Soft Homemade Bread

I made some bread last week that I found was very popular with my family. It was so soft, and yet held up to being sliced well with our electric knife.

This recipe is from the all recipes website (www.allrecipes.com). It is called Amish White Bread. I made one difference in it, I used half white bread flour, and half wheat bread flour. Here is a picture, and the recipe.

Softest bread I ever made. Amish White Bread.

Amish White Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

2 Cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2/3 Cup white sugar (I used organic)

1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 Cup vegetable oil

6 Cups bread flour (I used 3 cups white and 3 cups whole wheat)

Directions

Step 1

In a large bowl, sissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeat. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.

Step 2

Mis salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a will oiled boul, and turn dough to coat. cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise unil doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

( To have a warm place for the bread to rise, I heat my oven for two minutes, then turn it off, and place dough to rise in it.)

Step 3

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen 1 inch above pans. (my rise time was 50 minutes to have rising 1 inch above pans. Your time may be different)

Step 4

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Here is a picture of them risen in the loaf pans.

Risen before baking.

MORE WILDLIFE

Last spring some Scrub Jays decided our yard was a good place to come. I finally got a picture of one of them. It works hard at trying to pick up two peanuts at the same time, before it goes to wherever. The Scrub Jays are not native to the Pacific Northwest, they have migrated up from California. Global warming has them expanding their area.

We had a snow storm recently, And we made sure to have food out for our furry and featherd friends.

Scrub Jay from California
Loves the peanuts

I also made sure to put out lots of fresh nectar for the hummingbirds. You use four cups water to 1 cup sugar, I use organic sugar. Heat the water to a boil, turn off the pan, and disolve the sugar in the water. I put any left over in a covered jar in the refrigerator, and lable it with the date.

Valentines Day

My husband was sweet, and didn’t buy me sweets for valentines, as I am on a low carb, low sugar diet so I can loose a few pounds. So he brought home a vase of roses for me.

Beautiful Roses, and a new vase.

Yarn Crafts

Last writing I showed you a sweater I started on for my husband. Since then I have finished the trunk, and am starting on a sleeve. I am finding this pattern fairly easy to follow. My husband looked on Ravelry, but didn’t find something he liked. I found this pattern through Lovecrafts online.

Novita sweater for my husband.

I was signed up for Paradise Fibers fiber of the month club for spinning by my husband. This is from February’s box. This is the first time I have been able to spin a lace weight yarn consistently.

More about the snowstorm

We ended up having a snowstorm this month. I live about 45 minutes from my work, so they put me up in a nearby hotel, and I worked an extra night. Here is a picture of the hotel I stayed at. Didn’t go in the pool!

Snow man

My granddaughter and I took advantage of the time we had off, and made a snowman. She also loved to throw snowballs at me!

That’s all for now!

Blessings,

Grandma

Peanut Thief

Last time I wrote on this blog, I spoke of the wildlife we were feeding. This time I am following up on my intention of getting a picture of one of these little creatures. In this picture, this squirrel seems to be very determindly taking the peanut, saying, “No one gets this one but me”.

WEEKEND PROJECT

My husband and son worked hard to clear up a space in the garage to set up for a workbench. They installed a light over where they wanted to place it, and my husband and I put together a Harbor Freight workbench he had bought. We had some trouble with the drawers. The two on the right went in perfectly, but the two on the left the bearings went out of the sliders when we tried to put the drawers in. We are going to measure the sliders and replace them, then it will be done.

Christmas Yarn

My daughter-in-law gave me some yarn she had spun to me for Christmas, and I’ve finished up a hat I had been making with it, except for the pom-pom. Turns out to be Seahawk colors, but not on purpose. I’m pretty happy with it, and have gotten many compliments. I used the Fair-Isle method in knitting. I have been able to hold the yarn one color in each hand to knit while working it. One hand using the Continental method, and one hand using the English method. I think the time I learned to use my hands independently to play the piano helped me be able to learn to do this.

Home spun yarn

New Project

This is a sweater started that I am making for my husband. I found the free pattern on Lovecrafts online. He had been looking for a pattern, and this was the one he liked. I purchased the yarn to go with it.

This is a sweater my husband said he would like.

Homemade Sourdough

We went to make a sourdough starter, and discovered it would take a few weeks to get it going well. So we also bought a sourdough starter, which has really gone well. The one in the bowl on the left is the bought starter, and the one on the right is our own we are working at getting going.

