Saturday, May 31, 2014

Country Garden Weed Control (or not) Update

Warning .... picture heavy.

March 2013 Mowing Weeds

More Weeds
All pretty & neat - why won't it stay this way?
August 2013 - It was as if we hadn't done anything.
Lots of Weeds

More Weed Whacking
 
Trying black plastic on a few beds

March 2014 - plastic helped somewhat in the beds but in
between was another story so we decided to put down
cardboard & pine bark mulch.

Different angle

Looks all nice & neat again.

Wish it would stay this way.

May 2014 - better but those weeds left are deep! And,
they seem to have taken a liking to cardboard. I think
they think it's some kind of fertilizer instead of a deterrent.
 
Added more cardboard & mulch to the other walkway.

It was all helping but not controlling & since I'm not up there (yet) to be able to tackle the weeds on a regular basis we decided to spray. NOT something that I wanted to do but we've got to get the upper hand at some point. So we did what we did. We'll see if the spray helps kill it back so we can mulch thicker & on a regular basis.

We didn't spray the asparagus beds which are doing much better because I have thicker mulch & some cow poo & more leaves on them & the few weeds that spring up are manageable - no pic. I plan on putting in crowns as soon as I can get some, may be too late for them again this year but if so, I'll put them in next spring.

Regardless, the other beds aren't getting anything planted in them until next fall (2015) at the earliest, so hopefully, the bad stuff will have dissipated. I never planned on being an organic gardener to begin with but hoped to do more natural gardening. We'll see if that pans out after I am able to tend to it regularly.

Anyway, here's a few more pics of the trees & such. Not sure if I mentioned before it but we lost all 3 large oaks that we planted to some strange disease & lost the lemon & lime to freeze. So, I plucked a few oak seedlings & a bay laurel from the City property & planted those in March & so far, knock on wood, they haven't died. Plus we got a few fruit & maple trees in the ground as well.

The 'Orchard' - 2 apple & 2 peach

Lone Surviving Orange
Gets the worst wind & no wind break but
it survived the winter. The other 2 citrus
with wind breaks did not, go figure.

Bay Laurel about 3 ft. tall, dug up from City House.

1 of about 8 tiny oaks seedlings from City House - about 1 ft.

1 of 2 purchased Maples.


The fruit trees & Maples were purchased in early March 2013 from a Greenscape sale in the City. Prices were very good for decent sized trees ($10 - &15 each).


Last but not least, as MIL & FIL were fertilizing the crepe myrtles we planted last year (which are doing great by the way) we noticed this in one of the crepe myrtles. Anybody know what kind of snake it might be?

Snake skin in a crepe myrtle

Close up of skin





Monday, May 26, 2014

A simple Thank You ...

From the bottom of my heart ... for all of you that have served & those that have given their lives for our freedom!!!

memorial day : Flag of USA

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Finally, my review!

I bought this book back in January right after it was released on Amazon. We took a trip later that month & I took it with me but only got about 1/2 through it. Once back home, I couldn't for the life of me find it. It wasn't until the next trip that I located it in the bottom of a rarely used compartment of my suitcase. I thought I was going to have to buy another copy so I was happy I would finally be able to finish it. However, I walked out of the house & forgot to take it with me!


This past week I picked it up again & I just now finished reading it. I loved it! Here's my review from Amazon:

I have followed Leigh's blog for about 2 years now. I enjoy how she break things down that she is doing & explains things very clearly. This book was an extension of her writing style. She walks the reader through all they went through to get started on their Homesteading journey. She outlines their dreams, plans, trials, tribulations & research. Boy, does she know how to go about researching something! I only wish I had half their patience as they continue in reaching their goals. This book is a must read for anyone thinking about being self sufficient or living a 'simpler' lifestyle.

