ALRIGHT, JUST WHERE DID THESE COME FROM?

We get a ton of unusual things that happen here on our little farm.  The floods brought up odd looking snakes, beavers, opossum and who know what else has flowed down our way that is hiding yet in the field (we only have about 20 acres).
Every year has brought new surprises.  This year has brought a load of rain.  With the temps we have had, everything should be all dried out by now (that is the ones that are not man irrigated), they are not.  Here is one example of our odd summer season:

8 1 guess we are wet

From far away they just look like little white bumps in our field behind the chickens.  Look again:

8-1 mucho mushrooms

THESE MONSTERS ARE HUGE! (My foot is a women’s size 9)

8-1 size of our shrooms

There are only 4 or 5 of them out there, but the size is what shook my world.  HUGE is putting it mildly.  The sad part is that they are not edible – boo hoo!!  Especially since we love shrooms and put them in everything!  Fresh in a salad, fried loaded on a good steak, mixed with eggs for an outstanding omelet (ok, making myself really hungry now – hee hee), or one of several other goodies.  They just compliment so nicely.

We are lucky, though.  We have an outstanding mushroom farm not too far from us.  They grow several types, and THEY ARE EXCELLENT!  When we go there, we purchase bags and bags of them.  Most of them come home and get dehydrated, but several cups of them get fried up – yummm!

Ok, now I’ve done it!  Gonna have to take a trip there this weekend and get some more.  Since we have a side of beef coming in about a month for the freezer, better have some shrooms ready for it!

sidabeef

(Sorry Vegetarians, but I do love my meat with my veggies!)

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SARCAS M, OR WICKED SENSE OF HUMOR?

Helberg meaning of the word:

SAR – short/twisted for “sarry, but you set yourself up for this.

CAS – short/twisted for “cas I have to slam you now – ya know that!

M:short/twisted for “Mm gonna be sorry I did it, but will do it again in a heartbeat!

My family, for decades, has thrived on it. If we don’t pick on you, we don’t like you. Just ask anyone that knows us. Even when we do something outstanding, a complement is always – ALWAYS – met with a quip.

My sister was doing her passion in the kitchen and came out with this prize:

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It’s called “An Apple Rose” and it is not only yummy but a real wow-er (yes, I’m pretty sure it’s a new word for the Webster people)! She, as always, hands one to me for taste testing (yes, the job is hard but someone has to do it-boo hoo). So, being the polite sister that I am, I accepted the challenge, downed the puppy and responded: “Oh ya, these can’t go to work with you, pretty sure they ALL have to stay here at home.”

She knows, of course, that this means they are fantastic and too good to share! She then replies, “So I should throw them all to the chickens?” I proceed to tell her that pretty sure they would be poison for our birds, and we need to force ourselves to suck it up and eat them.

It’s always been this way. If we really like or love something, gotta slam it. If we don’t really care about it – straight answer. My earliest memory of the origin of this was my sister and I volunteering (ya-sure, 8 and 10 years old volunteering to clean?) to clean up the kitchen after dinner. I don’t remember why or how we thought of it, but mashed potatoes were the instigator in our plan.

Now any parent knows when the kids are quiet, or worse giggling, there is something wrong. So, being the great father that he was, he sauntered into the kitchen to see what we were up to. “What’s going on in here?”, he growled. There we stood, ear-to-ear smiles on our faces, covered head-to-toe in soapy water from doing dishes, most of the table was cleared. “Nothing,” we both responded.

Dad was on to us. He stood in the door way, researching the room to spy the reason for our comradery. He did not see anything out of place, glared one more time at us, turned to leave the room, and just started to say Don’t take too long – WHEN IT HAPPENED! The mashed potatoes that we had flung to the ceiling had decided, at that exact moment, to release. Landed smack on top of dad’s head.

He placed a hand on his head to see what had attacked him. Slowly turned back to re-view the kitchen. He now spotted the numerous blotches of mashed potatoes and slick slimy rounds of bologna sandwich meat spattered all over the ceiling. My sister and I were proud of our ability to do this great work of art, but pretty sure dad was not going to appreciate it.