The one we are starting ourselves, on the right,is taken care of about every 12 hours by getting rid of half, putting in 1/4th cup flour, to 1/3 cup water. What we read is that it can take three weeks to get you own going. The one on the left has gone through three increases in water and flour since we got the starter. All is going well as it is growing and getting quite bubbley. We got the starter from Breadtopia. They have complete instructions online, and make it quite easy to do.

Birthday Blast

Our daughter-in-laws birthday was this month. She had a thing for pink doughnuts, so my husband made her cake to look like a pink doughnut. He is getting to be quite the baker.

BOOKS

These are recent purchases in books. We want more meals for our family day that everyone will want to eat, and since two are vegetarians I thought we could try some vegan meals. We now have a seven and a half quart slow cooker, so some more ideas would be good.

Are garden space is not that large too, so I am interested in getting into this book on small garden spaces.

The cast iron book is something I have been meaning to get to. We have some cast iron skillets, and a dutch oven, and I am hoping this book will help me get into it.

FLAXSEED BREAD

I found a recipe in my issue of Grit magazine for flaxseed bread, and my husband made it twice so far. It has been a big hit. Even one of my coworkers paid him for a loaf of this bread saying it is the best bread she has tasted. I think the molasses in it is what made her like it so much. I’m also plannin on making the Flax Granola. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Summer in Winter

One brave Black-eyed Susan

Looking around in the yard, I discovered a lone Black-eyed Susan blooming in the flower bed. Botanical name Rudbeckia hirta, it is surprising to see this in late fall. Such rugged resilience makes my think of the resilience many people have, even when they had a not so good upbringing. It reminds me to keep on keeping on, even when times are hard.

Wildlife Entertainment

Feed we purchase for wildlife

We like to help the wildlife by giving them some food. In return, they give us great times of entertainment. For example, we put dried corn out for the squirrels. It is enjoyable to watch them race around with corn, looking for places to save it for later. Sometimes we also have larger birds pecking at it. The birds and squirrels havn’t always gotten along when they both want it at the same time, and will try to chase each other off. Another time the squirrel has climbed up the pole for the bird seed, and it has us in stiches laughing, while we watch the squirrel hang on for dear life with the feeder swinging back and forth. Here are some pictures of our feeders.

Corn for the squirrels, and the Stellar Jay birds too!
Bird feeders
Peanut hider.

I hide peanuts inside of this ceramic art. I enjoy watching the squirrels, and larger birds, poke their heads in to get the peanuts.

I’m hoping I can get some pictures of the wildlife to post them on my blog for you to enjoy.

Garden

Beets and carrots.

I have had some of the beets that were left to overwinter. They can take some frost, and hold up better in the ground, than if picked, and put in the refrigerator. I recently tried beet greens, and found them enjoyable with a little apple cider vinegar on after cooking. Here is an excerpt from a website on “10 incredible heath benefits of beet greens”.

“Kale, spinach, and chard have gained a lot of attention in the last few years; however, beet greens deserve love too. Beet greens are high in nutritional value and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. There are so many amazing benefits to eating more beet greens. Plus – beet greens are so versatile, they can be eaten numerous ways, such as raw in smoothies, sautéed as a side dish, or steamed in soups”. https://www.justbeetit.com/beet-blog-index/10-incredible-health-benefits-of-beet-greens

I am still excited to try no till gardening this year. I have grown a cover crop of mixed plants, and when it is about five weeks before planting, I will put a silage tarp over the garden, and wait for decomposition to happen. Then when it is time, all I have to do is take the tarp off and plant! The sun will have also warmed the soil more under the tarp, which will have sprouted some of the weed seeds that won’t live, because the tarp is on top of them blocking the sunlight.

Cover Crop

I am ordering seeds from and heirloom seed catalog this year. That way, I can save some of my own seeds for the next year. Heirloom plants are also supposed to have more taste, and nutrition than hybrid plants. Look for a future posting in the spring for the planting.

Last year I planted way too much lettuce. We seemed to enjoy the spinich more than the lettuce, and spinich you can also save in the freezer for later. Try that with lettuce, and you will have mush.

Strawberry Plants

The strawberry plants are looking a little worse for wear. I have some left over beauty bark that I think I will top the soil in the container with. It will help insulate it from any freezing weather we get.

