Thursday, September 18, 2008

"For The Sake Of Mental Health"

I had a completely different kind of entry prepared for this evening. I was about to hit send when I decided against it. It was full of cynicism, and doubt. It was full of more thoughts of just wanting to withdraw further and further into a shell. So instead of sending it out into the Universe, I deleted it and decided instead to work in my garden and cook. These two things are always a reminder to me of all the things that I still have to be grateful for.

I have been compiling some recipes over the last few weeks. Some of these recipes are for a change in diet that I have set up for myself. The other recipes are for the upcoming cooler days of fall and winter. It has been cool here for a few days and I pulled up a recipe for some potato soup. I have pulled up so many that I can't remember who to give credit for it. But it isn't mine. Still, I wanted to share it because I thought it was a quick and easy way to to make a favorite.

Since I am so busy, I need lots of quick and easy meals that I can make and freeze. I know that cooking from scratch is the best and the most healthy, but sometimes you have to improvise. I am all for that.

So here is the recipe that I pulled up for the soup.


* 32 oz. Frozen Potatoes O'Brien

*2 Small packets White Gravy Mix( I chose Jimmy Deans)

*1 Large Chicken Broth

*Shredded Cheese

I also at the suggestion of the original recipe maker added cubed smoked sausage. You can also add pieces of bacon if you are really into meat and that smoky flavor.

Cooking Instructions:

Pour broth and potatoes in stock pot;heat. Once broth is hot, mix in both packets of white gravy mix. Heat to boil and simmer 20-25 minutes. Add cheese,salt and pepper to taste.

That is the original recipe and it came out delicious.


 This bowl was still steaming out of the pot. Someone (not me) requested some for lunch. Once it has sat for a bit the consistency is MUCH thicker and the flavor is very full.

I also baked a German Chocolate cake for the others and have some Flax Seed cookies for myself. They are quite good and quite filling.

While the cake was baking and the soup was simmering, I went outside to work in the garden a bit. I had the "wee one" water the plants inside the makeshift greenhouse, and I took care of the rest.


 Pumpkin up to the "Nogoodniks" of trying to jump the fence into my garden.

 More Tomato beauty. I love it!


Close-up of the trellised pumpkins.


 Winter squash and sugar snap beans next to it.


 My only remaining cucumber plant( in the middle) trying to grow.

I could just feel a calm pour over me and I truly needed that today.

And for all of you following the saga of "Belle and Beau", good news. There is a reconciliation in the works.  After seeing the headlines of the "Three B's: The Bailout of "AIG", the Buyout of "Merrill Lynch", and the Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Belle decided that Beau was right about not starting a family right now. They are continuing in counseling.

Well, that is it for this "Homestead". Have a "Fabulous Friday" everyone, and I will see you next time...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

" Sunday"

Well, today has been a pretty quiet day overall. I finished up dinner preparations, took care of the garden and have things almost ready for the upcoming week. Then it is off to take a nice hot shower, wash my hair and settle in for the night. I hate this part of Sunday because I usually dread going back to the routine. But, that being said, I consider myself fortunate to have a routine to go back to.

In the garden, I basically cleared some weeds from the aisles and raked into between them.

 I watered the plants and made a few discoveries. I put a little manure around the roots of some of the first plants that were planted, and I trellised the pumpkins as they were growing into the sweet potatoes. I was about to clean out the bucket from the cantaloupes when I came across this.

 It looks just like a little watermelon. The other little one that was growing fell off and I decided to just scrap the cantloupes. Now I hope to see the development of this new little find.

In my greenhouse, the plants are still growing. Not as much as I had hoped, but still growing.


 The watermelons seem to have stopped growing. I was hoping that putting them in the greenhouse would help accelerate their growth but again, I think I planted too late in the season.But, I plan to grow earlier next year and more plentiful.

In the flower garden, the Hibiscus are still in bloom as are the Marigolds.


 I am going toplant some mums as soon as things cool down a bit more.

 Remember how these plants and how they looked when I first rescued them? They are really thriving now.



Overall, I had a very enjoyable day in the garden.

Well nothing else to see around here folks. Hope a good week is ahead for everyone and I will see you...the next time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Busy Saturday"

Greetings and Salutations.

Before I get into my usual drivel I would like to send out prayers and wishes for speedy recoveries for all those affected by Hurricane Ike in Texas, and the survivors and families of all those affected by the train crash in Los Angeles. I hope that they get the help that they need speedily and that three years from now the Hurricane victims are still not struggling to get back to some sense of normality. And for all of us not affected, may we remember how fortunate we are, just how precious life is, and how in the blink of an eye it can change forever.

Now back to the drivel....

Over my way,it has been a busy Saturday. I woke up pretty early this morning. Didn't feel too great but pushed past it to do what needed to be done today.

