Sunday, April 26, 2015

Catch-Up Time Again!

Not much gardening going on here.  It has been very cool and we are getting small rains  almost daily.

We took advantage of the weather to make a visit to St. Peters to visit with our son and his family.  It was an overnighter again; it is very hard to be gone longer with all the livestock, including new chicks and puppies.

Speaking of chicks, we bought 8 week old chicks about a week ago, they are one of the oldest American breeds, Dominique, all pullets.  I hope to move them to the regular chicken pen this week some time.

I got caught up on  bread-making.  I sort of made up my recipe using steel-cut oats and 2  cups of white whole wheat flour in a white  bread.  I made two loaves and some buns.

A week or so ago, I  made a batch of mincemeat.  It has  been two years since I made any and my Sis and I were both very low.  I sent her half of the recipe when I sent her her goat's milk soap (and a pair of gardening  gloves).  She thinks this one is better  than before.  I think it is extra orange.  That is the first  taste I get when  I take a bite.  Each thing was sealed  double  but put in the same box.  When the mail person brought it  to her door.  She said I have been smelling this box all morning.  It is either minecemeat or eucalyptus!  She must have a super  olfactory glands.  Sis could just detect only a faint  scent.

(See DH's hand?  We had burgers using the new buns....I cook; he clears  table)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's Raining and the Hummers are Back

It finally is raining here regardless of what the weatherman says!  It is a gentle steady rain and is very cool.  I was able to get some pictures earlier just before the rain came in.

First thing:  The hummers arrived here day before yesterday.  I had syrup in the fridge and DH quickly filled  the feeder and put it up.  This is his job completely.  This morning one returned and actually fed in the misting rain.


This is the fairly new front (middle) yard shrub and tree border.  When we lost the trees due to the tornado a few years ago, we were told that the remaining ones were hollow and wouldn't last many more years. I couldn't put trees near them because of their roots so decided to plant a border between the front ditch (road) and the house.  It is finally coming together.  I still want to put more shrubs in but will try to use what I have already.


I have one remaining branch on the old lilacs that were  cut down when we clear-cut the front shrub border by the road.


Just behind it is a massive bed of regrowth that will have to be thinned mercilessly!


I was completely out of sandwich buns and found one for 40-Minute Buns  from Taste of Home.  I couldn't believe it would work since there was no raising time at all.  You just make up the dough, make out the rolls,cover let rest l0 minutes and bake!  They were excellent.  DH liked them better than any I have done before because they were so soft and moist.

This will be my go-to recipe for buns now.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + resting Bake: 10 min. YIELD:12 servings


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • 3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 195 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 204 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Note:  I flattened the balls before baking.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rhubarb Pie and other Daily Doings

This is the view  from the dining room porch just before sunrise.

 It was cool again this morning and still is and it is very cloudy.  I see tornadoes did devastating damage again in the Midwest.

Glad I brought the plants back inside last night.

I picked rhubarb for the first time yesterday after cleaning the back porch bed.  Sadly it is more green than red.  I have tried so many times to grow red and have failed.  I plan to try again.  The green is good; tastes just like it should but it is so sour.  I made pie yesterday afternoon and used a full cup of sugar and it wasn't nearly enough.  I added more sugar when I ate a piece.  DH eats it only if he is starving for something sweet and yesterday he wasn't.  I will freeze the rest today.  I used the last of frozen crust so will be making up a batch soon.

I make the pie like Mom and Grandma did, just fruit ,flour  and sugar, no eggs.  We made gooseberry the same way.  I think I see two wild seedling gooseberry plants in the west fence row.  I didn't cut them down.

This morning while it was too wet and cool to work outside, I made banana bread to use up two large over-ripe bananas.  This will go in the freezer if DH doesn't eat it first.  The loaf wasn't very large.
I like have sweets in the freezer for when neighbors drop  by.

We are now into the afternoon.   It has warmed up to the 70's.  I was dreading trying to start the string trimmer.  But once I sprayed the breather  with   starter fluid, it took  right off. I trimmed the edge of the new bed and the light pole bed.  I hope to mow the middle very low.  I have one stump I need to mark first. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Another Day of Gardening

Well, the cold front arrived; it was 38° this morning.  I brought the tray of tomatoes back inside late yesterday evening.  The storms missed us again.  I was so sorry to hear others weren't so lucky.

No wind this morning.  I hope to get more work done outside when the grass dries and it warms up a little.  May even drag out the electric chain saw.

When Nell wrote about making her unique landing outside the door to the new tractor shed ( we call all buildings in the compound either by their name for use or just the generic 'shed') it made me think of what I loosely call  our 'patio' which is just a small area outside the back porch door.
It is where the previous owners filled in a cistern and built a brick planter on top of it.

When we first looked at the farm,  I remarked that I liked the patio.  The man laughed and said that mess wasn't his.  His wife had done the entire thing; he was embarrassed by it.  I still like it!

Now here are some closeups:

This is the cistern planter.  I was told the bricks were made by slaves from clay found on the farm.

There are various things used,  more bricks, river gravel embedded in concrete and regular purchased paving stones.

Looking to the kitchen at the small planter where Jack Frost brunnera and variegated Solomon's seal grow.  The Solomon's seal is taking over!  The single hellebore seems to have  disappeared.

this is taken to the right of the door (see the  boxwood that edges the back porch),

This area is an L-shaped  area about 10x10 that I call the back porch bed.  I worked on pruning and cleaning it this morning.  I also dug up a clump of Joylene Nicole daylily that I have needed to move since the boxwood has grown so large.  It is sitting the the cart waiting for  me to decide where it should go.

and another angle taken from the doorway,

I had a productive morning.  Cleaned the bed above, took care of the chickens (3 eggs), cleaned about 10 feet of the New Bed edge on the west side next to the smoke house.  I hope to just keep  the narrow border of  this large bed and open access to the mower and mow the center.   I was going to eliminate the bed but then I saw all  those plants that I would have  to move because I didn't have the heart to just mow them down....peonies, daylilies, iris, a rose, a massive clump of iris (I forget the type), and I hope lots of self seeded petunias, salvia farinacea and poppies.  I was chopping weeds this morning and realized I was cutting tiny poppies! I quit and hope more survive than I killed.  I do this every year.  You would think I would learn.

