2dirtydiggers



2017
 
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11/21/17 Tuesday – Cervidae


A doe and her two fawns frequent The Farm. Precious.

deer on the farm

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11/20/17 Monday – Bucket Dream


Back when I lived in Alaska, a friend of mine came to visit me in the middle of wintertime. She wanted to experience the snow so we built an igloo in my backyard. Well, an igloo of sorts. By this point our backs were sore and the bottle of wine was empty. So we added a couple of buckets for seats, opened up another bottle of wine, and enjoyed the fruits of our labor while we sat there in the igloo under that umbrella...laughing. We had a blast. Great memories.

alaska igloo

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11/19/17 Sunday – Here And There


Although I now live in Tennessee, my mind is often drifting in parts of Alaska where family lives. I miss them. I miss Alaska too ... like these moments. Moments that I never took for granted. Always carrying my cameras wherever I went to capture every memory so that I could some day have them to revisit again on days like today. Miles and miles away but so very ... so very very close to my heart. Sandy Shore and Sea and Snow.

douglas alaska sandy beach

And ... And family.


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11/18/17 Saturday – Whole Grain Hoggie


You know it! Turkey Subs! Spinach, sweet onion, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and turkey on a whole grain bun that was toasted in a skillet of melted butter. I forgot to add the tomato though because I was so excited to eat it. Still, it was a delicious mile-high mess!

turkey sub sandwich

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11/17/17 Friday – Weed Me


Years ago I came up with a salad recipe that is simple, refreshing, and healthy. Fresh raw cabbage, sweet onion, dillweed, seasoning salt, pepper, drizzled with olive oil. I can easily make this a meal when I toss in some smoked Alaska salmon. Oh my, if you haven't tried this, you should. It is amazing!

cabbage salad

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11/16/17 Thursday – Gobble And Wobble


Yes. I am ahead of the holiday schedule, only because I have Farmhouse projects that I am focused on. We have a ton of turkey in the frig waiting to be made into creative meals for the next three months. And, dang, these turkey 'n dumplings are delicious!

turkey and dumplings

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11/15/17 Wednesday – Nuts N Things


Today I made another batch of my homemade Granny's Granola. My granola jar has been empty for over a week. Not good. My semi-sweet tooth craves more sweets than usual during colder weather. And although no snow falls on our farm fields yet, I feel the winter chill in the air and it makes me want to fill a small bowl up with this stuff, cover it with unsweetened almond milk, and savor every bite. Delicious!

grannys granola

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11/14/17 Tuesday – Just A Loaf


There is no monkey business here on The Farm. But there is fresh homemade banana bread. Oh me, oh my. You should smell it. Yummy!

banana bread

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11/13/17 Monday – Monkey Bits


Hubby bought a new dehydrator since our old one never seemed up to par. He dehydrated apples a few weeks ago and they turned out delicious. I decided to try to make one of my favorite snacks - banana chips. They are still dehydrating. I'll let ya know how they turn out.

dehydrated banana chips

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11/12/17 Sunday – Gobble Broth


Since I completed my Christmas shopping early, wrapped the gifts, and got them mailed already - I thought that it was time to buy a turkey and heave that 23 pound monster into the roaster. After it was done, I made turkey broth of course. The farmhouse smells like Thanksgiving. Ahead of schedule, again.

turkey broth

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11/11/17 Saturday – Foothill Chill


It is getting cold outside, but not nearly as cold as Alaska. They already got snow! Pretty snow! Lucky lil' penguins.

tennessee foothills

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11/10/17 Friday – Little Green Trees


Today's broccoli harvest. Nom, nom, nom!

garden broccoli

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11/09/17 Thursday – Slippers Of Sorts


Any sandwich made on nice chewy ciabatta bread is a win-win in my book.

chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread

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11/08/17 Wednesday – Yo! Dessert!


