Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pickle, Pickle, Who's Got the Pickle?

Today I enter into the world of canning. As I type this I have my first batch of dill pickles boiling away on the stove. This is all new to me and I decided to make pickle wedges as my cucumbers were a bit big. I should have a nice bunch of smaller cucumbers to pick tomorrow or Monday that I can pickle also. The house is smelling so good, I look forward to seeing how they turned out after their week of "sitting." My kids are all ready to eat pickles, I don't think they understand how long the process really is. Good thing we still have some store bought pickles left in the fridge.

I have to add dill to my garden plan for next year. It smells so good and looks pretty cool also. I remember when I was growing up, my Grandma always had a huge dill plant behind her house. It was just the coolest thing.

I'm using a pretty standard recipe for dill pickles, right out of the BHG red and white cookbook. Does anyone have a great pickle recipe that they wouldn't mind sharing with a beginner?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things of Green

Last night was a harvest of lots of things green. I was able to have my first picking of shelling peas. Boy are those a lot of work for a cup and a half of peas, they do taste great so that is redeeming. It was my 3rd pick of sugar snap peas and 2nd for green beans and 2nd for the cucumbers also. The lettuce has been picked here and there for a few weeks now when ever we want/need some and of course Amy the bunny loves it, so we pick her some also. I am hoping to add some red to this picture in the next week or so, there are a couple of my tomatoes that look like they just might be starting to enter into that ripening process.

I am still in love with my garden, but not the mosquitoes that seem to like it too. Normally mosquitoes have never bothered me. I have spent summers on the Namekagon and St. Croix rivers up here as a river guide and never used bug spray once and they left me alone, but now.... 30 seconds in the garden and they almost carry a person away. I think that next year I am going to strategically plant some citronella plants throughout the garden, maybe that will help keep those pesky things at bay.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered my first watermelon which was at that point the size of a very small marble, last night I found tons of watermelons. I was so excited! My biggest one is about the size of a tennis ball. I'll be sure to take some more pics this weekend and get them posted. I just get so excited each time I find a new baby something down there in the garden.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This morning I had the chance to enjoy my first cucumber from our garden. There is definitely a difference between fresh just picked, home grown cucumbers and those things you get in the store that have that slimy wax on them. Yuck! My cucumber open faced sandwich (a favorite that I pick up on in Norway many years back visiting family and friends) was wonderful. My Cucumbers aren't big as they are a pickling variety, but are very tasty. I hope to try canning a few jars of pickles this weekend if I have enough pickle sized cucumbers. Gotta try Grandma's Mustard Pickle recipe. I also blanched and froze about a gallon of green beans and a quart of sugar snap peas. We had fresh ones in turkey stir fry the other night and they were fabulous, the kids kept picking them out and eating just them. I was surprised when Scott said that the meat was part of his turkey from this spring, it was tender and not gamy tasting.

I was thinning out some of the carrots as they got planted too close together in some spots and they are actually looking like carrots. Way fun. Instead of composting these tiny little things I'm feeding them to Amy the Lionhead bunny. Boy does she like those, they are gone in an instant. We are all excitedly waiting to be able to harvest big carrots.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Addition

We had a family reunion on my Aunt's farm this weekend. On our way down on Friday the car was filled with a wonderful aroma that sent me reeling into memories of the past (both good and bad.) It was the smell of fresh cut hay and I thing that is one of my favorite smells. It both invokes beautiful memories of growing up on the farm and also instant tiredness and sore muscles from hours and hours of tossing hay bales around during haying season. As much as I miss the farm, I don't miss haying.

The family reunion was great and we got to see our cousin Luke from AZ. who we didn't think was going to be there. Great surprise! My kids love going to the farm and are always singing "Old MacDonald" except we change it to "Auntie Lori Had a Farm!"

On Sunday the kids and I, Grandma and Buppa, Greta, Nico and the boys went to Irvine Park. Great place, it has playgrounds a small zoo like area and a petting zoo. The kids had a blast. Funny thing is that we came home with a furry little bunny. The kids didn't know that I was going to get her, but they were very excited. She is a gray with tan/brown dusty looking Lionhead and adorable. (pictures to come later.) All the way home the kids were trying to think of a name for her and we settled on "Amy." The name Amy came from Adin, after a camper we had last week at camp and whom Adin fell in love with. So we now have Amy who is living in Adin's room and is really enjoying the spoils of our garden which the kids are having a ball picking and feeding her.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garbage Can Potatoes: Part 2

Just wanted to update on the potato in the garbage can process... they are doing great! I have three 55 gal. cans (one for each of my kids) that the potatoes are growing like weeds. Elle's can (pictured) is doing the best, the plants are very tall and the flowers a beautiful. I never knew that the flowers were so pretty. Adin's can is next, with plants just peeking over the rim and Lizzy's can is getting close to the top. For some reason hers were a little slower to start in the growing, but they'll get there.

