Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.

It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Craig’s List Finds & Clearing the Underbrush

The other day someone sent me a link to a Craig's List ad for topsoil..thinking I needed more for the garden. I do but, it was from a property owner who uses all kinds of chemicals on his lawn so I gave it a “thank you” and a pass.


Not for me. 

Looking at other local ad’s I found these barrels.  2 for $25!  When my Son in Law went to pick them for their house as well…he paid $40.00 for all 4.  SWEET!


They held vinegar so I need to be sure I have them well cleaned before I use them for water catchment. I’m not sure they will be done this season but surely for the upcoming spring.

The boys & I made a lot of progress clearing the brush behind the house.  It’s been slow going as there is a smaller/older brush pile under all of the honeysuckle and other vines…lots of things to trip and twist and ankle on. 

When we started…

deer target on the left leaning on the rabbit hut and green tarp in the lower right


And after! 

Deer by the rabbit hutch and the tarp

Looks much better I think!


There is much more to clear out from behind the rabbit hutch but I’m very exited & encouraged with the progress..It really opens the back yard up. I’m pretty sure we disturbed numerous skeeter nests as we were bit up pretty good but, since then we’ve seen a noticeable decline in the amount of those blood suckers on the property

A few tree stumps left to cut up & clear out.  I’m thinking maybe we’ll use them for a bon fire


The underbrush I’ve been burning almost nightly in the fire pit. Starting early evening till after dusk. It’s been a nice evening change & helps keep the skeeters at bay. 

But darn it, the deep bed of coals left just beg us to roast marshmallows.  Makes for a nice treat for my pint sized helpers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rain, Lovely Rain

I know, I know… last week I was singing rain – rain go away!

It was getting pretty dry & everything seriously needed watered. 

The thick & fluffy clouds rolled in early yesterday morning.  They were beautiful…. so low, they looked to be brushing the tree tops


Perfect weather for processing corn outside. Mr.Fix-it is an early riser…What I call “O”-God thirty”   You know, when most of us look at the clock and groan and roll back over.  By the time I came out at 8AM, he had everything set up and was well into having the corn shucked and ready  (My Hero)


While the first batch was in blanching for 10 minutes & then cooling,  we finished the shucking


Turkey fryer works perfectly with a large kettle


Corn bagged and cooling a bit more in the breeze before going in the freezer.

I love this burner, canning (water bath) works so well outside & saves tons.  I’m not using the house propane, the heat stays outside saving the A.C. usage…& electric bill which I love!

The weather stayed beautiful all day, much cooler & the rain (wonderful rain) came at dusk once we were inside. I couldn’t ask for better than that!


As far as a garden up date goes, I fought the squash bug & borer’s but they won.  I had to pull 3 of the squash plants out.  I found finally found Neem oil but it was to late for these.  I’m hoping I can get it sprayed soon enough to save the other plants… once it quits raining. 

The rest of the garden is looking decent,  the potato’s are showing blooms, melons are setting fruit & the surprise pumpkin are growing like crazy. Now it’s down to the waiting game. Other than the raised beds and cucumber area, all sections have been weeded clear & bare areas ready for fall planting in a week or so…but, that was yesterday….today who knows.


The first batch of blackberry jam was made the other day..the first 2 gallons went in the freezer slated for winter cobblers

2013 Blackberry Jam firstbatch

I’ve another batch waiting to be made now while Miss Alix is napping so, off for jam making & house cleaning while it’s to wet for outdoor work.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beans Beans The Magical Fruit

The more you eat the more you …wait!

Wrong kind of beans!

I’m talking Green Beans!  The blue lake bush kind.  We (My SIL Jessie & I)picked and processed green beans yesterday.  I think it was her first time from picking to looking at the pretty cooling jars fresh out of the pressure cooker. 

2013 greenbeans first canning

More blossoms are showing on the plants so I’m hoping for another harvest.  I also planted the Italian broad beans this year for my oldest daughter Danielle. She picked 2 full grocery bags worth & cried enough!  Blossoms are showing on those plans as well so I think we may just be sick of beans by end of canning season let alone this winter!

Cucumbers nearly got away from me…

2013cucumber and squash

We picked 16 and were able to re-home 3..so I need to get these processed. Not sure what relish recipe I’ll use but I want to try one from Erin

Be sure and pop over to check out her blog.  She and her husband have just purchased land to go off grid.  I can promise her posts will be a good read.I’ve been known to have coffee pass through my nostrils on a few LOL!

The garden is *cough* nearly under control.  OK, just over half..but I need to stay positive about it right?  Healthy weeds mean good soil and ours are growing well.  I’ve been having a morning & evening meeting with them. The potato bed is cleared and received a new layer of straw as well as the additional rows in the main garden, Some of the plants are showing blossoms forming so they are looking good.

