Day of Reckoning

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 22-08-2014

It happens every other year on our farm; chicken butchering day! If you have in your mind a picture of a sunny day, cool breeze, and a fun-filled day of laughter amidst the butchering you would be far from the truth. To be fair, the past few times we’ve done it has not been bad; friends have come to help, there is a lot of laughter, and together we all get the job done. This year, however, my hubby has to work on the weekends and so no friends were able to help during a week day; thus, it was him, me, and our thirteen year old son to butcher twenty-six chickens on our own. It rained Wednesday night, so the air was muggy, still, but (thankfully) overcast. We decided to do twelve on Thursday and fourteen on Friday; the first day we freeze them whole and the second day they are cut up. Be warned-if you are a PETA lover, you should skip today’s blog and go find one on how to make a better veggie burger or something. Death will be pictured, but it is the circle of life; it is done quickly and hey, exactly how do you think your chicken is processed?! They don’t willingly lay down and stop the heart beating…Day one is behind us and as you read this, day two will be in full swing. By late this afternoon, all twenty-six will be freezing nicely and make delicious meals for our family for the next two years; it takes our little family two weeks to eat a chicken from start to finish.

Here is the roving pen they call home; it gets moved everyday so they have fresh grass; our son goes in the pen and pulls out the chicken for my hubby to chop off the head. We lay them in the grass while they finish bleeding out. No, you are not going to see a picture of the chopping block or a head flying-we have standards here…

It’s best not to look too closely at hubby’s legs since they are not pretty; we heat the water to a scalding temperature and dunk the chicken in the pail to help in removing feathers; all three of us pull them off as fast as possible; the cooler the skin temperature, the harder the feathers are to remove. We lay them on a tarp as we do this; some use a plucker, but we found it bruised the wings and didn’t do a great job, so it’s the old fashioned method for us.

They are placed on a table in our quonset where we chop off the legs and finish picking off all the feathers; then they go in a cold water bath until hubby and son (not me) gut them. I find other ways to stay busy; organize tools, sweep the dirt floor, pet a kitty-you get the idea. This is my least favorite part, but these two love it; we feed the innards to our cats and dog-those animals are happy and fat at the end of the night. Our dog also loves to gnaw on the legs and heads…please don’t let her lick you if you come to visit.

They have been gutted, cooled, and cleaned; now they are on a table with a fan on, drying off the skin so we can use a torch to singe off the fine hairs. Did you know chicken had hair? They do, and the only way to remove them (in our opinion) is with a torch. We go over the entire surface swiftly and it burns them off like butter. They go back into an ice bath, get a good scrubbing, and are ready for the final step.

I weigh and wrap the chickens first in saran wrap and then in a two gallon Ziploc bag. The cut up pieces will go in a Food Saver bag and vacuum sealed. Because we butchered almost two weeks earlier than normal, the chickens weighed in at around 4.5-5.5 lbs each; we like 6-7 lbs., but beggars can’t be choosers. These will do well for us!

There you have it; butchering on the farm. If you want to help next time, let me know. We don’t pay you in money, but in a chicken raised on grass in the fresh air with no sodium injected into it or anything else you can’t pronounce. It’s the weekend already and school is right around the corner for college students and Carrington. Summer is slipping away, so make a big effort to do something you can’t do in the winter…

Is that a zucchini in your pocket or are you happy to see me?!

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-08-2014

Yes to both! When I go out to the garden, the goal is to do one thing and get out of there; gone are the days of dawdling in the patch thanks to the mosquitoes. However, when I finished picking the raspberries I spied a zucchini and plucked it from the plant, then spotted some ripe cherry tomatoes amongst the green tangle of branches. Are they called branches?! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a bucket to bring all this newly found produce back to the house so I had to rely on my clothes by putting the zucchini in the shorts’ pockets, tomatoes in my breast pockets, and some fresh basil tucked under my armpits-my did they smell heavenly after that! The zucchini are going into overdrive now and so today I’m going out there to hack off a bunch of leaves; there are too many and with their enormous size, impossible to see the fruit hiding underneath. Thus I have found a few big footers in there; they are too tough to grill so what to do with them? Make chocolate zucchini cake! Some people leave the skin on, but I prefer to peel, core, and shred it. My husband’s Aunt Alice put this in her church cookbook and it’s our favorite; paired with a peanut butter frosting, it’s simply heaven.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Peanut Butter frosting

