Thursday, July 30, 2009

Then and Now

Then and Now is a new blog meme by Secret Mom Thoughts. Basically it's a look back at how life has changed over the years. Go to her site for all of the info and join in the fun.

Then: Just 2 months ago Mae was hospitalized with a serious bone infection in her ankle. It hurt too much for her to even walk to the bathroom.
Now: After surgery, a week in the hospital and 4 weeks of IV antibiotics, the old ankle is good as new and the infection is gone.

The other day Mae asked if she could explore the upstairs of the barn. In her explorations, she found a great jumping spot with a soft landing. Who needs one of those inflatable jumpy things when we have a barn full of straw?

***True Blue Texan, you were right. Your words in a comment several months ago ("Before you know it, you'll be looking at her this summer and wondering how such a healthy child was ever in the hospital.") stuck with me ever since you wrote them and here is the proof that indeed she is better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Today I took the girls to one of those parks with sprinklers, and this is what I chose to wear in hopes of getting some sun on some of my paler parts. In addition to hanging out at the splash pad, I had a few errands to run while we were in town including a walk through the farmer's market and a quick stop at the police station... all the while wearing my bathing suit and cover up. Thank goodness it wasn't the fashion police.

Check out all of the Wardrobe Wednesday fun at Heathen Family Revival

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

So I wasn't kidding about the size of broccoli stalks that I've been picking out of my garden. I knew I needed to use it up rather quickly so I looked around for a broccoli cheese soup recipe. I found one I liked and adapted it a little. Most of the ingredients I had in the house with the exception of half and half (although I had whole milk which probably would have worked too).

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 quart half and half
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 lb fresh broccoli
1 medium onion
salt and pepper
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese grated

So first after washing and trimming about 1 lb. of fresh broccoli, I chopped it up into small florets. Next I melted the butter in a big stockpot. I like to cut the butter into small pieces before melting it in the pan to make sure it all melts evenly. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and cook over med. heat for 3-5 minutes while whisking. Slowly whisk in the half and half making sure to whisk out the lumps. Add the vegetable stock and 1 cup water slowly while whisking. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add broccoli and onions. Cook over low for 10 minutes or until the veggies are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. You could leave it with the chunks of vegetable, but I like to puree it up a little. I have a hand immersion blender I use right in the stock pot, but pouring it into a blender would work fine too. I like to leave some chunks but blending it up makes it even more creamy and full of broccoli flavor. Lastly I add the sharp cheddar cheese (swiped right out of my father-in-law's cheese stash while they were on vacation.)Stir the soup until the cheese melts and enjoy now or freeze for a cold winter day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Garden Club

Get your gardening gloves and knee pads ready. It's time for another installment of Monday Garden Club.

My garden is going crazy! Crazy in a good way, but still crazy.

In the past we
ek I have harvested 6 huge heads of broccoli. We ate some raw, I blanched and froze enough for 3 meals to be named later and I made several big batches of broccoli cheese soup and froze those as well. Recipe tomorrow!
Binny harvested the first cherry tomatomore summer squash
garden salad
I thought I planted sugar snap peas (because that's what I always plant) but apparently I planted snow peas instead. Normally I would be upset by such a surprise, but actually it kind of worked out for me because our neighbors had given us tons of sugar snap peas a few weeks ago.

And what crazy garden is complete without sunflowers? Not mine!

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments, I'll add you to this post.

Participating Bloggers
Sheila at Ma Vie Folle (My Crazy Life)
Shady Lady
Secret Mom Thoughts

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Cubbie, 2 Cuties and a Funny

I think I forgot to mention earlier this week that we saw bears at the cottage last weekend! Well, we actually saw one bear, last years cub we think.

Tuesday morning as we were packing up to leave, we saw a big Mama bear strolling through the yard. I had my camera packed away so I didn't get a photo of her, but believe me she was BIG. The cub was great though, he hung around the yard for quite a while for us all to see.

If you haven't seen this new commercial from Hardee's, you must. I can see why it's a web only commercial and not suited for a TV audience but it sure is funny. The whole concept of biscuit holes is beyond me. I get that doughnuts have a hole and that's why the doughnut hole is so popular, but biscuits don't have holes! Why is that anything? Funny commercial though.

I still haven't caught up with my blog reading but I'll try over the weekend.
Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Since it is Wardrobe Wednesday and I'm still wading through all of the photos I took over the weekend, I think I will share some Hog Wrestling fashions.

First off we have a man in a woman's tank top, denim skirt and knee high socks.
Next is my brother wearing the Gardener's zebra striped hat and smoking a cigar.

And let's not forget the ladies. Usually it's very hot and humid for this event, but this year it was quite cool. There were many less women than usual wearing the skimpiest of bathing suits, but there was one woman wearing one of those ridiculous looking cut away bathing suits with a big baggy sweatshirt on over the top, unzipped. Not a good look!

Check out all of the Wardrobe Wednesday fun at Heathen Family Revival!