Artichoke

This artichoke will be coming on it’s third year in the garden, and it hasn’t fruited yet. I’m hoping this coming year to get some home grown artichoke. I’ll give it some extra care this spring, and see what happens.

Yarn Fun

I’ve got two projects going now. One; I’m finishing a sweater project I got from “We Are Knitters” a Hackney cardigan. All the pieces are finshed, and I’m working on puting them together. It used the Moss stitch to create the pattern on the sweater. The moss stitch is basically alternating purl and knit stitches in a row, and each row would be started with a knit or purl according the pattern.

Hackney Cardigan. Pattern and yarn from We Are Knitters.

I have also been workning on repairing a hat I made a few years ago. The hat itself was fine, it was missing a pom pom. I replaced both pom pom’s, and then noticed one of the I cords was breaking. So I have made two new I cord’s. I’m thinking of making new pom pom’s too again. My daughter-in-law gave me some of her handspun yarn to do this with. Looks like a good match.

Fair Isle hat I made a few years ago.

In this time of planning for the spring, let us work to be ready this spring to take off and grow.

Here is a warning of not being idle from Thessalonians 3:6-10

6. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8. nor did we eat anone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Next time I am tempted to be lazy, I will think on this.

Blessings,

Grandma

Christmas Tradition

Christmas traditions are important, and making lasting happy memories with your family, that you hope will continue to be shared throughout many generations of your family, fills one with happiness.

One of our traditions has been to go to the same tree farm, and cut down our own Christmas tree. Our youngest child has always been the one to do the deed. We will trudge around most of the field of trees to find just the right one. Afterward, the tradition has been to get the free hot cocoa, or apple cider, and stand around a warm fire. We got the drink, but did not go near the fire, due to another family being near the fire with no masks on. A little blip in tradition, but we made the best of it.

This year, even with COVID, we continued the tradition at the tree farm. Here are a few pictures.

On the hunt for the best Christmas tree.
Here is the tree, about to be sacrificed.

We decided not to get a very tall tree this year, as we put it in a different place in the living room, that is on the low side of the ceiling. Still plenty big enough. The one with the hat and red beard is the youngest son, who has by our tradition been the one to cut it down. We brought our own saw this year, brand new. It is the first time we have done that. What a difference it made, so easy to cut down. This will start a new part of the tradition I think, of bringing our own saw.

Afterward, enjoying our free hot drinks, and looking forward to having the tree set up at home.

Here we are afterward with the hot drink. Me, our daughter, our son, our daughter-in-law, and our granddaughter. My husband is taking the picture.

This year was slightly different, because of the pandemic. One of the farm workers pumped the hot water for everyone. We enjoyed the Christmas music, even though it sounds as if from a can; part of the tradition.

Here is our tree, and granddaughter. This year our daughter in law shared her many ornaments on it.

This year, our daughter-in-law shared her many ornaments on the tree. She had lots of memories of the special ornaments that she shared with us.

HOME CHRISTMAS DECORATING

We hadn’t been keeping up through the years on decorating the house with lights. This year we wanted to improve on that. We got out the lights we had from years past, and bought some new ones as well. Also, my husband bought an inflatable snow man to decorate the yard.

Our newest addition to decorating the outdoors of our home.

One unfortunate incident occurred when I was helping to decorate an outdoor tree. The ladder behind us in this picture is at our Japanese Snowbell tree. We bought this tree at a discount from the nursery, many years ago, because it had been drought stressed, and part of it had died. This tree that we had saved, and given a better life, had ungratefully poked me in the eye as I put some lights on it. I ended up going to the ER, because the walk in clinics near us were closed, and they diagnosed me with a scratched cornea. Very painful. Lesson learned, but thankfully eyes heal quickly. From now on I will wear safety glasses when putting the lights on the outdoor trees.

BAKING FUN

My husband had bought a sourdough starter some weeks ago which had been fermenting. The instructions said if it had “hootch” on top, that meant it was active, and was ready to use. I let it set with added flour and water on the counter overnight, as directed, but it still didn’t really look active with bubbles. We added more flour and water, and let it set for more time, it still didn’t look that active, so we decided to do an experiment. We would make two loaves of bread, one we would add yeast to, and the other we would just see if the starter worked.

