Saturday, May 28, 2016

Feelin the Hominess

Good morning my friends!  We have a busy day planned for today.  Some stuff is "have to" and some is a "Have to if I don't want to do me step aerobic".  Let's start with the "have to" stuff.

In case you aren't already aware (and I'm sure you are), Memorial day is a great time of year to get deals on meat.  As a result of that fact, yesterday I bought 4 whole chickens at Aldi for .69 lb.  That's a good price here.  I'm thinking of going back for more, but not sure because I also got a good deal on boneless chicken breast, also at Aldi, for 1.49lb.  I froze the breasts on two cookie sheets so I can store them and remove them individually as needed.  The whole chickens were cooked and have now been de-boned.  I still have to put the meat in the freezer bags/containers, and make a batch of chicken broth to go in the freezer.  Here is the broth recipe I use:

Left over chicken parts, bones, gizzards, neck, etc
1 gallon of water (or enough to cover everything you will put in)
2 TBS vinegar
2 whole carrots washed well, but un-peeled
1 large onion peeled and quartered
3 stalks of celery washed and roughly chopped
Bunch of Parsley (fresh is you have it, but you can instead use 3-4 TBS dry)

Put everything but the parsley in the pot/crock pot and cook on low (very low) for 6-24 hours.  Remove from heat and add parsley.  Let cool and strain the broth into a container large enough to hold it all,and put in the refrigerator.  Let stay in the fridge over night.  Next day skim off the solid fat.  Then put in 2 cup containers to freeze.

I have to admit I've gotten away from making broth because we just weren't using it due to Rubic being vegetarian.  Makes dinner prep more complicated. Thankfully, it only lasted about a year and a half.  Now he has seen the error of his ways(smile) and has come over to the dark(meat)side.  So today I'm getting back to making our broth.  We are seriously considering, next spring, investing in meat birds for the purpose of filling the freezer.  Still in the "Can we do it" phase of planning.

Also on the "have to " list is to chop up Bananas for the freezer, make sun tea, and make a batch or two of cookies.

On my "I have to, but it will also help me exercise"list is weeding.  Lots of weeding, but my "Have to if I don't want to do the step" list is turning the compost piles.  Fun fun.  I'll also clean out the coops for this joyous adventure.  How bad is it that I would rather clean and turn chicken poo than do a structured workout?  Anyway, I also am removing the grass from around the base of my fruit trees so they don't have to compete from food.  I will also put down, you guessed it, chicken poo.  Oct- Feb I will have to focus on the step,  but for now, I will make every bit count!

4 hours later.....

Well I'm tired.  Bananas (check), Broth (check), weeding (check for now), compost pile(check).  Cookies still need to be made, but I will wait til sundown to bake them.  I had some help turning the compost pile.  I got a wild hair and decided to let the older chickens free range while outside.  I had to shoo them away a few times from areas I didn't want them to go, but all in all not too bad.  They found the compost pile and have spent the vast majority of their time there.

 Two are now back in the coop and when Dh gets home he will help me round up the last three.   In addition I found more volunteers; a watermelon (i think) and tomatoes (of course).  I bought 16 tomato plants to start my garden, with the addition of volunteers I am now over twice that.  STOP THE MIRACLES!  Here are the tomato volunteers so far

You can't get away without seeing the latest pics from the garden.  Pretty pleased with it.

S0 there you have it! The latest goings on in my little corner of heaven.  What's going on with you?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

We now return you to your regulaly scheduled program

So did you think I was going to talk of nothing but diet stuff from now on?  No, no, no.  Life goes on and there are other things to bore you with besides that!  I've been sewing, and gardening.  But I do have some news!  Einstein officially graduates from technical college on June 17th!  So proud of that man!  I am so proud of all of my kids.  They turned out pretty good in spite of me.  But this is Einsteins time to shine.  He's overcome so many obstacles due to his Aspergers, but he did it!   He's always impressed me with his determination.  Nothing seems to phase him as he just keeps on keepin on.  Now we have his pay off.  I wish I could truly convey all that he has overcome, but that would be more than you could read I'm sure.  Suffice it to say we are beyond happy and proud.  This is his high school graduation picture from 4 years ago.  Handsome ain't he.

