Monthly Archives: July 2012

Drink Your Vegetables!

Frozen Cucumber Ginger Limeade

I spent quite a while playing catch-up out in the garden this evening.  It was time to harvest the garlic, empty out the early spinach bed, weed the snap peas….  As I was on my way inside after I’d finished, I grabbed the scissors out of the pocket of my gardening apron (a great place to keep shears, seeds, garden markers, etc…) and headed over to my cucumber bed.  I planted four little cucumber plants this spring.  They’re so cute.  Little cucumbers.  A couple days ago I brought in three nice-sized cucumbers – my first harvest off the cucumber plants, rejoicing that we could have a yummy cucumber salad fresh from the garden!  I had seen more little cukes growing that day, so tonight I headed over there, expecting some more cucumber bounty.

Wow.  Four cucumber plants can sure give you a lot of cucumbers!  Nine.  Nine full grown, large, big, market-sized slicing cucumbers. That’s one big honking cucumber salad!  Visions of my favorite Chicken Tao ‘ook (or however it’s spelled) with cucumber yogurt sauce danced in my head.  And that still leaves me with half a dozen cucumbers I don’t have plans for.  How many can you slice and eat raw?  And there are more out there growing larger as we speak – ready to be picked in another four or five days.  No kiddin’.

All that work out in the garden sure had me thirsty.  Boy, maybe I would make myself a cold drink to sip on while I thought about how to use those cucumbers.  I sure wasn’t planning to give them away.  We would soon have a glut of cucumbers and tomatoes on our hands, and I’ll be darned if I wasn’t going to feed my family with the produce of my hands!  LOL! Hey, wait a minute!  Mel Bartholomew’s vegetable cookbook!  Woot!  Woot!  The whole being-thirsty-and-needing-to-use-up-my-cucumbers thing jogged my not-as-good-as-it-could-be memory.  He has a fun looking cucumber drink recipe in there I’ve been wanting to try!

So I did.  The recipe calls for frozen limeade, but in my great-granola-uber-healthfulness I chose crushed ice, the juice of a fresh lime and a couple packets of stevia instead.  Okay, I didn’t have frozen limeade.  And I’ll bet it would have been even better with the limeade.  But it was surely fun to make.  I will definitely make it again and you know I’m buying frozen limeade when I go to the store next!  And although his recipe calls for “thawed” frozen limeade, I’m throwing it into the blender frozen.  I think I’ll replace the club soda and ginger with some Vernor’s ginger ale, too.  Mmmm….

So for all of you who don’t know what the dickens to do with all those cucumbers, get a copy of Mel’s book All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook for good recipe ideas, and in the meantime, you can drink a lot of:

Cucumber Ginger Limeade

  • 1 1/2 c. chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber
  • 1/3 c. frozen limeade, thawed (or not if you’re wanting a *frosty drink)
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (I went a little lighter on the ginger)
  • 1 c. cold club soda (or replace the ginger and club soda with ginger ale)
  • lime wedges and/or cucumber slices
  • *crushed ice (if you want it frozen)