  The peas planted in a shaded area are hanging on.  Very slow growing but the blossoms are turning to pods so I’m hoping they continue to produce.  Other than fresh out of the garden I love them dried.  Can’t stand cooked peas (say tuna and pea casserole & watch me gag!) so these will be dehydrated for general munching!

I watered the front flowerbed last night and realized what a sad state it was in.  I used to keep it so nice and now…it’s looking sad, neglected and full of weeds. I don’t have/take the time to care for it as I should so I’m thinking of making some changes there as well. More perennials that take less maintenance but give those pops of color I love. I need to get back in my routine of spending at least 15 minutes a day devoted to the flower beds.  It sure made a difference and they looked great. Someday I’ll grow up and get organized….

Well, morning comes early & I have a date with the canner.

Hope it’s staying cool where you are


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This & That

Ah…., Monday.  Oops I mean Tuesday!  Reality kicks back in. We had such a fun weekend with family. You know how it is, weddings and funerals are the only time you have the chance to see some family due to time, distance & commitments.  A few of my husbands cousins were in from Ohio and PA.  We had 2 days together, talking, eating and laughing as they relived childhood memories & we created new.

But real life kicks back in…

The boys helped me clear over half of the underbrush in the back where I will place the compost bins…hot and stick it was about 86 with super high humidity…we stopped before we melted and cooled off with popsicles. 

The wild blackberries are ripening.  Mr. Fix-It has been donning long sleeves, jeans & boots every few evenings and picking what he can. He’s gone out 2 evenings and harvested a bit over 2 gallonsField picking

This was last nights haul….he said they are just starting to ripen & we’ll both need large buckets when they fully ripen.  I believe this batch will be blackberry jam.

Mike and Jessie brought us a few of their berries as a thank you when they picked up the boys &

 Black Berry cobbler

thrilled Mr. Fix-It with a cobbler.

Since the oven was already on, I used some fresh picked zucchini and made a few loaves of 20130715_162157

Chocolate zucchini bread. It weighs a ton but is soooo good! 

Green beans are calling my name to be harvested this morning.  Since it’s already 78 degrees and they are calling for high 90s I’m heading out to get that done.  Jessie is popping in to help me can some this morning/afternoon.  I have a feeling I’m going to regret not being out at first light!

Have you harvested much this year?


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Bee’s and Blooms

Bees have been few and far between this summer.

The little’s have learned learned to give a shout out when they are seen.  A shout of celebration (or fear) depending on your age LOL!

The blooms were loaded with the bumbles this morning


Last of the lilies, this was another freak double bloom…freaky but I love them


Honey bee’s covering the cucumber blooms…


That’s it little men, do your bee thing and pollinate those blooms.

The boys & I started clearing the area where I want the compost bins.  Mr.Fix-It’s arm is not quite up to snuff yet so my BIL brought his chain saw over the other day and we played a bit.


Still have quite a bit to clear but it’s a start,,,and starting is half the job!

What are your plans for the day?


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lazy Morning Wandering

in the garden.  It’s in need of some serious weeding after all the rain.  For the first time in weeks it’s beautiful out, low 70’s and as light breeze & perfect for garden work. 

The only work being done out here is with my camera.

One of my nephews if getting married this afternoon and I’m trying to look presentable.  Garden stained feet & hands are not quite the look I’m going for.  I’ve soaked my feet in peroxide 3 times and scrub them nightly but cannot get rid of the stains. 

Overall the garden is going great,


The second potato bed is growing well with few bare spots


Pathways mulched with 4 inches of grass clippings

Zucchini are producing like crazy. Neither Mr.Fix-It or I care for it much as a veggie but love zucchini bread.  I think I have 24 cups of it in the freezer so far bagged in portions ready to use this fall & winter.


If this kind of production keeps up & the squash bugs don’t get me, I’ll be that person that drops off bags of zucchini on random front porches under the cover of darkness


The green beans & Italian beans are ready to pick but will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday.


As I was taking photos I munched quite a few of those nice fat beans for breakfast.  Wish I could preserve them raw & retain all that freshness


The broccoli bed stripped.I can’t get over how long they produced this year. All the rain really paid off.   I think I have 20 2 person servings in the freezer.


The rhubarb & pumpkin seeds I dropped.

The rhubarb lived!!

so far…

After 4 years of trying…success!  It about killed me but I’ve not taken one cutting from these 2 year plants.  They have such beautiful thick stalks….I may snitch just enough for a pie.  Next year God willing I’ll have a wonderful stash of rhubarb sauce & enough for a few pies.  The pumpkin seeds I lost (and found)have set fruit and there are about 4 softball size pie pumpkin forming up


Cucumbers think they own the garden.  Taking over everything!  I was planning on adding another row of green beans or fall planting of spinach.  I can see 3 that are huge and overgrown.  Its been to wet and muddy to get in this section.