In addition to that news, things are starting to get rockin here on the homestead.  Now that we are up to 14 hours of daylight, it seems the hens have decided to really start laying eggs.  We have received 4 eggs each day for the past three days, and were getting on average 2-3 a day. 4 a day is max though cause we have 4 laying hens right now.  Of course this is after I decided we could use some store bought eggs cause we were getting low due to the hens not laying as much.  Now I have 4 dz store bought eggs in the fridge and am trying to stay ahead of the now productive hens.  I guess as problems go, that would be the one to have.

Lettuce and spinach are coming in faster than we are eating it.  I have given some away to my mom and my daughter.  So in addition to finding a use for eggs, I am needing to find a use for spinach.  Hence this mornings breakfast:

Spinach and Cheddar Crust less Quiche

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup flour
1/4 chopped onion
season to taste w salt and pepper

Put all of this in a blender and pulse a few times til it is all mixed/chopped together.. Pour into a greased or sprayed pie plate or in my case and iron skillet.  Bake 350 degrees til set.  Bout 30 min.  Makes 4 large servings.

Broccoli is about done and the beets are still coming in. I didn't plant much of those.

                                     Blackberries have blooms and green berries so Yay!

Blueberries are starting to purple up some, and strawberries are still coming in.  Everything else is growing well.

I have always been blessed to not have to spray my blueberry bushes, but I have had problems with garden pests; mainly Mexican Bean Beetles.  Last year I tried something different and it seemed to work.  I planted all of my beans at once and early in the growing season.  By the time the beetles were showing up,  I was ready to pull the plants up.  Once the plants were gone, I let the area remain bare until late summer.  About 2 months before our first scheduled frost, I planted any other beans I wanted.  These were bush beans because the pole beans would have taken too long to produce.  Since I planted later in the summer, the beetles were gone and never had the opportunity to come back.  I'm doing that again this year.  It enabled me to not have to spray.  I'm trying to get away from sprays and commercial fertilizers.  I have planted so many beans this spring.  I don't think I will need to plant in fall.  In fact as my beds and row empty, I will be turning in some compost and/or chicken manure to add nutrients over the winter.

Oh!  I said I had been sewing.  Take a gander at my latest creation now up on Etsy.  It is "Yankee Doodle baby" and it is a little denim romper with a matching reversible sun bonnet.  The reverse side is red gingham.

So see?  Not all diet talk.  How have things been going in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Moving (Yes I had to go there)

SHHHH!  I have a little secret to tell.

 Our ancestors didn't have treadmills.  I KNOW!  Crazy.  No treadmills, elliptical s, weight benches, bikes, etc.  Life was their workout.  Let's face it guys, the more gadgets we've invented, the more sedentary we've become.  From remote control TVs to Segways, activity has been slowly taken away from us.  Maybe a better turn of phrase would be "given up by us".  So we've given up the activity of life and exchanged it for, if we're diligent, time in a gym making up for it.  I used to think "you know our fore fathers ate bacon and sausage and whole milk, butter, etc and never had to count calories".  Well Yea!  That's because they burned what they ate by lunch!  Now I'm not saying you need to go out and plow the north 40 or wash all of your laundry by hand (though I have done that (( the laundry not the 40)).  What I'm saying is, if you want, life can give you more activity than you would think. So now I Segway (sorry, really sorry, but I had to do that) to my third point.

