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Saturday, June 6, 2020

WOOHOO The Annual Veggie Planting

Over Memorial Day weekend Dave finished getting our two veggie patches ready for planting , he had tilled the ground a few weeks ago so he wanted to go over everything very thoroughly to loosen the soil for planting. On Memorial Day we ran over to a local Amish greenhouse, we have purchased plants there for years, and picked up some seeds and a selection of veggie plants. On Tuesday I went into work, but at ten-thirty the power went out, since I am the only one going into the office during the pandemic, all my co-workers are working from home, I sat alone in the dark for an hour listening to various computer alarms beeping and chirping. As the electric company still had no estimate of power restoration after an hour I decided to go home. I am glad I chose to leave as the power was not restored until after three in the afternoon. I got home and luxuriated in an unexpected free afternoon all to myself, what should I do? Well at first I read for a bit, I am currently re-reading all of my Barbara Pym books, and then I dozed off. Upon waking I felt very refreshed and decided to head outside and plant the garden. It was an extremely pleasant afternoon in the upper seventies with abundant sunshine, perfect to work in. I planted ten tomato plants, six red bell pepper plants, six yellow bell pepper plants, six kale plants, four cucumber vines, four canteloupe vines, four watermelon vines, and eight broccoli plants. I planted seeds for giant zinnia, cosmos, marigolds, and giant sunflowers, and a row of green beans, some kale and beetroot. I put in a row of onions, but we had had the onion sets for quite some time and I am not sure if they will revive and grow, but nothing ventured nothing gained as they say. Dave had planted a few rows of potatoes a month or so ago and the plants are looking good. We have had a nice mix of sunshine, warm temperatures and rain, perfect for our newly planted gardens, and on Wednesday I noticed that the cosmos and sunflowers were up. I really enjoy having a row of flowers here and there in the vegetable gardens. I am looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Garden 2

Garden 1
Garden 2, different angle

The Happy Gardener
We have put most of the plants in a small enclosed garden as the deer seem to think we are providing an all you can eat salad bar. Unfortunately not all of our plants will fit in the small enclosure, so some had to be planted in the other garden, this morning I went out to check on things and every single broccoli plant was gone! 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Daily Walks

Every morning I get up early, four-thirty to be precise, drink a large glass of water and take my vitamins and supplements, pour a mug of coffee and head upstairs to do a few crosswords and read a chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Around five-fifteen I put on my gym shoes, pop in my earbuds, and head out for a brisk morning walk for the next hour. I love my daily walks, every day I see something of interest, spring flowers, pretty snowfall, fall leaves, cats, raccoons, turtles, a variety of birds, newly unfurled leaves, beautiful sunrises, the moon in all its phases, no matter the day or time of year there is always something to spark joy.  



I often take my grandchildren on walks, or probably a stroll as the pace is much, much slower than my early morning walks. And the children, just like me, always find things of interest. Lately we have had a lot of rain, so we have seen many, many earthworms and that generated a lot of questions, so we watched a documentary on worms, and learned a lot. Another day we saw a number of big bumblebees, they were worried about being stung, no one was. When we got back to the house we looked up some information about bumblebees and learned they can sting over and over again as their stinger is like a needle, but a honeybee can only sting once. The honeybee's stinger is barbed and when it is used it won't pull back out so instead a portion of the honeybees abdomen is ripped out and it dies! This past Wednesday we were on the lookout for turtles, this time of year in northeast Indiana they are on the move, we didn't see any. But yesterday morning on my walk I saw a nice size turtle so I took a picture to show the grandchildren. This morning I saw a mother raccoon with four babies, they were crossing the road, so I waited until they all made it across, the boys were very interested to hear all about it.

Throughout the spring I have visited local parks to walk the trails, I love finding woodland flowers, so many colors and they really are a beautiful sight in the woods in early spring. A week or so ago I headed into Fort Wayne to visit the farmers market with our almost five year old grandson Masen. We were walking from one market to another and were passing the Botanical Conservatory, there were some plants in full blossom, I had Masen stand in front of them to take a photo, he is a bit of ham for the camera. Suddenly I noticed some Lily of the Valley in bloom. I said, "hey, Masen, look this is Lily of the Valley". Apparently my phone was listening to me, because its computer voice piped up, "Lily of the Valley, a small woodland plant, highly poisonous", at which point Masen yelled, "it's poison, it's poison" as he ran away from the plants. Ahh, the joys of technology.

Lily of the Valley, a small woodland plant, highly poisonous :)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Campfire Fun

This past weekend we had a lovely campfire with our children and grandchildren. Saturday evening was sunny and pleasant with temperatures in the low sixties, perfect for sitting around a campfire. I picked up some goodies on my weekly shop for a campfire feast, our son Ben supervised the cooking of pudgie pies in the campfire. A good number of years ago my husband, Dave, picked up four campfire pudgie pie makers at a yard sale for a few dollars, and we finally used them. I got pizza sauce, pepperoni and grated Italian cheese blend for the pudgie pies and the grandchildren really liked their pepperoni pizza pudgie pie. A pudgie pie is a sealed toasted sandwich, the filling can be whatever you like. Some people put fruit pie filling in them and then dust with powdered sugar after cooking, or peanut butter and jelly, or cheese, really whatever you think you might enjoy is what you should put in them. And of course no campfire would be complete without s'mores. Bags of chips and some cookies added to the menu and Emily brought chicken and vegetable kebabs to grill for the grownups. I had a nice vegan salad of course. It was a lovely and relaxing evening with some of my most favorite people on the planet.