Here is a picture of the result. The added yeast bread rose well, and then some, while the one with just starter didn’t rise, and became a brick.

Here is our brick.
With added yeast. Still tasted like sourdough.

We decided that even though we put a filter on our tap, it still must have had enough chlorine in the water to kill the sourdough starter, as we have city water. I will try again sometime, and use only distilled water.

FALL FUN

One of the fun things I did with my granddaughter this year, when we raked the leaves, was to make a big pile of them, and jump in the pile of leaves. We had a lot of fun doing that, then she and I raked the leaves into the flower bed where we grow flowers for the bees, butterflies, and humming birds. This will make a nice mulch to smother any weeds, and add some important organic matter. We also have some grape vines on either side of an arbor that I put cardboard down for a mulch to smother weeds, then I put leaves on top of that for more mulch, and to add organic matter.

Here is a picture of us jumping into the piled up leaves.

That’s all for now!

I would like to hear what others have for their Christmas traditions. Please leave a message in the reply below.

Many happy holiday blessings!

Grandma

Big Swingers

My husband’s workplace had profit sharing for the first time, and what he wanted to do with it was surprise our granddaughter with a swing. We looked at the swings for children online, and they were all saying they were good up to the age of ten, which she is this year, so it wouldn’t be good for very long. With a little more searching, we found a swing that was strong, and big enough for adults too! With baited breath we ordered it, and it came on a truck in two big packages.

The legs were three four inch poles we stuck together, and were they difficult to fit together! I think, because it is colder out in the fall, the metal pieces were contracted some, making it harder to fit together. My son took the three pieces, fitted together as much as possible, lifted them over his head, and banged the end piece into one of the railroad ties that surrounds the flower garden. That worked some, but not all of them. Then my husband took the leg, and laid it on end with the end touching the railroad tie, used a large mallet with a piece of wood protecting the open end of the leg, and pounded the end of it toward the railroad tie. That worked some too. With a little more work, all the legs were together. We attached the side bars across each of the legs, connected to the top bar, attached the swings, and trapeze, put the feet on, and were done!

Now we all get to swing! Our granddaughter Mina now has been swinging on it every chance she can get, including breaks from online school, and is getting good exercise without having to go the play park. When the COVID pandemic is over, she can have the girls she is friends with down the street over for some fun. Now we are all big swingers!

ORGANIZATION

We are still trying to organize the garage. I bought five big racks, one for each person in the household to put things on in the garage. Pretty much everything else should be put away somewhere else, or be gotten rid of. Hopefully this works.

FUTURE FOR NO TILL GARDEN

I planted a cover crop in the garden after we were done with the vegetables. With this I am planning on doing no till gardening starting next spring. How, you say, can I plant next year without tilling in the cover crop? Four weeks before I plan to plant seed, I will cut down the cover crop, and put a tarp over it to smother the plants. This will also let some of the weed seeds sprout, and be smothered too. The worms will work the crop into the soil. I’m still learning this method. I’m reading the book, ‘The Organic No Till Farming Revolution’, by Andrew Meffe. It is giving me the confidence to try it. I want to use silage tarp to smother the cover crop, but it comes in such a big size. It can be found at a site called ‘Farmers Friend’ online. I’m hoping I can find some other people to share it. I will contact the people in the Master Gardener program I am in to see if others want some too, and we can split the cost.

Mixed cover crop

FALL CARROTS

Some of the smaller carrots in the raised bed were left when we harvested and canned 14 quarts last summer. I was hoping they would grow larger, but they mostly don’t seem to have, and the one I plucked from the soil that I thought was big enough had split, and had a baby slug inside. Yuck! I’m not sure why they haven’t grown much, perhaps one of you readers has an idea, and would leave a message below. I would appreciate that much!

Split carrot with a baby slug inside. Yuck!

GRAPES

The beds with the grape vines have gotten over run with grass, and weeds. So instead of doing things the hard way, and digging out all the weeds, I am covering the soil with cardboard, and smothering them. For now I don’t have the mulch to put on top. That will come this weekend when I have some more time.

Will be getting more mulch this weekend to top it off, and look good.

HOMEMADE GLUTEN FREE BREAD

I used my bread maker to make a loaf of gluten free bread. Gluten free bread only rises once, and takes a little longer to bake, so I had to adjust things a bit for this machine. One of my coworkers has stomach problems, and doesn’t quite know what her problem is. I suggested she try a gluten free diet, and so I made some homemade bread for her to try.