Blackberry yogurt and raspberry rugelach. Delicious!

blackberries yogurt rugelach

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11/07/17 Tuesday – Frosty Fire


Thumpety, thump thump, thumpety, thump thump, look at Frosty glow. Hubby made it. Cute, huh! And the candlelit campfire is so cool! I love 'em!

wood snowman and wood firepit

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11/06/17 Monday – Root Candy


Carrots, fresh from the garden!

garden carrots

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11/05/17 Sunday – All In A Day


Time to go Christmas shopping.

green traffic light

Done!

red traffic light

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11/04/17 Saturday – Vixen


One elf got a lil' busy in Santa's shop.

wood reindeer

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11/03/17 Friday – Pepperhopper


Although I am frequently finding grasshoppers in the bell peppers, they don't seem to be doing any damage in the garden so I just let them be.

grasshopper

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11/01/17 Wednesday – Snap To It


Guess what I harvested today! FIRM broccoli! Firm! As in Snap! I really wasn't sure why I couldn't find firm broccoli here in Tennessee. I have not had firm broccoli since I left Alaska. Even as I decided to grow my own, I didn't allow myself to get my hopes too high because I thought there might be a possibility that the clay soil had something to do with producing the rubbery broccoli of the south. Nope. The clay soil has absolutely nothing to do with rubbery broccoli. My broccoli has a snap to it, just like it's suppose to have. And it is absolutely delicious! My conclusion is that all broccoli sold in east Tennessee, at least in my area, is very old...as in you shouldn't buy it. Grow your own; it's more than worth it! Now if you will please excuse me, I'm going to go happily eat garden fresh broccoli with my breakfast, and lunch, and dinner for the next 20 days straight.

broccoli

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10/31/17 Tuesday – Mowing Minion


Chores never end on the farm...even on Halloween. Look, Ma! No hands!

minion mowing

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10/30/17 Monday – Argh


She's one beautiful pirate!

pirate

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10/29/17 Sunday – Crop Check


The carrots aren't ready yet, but they are slowly getting bigger and bigger.

carrot

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10/28/17 Saturday – E I E I O


Old McDonald went to his shop and made five wooden letters that now cheerfully hang on a wall in the heart of our farmhouse. When they catch my eye, I just wanna sing a happy lil' song...and then go get some chickens. And a duck. And a pig.

eieio wood letters

Image Credit: Hubby.


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10/27/17 Friday – Green Thumb


Say Hello to my Little friend. Broccoli!

garden broccoli

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10/26/17 Thursday – Tom Toms


Tomato season is officially over.

tomatoes

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10/25/17 Wednesday – Humping Hoppers


It's the end of my bell pepper crop. I picked the last of them today after running into these two who were busy making babies:

mating grasshoppers

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10/24/17 Tuesday – Grow Your Own


Farmhouse Potatoes are one of our favorite sides to most meals. I'm excited to grow our own potatoes for the first time. Especially reds.

farmhouse potatoes

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10/22/17 Sunday – Sweet Children Of Mine


Since we moved from Alaska to Tennessee, not a day has gone by that I don't think of my children and grandchildren. Not One Single Day. Recently my husband requested a family favorite treat...my Mexican Cinnamon Rolls. I'm use to making these up in very large quantities - as in three dozen or more. My kids love them! But, today, I only made ten. Ten, period. Not ten dozen. Because Hubby can only eat so much sweetness. And before he could eat them up, I quickly sent a picture of them to the kids. I was hoping that, at the very least, one or two of them would show up on The Farm ready to devour my Mexican Cinnamon Rolls like they use to. ... ... ... Wishful ...

mexican cinnamon rolls

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10/21/17 Saturday – Granny's Granola


Recently I discovered a granola from Heaven but I refuse to auction off my leg and a kidney to pay that much for it. I read the ingredients on the package, purchased everything in bulk, and set out to make my own granola. Having never done it before, I was hoping that I'd nail the taste of Heaven on my first attempt at making homemade granola. What happened? I nailed it! Here's my recipe:

In a large bowl, mix:
3/4 C. Melted Butter
3/4 C. Light Brown Sugar
3 C. Rolled Oats
This is where you want the oats to soak up all that buttery sweetness.

Next, add to the same bowl:
2 pinches of sea salt
3/4 C. Chopped Walnuts
Sprinkle it all with Cinnamon

Arrange evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, stir semi-frequently until oats are golden brown and the smell of Heaven emanates the air.

Remove toasted oats from the oven and add:
1 C. Shredded Coconut
1 C. Dried Cranberries
Stir frequently until completely cool.

