Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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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!
Posted by Neil & Jean
@ 09:45 PM EDT
"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
They are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul."
Meals are important at our house~ they are a time where we all sit
together and talk about the days events, big news, mishaps or
anything else that happens to pop up. Meal times can get a bit on
the noisy side, but they are special together times that everyone
gets to give their two cents worth. Last night at the supper
table, Taylor said she wanted to do 'Guinea Pig' Suppers
every night next week~ Neil said, 'no way'; Kyle said, 'yeah,
cool'; Ethan said, 'uh-uh'; I said, 'OK, but I have to say yes
first before anything is approved'; Neil said, 'That sounds
better'; and then my sweet little 10 year old Ryan said, 'Where
are we going to get the guinea pig meat?', quite seriously. So
you may be saying, what is a guinea pig meal? Well they are fun
& easy. All you do is try a new recipe that you think looks
good that you have never tried, really not that scary. Anyway, I
thought that this was cute!
*The other day I was at a friends house and they gave me a
tour of their new 'little' greenhouse. It was cute- her daughter
had saved several of her seed packets to keep for a handy
reference. I saw them as something much different- cute Fridge
Magnets for home & gifts of course! I am sure most of us
gardeners are guilty of buying that 'extra' pack of seed just
because of the package, the photo of the flower, herb or veggie-
"Oh," we say, "I have to have that ....." . We all love a pretty
picture- as they say, 'a picture says a thousands words'... So
often I purchase a seed packet just because of the package. Seed companies would be smart if they all put
more energy into the packaging! I
have already used them as name cards at a tea party, pasted on the
front of a homemade card and to make Fridge Magnets. It is so
easy and they are the cutest gift to quick throw into a card you
are going to send someone! Here's how~ You will need a laminator
or self laminating sheets, a roll of self sticking magnet and of
course your empty seed packets. Simply laminate the pack and then
stick on the magnet! So cute, so simple and so fast!
*Some people collect shoes, purses, books, I collect table
clothes. No matter what thrift shop I go to, the first
place I hit is the linens department; I stand back and look down
the rack so I can pick out the fabrics that catch my eyes~ plaids
and floral's are always first on my list. After I find a few
things it's off to the sheets~ yes the sheets! Sheets make
wonderful outdoor entertaining table clothes; they cover picnic
tables beautifully! I also have used quilts for a unique touch on
a special occasion! Be creative, it's your table!
Everyone loves the first yummy things out of the garden in
spring, lettuces, greens, spinach, radishes, scallions and the
list can go on & on. Here is a variation to the everyday
salad using some of Garden Gates awesome Bacon, lettuces, greens
Garden Gate Farms Special Springtime Salad
1 bag mixed Greens from Garden Gate Farm, about a pound
1 bag baby lettuces from Garden Gate Farm, about a pound
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried Cranberries or cherries or mix of both
1 bunch Radishes from Garden Gate, washed, trimmed and thinly
1/2 pound Garden Gate Bacon, crisply cooked & crumbled
1/ pound blue cheese or feta cheese (without juice), crumbled
Poppy Seed Salad Dressing- see recipe below
Homemade Croutons- see recipe below
1. Wash & snip greens & lettuces into bite size pieces;
arrange in a large salad bowl or on a large serving platter.
2. Layer each of the remaining ingredients, except dressing, on
top of lettuce/greens.
3. Serve with dressing on side.
This is a large batch and will feed 12 to 15 hungry folks!
Yummy Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup raw organic sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mustard
1/3 cup real lemon juice
1 tsp. grated red onion
3.4 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seed
1/8 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate and serve
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. each salt & pepper
1/3 cup grated Fresh Parmesan cheese
6 slices french or sour dough bread, day old is fine, crusts
trimmed* (don't throw away)
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until
butter foams; Add garlic and cook about 1 minute; add bread cubes
and toss to coat with butter.
2. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and
bake at 375 degrees fro about 15 minutes, tossing once in between,
until lightly golden.
3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and toss until
Makes about 4-6 cups.
*Don't throw away those crusts- put them in a freezer zip lock bag
or freezer plastic container and freeze for up to 3 months. Use
them for your next batch of homemade dressing!
Posted by Neil & Jean
@ 08:14 AM EDT
Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding! All you need is a few everyday household items~
*If you buy organic baby lettuce, greens or spinach than you will have access to those handy clear plastic containers with lids. These are perfect for seed starting. Be sure to poke several drainage holes on the bottom of the container.
*Fill your container about 2/3 way full with a good organic potting mix. Plant your seeds as package describes. Be sure to follow planting dates on packet. Water accordingly.
*Put the lid on, which will give a greenhouse effect. You will not have to water due to the condensation that will be created.
*Put in a sunny window and wait until seeds start to sprout- see seed packet instructions.
*Once the seeds start to germinate, remove lid and water according to packet instructions.
Another easy but more extravagant way is to set your flats on a table and hang lights on 's' hooks with light chains from the ceiling in a warm basement or other room. The lights must be no more than 3 to 6 inches from the top of the flat (or the plants once they start growing), so be sure to make your light set up adjustable. Plain old florescent shop lights work best for starting seeds, or you can even purchase 'grow lights' from greenhouse supply companies or seed catalogs.
*You can go to any big box retailer and purchase really slick 'seed starting' kits. Follow instructions on kit.... and enjoy!
Transplant outdoors following packet instructions.
Easy fertilizer~ to give your house plants an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon of fish emulsion plant fertilizer to 1/2 gallon of water, then stand back and watch'er grow! Extra fertilizer water can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Humane Critter Deterrent~ I know we all have a pet that we love & cherish, but we also have flower beds we work very hard to keep beautiful and when that pet trompples the new shoots of that cherished peony or knocks down the Heirloom tomato plant loaded with green tomatoes, things can get a bit frustrating. So here are a few 'humane' ways to deter our beloved cats & dogs from our beloved gardens. This will also deter rabbits, squirrels and ground hogs- not so beloved.
~Sprinkle a mixture of 3 parts Cayenne Pepper and 1 part ground Citrus peelings. Sprinkle liberally around perimeters of beds and directly around specific areas that you want to keep Fido & Kitty out of. Reapply weekly or after the surface soil dries after a rain.~
You want Toads! They eat literally thousands of insects a week and they are the best friend of any organic gardener! If you have a pond- (no fish they eat toad eggs) or an area you don't mind un-mowed and natural; there is no need to throw away broken clay pots, these make lovely toad houses and look too cute hidden among flowers. These are all perfect toad hiding places. Toads have enormous appetites and faithfully feed on grasshoppers, cutworms, slugs, flies and most of the bad bugs that drive all of us gardeners crazy. It is crucial you use NO pesticides as they are easily absorbed through the toad's skin. Be sure to educate your children on good toad behavior- no smooshing!
Try some yummy muffins for breakfast or snack, these are a winner!
Peanut Butter Muffins
1 cup Whole Wheat flour from Garden Gate 1/3 cup Applesauce
1 cup Oatmeal 1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. baking soda 1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add peanut butter and applesauce; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
2. Stir in milk and honey.
3. Spoon batter into paper lined or greased muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from center.
Cool in pan for about 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
makes about 1 1/2 dozen.
Posted by Neil & Jean
@ 10:52 PM EDT
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