Gluten Free Bread for a Friend

SPINNING FOR FUN

I wanted to spin again, since it had been such a long time. I was interested in spinning from a batt, which is a flat rectangular piece made from animal or other fibers. They make it on a carding machine. I bought two of The same ones off of ETSY. The fiber was merino (a type of sheep’s wool), bamboo, firestar (the glittery manmade fiber), and seacell (a type of cellulose). I had fun spinning it. The business I got it from was Handmade Hollows. They seems to have a very good selection of fiber to spin.

I love my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. This one I got free from someone who was using it just for decoration in their living room. I found it is is from before 1973. It needed a little TLC, and now it is up and running like a top! Someday I want to spin at an old time fair.

That’s all for now from Grandma’s garden. God bless you and yours, and keep safe!

From,

Grandma

Turn Around Surprise

The zinnias, and marigolds were killed by the frost, and looked pretty ugly. I didn’t pull them out. I’ve been reading a lot about no till gardening, and decided to try it with my front bed. I cut the flowers down at the soil line, leaving the roots in the ground. Then I put cardboard in the back behind the flowers on top of buttercup that I have been fighting. I put bone meal on the soil to feed the daffodils that are under the ground so they will be healthy, grow well, and look pretty next spring. Then I covered the whole thing, cardboard and soil with beauty bark. That cleaned up pretty good!

Before and after the front bed cleanup.

Garage Project

The garage has been quite a bit overflowing with boxes. We decided we were going to get five shelving racks, one for each person living here, to let each one have their own storage in the garage. We looked online and found some we liked at Lowe’s. They were ordered online, and we used the curbside pickup so that we didn’t even have to go in the store, having us be less exposed to the possibility of the virus. Here is a picture of the assembled shelves.

We are planning to get rid of most everything else, except what is on the shelves. Then we will have a clean garage!

Birthday

I had a birthday recently. I won a carrot cake at work, and decided to use that for my birthday cake. It came undecorated, so I let my granddaughter decorate it.

Now everyone knows what my age is.

For my birthday, I got myself a couple sparkly batts to spin up on my wheel. They have merino (which is a breed of sheep), bamboo, firestar (the sparkly stuff), softsilk, and seacell all blended together.

Here it is being spun up on my Ashford Traditional wheel. Pre 1973 version.

Moving?

Now to talk about what we have been doing about moving. We have been looking at several places. We really liked an old farmhouse on a little more than an acre.

We got outbid on it. We feel sad about that one.

Next we almost got a triple wide mobile on some land too. It had a really big covered porch, the living space was about twice as big, and the kitchen was terrific. My granddaughter loved the swings!

We decided not to buy it after the inspection turned up some electrical and foundation problems that would have cost a lot to fix.

By that time, most of the family members decided that they didn’t want to move, and we are staying in our present home after all! It’s really nice now with the new carpet, flooring, fresh paint, and we are going to get the garage all cleaned up.

Anniversary

My husband and I recently had out 39th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, this year we went to a bed and breakfast in the small seaside town of La Conner. Here is a picture from our room.

Pretty View

While we were there, we checked out the shops around town, and the quilt museum above it on a hill. The shop I love the most is the yarn shop. I bought a book for knitting doll clothing I can help my granddaughter do. I always love going to the quilt museum. Here are a few pictures of quilts.

Rose of Sharon pattern
Thousands of pieces cut and sewn.
Three D blocks.

That’s all for now from Grandma’s Garden. We will eventually move, probably not till we retire, but we will be better set up financially to do it, and we can go wherever we want then.

I will be looking for someplace to start a community garden to be able to grow more, and to help others in the community.

Blessings to All,

Grandma.

Good Surprises

In this update to Grandma’s Garden I first will tell you about a volunteer zucchini plant that grew under the care of the grape plant we planted last year. I gave it some compost from our bin, and apparently we had at least one zucchini plant we got rid of some seeds into the compost last year.

Zucchini Flowers. They are also edible if you like.

Here is a picture of the progeny from that plant.

Five large zucchini’s, and how they did grow ever!

We turned some of those into shredded zucchini, and froze it to make zucchini bread with.

Future zucchini bread!

