Flower Friday: Sunflowers – January 26th

I learned about Flower Friday last year from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pics. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!

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It’s near the end of January and although it’s fairly nice out today, winter isn’t over yet. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m ready for spring! I’m really looking forward to the upcoming growing season. I’ve been looking through some of my pictures of the gardens and found a few lovely sunflower pictures from our sunflower gardens to share. I thought I’d share a few today for Flower Friday.

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I love growing all different kinds of sunflowers. Many of these are aliens and have just cross pollinated over and over again. You never know what you’re going to get when saving the seed!

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These were taken with my phone and aren’t the greatest pictures, but you can see how well these grew. It’s like Christmas in July with all the blooms.

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I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a new season with new seed, a new camera, and a new attitude!

Continue reading “Flower Friday: Sunflowers – January 26th”

Lesson’s From Grandpa #6 – There’s Always Something…

When I was little, my grandfather would always tell us kids to be thankful for everything because this is what the Scripture tells us. I couldn’t tell you how many times he read the Bible, but often he would quote Scripture and use examples. We were constantly reminded to count our blessings.

 

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Me and Grandpa – November 22nd, 1979

 

Every now and then, my mind goes into another direction. It’s true that I’ve suffered anxiety and depression in my life and sometimes I have a hard time pulling myself out of it and I start to think about the glass being half empty, rather than half full. I always try to stop and reflect on what my grandfather always taught us.

Fall is such a wonderful time of year and usually by now, we are harvesting pumpkins from our patch to sell or gift to family and friends, canning tomatoes, and making our last minute jams for the winter cupboards. Typically, spring is full of growing and lots of hard work. Here’s a picture of our greenhouse from Spring 2016.

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Except this year is very different, I decided to downsize my gardens and we only grew a few pumpkins for ourselves. I cut back on tomatoes and didn’t grow much from seed this year.

As I was walking around outside by the gardens, I was looking at all the weeds and thought to myself how lazy I’ve been this summer. I started feeling pretty sorry, but this summer, I wanted to spend more time with my kids, read, and relax, and so I did. I didn’t keep up with everything like I normally would and we did have fewer yields because of it, but as I looked around, I saw so many beautiful things. Just look at this hibiscus flower which comes back every year.

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These flowers are huge even surrounded by weeds!

I also realized just a few weeks ago that we won’t meet our quota for the canned tomatoes required to get us through until next year. Normally, I put up about 125 quarts or more of stewed tomatoes for chili, spaghetti, and soup over the winter. With what I’ve canned so far and with what’s left to still harvest, we will probably get about 40 quarts of tomatoes.

 

 

Then, one of our friends that my husband works with decided that he and his wife didn’t want to can this year. He told my husband to come over and take whatever we wanted. We received three more five-gallon buckets of tomatoes for canning including some beautiful green peppers to mix in.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. We will meet the quota after all. Not only did they give us tons of tomatoes, but also 4+ buckets full of apples for canning. It’s truly amazing…

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I didn’t plant sunflowers this year, but there were some beautiful volunteers which will leave plenty of seeds for next year.

Our peppers were fairly small and we didn’t get as many as usual,

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But we have some great spaghetti and winter squash.

I couldn’t help but pause to look at the sky either. Fall is here…

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The sedums are in full bloom…

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There’s so much beauty if you just stop to take the time to look.

Then, this morning the most amazing thing happened! We were out in our woods looking for one of our cats that’s been missing for a few days. We noticed this huge pumpkin vine growing way out in the back of our woods where we used to have our compost pile. All of our pumpkins from previous years would get dumped here. A seed decided to grow and the vine is growing all over and up into the trees.

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Continue reading “Lesson’s From Grandpa #6 – There’s Always Something…”

Award: One Lovely Blog Award

 

I was recently nominated by Jo-Ann@InspirationPie.com for the One Lovely Blog Award. I especially enjoy reading Jo-Ann’s Daily Walk posts and all of her tags and awards! Please check out her blog if you haven’t done so already. Thanks for nominating me, Jo-Ann! You’re such a sweet person and I’m glad to know you!

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RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers and inform them of the nomination

Seven Facts about me:

1. I love to bake!

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2. I’m obsessed with growing pumpkins-

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Including giant ones!

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3. I love drinking plants.

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4. I love growing my own food.

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5. My favorite color is purple!

