WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?

I just opened another email about food, and I have had it!  Why are all of these beautiful dishes designed for master cooks?  Shaved asparagus salad – really?!

I love asparagus but NEVER thought of shaving it. I didn’t know it was that hairy.  Are they just talking about a trim or remove the entire beard – and where is it?

Seriously, who has the time, techniques, and of course, tools to make all this stuff?  If I can’t put it all together in one bowl and in less than thirty minutes, it ain’t gonna happen!

I don’t mind cooking or baking; I just don’t like to spend a ton of time on it.  My sister, on the other hand, finds it her perfect hobby.  Now, I don’t envy her or her hobby; but why am I always the taste tester?  No wonder I can’t lose any weight.  I will do great all week, and then she turns into a bake-a-holic on the weekend, and all I just lost comes back to visit – grr!

I love Martha Stewart’s stuff, and I know that once-upon-a-time in her life, she was a fabulous cook.  That is how she became who she is and KUDOS to her for it.  I, however, do not have that passion.  I am thrilled with myself when I can make pizza pockets with my sandwich maker:

  • layout already made bread,
  • fill it with something,
  • put the top piece on,
  • close the lid and ta-da, sandwich!

That is my gourmet cooking ability.  I like to make homemade fudge and angel food candy at Christmas.  I also have an excellent recipe for homemade granola, and ratatouille and that is about it.  Everything else better be a mix, can, or noodle dish, or it won’t get done.  I have begone experimenting with slow cookers and insta-pots.  So far, so good.  I like the idea of just throwing it all into one pot, turn it on, and let it go.  No muss, no fuss!

So, here’s to the not-so-great cooks out there that agree with me.  I love to eat. I just hate to mess with it.  Oh, and my most favorite way to get my food is fresh from our gardens.  Nothing better than pulling a fresh tomato or cuc right from the vine and munching – yum!

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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I HAVE TO TIE MY SISTER DOWN.

She is only allowed to be hands-free when she goes to work or is in the kitchen.  Our seed orders are coming in, and I gave her a new “toy” this year, a seed planning, planting guide.  My BIG mistake!

Dirt is in our souls.  We grew up on a farm and will (hopefully) die on a farm.  With that said, we both share particular duties on our little patch of heaven.  She is in charge of the “starting,” and I am in charge of the transplanting and keep it running.

We go through the same mess every year.  She gets the garden bug way too early, and then I am last minute slamming things in wherever I can find the room, so they don’t die.  She gets them started far too early, and we have flowers appearing before the last frost is done.  If I don’t get them in somewhere (fast), we could lose them.  This year I have decided to tie her down to get-our-ducks-in-a-row!

She has specific orders NOT to start any seeds until our new cheat-sheet guidelines say so.  (Got it free from a fellow blogger/grower here in Colorado.)  Even though they were developed by a “foothillser,” and we are plains people, it is all Colorado.  Mountains would be very different, but the foothills are close enough. 

According to the charts, she should not be starting anything until the end of February.  Then, the only ones to start at that time are the long-term veggies.  The rest is not to be started until mid-March, and it is killing her!

I told her that she could play with her seed starter, soil mix to her heart’s content.  But she must leave the seeds in their packets!  At least the new charts are keeping her busy.  She has to list all the packets and the standard info on them.  Oh, and she also has to have them sorted by category, as well as alphabetical.  Hee hee, I can be mean when I want to.

In the meantime, I am mapping out all of our plots and planting spaces.  I am also revamping our backyard double plots into a mini-greenhouse.  I want to move our starts out there when they start getting into the hardening-off stages.  The side walls will be rollups, so I won’t have to move anything, just open the sides and let in the sun, air, and whatever.  I will try to remember to get pics as I go to share here.

I think my plan will work as long as she does not start setting seeds in the middle of the night (yes, we do wake up at all hours of the night – it’s the age curse).  I check her fingernails when I get up to make sure she isn’t trying to sneak a seed or two in.  Sisters?!?

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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THAT FEELING OF FALL.