Cream together in a mixer:
1/2 c butter AND oil
1 3/4 c sugar
Add:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c yogurt (vanilla best, but any flavor will do-this by the way is THE secret ingredient to fluffy, soft cake!)
Sift together and add slowly:
4 T cocoa
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each baking soda and salt
Stir in 2 c grated zucchini and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan
Sprinkle 1/2 c chocolate chips over the top and bake for 35- 40 mts at 350 or until center springs back when touched with a finger. Let cool completely and frost; normally I let it cool, put it in the freezer and then frost. Frosting a chocolate cake frozen is so much easier-no crumbs when you spread the frosting.
Peanut Butter frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
Mix the first three ingredients on high for a few minutes, turn down and add sugar slowly, then put back on high for five minutes so it’s light and fluffy. Frost away!

The next time someone gives you a zucchini/hides it in your pocket/sneaks it in your unlocked car, make cake and share! No grimacing! Even nonbelievers of zucchini will eat it right up…

 

Zucchini…the ‘other love’ of my life…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-08-2014

I feel like Forrest Gump when it comes to this little green nugget of taste; one can make chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini boats, zucchini pickles, zucchini tots, and the list goes on. We grill zucchini a lot when it’s in season and yesterday’s dish was sublime-and very easy. We thick sliced the zucchini and some hotdogs; then we put two hot doggies in between each zucchini slice, drizzled some oil on top, sprinkled some parmesan and seasoned salt and let it grill. MMMMM…we ate it right up! Here’s a picture before we finished it; we use the Pampered Chef grilling basket + aluminum foil and it took about four hotdogs and a zucchini and a half with each zucc being about 8 inches. It was a quick meal to make and with more time, I think some onions and peppers would have been great in it, too. Just one more way to get those sodium logs in your diet!

Are we all enjoying the massive humidity bestowed upon us?! I don’t mind temperatures in the 80s/90s, but when the humidity is 100%, the mosquitoes are out there daring me to come out AND there’s no wind, a body just wants to throw in the towel on all outside work. Friday was an especially sticky day and Saturday started out that way. It looked like rain both days, but alas, it was not to be. So the drip lines get turned on yet again…The weeds are winning the battle around our house; the push lawn mower doesn’t work, the weed whacker is broken, and my ‘don’t give a darn’ is busted. The weeds aren’t waist high yet so there is hope and as long as I have that, things will be ok. When someone mistakes them for a small bush-then we’ll deal with it. Besides, the monarch butterflies are loving the milkweed-since it hasn’t been mowed, it’s blooming and very pretty…but we’ll pay for that next year, and the year after, and for eternity.

Those of you who live in city limits with mosquito spraying need to count your blessings; I went out to pick yesterday afternoon and despite coating my body with bug spray, I still got bit on the lips, forehead, ears-anywhere they could attack. I would move a stalk and swarms would come out so by the end, I didn’t want to move anymore stalks because I knew what was coming next. I am certain I experienced the first stage of the Apocalypse; first the mosquitos, then the lack of rain, and while mowing, the grasshoppers-they were plentiful and all I could hope is they were getting chopped as I mowed over them. Dark thoughts while on the lawnmower of  destruction.

It’s a short one today; there’s never enough time to get done what one wants to do, so with that, enjoy your Sunday and say a prayer of thanks we live in America and not where others are being killed for their beliefs. We are so fortunate indeed.

