What’s Up


Excuses for not writing:

1. I’m telling you, I have been in “Neverland” and don’t want to return.  Not!

2. I’ve been in a coma. Not!

3. I’ve had a lot going on in my life. This is true.

4. My family has had a lot going on. This is true

5. I’m depressed. Yes sometimes. Fearful. Yes sometimes….

OK. Now that the excuses are over… it’s time to revive myself.

I’ve been gathering seeds, giving computer lessons, doing resumes, helping others get jobs I can’t do anymore and jumping up and down because my grandson is home from Afghanistan!!  I have to do all this at my own pace … a little bit at a time. Work a little ….rest a little. These last few months have been overwhelming and that’s the real reason. It makes me exhausted in a way I can’t explain.

August brought a new challenge to one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. Something I never expected in a million years. One of my 6 children went to prison 32 months ago and was released in August so he came home to stay here for his re-entry program. I was so excited and so relieved to have him out and to have him here. The process of having him here is not easy .. mostly financially but not only financially since you need to adapt to another personality in the house.  It is hard to watch him conquering the things he must conquer The whole re-entry into “society”, you wouldn’t think it would be hard but it is. I see the struggle in his face. I know his mind is thinking about every little thing that he must remember and do. I know he must feel happiness, hope, but also fear. He seems determined and has a good attitude but he has some rough mountain terrain that he must climb. He is determined to not do anything that would place him back inside.

I know this is crazy….but it weighs on me. He hates our food. We eat so different and we don’t have the money to change it nor did we want to except that we want him to be eating healthy. We had what I call a free meal tonight. Friends gave us a large fish filet so we cooked that steamed in the oven with yummy seasoning on it and Darnell, my husband brought in small baby carrots from the garden and green beans so I steamed them. We live off the land as much as possible. I know there is nothing wrong with what I fixed but he didn’t eat and I’m not upset with him but it still pains me. We have what we have and no room to do something else. Darnell made popcorn later so he had a bowl of cereal and some popcorn so he isn’t starving. I just had to get that off my chest. What a little thing! This is the smallest of our problems. When I was growing up there was a saying: Life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench in the works! I’m glad that tomorrow is a new day………. onward and upward. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (it’s a MOM thing)

It is exciting he is here and I’m glad. We will deal with whatever come and cross the hurdles and make it to the goal.  I have faith…it just wavers every once in a while. 🙂

I know there are tons of families out there that have dealt with this. That’s why I want to share this very private part of my life with you.

Please tell me what you have experienced. I am fearful of the unknown. That’s normal… right? I know that right choices have to be the priority for him and there is no room for mistakes. I’ve heard how many end up back in because of a lapse in judgement. I pray that he will have a clear thought process and will not find himself in a bad position because of an impulse or wrong perspective or whatever makes us do the things we do. He is a man and I hope he has his feet firmly planted toward the future. I hope he will lean on God to give him the strength he needs for every day.

I have been in the valley and on the mountain. Up and down I go at any given moment right now. I’m usually not fragile and I need not to be right now. I pray and meditate on the things that keep me on an even keel. I know it will get easier. I have this thing I do when I’m struggling… I think about what I know for sure and focus on that. Do you do this when you are struggling with something?  The things I know for sure are:

I know that God is always with me.

I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

I know that in God’s Word it says:

God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a strong mind.

II Timothy 2:17

He brought me also up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings. And He had put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it and  fear and trust in the Lord

Psalms 40:2,3

I know that I am human so I have to put the fears behind me and trust in God who stays by my side every day. I am taking one breath at a time. That is all I can do and I’m glad I’m not walking alone.

Hope this is of help to someone out there who may be feeling something similar to what I’m feeling. Feel free to stop by any time and leave a comment. I’m praying for God’s help for us all.            Jan

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Harvest and Sharing


Pickling Cucumber Beside Angel Wing Begonia

It rained yesterday and broke the stretch of unbearable heat.

Very Small Cucumber Started Where Flower is Brown

Heat makes me sick and I find it very hard to function during stretches of very high, unbearable heat. It’s very hard on the garden and the plants looked as frazzled as I felt. Darnell goes out right at dusk and even sometimes after dark to water the garden and our flower beds. I’m amazed at how quickly the grass looks fried when the heat doesn’t let up. After the rain the cucumber in the picture above perked right up. At the bottom of the picture at the right, see the very small cucumber where the browned blossom has died. There will be a cucumber where each flower is. Yea!! Can’t wait.