This post is just short and sweet.  This picture truly says fall to me:

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Not necessarily Halloween, but you get the feeling it’s close.  Pixabay.com has been a great source of inspiration for me over the last several years.  They send things to my email that they think I might appreciate and this one hit the nail on the head.  They even do it free, mostly.  Some creators expect payment before you can download, but most you can, as they call it, buying the creator a cup of coffee.  In other words, you can donate to their efforts, but you don’t have to, and the download is free.  This one was a freebie, but I did donate a dollar toward a cup of coffee.

I use a lot of these Pixabay pics in my writings.  I can usually find exactly what my writing mood is in there.  No, I am not affiliated or receive any type of payment for this share.  I just love sharing stuff that is either free or fun, in this case both.  I hope you take a moment to go visit them and view all the great stuff.  If, for nothing else, to get a good feeling in these trying times.  Enjoy!

 

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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I NEED YOUR GARDENING INPUT PLEASE!

I was perusing my Old Farmers Almanac and came across a Gardening Adage:

If you grow it for the fruit or the root, you need full sun.

If you grow it for the leaves, partial shade is all you need.

I have never heard this adage before but find that it is very true.  The blurb even highlighted the specifics of the statement (which I have bolded and underlined).  It gave me an idea for updating my blog.  I think I will create a page that is nothing but these adages and wife’s tales from the past.  Some of them will be bizarre, and some will be true, but most of all they will be fun to find and read.

happy cabbage

Cares melt when
you kneel in the garden.

I find that one to be very true for me.  Especially when it is time to do weeds, I can really get into ripping those suckers out, and I surprisingly find that my cares have drifted away – after about two hours of doing it.

zen frog

Can’t see the forest
for the trees.

This is a huge truth for me in the garden and regular life.  I can’t count the number of times I was working on a problem or project wishing for an easier way.  Then, usually years later, it just pops into my head.  It was right in front of me the whole time, and I just did not see it.

cant see forest

A dedicated
gardener dwells within.

Ok, I admit I have no clue on this one?  Is it supposed to mean that gardeners are introverted, or is it just stating the fact that someone who really works hard on their garden is living in the house?

dedicated gardener

In spring at the end of the day,

You should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood, Canadian Writer (1939)

This was actually a quote and not an adage, but I have heard it tons of times growing up on the farm (never knew who started it before).  Most adages are simply passed down through families with no real concern for it being a quote or not.

chicken digging in dirt

This one made me giggle:

Gardening is just
another day at the plant.

Then last, but not least (I hope) is one of my most favorites:

Dirt poor, filthy
rich.

I think it should be the other way around.  If you have dirt, you should be rich because you can feed those you love.  Then again, I get really filthy when I garden (or any work out on the farm), and yet I am nowhere near rich.

I would love to hear from you all!  Please share any family goodies that you carry with you in your gardening endeavors.  I would love to add them to my new page — the funnier or sillier, the better.

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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A FUN CHRISTMAS TIDBIT TO SHARE.

My Buds at Farmers Almanac have done it again.  I just love their bits of garden info and occasionally seasonal snip-its.  This one is about Mistletoe.  Did you know that it is actually a “parasite?”  I didn’t. I always thought it was some type of bush.

If you would like a fun and interesting read, along with something to share with others in a topic of Christmas conversation, this is it:

The Meaning and Folklore Behind Mistletoe  by Robin Sweetser 

This was such a fun read for me that I have decided to hang on to it.  I have printed it off and will be sending it out with my Christmas cards. 

Here’s hoping you have a Christmas full of fun and wonder!

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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HOW DID I MISS THIS SEASON?

I have discovered that there is a third season.

• First, there is planting season, which is on and off all year long.
• The second was school season, which is only from around the first of September until the end of May.
• Now I have realized that I have a third season. We are getting our first snow of the season which turned on all my crafting switches, so – IT’S CRAFTING SEASON.

DSC_0048    (This is one of many I have on Etsy.)

