For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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More Organization Tips: The Office, The Daily Home Blessing and Yummy Market Fresh Sandwiches...

Our homes should be a blessing to our family... and whether we like it or not, we moms/wives/ladies can make it or break it!  We need to strive to create an environment that is welcoming, peaceful and cozy for all who enter.  A clean, well kept and organized home will make these elements much more easy to obtain.  As the ladies of the house, when things are out of order and chaotic, we too feel that and then in turn present that through our actions, attitudes and behavior... "if mom's happy, then everyone is happy," is too true a statement! In "Sink Reflections", by Marla Cilley, she talks about having a Home Blessing (another Buzz word).  What this basically refers to is our Mission Statement for our home as women, wives and mothers... it our goal for what we want our home to be... what we want it to reflect. I took this very seriously because I have high expectations!  One thing to remember in all this is that even though we have routines and schedules, we must be flexible... we are not drill sergeants, even though I have been accused of that, we are still mommy and need to teach and train with a tender hand so our little helpers want to help and get excited about the process as well.  If you have children you fully understand what I am talking about... I have had some really good plans drawn up, but when the baby is puking up a storm from a sudden flu bug... zone cleaning comes to a sudden halt... so be what the Lord has us to be first... woman, wife and mommy!  Enjoy yourself in your organizational quests, otherwise it won't last and it will be just another burden!  [Read More]
 
 

More on Organization: Creating Routines with P.M.S.- Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify , The Kitchen and Pantry and More Market Fresh Canning Recipe's!

Oh what a happy mom am I when the boys rooms are clean, the fridge is shining with no 'science experiments' going on it, the appliances are shining and the windows let in all the bright sunshine because the little paddy prints have been washed off... at least for fifteen minutes... so look fast! After all I do have a just turned two year old that loves to stand on the kitchen chairs (... and the table...) and look at the out of doors... cry when everyone else is going 'bye-bye', and stand and wave at the dumpster guy pulling in the lane... yes windows are nice, but they don't stay clean at our house for very long. The boys say why bother... I tell them can you imagine if we didn't- think layers boys! Well, the kitchen is the gathering place in most homes and it is at ours as well... It is where little boys get to lick the beaters and get a spoonful of homemade chocolate pudding... where soap bubble beards are made and wet towel 'thwacks' happen... yes the kitchen is the heart of the home... after all it's where we nourish those we love... I will go into some more details of how I keep the kitchen and pantry tidy and organized. Today I thought it would be fun to throw in a couple canning recipes for some of the good stuff that you are getting in your CSA shares and across our market table... an possibly out of your very own gardens!   [Read More]

More on Organization: Creating Routines with P.M.S.- Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify , The Kitchen and Pantry and More Market Fresh Canning Recipe's!

Oh what a happy mom am I when the boys rooms are clean, the fridge is shining with no 'science experiments' going on it, the appliances are shining and the windows let in all the bright sunshine because the little paddy prints have been washed off... at least for fifteen minutes... so look fast! After all I do have a just turned two year old that loves to stand on the kitchen chairs (... and the table...) and look at the out of doors... cry when everyone else is going 'bye-bye', and stand and wave at the dumpster guy pulling in the lane... yes windows are nice, but they don't stay clean at our house for very long. The boys say why bother... I tell them can you imagine if we didn't- think layers boys! Well, the kitchen is the gathering place in most homes and it is at ours as well... It is where little boys get to lick the beaters and get a spoonful of homemade chocolate pudding... where soap bubble beards are made and wet towel 'thwacks' happen... yes the kitchen is the heart of the home... after all it's where we nourish those we love... I will go into some more details of how I keep the kitchen and pantry tidy and organized. Today I thought it would be fun to throw in a couple canning recipes for some of the good stuff that you are getting in your CSA shares and across our market table... an possibly out of your very own gardens!   [Read More]
 
 

Organizational Tips and Recipes for Herb Salts and Dry Mixes!

I love reading anything on organization! I am a firm believer of everything has a place and everything in it's place.  In my home I up against seven other individuals. Now when I say 'up against' I don't mean that in necessarily a bad way for the most part... I just mean not all members of my household have the same instinct as I do... so I work hard at trying to instill this quality, especially in my children... unfortunately it's too late for my other half(can't teach an old dog new tricks, LOL)!  He was not taught this art in anyway shape or form... he does try to some degree, but it's not his nature. Anyway, some of my children have grabbed hold onto it and some, shall I say are a work in progress! A few things that drive me crazy are when the kitchen cupboard doors are left open... I just cannot understand why they don't close as easily as they opened... sigh! ... or why the dirty clothes land beside the hamper, but not in... sigh!  Well, as my one dear friend always tells me... 'Line upon line... precept upon precept!' So I trudge on!  Really I don't mind it all too much because I do love to get things organized and re-do stuff. Anytime I am in the check out line and there appears a new organizing or storage magazine, they just seem to find there way into my cart! Praise the Lord for constant inspiration!  Last week I spent the morning 'gutting' out and cleaning the boys room... unbelievable is all I can say!   [Read More]
 
 

The Organic Life: How To Get There and More Market Fresh Recipe's!

