Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dig it!

(Yukon Gold potatoes and a wiffle ball)

It has turned cool here the past week so I decided to make soup for supper --  Zuppa Toscana and  paired it with a fresh artisan loaf of bread.  I thought I had potatoes in my pantry, but didn't.  But wait!  I did have potatoes... in the potato patch!  I slipped on my clogs and went out to check underneath the straw to see if perhaps there were a few nice spuds I could harvest for my soup.  I pulled back the straw from one of the withered plants and there were four softball sized Yukon Gold spuds waiting for me.  Oh joy!

As you may recall, I did a version of the No-Dig Method of Potato Planting again this year with a small change.  I dug in the seed potatoes just about 3" under the soil and then covered them heavily with straw mulch.  When the potato plants came up and shot up a foot or so, I added another thick layer of straw.  I only watered my potato patch 3 times this summer, and it was wet enough to grow potatoes along with some slugs (ew!).  I only needed one of these large potatoes to make a small pot of Zuppa for Hubs and me.  And oh, did it taste good.  The Yukon Golds have such a thin skin that there is really no need to peel them for the soup. I've only dug up a few more spuds so far to share with my dad who is always so generous with me sharing his abundance of garden produce.

Dad and I were talking about our gardens, the ups and downs of each of them.  He has fabulous tomatoes, beef steaks, that are bigger than the palm of his hand, while mine are pathetic and few. He has gobs of apples, and I have two.   He has peppers galore, and I have a few small ones.  My garden, however, has wonderful carrots and potatoes, pumpkins and squash, cucumbers and lettuces. Dad started telling me about his father's garden in eastern South Dakota.  I was just a girl, and I remember walking through rows of tall, tall corn, and getting lost in the rows.  Grandpa's garden was huge!  His garden grew long rows of sweet corn, taller than Grandpa's head, and there were rows of spuds and tomatoes and carrots and beans and all manner of garden vegetables.  Dad told me that Grandpa never watered his garden, that there was always just enough rain to keep the garden growing through the summer.  That amazes me because I could not grow a thing here if I didn't have water.  I cannot ever count on there being summer rains to keep a garden moist enough to grow and produce anything.  After growing row gardens in the past and now raised bed gardens, I do think that row gardens retain moisture better than the raised beds.  Do you think so?  Mulch sure helps too, but I don't remember there being any mulch on Grandpa's garden.

I took old Tom Jefferson's advice this summer and planted a teaspoon of lettuce seed every other week or so and I have lovely greens at various stages of maturity.  I haven't bought a head of lettuce all summer, and we eat a LOT of lettuce here.  Salads daily.  It's going to be hard to go back to grocery store lettuce when summer's over.

Are you hearing murmurings of an early fall and a hard winter coming up?  I have, but I'm ignoring it all.  I love summer so much that I refuse to listen to it, but instead I will live in the day and live summer to the hilt until it has passed into fall.  Most people think summer is over when school begins, but I disagree.  Summer is summer until it is gone (Sept. 22nd) and even then we might get a nice little extension of Indian Summer.  I'm hopeful.  I want more gardening, more homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers, more barefoot days, more sunshine on my skin, more flowers blooming and green grass growing, and more warm rains falling on pastures.  I want more days with short-sleeved shirts and shorts, more sandal days, more days pushing the grands in the swings, and more birdsong and duckquacks.  A pair of Sandhill Cranes are roosting in the big cottonwoods near our house at night.  I see them fly up from the trees when I walk by in the evening.  I want more of that too.  Do you think I want too much?  Enjoy summer.  I am will be!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I see the moon and the moon sees me...

Full Moon from August 10

I've thought about stopping in here to say hello and tell you about all the things that are going on, but the days just keep on dashing by and I haven't taken the time to stop and blog.  I took this picture for you on August 10th and here it is now August 18th!

