Tag Archives: gardening

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: Happy Birthday to M.E.

Today is my birthday.  My husband tells me that I start celebrating it on the first of the month even though it’s actually on the last day of July.  This year I tried to narrow the celebration down to a three-day weekend.  No matter how long the party is, it is always going to involve friends, gifts, and flowers.

Friday was my last work-free day, so I invited a few teacher friends over to swim. Right after they arrived it started to rain.  No worries.  I had indoor activities planned: making homemade salsa from the vegetables in my garden and hulling purple hull peas.  At one point in the day, a friend told me she was going to start referring to me as “Mother Earth” or M.E. I’m not sure if this was before or after I cooked the purple hull peas we just hulled (flavored with a jalapeno pepper from my garden) for a little snack.

Garden Jewel
A gift for my garden: Beauty AND function.

My birthday celebration continued with a couple of gifts. Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: Happy Birthday to M.E.

My Little Victory Garden: “Potpourri for 200, Alex”


Last week I had a mid-recipe creation crisis. It happened in the kitchen and I decided that rather than write an entire entry about how many fails I experienced while trying to braise short-ribs with Oklahoma Sandhill Plums, I would just avoid the topic altogether.  Seriously, I was beginning to think that my recipe creation was the reincarnation of Groundhog Day, and that redemption in my life would only happen if I finally pulled out the perfect center of the plate post.

Then I started thinking about this rant I went on two years ago in my little research world.  One of my colleagues from a university in the northwestern U.S. was really down during one of our professional conferences and I asked him about his glum face.  He stated that he had devoted approximately three years and lots of money toward an on-line relationship education program only to find out there were no effects (no statistically significant findings).  So I asked him, “Why don’t you share THAT information?  Don’t you think the fails are as important as the wins?”  Then he said, “No research journal publishes ‘fails.'”  Maybe I embedded that little downer-nugget into my subconscious last week?

But hey – THIS isn’t a research journal, right? It’s a blog about my garden and by golly, I’m going to publish the fails! Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: “Potpourri for 200, Alex”

My Little Victory Garden: Entry Five-Egg Foraged Omelet

Locavores breathe a sigh of relief during the Spring. Find out what we foraged this weekend, and how we created meals around our treasures.

Today is Sunday afternoon, March 20th, and my family is going foraging.  I have just a few veggies and herbs we can now eat, but it’s certainly not enough.  I know, however, there are more outside so I thought I would take you along with us.  I’ll also take you to Crestview Farms, just down the road from my house, and talk about home-produced eggs.  So…let’s get going!

Garden report ~ First things first, here’s how my early garden is growing: onions are now at the early green eating stage, Swiss Chard actually looks like it might do something, and a few sprouts are…oh, maybe one-half inch tall now? Lettuce and spinach are at the “micro-green” stage and if I wanted to get fancy, I’d be cutting.  I’m going to wait, however, because I prefer to eat mouthfuls of those luscious crops.  Broccoli and cauliflower look promising and are now about three times their planting-time size, and so far…no sign of potatoes.  My oregano came back and my asparagus is beginning to make so all-in-all things are looking okay.  I’m still contemplating our extra bed.  Mick and I have finally decided on a size and location.  And now, for the fun stuff!… Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Entry Five-Egg Foraged Omelet

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: My RDC T & Me

Last week I was in the dark digging around in my t-shirt drawer, and my hand landed on a shirt that was softer than the rest.  I pulled it out and flipped on the light.  It was my RDC T!  I realized that I had only worn it a handful of times, so I made the commitment to wear it every day of my spring break.  What a week it’s been!

These little egg shakers are fun to play! I'm listening to all of Bryan's CD's so I can be ready to perform next time.