 

 

 

That darn cat…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-08-2014

If you grew up in the late 60s/70s, you know that phrase from a Disney movie; I use it to describe the shenanigans which go on outside our front door with two adult cats and two kittens. I have gone out there on more than one occasion to discover a planter tipped over or smashed flowers; they seem to think the containers are a good place to cool off despite the beautiful flowers blooming in them. While we (ok, my son and I-not my husband) love cats, something’s gotta give and so we cat proofed the flowers. Now they stay away and the flowers get a chance to bloom/survive/live another day. Our son made these a few years back when the rabbits and deer were snacking on our young cold crops such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. We never imagined using them to protect the flowers Here’s a picture; you can see in the background one of the other planters as well.

They are also making themselves at home in the raspberry patch; today as I was picking I heard a meow but figured it was off hunting the birds which seem to think the garden is their buffet. Instead, I see movement and there is a kitty; pretty soon I see another and then nearly step on the mother. She is smart in choosing the patch; predators can’t see them, it’s shady and cool and there’s plenty of room to play. Unfortunately, the kittens felt the need to play hide and seek with me and would try to pounce on my hand as I was picking. The raspberries are already playing that game with me and what little there are this year can’t be missed, so the kitties took a back seat.

It has been a busy time here getting ready for the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Day at the capitol on Wednesday; from 9-1:30 outside the capitol, vendors from all over the state will be selling their wares-hope to see you there! We made peach salsa this year and will be taking that for its big debut; I wanted to call it green and gold but figured NDSU would have an issue with that…

The raccoon fences are going up today since the corn is starting to look mighty tasty.  Our dog came home with a prize-a young raccoon-so we know they are around. They killed one of our mama cats recently, so it’s time to get serious. Yesterday I picked the first red tomato and ate it warm from the garden…I am sorry but no store tomato will ever give you that feeling. The yellow cherries have been producing a few every day or so and again, are a perfect snack while in the garden. My son eats peas as he picks them and I eat the green beans; we have an understanding as to what each of us are to pick and that seems to work for both of us. He also shells the peas and I tip/cut the beans for canning while we watch a show; growing up we would watch ‘The Brady Bunch’ or something like that while doing beans with grandma-some things never change…

It was  sad day in our marriage yesterday; after fifteen years, I finally made something my husband couldn’t eat. We eat a lot of leftovers here, and usually I’ll doctor it up with spices, cheese, vegetables or another leftover to give it new life and normally he loves it. He took a bite of yesterday’s (which by the way had sirloin tip in it!) and said it tasted like hamster food. Our son looked up and said, “How do you know what that tastes like?!” That was funny. More funny was my son eating his stew in record time, then eating MY HUSBAND’S bowl of stew; this has never happened-ever. We call my husband the garbage can because he will a)eat anything and b)clean up whatever we can’t eat on our plates. And yes, I ate mine, too, so who knows why he couldn’t eat it…

The last of the peaches were blanched and frozen yesterday; I set aside six and made a peach cobbler pie-and WOW was it good. The men wanted to eat it by itself for supper, but we had grilled zucchini to offset the million calories in the piebbler…that’s what I’m calling it.

With that, it’s time to make it a Golden Grahams Day. Smile at random times today; people will wonder what you are up to; and that, my dear, is the greatest mystery of all…what ARE you up to?

Farmers Markets-where fun meets fresh

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-07-2014

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It has finally arrived; Farmers Market season! Whether you are a vendor or the customer, there’s something exciting about going to the first one of the season. Bowdon opens theirs up tonight, and while I can’t be there, I’m still excited for the people nevertheless. There is such a variety of product there from home made jams, baked goods, soaps, and more to the ever popular vegetables and herbs. I’m glad people have come around to the importance of eating fresh vegetables from the farm and not the store; when we had a large garden growing up in the 80s, people scoffed at the idea since they could buy the product for the same price or cheaper at the store. While that may be true, you are missing several key considerations: where the product came from, when, and the ‘state’ it was picked in-green, under ripe, etc.  The listeria outbreak in the Elberta peaches was a mini-lesson on the importance of hygiene but illustrates just how large the food chain is with produce. When you buy local it was very likely picked within the last twenty-four hours by a family; a good rinse in a bacterial soap or vinegar and the product is on your table for your family to enjoy. The same can’t be said for that head of lettuce you bought at Wal-mart…