When granola is cold to the touch, add:
1 C. Mini White Chocolate Chips

Of course you can switch up the goodies and add whatever tickles your fancy. Enjoy!

grannys granola

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10/20/17 Friday – Hang It Up


My husband added farmhouse coat hooks to the pantry to hang various kitchen items like aprons, BBQ grill tools, ladder, etc. The same hooks will be used in a project that I have in mind for the antique farmhouse windows, which will hang on the opposite side of this wall in the entryway. My interior design ideas are a combination of a timeless farmhouse feel, while considering eye-flow and practicality too. A home that is utilitarian in nature is more important to me than having a home that has privilege to the cover of a House Beautiful magazine. I'm leaning more towards the imperfect farmhouse. I spent far too many years of my life trying to be perfect. Pfft. Now it's time to fun it up and relax a little.

farmhouse coat hooks

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10/17/17 Tuesday – Little Boo


Little Man and his pumpkin. Sweet.

little man with pumpkin

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10/16/17 Monday – Pantry Prep


We finally completed the pantry. Hallelujah, Amen! I am beyond elated! We used TrafficMaster Industrial Stone 12 x 24 inch peel and stick vinyl floor tiles to line the shelves with. No grout. Easy clean up. Love, love, love it!

pantry

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10/15/17 Sunday – No Bones About It


Our new backseat driver...Mr. Bones:

skeleton

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10/14/17 Saturday – Wiggle Worms


I have Cabbage! And cabbage worms. Oh sweet cabbage of mine, how I love you so - but those worms have got to go. Actually, the cabbage worms weren't too bad. I simply removed approximately seven layers of the outer leaves and the cabbage was free of worms. Although, I do believe that it is time for an organic rye flour treatment just for good measure.

cabbage

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10/13/17 Friday – Brassica Oleracea


Oh ma ma, how I love me some broccoli. I miss it. I haven't had great broccoli since we move to Tennessee. In Alaska we had broccoli as much as southerners have buttermilk biscuits and bacon. Broccoli in the north is fresh and firm with tasty deep green florets and delicious stalks. I can't find any broccoli in Tennessee that comes close to the quality of broccoli that we ate in Alaska. Broccoli is not suppose to wiggle with a rubber band like flex to it, no no no you produce people! It's suppose to be FIRM and have a snap to it when you separate the stalks and tops. So. What do you do when you can't find great broccoli in the south? Grow your own! Look at what showed up in our garden recently...

broccoli

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10/12/17 Thursday – Spice Up My Life


I believe that this will be that last batch of cayenne peppers. They need to be harvested but I'm having a hard time just thinking about it simply because I think they are so beautiful. Each one unique in character with a twist here, a curve there, and a brilliant red in color surrounded in perky green leaves. As the seasons change, these gems remind me that Christmas is near.

cayenne peppers

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10/11/17 Wednesday – Team Work


I don't believe in Honey-Do lists. Never have. We divide and conquer projects together. We both pitch in to do our part when and where individual talents prevail. He helps me, I help him. He does his part, I do my part. In the end we are typically very happy with our combined accomplishments. And lately...dang, we are rockin' it!

honey with honeycomb in jar

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10/10/17 Tuesday – Hachoo


With the change in seasons comes a change in pollen. Thankfully we suffer less here in Tennessee with the hard woods then we did with the soft woods of Alaska. So with our heads clear, we are on track to completing another farmhouse project and moving on to the next. Choo Choo! Yahoo!

train and train tracks

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10/09/17 Monday – Scraps


I have a project in mind; a large scale project. I want to replicate this piece of art and add a few farm-like features. This piece is made out of metal scraps and hung on the wall at the Sandbar (bar and restaurant) in Juneau, Alaska. I'll make one much like it but out of scrap wood or maybe a scorched lightweight aluminum. There is a large feature cathedral wall in our living room that will look awesome with a sculpture like this! Add a barn. A windmill. Oh, the ideas! How fun!

metal art

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10/08/17 Sunday – Bye Bye Bins


After yesterday's post you might be wondering how the whole minimizing thing is working out. Well. It's going great, really. I started with the thought, "If I saw this in a store today, would I buy it?" Then I got busy. I started by going through a bunch of kitchen items and loaded half of the trunk of my car with those. Then I moved onto bins full of my clothes and I filled the other half of the trunk of my car with those. Then vroom...off to the thrift store I went to donate a car load of things that would be better used in the hands of others. I'm not done yet. I might need a tractor to pull the next load. Heh.

tractor on road

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10/07/17 Saturday – OCD and ME


