Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Joy

  • Lake shore walk complete with bikers, walkers, runners, and many dogs
  • Lake Michigan deep aqua green blue water splashing up against concrete wall
  • Lady doing stretches on sandy beach
  • Meditating lady on stone wall
  • U-Pick it operations everywhere along Michigan coastline
  • Picking my very own apples from the orchard
  • My dear friend Ruthie so nonchalantly announcing a wedding to be in Sept. 2010 with Farmer Trent
  • I get to be in the wedding and share the special day!
  • Kalamzoo Farmers Market
  • Sitting in a window seat watching the birds at bird feeders
  • Crazy little ground chipmunks
  • Amish Pumpkin Roll at the market
  • Gigantic Napa Cabbage probably 10 pounds
  • Beautiful market stand display by Farmer Trent and many others White salad turnips that surprise many with their goodness
  • Small children chomping away on popcorn and salad turnips
  • People so pleased with their produce selection
  • Food Dance - Ultimate Mac and Cheese - Let's say gooey cheesy pasta with spinach and applewood smoked bacon can't possible get much better!
  • Nap time food coma after Mac & Cheese
  • Farm tour @ dusk of Green Gardens Farm- check out
  • Michigan sunset
  • Barn Bash - chatting with the locals
  • The locals so proud and pleased with quality produce the receive
  • Buffet table with more veggie items than I've ever seen at a potluck
  • Carrot Cake
  • Michigan apple cider
  • Small kids holding hands playing ring around the rosie
  • Parents with cameras trying to catch the game
  • Nature walk
  • Beautiful scenery- Food in the ground, diverse tree landscape and blue, grey, gold sunset on the horizon

Sunday, September 27, 2009

U Pick It

"Driving down the road. Haulin quite a load. Seeing things I really want to see." Expect nobody is saying, "Are we there yet?" Because the drive is amazing and there are so many things to do along the way.

(Only if you were in my 8th grade choir class will you truly appreciate or understand that little song.)

The drive from Chicago to Kalamazoo, MI along lake Michigan and I-94 is a trip of much to see. Upon entering the state of Michigan every other billboard is NOT an adult superstore advertisement, but an advertisement for farm stands, produce markets, wineries, and u-pick it operations. Needless to say, I managed to stop at one, conveniently located 8 miles off the interstate at a 5th generation farm and orchard to take part in my very own U-pick it experience. Let's just say those Gala apples are darn good. The family farm is on 800 acres of land with several different fruit operations going on including apples, peaches, cherries, grapes. It was a really great experience and the store is located in this giant red barn constructed with wooden pegs. I got back on interstate to stop a few more miles down the road, this time draw away from the road by the Chocolate Garden. An amazing truffle operation right beside another orchard u-pick it, a winery, and local produce stand. I think I like this state, a lot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Driving Day

Adventure #1 has begun. I finally got in my car and left home. No more talking about traveling and working on farms, I'm going. Today spending about 9 hours in a car by myself I had the opportunity to make some great observations about the land around me. My first decision to bypass the state of Iowa and the depressing field after field of corn was a very wise decision. Instead I traveled across the north part of the state of Missouri into Illinois and up to Chicago. A good day for driving, leaving KC with sunny crisp morning driving into rain and then cloudy the rest of the day. A good trip overall. I've been keeping track of moments of joy I've been experiencing on the trip. Enjoy!

Joy moments:
  • QT to start the day off with a pumpkin spice cappucino mixed with dark roast coffee. Made complete in my K-State coffee mug.
  • Cool, crisp morning
  • Native grasses and sunflower filled ditches
  • Glistening dewy fields
  • Baby calf breath in the crisp air
  • Resurfaced roads- completed as promised
  • Better than Motel 6 - the Riggs Residence Wednesday night
  • Bunking it with Winnie Tuesday night
  • Dinner with the nutrition ladies
  • $2.18 gas in Liberty, MO
  • Growing Together, Hamilton, MO
  • Huge cottonwoods along the Grand River
  • Clean Casey's Restrooms with an extra trashcan by the door
  • Crop Fields in obvious flood planes with large dikes built up all around the fields
  • Marceline, MO hometown Walt Disney
  • Disney music CD in honor of Walt
  • Circle of Life memories
  • Mussel Fork Conservation Area
  • Jacksonville, IL downtown square - Three Legged Dog Portabella Panini
  • Employee at Three Legged Dog walking through the place mentioning a car in the parking lot with lights on....that would be mine....again
  • Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL - Yeah for Jamie!
  • Funk Grove - Pure Maple Sirup - closed for the season (that's really how it's spelled)
  • Unmowed medians
  • Towanda, IL - Yeah for thinking of Alecia!
  • Illinos State University Farm, Lexington, IL
  • Dove Dark Chocolate
  • Wind Farm between Odell and Dwight, IL
  • Safely making it into the city of Chicago, all the way past downtown, to my great friend Dane's place
  • Chicago pizza with Dane

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
I've been blessed with time enough to tend to the bounty that has piled up....

TOMATOES: It amazes me how many more tomatoes just keep on growing despite the plant that looks dried up and dead. Tomatoes grow so big. I think to try to put a value on a single tomato plant would be crazy. They produce so much with virtually no care! Tomato soup, tomato salsa, tomato sauce, tomato paste, slicing tomatoes, marinara, stewed tomatoes......

RASPBERRIES: My father planted a few bushes a couple of years ago. Now they have taken over and need some desperate pruning. In the meantime I attempt to grasp as many as possible amongst the prickly patch. It's been so wet many of them are moldy on the bush. So sad.