With this in mind, now that you have purchased some of the wonderful veggies, what does one do with them? A simple garden salsa is the answer; the best part about this salsa is it doesn’t matter which vegetable you use; if tomatoes aren’t ready yet, don’t put them in. The flavor combinations are endless…I’m going to make one today using a peach along with tomato, cucumber, zucchini, onion, garlic, and my favorite-cilantro. Are the tomatoes green? No problem! Did you find a cucumber or zucchini the size of a small third world country? Peel it, core it, and chop up the outer rim; it works! There are no set measurements-simply add what you have fresh from the garden.  Do you lack cilantro? Call me-I have TONS of it. That is not a hyperbole…Besides the endless vegetable combinations, the dressing itself can be varied based on what you have available, and that, to me, is the sign of a great recipe-one isn’t tied to the ingredient list where you have to run to the store to buy something you may never use again in your kitchen. Look at your spice rack and you know what I’m talking about. Another bonus of the salsa is it can be eaten alone, with chips, over meat, on top of rice,-you get the idea. The bowl I made in the picture was eaten in one meal by three people-after a hard day’s work in the heat, it is a great refresher…almost as good as a cold beer…almost. Here is the simple garden salsa-double it, triple it,  and have fun with it. I got the recipe from a good friend in Fessenden and it is by far our favorite recipe when the garden opens up its floodgates.

Fresh Garden Salsa

2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T  wine vinegar (I have also used actual white wine)
2 T  sugar, Stevia, or sugar substitute
1 tsp salt

Chop up a bunch of vegetables (and soft fruit such as peaches, plums, apricots, or nectarines) and place in a bowl. Dump those ingredients in, stir it up and eat immediately or let it sit in the fridge to let the flavors go on a date, have a fight, and then get married. That’s it! So easy, so delicious. I never seem to have wine vinegar, but DO seem to have wine at the house, so I called up my oldest sister to ask her how to make wine vinegar since I know she has some next to her stove. Simply fill up a clean bottle with leftover wine, cork it, and let it sit in a cupboard. Normally the problem is the leftover wine part-that isn’t typically in my vocabulary, but I sacrificed some and actually added some vinegar to it to get the party started. Below is a picture of the salsa I made this past week; feel free to drool over my retro Tupperware green bowl from the 70s. It’s a classic and I’m not parting with it. Ever. Get to a farmers market today and make some salsa tonight!

 

S’more bars made easy….

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-07-2014

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When my niece and nephew came to visit earlier this week, Grandma Mahoney sent along the makings for S’mores. However, the mosquitos had other plans and being outside in the evening for more than a few minutes was not going to happen. Instead, I decided to make them into bars so they could eat them throughout the day as well as held some back for my brother and sister-in-law to try-the kids can’t eat them all! I looked on the internet and found a few, but each had something about it I didn’t like, so I made my own up and the kids loved them. Yes, I’m sharing a recipe and here it is:

S’more Bars

one package graham crackers (from a large box)
14 large marshmallows
6 Hershey candy bars
one box 9 x 13 size brownie mix, prepared

Line a 9 x 13 with parchment paper-this makes for easy clean up and cutting of the bars; lay the graham crackers on the bottom-it’s ok if they overlap a little and you will have to break one or more in two to make it fit.
Pour the prepared brownie mix over it so it won’t have to be spread; bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until done; don’t over bake!
While it’s baking, grab a pair of scissors, dip them in powdered sugar, and snip the marshmallows into two (see pic)

While you’re waiting, have the candy bars open and ready to roll. As soon as the brownie part is done, take it out and turn the oven to broil. Place the candy bars on the brownie; you’ll have to break one lengthwise to fit on the end. Then place the marshmallows on top (see pic)

Place this back in the oven and watch closely; it will only take a minute to get the tops toasty..make them as as dark as your kids like their S’mores…had this been for me, those tops would have been a lot darker!  You could use more marshmallows, but I like to make them even so cutting them is a breeze.(see pic)

Voila! Let them cool, grab the parchment paper on the sides and remove from the pan. Slice and devour…there was nothing left at the end of the day. Makes 28 S’mores (see final pic) Enjoy-this would be a great recipe for a beginner 4-Her!