Heard from my friend and blueberries are ready. Fruits had a rough time this year because of the 80 degree weather in March and then some freezes later than usual. She got 5 pounds for between 11-12 dollars. We will go get blueberries soon because I’m not sure how much damage was done to the crop.

We have a garden at our church. Pretty good size one. Thursday the pastor and his wife came and brought me turnips with the greens, chives, peas and raspberries and blackberries. I live the farthest from the church, I think and I can’t always make it to the services. I appreciated so much that they brought things from the garden out for us to use. They know I will put it all to use and it won’t be wasted. We are trying to have 0% waste. I even take the parts of veggies that I don’t chop up and cook it to make vegetable broth for soup and other uses.

Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens. They have a bitter taste which is because of the calcium content. Vitamin content is similar to Kale so it’s very healthy. My husband didn’t like the stems and you can trim the leaves and leave off the stems. On Wednesday, Darnell made the best bean soup so I took the left over turnip greens and the last serving of the bean soup which was pretty thick and put one on either side of my bowl / plate. I ended up kind of mixing it up and eating it together. It was so tasty. I remembered then eating it that way when I was growing up with some good cornbread. That is an awesome way to eat greens like turnip or kale greens.

I can’t do peas the way I always heard you should do them.
On the side of the pea that is rounded outward, I cut the tip.

Cut a slim cut right down the side so that when you are done the pod is open and you can see the peas.

It is easy to open then and you break them from the pod into the bowl.

I got the peas out of the pods so we can have them with lunch tomorrow. I will put them in a steamer insert for my sauce pan. Only put enough water so that it doesn’t come through and touch the peas and it said to cook them covered for 2-3 minutes, but it took more like 5-6 minutes. It’s very quick. Salt if you want to and possibly melt a pat of butter in them. They will taste so fresh and good.

We washed and froze the berries.  The turnips I can wait a bit before cooking them. We had omelets with chives and cheese this morning. I just love having fresh vegetables. You know exactly whats in them especially if no pesticides are used.

I hope you are all enjoying fresh produce. It takes a little effort but the benefits are huge.

What are you growing in your gardens or picking up at the farmer’s market? Do any of you have different things you do with turnips or greens? Are you growing anything different in your garden? I would love to hear about it. We all learn something everyday if we share with one another.

Have a wonderful day!    See you next time,   Jan

Tying Up Loose Ends


What a nice week……with varied temps and some rain. Today it was sunny and 70 degrees. The perfect day.

This was a week of tying up loose ends.

Pictures 1 & 2.

All the Red Clover Blossoms and leaves are dried and bagged.

I will harvest more soon.

1. Half-Filled Gallon Bag Red Clover Blossoms

2. Half -Filled Gallon Bag of Clover Leaves

Worked carefully to not waste anything in the leftovers in the frig.
Browsed through the corners of my mind for creative recipes.

Set up the payments for the June bills.

I Read over and over parts from the book: “The Blood Sugar Solution”.
Battled with myself over what I read.
Since the book isn’t mine; Typed the tests from the book, that help in making health decisions.
Made notes that will help me remember important information later from the book.

I am rather befuddled by some of the things in the book. As usual I will have to blaze my own trail and find my own ways to come as close as I can to do what they’ve described. I agree with so much in the book. In treating disease, they approach it in looking at the  whole body and finding the balance in 7 key areas as they relate and work together in the body. There is a correlation between all the preservatives, dye, pesticides, hormones and other polluting factors and how it affects our body. This isn’t just for diabetics though. I would recommend this to anyone who cares about their health.

I will find a way.

3. An End Stalk of Celery That I’m Re-growing

Picture 3

This picture shows the end of the celery stalk after we ate the stalks. I just put the stalk end in the container with a quarter-inch of water and basically forgot about it. One day it caught my eye and I saw it was growing. I will plant it in the dirt this week. I first told you about this in a post called, “Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!”

I sat the container in the pot that contains a pickle especially made for pickling. The pickles will be smaller so I thought it might work in a hanging basket since the pickles are smaller.

4. Flower Bed with a Pink Rose

Picture 4 and 5

I wasn’t outside this week much.

When I went out I discovered that aphids had attacked all of the roses. I have a pink, a white, and a red rose. I had no way to treat the plants and couldn’t go get something ,  I was told by a friend that orange oil could be used to repel the aphids. I have some face cleanser that is all natural ingredients and has a major amount of orange oil  in it. It’s Burt’s Bee Orange Oil Facial Cleanser. I figured I would try it so I put a nickel size spot in a spray bottle and put just a little hot water in with it to dissolve it, then filled the bottle with cooler water. I shook it up really good and sprayed the roses all over. It seemed to work but I didn’t want to use all my face cleaner for that so when we went into town, I got some Whitney Farms 3-in-1 Rose and Flower Care.

