Another Year Gone By

I always get a little sad that the year is ending, but then I get SUPER excited for the next garden season. So with that thought, I give you a year in my garden... Now, next year I will do better at taking these photos at more regular intervals (I promise!)


Tis The Season for Garden Porn

Yes, it is that time of year that we all covet... Garden Porn Season. Every year, I indulge myself by reading my seed catalogs over and over and over and over again, figuring out how to NOT purchase every tomato in existence. I am sure this year will be no different. I already have a list covering a sheet of notebook paper, and I need to figure out how to dwindle it down... So far I have gotten Seed Savers, Johnny's Selected Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom, and something Momma Gardener sent to me... How is everyone's seed hunt going?


Christmas Loot

I must say, this was one of my best Christmases ever! Not only in receiving, but giving as well. I was able to "pull" my BIL's name out of the hat for both family drawings, so I splurged and got him a BluRay dvd player, a couple of movies, and a gift card to get more. He hung on to that thing all night long like it was going to walk out the door! I love giving awesome gifts to people that I know will get excited. We all got my mom a new coffee maker (it's pretty darn fancy), some gourmet coffees, massage package, coffee cups, and some other various baubles. Not only was SHE stoked about he coffee maker, everyone else was too because they could drink it at Christmas breakfast! Happiness all around!

Now for me... Holy cow! I got an AWESOME pressure canner, cutting boards, kitchen utensils, a Victorio strainer (!!!) AND COVERALLS! Who doesn't need a good pair of those?! They are a little bit big, but will be perfect when shoveling my driveway with lots of layers on. LOVE EVERYTHING! What you see to next to me in the photo is the Welcome Home Center my mom made for my sister and her hubby, Row Family Farmers. Its pretty awesome... It has a place for each family member to drop their stuff in, like gloves hats, etc, and a place to hang book bags and purses. It will fit in their mudroom perfectly, and it even has a little shopvac to suck up all the mud and stuff from winter boots. Awesome!!! I hope everyone had a great Christmas!!! Now it's time to think of Spring planting :)

Coveralls AND Farmers Almanac!
~I also got sick, but am now nursing back to health with Punkin by my side :)


Merry Christmas!

I am foregoing Oven Lovin Saturday this week due to the holidays. I am sure that everyone has much more important things to do than blog this weekend, so all I say is this... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!


First Day of Spring! I Mean Winter

Wow! Yesterday was the first official day of winter and we topped out at 61 degrees! Holy cow! The Golden Girls were out enjoying the little bit of sun that still hits our yard and then we got a sudden HEAVY downpour. Now, I'm not complaining about the warmth, I know it will snow sooner or later, but could we please get the faucet turned off? Even with that being said, I think I'd rather have rain than snow, as rain will dry out faster... Oh well... Happy winter!!!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Oven Lovin Saturday

Ok, so I am trying to make bread.... Not just any ole bread, but tasty, awesome, filled with air bread. This week I made Pugliese, and no, the recipe is not mine. I got it out of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. Now that being said, I know I promised a double feature... However, the second type of bread I made sucked and went straight out to the chickens. The pugliese however, AMAZING! Be warned, this bread take a day and a half or 2 days.... I said tasty, not quick!
 This recipe starts with a fermented over night in the fridge biga
2  1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 package active yeast (I modified this amount because the author uses instant yeast, and uh, I can't find any)
3/4 cup room temp to warm water, plus 2 T to 1 cup water as needed
~Mix everything together as if you were making a normal bread dough.... mix the water and yeast, allow to foam, add the flour, knead until it forms a smooth and elastic dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, spray the top with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. Or even a few days for the best fermented flavor.
2 cups of the biga at room temperature
1 cup semolina flour (very fine ground life you would use for pasta)
1  1/4 cup unbleached bread flour 
1  1/2 t salt
1 package active yeast
1/4 c mashed poatato (I just popped a little one in the microwave, cut it open, and mashed it up)
1 c lukewarm water 
Here is where it gets time consuming
1 - mix the water, potato, yeast together, allow yeast to get foamy, then add the flours and salt. (I would mix the flours together first and then add them together
2 - add in the biga (cut into small pieces to make this easier on your mixer or hands)
3 - Mix the dough until it forms a wet sticky ball
4 - pour the dough out onto a floured counter top, and stretch the dough into a long rectangle, then fold over as if you were folding a peice of paper for an envelope. Mist the top with oil, cover loosely with plastic and Allow the dough to rest 30 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
5 - Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, spray with oil, and allow the dough to rest and rise for 2 hours.
6 - gently pour ot the dough anto a lightly floured surface (this is a sticky dough, and you want it to stay that way) and divide into 2 equal pieces. Place the dough balls gently into a proofing bowl. I used a mixing bowl with a towel inside dusted with flour. Allow the dough to rise for an additional 90 minutes.
7 - place the dough onto a baking stone or pan dusted with semolina meal or cornmeal. It should look like a big blog pretty much.
8 -  Put the bread into a 500 degree oven with a cast iron pan with water inside. THen lower the oven to 450. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the bread if necessary, and bake for 5 - 10 minutes more until golden brown.



