My garden is SAD

SAD = Sad and desperate.

It is that time of year when everything goes from this

And this

And this

To this

Worn, droopy and full of weeds.

My once 8+ foot tomatoes are struggling to see over the privacy fence.

and my pole beans are dry and nasty.

Gone are their days of being lush and green.

They are SAD.

I have yet to decide if I am a little sad about the end of the outside garden season. Maybe that is because I will be testing out my greenhouse over the winter and will have fresh herbs in my kitchen.  I think a part of me is a little releaved to tell you the truth to take a short break from it before the seed starting begins.  Then I will be full force once again.

Bottling the weather

Do you ever wish you could step outside with a jar or bottle and a lid, run around in circles with the jar pointed forward and when you believe you captured enough of the weather, quickly seal the jar?

Then when it's -5 with a -40 degree wind chill, take that jar and open it up so you can enjoy the not so distant perfect day?

Today is a day that I wish I could bottle for a later time.

When a perfect weather day is described, a picture of today pops up.

It is a beautiful, roll down the windows while your driving type of day. 

A day that I will look back on a month from now when it is snowing and wonder why the perfect day had to disappear so quickly.

A day our Meteorologist describes as a 10.

So I will wrap this short post up as I am going to enjoy this perfect weather day and maybe, just maybe try to bottle a little of it as I'm out.  Wishing you a perfect day.

Random things

I find myself writing a random list of things when I a)do not have the energy to write about one subject b)I have too many things/thoughts running through my head c)I have writers block and this is my way to write a post while allowing thoughts to flow from my brain to my finger tips until I've reached the point of being done.

I think today is a combination of a and c.

1. My green bean seeds are dry, sorted and ready for storage.  When I initially took this picture I traveled  back to the days when Jelly Bellys developed with the Harry Potter line of candies.  You know, the ones that were labeled ear wax, etc.  This picture reminded me of that speciality line of Jelly Bellys. Anyway, I have big plans for my pole beans next year.  I think I will have plenty of seeds to see my plans to fruition.

2. I'm finding myself drawn in by the season premiers that fall has brought along with the cooler weather. This is bad, very bad. I have so much to do outside, in the green house and in the garden. Can I pull myself away from the tube, no.

3. We had ice on the windshields of our cars this morning. I don't believe we had any frost as my garden looks like it should this time of year. Where did the summer go?

4.  Besides the ice, we are predicted to have a full week of no rain. I don't remember the last time we saw a forecast like that. Now, if I can pull myself away from the season premiers, I might just get something done this rainless week.

5.  I may have never mentioned before but I work 2 jobs.  The first is my full time and the second is a fun on the side type job. Both are keeping me very busy lately and I am very tired.  It is only 9:46 and my eyelids feel as if they have weights on them.  If the new fall shows, namely Castle, were not on, I most likely would be in bed.

6. That is it for tonight. My combination of a and c doesn't allow for much room for creativity.  Good night all.

Weekend Update, The farm harvest

Saturday was a miserable day. Cold, rainy, muddy. Regardless, I spent the day tailgating with a group of friends in support of one of them who entered a bbq competition. 

The competition was hosted by the Iowa Pork Producers.  Our friend didn't place but it sure was fun taste testing his entry.

Senator Chuck Grassley was there to award the grand prize.  I believe there were close to 30 entries. I couldn't even imagine being a judge to choose a winner.  That is probably why it took the judges an extra 30 minutes to decide.

On our walk back to our car after the competition, I came across this large root that looked like a giant carrot.  I know that ag program at Iowa State University is fantastic but I had no idea!

I spent the rest of the evening in bed as I wasn't feeling so hot. I think it was a combination of weather and food that did me in for the evening.  But as today rolled around, I had regained my energy so I decided to go out to the farm to try to clean up my garden area. 

It was a beautiful day.  Mid 60's with bright blue skies.  Today completely made up for the weather we had to endure yesterday.  I haven't been out to the farm for well over a month, when the fields were still green.  The weeds had completely taken over the garden and were unmanageable months ago.  This resulted in only a couple plants that made it over the summer and manage to produce between the weeds.