There was the usual Saturday fare of chores, and today "The Wee One" had to work on his science project. He did a diorama of the "Okefenokee Swamp".

I had been looking for stuff for weeks and finally we...erm...he, put it all together. Uh...yeah, that's the ticket.

Here is the finished result:



 A Close-Up


I have been slow cooking a roast since late afternoon that should be just about done now. I will make mashed potatoes and green beans to go along with it on tomorrow. There will be a baked good for them and I will more than likely subsitute asparagus for the mashed potatoes for myself. Cooking is definitely up there with gardening,and simplicity as the things that give me a sense of peace and joy. Ahhh, simplicity.

I have ironing to do for the week and the garden to water and check on for tomorrow. After that, it will be a nice hot bath and hopefully an early bedtime. I have a history test on Tuesday, so that will take up most of my attention for the next couple of days.

And speaking of the garden, there is trouble is "Paradise". Remember this happy photo?


Well today, things looked like this:


Apparently, Belle wants babies, but Beau says no because their work is seasonal and "Kid-Crows" would demand a more stable income. Seems that Beau enjoys only having to work a few months out of the year and isn't ready to give up that freedom just yet. I sure hope those two get it together because I need them to be focused....What?

Well, that's all from ye' olde Homestead today. Hope that Saturday has been kind to everyone and that Sunday is even better. Enjoy it, and make every second count. Till the next time...


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"This and That"

Well the test is over. I won't know how I did until Monday. I have decided not to think about it anymore. It will be what it will be and I did the very best that I could.

That being said, I came home feeling kind of out of it. I really can't explain it. I think a good word to describe it would be jaded. I just feel jaded right now. More and more each day I just want to find that little space that is calling me and go to it. Geesh.

To pacify those feelings, I went outside and walked around the "Homestead" today. I was going to take Pumpkin for a walk but couldn't find the leash. I thought she might enjoy a nice walk and I wanted to get out and clear my head. There are a lot of pitbulls in my area and sometimes the irresponsible owners just let them run free. Even my teenager warned me about going to far off the block and about the dogs. So I aborted the thought and just went into the garden instead.

I have so many trees around my house. With that comes leaves, pine straw and whatever else that comes from trees. I really need to get out and do a good raking and sweeping of the yards and driveway. It will be good mental and physical exercise. I will probably have to put it off until next weekend since the Science Project will take priority this weekend. Plus, I will have to break it down so as not to do anything to my back.

I must have been out there for at least an hour this evening. I had only planned to go out for a few minutes, but once I was there I started doing a bit of this and a bit of that. It made me feel much better just to have that bit of peace and quiet surrounded by my plants.

Each day I am surprised to find more tomatoes growing even this late in the season. Of the summer plants, here is some of what is left and the tomato plants still growing.




I also took the last measly serrano pepper off the vine.


 A few more of these hot peppers are left as well.

Still a lot of green going on.


 These are the peppers that I put under netting. Can you see it?

Every time that I think the Bell Pepper plants are done I find something else blooming. Guess I will just leave them alone and let them do what they will do.


 Here's the little Aloe plant that I had given up for dead. I just sat it in the growing area and it was behind some of the buckets. Looks like it is trying to come back to life.

Look who else has joined the "Homestead"

Her name is "Belle". So that is why "Beau" is smiling that sheepish grin!


I have to work on "Mama's Corner" and plan to plant some Mums which were one of her favorites. I remember mums growing under the kitchen window once in the house I grew up in. I guess it is one of those things you remember when it doesn't happen often.

I have some reading to do but decided to just relax a bit tonight. I will do my reading in the morning before I head to history class. Tonight I just want to eat something, take a nice bath or shower and then head in for the night.

Well,that's it for this homestead for now. Hope that everyone had a good Wednesday. I'll look for you the next time...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"I'm Going, I'm Going"

I know, I know, I am supposed to be studying. But I can't seem to sit still. I am always tense like this the night before a big math test. I just have to walk away from it every few minutes or so.

I usually feel better when I stall...erm... write so I decided to go ahead and post a bit of what would have been my next journal entry.

My garden is looking kind of ratty as I haven't been able to do the usual maintainence. There are still some veggies growing from Summer's crop.



 Check out my Pumpkins spreading out. Below is a night shot of them and selected other crops.

I have netted off the remaining peppers to keep them safe from the birds and I also got this little fellow to help me protect the remaining tomatoes.


Isn't he cute? I call him "Beau". Yes, he is "Scare-Beau". What?

Ok, I know, I'm stalling. It's back to the books. Be good until the next time...