Combine the chopped cucumber, limeade, and ginger in a blender or food processor.  This is the time to add the crushed ice, too, if you’re making a frozen drink.  Cover and process until cucumber is pureed.  Taste to see if you need to add sweetener.  Combine the cucumber mixture and club soda in a small pitcher.  Serve garnished with lime or cucumber wedges.  Serves 2.

~~~~~

N.B. The link to Mel’s book above is an affiliate link.  I recommend you check out the book at the library and see if you like it.  If you do, please use my link to purchase the book to help support Small Home Farm Radio.  Thank you!

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Back-to-School Supply Fun! Personalized Binders

These are just two of the designs we used to personalize the kids’ geography and general subjects binders. I let them choose the designs themselves from literally 100’s of designs of scrapbooking paper at a scrapbooking store. (Hobby and craft stores carry these as well.)

On this week’s episode of Small Home Farm Radio (to be released Thursday), my Tip of the Week is about how to personalize a binder for yourself or your child(ren).  In case you’re more of a visual person, I thought I’d demonstrate just what I’m talking about:

First, gather as many clearview binders as you will need for each person, and gather whatever kind of scrapbooking paper, wallpaper scraps, wrapping paper, or even craft paper if you want to decorate it with stickers, markers, or anything else.

We chose an orange clearview binder to match the autumn leaves and owls designs Danny picked out for his geography binder, and white clearview binders for the rest of the paper.

Cut the paper to the same size as the clear insert on the front cover and back cover of your binder, and simply insert the paper into the clear cover.  It takes a little finesse to get it in there, but it shouldn’t give you too much grief if you’ve cut it to the right size.

Once you’ve cut your decorative cover paper to the same size as the binder, feed it into the clearview cover.

 

It gets a little tricky if you are putting paper on the ends of the binder, too, but it can be done.

Once you’ve cut the end piece to the correct width and length, you can slide it in part of the way with your hands, but then it may start to wrinkle up. So what I did…

… was use a knife to help give it some stiffness. And if *that* got a little sticky…

…I used two butterknives, like chopsticks, to grab it further down the paper and work it all the way in.

So that’s what the ends looked like after I worked the paper in!

Voila!  You can add your child’s name or anything else you like, or just do the patterned paper if that’s what tickles your fancy!

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Stacking Hay

Connecticut Barn. Photo Credit: Jetportal (Jeffrey Montes)

July is Hay Time.  We are getting in 600 bales of hay this year, and stacking it in the Big Barn.  The more hands the quicker it goes.  We were blessed today to have all six of us home to help, plus our hay farmer and his two sons.  Last year we mostly had just half the family, the farmer and one of his sons each time we stacked.  I think this morning’s work only took half an hour to stack 150 bales and half an hour to get the truck and trailer turned around and back out the drive!  Another 150 bales coming tonight.

In the meantime, I broke my own “rule” about trying to maintain balance in my life by not doing more than one project a day.  I made another batch of raspberry jam and a raspberry pie this afternoon!  I’ll sleep well tonight – and I might be sorry tomorrow!  LOL!

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Top Ten Tips to Simplify Your Gardening Chores

Photo Credit: Chelsea Daniels at The Canny Preserver. You can click on the photo to go directly to her website.

Add a few of these tips to your routine to cut down the amount of time or effort you spend in your garden, so you can focus on the parts of gardening you enjoy!
  1. Use drip hoses or a professional sprinkler on a timer to make sure your plants get the right amount of water, when they need it.
  2. Use intensive planting to get  a larger harvest in a smaller space.  Consequently there won’t be as much room for weeds to grow.
  3. Mulch your garden well to keep the ground moist longer and suppress weeds.
  4. Keep your garden tools right near the garden.  Hang them on pegs or hooks where you can, and use shelves for items that won’t hang.  Put them back where they belong every time!
  5. Spend just a few minutes pulling weeds every time you go into the garden.  You’ll keep on top of the job with so much less fuss!
  6. Hang a cobblers apron near the door or in your garden shed.  Put packets of seeds you will be planting and re-planting in the pockets so you can just grab your apron and be able to sow another row while you’re out there.
  7. Use quick connect couplings on hoses where you frequently connect and disconnect garden hoses.  It saves time and frustration and they only cost a few dollars each.
  8. Build raised garden beds for your fruits and veggies.  If you build them on top of landscaping fabric with weed-free soil mix, you’ll almost completely eliminate weeds.  By not walking in the beds you will keep the soil loose and friable.  And the raised beds keep mulch from the paths from getting into your beds.
  9. Mulch the paths between your beds or rows.  It will help keep them weed free, avoiding weeds creeping into your beds.  It can also add beauty to your garden.