A Recap of the Year

With only 2 weeks left in the year, I thought it a good idea to go over my list of goals from last year....  I am not a resolution person... I usually do better with goals... Lets see how I did!

1 - Finish all bedroom doors and actually hang them (3 to go....)
2a - Knock down office wall, create new dining room
2b - purchase and install new window in new dining room (nope....)
3 - Purchase and install (or have installed) the new pellet stove (YAY!!!)
4 - Remember to turn off the basement light more when doing laundry (my worst overall bad habit STILL)
5 - Get the new office room in order with a desk/table thing, shelving, file cabinet, and a HEATER (this room was added as en extension and is friggin freezing!!!)
6 - Finish all the trim work that has yet to be painted, or even sanded.... (oy... we didn't even start that)
7 - Install the remaining 2 windows we already have purchased... Might need help with the upstairs bathroom window... I am afraid of heights... (Still one to go downstairs)
8 - Paint porch railings and floor
9 - Purchase, install, and finish the shower in the upstairs bathroom so we and our house guests can actually use it... Oh and install the fan (already purchased) for the shower... Might need help with that too, I am not an electrician (This is a budget thing... Someday, we will use the upstairs shower)

1 - Build raised beds and fill them with dirt and compost
2 - Actually keep track of the stuff we produce in terms of weight/numbers/etc...

3 - Remember to get the plants in the ground on time, and NOT kill them before doing so (I started too early and ended up having to buy tomatoes and peppers... whoops! New goal for next year!)
4 - Dig up the 2 spindly spiny plants in the front yard (they seem to want to climb my brick wall) and replace them with something more useful, like herbs or something of the like...
5 - Build the wine bottle retaining walls (I will make a post on this later, but we are starting to look like alcoholics)
6 - Pull all the weeds that grow along side our house on the side with the vacant house (why is it that we always have lived next to a vacant house? Do we smell or something?)
7 - Im sure I will add to this list as the year goes on, but thats all I can think of right now...

1 - We decided that it would be a good year to see if we can go an entire year (from right now) without purchasing any new clothes. We decided that undies and socks and the like will not be included in this. Losing weight to fit into the clothes we already have is a number one priority in NOT spending any money. However, if we are given gift cards, we will gladly spend them :) (Ok, here we did good... Until about August... Then this one was shot to Hades...)
2 - Use our bicycles A LOT more... Gas is silly expensive, and bikes are no impact on the environment... Plus we can lose weight and fit into the clothes we have and save money! (M ASSIVE failure... I think I just heard my bike laugh at me from the garage)
3 - Eat at home. We have a tendency (especially in the winter) to eat out. Its too expensive, makes our waists fatter and our wallets thinner... It should be the other way around! (Our waists are NOT smaller however...)
4 - Stay motivated for school. This one is just for me. I am in school trying to finish my degree which was started when I was 17 (eek! Eight years ago!) and I never finished due to a lot of reasons. I dont need to explain those to adult students, everyone has their own reasons... But anyways, I never know what is going on with my company since we are in the middle of a HUGE merger, and I just don't hold any seniority, so I need to have a backup plan. (I am still in school, have all of my courses mapped out, and I have a backup job in the works... Please pray for me on that one!!!!)
5 - Work on the backup plan for goal number 4
6 - Be a better wife (I wish I could remember the terms on that one... )
7 - DO NOT adopt more cats... Even though I want to, Hubby might kill me (Oliver's appearance and joining of the family only weeks after creating this list pretty much killed this one... However, I think he is Hubby's favorite....)