3) Move in a way you enjoy- Treadmills, exercise bikes and the lot don't thrill me too much.  I see walking in place for 45 minutes as a waste of my time.  For that reason it doesn't take much to talk me out of exercising that way.  Walking outside is nice as long as it isn't raining....or freezing.  Still, I can think of other things that NEED to be done rather than exercise.  Now I LOVE working in the garden or yard work in general.  Come to find out that counts as exercise.  Who knew!  Heavy duty house cleaning is exercise too.  Not the pillow fluffing or making a bed, but the vacuuming, tub scouring, dusting everything, washing windows, etc. are definite moving.  When I can't work in the yard, or I don't need to do any heavy house cleaning, I turn to my new favorite movement.  My youngest son Rubic has been so kind to help me in compiling some awesome songs on my MP3 player.  Songs you just have to move to.  I've even added some myself.  A total of 12 songs which totals approximately 45 minutes of exercise.  My Trusty MP3 player, a set of headphones, and a basic aerobic step constitute my workout.  It's fun for me because I get to dance for the most part.  And I do work up a sweat!  The best thing is I don't sweat this!  Pardon the pun.  I try to move 5 days a week.  If I need to do yard work; that counts.  If I need to spring clean my house; that works.  If I'm in the middle of something like sewing, or errands, I take that day off and don't beat myself up.  In other words I Live my LIFE!  Do you know what my workout will be today?  Mowing the lawn with a push mower.  45 minutes burns 328 calories for someone my size.  Now you don't have to do what I do.  Like I said, this has to work for you.  Some people love to work out at the gym.  Boggles my mind, but I've been told they're out there.

But I work a full time Job!  How can I add a workout!  

I will be the first to admit that being home has helped me in fitting everything in.  I do spend 2 and a half hours of each day in the car carting two sons to school and or work (til they get their license).  Which means I have to fit in whatever workout plus whatever needs doing at home into a 9-12 window.   That's why I make chores/workouts do double duty.  I will also admit that having a full time job, especially if you are a working mom, makes the idea of exercise daunting.  It's a challenge.  Your choice though is to try something and possibly succeed, or do nothing and continue on as you are.  The object is to work this into your life some how.  Incorporate movement while at work.  Take the long way to a meeting, use the stairs, walk on your break, etc.  When you get home and want to spend time with the kids, make it a physical activity.  The time spent with them is just as valuable.  Save your "serious" work outs for your days off.  If you can find no way to get activity right now, that's fine!  Any change is positive.  Figure your calories (on whatever site you choose)on being in a sedentary job for now.  As you get the food part down, then address the activity.  I will tell you if you try to force it all in and it's to much for you, then you'll stop and gain back all you've lost.  Guess what.  You will then beat your self up with every pound gained.  Success is a great motivator, and failure is just the opposite.  If you have gone through the loss, gain, loss, gain more loop then it can be hard to motivate yourself to try again.  That was me.  When I finally resolved to try again it was with the knowledge that I would never be an athlete or Jillian Micheals.  Instead I just wanted to focus on what I could do with my activity level where it is.  It had to fit my life and not the other way around.  I will never be a super model (I know shocks me too), but I can be my best for my life style.  That is all this is about.

Final Thoughts:

People asked me what I did to lose weight and this is it.  If you do what I did; Great!  If you do your own thing; Great!  If you have to have a plan like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, etc, then great as well.  I will say this.  Whatever you choose to do to lose weight will have to be done from now until eternity.   If you can't sustain the plan you choose for that length of time, you will fail.  Period.  Plan accordingly.  There will come a time when I hit a maintenance level to my calories. In other words I maintain my weight and not lose.  However I will always, Always have to measure, record, and move.  I accept that.  I also accept the fact that at any time I fail to do these things, I will gain my weight back and it will be no ones fault but my own.

So there you have it.  There will be times in the future I will write about a recipe or tip I have tried just like in everything else I write about.  I would love to hear about your successes, tips and recipes too.  In fact I look forward to it.  Thank you for reading alllllll of this.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Something to be said for the Real McCoy!

For years (like forever) I have always thought, if I was going to try to lose weight, I would need to be buying low fat, non fat, sugar free stuff.  I thought I would need that crutch since I was needing to cut my calories.  My vocabulary began to contain phrases like "tastes just like real" whatever it was I was replacing at the time.  I have to admit one of the things I did enjoy was Publix Sugar Free Orange Sherbet.  It tasted sooooo good.  Draw back?  It had so much fiber in it that if you ate more than the 1/2 cup serving in a day you would end up with a lot of......ahem...gas, and multiple trips to the bathroom.  That was the most benign issue to have with some of the foods I chose.  Should the food you choose to eat have a disclaimer?  Some foods actually do.  You know the famous Olestra ingredient in the low fat potato chips?  That's another one that gives you serious bathroom issues if you have more than one serving in a day.  Did ya know Aspartame was created by a guy trying to develop a new paint thinner?  Did you also know that skim milk was originally a waste product from milk processing?  It isn't even really white.  Yea, they add chalk to it to get that color.  Yum.  Which bring me to my next point.....