Currently we are working on a project; one of many that have needed our attention since we moved into the farmhouse. I typically keep a pretty tidy house. To me, a clean home is a happy home. I despise clutter, disorder, hoarding, and the like. But. But this is currently the condition of the heart of our farmhouse. Why? Because we are finishing the pantry; a room that serves many purposes but more importantly it will hold a plethora of kitchen essentials. This is because the kitchen is small and the cabinets are hung much too high for a five foot tall farmer's wife to reach, let alone retrieve much of anything. Items that are placed on any kitchen shelf that is higher than the lowest one requires a ladder. I have a ladder. It is used often. Although, I much prefer quick and easy access to my cooking implements since I am a multitasker in the kitchen. Also, I'm not really fond of ladders so when we designed the house the pantry was included to serve as an extension of the kitchen. A pantry with multiple shelves and ample space that allows me to easily retrieve a majority of my routinely used kitchen gadgets. No ladder required. Well, for the most part at least. And no cluttered kitchen. Tidy. Just how I like it.

kitchen mess

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10/05/17 Thursday – Picked A Peck


120 pounds of bell peppers; another load for the homeless shelter. I believe that I will be able to harvests bell pepper plants two more times since the first hard frost doesn't typically hit us until November. In the meantime, I transplanted my potted herbs to the garden; basil, Greek oregano, and rosemary. While I was in the garden, I deadheaded the marigolds that seem to keep blooming and doing their job repelling insects and critters. They've been a happy addition to our garden - pretty vibrant orange and yellow blooms. The orange marigolds seem to perform better. They stood tall, quadrupled in size, and attracted more pollinating bees than the yellow marigolds. So we'll do more of the orange marigolds next year. Until then, our fall crop is thriving and I'm getting excited about it.

bell peppers

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10/04/17 Wednesday – Peppers And A Pool


The garden has slowed down a little. It does not demand us to tend to it as frequently as we were during peak harvesting months. Recently, my husband has shifted his priorities from Acre 8 to our farmhouse. Acre 8 is where his Ma Ma lives; not far from us here on the farm. I've been trying really hard not to get too excited about this new frame of mind. Farmhouse projects...finally getting the attention they need. Really?! Yep. I'm pretty dang excited but, shh, don't tell anyone.

cayenne peppers

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10/03/17 Tuesday – A Vision Left Undone


This sculpture, by the late George Dukes, remains unnamed. George passed away before completing two other sculptures that were supposedly going to join this trio. I wonder what the completed piece would have looked like. Why wasn't another artist commissioned to complete Mr. Dukes vision of multicultural family life in Jonesborough, Tennessee? It is a beautiful piece of art; like a great story about unity among the locals...but never achieved. Maybe the distant sullen eyes and pierced lips speak louder in silence, without a title and without completion. I wonder.

george dukes artist sculpture jonesborough tennessee

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10/01/17 Sunday – Autumn Hue


Fall colors are brilliantly beautiful here in Tennessee and lately all of the trees and plants have started to turn colors. Shades of rusty gold and auburn speckle the foliage in the fencerow and on the foothills beyond. When we are in the peak of the fall season I am busy with my camera trying to capture nature's palette full of colors that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Stunning shades, hues, tints, and tones of flame-like orange, blazing magenta, and sun-kissed yellow are painted throughout the countryside with hints of deepened blues and sleepy greens. Very Very Pretty!

plant seeds and red brick mortor

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09/30/17 Saturday – Dutch Girl Granola


I recently discovered a granola that is simply TOO irresistible... and TOO expensive. This granola is the perfect combination of rolled oats, and dried cranberries, and nuts, and coconutty sweetness. No fancy foo foo, just simple and healthy with ingredients that deliciously lures me to indulge in bites full of delightful yummy - spoonful after spoonful after spoonful. A granola with distinctive independent flavors that compliment each other when combined and also pleasingly satisfies my semi-sweet tooth and those common crunchy cravings. But since my wallet spits out dust bunnies, not dollar bills, I'll try to recreate it at home. I like making meals and snacks from scratch so I typically read the list of ingredients on any pre-made product that Hubby and I buy and try. If we like it I'll attempt to recreate it - usually with a twist or two of my own. With that said, it is time to make me some homemade granola! Yummy in my tummy!

granola ingredients

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09/29/17 Friday – Spot Me


I enjoy seeing occasional frogs around our farmhouse and consider them beneficial bug eating buddies of mine, but ever since that snake recently showed up on our porch I wonder if there is another frog eating snake close by. I rarely experience a relaxing moment anywhere that I venture outside on The Farm, much less our back porch. I'm typically dancing around smacking creepy crawling bugs or swatting at flying insects. And now...now I watch for snakes. There's never a dull moment on the grange. Never.

