Friday, July 21, 2017

Creepy Crawly!

Human beings are psychologically far more afraid of bugs than they are of driving a car, whereas people get killed by cars every single day, and there is hardly ever a story of people getting killed by bugs. Jeff Pinkner

I am amazed at the bug life in my yard and specifically in my little garden. 

Don't know what this guy is on my tomato, but I'm afraid he isn't a good bug. 


Spider-Man. He lives near my water faucet. We have a deal. I don't kill him and he doesn't move towards my bare feet. 


Yellow grasshopper. 


I think this is a flea beetle. 


Lightning bug or firefly. 


Bad cucumber beetle. 


Much welcome ladybug. 


Many I haven't been able to identify and will someday get by the County Extension office for help with. 


There's even a daddy long legs in my garden!


I think this is called a leaf hopper. He's so pretty! 


No clue what this one is, but odds are he's not a friend. 


This is just a sampling of the bugs I've found in and around the garden. Also interesting to see what I can find. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Anniversary Plantings

I hadn't really set out to plant something on the anniversary of my purchasing my first house, it just happened to fall on that date. On a recent trip to Walmart I found an employee taking clearanced plants to the dumpster! Wait! I'll buy them and three separate trips to Walmart found me with four dumpster bound, deeply discounted plants. I felt badly for them! 

Pussy Willow; 


Excuse the weeds. I don't spray for bugs or weeds. Nature is welcome here. 

Two forsythia bushes;


And one Rose of Sharon;


They don't look perfect and they were dry as bones. I've watered them in with plant food and will keep them watered in hopes they can survive. If they don't, they didn't cost much and I tried. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Green Beans and Potatoes

Some of my goods from Bates County Produce;



I also got ears of corn, green beans and a cantaloupe that I dropped getting it out of the car;


Oops! It quickly got chopped up. 

My brother and father helped me with some heavy lifting and moving the day after we had gone to Missouri and I served everyone lunch. I thawed BBQ brisket I had made and frozen at the end of April on Koehn rolls. 


I also served baked beans, pasta salad, sliced tomato, corn on the cob, green beans and potatoes and cucumber salad;


Cucumber salad is vinegar, water and sugar poured over cucumbers and onions. I didn't have an onion when I started this and added them the second day. Mix in a zip lock bag at least a day before serving and flip several times to coat all the cucumbers and onions. I don't eat this, but my father does. 

I had never made green bean and potatoes, but my coworker has several times lately and spoke so highly of them, I had to try. 

In a large Dutch oven, I browned 6 slices of bacon.


Remove and crumble the bacon. Set aside. 

Add 1 1/2 chicken stock. I only had chicken broth, so that's what I used. Stir in 1 tsp garlic salt. 


Add 2 lbs fresh green beans, ends snapped. Toss to coat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. 


Uncover and sprinkle 1/2 tsp garlic salt over the green beans. Add 1 lb halved new/red potatoes. Dot with 2 Tbsp cubed butter and sprinkle 1/2 tsp garlic salt. 


Add 1 lb halved new/red potatoes. (You'll use 2 lbs new/red potatoes total.)


Cover and simmer 30 min. Serve topped with crumbled bacon strips. 

I was worried as the potatoes weren't covered with water. It took a little longer than 30 min, but everything was cooked perfectly. They were good and I'd make them again, but they weren't as flavorful as I was expecting. I'd like to make it the same way, but add more flavoring next time. I'll have to think about it some. For this recipe, visit 
She Wears Many Hats


Saturday, July 15, 2017

One Year Field Trip!

I signed on this house a year ago on July 7 at 9:00. July 7 fell on a Friday this year and my mother and I were headed to MO for a day outing. Our first stop was to Koehn Bakery in Butler. 

Homemade bread and rolls;


Cookies and cinnamon rolls;




You can also get jams, pies, angel food cakes (flavored and glazed or plain), sub sandwiches and some frozen take and bake meals;


Our second stop was to Bates County Produce outside of Rich Hill. 


While I'm glad Koehn Bakery isn't here in town, I so wish Bates County Produce was!  Amish run, no electricity, horse and buggy produce shop.







There's so much more than shown here! Cookbooks, baked goods (pies, cookies, bread), Fudge, more fruits and veggies, straw hats and a wonderful back room of Amish furniture. I eyed a new cedar porch swing. 


Our haul! See that fudge?!? Peanut butter. I thought it was the best I've ever had. My mother thought it good, but she thought she's had better. I liked that it wasn't sickening sweet. Oh and see all the Amish cookbooks we got?!? So much fun! 

Our final stop was to Pecans and More south of Rich Hill. I didn't take any pictures here. It's a fun store. Fudge, pickled items, fun kitchen items, cookbooks, jerky, dip seasonings, nuts and more. I think we're both already planning a return trip when the weather gets cooler. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Indeterminate, Determinate and Suckers!

I'm learning a lot as a first time gardener.  Like, tomatoes need a lot of space.  I started out with 9 tomato plants per two big pools.  I got a smaller pool and moved a plant out from each pool.  Then I removed another plant out from each of the big pools leaving 4 plants in one small pool and 7 in each of the large pools.  Next year, I think I had better plan on 6 plants per large pool and four in the smaller pools. 


Did you know there are indeterminate and determinate tomato varieties?  I freaked out a bit when I learned this and hadn’t known which kind I had gotten.  Most varieties are indeterminate, which mean they produce fruit from maturity to frost.  Determinate tomato varieties produce fruit for a specific amount of time and then are done.  Typically that is about 4 weeks.  Paste tomatoes are typically determinate tomatoes.   Most gardeners would want indeterminate varieties and enjoy BLTs through the season, but some canners would prefer determinate varieties.  Roma tomatoes are a determinate variety and celebrities are semi determinate.  I have both, but all the other plants are indeterminate varieties. 

Another thing I've learned is that you need to prune tomato plants! Who knew?!?  I know of two ways to prune tomatoes. The first is to remove all the leaves/branches from the tomato stem(s) up to the first cluster of fruit.  I haven’t gotten that specific, but I have tried to remove a lot of the branches/leaves from the bottoms of most of the plants.  This encourages air flow and decreases the risk of disease. 


The second way to prune tomato plants is to remove the suckers. Suckers form in the middle of a Y and are a drain on the plant. A lot of gardeners recommend you remove them. 



Sucker no more;




Sucker no more;


I didn't prune till late and am finding something to prune on the tomato plants every time I check on them. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Paint Stick Flag

In addition to the paint stick and yard stick stars, I made a paint stick flag. 


Easy peasy! I used red and blue spray paint and hand painted the white sticks. The star came from the Walmart craft section and I painted it using gold craft paint bought at Walmart. I used wood shims to secure the back of the flag and attach all the layers.  Snap off the thin end if the shim is too long. 


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Angel Lush Cake

My parents came over for lunch on the Fourth and I made this quick and easy dessert using ingredients I got that morning at Walmart. 


This recipe has been around for a while and I've made it several times. I just checked to make certain I hadn't already shared it. 

My mother can be picky and she hadn't thought she'd like this cake, but that changed after having a bite. Easy, quick, light and cool; a perfect summer dessert! 

You start with a store bought angel food cake. You could make your own if you prefer. Cut it into thirds. The cake I got this time was rather small, so I only cut it in half. 


Mix one 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (undrained) with one 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding. Fold in one 8 oz container softened cool whip. 


Spread filling between the layers and over the top. Since I only had two layers, I had a lot of filling leftover and I poured it into the middle. 


My parents didn't care about appearance and I used my favorite bundt cake cover to store the cake; an upside down rubbermade storage container. Store in the refrigerator.