So, I think I am going to call this one a success.... My weight gain has by far been my biggest downfall. Even though I am not talking about major poundage, gain is not good. I hope that my half marathon training will help me out there... We shall see!  I guess I should go and work on next years list!


Just a quick shout out

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to those who posted last weekend for Oven Lovin Saturday! I hope everyone is getting prepared for another week! Only 12 days until Christmas, so I know everyone out there is getting their kitchens ready for cookie baking! The semester for me is officially over, so I will be bringing another double feature... Hmmm... Wonder what it could be?? Is that yeast I smell??


Oven Lovin Saturday

This week I am bringing you a double feature! Dinner and Dessert! For dinner one night, I made Fake Fried Parmesan Chicken and Roasted Potatoes, and then later in the week, I made The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yum!

Fake Fried Parmesan Chicken

4 chicken breasts (mine were 4 oz each, boneless, skinless)
LOTS of garlic (I used a whole head)
1 onion, chopped in quarters, or whatever... just chunky....
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
~Marinate the chicken in a ziptop bag with the garlic (just peeled and squashed, don't bother chopping it up), onions, salt, pepper, and enough olive oil to cover. Let marinade over night for the best results... Now for the breading...

1/2 cup bread crumbs (if you use pre-seasoned, skip the herbs I include next)
big sprinkling of dried parsley, dried basil, and dried garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
~Mix all of the dried ingredients. Drain the chicken away from the marinade. Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. Time will vary depending on the size of the breasts.

Roasted Potatoes

Enough potatoes to feed your family. Use your favorite potato... This will work with what ya got. (gosh, I am really specific aren't i?!)
2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped fine
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine (we like garlic in this house...)
Olive Oil (you can use the leftover oil from your chicken if you want to... Its gonna get cooked anyways, so don't worry too much about bacteria)
Salt & Pepper
~Cube up the potatoes into bite size pieces, and toss all of the ingredients together. Roast at 400 degrees along side your chicken.... These will take about 40 minutes, so plan accordingly... Maybe put these together before the chicken so the meat isn't sitting around...

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
~This recipe comes courtesy of Alton Brown over at Food Network... I made some alterations, so here is my version
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter 
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or creamy, your call... just use a nice healthy spoonful)
  • 12 ounces bread flour (I never have this on hand... A.P. works just fine for me)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk  (Ok, here is where I screwed up... I forgot to add the extra yolk... Whoops! They still taste good!)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream (thats what I had on hand... The original calls for whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (The original calls for 12 ounces)
  • 1 handful of crushed walnuts (these are not included in the original)


Melt the butter and peanut butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda onto a paper plate. Pour the butter into your stand mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using the paper plate as a slide, gradually integrate the dry ingredients, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour is worked in, drop the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips and nuts. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven. Scoop the dough out onto parchment-lined half sheet pans. I just used my tablespoon measure and squashed the cookies a little flat before baking. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. (If this works for you, great! I burned the first pan on the bottom... I found it works best for me doing one pan at a time for about 8-10 minutes.) Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before devouring.
Note: I did not take this picture... I can't find my camera battery!



Oh. My. Gawd! I have 50 followers! This is awesome! Thanks everyone for following my blog! I hope you stay on board with me, even through the cold and boring winter! Thanks again! Yay!!!!!!


Harvest Monday & Post #200!!!

Do groundhogs hibernate? I ask because this week, I was actually able to harvest a whole bowl full of poc choi! The little bastard groundhog actually stayed away long enough for me to get a greens harvest! It only took 5 months... Bastard... Is it wrong to wish death upon a groundhog? I think not!

Anwyays, I didn't weigh the greens because I had considered anything harvested beyond like, October, a bonus. I didn't really know what to do with it, so I sauteed it up like I would spinach, and then the rest of it, I tossed in some soup. It was pretty good in the soup, but I am just not the kind of person to eat sauteed greens... I like kale and spinach, but everything else I find is just too bitter to eat on its own... Maybe in a stir fry??

Wow! I have 200 posts!!! I wish I had something profound to say, but alas, I am at a loss for words... Oh well... Happy 200 to me!


Oven Lovin' Saturday

This week I made bread... Kind of a baguette type bread, only 1 rising required... I had my doubts about it, but it turned out pretty good... Especially hot from the oven with butter!

1 Rise Baguettes

2 cups warm water
1 package yeast (I used rapid rise for this one)
1 T sugar
1 and 1/2 t salt
As much flour as you need to make a moist yet not sticky dough (I used just over 5 cups)

Mix the water, sugar, and yeast and allow to foam...
Mix in the flour and salt and knead until the dough becomes elastic. Than cut into 4 equal pieces and roll them into logs. Twist 2 of the logs together to form a loaf, place on pan, and allow to rise about 30 minutes.
(these haven't risen... I seem to have left that picture out)
Place in 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown
  What did you use your oven for this week?


My Week in Review

No garden happenings... No, that is a lie... I got the 2012 Johnny's catalog! My first issue of garden porn this year! I love it! I have been pouring over it, over and over, and starting to circle things I want...

Work was fine this week, except when I lost my badge... Just in case you are wondering, you cannot work as a flight attendant without the appropriate identification! So, here I am, sitting in my hotel room in Newark, NJ just waiting for the morning so I can go replace my badge and rejoin my crew on Saturday morning... Oh yeah, I will have to call my supervisor tomorrow so she can "discipline" me for being human and making a mistake... I don't so much care about that part as much as I care about the poor stew who had to replace me for 2 days or how I feel like I abandoned my crew, even if only by accident. The really sad part? I know exactly where my badge is... It is on the plane that went to Cleveland from Newark at 6pm... Ugh...

What else? Not much really... I hope everyone has a post for Oven Lovin Saturday! I have mine all ready to go! I really hope this takes off!

So in conclusion, I leave everyone with another cute cat picture... This would be Punkin and Chicken Stalker...


Calling All Bakers!

I am bring to you the first installment of Saturday Oven Lovin! (Yeah, I know it is Sunday, but I just had this idea this morning... Saturday from here on out!) We have Harvest Monday, TidBit Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard, Sunday Scribbles, and I am sure that there are things for Friday, but I don't know about them yet... I thought with winter coming up, and the holiday season, and dare I say that dreaded 4-letter "s" word, baking would be a warm and cozy thing to get going on Blogger so everyone would have some tried and true recipes to call on. Anyways, if you want to participate, just leave your link and a comment at the bottom of the post and please try to link back from your own blog so other readers can have access to all of the soon to be (hopefully!) recipes. Recipes don't have to be original, they just have to be tasty! Sweet or savory, dinner or dessert, you pick!

Today, I bring you Banana-Orange-Nut Bread. TASTY! This recipe came to me via a Google search where I found Mind-Over-Batter and this recipe for Banana cranberry bread... I didn't have cranberries and I don't like rum, so I made some slight alterations.... Here is my version....


  • 3 to 4 very ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Healthy pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried banana chip pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
You know the drill here - mix all of your wet ingredients (that means the sugar too!) in an electric mixer (or use those big strong arm muscles) and then add all of your dry ingredients (sift the flour with the baking soda and spices beforehand so that everything mixes well) and then pour the batter into a loaf pan, and bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Yum!!!


The Aftermath...

Hubby and I do our Thanksgiving whenever we so feel like it because that is what my job makes us do... Anyhow, I ended up working yesterday, but getting home at around 5, then hitting up his family's Thanksgiving. Good times, good times. Then this morning we went for a run (Hubby went with me!!!!!) and then we went out and ventured into Black Friday. We went to the uber-popular-suburb-shopping-center, and were not at all surprised to drive around for 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot... And then we went in... And honestly, it wasn't that busy. I couldn't believe all the cars and the lack of bodies. I mean, of course I had to wait in line forever, but really, there weren't that many people...

So when we got home, I decided it would probably be a good thing to work on a paper that is due next week when I found that my computer mouse (the touchpad thing on the laptop) had officially died (I have been fighting it for, oh, near 6 months) so I ventured BACK out into the chaos. So, good thing about BF? I got a sweet wireless mouse for $10. Darn good day for that to happen, eh?

So anyways, in the aftermath of it all, I give you a rare photo of myself, Tiny G, and my little snugglebug, Oliver, taking a nice snooze...