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Peace and Quiet"

I haven't made an entry in a week. I want to come over and share my thoughts but either I am too busy, too tired, or too distracted lately.
School has really heated up and I have so much to do to stay caught up. There are still the every day mundane things that need caring for and there is a need to keep on top of things that are concerning the boys.
My little man has a science project that is due next Monday. We will work on it this weekend. This past weekend was spent on homework, housework, and getting a spot of rest. I have my first major test on Wednesday in math and I will be studying that intensely for the next 48 hours. I have a history quiz tomorrow but am not very worried about that.
All day today, I have been thinking about cocooning. I just want to go into my room, shut the door, turn on a lamp and read. I don't want to go out or do anything. I just want to stay in and do nothing. It could be the weather, it could be me. Either way, I just want to cocoon.
We were under a Tornado Watch for a bit earlier this afternoon. The clouds did get very dark, the wind picked up, it was lightning and thundering a bit, and it rained hard for just a few minutes. It is still drizzling. Whatever it was seemed to have passed over us very quickly. I am glad for that. Tornadoes scare the heck out of me and there have been quite a few in surrounding areas over the years. We have been fortunate when they have touched down in our own area. While I wasn't feeling the tornado, I was hoping that we would get a good hard rain that would stick around for a bit.  
I am REALLY looking forward to the "REAL" beginning of Fall and Winter. I am not just looking forward to the cooler weather, I am also looking forward to what goes along with the change. There are usually less people on the streets, things just seem to quiet down a bit.  I feel the need for quiet right now.
I find myself seeking out tranquil little corners in the library. I look for secret little holes so that I can disappear into them. I simply crave them right now. I feel the need for anonymity.
I look forward to steaming  pots of soup,  doing more baking, and lots and lots of books to savor. No frills, nothing spectacular, just a slow paced retreat. Ahhh, there is NOTHING better than simplicity. Unless of course you are sharing that simplicity with someone you love.
But for now, I will put my reverie to rest.It is on to studying and preparing for the test. I hope everyone is off to the start of a good week. Keep it simple, and make it count. Till the next time

Monday, September 1, 2008

"What a Difference a Day Makes"

I am bushed!!!
Today is the first time since school resumed that I feel like I REALLY worked in the garden. I have been out there doing the usual quick once over, but I haven't been able to take the time to do what I have wanted to. But that all changed today.
It has been overcast all day and a nice cool breeze is present.
I took the opportunity to move some things around and to put the finishing touches on my makeshift greenhouse.
I wrote in earlier posts of taking the tent and covering it in clear plastic to use as a greenhouse. I am excited to see how things will develop.
<---Back view
<----Back view
<--Side View
<--Inside View
 <--Inside View
I put the newly planted tomatoes, hot peppers and the watermelon plant inside for now. I truly don't think the watermelon will grow. In fact, I think they have had it. But I want to experiment and see how it does inside the greenhouse. I am hoping that the heat will help with their development since these kinds of plants need more heat. I have two great books that I am reading on greenhouses and other means of growing crops through the winter. I was surprised to find that glass boxes are also suggested.
I also moved some things around in the main gardening area. I will be putting down black fabric in the areas that have none, and will be finding some creative ways to add the fall crops to the area.
I put a few of my tools and supplies under my planting table and covered them with a tarp. I would love to have a nice roomy space for my supplies and materials. I have always dreamed of having a workshop. No, I can't build and I am not that savvy when it comes to the hands on, but I have a LOT of heart,  passion, and imagination. I might not be able to put things together the way the instructions say to,but once I can see it in my head, I can usually come pretty darn close.  I love power tools as well. I think they make me look cool!!! And we all know how much I want a truck. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE to haul stuff. Being back out in the yard today, just renewed my love for working outside, homesteading, and growing my own. It's a feeling that I just don't know how to describe.
And speaking of growing my own, this is the current state of the garden.
 I don't know what this is, but several of the peppers had it and a few more of the tomatoes do as well.
Here are some of the things in the raised bed
<--Nice Pumpkins
<--Bad Pumpkin.
And FINALLY after a full summer this is my first cantaloupe tryingto come through: I don't know if the remaining days of summer will be warm enough. I am going to try to put it in the greenhouse as well. If I run the risk of disturbing it too much, I will put a plastic sheath around it instead.
Here are some of the plants in the other growing area.I was so excited to see these"
 Sweet Potatoes
I seem to be cursed when it comes to growing cucumbers. No matter WHERE I plant them, something finds them, tears the ENTIRE plant out of the ground and takes off with it. My cucumbers were growing so well. I am going to plant a few more seeds and put them in the greenhouse this time. Hopefully I can get at least a few to grow.
And on that note, look at what else is growing.
All together now....Awwwwwwww!!!!
So that is pretty much it from Garden central. My next project is to rake both the front and back yards and use the leaves for compost. I still have to get a few bales of hay, and start a few more projects. But for this week, I got a very welcome nature fix.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day,and here's to a good rest of the week.
Till next time...