I truly hope that everyone who is reading this has their own crafting passion. It is something that no one should be without. It is one of the few things in life that brings me enormous amounts of pleasure, especially when I can give something I made to someone else.
I have known for decades that I am a craft-a-holic. I may slack off on it sometimes as the other seasons will take precedence. When we have to get things in the ground, or process foods, that must come first, or we will have nothing. When it is time to start school, supplies, clothes, and all other school things must take precedence. When it comes to crafting season – colder weather gives it the precedence.

il_570xN.854844369_id2v

(Hand crochet crown choker cowl with deep bronze Swarovski jewels.)

Childhood on the farm in Wisconsin as a kid was forever fun. The huge snowbanks, ice skating on the pond, sledding with family and friends down our hills (and we had come goodies), and the warmth of shedding the snow-covered exterior layers of clothes on the porch, to go in for hot chocolate by the heaters. Thank goodness we had a huge, cement floor, porch. It had a large hanging rack just inside the door where everything outside was hung to drip and dry. Since it was a cement floor, it was easy to mop up the mess as it melted.

  • Even as I kid, I was always making things(Fair warning – some of this you may find gross.):
    • Snowmen and snow forts.
    • During the summer it was wonderful weed and grain pies from piles of cow poo (ewe-yucky but great fun to play in when we were kids).
    • Using fallen tree branches to make horse pens way out in the woods. This may not have been the smartest idea since we were at least a mile away from home, and the horses always broke out of it. They were the smart ones. They always knew to run back to the barn where they got grained. We would have to walk back.
    • The walking back also led to crafting ideas. Picking up leaves, twigs, dead things, and occasionally live things and bringing it all back to the house to make something.

    • The frog eggs led to frogs lose all over that wonderful cement porch.
    • The turtle led to turtle eggs, which led to the pet raccoon eating the turtle eggs and us having to take the turtle back to the river – boo hoo.
    • All leaves, feathers, odds, and ends, were always transformed into mega messy glue works of art (mom loved, dad questioned and laughed).

So, in conclusion, I believe that this is my most favorite time of the year. When the crafting bug hits me this hard, I just can’t wait to see who I get to gift too next.
Happy first snowfall everyone!

DSC_0006

(Simple knit ultra-warm hat. You can also see that I have so many different yarn things now they are just piled up on the table. Oh, and can you find the cat snuggled in it all? And yes, the cat chewed off the nose of my head display – stop laughing – LOL – if you can cuz I can’t.)
All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Black – with Special Offers

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WHERE DO YOU DO “IT” AT?

Ok, most of you – get out of the gutter! I am talking about food processing here.
We have such a nice new house with outstanding new porches that it would be a shame not to use them every chance we get.
Well, the food processing season has come upon us once again. This time around we decided to do the messiest parts of the job outside whenever possible. The beginning project is beets.
Those of you have (and love) done up pickled beets know just how messy they get. The red in them, I swear, could dye the roughest of materials! With having such a beautiful, huge, new kitchen; the last thing we wanted to do was dye areas with bits of the red mess. Thus our decision to process them outside.
The cooking was done inside as that is easy enough to maintain, but the peeling and cutting are definitely done outside.
I sit on one side of the 8’x8’ area:

8-4 my fav process spot

My sister sits on the other:

8-4 d fav process spot

(Her delicate butt gets the extra chair pad – so not fair as mine is rutabaga style and deserves more!)
We have our garden tool box, music, some plants that will go back into the house come fall, and of course a place to set our drinks. The pics here are when we enjoy the area the most – early morning!
There is a yellow bug light bulb in the porch light to keep most of them at bay. The fun part is when we turn on the south door light (a regular 60-watt bulb), it will draw up all kinds of critters. The critters find their way to the front yard, and we can view them comfortably from our perch.
The honeysuckle is just past the porch which attracts some really cool critters: humming birds, humming bird moths, during the day we get a variety of bees and butterflies. I think I prefer the night ones; they are usually more interesting.
Once we have the base steps done in the house, it is time to venture to the veranda:

8-5 how we process foods-beets

If you look close at the bottom, you can see one of our many un-requested helpers doing what they normally do – sleep (animals!?). Also, note how smart my sister is! She remembered to put on her latex gloves BEFORE beginning – woo hoo smartie! We purchased boxes of the disposable things specifically for the beets and hot peppers. Now we need to have some type of auto-reminder not to touch your face when you are processing foods as you will end up with pepper juice in the eyes, and very pretty red dye streaks all over your face and neck (yes, been there, done that!).