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6. I enjoy canning.

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7. I LOVE Halloween and decorating is a must!

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Continue for the nominees!

Continue reading “Award: One Lovely Blog Award”

What To Do With All Those Cucumbers and Zucchini!

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It’s normally this time of year in July that we have way too many cucumbers and zucchini. I love sharing with the people who live in my area, but most of them have their own gardens and they are sharing some of the same harvests with me. Every year I tell myself to cut down on the number of plants, but I’ve found multiple ways to use these two veggies up quickly. Most of the ways I use are raw, but there are a few of my favorite canning recipes I do yearly included here as well.

First, I took a trip out to the garden this morning to pick some cucumbers and a few zucchini. I had to pause to take a video because all the birds sounded so beautiful this morning. The bees were flying around and pollinating all the flowers.

It’s wonderful to be in nature and to reconnect with our natural environment. It’s too easy to become distanced from nature with our busy lives. All it takes is a trip outside to be grounded again. Even if you’re in the city, you can stop and look up at the sky and just take a deep breath and remind yourself how lucky we are to have this beautiful home we call Earth.

Cucumber Salad:

This is a simple salad that uses up a good number of cucumbers quickly. It’s not a super healthy recipe as it does contain mayonnaise, but what you’ll notice is that much of the dressing is left in the bottom of the bowl after all the cucumbers are gone and you’ll need to add more. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

5 good size cucumbers

1 cup of mayonnaise

4 tsp. Vinegar

1/4 cup sugar or 1/8 cup honey

1/2 tsp. Dried Dill weed

1/2 tsp. Seasoned salt

Make the dressing first in a large bowl. Mix up all ingredients minus the cucumbers until a nice dressing is made.

Slice the cucumbers and stir them in. It’s that simple!

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There’s always dressing left in the bottom, so cut a few more cucumbers afterwards and add them in if you need to. You can also store the dressing in the fridge for later. This is best eaten fresh when the cucumbers are crunchy. Yum!

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Now if you want, you can use a  processor to slice the cucumbers. It’s not necessary, but nice if you’re making a huge batch.

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Set the blade to the thickest slicing.

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Pile in the cucumbers by standing them straight up, and push them down through the blade as it’s turning.

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Perfectly sliced cucumbers!

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If you’re interested in buying a processor, I would recommend the Cuisinart 14 Cup Processor.  It’s a real workhorse and has worked well for me for years. I’ve even made nut butters in it. You get a shredding tool, slicing tool, and more.

Sometimes if the cucumbers are really large, you can slice them again. It really doesn’t matter.

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Continue for more recipes!

Continue reading “What To Do With All Those Cucumbers and Zucchini!”

Summer Reading Loss

giphy.gifThis morning it’s still pretty cold outside and as I hang by the fire reading, I’m left to wonder how much reading loss I’ll experience this summer. Let’s face it, most people spend more time outside in the summer, right? There are outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, cook-outs, and swimming that remind me of why I welcome summer.

I can hear the chickadees and woodpeckers outside and very active this morning. I love nature, but this year I’m sort of dreading summer. I’m thinking about how much I read this past winter and how I’ll be reading much less this summer. Continue reading “Summer Reading Loss”

Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey

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I recently picked up a book on houseplants titled Indoor Green: Living with Plants. I’ve always loved plants in my home and I’ve always wanted to create a special plant room in my home. This book is perfect for plant lovers! You can read my review below.

Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey is a book about plants and the people who keep them.

As soon as I opened the book I was instantly inspired. The book is full of fascinating photography of plants by Lauren Bamford. I truly enjoy observing how people can take a room and transform it into a garden living space. It’s so exhilarating.

The reader is taken to different homes to view the plants people keep and how they live with them. Interviews are conducted with each person. You learn where they live, what plants they own, what they do for a living, and their personal feelings about plants. 20170331_073757

Many subjects are covered including different types of common houseplants, plant music, plant design, plant rooms and even plant care. Some plants discussed include: Devil’s Ivy, Boston Fern, and Ponytail Palms to name a few. My absolute favorite is the hanging air plant. There is a section included for plant care, although it’s not extensive and pertains mostly to the plant types discussed.

I personally loved this book and with the upcoming growing season underway, it’s just what I needed to get in the mood. If you admire plants, you’ll love this book.

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Continue reading “Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey”