Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My garden is going to overtake me.

I work so hard every year to get my garden to this point.  It is now fairly self-sufficient.  I water, pick and weed a bit but it seems to have a life of it's own.  It is a fabulous break from the compulsive attention that had to be paid early in the season.  This season has been especially challenging.  Heat, wind, more heat and no rain.  It's been brutal.  But with lots of mulch and selective watering.  We have done okay.  Abba has been good to us.  I say a prayer of wonder and thanksgiving every time I step into the garden.  The rest of the world is dead and brown but this little piece of land brings forth life.  What a picture of His Faith.  Our striving means nothing without His blessing.  I give praise to the Everlasting!

Basil and dill.  There is a Simon and Garfunkel  song in there somewhere.

This is a mystery plant.  What in the world is it.  It grew up in my bed of lettuce so I let it grow.  It is taking over.  Can anyone tell me what it is?  No flowers, just vine and leaves.  It looks like morning glory a bit but no flowers.  HELP ME!

Itchiban eggplant.  It has small fruit but is mucho productive.  Anyone have a good baba ghanoush recipe?

Bell peppers how I love thee.  The peppers have LOVED the heat.

My beans have produced nothing.  Huge beautiful plants, few blossoms.  The blossoms we do have are dropping off.  Darn the heat.

Cucumbers!!  Slicing and pickling.  They just started producing and I am a happy girl.

Look at these blossoms!  I should have tomatoes like crazy, right?

Wrong!  This is what they do right before they fall off of the plant.  Come on
heat!  Give us a break!

 These are called Mexico Midgets.  That is as big as they get but they are our only
 producers right now.  Boy do they produce!

Awwww, I love this place.

This is the front garden.  We have been very blessed with squash.  It is yummy!

Okra!!!  One of my favorites.  I love to eat it raw, right off of the plant. 
This was the front garden in June.  Cute and organized.

This is the front garden now.  Good grief.  But I am not complaining.  I am praising!

Maybe, if we are patient, we might just get a few melons out of the deal!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where have I seen this before?

This looks so familiar.  Two cousins, almost the same age.

It is as if this has happened before.  A giant blond boy and a sweet brown-haired girl.


Wait... it think I know why!

It has happened before!!  This is big sister and big brother.  They were the originals.

Don't be so sad baby.  You can add your own spin to it.

See!  I don't think I ever saw your sister do that.

You two are too much! 

 Love you crazy little babies!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In a pickle? (Bet you can't guess where this is going.)

We came back from our week in New Mexico to a garden full of giant squash.  So what's a girl to do?  I can tell ya what this girl did.  I made pickles!  Spicy bread and butter pickles to be exact.

Last year, I bought the mix from the store for bread and butter pickles.  But I really didn't like all of the ingredients.  This year, I found a recipe that I liked and tried it out.  I had to buy the spices, which did cost some money but I can make several batches.  This is mustard seed, celery seed, ginger, tumeric, and peppercorn.   

I sliced the squash (patty pan) with some white onion and then gave it a ice cold bath.  This seems to help the squash stay a bit more crisp when pickled.

I sliced some jalapeno from the garden.

I mixed the spices with some sugar.  These are bread and butter pickles so them must have sugar!

Then I pulled out my trusty gallon of white vinegar.

I mixed the vinegar with the spices and put it on the stove to boil.

While I was waiting, I drained the squash and packed it into a clean and sterilized jar along with a half of the jalapeno.  Then you ladel the boiling hot spiced liquid over the squash.  You need to tap the jar to get rid of the air bubbles then leave about 1/4 inch at the top of the jar. 

I wiped the rim of the jars to make sure they were clean then I put on the lids and rings and dropped the jars into a waterbath.

After boiling for 10 minutes we have pickles!  Actually, they need to sit for about 2 weeks to get the best flavor.  It's hard to wait but it will be worth it.  See the yellow color?  That's the tumeric, not Yellow #5!

This is not a recipe but I do have a recipe.  If anyone is interested in the actually recipe that I used, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will send it to you.  Otherwise, you can find a recipe that suits you online.  It's important to find one that is specific to your tastes.  That is why I didn't post this one!  I just wanted to show you how easy it is to do yourself.  Here are a few sites that have similar recipes:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

El Reunion

July is reunion time for my husband's family.  Everyone loads up all of their camping gear, every bit of food they own, and some sweet talent show skills and heads to the New Mexico high desert.   It is always a fun time spent with our sweet family.  The kids LOVE it!  They just roll around in the dirt and eat cookies whenever they want.  It's a kid's paradise.  The grown ups; my husbands cousins, aunt and uncles, grandparents and some old friends just enjoy being together.  Of course there are pictures!   

Usually, my Jolie is over-run by boys.  Not true with these cousins!  Girls were everywhere and Jolie was content.

Did I mention these were her kind of girls?

These are some of our boys.  They were like wild animals.  They were hard to spot.  When we did, it was even harder to get a picture!

With the exception of occasionally messing up a girl picture.

  People get my husband and his brother confused. This is not my husband.  This is my bro-in-law with my niece Emma. 

This is the heart of the reunion and the family!  We love you Popper and Grandmother!

If Grandmother and Popper are the heart of the reunion, then this is the stomach.  Not sure which is bigger! ( Okay, so the heart must be bigger because the stomach couldn't handle all of that food.  Can you say leftovers?)

This is the Mullins/Stokes compound.  We had a nice cozy spot beneath the trees. 

And my fear of snakes slithering around the campgrounds came true.  Thankfully my husband/hero caught it and thankfully it was just a bull snake.  The kids were so excited!

iPhones on a camping trip?! Hey, can you check my Facebook?

We finally got to meet Ms. Teddie.  (Teddie's mama Rachel is not only family but is also a blogger friend. Cozy Green Cocoon)  Now they have gone East.  We won't get to see them again for awhile so we were all thankful for the chance to hug them!

This was the only time I saw my son all weekend.  He turned Survivor Man on us.  We got him back when it was time to leave but he had a thick coating of dirt all over him and wouldn't let go of the weapon he had fashioned from a stick.

You know how everyone has a crazy uncle?  Well, this is ours and he is glorious!  We all love Uncle Brad.

You know that dirt coating I was talking about?  Here it is in action.  Nice uni brow son.

Matt and his cousin AJ.

He's the handsomest.  Sweet Popper.

We got to celebrate Grandmother's 80th birthday.  It was so special to have everyone together to honor her.  It was a surprise party that really surprised her because her birthday is not until November!

The most beautiful girl in the world!

These littles played into exhaustion everyday.

We have a traditional talent show at every reunion.  The kids put on a great show.  This year, Popper participated with his Magic Hat trick.  Everyone was gathered in anticipation.

It was a great trick!  See the awe, confusion and excitement in their eyes.  Priceless!

My little wolf cubs emerging from the cave.  They slept like rocks and woke bright and early.

It was a gorgeous weekend.  God was merciful and gave us cool weather and beautiful sunsets.  We couldn't have planned it better.  We feel blessed to be a part of a family that has so much love to give.  Everyone had a blast bonding with cousins that live far away or getting to know each other better.  I pray that these moments will be included in some of my kids favorite memories.  I know that they are in mine.