  10. If you’re overwhelmed with the size of your garden, cut back.  It won’t kill you to mulch half your garden and leave it dormant for a year.  You can always add more back in later if you like.  Cut your garden down to a manageable size and grow the items you love best!  It will put some of the fun back into gardening!

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Procrastination, The Thief

I think it’s safe to say that just about everybody procrastinates sometimes.  But why?  Putting things off because we think we don’t have time, because they seem unpleasant, or any other reason really, is – logically – just plain silly.  Obviously some things don’t really matter that much, and if we ignore them, the task will just go away.

For example, I kept putting off taking out an evergreen tree whose top had died off.  It sat in our front yard for two years, its green bottom and brown top making us look like the backwoods hicks I suspect we are. The top finally blew off in a storm, and if you can believe it, a new top began to grow in its place. A little pruning here and there, and now I don’t have to take the tree out.

But sometimes the “Do It Now” principle makes so much more sense!  Some weeks ago I completed a project that has been on the back of my to-do list for five years now… replace my kitchen backsplash.  I’ve lived in this house for five years, and been depressed by my kitchen (and consequently the entire Great Room, of which the kitchen is the central part) for all of those five years.  A project that was very simple for me to do, inexpensive, and which took relatively little time, has completely changed my attitude about our home.  Wouldn’t that have been a worthwhile project to tackle within the first year of living here?

And yesterday I finally made the ten minute trip to the hardware store and back to buy some strap hinges and wood screws.  When I arrived home I tackled the long overdue project of reattaching the hinged lid/mattress platform to the storage space under the mattress in our family’s camper.  The hinges broke early in the summer of 2010, and since the lid was attached to some hydraulic lift-things (I’m sure that’s the technical term for them, right? LOL!) the plywood platform was pushed out past the end of the mattress. In that tiny little bedroom, just about every time I went in there, I whacked my shins on that dumb platform.  Seriously?

I was heading in the direction of being ready to just sell the camper and be done with camping.  That was one of the last straws of inconvenience that made me start to dread our family camping trips.

Five dollars worth of materials and half an hour of work allowed me to put the mattress back on the storage bed platform, make the bed up with fresh linens, and walk around the bed as many times as I wanted, hitting nothing but soft mattress.  Nice!  Why on earth did I wait so long?

They say procrastination is the thief of time.  I think it’s more like the “thief of contentment.”  Most of us do it – but sometimes, it is just not worth it!

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Ready, Set, Race!

Team Lahey in 2011. Cecily, Danny, and I will be participating in the Mark Mellon 5k again this year, albeit at a more relaxed pace. Uhm, yeah, we were trying to look tough here.  

We are just days away from the annual Mark Mellon Triathlon/5k!  Yesterday the doc gave me clearance to participate in the race as far as I feel comfortable.  That, my dear friends, is a remarkable recovery time!  Three weeks ago today I fell off Saxton.  I will admit that the whiplash is still giving me a bit of discomfort, but other than tightness, that torn tendon attachment feels great!

Cecily, Danny, and I went out at 10:00 ( – in the stinking, muggy heat with about a bazillion stupid, flesh-sucking deer flies – blech!) to see if we could run-walk the 5k to gauge ourselves for Saturday’s race.  Team Lahey will run the 5k and Team LaHaniels … or Team Hanielhey … or maybe just “Team X” I guess, will do the Sprint Triathlon.  There are eight of us altogether competing.  My oldest son JJ, my husband, his sister and their father, along with our friend Steve, are doing the triathlon (swim, bike, run)!  I don’t know why we haven’t gotten custom shirts yet!  Maybe because we can’t decide on a team name.  LOL!  But we’ve been competing together for several years.

Jesse chose a Specialized Secteur. Sorry for the photo blur!  I feel better now that my husband’s horse cost more than mine.  Never mind that he doesn’t have to feed his – and he can park it and go on vacation without another thought!

Jess gets to try out his brand new road bike!  I’m so excited for him!  He’s been riding an old one, slightly heavier, that cost him about three miles an hour in speed, lengthening his finish time.  Not that he doesn’t beat the pants off everyone else every year.  But they’re gaining on him!  LOL!

But I digress.  The race is coming.  I am not prepared.  This has been a rotten year for training for a variety of reasons, though you can’t fault me for persistence!  I keep getting back at it after every injury or trip that has kept me from it.  Still, I am not prepared.  The muscle tone is there, but the endurance is pretty weak.  So we will run-walk the 5k.  The competetive nature in me is irritated, and I won’t want to even look at my time.  But I’m glad we’re doing it.  And it’s fun to cheer each other on and rib each other good-naturedly afterward, then lay around like zombies for the rest of the day.  (The 5k team gets to zombie-ize, too, although we don’t deserve it like the triathletes do!)

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