Hamroids 2009

The moment you've all been waiting for is here and let this be your advance warning that eating while reading this post may not be the best idea. The ick factor is way up there.
26 seconds to pin

Our guys were team #58- The Hamroids. My dad came up with that lovely name many years ago when he and his friends were still young and crazy enough to partake in such an activity. After this year, I think our bunch of men may be getting a little old to be chasing a huge hog around in the mud. The Gardener thinks he may have broken a rib, or at least bruised it and the guy in the black, cut-off suit jacket sustained a fairly minor bite on his forearm, and of course they all had a little hog burn on their arms, yet they come back every year for more. Must be a man thing.

There are usually a few women and co-ed teams which are given smaller hogs but still a mighty task. Every year after a few drinks, the girls and I talk about wrestling next year, but we never do. My reasoning is much better when I'm sober. Although, I managed to miss being sprayed with the garden hose this year, but Barb and C were soaked.

This is what the Gardener looked like the day after
So the moral of this story is that the hogs always win, at least until they reach their final destination in someone's freezer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adult Fun

This weekend the gardener and I along with some friends are going up to Grandma N's cottage for an adult weekend. I'm almost embarrassed to admit what we are going up there for as it is truly a unique experience. For the 9th year in a row, the Gardener and company will be participating in World Class Hog Wrestling. Now if you've never heard of such an activity, let me explain.

First off, the whole thing is held at bar in the great north woods that we call the Hog bar, for obvious reasons. I think it has another name, but this event is what they are known for. So once a year, the owners of the bar truck in 80- 250 lb. hogs (one per team) to be tackled by 4 grown (and most likely intoxicated) men. Once the men catch the hog, they lift it up and carry it over to a barrel and set the hog on top of the barrel, the referee calls time and the crowd cheers. One more thing... this is all done in a ring full of muddy water mixed with hog shit and pee and whatever else may be floating in there. Yummy!

It goes without saying that this is not a weekend that we bring the kids along. Even Grandma N stopped coming a few years ago because it gets a little crazy. So in addition to letting us use her cottage for the weekend, Grandma N is also watching both of our girls, our two dogs and our friend's dog. Thank you Grandma N!

Pictures next week, I promise. I won't be back until Tuesday so I will most likely miss Garden Monday, but I encourage anyone else who wishes to post a garden update to do so anyway. (I had big plans to pre-post but time got away from me.) Also my blog reader keeps taunting me and making me feel bad that I have almost 200 posts that I haven't read. I'm still backed up from the last weekend we went away. I can't even imagine what the number of unread posts will be at by Tuesday. Oh well, when Summer is over I'm sure I'll be back to my regular blog reading and commenting, but for now off to Hog Wrastlin!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

In the winter my girls cry and scream over not being able to wear sundresses, but in the summer they find it necessary to layer as if we lived on an iceberg.

Binny was wearing 3 pairs of pants and 4 shirts including a turtleneck and 2 sweatshirts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Paternity Test Necessary For This Kid

As if there were ever any doubt.
The Gardener and his dad built this engine on wheels go-cart for the girls a few years ago out of an old lawnmower, a snow blower engine and miscellaneous parts and pieces lying around the shop. This was the first time Binny was courageous enough to give it a go. Surprise, surprise, she loves it. As a matter of fact we practically had to pry her off of it, other than when she got hung up on some concrete behind the barn. She came running over to us on the verge of a panic attack because "it's stuu-uuck!". The gardener freed her, and off she went with a better understanding of ground clearance.
No worries, I can walk faster than this thing drives.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Garden Club

Get your gardening gloves and knee pads ready. It's time for another installment of Monday Garden Club.

The garden is growing like mad even though we haven't had any significant rain in several weeks. We have been watering in the mornings and evenings to keep things alive but the straw mulch we added into the front garden is doing a great job keeping the soil moist.

We didn't mulch the back garden so we have had to pay closer attention to it, but all of the plants back there seems to be tough enough to withstand days of no rain and pounding heat.

The pea plants are starting to flower
The lettuce is doing great. Anybody want some? I have no idea what I'm going to do with all of it.

Kohlrabies are almost ready to eatBroccoli too, all 6 heads!The summer squash and zucchinis are delicious. I used some fresh sage on a happy (organic, free range) chicken that I cooked on the grill the other night. So good!

sunflowers almost as tall as Mae

And now for the real garden treats. My boss has a very old Mulberry tree in the heifer pasture behind her house that is loaded with berries this year. The other morning after we finished chores I picked Mulberries until the heifers became too bothersome. I had never eaten or even seen a Mulberries before so what a treat for me. They look and taste similar to black raspberries but not as many seeds. We have eaten quite a few of them raw, but I still have enough left that I could make a tart or some jam.
Also, my neighbors (the people who own the strawberry and pea farm down the road) gave me a grocery bag full of sugar snap peas. I shelled and blanched enough to fill two quart freezer bags and I still have enough left in the fridge to probably make two more bags to freeze for later.
And last but not least,here are a few photos of my brother's garden. He sometimes feels left out on Garden Monday because he doesn't have his own blog, so last week I took some photos to post here. His flower gardens are quite impressive, especially the rose bushes covered in red and pink blooms.The bees love them too.
He bought this Astilbe plant just last year and look how great it's doing
Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments, I'll add you to this post.