The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.


Garden Attempts by Novices - Take 29 or maybe 30?

August 30, 2007 - 8:17 AM

It has been a while since I've written about the garden but that does not mean we have not been there or things haven't been happening.  Last Saturday, Leslie and I met up at 6 am and did a major weeding job.  We worked for almost three hours.  It was muddy and the weeds were huge but thankfully they came out great!  We marvelled at her squash patch and the beauty of everything after a week's worth of rains.

But then Monday happened.

A mere two days later we went back, both on our own accord, to find complete devastation.

Was it robbers?  Yes.  Robbers who wore gray camo so that no one would sense their coming and going until it was too late.  Robbers who travel in groups so that they can cause more devastation than if they were alone.  Robbers who took the life out of Leslie's amazingly beautiful squash patch.  Robbers who are trying to do the same with our cantaloupe!  AHHHH!!!!


Yes, I am SO glad that the garden is not in my yard now!  These things are so gross!  The worst part is that they are in camo so you don't notice them at first but once you start watering or spraying they come out crawling in masse... ew, ew, ew!!!  They completely destroyed Leslie's squash patch and are about to finish off my cantaloupe patch.  They suck the plants juices straight from the vine and even the fruit, which they say is a new thing!  Ew!

Dying Cant. Patch

Then, there are the bunnies.  They are in love with my red pepper plant leaves.  Yes, some tomatoes, but mostly the red pepper leaves.  They eat them right off and push over the plant as much as necessary.

Bunny Robbers

However, Ezekiel is still loving it!  Jeremiah and Miriam are completely done with the garden, but Ezekiel has been more helpful as of late than a long time.  I think the break from watering thanks to the rains helped him out a lot!

Hard working Ezekiel

One of the other sad things was our neighbor's in the community garden, this older couple who are slow moving and hard working and always hold each other's hands, had been having their veggies stolen.  They actually put up a sign and they said it worked and stopped the thievery.  

While I was out with Leslie on Saturday, I worked big time on my growing tomato plants.  The original 7 I planted are shot and done but there are 3 new ones that have lots of green fruit and 2 mildly new ones that I don't know what they are going to do. But overall, we are still getting veggies and they are wonderful and oh-such-a-blessing to us this month indeed*!

Veggie Take Home

*Several people have asked me if it was financially worth it all.  I do not have the final numbers yet, but this being our initial year, the fact that I made a lot of mistakes, I guess "no" so far.  However, this month it has really helped out a lot and I am very thankful for God's provision through it! 

One sweaty mama and three sweaty kids = $4.98

August 28, 2007 - 10:19 PM

A few weeks ago a friend emailed out to our "deals" email that they were having $1 burritos at Pancheros in honor of their 15th anniversary (and possibly due to the Chipotle opening across the street as well) from 2 to 4 this afternoon.

Yesterday, Ezekiel asked me what a burrito tasted like.

Today, I was able to put two and two together... plus a handful of change and a finished school day, then packed up the crew and went downtown. For some reason it did not strike me that when we got there it was going to look like this...


I asked the kids if they were up for it... told them it would take an hour... it was 95 degrees outside with no clouds... and the line was moving slow... "I really want a burrito for dinner," replied Ezekiel... so we waited.

My first thought, as a mom, was that I had no water on hand. I couldn't very easily leave the line and get back in with 3 kiddos in tow. I had the boys wait in the shade and shaded Miriam in her stroller. Was it really worth it?  After fifteen minutes...


Then the radio station and/or Pancheros brought by cold waters for everyone in line. How nice!


We have moved up a couple store fronts now. At this point Ezekiel started counting people until the entrance to the building. He counted at least 49 but he says he didn't get to count everyone.


Here we are... the end time 4 o'clock. They said they would not stop the deal if you were in line by 4. We were so close. "28 people," Ezekiel says. The boys are now dumping their cold water on their heads. My shirt is disgusting and wet from sweat. The kids are still troopers and still want burritos.


Now inside air conditioning, they were giving out free t-shirts. They did not have kids sizes (I think the three were the only kids in line!) so they all got smalls or mediums. The boys used theirs as capes and Miriam really wanted to wear hers since her other shirt was wet from dumping water on herself to cool off. But, as I told the boys, just because we were inside the building we still had to wait.