I love the moon and so do all my grandkids.  They can always spot her in the night sky as well as in  the daytime sky.  I think that's cool.  The moon connects us all, in a way, since we all see the same one even though we are in different places and in different situations and in different time zones.  I don't worship the moon, I worship the Creator of the moon, but I do appreciate the moon's beauty which gives me a sense of smallness in the universe.  I think that feeling small is a good thing for me. 

Speaking of my grandkids, I'm on Grammy Duty this week for several days.  M&G brought Bee and Rootie Toot here to stay with us while they take a work-vacation.  They arrived Saturday night and will stay with us until Thursday sometime.  The cousins have been joining us for fun and playing too.  By the end of the day, we've had lots of romping & roping, climbing rocks & picking flowers, making mud cupcakes and birthday cakes.  They've pulled carrots from the garden to eat fresh with their fringed carrot tops on, and they've picked green tomatoes for their potions (which Grammy was not happy about!).  I'm glad we've had nice, warm days so we can play outdoors for the majority of the time. Sleep is sweet at the end of each day.

At bedtime we read at least two books and then sing a couple songs.  One night I started to sing Jesus Loves Me and Bee said, "Gram, sing one of YOUR songs."  It' tickled me that she has now assigned certain songs to me because I introduced them to her and Rootie.  Some of MY songs are:  Home on the Range, I've Been Workin' on the Railroad, Get Along Little Dogies, Hickory Dickory Dock, Hey Didddle Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle, and more.  All the grandkids are singers.  That makes me happy.  

OnlyDaughter and I spent a day canning Colorado Peaches a few days ago.  We canned 24 quarts of peaches and split them between us.  We also saved enough peaches out of our boxes to eat some fresh.  I baked a peach pie yesterday and boy, was it delicious!  I love those juicy globes of sweet nectar!  

Well, my time is now up.  The wee ones will be up from their naps in just minutes so I'm going to wrap this up and say good bye, and thank you for stopping by.  I hope you are enjoying each summer day.  Soon the days will turn cool and summer will pass.  Look up and see the moon!

I see the Moon and the Moon sees me,
And the moon sees Somebody I can't see.
God Bless the Moon and God Bless me,
And God Bless the one that I can't see. 

God looked down on me from above,
And He picked you out for me to love,
He picked you out from all the rest,
Because He knew that I'd love you the best. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Good, simple things...

 Sage Grouse grazing in the flower gardens.

 A pop-up afternoon thunderstorm brought us a good rain, a half inch.
There was a lightning strike and another fire north of us, 
but it was short lived and rained out.

 Just before the storm, I ran out and picked a big head of lettuce.
This is a Butterhead.

 My new Birkenstocks.  
Hippie Flower.

Playing in the kiddie pool with the grands.

 Sunflowers blooming inside and outside the fence.

The subtitle of this blog post was going to be "Oh Poop!"  Can you guess why?  The septic backed up.  Joe Dirt (that's his business name) came and pumped the septic tank but there was digging that needed to be done to fix the problem.  Thanks be to God for good men who know how to do this kind of work.  Our men rented a backhoe from town and had the problem fixed in an afternoon.  Gotta love 'em!  The backyard's a little messy for now, the bathroom still stinks, but I can flush and wash up the dishes!   You know what Erma Bombeck said, "The grass is always greener over the septic tank."  It was, and it will be again!

We had a nice family gathering yesterday with twenty of us here.  I made Indian Tacos and all the womenfolk brought things to help out with the meal.    The littles had fun in the spa (pool) while the grown-ups talked and while observing all the splashing and screaming.  I made that really delicious Basil Lemonade,  and everyone enjoyed it.  JJo wondered if we could do something with all the lemon & lime leftovers, and I remembered citrus-infused vinegar.  I had an extra gallon so we scooped all that goodness into a mason jar and poured white vinegar over it.  It already smells good and will be nice for homemade cleaning products.  Ever tried it?

Addendum on Lemonade:
If you don't have sweetened condensed milk, you can add another 1/4 cup of sugar (or to your taste) to the simple syrup and proceed with the instructions.  I have also used a combination of lemons & limes for a different twist.  The limes definitely give it a really fun flavor.


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