ANCIENT AFGHAN

Another thing that was a great surprise was while cleaning the garage, I found something I had searched frantically for in there in the past, but didn’t find then. My mother had given me a box that had belonged to her mother. In it was an afghan she had started for me years ago. It was squares she had knitted, and sewn together in strips. This was new learning for her in her seventies. Previously she had crocheted, but never knitted. She knitted these squares from a knitting book for learning to knit, sewing the squares together to turn into an afghan. What a treasure to find! I sewed the strips together, and viola! Her afghan for me was finished.

Grandma’s handiwork brought to life!

BIRTHDAY GIRL

We also celebrated the 10th anniversary of our granddaughters birth this month. Didn’t know this would change her into a dinosaur. She had fun scaring us as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Everyone also enjoyed the carrot cake. It was store bought cake. We just don’t have time to do everything ourselves, but it still really tasted good.

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CARROT HARVEST and PRESERVATION

The real challenge was to harvest our carrots, and can them. Here is a picture of them harvested in the wheel barrow.

Don’t they look good!

This next photo is them after I take their tops off. I actually harvested two big bowlful’s.

Next picture is after I peeled them. The canning recipe says to peel the carrots, otherwise the peels will get stringy, and they will be bitter when canned if you leave the peels. I didn’t mean to get the ketchup packet in the picture, but it does help to give some representation of size.

Lots of peels.

I was very tired of peeling. After they were peeled, I put them through the kitchen Aid slicer attachment.

Slow but steady wins the race. Or in this case, the carrot slices.

Then I put them in the previously sanitized, and hot jars, poured some hot water up to within an inch of the top of jars, sealed them with the hot lids, and put them in the pressure canner. Our canner is off by one pound, so instead of the 11 pounds pressure, I made sure to go to at least 12 pounds pressure. It was vented for ten minutes, then held at that pressure for 30 minutes, according to the canner instruction book.

Held to at least 12 pounds for 30 minutes.

And the final results are just beautiful. I made 7 jars last Friday. Then my husband and I made another 7 quarts on Sunday!

Beautiful Success!

ANOTHER HARVEST

We also harvested almost thirty pounds of red and gold potatoes from our garden this season. Had some cubed and fried by my husband last night, with scrambled eggs on the side. Yum!

Thank you for joining me in this episode of Grandma’s Garden. Next time I will show how we remake a room in our home to prepare our home to be shown, so we can sell it, and head for our new life. This time in a place without a home owners association, and I am hoping also for some land for bigger garden surprises!

If your into reading the Bible, read;

Proverbs 31: 10-31 Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character.

Blessings to ALL,

Grandma

Garden Overhaul

The peas and fava beans are drying out, so I’ve made the decision to pull them down to plant beets and spinach as a fall crop.

Cleared peas out to get ready for more spinach.

The fava beans got picked, and are left to dry before shelling.

We made soup with our own homegrown carrots, Red Pontiac potatoes, and peas. We used organic vegetable broth, organic celery, and organic onions bought from the store.

Everyone loved it.

All organically grown vegetables to go into the soup pot.

We have a family of zucchinis from a volunteer plant in our grape plant bed that I harvested. I’m planning on baking a few loaves of bread with it, and shredding the rest to put in the freezer so I can make zucchinis bread any time. I’m planning on sending a loaf to my mother and sister in a southern state at Christmas time. Another way I like to make them is to add chocolate chips and make large muffins, yum!

Here is the Zucchini family resting from the heat of the day. They don’t know my plans for them!

We have been working at cleaning the garage the last couple of weekends, and I’ve finally found the afghan my grandmother started for me that someone stuck in the garage a couple years ago. She passed away in 1996. I just need to sew up the strips, and add a border, and it will be done!

Grandma Jarvis’s afghan she started for me. Now finally getting finished.

I went to a yarn store in a nearby town to show off the wrap that I made from their kit. I ended up buying a book ‘Lace One-Skein Wonders’. Perfect for that yarn that I made I’ve been wondering what something special I could do with it.

This picture also has my orientation binder from my new job. It is about a 45 minute drive from home, but I am planning on moving further north in a rural area, so it will be closer then. Job is going great!

Here is the wrap I made, with my mothers afghan behind it. This picture doesn’t show how it sparkles.

This next picture is of the home spun yarn I made, with the book I just bought. I’m planning on making something from the book with this yarn.