Well done Leigh. For those that don't already follow her blog, head on over to 5 Acres & A Dream to read about what it takes to settle a Homestead & keep it going.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Few Recipes

The pics an be found here: Food Pics

Amish Broccoli Salad (FB)

1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar- can use substitute as well
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine the chopped broccoli and cauliflower in a large bowl.


In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and salt to make a creamy dressing.

Add the dressing to the broccoli–cauliflower mix, stirring to evenly coat the vegetables.

Stir in the bacon and the cheese, reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top of the salad just before serving.

Carrot Souffle

Ingredients:

1 lb. carrots (peeled & cut into cubes)
1/2 c. butter (I used about a 1/3 c.)
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs (bring to room temp)
3 T. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 - 1/2 c. sugar (I used 1/4 c.)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a casserole dish (deep works better)

Mix dry ingredients & set aside.

Cook carrots in boiling salted water until soft but not mushy.

Put carrots in food processor & add butter immediately.

Pulse a few times until butter is melted & carrots are mushed.

Add vanilla & eggs.

Pulse a few more times.

Add dry ingredients & mix well.

Pour all into prepared dish & bake for about 45 minutes until puffy & top is lightly browned.

Serve warm. 

Bok choy Roll Ups

Baby bok choy
Chopped Onion
Sliced Mushrooms
Cubed Sweet potato
Grated Cheese
Meat (optional)

Cut stems from bok choy
Blanch leaves, cool
Chop stems
Saute stems, onion, mushrooms & sweet potato
Remove from heat & stir in cheese & meat. I had left over pork tenderloin which I chopped up.
Fill leaves & roll up
Steam for 10 - 15 minutes

Note: Any mixture of vegetables would work in this recipe. I just used what I had on hand.

Crunchy Granola (Food Storage)

1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup water
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
8 cups rolled oats
¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
¾ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
½ cup shredded coconut
dried fruits, if desired (tropical fruit is good, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, cherries are all great.)

Heat oven to 275 degrees.

Combine brown sugar and water in a 4 cup microwave proof cup.

Microwave on high 5 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, mix oats and nuts & coconut

Add the brown sugar mixture.

Mix thoroughly.

Spread onto 2 cookie sheets and bake for a total of 45 minutes or until golden brown.

After 25 minutes, stir and put back in the oven for the rest of the time.

When granola has cooked completely, add dried fruits
.

Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets (Skinnytaste.com)

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets Or breakfast meat of your choice
4 whole large eggs
1 cup egg whites
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar (Sargento)
1/4 cup good grated cheese like pecorino romano
1 tsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Steam broccoli with a little water for about 6-7 minutes.

When broccoli (meat) is cooked, crumble into smaller pieces and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Spray a standard size non-stick cupcake tin with cooking spray and spoon broccoli (meat) mixture evenly into 9 tins.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, eggs, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Add a touch of milk to the eggs prior to the beating.

Pour into the greased tins over broccoli (meat) until a little more than 3/4 full. 

Top with grated cheddar and bake in the oven until cooked, about 20 minutes. 

Serve immediately. 

Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator to enjoy during the week.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tidbits (food & such) Warning! - Picture Heavy

Not been doing a whole lot. Just trying a few new recipes from my CSA delivery & playing with my new camera (Christmas gift to myself). It's starting to get very hectic at work as we are going into our busy cycle which happens every 4 years. Also getting ready to head to another quilting retreat next weekend. This time for a whole week. I'll stop & pick up a friend in SC & then head on to VA, looking forward to it!

Without further adieu here's my food picture chronicle (click to bigefy):

Homemade crunchy granola

Homemade bun & sausage lentil soup

Super Bowl Nachos

Pork tenderloin, sliced & sauteed

Broccoli Amish salad

Bok Choy roll-ups

Cheesy Cornbread

Broccoli egg muffin

Husband's First ever omelet!

Cheese & Bacon egg muffins

Carrot top
Carrot Souffle
That Carrot Souffle is one of the best things I have ever cooked! I published the recipe over at Hot Flash Homestead since she had an overload of carrots. She served it as a dessert but we eat it as a side dish with fish or chicken. It's like a light version of sweet potato souffle but not even 1/2 as sweet. It's good leftover too!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our Garden was Vandalized!