frog

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09/28/17 Thursday – Hung to Dry


I made sage smudge sticks and hung them to dry. They smell delicious.

sage smudge sticks

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09/26/17 Tuesday – Rusty Girl


This ole girl has a lot of miles on her.

ford tractor

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09/25/17 Monday – Migration


I love geese! LOVE, love, LOVE!

geese

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09/24/17 Sunday – Winter Crop


Our winter crop is growing fast and the cabbage is really starting to look like cabbage. Cabbage! Fresh! From the Garden! I can hardly wait.

cabbage

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09/23/17 Saturday – Bug Be Gone


As a first time grower of herbs in a garden setting, I am so pleased that the sage performed well and repelled certain unwanted insects. Now it is time to harvest it and make some smudge sticks to burn while we sit on the back porch to unwind from a busy day.

sage

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09/22/17 Friday – One Man Band


We spent another evening at Music on the Square in downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee listening to Lipbone Redding. I've always admired a great storyteller; Lipbone is a great one. As I was strolling a path made of red brick, weaving through a laid-back audience, I kept finding myself paused behind my camera lens captivated by the humor that Lipbone attached to his storytelling songs. He plucked longitudinal waves from his guitar strings after a sentence or two describing bygone days filled full of momentous memories. With a twang here and a twang there he led his stories into foot-tapping, boogie down tunes that made me wanna wiggle. Hats off to you Lawrence, job well played!

lipbone redding

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09/21/17 Thursday – Topped With Yum


I'm kind of hooked on my new idea for breakfast...inside-out omelets. Yummy in the Tummy!

insideout omelet

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09/20/17 Wednesday – Sssssssnake!


Adorned in five-and-dime knee high rubber boots, summer attire, and a chaotic topknot bun of fuzzy hair - I grabbed my hoe and marched my ass to the front porch and killed my first snake. All by myself! See, Hubby is petrified of snakes. Me? Not so much. But Hubby recorded the event. I can't stop laughing every time I watch the video. I didn't realize I was capable of such fancy footwork; like a fast forward Carolina Shag at the shindig, without the cowboy hat of course. I think I need a donkey. Yeah. I need a donkey! Heh.

donkey

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09/19/17 Tuesday – Cows and Cat


This calf gently tended to a wild barn kitten by licking her all over. She was overheated and appreciated every single lick from that calf. I placed an open bottle full of ice water near the kitten in hopes to provide some additional relief from the heat of the day. It was so sweet to watch such pure kindness.

cows and a cat

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09/18/17 Monday – Edible Fungus


We went to the farmer's market and I found these little treasures. I've never tried oyster mushrooms before, so I bought some to try. Let me tell you, they are delicately delicious! Nom, nom, nom!

greene earth mushrooms greeneville tennessee

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09/17/17 Sunday – Go Without


I have decided to get rid of anything and everything that has not been used regularly in the last 12 months. There just isn't anywhere to store anything so it forces me to minimize. I'll be donating everything to a local thrift store that is affiliated with the food bank that we donate to. Good stuff. So don't underestimate your local thrift store. Sometimes you just might be surprised by what you find.


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09/16/17 Saturday – Music On Main


I always wanted to be a hermit when I grew up. Mission accomplished... Well, maybe not the grown-up part, but 1 out of 2 ain't bad. However, being a hermit can sometimes drive you close-to-crazy if you don't get off of The Farm and into society once in a while. And since we've moved here, I've always wondered about some of those people on the other side of the river - the ones that come down off of the Tennessee mountains once a year. Yeah, uh huh, them. So I try to get off of The Farm at least every 3rd day. There's nothing like a nice sunny evening, strolling along brick sidewalks while listening to a band play folk music outside in front of a historic building that holds such grandeur. Rejuvenating!

music on the square jonesborough tennessee

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09/15/17 Friday – Tires And Training


Little Man is learning how to ride his bike. Boots and Bike and Beloved.

training bike

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09/14/17 Thursday – Organic Abundance


Since we got a late start on our summer garden it is still producing delicious Brandy Wine and Heirloom tomatoes. We still have tons of them! Neighboring gardens ended their tomato season a few weeks ago. I've successfully canned all of the tomatoes that I need so recently we've been giving these lil' treasures away.

tomato

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09/13/17 Wednesday – Shapes And Shades