We are planning on cleaning the garage again this weekend, and having a new garage door installed next weekend. Then the week after that, we can empty out the back room, paint, and put the new laminate flooring in. We will be pretty much ready to go on the market then. Looking forward to it, but a little scared too.

Bye for now, and God Bless,

Grandma

Very Early Girl

July 10, 2020

Our harvest of Early Girl tomato, and edible pod peas.

Hello to you my readers! This is the earliest we have ever had tomatoes ripen in our garden. Usually, I am nervous that the frost will get them, before we even get one. This tomato has lived up to its name. I am so happy that we will have tomatoes over the whole summer. You may remember in previous blogs that we planted a couple weeks before the frost free date from plants bought in gallon containers, and protected them from the frost overnight.

We also have had several pickings of the edible pod peas, and we love them simmered or steamed until just still slightly crunchy. Another way we like them is simmered in butter, but we won’t go there, because of the calories!

Love these slightly still crunchy.

The mint I harvested and hung to dry in the laundry room, I finally got around to taking the leaves off the stems, and putting into storage jars. I have sampled them, and just thinking about having a hot cup of mint tea, from my own yard when the snow is on the ground, gives me a warm feeling.

Mint recovery

The fava beans have been a dissapointment to me. Although they have fought off the aphids well, they don’t cling on and climb like regular beans, so most have been falling over of their own weight. I also don’t like the texture of them, as well as the flavor. I’m going to let them dry on the plants, and see if I like them as dried beans. I don’t think I will be planting these again, but will return to planting regular beans.

No more fava beans.

The carrots are doing wonderfully, the best we have ever grown. They sprouted well, have evenly grown, and the roots are long and tapered. Growing them in a raised bed has turned out to have been a terrific choice. We should be able to harvest them in a couple more weeks. We are planning on canning them, and it will be great to open them up, and remember this year of the garden.

Carrots galore!

The lettuce has been bolting, and I am waiting for the seed to harvest, so I can save them to plant next year. We havn’t eaten as much salad as we did spinach, so after I take them out, I think I will plant some spinach again. I have been eating the spinach I froze with my eggs in the morning, and am looking forward to many more meals with it, but I also love them fresh for salad. I’m just amazed at how tall the one variety of lettuce has gotten upon bolting, while the Red Sails in the Sunset red lettuce hasn’t bolted yet.

MONSTER LETTUCE

The sunflowers have been getting their heads on them, the Nastursiums are flowering loveley, and the butterfly/pollinator garden is doing well too. As a bonus, I have seen hummingbirds come to the Nastursiums several times. The rose I am dissapointed with. Yes it has some flowers, but it seems to be lacking quite a few leaves. I cleaned out the bed under it, and gave it some organic rose food, and I am hoping that it will do better. I think that the black spot has taken quite a few leaves this year from the wet spring.

Sunflower in the garden
Nastursiums
Pretty Posies
Sore spot in the yard.

Now to the projects around the home. My husband and youngest adult child took of their own accord the project of restaining the newer picnic table. They took it all apart, sanded it down, and went over it twice with the Thompson’s Stain and Water Seal. Last year when we did that, we were dissapointed with the results, because it didn’t seem to bead up. They were planning on covering the stain with a lacker to seal it, but the results have been so much better than last year, and the rain seems to be beading up on it, perhaps they won’t need to. The only thing my husband says is different, is that they sanded it better this year before staining it. Good job guys!

Nice Job!

While they worked on the picnic table, I painted the trim around the windows which the repair man had replaced early last spring, and it wasn’t warm enough for the paint to go on. It looked like he had put some primer on though. I didn’t get pictures of that. I also touched up areas on the garage door. The wood in some places was rotting, so we are going to have to replace the garage door this summer, before we sell the place.

I had a yarn project that I bought from a little store in a nearby small town. I had to buy a very large crochet hook for it, and I just love how it turned out. It was also very quick to work up. The green and white afghan behind it is one my mother made for me. This picture doesn’t show the sparkle that the wrap has in some of the yarns.

I’ve been at my new job for two weeks now, and seem to be fitting in with the other workers well, taking good care of the clients, and doing my rounds like clockwork. In my online training last week, I won the most points for participation, and they sent me the book ‘How many people does it take to make a difference? 1.’ Authors Dan Zadra & Kovi Yamada. I think the really need to send this to the person who gets the least points. I got extra points at the beginning for putting a mask on the drawing of the face they asked us to make.