Now that the weeds are starting to brown due to the season, the colorful squash was easier to find so I felt it was time to clean it up and call it the season. My son figured out that if he followed the vines through the weeds, he would find the "gold mine" as he put it.

I'm not sure what the blurry object is in the lower left hand corner..possibly a dog.  The rest is the harvest, a single acorn squash, pumpkins, and yellow squash.

I also had 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full of green beans but failed to take a picture.  I also have rows and rows of potatoes left in the ground.  I tried to dig them up but with all of the rain fall we received yesterday, it was simply too muddy.  Once that is complete, I will be done with the farm garden plot for the rest of the year. 

I have big plans for weed control at the farm for next year.  Those 4 foot weeds won't have a chance.  But for now, I am glad to have the garden almost cleaned up and I can concentrate on my home plot and finishing up the greenhouse.

Homemade Bloody Mary mix, canning

***Update - for a second version, please visit the Spicy V8 recipe found here.

I LOVE bloody Mary's.  Just love them. I like them spicy and topped off with pickles, olives and sometimes pepperoni.  They are hearty and rich and something to sit and enjoy. Have I mentioned that I love Bloody Marys?
Because of my love for Bloody Marys, tonight I tested a recipe, that uses fresh tomatoes, but added my own twist.  It was unlike any Bloody Mary I have ever tried. The base was so fresh and flavorful, thick and rich. 

Begin by collecting these items.

Tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley and a bay leaf. Put them into a pot and cook for 30-45 minutes until mushy.

Remove bay leaf and working in batches, place the vegetable mixture in a blender and puree.  Now should you choose, at this point, you can ladle yourself a bowl of veggie soup.  It might need a little salt and pepper but good none the less. 

Pour the pureed mixture into a food mill or sieve to remove any extra seeds.

Place the now pureed and seeded mixture back into a pan and add sugar, lemon juice, seasoning salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce to taste.

Heat the mixture to a boil.  Pour into clean quart jars and add prepared lids.  Process in a boiling water canner for 40 minutes. 

I am particular about my bloody mary's and added a little extra.  I added horseradish some pepper and a little more seasoning salt and I was set to try it.  It was very thick so if you prefer a not so hearty meal in a glass, you may want to thin it down a bit.

Here is the recipe.
  • 30 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered.  Between 12-15 lbs
  • 2 1/2 cups of green peppers, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 small onions, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoning salt or more or less to taste. (I prefer more
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce or Tabasco sauce.
(Optional additions.  I like to add a little olive juice and pickle juice to my mix.  You two can add these to your taste.)
1.  Cook tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, green peppers, garlic, bay leaf and parsley in a large pot until mushy between 30-45 minutes. 
 2.  Remove the bay leaf and in batches, place the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree.
3.  using a fine sieve or a food mill press each batch to remove any extra seeds.
4.  Return the mixture into a large pot and add the remaining ingredients with the hot sauce to taste.
5.  Heat the mixture to a boil.
6.  Pour the mixture into prepared quart jars and process in boiling water bath for 40 minutes at 1000 feet. 
This makes an incredible base.  I added horseradish that my neighbor Wilson gave me. I enjoyed it and hope you enjoy it!

Crock Pot Recipes Galore

It is officially fall. Unofficially this is my favorite time of year. It flip flops with spring. I LOVE the changing colors fall brings, the warm scents from the kitchen, the smell of burning leaves. I love fall activities like carving pumpkins, picking apples, Octobember fests, and getting the kids all dressed up for Halloween. Once winter hits, which could be anytime in the month of October, my love for fall is gone. Then spring is my favorite season.

But in the spirit of fall and the good comfort food cooking it brings, I am passing on to you an email that my mother-in-law sent me last night. The people at are going to love me for this as all of the links will go directly to their site. Regardless, the recipes seem easy peasy and may inspire you to break out the crock pot to make some of the recipes below.

I personally haven't tried any yet but I am bound to over the upcoming months. Enjoy!




Pot - Pork





Pot - Fish & Seafood




Pot - Soup, Stew & Chili