The wind button must have broken…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 23-07-2014

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Monday late afternoon/evening was one wild ride in North Dakota. We were at the State Fair in the Pride of Dakota tent when the sky began looking funky; by 3:30 they were telling us to pack up and leave early, but by the time most of us got packed up and to our cars, the monsoon began. After returning to the tent from having parked my car in the fairgrounds, it was obvious we were not going to be taking boxes to the car because a) they are boxes and would have disintegrated immediately and b) my three helpers were no where to be found. I brought my son, niece, and nephew to the fair-this way they helped me load/unload and then got to go enjoy the fair on their own. They did eventually show up; the niece first, followed later by the two boys who felt the need to (shock) get some food to eat. We waited out the storm but saw on radar it wasn’t going to go away anytime soon, so when it let up a bit, we made the mad dash for the car to load it up. Afterwards, four wet bodies, three of which are teenagers, were about to embark on a two hour trip home. Let’s just say the deodorant did its job and despite wet feet, we survived. However, before leaving Minot, hail began…I have a newer car and really don’t want any damage nor do I want to drive in that crazy snowstorm-in-summer so we scanned the area looking for an empty garage. Yep, it didn’t matter to me whose it was, I was going to use it. I spotted one across the road and made a beeline for it; I have no idea what company it was, but no one was there, the door was open, and just like Goldilocks, we made ourselves at home until the hail stopped. We literally outran the storm and beat it home by fifteen minutes; enough time to put things away (like the tent used to detract the deer), batten down the hatches on the chickens, and close doors on the big buildings. When we left Minot it was 68-when we got home it was 83, so I knew there was fun coming our way. We received four inches in a few hours’ time, but no wind damage; I feel for those just a few miles south of us since the damage was much worse-trees down, crops flattened, etc.

The next morning was so still and calm…which the mosquitos loved. I tried to go out to the garden to pick beans and even with bug spray they had a feast. I have to go out there today to snip spinach, harvest beets and do some weed clean up, but who wants to go out there and be something else’s meal?! A breeze would be nice, but I think the storm used up our allotment of wind for the month.

I have two products on trellises outside our front door-grapes and cucumbers. The grapes are purely for fun and act as a shade for the porch, but the cucs are used for pickles. Guess which one the cats feel the need to lay under? The daddy cat lays there and then the two kittens come to play, batting at the bright yellow cucumber flowers until they have conquered them, or play with a big fat green leaf until it too, crashes to the ground. They survived the previous wind storm, are finally producing, and now some felines are going to lay waste to them?! I think not. I need to train them to play with the grapes…because I have so much spare time on my hands. Today is beet pickle day again; the beans and peas are picked and ready to be canned, and the spinach needs to be frozen. The raspberries are just starting, too, so that means a daily trek out there to pick those delicious delicacies…I can already tell more bug spray is needed.

I will leave you with a picture of my new medication-a water fall. I used to listen to music on the computer but my son hooked this up on the counter next to me, so now I turn it on and feel so much more relaxed as I pay bills, blog, try to remember passwords, etc. Seriously, I now have a file with all my user names and passwords because I keep forgetting them; life used to be so easy and now with all the hacking, one has to change up all the passwords-did I capitalize that one? what number order did I use for this one? what was I thinking when I made up that one?! Now the waterfall sings a melody that puts me at ease…and makes me want to use the bathroom more. There’s a price to pay for everything. May your Wednesday be what your make of it…whether it’s a cold, refreshing waterfall or a giant mosquito full of your blood. Swat!