Glad We Don't Have A Dead Cat

Just in case you have never been introduced to Charlotte, she our token "flake" of the homestead... As cute as she is, she has a TON few wires loose in her brain and is a, well, total flake. Today was flea drop day. Yes, I am still continuing the flea fight (WAR.) Anyways, so here is how the story goes... Charlotte hangs out in the basement a lot because well, no one goes down there. So our plan was to chase get her to run out, and the person guarding the door would catch her. Turns out that little flake is FAST. So up we run from the basement, looking on the main floor. Then we decide that she is up on the 2nd floor under the bed (which she was...) So now the plan is to get her to run out from the bed and into the bathroom, and we would trap her in there and go in with "the goods." That didn't work either... So this goes on like, 3 or 4 times, all 3 floors of the house... Yeah... we were tired...

So finally, she goes into the office and lays in the paper basket. At this point, we are so tired, and she is so scared, she let Hubby just walk up to her, grab her neck skin, hand her over, and I put on the drops. As I was applying the drops, Hubby said, we should cut her nails. She was so traumatized at that point, I said no because I seriously thought she was going to have a heart attack... After the drop application, my little babe tucked away in a dark corner for about 30 minutes, and then emerged to go find another dark corner on the 2nd floor... (This next part is just for my conscience) Really, she puts this upon herself... If she would just let me put the drops on and clip her nails once a month, all would be well!!!

So, conclusion? Drops accomplished, and we don't have a dead cat.
She is so elusive, I pretty much only have pictures of her from the back....


It's Gonna Be a Warm Warm Winter

It's here! The pellet stove has been installed and is up and running! Just in the nick of time too, as they are calling for possibly some (dare I even say it) snow... Its so pretty! I am in warm heaven!


Putting the Yard to Bed

Yesterday, Hubby and I spent the first half of the day putting the day getting the yard ready for winter. He insulated the coop using that foam board stuff (rather than the fluffy insulation - someone told me they got terrible mites in there, yuck!) and I cleaned up the yard. I pulled out all of the tomatoes, cleaned up the cages, moved the compost to the other bin, added leaves and stuff to the compost, and cleaned out the chicken run. I had some leftover straw from my garlic planting project, so I tossed it in the run, and boy do The Golden Girls love kicking it around! I hope it is able to keep them occupied... I took down the ghetto-fied chicken fence, so they don't have free range anymore, unless we are outside. They don't seem as eager to run away when we are actually outside with them. I thought about putting up some old windows as a cold frame, but considering that The Bastard Groundhog has decimated my pac choi and radishes, I figured it wasn't worth the effort. Maybe next year...

I hope everyone remembered to "fall back" last night! I know this may sound weird coming from someone who is NOT a morning person, but I am happy to be up-and-at-em before 8. Definitely gives me some more time in the day. I am sure this will change soon as my body gets used to the time change, but I am going to take advantage of it for now!

Running update: Today is my first "mile test" and I am going to wear my new shoes! Yes! I have appropriate and designated shoes! I am super psyched about them! They are silver and purple. Love them! Next week will be scary... This week was simply run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes. Seriously, anyone can do that.... Tomorrow starts run 2 minutes, walk 1 minuet... I am kind of scared, but oh well!!! Get over it!!!

This weeks mile test: 00:11:20
Pounds lost this week: 2
Pounds lost total: 2


Cleveland Marathon

Ok ok... I did it... I registered for the Cleveland Half Marathon...

Now, I am not a runner, but I am determined to be one. This week, I started a 10 week program for people who don't run to be able to run for 30 minutes straight without dieing. I am on day 3 and loving it... Most of the time... Now, if only I will be able to motivate myself to get out and run when it is like, 20 degrees...That will be the biggest challenge...


Chicken Stalker Has A Posse

I talked to Hubby today, just as usual to talk about the day, work, etc... He informed me that Chicken Stalker has some friends. He said that when he went upstairs to get dressed for work, there were a few cats in the driveway. Then when he got upstairs and looked out the window, there were 7 or 8 cats lined up along the fence watching the chickens. Chicken Stalker was sitting inside a roll of chicken wire (don't you love how if a cat hides it head, it thinks you can't see it?) So anyways, nothing big happened... He went outside, chased the cats away, and put the Girls back into their (totally covered) pen. and then went to work. So yeah... now we have a Bastard Groundhog, Chicken Stalker, and now her Posse.... Oy!

I wish I had some photos for you, but uh, my work schedule is just not allowing me to be home for more than 1 day at a time (and it is starting to take a toll on my sanity.)


