Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pretty Carrots

The high temp for yesterday and the next 5 days ranges between 100-105 degrees. It's ridiculously hot outside because not only is that actual temperature above 100 but with the addition of humidity it is down right wretched. With that being said, I've been watering both of my gardens and decided to pull up all my carrots before they turn disgusting. I think I probably should have pulled them several weeks ago but alas today was the day. They're beautiful!

Sink full of carrots!

Almost too pretty to eat, almost.
My new favorite activity out at the farm includes feeding all my garden scraps to the chickens. Today after cutting my cabbage I threw all the bad leaves and leftovers to the chickens. They go after it. I've decided since my compost is taking forever to actually compost and I don't want to spend the time to figure out the issue there I might as well just feed all the garden leftovers to the chickens. It adds to their goodness and healthy eggs! Yum!

I'm thinking about making sauerkraut this weekend with the cabbage I harvested. I also think it would be awesome to make kimchi so we'll see how ambitious I get.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To run

I have a t-shirt from high school that I still like to wear. It is bright green and on the front it says, "What's the difference between a runner and a thrower?" On the back it says in giant bold letters, "Bigger, Stronger, Sexier." Can you guess what event I had this shirt for? Track and Field. I have never been a runner. Just like my shirt says, I'm bigger, stronger, and sexier lifting and throwing things than running my booty down the track. In the past several years though I have been strongly influenced by an extreme endurance runner and have added running to my lifestyle. I have two speeds in the Amanda world, 1st speed and slow.

Most recently I decided that I needed a reason to up my miles and a goal in mind to make running a routine in my life. Up until now it has been an activity I choose when convenient or I'm feeling extra ambitious. This past weekend I decided to buy new running shoes and told myself that it is official, I'm training for a half-marathon. In my excursions around town I noticed a sign for a marathon and half marathon in Salina on September 25th. That gives me about three months to train. That is ample time for this beginning runner. I was thinking that a 10K might be the next race to conquer but I'm feeling confident I can do a half. I ran 5 miles this morning in a large loop around Abilene and felt pretty good. Only the last mile did my right toes go numb and the final 1/2 mile did my side start hurting.

The major plus of increasing my mileage is the additional boost to my metabolism. Now if only I can control the urge to eat all day long!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quality cheese

I splurged and bought this $8 chunk of cheese this weekend at the farmers' market. It's a new cheese for the Jason Weibe cheese-makers and it's super sharp. It's also fabulous!

It was perfect on top of my scrambled eggs and swiss chard for breakfast Sunday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Green things

My second garden, the one that I tend to approximately once a week at my parents' house, is a little crazy. Due to the fact that I leave it in my mother's hands to water during the week that is about all that gets done. It is definitely alive and doing well, but when I finally get out there to check on things it seems there is sooo much to do. Good things. 

Today I noticed the second planting of corn is as big if not bigger than the first planting. Most of my squash is a lost cause as I'm pretty sure that the squash bugs have already taken over. However, my all organic (I put nothing on them) cabbage heads are needing to be picked because the bugs are eating them alive. My tomatoes are looking good after I pruned and tied them up some more. I harvested a bunch of beets and onions and need to spend another day out there harvesting the remaining onions, turnips, and cabbage. I'm sure there are potatoes that can be dug up and I need to give some effort to the strawberry bed to prepare it for next season.

As I made my way back to town I did a quick check on my first garden. Look what I found! These are even a bit big but just since yesterday morning when I looked at them they grew a ton I feel. Actually that big one was definitely hiding.
Very first zucchini harvest!
Yesterday I made a trip to Manhattan and checked on my friends' Dave and Wendi's garden plants. I harvested some basil on their giant plants and am pretty pumped for the first pesto of the summer season hanging out in my fridge right now. Today's concoction included basil, almonds, garlic, olive oil, and salt. I plan to make pesto pizza tonight for Family Friend Date Night! It's going to be epic goodness!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rose of Sharon

I am continually thankful for the way seasons work. As time progresses through the year, our mother earth blesses us with changes in the landscape we live in. I am so amazed by the cycle of plant life and how there is always something new coming or going. Today I was blessed by the blooms of the Rose of Sharon bush outside my window. It is a giant bush and reminds me of my grandmother. As long as I've been familiar with this particular plant, my family has called it the Althea bush. Simply beautiful!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Discouraging Public

As the Family Nutrition Program Assistant, it is my job to encourage all people and particularly those on food assistance to enjoy healthy lifestyles. These healthy lifestyles include eating healthful food. At this point in time, I believe it is the easiest time of the year to enjoy the healthiest food options. I say this because healthy, fresh, local foods are available. Sure, fruits and vegetables are available year round in grocery stores, but due to the fact that they travel thousands of miles to get on the shelves they lose their freshness and nutrient value over time. Buying fresh produce at local farmers' markets or growing it yourself, one is able to eat food literally the day it is harvested. This ensures that one of gaining all the essential nutrients found in the plant.

In order to encourage my local neighbors in Abilene and Dickinson County to enjoy these most healthful products I decided to conduct an Eating from the Market cooking class right here in Abilene. This free class would encourage residents to shop locally and demonstrate just how to cook some of these foods. I made fliers and put them around town in public businesses as well as advertised on the city's facebook page. It was even discussed on the local radio. This week was my first attempt at gathering people for this cooking class. I patrolled the farmers' market on Wednesday night and again this Saturday morning looking for takers on my class. Guess how many takers I got. A big fat zero. Super disappointing. I will say that I spoke with one lady this morning that came down to the market and shopped because she saw my flyer but didn't have the time to attend the cooking class. So I guess my efforts were not completely useless.