2) Eat real food!- I eat normal everyday foods.  With a few exceptions.  I mix our lemonade with Stevia.  I have two grown sons and they will go thru the lemonade.  To cut the sugar down I use half and half Stevia/Sugar,or just straight Stevia.  Our iced tea, however, is made with sugar.  I use 1/2 cup sugar for a gallon of tea.  Not Southern sweet tea, mind you, but it's how I like it.  It is the same tea I grew up drinking.  Turkey bacon is a staple at our house mainly due to cost.  It's much cheaper than the real thing,but my oldest son actually prefers it to real bacon.  I also make our sausage from ground turkey.  I don't care for the really lean ground turkey.  It's too dry.  I use the 85%.  I make our sausage this way due to cost as well.  With those few caveats we eat only the real thing; Butter, sugar, whole milk, whole milk yogurt, peanut butter, real cheese, etc.   I do count the calories. and I eat a smaller serving.  I even buy regular potato chips!  We just have a 3/4 oz serving compared to the 1 oz they recommend.   Remember the whole portion control thing?  Well here is where it's needed.  However, I must say I would rather have 3 oz of sugar sweetened whole milk french vanilla yogurt than 6 oz of the nonfat artificially sweetened stuff.  Like I stated in the last post, I use a free website called, but the internet is full of free diet/calorie counting websites. Just remember with great power comes great responsibility (totally stole that from the Spiderman movie).  Yes you can have any food,  but count the calories and in moderation.  Don't forget your fruits and veggies!  I try to balance something not so low cal with things very low calorie and nutritious.  For example, I stated before how I have eaten Chic Fila 3 piece chicken tenders a couple of times.  They are 350 calories for the serving.  Not so low in calories.  Not bad, but still pretty high.  However, I balanced that treat with fruit.  Fruits and veggies are great fillers to round out a meal when you are eating all this wonderful stuff  IN MODERATION.   I have discovered two things.  I absolutely love' frozen bananas and roasted carrots.  Not mixed together mind you. I love them so much so that I've started to buy 12 lbs of carrots at a time because I know that will be my go to veggie.  I buy about that in bananas.  My son informed me he was eating all of my frozen bananas, so I have to stay ahead of him.  DH told me if I ever serve him regular cooked carrots he will be disappointed.  Never fear!  I have a recipe!  Here's how!

Roasted Carrots:

1 lb bag carrots peeled and cut into chunks or sticks like fries
1 tsp oil.  I use very little, but you go by your taste.  This works for us.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the carrots in the oils til the oil is distributed on all the carrots pretty well.  Spread one layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until fry like consistency; kinda crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Frozen Bananas

Spread chunked ripe (don't use green ones they aren't as good.  Use the ones with a few spots) bananas in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Freeze.  Put some in a bowl and eat.  Reminds me of eating a ice cream Popsicle.

 Because I'm eating real food, my body knows exactly what to do with it and I'm satisfied.  That's the one thing that has amazed me the most!  Technically I'm eating less over all food, but I'm not getting hungry or light headed.  I don't feel like I'm not gonna make it to the next meal or that planning what I eat is an all encompassing task.  Many times I'll come in from outside not knowing what to fix for lunch.  Sometimes I will cook something, but often I just end up with a PB&J (see I do have bread), Apple w/Peanut butter, or Apple w/ Cheese stick.  One day I just measured out Chocolate Granola with a banana and some vanilla yogurt on top.  Be still my heart!  Good times.  I have a freedom never before allowed to myself.  There is nothing off limits as long as I count it.

I believe one of the reasons for my success is making sure my breakfast is high protein.  I have noticed if I have pancakes, coffee cake, or other bread for breakfast I will be hungrier than if I stick to Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Yogurt, or Turkey sausage with fruits and veggies.  I save the pastry breakfasts for weekends when we eat breakfast later,

I hope I'm not running on and on.  I have all this stuff in my head and putting it on paper can be a little daunting.  Especially since I'm so excited about it all.  I feel like I've struck gold, and I want to share. I've been waiting for almost 4 months and the flood gates are finally open!  Brace yourself!
More to follow!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Welcome to One-derland!