My husband Dave, or as I call him, DaveyPoo

Grandson Charles with his dad Brad

Granddaughter Aubrey

Grandson George, or as I call him, Georgous

Grandson Patrick trying to avoid the camera

Our daughter Amber with her nephew Harrison

Our son Ben with his son Ralph

Henry, Alivia and Ralph being goofballs

Aubrey, or as I call her, Dolly Dingle

Masen aka Mr. Macaroni, with Henry in the background


Ralph and Charles

Our son Matt with his youngest Harrison

Our son Ben and wife Taylor
Our wonderful, amazing, fabulous grandchildren

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Regrowing Romaine Lettuce

I recently watched a video on YouTube and the presenter cut up a romaine lettuce and mentioned that if you wished you could regrow the lettuce. A few days later I was cutting up several heads of romaine lettuce and thought about regrowing them, so I googled and found another YouTube video with a short and easy how to guide. And it is really easy. Take the cut off end of the romaine lettuce and put it in a little water, perhaps half an inch of water, change and/or replenish the water daily. After one day a little growth had taken place, after a week they had grown to five or six inches in height. After two weeks it is recommended that they be planted in soil to finish growing because at that point they need more nourishment that just the water alone can provide. My mom likes iceberg lettuce so she took the cut off end and placed it in water, and it too started to grow. Below are four pictures taken over the course of one week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

My Bowl Runneth Over With An Amazing United Nations of Goodness

Before I eat I say grace and I think of all of the people involved in the production of the food in front of me. I think of all of the places that my food has come from. Bananas and pineapple from South America, blueberries from Mexico, strawberries from California. Kale and spinach I assume from California, tomatoes from I don't where, melon from Texas. 

I then think of the people who planted the seeds, nurtured the crops, harvested the food, packed the food, shipped the food, warehoused the food, distributed and sold the food. Pondering upon this I realize that the simple bowl of food in front of me that I am going to eat to nourish my body is there because of hundreds of people and it humbles me. I lift all of these, unknown to me, people in prayer.

Next time you sit down to a meal, just think for a few minutes about how each and every item you are about to eat arrived at your table, it is truly amazing!

Peace be with you, 


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Peanut Butter Bread - Oh Boy

As I was idly scrolling through Yahoo this morning a story about making bread without yeast popped up, Peanut Butter Bread. I am a bit of peanut butter addict, my favorite is Smuckers Natural peanut butter, but pretty much any natural nut butter hits the spot

Although this specific recipe is not vegan, I used plant milk as a replacement for the mammary gland secretions of cows. This recipe claims to be taken from a cookbook published in 1932, and so the story goes, this was a popular bread during the Great Depression, who knows. But what I do know is it sounds good, the picture of the finished product looked fabulous, and I am going to make a few loaves to give to our children and their families. And the comments on the Yahoo story, and the recipe page were all pretty much rave reviews. 

 2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/3 c. milk (I used Soy milk)
1/2 c. peanut butter (I added about 3/4 c and used a store brand creamy pb)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix together dry ingredients.
Mix in the milk, then the peanut butter.
Scrape into greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour.


The possibilities are maybe not endless for tweaks to this recipe but use your imagination. Because the recipe has very basic ingredients and is not a sweet bread like banana bread and the peanut butter flavor is subtle you could certainly make it sweeter by adding chocolate chips, or raisins, dates, currants, or use crunchy peanut butter, or any nut butter you like, shredded apple or mashed banana, whatever strikes your fancy and whatever you have on hand. But made just as above I think it is a pleasant bread and would make a nice side to soup or stew type meal.

Peace be with you,


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Enough With The Doom And Gloom MAN!

Hey, why don't we all simply enjoy this new reality. For most of us we will have  two to three weeks downtime,  how awesome is that? What are you going to do with all of your new found time? I am looking at it like a wonderful retreat from the world. Sleeping more, reading more, walking more, meditating more, practicing yoga more, staying home way, way more, and it is really nice. 

What can we learn? I suspect many people will learn that being home more, finding ways to occupy our time at home, spending more time together with our immediate family, is actually an amazingly good thing. If we spend multiple weeks unscheduled we might really resist going back to our overly scheduled lives. We might find we don't want to always be on the go, always at the store, always running errands, we might find that true contentment is doing less and enjoying life more. 

So, live in the moment during these strange times, enjoy each moment, embrace each day, have fun with your loved ones, rekindle your inner spark, get in touch with your self, and count this time as an amazing gift and blessing to your mind, body and spirit.

Stay safe my friends, stay well, and wash your hands :)