The ‘sin’ in cilantro

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-07-2014

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Growing up in the Midwest meant limited exposure to ‘exotic’ vegetables and fruits. Kiwi and mango were introduced in college, but I didn’t discover cilantro until moving to south Texas in 1990. What was that strange flake they were using with tomatoes and onions and why did it smell so good? I fell in love immediately and haven’t looked back. Now I grow a lot of it to use in several of my salsas-rhubarb, peach, and corn. It adds a nice depth to their flavors without overwhelming them. We eat it a lot in July and August-chop up a tomato, snip off a bunch of cilantro leaves, add some onion and chopped pepper, a squeeze of lime juice and voila! Adding an avocado would be icing on the cake. We use that same mixture over our lettuce to give it a kick and surprisingly, lettuce and cilantro taste really good together. We also ate it in our tomato hotdish last night and we liked that flavor, too.  Then there’s the smell….I love it so much that I told my son when he gets married, cilantro needs to be in the flower vases on the table. He wasn’t impressed. Since I made pickled beets yesterday he did like the smell of cilantro better than the smell of apple cider vinegar and beets.  Yesterday I picked a large box of it:

Since I am going to see my siblings this weekend, they received  a text asking if anyone was interested; after giving away more than half, I washed the rest, snipped the leaves off, and put them in the dryer:

This morning, I put them in a large bowl, crushed them up, and now they are tucked away in a container until I need them. I think I’ll do this one more time and should be set for the salsa season:

It is kind of sad how so much cilantro only makes a little bit dried, but a little goes a long ways…and I can’t keep it fresh forever!

This past weekend we spent our time in Blaisdell, ND, at a 100 year family farm reunion. It was three days of food, family, fun, and did I mention food?! One can’t be at a function and not be full; there were cookie jars and doughnuts out, snacks, ice cream, and meals large enough to feed a Naval aircraft carrier. I was introduced to cream and bread, something my husband’s side (the brothers) talk about every time there is a family function. It’s only taken me 15 years, but I finally tried it-and liked it! It is literally a slice of homemade white bread (store bought will not do) with cream (whipping for us) poured over it and topped with a variety of things: brown sugar, rhubarb sauce, chokecherry syrup-you get the idea. I used brown sugar and thought it was really tasty. At the next function I host, I will have that out for dessert! Enough about the food…when we were driving there, my son asked how many 100 year anniversaries this one was for the family farm. I looked at him strangely and I think he realized what he had just asked.  100 years in one family’s name is a big feat, especially in this day and age; the 80s took a lot of family farms out of business and broke the cycle. Of the six sisters born there, only two remain, and they were both there throughout the weekend reminiscing about the past and such.

As I am blogging, I am getting a tad worried; our son spent the night in the tent by the corn patch to keep out the deer until we can get a fence up-hopefully today. He woke up to the sound of a cow mooing; now this isn’t unusual, but it sounded awfully close, and sure enough, one was wandering the yard. Three had gotten out somehow, but only one left the confines of the corral. Naughty girl. She did wander back in and he closed the gate, but now he’s been out there for two hours mending the broken fence. I am hoping he fixes it without too much trouble. That is one of the drawbacks of having a commuter husband, but our son is capable and can do the job. Think of what boys were responsible for during the World Wars; our kiddos have it easy. Back to the sleeping arrangements; when we came home Sunday evening, I went out to check the garden while our son checked the cattle. I noticed the tops of all my sunflowers were eaten as well as the center of several stalks of corn. Then I saw several more stalks rooted up and laying dead. Deer. Game on. No one messes with my corn; it’s used for my salsa AND we love corn on the cob! Our son agreed to set up the tent and sleep out there for a few nights until he and I can get a portable electric fence going. I hate fencing my garden; I’ve never had to do it until these past few years, and then it’s to keep the raccoons out of the corn in August. When hubby comes home, we’ll put up the big fence, but hopefully a double strand of poly will keep them out while we’re gone.

Ok, after whining about too much rain in May/June, the water spigot in the sky has shut off and now we’re dry. I only have a week’s worth of water in the rain barrels for the front garden, and have been drip irrigating the raspberries daily. Last night it was completely still outside, and so I irrigated the rest of the garden; I normally do it in the morning, but the stillness was too tempting. I have woken up too many morning to a wind around here…

It is already the middle of July. Get out there and soak up some Vitamin D-for delightful!