Bastard Groundhog

That bastard groundhog completely decimated my pac choi. I came home from my last trip hoping to harvest mounds of greens to eat with dinner, and low and behold, I had none. Then yesterday (my only day off this week) that little bastard dared show his face! And let me tell you what, he is HUGE. Im talking like, maybe 2 of my cats. That is like, 15-20 pounds (depending on which cat you choose.) I hate him. Can I shoot him now???

Then, chicken stalker tried a fast one. We were inside, the sun was setting, and the garden was in the shadows. Being her stealthy gray self, Chicken Stalker creeped her was INTO the chicken run, and UNDER the chicken shelter... Then I went out to close up the Golden Girls, and Chicken Stalker went running out of the yard. Little Bitch Chicken Stalker. Can I shoot her now???



Mama Gardener has sold her house! I have NEVER posted on this because the house was for sale for 2 years because as Cinderella said, "If you tell a wish, it won't come true!" It sold almost 2 years to the day it was first listed. She didn't get as much money as she wanted, but nevertheless, the thing is sold! The closing was yesterday, and I am sure she is so relieved. It's always a stressful thing buying and selling houses. It's truly a great situation as the buyer is an investor from CA and was going to need to find a tenant, so Mama agreed to rent it until next summer. Now she doesn't own it, but gets to take her sweet ole time moving out (and on.) Congrats Mama!


New Floor!

Well, not a whole floor. Just a partial floor. Hubby and I took the plunge and purchased a pellet stove to keep up nice and toasty this winter. In order to have the thing installed, we had to lay down a tile floor, as fire doesnt go so well with wood. So hubby had his first tiling project done yesterday in about 3 hours. He did so well! The guy came this morning (I am at work of course) to check out our house and the area where it will be installed... Hopefully the install date has been chosen... I am just so excited!
The scariest part... Cutting out the wood floor

Chiseling out the leftovers on top of the original flooring from the homes life in 1870

Laying tile

Drying... Then it is grout time!
This is the stove we chose! Can't wait to have this puppy delivered!

Garden Walk 2012

Yay!!! The people from Garden Walk Cleveland finally contacted me! I am so excited! Hopefully I will be able to get a few of my neighbors in on it also. Awesome!!!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Trying To Go Public

Cleveland has started and annual Garden Walk that displays the gardens and urban farms of locals in several neighborhoods. Last year, My community garden (which I am no longer a part of) and a neighbor were part of it, and I want in on it. I do remember that I happened to be home that day (June 25th), and several people were walking by and asked me if I was part of the tour. I said no, but I would love to be involved. So anyways, I have sent them several messages, complete with contact info and blog address, and have received no response. Perhaps they don't start worrying about next year until, well, next year? Anyways, If you happen to be one of the people in charge of finding new gardens to include in the tour, HERE I AM!!! Come on over!!! The Golden Girls and I would love to talk to you!!!

If you want to bombard them with messages on my behalf, they also have a Facebook Page.


Planting Garlic

I FINALLY got my hands on a rototiller last week! And then it rained... And then I had to work for 4 days... THEN I got home, and it was GORGEOUS outside! Sunny, 60, perfect tilling and planting weather. I tilled in some peat moss and composted manure, raked it out, and shoved the cloves in. Covered with straw, covered that with chicken wire, and then laid some boards on top to keep the whole lot from blowing away or getting dug up by The Golden Girls. We planted a grand total of 180 cloves - here is the breakdown.... 22 German Extra Hardy,   53 Chesnok Red, 59 Persian Star, and 46 Lorz Italian. The seed heads were HUGE! I purchased them all from Seed Savers Exchange, and I am NOT disappointed. Next garlic update is coming in spring!
I do believe this is a Lorz Italian....

The rest of the garden is DONE. I pulled out everything except a bed of tomatoes because the Girls like to go in there and hide when it is windy. I am sure that once all the leaves fall off and they are nothing but sticks coming out of the ground, they won't find it as useful, but for now, I will leave it. Besides, they like to eat the leftover tomatoes that I am no longer interested in. I am already starting plans for next years garden... I know, I know, I am special. But I know that all you gardeners out there are doing the same thing!