All my life I've fought with my weight.  Well at least the vast majority of it.  I went on my first diet around age 9.  That was almost fo..... ah er never mind.  It was the Weight Watcher program my mom was on.  Over the years I've dieted and gained back more weight than before.  So much so that I was loathe to diet ever again.  Statistics say that only 5% of the people that lose weight manage to maintain the loss.  How hopeful is that?  Over the last 4-5 years I've managed to maintain about half of the weight lost last time I dieted (which wasn't a lot), but have watched some creep back on this past holiday season. Yet I dug my heals in and would do nothing because I was not willing to face another loss then gain.  My frustration with weight loss comes from supposedly all this "help" in the form of special made foods, gyms, weight loss programs, etc and still I have the extra weight.  We're surrounded by low fat, fat free, sugar free everything,weight loss programs,weight loss pills, bariatric surgery, etc and yet, according to Bloomberg Business, obesity rates are up 90% since 1995 in 17 states..  Just 20 years. Why?  Well I think I now know.

 We are being trained to stay habitually dieting. 

 Take a look at the weight loss industry, and it is an industry, a  multi million dollar industry.  Photo shopped actresses and models show us what we should look like.  So in seeking that "normalcy"we turn to yet another diet, supplement, or workout program.  Eat bread, don't eat bread.  Carbs are good.  Carbs are bad... Low fat, No fat, good fat, etc.  Every year sees a multitude of new diet books on the shelf and  those same books are later found on the book shelves of thrift stores.  However, America as a whole gets bigger.  We're in a cycle that benefits the weight loss industry immensely, but us...not so much.  I understand the health benefits of a healthy weight.  I also know not all skinny people are healthy and not all fat people are sick.  I was considered obese by government standards, yet my blood pressure, cholesterol, pulse rate, A1C, etc were all normal.  I wanted to lose weight, but whatever changes needed to be permanent, healthy, and doable without adding to the weight loss industries coffers.

 I think I'm finding my way.  What am I saying?  I did find a way!  For the first time in 24 years I'm in "One-derland"!  In other words my weight now starts with a 1.  Now a lot of people can tout a weight loss, but will it last?  I believe this will for me and I'll tell you why.  There are no gimmicks.  It really is calories in, calories out, but it's real food.  It's portion control.  It's living my life.  For the first time in my life I'm losing weight without feeling like I'm holding on by my finger tips.  I've lost since Jan 30th 2016, 31 lbs.  It's been seemingly effortless!  I wanted to share these findings with you.  There's a way to lose weight without tasteless food, deprivation, boredom, feeling left out, etc.  While you might think my tips are anecdotal; I've found,for me,they work.  In fact this post has been a work in progress over the past few months.  I didn't want to say anything about tips or success until I knew this was working.  You may not want to use all of these tips.  That's okay. Take what you want, leave the rest.  Whatever tips I may pass on, the greatest one is to do what works best for you.  This is best for me.  Originally this was going to be in one post, but I know you have a life and don't need to be spending it in front of a computer reading all of this.  So I broke it up into separate posts.

 Welcome to part 1.

1) Choose your battles wisely - First of all, a Disclaimer*** I don't care how much they say you can lose weight without counting and measuring.  You will fail if you don't teach yourself portion control.  Weighing and measuring is the only way to teach yourself.  Accept that.  Now, that being said....