We arrived at the Country House Saturday around noon. Looked out at the garden & said "What the ..?".


From the house it looked like very large Dandelions had sprouted over several of the beds.



Upon closer inspection I realized it was newspaper, wet newspaper.



A few weekends ago I had stuffed newspaper in the concrete block holes in four of the beds. I had hoped the newspaper would help with the weeds. I'm planning on adding leaf compost on top of the paper, eventually. Hopefully before the weeds start to spring free.


But someone had come behind me & pulled up all the newspaper, out . of . all . four . beds. What the ...?

Upon closer inspection I see in the bottom of one of the holes, a cigarette butt. Why would someone pull up all that newspaper I had taken about 3 hours to painstakingly crush and put into each . and . every . blasted hole?

What had I done to anger someone so?

Upon even closer inspection I realized it wasn't a cigarette butt after all ....... It was Goose Poop!


Geese come and go all year long & apparently they thought there Must Be Something Good underneath all that paper.

Geesh, if it isn't the Beavers, it's the Geese. I stuffed it all back in, hoping they realize there isn't anything underneath & leave it alone.

Daggum Geese!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back from Vacation to Cold Weather

We had a little mini vacation to bring in the New Year. We arrived in Cancun, Mexico on January 1st for a few days of sun, relaxation, food, drinks & more drinks. My husband met his quota from the warehouse he buys from & they treated us, along with about 50 other dealers, to a trip to Mexico. A little business (very little actually) mixed in with pleasure & relaxation.

I wasn't in the picture taking mood so you won't have to be bored looking through my vacation pics.

I read a lot, & relaxed a lot more. I had spa appointments & naps & food every 4 hours or so although the food wasn't that great. The place we stayed at was an all inclusive & we weren't expecting too much. It rained a couple of days but that didn't bother us at all. We pretty much stayed on resort property & took it easy. Even though Mexico isn't our favorite destination, overall it was a nice vacation.

Leigh I did get to start your book but I didn't make it all the way through, yet. Loving it so far, very organized & will definitely be a great reference book!

Anyway we came home to the South to very cold temps. It got down to around 19 degrees here last night. Not even 1/2 as cold as the rest of the nation but cold for us! The last time I remember it that cold was almost 10 years ago. Here are a few pics from then.






Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in the Country & Happy New Year

We went up on Christmas Day, after spending the day with family. We were greeted with wind & cold, not unusual for this time of year. Why does the wind always blow in the wrong direction for the current season? The NE wind in winter is just brutal. We may not have ice & snow but wet & very windy conditions make it unpleasant to be outside. Nothing like our Northern neighbors have to deal with but unpleasant nonetheless. Our house sits on a slight hill in the middle of field that was used to grow many things like watermelons & cantaloupe & even tobacco at one time. There are no trees so no wind break except for the other side of the house. That NE wind would be most welcome in the Spring & Summer but it rarely happens.

Not many projects planned as we were only there for a few days. We did get a delivery though. A garden shed! It was our Christmas present to ourselves (or to me actually). It was put at the top of the garden which will give us some definition in that area of the yard. Here's a before (note the dead oak tree - all 3 of them died):



And, here's the after:

The 'front'

The 'back'
It's 16 x 24 & will eventually have a shed roof over the back with a potting bench & outdoor sink. I love it!

In other news, we had a couple of rotten steps that needed to be replaced.


And, my cousin gave me a couple of ears of Glass Gem corn. I had given his boss a few seeds to see if it would grow there. I think it's beautiful. Can't wait until I am able to be there for the majority of the growing season (1 year & 6 months to go!).



We came home early to pack for a quick vacation before heading back to work. I'll post about that once we're back home.

Hope everyone has a Happy & safe start to your New Year!