Pretty petals beside the pedestrian path. These caught my attention, with all of their different shapes and shades and curves and lines. They have a lot of charming character.

pink flower

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09/12/17 Tuesday – Knock On Green Door


Shadows on bricks. Fall is near.

brick building

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09/11/17 Monday – Fly Away With Me


Is there orange juice in there?

orange butterfly

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09/06/17 Wednesday – A Leaf and A Nut


This is my favorite time of the year: Fall. It's almost here. Fall weather in Tennessee is comparable to summer weather in Alaska (if you're lucky enough to get a summer in Alaska). That is the part of Alaska that I do not miss - the weather. Tennessee has seasons - all four of them. Oh how I love love love having four very distinctive and very dependable seasons each and every year. Makes me happy.

leaf and nut

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09/05/17 Tuesday – Shadows and Shutters


I love how the almost dilapidated shutters play against the distressed and aging brick and mortar walls of this old building. I can almost hear the stories in these walls being whispered to me as I walk beside them along Main Street where architecture is rich with history and commonly found standing side by side; each building possessing its own unique peculiarity, character and charm. I'm always cheerfully fascinated by each and every one of them each and every time we visit this town.

downtown jonesborough tennessee building

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09/04/17 Monday – 1853 to 1856


Rates of Odd Fellows High School Tuition in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I'm more intrigued with the handwriting.

downtown museum jonesborough tennessee

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09/03/17 Sunday – Sweet Sign


If only I had a sweet tooth.

downtown sweet sign jonesborough tennessee

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09/02/17 Saturday – Willow Swing


Hubby and I decided to take a walk down Main Street in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Oh how I love the look and feel of this town.

swing under a willow tree

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09/01/17 Friday – Cart of Corn


The corn is ready to harvest! This is just the first harvest. We have approximately 300 more cobs on the stalks.

cart of corn

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08/31/17 Thursday – Fall Gardening


Although both Hubby and I are Certified Master Gardeners, I thought it'd be nice to attend a Fall Gardening class sponsored by Boone Street Market in Jonesborough. Like with anything, I thought if we learned just one thing we'd have at least one more tool to use. Besides, in the scope of gardening, there is much diversity between Tennessee and Alaska. Insects, soil, weather, etc. are all very much different, so there is much to learn especially since we are staunch organic gardeners and we are still learning to help nature find her balance in our Tennessee garden. Did we learn anything from this class? Yes, we learned a few things and the instructor, Lexy Close was awesome!

boone street market fall gardening class

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08/30/17 Wednesday – Pick A Pepper


This looks like a lot of bell peppers, but I seem to be harvesting less and less of them. If only you could smell them...ahh, sweet bells.

green bell peppers

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08/27/17 Sunday – Plathemis Lydia


These dragonflies are so cool! I've been trying to take a picture of them for years now. Finally this Common Whitetail allowed me to get unusually close to her to get this beautiful picture. I am especially fascinated by how they, almost mechanically, lower their wings in four very distinctive positions after they land. Amazing!

plathemis lydia

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08/25/17 Friday – On The Outside


I thought I'd try something different. So I made inside-out omelets. Cheese on the inside and everything else on the outside. Oh my, they were ever so delicious!

omelet

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08/23/17 Wednesday – Grandma's Love


Oh how I love him...Little Man:

grandson

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08/22/17 Tuesday – Childhood Memory


As a child, this meal was an absolute delight. Still is. Pork Noodles. Yum!

pork noodles

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08/20/17 Sunday – Papilio Glaucus


A male swallowtail working over the marigolds. They amaze me.

male swallowtail

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08/18/17 Friday – Mizuki


I thought the squash plants added so much beauty to our garden. They were tall and strong, with elephant-ear-like leaves and vibrant with deep green colors. Production was awesome! But now squash season is over and we are moving on to planting our fall garden: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, and carrots. We've pared down some and planted a more manageable crop. In the meantime we are waiting to harvest more corn and bell peppers which will be any day soon, but until then other chores need our attention...like Strawberry Cheesecake Bars. Oh Dear Lord, I am close to Heaven now.

strawberry cheesecake bars

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08/16/17 Wednesday – Cayenne Curtain


I don't have kitchen curtains hung yet. Curtains are not a priority since we don't have neighbors or peeping Toms. We are very isolated out here on The Farm. So isolated that, as I look out my kitchen window, I often see my Hubby naked on the back porch, naked mowing the fields, or naked in the pool. The weather is hot here - so are cayenne peppers and they needed harvesting today. I cleaned them, strung them, and hung them up in my tiny kitchen window to dry. Pretty.