PEPPERS: I think today I picked about 20 jalepenos off of one plant. They are crazy growing. What the heck shall I do with that many, who knows. Into the freezer they shall go. Sweet bell peppers, and smoky bell peppers are a growin also.

PEARS: The only fruit trees that actually produced this year. Yeah for pears. Charlie dog likes them also. Pears for breakfast, pears for lunch, pears for dinner. Made in crisp, stewed with cinnamon, mashed into pearsauce, and baked down to butter.

That's all for my bounty of creation today. Add to that action a few wheat baguettes and a nice glass of wine before bed, life is great!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Simple Beauty

I'm trying to catch the glimpses of such great simple beauty for you all to take part in. I really think that as a society we are constantly running in so many directions we have no time to admire the simple things of creation. They are all around us, but how often do we take the time to just observe bees in action or toads taking a break on the walk? How often do we really inspect flowers on the tree or pears decomposing on the ground. Beauty.
We had some crazy mushrooms popping up after 2 days of rain
Oh so great pear tree.

Yummy bean burgers!

I've been searching for about the past year for a homemade vegetarian burger recipe. I've made numerous versions, some with loads of veggies, some with loads of grains, some with loads of beans and most of them have tasted pretty good, but just have not been the ideal burger. They either fall apart in the pan upon cooking, or even if a simple broil action works they mush out the side of my bread when I try to eat them. It's might seem silly, why don't I just stick with the premade veggie burgers from the store? Because they are ridiculously expensive. I've actually never bought them, but my parents purchased a few boxes for around $5 a box for 4 itty bitty burgers. Of course my economical sense can tell me that making my own is much cheaper and I can avoid those pre-made sodium burgers. Really. So...I've finally found a keeper.
Recipe found at Eating Well : Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole
As you can tell I definitely went with the guacamole on top with super fresh tomatoes right out of the garden. Add a few slices of pepper jack cheese and it was so great, no other condiments needed. I used a combination of pinto beans and red kidney beans because that it what I happened to have. I think next time I'm going to try them with black beans for my attempt at the Morning Star black bean burgers. My parents and my aunt loved them, my sister on the other hand....still not so sure about this vegetarian business. Too bad for her. Go ahead, give them a try.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Miss Handy Woman

My dad gets a subscription of HandyMan magazine. It's rather humorous because he is far from handy. Maybe it's because he gives of himself to 5 billion community organizations, and runs his own business. I don't know but the term handyman is just kind of a joke around this house. Until....Handy Woman comes home.

Today I mounted and properly installed my first ever ceiling fan! That's right. The new outdoor ceiling fan that has been sitting in the box on the back porch for probably two years now is no longer in the box but hanging from the ceiling. And it works, I might add, properly. Add that to the leaky toilet I fixed yesterday and I think I qualify for the handy woman status.

Enough about my accomplishments, it really just takes time, patience, and the ability to read directions. I'm thanking Chapman Elementary School for that one. I've also been blessed with this time to hang out and figure out how I can surprise my parents with crazy projects around this farm. Thanks Lord.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not exactly what I had planned

Here's a funny story....
1st day back on the ranch, aka Lindahl homestead, I exit the home ready to attack the monster of an overgrown garden my parents have allowed to grow. Upon not really being able to find anything with the 3 feet tall weeds and grass, I proceeded to get out the mower. Maybe I can just mow all this crap down and then get to the tomato plants and maybe find the onions. But this overgrown mess is a little much for even the push mower, yes it is going to need a brush hog I'm afraid, too bad I'm fresh out of those. You know how I am, I've got a mower right here and this front yard needs a mowing as well, I might as well get started. So, begin me mowing the front yard. I think I'm pretty good; mowing in straight lines to get the back and forth lines action going in this small yard. I'm doing great, until.......I try to mow under and around some of what my father calls his nursery, aka bushes and small trees all growing in a patch together. As I'm bent down pushing back and forth I happen to pull the mower back and turn around to switch directions, turning right into a nice little tree with a twig small enough and pointy enough to stab me in the eye. It hurt, but I'm a big girl, I can suck it up. Maybe......

A couple of hours later, after realizing the pain is not going away and my eye will not stop watering, Mom decides to take me to the eye doctor. Yeah for small towns and doctor's offices where I can walk in, tell my sob story - haha literally my eye will not stop sobbing - and get in to see the doctor immediately. He proceeds to tell me, "Oh you did more than just scratch your eye, it's a pretty good cut there." That's nice, I was hoping he would tell me to suck it up, no problem, because when there is an issue, this means, a funky bandaid contact, weird antibiotic gel stuff and a checkup in two days. I'm so talented. Wonder if my dad has workman's comp for the workers on his farm?

Two days later, today, I return to the doctor. It feel 10 times better and I am allowed to remove the contact bandaid. My nice doctor thought it was humorous when I told him yesterday I wore my old chemistry goggles while mowing and cutting tree branches. I was paranoid and decided the old clear bulky things surely come in handy. He also told me that my eye has healed much faster than he predicted. I said that it must be because I ate my carrots, but he's confident that it's really because I wore my chemistry goggles. So yeah, my eye is fine, but definitely took the plans I had for my first three days at home on a different path. I also have a great testimony how important eating fruits and veggies are in body healing. For real. No lie, they work.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finally get to organizing my stuff and remove the huge pile from my mom's dining room.