The nice thing was now the boys could sit... they could use the restroom... they could start to dry. After another 15 minutes we finally made it to the line. The limit was 2 per customer and I technically could've gotten 8 but the insanity and the fact that I was using our pocket change, I stuck to the 5 I planned on, which caused enough of an added insanity, BUT we left with 5 yummy burritos, 3 free t-shirts, 4 bottled waters and one very excited Ezekiel!


Miriam was the one really all smiles for the camera. She was clueless what we were up to, while Ezekiel and Jeremiah just wanted to get home and eat them! We were home by 4:49, without a ticket on our car, which Ezekiel said he had prayed for while we were waiting in line.  What a guy!

Garden Attempts by Novices - Take 28

August 19, 2007 - 5:00 PM

It's working!

Happy LIttle Guy!

The only thing I am wondering now, is if we have enough sun and warm weather left to bring it completion?  I am wondering the same things about our additional tomato plants.  Our original tomato plants are almost completely done.  The blight has won but we are still getting a few red ones each visit.

Our edamame are D-O-N-E done!  Yeah!  I brought home a handful yesterday and made them... yummy!  We have thousands of them in!  If only it would stop raining long enough so I could get them all out tomorrow, that'd be great!  I read that they are great as frozen veggies so that is what I am going to do with them all.  The ones I made for Josh he said tasted delicious!  I thought they were as good as ones served in a restaurant with sushi.  What fun!  Totally doing these guys again!

Our pepper plants are nearing done as well.  Our habaneros are still growing full speed ahead!  Really, anyone want some?  I hear you can can or pickle them.  I have never done this process before.  For some reason I think I need to be taught on hand.  Anyone know how to do this?  I hear it is hot and long?  Oh my!

For the most part things are really winding down around the garden.  Outside of praying for the green new tomatoes to get red and the happy little cantaloupes and the various herbs and carrots, it is really getting near the end.  I guess the eggplants are still coming... the cucumbers are done though... and the beans... sigh... it is an addicting process, it really makes one long for next spring.

We are making sauce and salsa, and if you can believe your eyes, I even baked tonight!  Yep!  I made focaccia bread and then put slices of our fresh veggies on top for church tonight.  Impressive?  Well, don't say it till you've tried it.  Though, Josh asked me to make one with all the spicy peppers, which I did.  I first softened them in oil and let me tell you... I will never do that again.  It caused such a coughing fit in everyone of us.  We had to open up the whole house to get the fumes out.  I am not going to try the bread but am still offering it as "Hotter than being separated from God bread."  Phew! 

As for us, school starts tomorrow, so this winding down of the garden is really good timing for us.  Ezekiel goes into 2nd and Jeremiah into Kindergarten!  What a new adventure this will be!  Just don't expect any big revelations from this blog this week as we adjusted to new schedules and such.  2nd grade means more work for Ezekiel and myself!  Yeah!  I can't wait!  

Sauce isn't as fun to say as Salsa but just as yummy!

August 16, 2007 - 10:21 PM

(We are on "vacation" right now but I couldn't pass uploading these fun images... enjoy!) 

Not big on salsa?  How about homemade sauce and some stuffed eggplants?  This actually uses way more tomatoes than you would think.  We are down to a mere 5 tomatoes in our house!  Amazing!  Here again, the kids joined in, Miriam helping prep the tomatoes to peel them, Jeremiah at the camera and the chopping.  The dinner was so yummy and fun looking even Josh joined in and took a photo!  I never knew eggplant could merit such sounds of "Yum!" but this dish took the cake! 

Prepping the tomatoes by Jeremiah

Dropping the tomatoes by Jeremiah

Chopping the carrots and onions by Mom

Homegrown Goodness by Jeremiah

Final Creation, food by mom, photo by dad

Now I need to figure out what to do with our hundred peppers!  That will be tomorrow's vacation adgenda! 

Everybody likes to say the word salsa...

August 15, 2007 - 5:51 PM

Salsa, salsa, salsa.

Everyone keeps asking what we are doing with all those tomatoes... salsa, salsa, salsa!

Chopping peppers and onions

Chopping Tomatoes by Ezekiel

Beautiful colors by Ezekiel

End result!