Somebody’s Watching Me…just like the 80s song

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-07-2014

This little chap has been hanging out on our air conditioner chatting with us for the past few days. We don’t know why, we certainly don’t know what it is saying, but it is incessant. If you know what kind of bird it is, let me know. It’s starting to grow on us and now we are thinking of a name for it. Entertainment is at a premium around here…

I made an apple praline pie yesterday for some dear friends and there was left over dough so I rolled it out, sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on it and threw it on a stone. As it was baking, it suddenly brought me back to making pies with our grandma in our old house kitchen. That lady could make a pie like no other and tried to teach us six ragamuffins how to make them; our favorite part was when she rolled out the excess, put it in a pie tin, and did the same thing I did. When it came out of the oven, we fought over that little piece of heaven-flaky, slightly sweet, and just enough for all of us to get a taste until the pies came out of the oven. While breads and kuchen are still my favorite thing to make, pie is slowly making a come back to me as I experiment with different crusts, fillings and toppings. That way Grandma Behrens can always be a part of what I love to do-bake…

Yesterday we also went into the garden for our hour of power and ended up with maybe a bit more than that, but since it had rained the day before, we ‘had’ to make up that hour. Weeding is getting easier, the rains have helped the garden shoot up, and fertilizing was on the menu. We snacked on a few peas as well-nothing like a warm pea from the garden. The beans are blossoming and next week the first beet harvest will be pulled to make beet pickles. I usually do three plantings of them so they don’t overwhelm me at once. I also spotted a few tomatoes on the vine and the zucchinis are a few inches long. They had some serious damage from the winds last week and their production will be affected. While the strawberries were an epic failure this year, the raspberries look amazing, which is good considering a lot of product gets made from them, whereas the strawberries have one. I went to Runnings to get the last of their 75% off greenhouse sale and snagged more kohlrabis; I love those things and can’t plant enough. A lady was there, going through flowers, and asked me what I was buying; she had never eaten a kohlrabi before and thus talked her into buying a pack to try. As long as you don’t let them get to be huge, a baseball sized kohlrabi is simply divine. I cannot understand why the fairs around here give grand champions to the softball sized kohlrabis; that would be the woodiest, hottest, and most tasteless one there. Reward for picking them at the height of the season, not for size. This isn’t a steer…

Time to make the donuts! Not really; that’s from a commercial in the 80s…but it is time to get outside and clean the strawberries one last time before we heavily mulch them and ignore them until the fall. With that, enjoy your Wednesday, tickle a child today, and hug someone just because. It will make the day so much better…and make people wonder what you are up to.

Patriotic Pickles

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-07-2014

Happy birthday, nation! Normally, this would be full of cucumber vines, but since the wind beat them up, they are bare until I coax them to come out to play again. It looked so empty, so I decided to put up the two flags we had and show a little patriotism. Maybe it will inspire the cucs to get a move on and grow.

Yesterday and today are full of outside work; I spent the entire day in the garden yesterday tilling (for the last time this season), cleaning, mulching, planting, thinning, and laying down some plastic which (surprise) the wind blew off. We used more staples and rocks-that plastic isn’t going anywhere this time! Today we got up early to put down wood chips between the strawberry and raspberry rows. It keeps the weeds and shoots at bay as well as hold some of the moisture in that the WIND sucked up. I have a bit more mulching to do around some of the vines and then I promised my hubby we’d work together and replant some trees that bit the dust last year in the heat. Finally, I will get my trusty foam pad, a small hoe, put on the radio to an 80s station, and clean out the strawberries one last time this season before laying down straw around them. They did not have a good season and I am really disappointed in their production; last year we averaged a pound a row every other day; today we barely managed a half pound in the entire patch. Sigh…There is always next year.

With that in mind,  I am wishing you a happy 4th of July; say a prayer of thanks for the men and women in uniform who are protecting our freedom today.