I always knew our father was special, particularly when it came to his kids, and to say that grown men are worse than little children is an understatement where he was concerned. But in this moment, it was perfectly matched. Instead of a scowl, he had a slight grin on his face. “Clean up this mess, get it all off the ceiling and clean that too.” He said. Turned and went back to the living room. We, in turn, stood giggling and watching as the other flung food began to lose its grasp of the ceiling and come crashing to the floor.

To this day, I don’t know if he ever told anyone about this, but I do know that we sisters have talked and laughed about it many times. So, in conclusion, my family raised me well with sarcasm and a wicked sense of humor. These both have proved to serve me well – no really! What would your parents have done with you and your mashed potatoes?

ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES?

Time has finally caught up with us. Okay, maybe I should say the weather has finally caught up with us. Our first major frost is due tomorrow night, and I’m not ready – eeekkkk! The exterior garden is pretty much demolished – so no problem there. The decision now is do I want to keep the greenhouse tomatoes going through to next year or break out my Edward Scissorhands clippers and have at it?

My major concern is not devastating the bush, but how bad the bush will devastate me. The darn thing is from the nightshade family. Very poisonous prospect, and an oxymoron if you really think about it. How did anyone ever come to realize that a tomato was edible? I know that most of what we eat is from watching critters. If they eat it, must be ok – however- nothing will eat the tomato vine. The fruit (yep it’s a fruit) is, to me, outstanding! So many varieties of uses – ketchup, sauces, Pico, and best to me – raw!! We put them in tons of things from eggs to meats to noodles. When you combine several together you get an amazing flavor (that’s how we make our pasta sauce).

So what am I so worried about – the vines. Years past I was able to tear at them with minimal body covering (ok, clean it up, I’m talking shorts and a tank top then)…but not now. Now I need full body armor! Pants, socks, ankle high boots, long sleeve shirt or at least a long sleeve jacket, gloves and most important – a clean rag.

The rag came about when I found out that I could no longer deal with the treacherous monster without full body armor. I make the mistake of taking out the outside vines 2 years ago by simply hacking away at them. I knew what they were back then, but at that time they did not infest me. Well, on this fateful day it happened to be bright, sunny and on the warmer side. As I worked I began to perspire (women perspire – men sweat – what a crock but that’s for another day) and subconsciously wiping the wet from my face – using my hands which were not encased in gloves. I believed that gloves were for sissys that were afraid to get their hands dirty – also, not anymore!

The poison weeping from the vines as I hacked away at them was doing its dastardly revenge from the moment I touched them. It leaked all over my hands and arms, I lifted both to help remove the moister from my face and eyes and the damage was done! The killer tomatoes had gotten vengeance. They were stealthy – doing injury when I least expected it! This was a year, after all, just like the previous years so why should I do anything different? Ha, ha, ha, silly me! NOTHING ever stays the same!!

I did my dirty deed on the gardens. I took everything down for the winters’ rest, as it should be. I went to bed that evening feeling like a hero! I had accomplished every fall cleanup item on my “to-do list” in record time. I showered after a hard days’ work but it was already too late. The sneaky tomato was enforcing its revenge upon me without my knowing it.

I woke the next morning looking like a blow fish!

pic of blowfish

WWWHHHAAATTTT???? I was swollen from my eyes to my feet with the worst being on my face (of course!). I was awake, but my eyes were thin little slits to peek through. My sinuses were so plugged that I had to hang my mouth open to breathe a heavy breather on a nasty phone call. And the facial skin itself was so stretched from the attack that I could not see a single wrinkle (bonus!? Hee hee).   My fingers were so swollen I could not make a fist and a burning rash had broken out almost everywhere. The first think (yes think) I did was yell for help.