I LOVE COFFEE!  This is a weird statement for me because up until about 5-6 years ago, I never touched the stuff.  I loved the smell, but hated the taste.  Once I started drinking it I was hooked.  You know it's bad when you go to bed at night and the last thing you think of before sleep is "tomorrow I get coffee!".  I have to have cream and sugar in my coffee.  I've tried to learn to drink it black, but that ain't happening.  Artificial sweeteners and Stevia make it taste bitter.  I've had multiple false starts mainly due to the fact that, in order to have coffee, I had to count those calories.  This time around I asked myself " what foods did I want more? What foods can I live without.".  I knew, because of my Thyroid issues, I needed to keep my protein levels high normal and my carbs low normal.  Because of that I knew I needed to make sure I was getting protein at each meal and snack.  I also knew fruits and veggies are paramount for nutrients, fiber, etc.  I needed to make sure carbs came from those things first.  What food was last on my priority list?  The answer was bread, pasta, and/or rice.  Now don't get me wrong.  I haven't said "never" to those foods, but it is last on my list of important foods.  It's too many calories for the amount of enjoyment I get from it.  There are other foods that give way more enjoyment and or nutrition.  I still have plenty of carbs.  This is not a low carb diet.  I meet my range all the time according to Sparkpeople.  The Carbs come in the way of Fruits, Veggies, Coffee with cream and sugar, Homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies (2 are 120 calories), whole milk vanilla yogurt, etc.  I find if I have a high amount of protein at breakfast I will stay satisfied much longer.   I have also noticed that if I eliminate bread, rice, etc during one meal, I may can save it for another where it would be more enjoyable.  Here is an example of one day of eating for me right now:


2 eggs, scrambled in a little(4 grams) butter, 2 oz of whole milk vanilla yogurt on a cup of whole strawberries with a tsp of sure nuff chocolate syrup drizzled on top.  PLUS COFFEE!  Yum!

Mid Morning Snack (around 10:30 ish.  I don't always have this, but when I do)

3/4 oz Mozzarella Cheese and an apple


5 oz Chicken breast
4 oz roasted carrots (new favorite thing)
Maybe a baked potato with a little (4gms) butter if I am really hungry, but I'm usually not.


3 TBS microwaved popcorn made in one of those microwave popcorn poppers (again if I had a late lunch this might be skipped)


Taco Salad with ground beef or turkey, 1/2  ( that's half yall) oz real cheddar cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato, and If I want to use the calories, on tortilla chips.  If I want to save calories for dessert I will forgo the chips and just have it on lettuce.


Smores- 1 graham cracker, 1 large marshmallow, and 15 choc chips melted.

This is just an example of an average 1200-1500 calorie day, but I've had Papa Johns, Little Caesars (2 slices cheese pizza) Pizza, or Chic Fila (3 piece chicken tenders).  My husband and I went out to Texas Roadhouse for our anniversary and we had steak, house salad, and FRIES (we split his serving)!. I counted it!  We did make sure to tell the waitress we did not need the bread basket on the table.  Anyway, no food is off limits to me.  I had Dairy Queen ice cream cake for my birthday!  Well and the day after...cause...uh there were enough servings for each of us to have 2!  Knowing nothing is withheld from me is very freeing.  I just accept I have to have reasonable portions.  Know what?  I'm not hungry!  I don't feel left out!  There is a draw back.  You have to take the time to measure,count and record what you're eating. I use , but you can use whatever site works for you.  There are plenty to choose from.  You also have to make sure you are using plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean meats as your base.  The fun stuff is supposed to be ancillary. This is my and your responsibility.

 This is a marathon and not a sprint- Whatever method you use for your success needs to be something you can do for the long haul.  There will be days where you eat and don't count it, especially during the holidays.  Do it.  Give yourself that vacation from the plan with full knowledge and no guilt.  You are choosing to enjoy a family get together or party.  This doesn't mean you are derailed.  It means you control even then what you put in your mouth.  This also doesn't give you free reign to throw caution to the wind for the whole holiday season.  Pace yourself.  Resolve to get right back on track the following day.  Accept the consequences of your actions.  It's better to accept the small consequences of one day of vacation, than to allow that one day to derail everything you have worked on for months on end before you finally get control again.  This also works in emergencies.  Funny thing is that knowing I can have what I really want when I want it, has taken the power over me away from the food I eat and has put it into my hands.  I find most of the time a bite of something satisfies my desire to taste it and I can move on.

My next posts are ready to go and I will post them quickly so be on the look out.  I just wish I knew 20 years ago what I now know.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Corn is UP the Gravel is DOWN

I know, sounds like a Sesame Street skit, but in my case it's true.  We had a few really good days of long steady rain and it was no time at all the corn was poking its little head out of the ground.  They're the babies of my garden nursery.