Portion of what we had worth of veggies by Ezekiel

The boys did a great work. We used only a small portion of the veggies you saw in the first photo. Oh my! This took us 2 hours. I am exhausted and will make more tomorrow... phew! Time to relax and eat some... salsa?

Notes to self... Next year's garden

August 11, 2007 - 10:28 AM

This is more for me than you... I was thinking all this during my visit to the garden this AM and wanted to write it down before I forget and in a place where I will find it. Don't mean to bore you! Or if you have any additional thoughts, please let me know!

1.) Beans -
Bush crop beans, space to 3" instead of 2".
Use a 6 to 8" fence around edge of bean area to help them stand up better even though they are bush beans.
Use 2' between rows. And 4' between other plants.
Plant every two weeks as everyone suggests.
Be faithful with the bug spray and fertilizer.
When they come in, take them all. Be very diligent to take them all. Look very closely and take them all.
Blanch and freeze extras.
4 packets.

2.) Harvesting -
Always bring 1 or 2 grocery bags each visit to the garden.
Always do spraying of whatever on the same day every week.
Take when ready, just do it, use your shirt if you have to.
Take some spices home every day.

3.) Tomatoes -
Do plant 5 big plants initially in the beginning of the season.
Be faithful with the fertilizer, once a week.
Be faithful in the beginning and end to spray for blight.
At first sign of blight, take off infected leaves.
Plant cheap plants throughout garden 6 or so, after taking out spring crops.
Find bigger, stronger tomato cages. Make sure firmly in ground in case of wind storms.
Yes, use marigolds.
Yes, use straw but remember to fertilize.

4.) Peas -
Space 2" apart faithfully.
Plant every 2 weeks as suggested.
Water a lot in the beginning.
3 packets.

5.) Onions -
Ask gardener how to pick out a good seed from the onion sets.
Plant every 2 weeks.
Plant every 3" for scallions.
Plant A LOT and every where I can.
Harvest as soon as tops turn brown.
White and red worked best, try yellow if find good set.
May have to add more soil during season.
Plant early where you will add summer crops later.

6.) Broccoli -
Plant A LOT, 16 or more.
Yes, use maggot mats.
Try different varieties.
Plant in intervals if it works.
Give more room, 2' min. diameter.

7.) Cabbage -
Only plant 6 or so.
Use maggot mats.
Give A LOT of room, minimum 3 to 4'.

8.) Bedding & Layout -
Straw, can still use, BUT must be more diligent with fertilizer.
Wait to put down straw until after spring winds die down.
Use carpets for main walkway.
Raised beds are good.
No bedding in spice area or carrots.
Rent a tiller.
Till at 2 times, spring crop and then for summer crop.
Peat moss is good, use kind from Lowe's.
Fertilizer in potting soil is good, use Miracle Grow.
Don't use generic HyVee's peat or potting soil.
Plant veggies in front as well as back.
Double up fencing up to 2.5 feet.
DO plant all spring crops in front of garden all together. Plan to put tomato and melon and zucchini plants in that area.
Don't plant sunflowers, even though they are pretty, they give too much shade.

9.) Melons -
Put in beds where broccoli grew.
Give lots of room to grow.
Go for 2 plants.

10.) Zucchini -
Buy plants and use cutworm collars.
Make sure they are in full sun with no shading issues.
Fertilize! Bug protect!
Go for 4 plants and hope for the best.

11.) Eggplants -
Do exactly what you did this year.
4 plants is fine if you can give them away.

12.) Cucumbers -
Once they start making fruit, feed fertilizer.
Be faithful with blight warning.
Spray for bugs.
Pick when ripe.
Only 2 nee

Take my Tomatoes... please?

August 8, 2007 - 3:07 PM

Welp, due to some late blithe, we have had to be vigilant taking care of our tomato plants to survive and keep producing. As of right now, they are hanging in there and producing. However, since we have to spray them with stuff we have to harvest everything ready and then spray because we can't harvest for a few days after. In which case, we just did and I am here to say...


Anyone want any tomatoes?


I will deliver them to your IC home (all others will have to come to us, :)!) Oh!


And peppers too?


And eggplant (in a few more days)?