Well, help came but not before laughing hysterically for several minutes first! Very funny – not!!! My sister then reminded me about the nightshade family in the tomato. So that was the culprit. She continued to laugh while helping to rub aloe lotion on me, also reminding me of all the time I teased her about her “sensitive” skin (she breaks out in a rash at the drop of a hat). Now I was to learn exactly how she felt – in the most painful way!

The majority of the swelling went down after a couple of days, the rash took a bit longer. But I did learn a very valuable lesson. The tomato doesn’t care what your skin type is. It doesn’t care that you may have killed it in the past without feeing its agony. It only cares about the first moment you DO notice it. That moment when it can come out on your unsuspecting self and seek revenge!

So, now I know that I will attack the monster with full body armor, but I will display my kinder side. I will allow part of the plant to remain in the plot. I will cover it with extra protection and even add a small space heater so that the temperature will remain above freezing in its mini-tunnel. I will allow it to continue to provide us with fruit in a slower manner throughout the winter.

In turn, I believe, it will not decide to attack me. At least not until the next time I get stupid and try to clear it jungle style! It had better remember that revenge is sweet, especially served up in a pasta sauce!

Now, my older friends, you know where they got the idea for that wonderful “B” movie from back in the 70’s – Attack of the killer tomatoes. Enjoy!!  (oh, and of course don’t forget that great theme song )

I FOUND THE MEANNING OF LIFE!

So – it’s been about 18 months since our grandson/fire loss. There are still some hard days, but I am exceedingly tickled to announce that my sister is baking again! THIS IS A MILESTONE!! It is her passion and, in the terms of therapy for our family, a sign that things are getting better. This has made me come to realize what the meaning of life is…passion!

Now don’t get your nickers in a twist – I consider things like “caring for your fellow man/woman” to be a given! There are just some things in life that should not need a reason for being. It should be a subconscious action (I know it is not for many of us, but I like to believe we are trying?!) to look out for one another. The meaning of life though, should be an individual thing. It should be your reason for getting up in the morning and wanting to greet another day. To me that is –passion!

For the longest time, after the loss, I have been worried about my sister. Granted, we have had a lot on our plates that needed to be accomplished first; and putting our lives back together has been (still is) quite a task. It took me several months to find my passions again (you can check out my Pinterest page – GardenGlows  or my Etsy page.), but I am very glad to say they came back. Hers’ did not appear until just this last weekend.

DSC_0016  (one of my fav passions in life – knitting!)

I didn’t want to push her, since she was trying to handle the losses in her own way; however, there comes a time when a little shove can go a long way – as long as no one can tell you are doing it!?! I have to admit, I have the same basic problem – don’t rush me – and – leave me alone, I will do it when I am ready. Then there is a time when someone has to step in and let you know you are overdue for a bit of happiness.

I have been dropping hints for months! I bought her 2 fantastic magazine subscriptions on cooking. A couple of outstanding huge cook books (only a fraction of the ones she lost in the fire). Tons of cooking supplies/appliances/stuffs to help nudge her a bit. All this only seemed to be put on a shelf. Then, totally on her own, this last weekend she found her passion again!

Corned beef and potatoes, pecan bars (all from scratch even sat and cracked the nuts so they were fresh), homemade tomato soup from our own tomatoes (yep – prepped, processed, cooked and seasoned – yummy!), and one of my all-time favorites – homemade, from scratch, Italian Bread!

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Now there are 2 things in life that automatically say home to me: 1) The smell of fresh baking/baked bread and 2) The smell of fresh baking/baked desserts – of any kind!  When you walk into someone’s home and they are in the middle of cooking something, it immediately brings on a warm, welcoming feeling. It makes me remember get-togethers with friends and family, where we three girls could be found helping dad cook everything up days ahead of time (yes – DAD – not mom, she was a terrible cook – melted a metal pot of water on the stove trying to make noodles? True story – LOL).

I hope that everyone reading this has a passion in their life and, more than that, I hope you are following it.  May it bring you excitement, comfort, joy, and a major reason to get up every morning filled with the desire to share it with the world!