The toddlers, as it were, must have grown 2-3 inches over night.  Gardens like water, but they loooooooove rain water...and thunder and lightening; not so much hail though.  I'm thankful I had the presence of mind to leave out buckets to catch the rain water run off.  I now have four 5 gallon buckets, and two large plastic trash cans (the 55 gallon deals) full of rain water.  They're covered for now to keep mosquitoes out, but come Tuesday or Wednesday the water will be utilized for watering the garden between rains.  This saves on my water bill (Yay) and allows me to give them the kind of water they prefer.

As for the gravel, that's a project DH and I have been working on.  For the many years we've lived here, we've always had to turn around in the front yard off of the drive way.  Our drive way has enough room for two cars to park but not turn around, or one car to park and turn around.   This year we've received large amounts of rain, and when we do, that turn around becomes a potential snag for tires.  Since the grass in that unofficial turn around area was threadbare at best, we opted to kill it all off and put down gravel.  In order to avoid a delivery fee, we picked up three scoops of gravel with our little truck.  That took three trips to the store.  Not bad trips as the store is only 2 miles away; still it took time to unload each scoop.   Yesterday I went by the store to see how much the delivery fee would be for 4 more scoops.  We frequent that store often and they know us pretty well.  The manager said he wouldn't charge us a fee to go that short a distance.  So I bought 4 more scoops to finish out the turn around.  I should have asked him that from the get go.  Would have saved us time and a little gas.  Oh well, you live and learn.  Looking at the finished project I must say I am thrilled with how it turned out.

This will probably be our "big" undertaking for the summer; at least for now.  I still need to pressure wash the house but that won't use much money.  Just gas and water for the washer.  Feels good though to have something else checked off the list.

Well that's it for here.  What's going on with you?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Well that's it, the Garden is in....and out!

Yep!  I did it!  I met my goal of getting my entire garden in without the use of a tiller.

I'll post a better picture once everything is up and growing. It's a huge feeling of accomplishment for me at least.  Thursday was the last thing...corn.  I wasn't going to plant corn this year  The corn on the cobb takes up a lot of space in the freezer and my oldest son prefers it off the cobb.  In addition canning corn takes a looong time.  Since I still have some jars of canned corn I figured I would let it go this year.  That is until I saw hubby's sad face.  He loooooves corn on the cobb, especially during the summer when we grill.  We will grill the corn in the husk and then put butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and Parmesan cheese on it.  So,never one to disappoint my Knight in shining Armour, I planted corn.  The plan is to pick what we want to eat as it gets ready and then let the rest dry on the stalk to use to supplement the chicken feed.

Even better than the garden being in, is the stuff coming out of the garden.  I've picked lettuce, spinach. asparagus, strawberries,garlic,and Broccoli.   It has been great not having to buy this stuff at the store.  I can't afford to buy Asparagus at the store, but in all honesty I have never really liked it.  I planted it for Dh (man he's spoiled!).  The other evening I prepared the recent small harvest.  We will get a bigger harvest next year.  Here is what I did to prepare the Asparagus.

I Do Like Asparagus! Asparagus:

1 lb of fresh Asparagus (fresh from the garden is best.)
2 Tbs Butter
3 cloves garlic minced (harvested this week too)
Salt and Pepper to taste

I would tell you to remove the woody ends of your Asparagus, and if you buy it at the store that is the case, but I didn't have to do that.  Melt the butter in a pan.  Add the minced garlic and some salt and pepper.   Saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, but not too long.  Add your asparagus spears and toss to coat.  Cover and cook on a low med heat about 10 min.  This will make them crisp tender.  If you want it more tender, then cook a little longer.

I love Asparagus this way!  Who knew!

I'm excited to see as well, the blueberries covering my bushes, and I actually have a few peaches this year on my one remaining peach tree.  I asked a local orchard how and when to spray my peach tree and was told every ten days and/or after it rains.  I am a woman on a mission.  I want to get peaches this year.  Still waiting for blooms on my blackberry bushes, but they tend to do well.  We will see.

So that's how my garden is doing.  How is yours!?