5. Close-up of the Pink Rose

Picture 6. This flower bed is flanked on either side by half barrels. One has Lettuce planted in it. I made a salad this week with this lettuce and radishes from the garden, then added cucumber, tomatoes, celery, and onions.

6. Lettuce, One Marigold, One Nasturtium

The other barrel has a plant I don’t recognize that has purple flowers, zinnias that haven’t come up, and hen and chicks. I don’t have a picture of that one.

7. Daisies


Picture 7. This is a raised bed and I have one on either side of my back door.  This bed has Daisies, Snow on the Mountain, another ground cover that is silvery in two tones. There was a field down the street where they brought in fill-dirt. Evidently there were daisies planted in the place where the dirt was picked up because these are cultivated daisies. My husband pulled them up in that field and brought them to me and planted them in my garden. What a sweet guy, going to the free flower store to bring me flowers! You don’t need money to show someone you love them.

8. Echinacea and ONIONS!

Picture 8.

This is the bed on the other side of the back door. I have Echinacea and Onions

English: Echinacea purpurea blooms in a flower...

Echinacea Blooms   Wikipedia

will be hidden behind them. The picture from Wikipedia shows what the Echinacea will look like blooming. My youngest son and his girlfriend gave me the glass sculpture that you can see part of it. It’s made out of glass plates and green vases. I love it! This is just a little of our flower beds I don’t want to talk your arm off so I will say adieu for now. Hope you have a good week.Come and visit again.

Jan


Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!


Gratitude is a good thing.

Knowing what is a need and what is just something you want is also a good thing.

I was thinking about the attitudes I experience from people who cross by my path and the people I rub elbows with everyday. Attitude and perspective makes a big difference. Some people have created an attitude of dystopianism no matter what benefits they enjoy in life.  What they have is never good enough and the value and joy of a day is wasted on wishing for something else and hating what they have. Contentment is a valuable commodity worth more than gold. That doesn’t mean that you never set goals for something else that you think is important but can you do that and be happy today while you reach for it? I imagine except for maybe a few, we are all in survival mode. The cost of living has gone up. The farther you have to fall maybe the harder it is. Attitude is paramount no matter what level you are experiencing. The richer a person is, the more they might have to give up. They are used to having certain luxuries and we are creatures of habit. Whether we are rich or poor, if we need to pull in the cinches, it is important that we do it the best we know how. Change is hard for everyone. One of the things we can do is look for information and make it an adventure of learning and experiences. We can find it in ourselves to focus on  the good and be grateful for it. Even the things that are bad, we can be thankful for the strength God gives us as we go through the challenge and be grateful. Seems like when I have a pity party day, I will find someone who has it so much worse. Now on to an adventure. Adventure is what I call all the little quirky tips I find that helps me provides for the family something that is needed in a less expensive way. Gardening is one way I can help our family. I also do things like make my own yogurt or cottage cheese or make cakes or pancakes from scratch. I got a tip the other day. A friend of mine directed me to a site and told me about something I could do that I had never thought of. This is kind of a silly thing but its something that kids or grandkids will enjoy doing. This way they learn to help. It’s good when they are involved.

Grow your own celery from your celery remains. Just chop off the base and plant. One week of growth shown in photo.

I buy celery all the time and I don’t remove one stalk at a time and chop it. I cut off whatever I need from the end of the stalks so that when I’m done I’m left with the piece at the end of the celery where the roots were when it was harvested. This is perfect because they said to take the root end of the celery and put it in the ground and it will produce more celery stalks. I’m going to replant my first celery at the end of this week. To me when you can do things like this, it’s an adventure and makes surviving more fun. Pretty soon it isn’t surviving but it is joyful living in the present. You can be happy while you accomplish it. I planted my cucumbers the other day in a hanging basket. I’ll let you know how that works. We don’t have room in our little garden for anything that spreads. One spreading plant and it would fill our whole garden. She had this link connected to this picture:

http://homesteadingsurvivalism.myshopify.com/blogs/news

This link will take you to a gardening guide with lists of plants. It’s very well presented and easy to refer to it for information. It tells you when to plant and other valuable information. I found several things on the site that might be of value. One was a cold frame set up made by setting bales of straw around a small section of your garden and start the plants there. Cover the area with clear plastic so that it rests on the bales. That way you get a head start and the plants are already where they are going to be planted so you don’t have to even move them. That is pretty awesome. This is the link to the original site that had the Straw Cold Frame:          http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=929

Straw Cold Frame

They used sliding glass doors but you could make frames and cover with plastic. That might be safer for kids and animals.