I planted the whiskey barrel with  carrot seeds.  Carrots don't do well in my regular garden soil so this will be an interesting  experiment.  I planted some seeds of cilantro  in the cistern bed next to the pink rose.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Storm Season is Here

We are in the midst of storm  season.  Yesterday it got up to 80° and today we are under a Severe Storm Warming.  This could mean any type of bad weather, including heavy rains hail and tornadoes........or nothing at all.  I am always nervous when these warning are  issued.....been there; done that!  We still have metal roofing wrapped around some trees due to a tornado that took our our pole barn.

We had a lovely Easter here.  Our daughter and family came home and we had MIL  out for a roast beef dinner.  I know that isn't traditional food for Easter but we just picked up our beef and were anxious to sample it.  We all enjoyed it.
Monday was spent on errands but yesterday I finally got back  outside.

I finished cleaning the old Ash Tree bed.  That was mostly hoeing out  henbit and dead nettle.  This morning  I mowed the whole yard (except for one place where we need to pick up Elm tree limbs first!) I went back  after mowing and  cleaned up the limbs and mowed those spots.  So, for the first time the whole yard is mowed.

I moved the tomato plants outside in a shaded spot and will move them to the hay and shower door cold  frame today.  We are under a severe storm warning and I don't want to loose them at this point.

The  peppers finally came up.  I was beginning to wonder.  The sweet potato I put in water way too late is finally sending out sprouts.  I may get a few plants after all.  I won't set out sweet potatoes until mid May so I have time.

The redbuds are blooming and my Isabella lilac is blooming.  I won't have as many lilacs this year because we cut down the front shrub border and also the ones next to the well house.


 The new Robinson Crabapple is blooming this year. 

Some of the fruit trees are blooming.  I hope to get pictures before they drop the blooms.  Peach, pear, and apple just showing color.  The seedling peaches bloomed first and have already dropped the blooms after a heavy frost.


We have been turning the puppies loose daily for an hour or a day!  They followed DH to the field this morning but came back and then roamed for about two hours.

Here they are coming to me from the top of the cellar....sometimes they come; sometimes they don't.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yard Work Has Begun (and other mundane things)

 April 1, 2015

It is   59° outside and raining.  We are always pleased to get rain in early spring; hopefully it means lots of grass for the cows and no more feeding hay.  It also means lots of yard mowing.  I began Tuesday.  I do it in spurts these days.  I kept seeing something near the mower that needed attention so the mowing became bed cleaning, picking up limbs and mowing combined.

I was very happy to clean off the bed  outside the kitchen that I used to call the Hummingbird Bed but should be renamed, the Ash Tree bed that is now treeless  (needs renaming), and the stump bed where  we ground out the stump when  the large bird feeding Elm tree had to be taken out.  That makes three of several that are cleaned.........all in good time.

This is the old Ash Tree bed. This bed has Black and Blue salvia and kerria japonica pleniflora on the edge next to the drive.  I think the heat of the paved drive as kept the B&B salvia perennial for me.  I have iris planted on the edge near the kitchen drive.  There are several varieties and this is where I relocated (to save their lives from  the ATV)my favorite cream colored iris.  I will need  to do  something in the middle of this bed.....probably just annuals this year but thinking a shrub rose later or even a very small  rose bed with some very fragrant hybrid teas.
The old Humming Bird Bed;  now the Kitchen Bed

I found lilies up about 6 inches, anemone Robustissima, phlox, daylilies and the blooming daffodils all  in the Kitchen bed.

I am showing this picture to give some perspective to where the stump bed is (to the right).
I notice in this shot that the lamiums are showing up better.  One has a pink  bloom.  The tree is a seedling peach that has a few blooms this year.  I think there are three more seedling peaches blooming this year.

I will fill in the bed  with various annuals.

The Stump Bed

The stump bed is filled with seedlings of golden  agastache (thank you Kris) this year, more than ever.  You can barely see them  now.  I hope the rudbeckia returns.  The tiny lilac (repeating) is still  alive I think.  Those are Tete -a -Tete daffs at the edge and I think alliums should be there later. 

The other pics were taken with the zoom across the drive.

The front shrub-less border

This is next to the road where the shrub border used to be:  The lilacs are coming back  thickly, daffs are blooming.  I will try to keep saplings cut out and thin the lilacs.  The rugosa roses to the left aren't leafed out yet.

This is the little planter box (with slave-made bricks) right next to the porch door.  Jack Frost brunnera is beginning but I think the yellow tulips have left me.  The variegated Soloman's Seal is taking over.  I can't identify the hellebore yet.

The rhubarb in front of the boxwood next to the back porch is liking the manure I spread over it before the rains.

I hope this is the spring I can  divide and move some plants:

Annabelle hydrangea
Walkers Low Catmint

One sad note:  I got so tired  of trying to mow down the blasted Cheatgrass (bromus tectorum)  that is up about l0 inches that I know I mowed some blackberries and a clematis that was buried.  I did get most of the garden area mowed.  I hope the cheatgrass doesn't regrow; it normally dies in hot weather.  It is everywhere this year.  No doubt coming from the wide open spaces after the workers cleared so much brush and saplings.  No good deed goes unpunished.