Now I just hope that there are potatoes growing under the soil that we have been so carefully tending too, watering, adding compost and more soil. Everything this year is an experiment for me as this is my first official vegetable garden, so we'll see how things go and we'll tweak things for the future. In the mean time, I'm going to enjoy these beautiful potato flowers.

Update on other aspects of life around our 20 ac. It is official... we are going to be putting in an outdoor wood furnace in the next month and a half. We are just waiting for the estimate from the company and digging up 2 double stumps next to out shed. I know that when we started this project we were going to build a new structure behind our house, change of plans. We now know that the shed is not to far away from the house, so we are going to put the stove next to the shed, utilize the lean to off of the shed for wood storage and build the chicken coop and green house off of the back of the shed. That way, less structure to build and we can heat the shed also. Love this idea. Right now we probably have almost 2 years of wood ready to be split. In the end this is going to be such a more cost effective way of heating our home and everything else. I am looking forward to finishing my flower garden next to the deck also once these water and heating lines go in. Right now it looks a bit funny with 4 feet of nothing in the middle of the flower bed. Soon oh very soon! Scott finished freezing the last 3 cases of corn the other night before I got home from work, so that was wonderful. Thanks hun! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tomato Tragedy

Last night we had a pretty severe wind/rain storm at our house. It didn't last long, but it did a number on our garden. the two biggest tomato plants that are living with my asparagus were completely blown over and partially up-rooted. One we were able to right and replant pretty easily, but the other was in tough shape. One of it's major "branches" was bent and cracked so we had to remove it and than a lot of staking and tying needed to be done. I have tomato cages around all of my 9 plants, but they have gotten really big and that wind was pretty nasty. I just hope that it will survive for it is loaded with small tomatoes and buds.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Picking, cutting and freezing

This spring we discovered a hidden blessing on our 20 ac., wild blueberries, and lots of them. We have a large oak ridge that runs the length of our property and it is loaded with blueberry plants. All spring we were out there checking on the flower progress and praying that they wouldn't freeze during our weird May snow storms and low and behold they didn't. We have been picking and picking blueberries. I think between Scott and I we have picked almost 2 gallons. It would have been more but we had a bit of "help" from the kids and Maya the dog. Would you believe that Maya only picked the ripe ones. Crazy, I have never seen anything like that before in my life, and she would beat us to the good bushes also. Adin deemed himself the "Blueberry Monster" and Lizzy just layed right down on the forest floor next to a bush and would eat away (I called her my little bear cub). The berries are mostly done for the year, but we had fun and now will be able to enjoy blueberry pancakes all winter.

This weekend I was able to get 6 cases of sweetcorn (for free - even better) so we have been cutting the corn off the cob, blanching and then freezing them. It felt like I was back on the farm as a kid doing this, the only thing missing was the cows to feed the husks too. No we are NOT getting a cow. Way more work than I want. The recipe is the best - it is what we always used growing up on the farm.

Home on the Farm Sweet Corn
8-10 cup cut corn
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 stick butter (I use less)
1 c water
boil for 3 min., cool then package and freeze

So great! I have 3 cases done and 3 more to go. Guess what I'll be doing tonight!

My next project is going and doing some raspberry and strawberry picking and making some of my Grandma's jam. Yum!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photos Galore

Gotta love the May snow storm. The big flakes were really cool,
but it delayed out progress a bit.

Finally getting the fence and the raised beds done. Looking pretty good. Elle and Lizzy "helping out" or just playing in the sand between the raised beds.

I have a resident garden fairy living in my garden.
Isn't she the cutest.

I'm so proud of this garden. Scott did so much work on getting the beds made and the fence up. I have had a ton of fun getting things planted and watching them grow. This is my relaxation to be able to come and walk through the garden and spend time with my family in here. Love this place.

Our first radish! Pumpkins going wild!

2 Months (Opps!)

Ok, so I know that I have been terrible with posting on here as of late (2 months late), but in Camping Ministry summers are a bit crazy. At least this is my last summer here, which I am very sad about but also happy for a new adventure.

So my garden is "gwowing" like crazy, to quote my 2 year old Elle. The radishes have come and gone and were wonderful according to my dad who loves them. The sugar snap peas are just getting ready for a first picking, and I have lots of "babies." Baby cucumbers, beans, tomatoes and more. Oh how I love going into the garden every morning at 5:30 to check on them, pull a few weeds and give drinks when needed. There are even new asparagus shoots coming up again. Way cool. I have lots of new pictures, and will update them when I find my cord for my phone (I think it got borrowed by some of my staff.)

Well, back to work, I just wanted to do a quick update with lots more to follow.