If you enjoyed this (and maybe laughed a bit), then please check out my new blog: Life Lessons Lived where I share more bits and pieces of my humoristic life!

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OH NO – NOT ANOTHER COOL DAD STORY?

To properly explain this one, I am going to have to write you a picture:

  • Two sisters, one about four the other about six.
  • It is early1960’s in Wisconsin.
  • Our farm is several miles from the nearest major highway, so a trip is required for everything.
  • The main road: County Trunk W.
  • The type of road: 2-lane, HUGE hills (cannot see the other side until you are on top of them type hills).
  • And so our story begins:

It is a beautiful fall day.  The leaves are either turning or falling, and this part of Wisconsin has such an amazing variety of trees that you are awestruck by colors.  The air is crisp, even in the mid-afternoon.  Dad decides we have to go to the grocery store in Adell (not the closest city, but a larger selection) to pick up some stuff.  We are taking the farm truck (I have no clue year, make or model – have to ask my older sister since she totaled it – but that’s another story).  No seatbelts (neither in it or required to have it- go figure?).

Dad grabs the girls and throws them into the front seat of the truck, then slides in on the driver’s side and starts her up.  Varoom, rumble, rumble, rumble (yes, this is how an old farm pickup truck sounds) and off we go.

From the end of our driveway, you turn onto County Trunk W and go east toward Adell.  We sit at the top of a hill, so the start is fun picking up speed on the way down.  Now remember, it is early 1960’s so cops really didn’t look for speeders on all the county roads (most of them were still gravel anyway – now ours.)

Down the hill, up a smaller one, and over – picking up some more speed.  Down again, up again, down again; this continues for about five or six miles, and THERE IT IS – SKUNK HILL.  The reason for the name is because of all the dead skunks on it.  You cannot see over to the other side, so there is no time to slow down.

  • Once over,
    • you see it,
      • it’s dead – and
        • your car/truck will stink for a month

It was the tallest hill around.  Dad was beatin feet to get up that puppy.  Hit the top and it happened, up we went off the seat into the air!  Squeals of joy and laughter rung out!  Dad was laughing even harder at us and our excitement just over a jump on a hill.  Great joy in the little things.  The laughter did not stop for another 3 or so miles until we got to the store.

NOW, some of you will be seeing the danger here.

Some of you will be seeing bad parenting here.

But some of you, just some of you will see this:

calvin-n-hobbes-laughing

  silly-minion-1

silly-minions-2

farm-dad-1

     great-dad2

Our parents were great!  Loving, funny, caring, sharing, encouraging, outstanding.  So please do not judge too harshly the decade we grew up in because it was all good. 

They were not rich, but our lives were.  If I could, I would wish that all children would have at least a couple of summers, and maybe a few falls, on a farm.

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FARM KIDS AND FLYING HAY.

We had an 80-acre farm in Wisconsin that grew veggies for canning for winter food.  We also grew wheat, corn, and hay for the winter critters.  We raised beef cattle, had horses for fun, and a 4-H project with rabbits that got way out of control but filled the freezers with meat for a year (that’s another story).

One of my fondest memories growing up was of making hay.  Now before you panic, let me explain.  These were the old, small bales, the ones that usually weighed between 50-80 pounds and a normal adult could pick up and throw around.  This process became a family tradition.

We were the family with all the land and all the equipment, so when it came time to doing something like making hay, it was an extended family event.  Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and even some close family friends would be involved.  The parents and older kids worked the fields, while the kids got to work up in the haystack in the barn (I know, we were ripped off!).  The lower starting levels were not bad; but as the stack grew and the gap between the top of the hay and the top of the barn got smaller, the heat got more intense.  I don’t remember anyone passing out, but I also do not remember anyone coming out of there dry.

hay-baler-pic

(This is close to what ours was like, except back then there were no side racks, the hay came off the baler and we pulled it onto the wagon and stacked it.  The wheels were also up front and in back instead of in the middle)

The only major issue I remember is at the end of one season; the kids were allowed to go out and ride the last wagon of hay back (huge praise for our kid work).  My dad’s brother, Uncle Vern, was the tractor driver that day.  The wagon was full, we were all on top, and he was cruising back to the house.