But there are plenty more blooms coming. 

These are pickling cucumbers..I want to try sweet pickles this year although I’m not sure if there will be enough…after I find a recipe.


Off to play lady of leisure this morning and putter around the patio..till it’s time to put on the fru-fu clothesIMG_2773

Good golly it needs cleaned up!

What are your plans this beautiful day?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Plop, splat, plop…plop….splat

That was the sound of our wet clothes as they hit the laundry room floor at 9:30 Tuesday evening.  

It’s been so blasted hot we’re outside early morning and again after supper till dark.

Monday night we lost light at 9:30 along with all our energy…..it was still 85 degrees with 65% humidity. My hair was so wet I looked like I’d just stepped out of the shower. 

Last night wasn’t much different other than it was still 88 at 11 pm UGH!  But, It’s so worth it as Mr.Fixit is totally on board now with composting.

Don’t get me wrong, he was before but didn’t understand the amount we really needed for the garden. We do have a compost bin…but it is 1 bin & we keep adding to it….so its never done. I’ve tried shifting some to the side but it ends up mixed back in.

  So far this summer I’ve bought 4 yards of compost and could use 4 more .  1yard = a front end loader scoop.  Granted 1 yard was only $5.00 but, it was the time/gas/quality and yes money I had a problem with when, with better resource management we could do it ourselves.  So, after much discussion, I’m getting 3 large compost bins.  At the shop he receives shipments weekly on pallets & will be bringing them home to reuse.  I’m hoping we have enough to get 1-2 built this coming week and will add other sections as he receives more pallets. 

The other change is to put the plans for a pool on hold till next year.

Our pool became Fred and Ethel. 

Yes, that’s right I named them

A friend of ours retired & moved from a large land holding into a smaller home in town.  He sold us Fred and Ethel for less than 1/3 the cost of a new mower and trailer. Its half the size of the tractor and cuts the same width making it much easier for me to use.  Less than 3 years old and has just over 100 hours on the motor….to good of a deal to pass up!


Mr. Fix-It on Fred….

.Ethel was off to the side half loaded with grass clippings

With over 5 acres there is a LOT of grass to mow.  A lot of grass to mow = a wonderful base for compost~! Monday evening he mowed the 2 acres in front of the house blowing the clippings in deep rake easy rows.  When I finished yesterday afternoon (with help from my SIL Jessie and the kids), I ended up with 8 (1 yard) trailer loads of clippings!  That’s not counting all the clippings I used to mulch the pathways in the garden (1-2 more loads)    Talk about a work out LOL! 

We’ve plenty of carbon to blend in with the grass clippings & intend to do this again 2-3 more times this summer.  A neighbor on the other end of the field has horses and cattle and are more than happy to let me fill a few buckets of manure to mix in the piles. WOOT! So excited I was doing a happy dance.

10 years ago If you told me I’d be dancing over compost I would have asked what time you were due for your meds!

The garden is going crazy, beans are nearly ready, squash and pumpkin are growing like gang busters…updates later I think I’ve rambled enough for now

Ah, I’m a happy girl!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Water Logged!

As a friend of mine recently said…”If it doesn’t quit raining soon I’m going to rust!”

We had a semi dry week while Hayden was here but, after that rain. rain. rain. I was able to pop in the garden to weed a bit in the early mornings while he was here but never caught up.  Then the heavy rains started and things are out of control.  Plants are growing willy nilly and weeds are into full on party mode. I was out over the weekend in ankle deep mud trying to gain some since of control….Since its near 90 today and 70% humidity at 11 am I’m leaving it be for the day!

We had a minor emergency here over the 4th.

  My coffee pot died.

  Yes, you read that correctly.

In my house a broken coffee pot constitutes an emergency.

The on off switch broke.

If you jiggled it just right it would come on and stay on.  Mr. Fix-It (bless his heart) fixed it…..I think he was worried about life as we know it without coffee.  Rather his life with me when I don’t have morning coffee.  A $5.00 switch replaced and we were good to go for another few years.  A simple part to do the repair…made me wonder how many would have simply tossed the pot and bought another. 


Erika and I spent part of last weekend working on a few updates at her house.  We pulled her shutters, power washed them and the house. We painted and rehung the shutters…  Oh my gosh the difference it made..to get the full effect, this is last summer & the condition of the house when we bought it a few months ago

Lori's 001_thumb[1][2]

This photo was taken this morning.

Little house redo

We’ve all kinds of plants waiting to put in the front flowerbeds. It’s been to wet to get in there to do it.  They would have really benefited from all this rain but we wanted to get the shutters finished first. The sun is out so I might get some in today…we’ll see.

Sunshine means laundry to hang so, I better take advantage of it while I’m able.

Hoping for a dry day