My family has been excitedly looking at advertisements on the computer through Zillow and Redfin for a new home. I’ve also been looking through the microgreens training course on my computer, listening to the ‘Thriving Farmer’ podcast on the way back and forth to work, listening to a marketing podcast by a woman that calls her business ‘Three Cow Marketing’, as well as signed up for a Patreon show of Rachel Smith who talks about the spinning arts. I want to take my spinning up to a more professional level. The last article she talked about a method called Tailspinning that takes spun uncombed locks of yarn, and showcases them beautifully. I hope that I can learn this method, and that I will someday have my own sheep to do this with.

That’s all for now. I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, but I’m back on course now, so hope to keep on top of this blog.

Blessings to all, Grandma.

Coming Home

June 23, 2020

First I thought I would let you know why I didn’t write last week. I was busy because I had interviewed, and I was filling out paperwork for the new job I got. This is all part of the plan to move to a place in the country on a homestead. The job is an hour north from here, where there is more space. We have been looking at property half way between there, and up to there. The high school there is highly rated at preparing students for college, which would be great for our granddaughter. I start the new job next Monday. It is pretty much the same thing I do now in mental health, just with a different title. I’ll keep you updated.

FROM THE GARDEN

Here is a picture of peas in bloom, and peas with pea pods hanging on. We have begun to snack on pea pods from the garden. Not enough for a full meal yet, but they are going to be coming on strong any second now! We are planning to put some of them by in the freezer by blanching them, puting them in ziploc freezer bags, and of course, freezing them. With how many plants there are, we will have a lot. As much as possible, we will saute them in a little butter, and eat them up that way. M-m-m, m-m-m, yum!

Pretty Pea Flower
Edible Pod Peas

The broad beans are coming along, despite some of them having aphids, and some of them falling over, because they don’t hold on to the fence with tendrils. I even picked two bean pods about three inches long, and ate them fresh there in the garden. I don’t plan on growing them again, because of getting aphids.

Everbearing Strawberries

Here is a ripe strawberry. We are getting some, but are disapointed that we are not getting a lot. Despite that, they are delicious. Some, slugs have gotten some before us, and have had to be thrown away. We won’t have enough to make jam with 😦

Carrots Apleanty

The carrots are making up for the strawberries. A well prepared raised bed has done wonders this year, and we should have lots of canned carrots in our cupboard this year. We used three bags of raised garden bed soil, and three bags of sand. If you remember from an earlier post, we had also had to put a screen over the top of the bed to keep some critter from digging in it.

Potatoes are Flowering

Sorry about the finger in the picture. As you can see, the potatoes are doing quite well, and even have some flowers on them. If it goes to seed, I could try saving it, but they would not grow genetically the same. Seed potatoes, are not the same thing as the seed from a potato flower. A seed potato is just a small potato. Stems grow from the eyes on the potato, and up into plants.

Early Girl Tomatoes

The tomatoes are coming along great, and you can’t tell the difference between the one that didn’t have the wall of water, and the ones that did. The cherry sized tomatoes are even starting to get ripe! I’m sure looking forward to popping them in my mouth fresh off the vine, and slicing the Early Girl for sandwiches!

Rose Improvements

My rose is looking a bit sad, but I cleared out the spent daffadill and tulip leaves, applied some organic rose fertilizer, and watered it in. I’m hoping it grows more leaves, and soon.

Curbside Appeal

Just back from the curb in front, I cleared away the weeds, and planted the Marigolds in front, with some Zinnia’s in back of them. This was done the same way last year, and I liked it. I even saved seed from them last year, and this is some of their progeny. It doesn’t look like much yet, but give it a few weeks, and it will look great!

CRAFT TIME

I also spent some time yesterday washing some wool fleece I had won at the guild meeting last year. When putting away the mini greenhouse, I noticed it would be a great place to dry my wool. Good way to find another use for it.

WASHED SHEEP WOOL DRYING

DINNER

And now it is dinner time. I made a good home cooked meal for my hubby, but I don’t eat beef, so I cooked an organic Greek pizza from the store, added some crumbled frozen spinach from the garden, and some organic mozzarella cheese to it. I left the rest to share with my son and his family when he got home from work.

That’s all for now. Have a great week, and may God richly bless you!

Grandma