What does Organic mean to you?  I think everyone reading this would have somewhat of a different answer.  Personally,  I want 'organic' to be the way I breath, eat and sleep... it's the life style I want for myself and my family... it's a personal choice... you can't make someone 'believe' it if they don't want to or they don't care.  An organic life style isn't easy by any definition of the word... especially if you live in the city! No offense there my city dwelling friends! I have come to understand your back yard isn't even your own to grow your food if that is what you want to do... that is unless you get 'their' permission.  This is incredulous to me... as many of you who know me personally and have leaned over my market table where we have vented together on these issues!  So many of you ask me for advice on chickens, gardening and canning... I wish so badly I could do more than just give you 'tips'... but that is where it's at I guess.  So today I am going to give some reference materials along with more 'tips' on how to get a piece of the organic life for yourselves... and of course some more yummy market fresh recipes!  Enjoy friends!
           
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Canning Tips, To-Do List Tags & How to Can Yummy Sweet and Sour pickles and Mexican Style Salsa!

Heirloom Tomatoes... basil, garlic... oh my! Summer goodness just keeps flowing into our kitchens from the gardens. We are busy starting to put our food up for the coming cold months and how wonderful it is to watch those can shelves fill up with all that good stuff. Today we are going to busy making salsa and sweet & sour pickles. Every time we add to the shelves, I just stand back and cannot help but be so thankful for all we have. Life is good! Today I am going to give some helpful canning tips that I compiled several years back for my cookbook, "Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats" along with my salsa & pickle recipe... and of course a cute crafty idea too! Have a wonderful day!  [Read More]
 
 

Market Day At The Garden Gate Farm, Plant Tags, Plant Growing File and more yummy Market Fresh Recipe's!


We have been busy... I thought today along with the normal fun stuff I like to share I would give a journal entry of "A Day In The Life..." at our farm on Friday while we get ready for market... so here it is... enjoy!

Here was our day last Friday...  it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees...
"We take so much care in what we do because we do it for you!" Jean Smith
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Decorative Garden Journal, Gardener's First Aid Kit, Testing Old Seeds, Freezer Strawberry Jam and Yummy Heirloom Brushetta

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words." Lydia M. Child

I often talk about my love for journaling and awhile back I talked about a Cookbook Journal I had made for my daughter Taylor.  Well, I also have created several Gardening Journals to show the progress of my gardens as the years go by.  It is fun to put the photo's in along with magazine articles or pictures that inspired me to my newest creation.  As the years move forward seeing the growth and changes that naturally take place in a garden are both exciting and joyful.  This morning while I should have been busy harvesting, I just couldn't resist taking a few moments to weed the Pergola garden and walkway... it is so relaxing for me... the cool morning with the light fog across the fields is so inviting as I prepare for the heat of the day.  Yesterday Taylor took the boys swimming and I had some quiet time... in my gardens... Well here we are at the end of June and I haven't even given you a Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe... shame on me! Well they are still in season so here is my families favorite and if you were fortunate enough to be one of our Winter CSA members you got this in your shares... so here's the not-so-secret recipe! Enjoy!
       
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Farmers Markets & Foodshed's, Succession Planting and Three Yummy Farmer's Market Recipes!

What's a Foodshed you ask?  Most people who call themselves Localvore's, Foodies or the like will probably be familiar with this term, but for those of you who are not, here is a brief description and how you can make or find one!  *Though it may be unfamiliar, the term "foodshed" was used almost 80 years ago in a book entitled How Great Cities Are Fed (Hedden, 1929) to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer. Seven decades later, the term was used to describe a food system that connected local producers with local consumers (Kloppenburg et al., 1996). In this project, the general definition of a foodshed is a geographic area that supplies a population center with food. However, the Mapping Local Food Systems Project focused specifically on potential local foodsheds, areas of nearby land that could theoretically provide part or all of a city's food needs (Peters, 2007).
*Used from Cornell University web site, 2012
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Make a Blooming Chair, How To Make Herbed Vinegars and Oils and Recipes!