Beef Part 2

It's here, It's here! The beef! I made the 2.5 hour drive down to the butcher and the 2.5 hour drive back home and unloaded 5 cases of beef. I have all sorts of steaks, roasts, short ribs, soup bones, and ground beef galore. My freezer is filled to capacity. We had to have a couple of friends over to eat just so we would be able to close the freezer. I had to move all my veggies and stuff to the upstairs freezer, and needless to say, it is full as well. If I go to the grocery store any time in the next month, it will be for nothing besides juice, cheese, and soy milk. I need nothing. It is really a weird feeling, and definitely well worth it.

Now, for those who have never gotten a side of beef, you will be amazed at the price. Now, Row Family Farmers Extraordinaire have given us our beef as a Christmas present (and let me say, I am happy to get that EVERY year instead of presents wrapped in bows) and all we had to pay was our processing fee. The grand total for us? $165.00. Yep, you read that right... A year's worth of beef for under $200. I love having farmers as family. It's friggin awesome!

How to keep track of all of this? I found this handy little inventory list over at Northwest Edible Life... Her downloads are awesome, and I definitely recommend checking them out. 


The Last Hurrah

We have been picking what is left in the garden before I rip it all out. We have several bowls of tomatoes, a bowl of peppers, and a few baby eggplants. I must definitely figure out some good things to make with the last of our produce. A few weeks ago, I had a TON of peppers and just about a half ton on tomatoes, and thought hmm... what the heck do you make with this? I found a recipe for a charred chili bbq sauce, and it was DELISH. Honestly not so good by itself, but on some grilled meats, it really is awesome. The end of tomato season is sad, BUT it does mean GARLIC. My garlic order from Seed Savers arrived yesterday, so I will get to planting that next week. I have to ammend the bed where it will go, and then figure out a way to make sure The Girls don't dig it up. Their new favorite place to dig is in my tulip bed (which also needs to be moved.) I also have to dig up a rose bush... I think I want to move it the front of the side yard, but I am not really sure... I think I want to get rid of my irises, but I am not really sure on that one either... Sounds like a good time to make a to do list... (Ignore this part and just go straight to the pics) OH AND I got a desk! Finally! After giving up my first office to Hubby, then my second office to the dining room, I finally have a place to work again. And by work, I mean studying... Studying Studying, and more studying... Did I mention Studying???

Decide on red rose bush and irises
move tulips
sift out compost
move tools back to garage and start using the OTHER compost bin....
amend bed and plant garlic
pull rest of tomatoes and peppers
clean and take canning stuff back to basement
weed whack and rake out back yard of random tomatoes/peppers/and of course chicken poop

The last of the garden... I got those 2 little pumpkins at the market...

Nasty looking BBQ mix of veggies


putting my office together

Punkin likes her new perch... Don't worry, I have plenty of stuff to fill up those cubicles...


Just Some Cat Fun

One of my "friends" on facebook posted this video... Just like my Punkin, noises and all...


Fleas Fleas Fleas, As far as the eyes can SEES

Ok, please tell me I am not the only one... My cats have fleas. I am launching chemical warfare. Flea drops, flea powder, flea stuff for the carpet, flea stuff for the bedding. I am friggin over this crap! I have treated the cats and the house several times since the summer began, and here I am, doing it AGAIN today. Vacuuming, dusting, washing every piece of cloth we own... Is it just me? Or is everyone having a problem this year? My cats don't even go outside. Well, Punkin does when she escapes, which happened a few time in the last week, and so did Oliver. I have hand picked 3 fleas from Punk and 2 from Oliver. Charlotte is hopeless since she is a total flake and I can't catch her. And she is black, so there is no way to see those little buggers... Damn fleas!


Trip to the Farm

Hubby's family owns a plot of land (about 19 acres) in north central Ohio, and someday it will be ours. When that will happen, we really don't know. We are hoping between 10 and 15 years. Anyways, we made a day trip down to see it to celebrate our belated anniversary, and talked about future plans. There currently isn't anything on the property except a bank barn the Hubby's Great-Granddad built like, 80 years ago. It is still in really really good shape, so it isn't gonna go anywhere. We talked about building a 2 story barn with an apartment on the second floor to start out, then building a house down the road, and what kind of things we would grow, and animals we would have. It was a really awesome day. Here are a few pics!
Main Street

Main Street

View of our farm from the road

View from the back tree line

In the woods

The barn


We also went over to the ridge outside of town. Nice view, eh?

More ridge

My first time using the self timer! Not so bad!

Covered bridge

View of the Mohican River from the bridge

The other side of the river