I am definitely going to try this next year. Love finding new ideas…new to me anyhow. 🙂 Hope you benefit from my travels on the internet. Love technology! How much do we all have in our lives that we can be grateful for?

I read an article in Wiki about gratitude. Here is one section out of that article:

“While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude

Gardening exposes you to the whole cycle of life. It is usually a quiet task that gives you time to think, meditate, calm your mind, and bring something wonderful to others.

It is a great time to contemplate the good things in your life. Make a list of those things and be grateful, and share with others.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Mother Nature’s April Fools Joke


I am dumbfounded that it is 80 degrees in the middle of March. It seems like a huge April Fools Joke from Mother Nature to all of us. It’s a little unsettling. I have the Spring Fever though that comes whenever great weather crosses our path. I’m spending every second I can outside.

For the last week I have been raking my yard. With that amount of time you would think I had a big yard but that is not the case. It is postage stamp size but I just do a little section at a time. I love the smell of burning leaves. It evokes memories of a nice clean yard from when I was young and working on the yard with my Dad. I’m pecking at the weeding in my flower beds. My children came and made me two raised bed gardens and we also bought two half barrels to plant in. This was about ten years ago. I love them because I can sit on the wall or pull a chair up beside  the barrels and just work at it a little at a time. Last year my husband put in a raised bed at the end of the house. I have some things planted that come up each year and then I plant a few from seeds like zinnias, nasturtium, and marigolds. The zinnias are wonderful for cut flowers.

Darnell, my husband has spring fever too. He loves the vegetable garden.

Flat of Starter Plants

He has been busy as a bee planting seeds inside so that they will be ready when it’s time to plant. He couldn’t resist though and planted some peas, carrots, beets, and radishes right in the ground out in the garden. I just know that we are going to get a surprise and have snow the first of May but if we do we will cover it and try to save them. If we fail we will replant. It made him feel good to plant it anyhow. The flat to the right has been planted about 10 days.

Our houseplants need re-potting in the spring so we got most of the pots done. We have palms, aloe, christmas cactus, purple heart, geraniums, angle wind begonia, and Hoya. We have really thinned out our plants so there isn’t so much to care for. We used to have a jungle.

To start our plants for the garden, we saved the plastic box containers  that spinach and lettuce come in and grape or cherry

Planting in Egg Carton

tomatoes also. We put a little dirt in the bottom, water it completely and plant the seeds apart enough so they have a bit of room to grow. We used egg cartons in the same way. The boxes act like a green house since you can close the lid.  We did save a flat with a lid from last year  So many of the seeds are so minuscule that it is so hard to plant them but we keep on doing it.

We mist the dirt or the plants if they are up, everyday. The anticipation nearly kills you as you watch for them to come up. We are going to try to start cauliflower and broccoli from seed this year. We are going to plant some heirloom seeds this year for part of the plants. A friend is going to share with us. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically altered and the seeds have been gathered from the plants year after year.

Most seeds take 7 to 10 days to come up then you thin them out

Planting in Lettuce Box ~ Instant Greenhouse

and give them time to mature into a healthy strong plant before you put it into the garden soil.  I told you our garden spot is small. In the picture toward the bottom of the page, you can see what it looks like now as it’s waiting for the plants. Soon it will be filled with plants. Darnell goes out when they are producing and picks what is ready and brings it to me. I do the preparation that is needed for us to eat it right away. If there is more than what we can eat, I will package it to put in the freezer.

My rhubarb is just up and looks so tiny compared to the size the leaves will be very soon. You have to watch the rhubarb and not let it go to seed at the top of the leaves. As soon as you see something that isn’t a leaf you cut it off so that the plant will continue producing.

                                  

Baby Rhubarb

We still have to finish framing in the box around the garden spot. We will add compost to the box each year and occasionally a bag of fertile soil from the hardware store. We water our plants once they are in the garden some but not too much. I want the roots to reach for the water. If you water too much then the roots just lie in the first few inches of the soil and are much more vulnerable.

 

It was framed in but when Darnell decided to expand the garden, he moved the frame over and he will finish building around the whole area.

We have better meals since we started growing a garden. It is wonderful what we get from the plantings.  I hope you will try growing something. It doesn’t have to be a lot but even one plant will bring you good nutritious food for your family to eat. I hope that I have enticed you to make a garden path of your own. I am always glad when you visit mine. Thanks and come visit again soon and see what surprises you will find along my garden path.             Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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