut. Light a candle. Heck, light three or four!

So, what's with that "do as I say, not as I do?" cr*p?? The above is what I do. This is what I say:

If you want pickled beets, go to the grocery store and buy a #$&^%&* jar of pickled beets!

And this, my friends is why I will never be invited on a television cooking show!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Random thoughts and questions

Being as I am the most boringest person in blogland, I have these questions and thoughts to put out there for your consideration and inevitable ignoring:

* Why do the first chocolate chip cookies out of the oven magically weld themselves to the serving plate? Is there a cosmic conspiracy in place so that when you are desperate for one of the last cookies at 1:30 AM, you have to chisel it off with butter knife, shooting it across the kitchen onto the dog-hair encrusted floor, and then have to race said hairy dogs to retrieve the cookie before they devour it? Nick and Sassy do not appreciate the 5 second rule of cookie ownership.

* Why does Nick have to stick his head in shrubs and grasses full of burrs, E.V.E.R.Y. single time you let him out to play, thereby allowing you the privilege of repeatedly picking the burrs out of his ears and neck and chin and feet and...?

Sassy and Nick patiently waiting for fresh peas from the garden.

* Why is it so d*mn hot and muggy here in the summer?? I'm telling you, it's bad when you break a sweat in your shorty pajamas while letting the dogs out in the middle of the night to tend to their business. I have sweat beads under my eyes! And my Lady Lumps! And working in the yard results in crotch-pot cookin', y'all! Alright, TMI, I know.

* I like tomatoes. There, I said it. Call me a freak, but I've already copped to this in my previous post, so really, you can wipe the shocked look off of your faces!
Thai Pink Egg tomatoes in the morning dew. See? Even they are sweating!

And lucky for me, I've got tomatoes, coming out my ears and garden, and they don't have salmonella so I can eat them all if I want! Stud Muffin would rather lick the kitchen floor than eat one, so they are all mine!

Orange Banana Tomatoes, and yes, I know that one has a run in it!

* I planted too many spaghetti squash plants! I started everything from seed this year, and with my skill, never expected much of it to survive. Now I am paying the price with an over abundance of spaghetti squash!

And I've already pawned off bestowed over 13 pounds of it to friends! There is more in the garden.

My 16 quart canning pot from the previous picture. For perspective, you know.

* And speaking of my new pressure canning pot, how can a company send out a potentially explosive device with an instruction manual that is missing pages and repeats pages 26-51 THREE times?? I am waiting for a replacement manual, but that hasn't kept me from using the pot and making the whole house smell like thousand year-old boiled cabbage that has been stored in a gym locker. Yummmm!

* This is for Marmy, who has developed an unhealthy attraction to my dishes and is at this moment probably planning an intercontinental search and liberate campaign to abscond with them back to England. Figured I'd might as well show her where they are kept.

Ignore the redneck liquor on the upper shelf... or not!

* Oh! And why (do I always start a sentence with "And"? Oh shut up!!) when I am finally leaving on my trip to Reno to visit the girls does a tumorous growth erupt on my chin like I was prepubescent?? Oh. My. God. I am 27 39 shit! Okay, I'm forty-ahem years old! I do not need a career as the newest Clearasil girl!! Maybe I can give the growth to my daughters. What are loving mothers for??

Girls at Christmas. I wonder if I'll recognize them now!!

So I am off to visit the girls, and will be back next week with pictures I take designed especially to embarrass them in their place of work. Have fun, stay cool, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer on a plate

As much as I love summer fruits, this to me is the epitome of summer pleasure!

A medley of three types of homegrown heirloom tomatoes; Orange Banana, Rio Grande Roma, and Pink German Lunchbox. A little chopped fresh basil, a bit of feta cheese, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!

Ah, heaven! I could eat this everyday!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chiggers! And a kitchen swap!!

#^&%&((%$ Chigger!! Photo by Mundo Poco.

Sorry to be so quite lately. After the last go 'round of blackberry picking (with more to come probably tomorrow!) I have been itching and scratching myself into insanity. And all because of that dreaded Southern bugger, the chigger!

Now, I know I am just a city girl pretending to live in the country, but I expect any bugs that want a piece of me to at least be visible and make for a good target. Not chiggers, though! These nasties require a magnifying glass to see, and shucks, I don't carry one with me. So, in spite of long jeans, socks, hightop boots, and a long sleeve shirt, I got chigger bit, but bad!

Around both ankles, up my shins and behind both knees! And these bites have the most intense itching I have ever experienced! Wake you up in the night kind of itching! So I have been sitting around the house with ice bags on my feet plotting the nuclear annihilation of all things chigger, and feeling very sorry for my berry-picking self!

Now I don't step outside the house without a heavy mist of bug repellent and I'm thinking of dressing like this guy!

Photo by kthread

I think the duct tape add a little panache to the outfit, don't you??

Now for something happier! Today I received in the mail a large box with my kitchen swap goodies in it! Marcia from Blue Bobbin was my partner and she had told me she was going to be late with it, but frankly, I had stopped looking for it. So it was a nice surprise! You can see what I sent her here.

Look at all this stuff!

Boy, Marcia really stuffed that box! There were knitting patterns,

local candies (all is forgiven, Marcia!)

a beautiful apron she made me, dish cloths, scrubby and a dish cloth that looks like a dress which she included the pattern for. The apron was wrapped in green tulle net, so I can make produce bags out of it!

Check out this lovely pink glass bowl. She knew I liked vintage things and this was a great idea! There is another pot holder, dish cloth she made and a box of Rice A Roni. Why the rice, you might ask? Well, it WAS a kitchen swap theme, and she graciously included a favorite recipe that calls for the rice. Brilliant!

Thank you so much, Marcia! it was well worth the wait!