Easy Eggplant Parmesan for 5" round baking dish
(It is just like lasagna but the eggplant slices go where the lasagna noodles normally go.)

1 eggplant
2 roma tomatoes
3 large thin slices of zucchini
mozzarella (shredded)
parmesan (grated or shredded)
salt, pepper, garlic, basil
extra virgin olive oil

Peel eggplant and slice up eggplant into 3/8" slices.  Lay flat on plate and sprinkle with salt, tilt plate at a slight angle and let eggplant sweat off bitter juices.  (In about an hour.)  After an hour, pat dry eggplant and heat 1/8 to 3/16" oil in skillet on med-high.  Fry eggplant on each side until looks lightly browned and softened.  You can also place zucchini in skillet and saute after eggplant is done, just remove extra oil if you like. 

Then in your smallest baking dish, I used a 5" round one I had, spray with cooking spray then layer in however order you want depending on how much you have of each on hand... eggplant, parmesan, roma slices, salt, pepper, mozza, basil, zucchini, mozza, eggplant, tomatoes, salt, pepper, parmesan, zucchini*, etc... end with eggplant, then parmesan and mozza and basil.  Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes if you use a small dish.  Can bake 5 more minutes uncovered at end.

(If you make this in a large dish, it takes about 3 eggplants and then you can use actual marinara sauce as well or instead of roma slices.  Also, a bigger dish is for 45 minutes.)

Again, to this dish my husband said, "It was surprisingly amazing."  You can be the judge of that. 

*Also, when I lived in Italy, we made variations of this type of dish all the time.  We used whatever fresh veggies we had on hand, onions, peppers, carrots, etc and saute them up and put them in however.  We also used buffalo mozzarella (the soft stuff sold in water) and if you have the inkling try that for a layer, yummy!

Garden Attempts by Novices - Take 27

August 4, 2007 - 10:27 AM

First off, I always find it hard to rejoice while others are in mourning/shock/etc. My heart goes out to the MN folks and all that transpired there. While it is real knowing we have family and friends there, reading this friend of a friend's blog made it even more real to me, here. Again, our prayers go out to all those affected by this... just as all the other pains across the world, the South Korean captives, bomb attacks in Thailand and Pakistan, not to mention all the others atrocities... *sigh* Come, Lord Jesus, come.

With that, here is our garden these days...

August 3rd Garden

My has it come a long way...

End of May Garden

The amazing thing here too, is Jeremiah's tomato plant, in bottom right of the photo, is doing leaps and bounds better than any of our other tomato plants. I don't know if it was the cedar vs. straw or just being more separate from the rest, made it less susceptible to disease and bugs, but whatever the case, it has stayed green the whole time and not one tomato has been stolen from it. Amazing.

We got out to the garden with much trepidation, but not from what you'd think. It was the mosquitoes that put the fear into us. Everytime we have gone as of late, we have come home with some of the most painful bites ever. They were on our faces and legs and they were bad. Friday was not the case, not one mosquito in sight. I don't know where they went, but they weren't there. The weeds at the garden have taken full advantage of the mosquito factor and are a tad out of control. I will try for our next visit to take a crack at them for now, I just wanted to give the plants a good watering.

Jeremiah and MIriam at the Eggplants

Jeremiah and Miriam were having fun looking at all the tennis ball sized eggplants growing. They also liked watching the daddy long legs climb effortlessly over the leaves. He tried to snap a photo but the spider would not smile.


Our edamame are in! Well, almost. The estimated date I wrote on their marker is Aug 15th. I wrote the date a week early of actual times. I am excited to see how they taste and if I can make them as yummy as Jade Sisters.

Picking carrots

Ezekiel's carrot patch has not been found by the rabbits who have snuck into our garden somehow. They found my tomatoes, but not this patch. Ezekiel is protective of this patch like his toys. He kindly let his brother and sister pick a carrot of their own, but no more. He likes just picking one a visit for some reason.

Ezekiel and his one carrott

The carrots are definitely ready to pick though. Ezekiel picked out seeds that make carrots only this big, so they won't get much bigger than this. All the kids love eating them fresh from the garden, even Miriam, who generally does not eat whole carrots.

The Harvest August 3

by Dana


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About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

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   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

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