The road from the hay field to the barn had only one stop.  The problem was it was at an intersection that sat at the bottom of a very steep hill (appropriately there also happened to be an old cemetery right across the street from where we had to stop – a very spooky cemetery!).  Well, Uncle Vern knew how bad this intersection was so he had been watching the top of the hill as we approached.  Instead of coming to a complete stop Uncle stood up, looked both ways one more time and then gunned the tractor.   (Everyone hated that turn because you couldn’t see anyone coming until they were already over the hill and just about on that intersection…this is why I said the cemetery was: appropriately placed there – eeek!).  He started the turn, was going a bit too fast, the hay on the wagon was not tied down (ya, no one even thought to do it back then), and we all tipped over!  The hay and the kids flew.  The tractor and, surprisingly, the wagon remained on their wheels.

UNCLE VERN STOPPED!

Parents from the house were watching from the top of the hay barn and saw us all fly.  Immediately they came rushing down the hill to help.  One group stopped traffic up by our driveway on the top of the hill.  Another group went to stop traffic in the other directions.  The rest ran to our aid.  You should have seen their faces.

NO ONE WAS HURT – NOT EVEN A SCRATCH, AND WE WERE LAUGHING!

 calvin-n-hobbes-laughing

Yep, crazy farm kids, had a blast flying off the top of the bales into the ditch.  It was grassy and semi-soft.  We were on the top of the stacked bales, so nothing landed on top of us, and besides; we all had jumped from greater heights inside the barn into the straw pile.  We thought it was fun – scary, but fun.  Later, eventually, so did our parents.

hay-wagon-pic

(This is very close to what it looked like before the dump.  The bales were stacked the same way, only add one more top row – 5 high – and we sat on top.) Ahhh,  childhood memories!

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THE FIRST TIME I TRIED TO DIE (no, not on purpose!).

To this day I cannot keep my hands off baby animals.  Don’t care what kind of animal it is, just as long as it is in baby form.  Adults, not so much.

On a farm, there is always some type of babies being born.  If it wasn’t my 4-H rabbits, it was the cousin’s pig.  Well, one fine year we had a Welsh Pony, her name was Dolly.  She was a booger!  The meanest pony I ever met.  Once you got the bridle and saddle on her, she was fun to ride.  Trying to get them on without her stepping on your foot or trying to nip you was another story.  I don’t know where or when it happened, but she got pregnant and had a colt.  A beautiful black and white spotted thing just like her.

dolley and baby

I can’t tell you how many times dad warned us NOT to go near Dolly.  She was very protective of her baby, as a mother should be.  Did I listen?  Nope!  I would go out there for hours and try to get close enough to touch the baby.

There was a small shed out in their pen with the door and window blown out.  Dolly would hide in there with her baby, and I knew it.  I would crawl up to the side of the building and try to reach in to get to touch the baby.  Never worked.

One day I decided I was just going to do it!  Just who did this pony think was the boss anyway?  So, I put on my little cowboy boots, grabbed my coat and off I went.  I marched right into that pen, right up to the pony and that was the last thing I remember of that encounter.

Apparently, she knew she was the boss and the moment I got too close, she decided to show me.  Swung her butt around and planted a hoof square on my head – knocked me out cold.  I was lucky for two reasons:

  1.  Dolly did not want to come after me for more damage once I was down.
  2. Dad saw the whole thing.

He managed to get me to the house (back then you didn’t just rush off to the hospital or doctor, you tried to handle it at home first.) where mom took over and eventually I came around.

Now, I’m not going to say I was okay.  As far as “ok” – that is still left to be determined (sure hope not)!  However, I was an idiot back then, and I will continue to prove this to you in my future family stories. (FYI – Dad’s nickname for me was “Dumb Shit” for a reason.)

headache dog

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