So just how do I convince people to attend such events? Any ideas? My attempt this week was to get people to the market and then have them travel a short distance down the road to our office location with a kitchen to do our cooking. I think that people are generally in a rush and don't want to take the time to go anywhere. My thought is to attempt to rig up some system under a tent so I can conduct this class right there at the market. Maybe if people were able to just stop by and watch while they were shopping they would learn something. I really wanted to allow them to participate, but obviously people are not interested in that action.

I don't want to sound like a complete Debbie Downer here, but I'm once again back to the simple fact that life in small town mid-west America takes forever to progress. I mean we have quality opportunities right in front of us but we're either too busy or too slow to realize what greatness is in front of us. I'm honestly very discouraged by the general lack of any interest in anything outside the norm. Blah, blah, blah. I understand that most great things fail many times before they become great. So back to the drawing board I go.

I take all suggestions and encouragement folks. Please and thank you!



I said goodbye to my sad looking Rhonda Honda this past week. After staring at her sad face for almost a month after the ridiculous hail storm I decided to dismiss her. I got the best deal I could ever have gotten for Rhonda after my insurance check and trade in value. 

Meet my newest Honda friend, Lafonda!
I almost bought another Civic until I drove a Fit and she is amazing. She has great visibility as the newer Civics I drove have poor visibility. Lafonda is a manual so she is definitely fun to drive and although she looks quite small her interior is quite spacious. Many thanks to my sister Tara for her finagling skills in the car buying process. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lakeside Beauty

I had the pleasure of enjoying the tail-end of a lakeside sunset last weekend. It was fabulous. Then I went to bed in my tent under the stars with only a blanket and froze to death. Who knew summer in Kansas would be chilly while sleeping outside? 

First time

Presently, I'm sitting in the lovely outdoor weather of Abilene, Kansas soaking up some rays and trying to make my very first Farmers' Market sales. I don't have any vegetables to sell yet, but I have some amazing 100% Whole Grain Cookies for sale! I think they're pretty fabulous. My sign says 100% Wholesome. They have a whole lot of wholesome goodness and love in them too.

The past couple of weeks have been a little crazy in my world. So to start catching up in the blogging world I'll tell you about my first time preserving turnips. I picked quite a few from the garden. My turnips seem to become pretty spicy if they get any size on them. The heat around here has also caused them to get a little more spicy as they are fresh. I decided to blanch and freeze them and amazingly most of the spiciness went away after blanching. We'll see how they serve up a little later in my stews.

Turnip chunks and greens!
I also managed to make a first time new veggie burger recently. This burger is a combo of lentils, beets, greens and some other goodness I can't remember. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My mother and I had our first experience with pickled beets. We have both recently become big fans of pickled beets, especially on salads. When I was able to harvest quite a few I decided to try our very own pickling of beets! I decided to leave out the cinnamon and cloves that are in most pickled beets because I prefer them plain but here's our easy process:

Boil whole until tender

Slice off top and bottom and peel. The peeling should come right off.

Mother opted for the gloves to avoid pink hands.

So beautiful. It only slightly looked like we
massacred something on the countertop.

We only had 5 pints and wanted to avoid water bathing,
so this trick seals the lids and they will be fine in the fridge for a good while. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

It is mighty hot out there. I got up early this morning and thought about going running but decided to head out to the farm for some garden work instead. It was about 75 degrees when I was driving out at 7am and it quickly got up to the 95-100 degree mark. At least today there is a bit of a wind but hello hot, humid Kansas summer in the beginning of June!

I first harvested some lettuce. I don't think we'll get much more, with all this heat it is quickly turning bitter. I then went to town weeding and mulching. I dug out some of the tomato cages, staked some of the bigger tomatoes and then planted some winter squash and some more basil. I officially filled up the entire garden space. 

Potatoes on the left with green beans

My biggest tomato plant. Go baby go!

Like a diamond

First planting of corn.

Cabbage and potatoes in the distance

My second and third plantings of corn.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I just had this thought. Why do we call the living room the living room? I mean, we live in the entire house. I suppose that the living room would be the room people spend the most time living in. However, in my abode, I spend more time in the kitchen so should I rename my kitchen the living kitchen room? Hmmm...

On to news of making my house become my home, my mother and I finally put things on the wall! Mom said that means that I'm planning on staying for a while because I put holes in the wall and put decorations up. Not sure how I feel about that comment, but I am definitely staying for a while. Whatever that means.

Another ancient piece that I spiffed up.

My two free couches that I acquired.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Biking for Crazies!

I had the great opportunity to host another bunch of bicyclists last night as a part of my couch-surfing connections. Mike and Jim are amazing individuals biking across the country to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. I had the opportunity to participate in building a couple of Habitat homes while in college so I know the greatness of the organization they're working for. You should check out their website, bike for homes, if you don't believe me that they're biking from San Francisco to Boston. Simply crazy and amazing life journey. I'm not sure what the deal is but so far my couch surfing hosting has been three crazy bicyclists that are traveling through the state. It is so hot and humid right now that I sure hope they make it to Boston before they evaporate!

One of my favorite moments of their short stay was seeing these two dudes eat. They can eat like none other. I suppose after biking close to 100 miles each day for 45 days straight one can work up an appetite. They said it wasn't a race but an enjoyable trip. Nonetheless, that bike weighs over 100 pounds and they're pedaling it up and down mountains, across deserts and valleys, and over the plains. I simply can't imagine.

Peace brothas!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh Hail!

It could be worse, but Ronda Honda does not like hail....nor does the entire town of Abilene.

My find this morning. After being across town at a friend's house I went to bed without seeing the damage. I was so surprised to find some amazing person had covered my broken windows with plastic to keep most of the downpour rain out. Praise God for great neighbors!

God sure is mighty! I have never seen hail that big in my life!

Some neighbors went sledding in their car?

Trusty Mikey my bikey will take me places!