Day One: Saturday night my husband, Greg, and I attended one of Bryan’s (He’s Home) shows at his Farmhouse Studio. It’s always a good time, but this night I discovered egg shakers, and Bryan called me up to the stage to play.  Later I advanced to the tambourine.  Was it the t-shirt that gave me rhythm?  I don’t know for sure, but there is audio of me singing.  The audio will remain locked in a vault, but I am happy to share this picture with my fans.  I mean “fan.”  (me)

Day Two: It’s hard being a rock star.  I woke up with a sore throat and a sore leg (from the tambourine), but a quick glance at the weather report (rain tomorrow) was the signal I needed to get me up and moving.  Armed with a shovel and compost material from my kitchen, I headed to the compost pile to do some turning.  It was cloudy, but the temperature was perfect for my RDC T.  I wondered how I was going to do everything I wanted to do today. Then I got a call.  A parent of one of my 7th grade students called to see if they could come out to see the goats.  The dad chatted with Greg as he worked on the barn, and the mom and three boys were eager to brush and pamper the horses.  The boys left covered in dirt from corn stalk wars and if I was covered in dirt, you’d never know it.  My RDC T is brown.  Perfect.

Three items that are always needed on the ranch: a tool, a bucket, and an RDC T.

Day Three: It was cold and rainy, but I was multi-tasking.  The rain was drenching my compost pile and I was getting my car serviced.  I had chocolate meringue pie  for dinner.  It melted in my mouth.  How did Mrs. Wagner know that my mind and body deserved that melt-in-your-mouth pie and coffee?  My RDC T was hidden under a sweater.  She must have had x-ray eyes.

Day Four: Three girls (okay, four if you count my dog, Mae) and two sets of mattresses made for a nice day and lunch at the local diner.  My RDC T and I were happy to give away a queen mattress to our friend Katherine.  She and her mom brought their full size mattress to exchange and bought us lunch.  I saw even more friends later!  I didn’t let the cold tempt me from not wearing my RDC T.  It looks great with an orange long-sleeved shirt underneath! Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: My RDC T & Me

My Little Victory Garden: Entry Three

Yukon Gold potatoes ~ the debate remains on whether or not you need more than one "eye" per chunk when you plant.

I was talking to my dad on the phone Saturday, sharing with him that I was getting ready to plant potatoes.  He said, “You’re not waiting until St. Patrick’s Day?”  I didn’t even know that was a THING. (Later, I felt slightly better when Mick told me ‘the sign said sometime between February 20th and March 15th.’  Heck, I wasn’t even being risky if we were using the sign’s standard!)

I wonder how many THINGS I don’t know?  I found out another THING while on the phone with him.  He recalled for me that my grandmother Porter (Julie At The Ranch’s great-grandmother as well) used to peel her potatoes fairly thickly, then simply plant the peelings, saving the core to cook for a meal.  Then he, my mother across the room speaking “through” my dad, and I had a third conversation:  How many eyes do you need per chunk of potato planted?  She said two, he said probably just one.  Knowing me, and my inability to identify exactly what constitutes as a bonafide eye, I’ll probably plant three or more.  It’s one thing for roots to be growing forth from the potato, hence easily identifiable makings of a plant.  However, are the little dents with tiny dots in them ALL eyes?  Who knows.  My potato chunks may have four eyes or more due to my lack of experience.

So, earlier that morning, prior to speaking with my dad: I was feeling a little guilty having only purchased three seed potatoes from the feed store.  I looked around a bit more and found a packet of last year’s cucumber seeds for fifty cents.  A discussion ensues…this time with Mick.

Mick: “Don’t you want to buy THIS year’s seeds?”

Me:  “Why?  Don’t you think LAST year’s will grow?”

Mick: “I don’t know.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Me: “Okay, first of all – that’s silly.  Of COURSE they’ll grow.  Secondly, I’m simply trying to find something to add to my potato purchase so the total will be over a dollar.  These are nice people and I’d like to spend more than eighty cents with them!”

Mick (known for always tipping the employees at Sonic more than he should): “Oh, yeah.  Good idea.” Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Entry Three