Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hangin' Out and Big Lots Whatevers


Enjoying the outdoor holiday setup while we can. I'm not sure this canopy will ever be able to be reused again.

Doing our algebra.

Notice the little firecrackers within easy reach.

The smell of BBQing burgers.

Also a little cleanup duty.

We went blueberry picking last week as well. We all look forward to the season, meeting at the farm and enjoying searching out the perfect berries. I didn't take the camera, but I got this photo of some delicious muffins that were presented at our get-together on Thursday night.

You know what I love about Big Lots? You can just stop by for an adventure any time you feel like it. There is almost always something you can find in there that you've never seen before and have a little fun with it.

This is plain water, but flavored with honeydew and hibiscus. It reminded me of the islands so I grabbed an old painting of mine and posed it. You don't notice anything until after you swallowed. Then the aftertaste is mildly sweet and floral.

We seem to have won the Japanese beetle war, but now grasshoppers are all over the fruit trees. Good thing I found this warrior there. I'm not sure I liked the way he turned his head to follow me as I walked all around the tree...

This may be why the grasshoppers are in the fruit trees. This is the lawn.

Can you tell the spigot leaks?

We caught up with our friend and gun instructor this week at a slab-laying party, who gave Michael a quick lesson on cleaning and troubleshooting (no pun intended) this old rifle. So we had some target shooting practice.

The drought is getting pretty bad. This is the first cutting of the year, and the neighbor barely got anything from the field.

We finally got a couple of tenths yesterday. Just a teaser.

Hoping for more!



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Independence From Tyranny Day!

. what I said to everyone in town this year. Some folks looked at me quizzically, others practically high-fived me.

It was a terrific weekend. We did our office cleaning in the morning, and then spent the day getting ready for guests. Lots of cooking and excited preparations.

A firepit for s'mores, if desired.


Canopy on the lawn. You just can't do Independence Day indoors.

You can see the area I watered, and compare it to how dry it is elsewhere.

Here, some of the girls put together the cherry pie.

It was both festive AND yummy!

Some of the guys played video games for a while.

A little air hockey.

I am risking my own peace and physical safety by posting these, but I wanted you to see how lovely these girls look, while still choosing modesty for swimming. VERY cute swimwear!

Pool fun!

Chatting and eating fun.


And our favorite; cakes of morters. Beautiful colors! I guess we set fire to things for about an hour or so. The dry ground made us cautious, so we turned off the electric fence in case we had to make a run to do some stomping, kept a hose nearby, and the young men did a field check when it was all over.

More games indoors til the wee hours of the morning.

And that was pretty much it. I know it's late, but HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!


Green Tomatoes!


Here's how the garden is looking lately.

So far, so good, on the the melons. Here's to hoping we'll get some this year.

A few summer squash.

A poor showing of carrots. The ground is just still too inhospitable. Mulch over winter should help a lot.

Eggplants are doing fairly well.

I've harvested a few brussel sprouts. The little heads are a bit loose. I need to look into why that might be so.

Some peppers.


Swiss chard.

The shady lettuce bed. Not too many of my starts survived. They should have been much more mature before I set them out.

I just love how each year is a new learning experience in gardening! This year I am learning how to deal with green tomatoes. I'm not sure why, but my tomato plants have not done well. Rebels, that's what they are.

It may be because I have them in the same spot as last year. I hoped I was going to avoid trouble in that area as last year was the very first year in that section of ground, but now I'm not so sure. Next year I will be moving things around. However, I am not the only one in this area whose tomatoes are struggling.

In any case, I did not want dessert green tomato recipes, nor a fried delectable morsel, no matter HOW much I love greasy fried things. On a search, I found quite a few savory green tomato pie recipes, however nearly every one of them called for a pound of cheese while using only about 4 green tomatoes. Not very economical.

But I did find a recipe that came from a heritage collection. I knew that would have to be economical! It ended up being very much like a baked summer squash recipe I use a lot.

What else did we do? We supported the movement to retain pioneer skills, no matter what the cost! For about 8 hours of combined work for my very dear friend who offered to come by and help us get ready for the Independence Day party and I, we got 5 quarts of tomato vegetable soup, and 3 pints of hot peppers!

Canning season keeps you busier than you remember being the year before...

Tomato art.

Ah that brings me back to the green tomato recipe.

~~~ Savory Green Tomato Pie ~~~

7 Large green tomatoes (or about 4.5 pounds of whatever size you've got)
2 TBL lemon juice
1 tube Ritz crackers (smash 'em up!)
1 cup of bread crumbs (I like Italian)
1 stick of butter (or two)
1 TBL brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Slice the tomatoes and layer in a casserole.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, then sugar, then salt and pepper.
Then you can mix the crumbs with the butter and brown it all in a pan before applying it to the top of the tomatoes, or you can do what I did, put your crumbs over the top, and then drizzle your butter all over it before baking.

325 degree oven. I'd like to say it will be done in 20 minutes like the recipe says, but it took an hour for my tomatoes. So bake 'em til they are as tender as you like.

Meanwhile, Ashlee and Michael did housework and party prep. They hung some wall decor for me.

And they put together the canopy.

This was the 40 dollar canopy I bought for myself for Mother's Day. It did not go together correctly, and we ended up having to take a hacksaw to shorten some of the pieces. But it finally got up. Whew! The heat wave was beginning to build up a fury.

We watered the grass for about a day, hoping for some green around the house where we'd be using fireworks. But it is much browner now. Sort of like wheat toast... without the health benefits. Or the taste.

Quite a change in summers since last year. Cold and wet last year, hot and dry this year. Wonder what next year will bring?