Flowers are bursting open everywhere and the fledglings are leaving the nest... young robins are hopping all over the garden eating creepy crawlies and enjoying being out of the nest... glorious, glorious summer!  The fields are starting to bear and the harvest will soon be coming on heavily... that means 'puttin' up time is just around the corner.  Of course we've been busy with rhubarb and now strawberries are ripe for the pickin' and that means the yummiest jam of all...  Strawberries scare me though... that is growing them. They are really the only 'garden' fruit I don't grow. The runners and weeding they require have never tempted me... until this year! I think I have figured a way to keep them... I will blog more on this next week, so keep watching.  Today we'll stick with more herb stuff and of course some garden junque too! Enjoy and thanks for comin' over!  [Read More]
 
 

Decorating with Herbs, Step Stone Patterns and More Rhubarb and Strawberry Recipes

Here we are just about in the middle of June... how the days fly. The other day Kyle & Ethan were planting another 50 pounds of Yukon potato seeds... I walked down the row punching the holes in the plastic where they were to plant... Suddenly I saw this big, bossy and majestic dragonfly... He lives here at The Garden Gate Farm... he sports an iridescent blue jacket and flits about like he doesn't have a care in the world. I love to watch them fly about... whip over this way and then dart over that way.  They are by far my favorite insect. I quick pointed him out to the boys and we watched awhile as he showed off.  I truly believe that God always sends me one because He knows how special they are too me.  We also had another 'not so majestic' flying critter that day~ this one though was darting through my house and I was screaming running out the door~  [Read More]
 
 

Tussie Mussies Made Simple, Putting Up Rhubarb, Rhubarb Crisp and Rhubarb Punch!

Well here we are getting fired up about the garden and all that she will bear for us... spring, summer, fall and winter... each holds a different gift for the individual.  Most people are not aware of the extended growing capabilities that we now have available in more northern climates, such as mine here in the thumb of Michigan.  We have some cold winters but with heated and unheated greenhouses, high tunnels and/ or hoop houses the posibilities are quite amazing.  No we can't grow tomatoes, they need a certain amount of sunlight to bear that vine ripened flavorful tomato.  I don't believe in hydroponics and wouldn't eat anything grown that way on purpose... read the labels friends, you'd be surprised at what you're eating during the winter months.  I believe, but don't totally practice eating 'in season'... my family likes banana's and oranges and we buy them in the winter. I do realize that eating local and in season are wonderful and right things, but, we are a bit spoiled. With all the preserving and root cellaring we do we have pretty much every thing we could want out of the garden all winter long and right on through spring until it all starts coming in fresh again.  With our hoop houses we can have fresh greens and lettuces all winter long... like I said we are spoiled! Which brings me to helping you put up some rhubarb and giving you recipes on how to use it in and out 'of season'... enjoy!  [Read More]
 
 

Dividing Iris', Drying Your Herbs, More Herbal Personal Care and Yummy Herb Recipe's!

Well we are already into June and summer is right around the corner.  We have enjoyed all the beauty that spring brings and now we can start to welcome all the special things that summer has to offer... vine ripened heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil along with garlic put together to make a mouth watering Brushetta, Black Eyed Susan's, daisy's and cone flowers are getting ready to show off their colorful faces while our peonies and iris' are bowing out graciously.  Now is the time to start doing some divisions of certain plants, iris' being one.  Herbs are producing prolifically and drying them right now is an optimal time.  If you are a canner and put up your summer's bounty, then you will want to have all those wonderful herbs well gathered and ready to add into your spaghetti and bar-b-que sauce's, not to mention salsa and soups.  I am excited about starting to put the good stuff up here... Rhubarb is ready to be froze and saved to make some yummy strawberry-rhubarb pies, preserves and sauces (more on that next time)... oh my... summer!  [Read More]
 
 

Herbal Bath Bags, Clothespin Crafts, Pamper Yourself Herb Recipe's and more!

The gardens are bursting with blooms and scents that make a person's senses start leaping... the spicy smell of the rose... the peonies simply radiate with beauty as their big pom-pom flowers sway too and fro on the breeze... weeding amongst the basil's, thyme's, sage's and fennel's just tantalize the olfactory senses to a majestic height... Gardening is a gift and no one can convince me otherwise!  Right now we have lots of herbs that are producing prolifically and it can be difficult to get all these yummies put in the pot, shall we say.  Don't despair, you have more options with herbs than just eating them~ although that is my personal first choice! There are lots of folks out there that enjoy herbs in personal care products even more than on the menu. I am going to focus on this area of herbs for the next while to switch things up a bit.  Enjoy the sunshine and smile big... summer's just around the corner!    [Read More]
 
 

More Garden Junque Ideas, Window Pane Mini Greenhouse, Seed Packet Calendar Box and Yummy Rhubarb Upside Down Treat

Ryan and I were transplanting more tomatoes in the green house yesterday... he enjoys playing in the dirt~ after all he is a boy.  He got 14 flats done and was quite pleased with himself, especially with him earning fifty cents a flat and it didn't even take him an hour!  Work is an ethic that needs to be taught when they are young and being able to earn a little bit on the side isn't all that bad either.  Afterward, I was watering in the hoop house and was just standing there looking at all the neat rows of lettuce and tomatoes and taking in the deep earthy smell... I love to be outside, in the gardens in the fresh air... how much better when it's with my children!  We'll talk on a bit more about how to utilize garden junque and cute-sifying your gardens today!   [Read More]
 
 
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