drying cayenne peppers

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08/15/17 Tuesday – Northern Palate


Who says you can't have Alaska King Crab and Scallops for dinner in Tennessee? Shipped directly from Sitka Sound Seafood. Every once in a while we love to have a taste of home. Delicious!

alaska king crab and scallops sitka sound seafood

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08/14/17 Monday – Harvest For Homeless


75 plus bell peppers, a bin full of crooknecks, and a few zucchini. Another harvest heading to the homeless shelters.

garden harvest

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08/13/17 Sunday – Harvest


I harvested more bell peppers, crookneck, and zucchini. Then I collectively arranged some of them to form the word Garden before the sun went down.

garden harvest

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08/12/17 Saturday – Hot! Hot! Hot!


I have enough cayenne peppers to last me a lifetime!

cayenne peppers

Image credit: Hubby


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08/11/17 Friday – Count 'Em


Hubby religiously goes to the corn crop each and every morning, comes back to join me at the table, and spits out a number...a number representing the quantity of cobs we might be harvesting soon. I think the number that he spit out this morning was somewhere around 400. Oh boy!

corn crop

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08/10/17 Thursday – Wings Of Beauty


I'm not an expert on butterflies, but I believe that this is a Spicebush Swallowtail. They are all over on our farm where milkweed is plentiful. I love to sit and watch them. Typically they are very busy and quick to depart if I get too close to them with my camera; however, this beauty allowed me to take as many pictures as I wanted to.

spicebush swallowtail butterfly

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08/08/17 Tuesday – Wobblers


The deer and the turkey have been showing up on The Farm a lot lately. The deer frequent the apple orchard for early evening and early morning meals; they eat the fallen fruits which attract mean bees and bugs if left on the ground too long. The turkey roam the fields eating nuts, grains, and insects; they love those big ass dumb June bugs and many other creepy things that I don't care to go near. So, to me, not only does wildlife send me into an enchanted state of mind, but seeing them also rings the brain's bug bell. More wildlife - less bugs. Hoorah!

turkey

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08/07/17 Monday – Munchkins


Pumpkin, Sweet Pea, and Little Man:

grandchildren

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08/06/17 Sunday – Making Spirits Bright


An alpine ocean view from one of the lookout points on Harbor Mountain in Sitka, Alaska. Many of my wonderful memories are awakened by this mountain. Memories of hiking, horizons, and humble solitude. Memories of friendships, forest fun, and family. One memory that I have on this mountain was my very first visit. I was 10 years old. Dad recently moved the family from Oregon to the island. Our family vehicle accompanied us; it was a 1970-ish Volkswagen Bus - another vehicle that holds many miles of memories, but those stories are for another time.

Nonetheless, our VW bus played part in one memory that I have as it transported a family of seven, including myself, while my dad operated it's control components up this snowy covered mountain, along the steep, one lane, gravel road that winds left to right to left again until leveling off at approximately 2,000 feet. We never made it that far. I don't recall passing too many switchbacks, but I do recall seeing one switchback and thinking to myself, "Maybe dad should try to turn around here and go back down this mountain." He didn't. Not long after that thought the backend of our VW bus started sliding down that mountain. I hear the overpowered throttle and feel the tires working in overdrive as they're spinning on icy snow covered gravel as my dad tries to prevent us from going down this mountain in the worst way possible. I remember looking toward the rear of the bus, curious of how and where we just mind end up if dad doesn't pull us out of this predicament. All I saw was a very steep embankment, huge spruce trees, and tons of very cold snow. Then my little sister caught my attention. She looked at me, looked down the embankment, then all of the sudden she squeezed her eyes shut tight, plugged her tiny ears with her little hands, and started to sing Jingle Bells VERY loudly. "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All The Way. Oh What Fun It Is To Ride In A One Horse Open Sleigh. Hey! Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells..."

Really?! We're gonna die and my sister sings Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells! Well, obviously, we didn't die. I'm here to tell you that we made it down the mountain, in the bus, with more gut-busting funny memories in the trunk. Great memories. Memories that keep calling me back year after year...after year.

harbor mountain sitka alaska

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08/04/17 Friday – One Step At A Time


I almost have the path to the pool done. It's been a fun project. We are very please with the imperfections and haphazard layout that seem to playfully invite us to the pool for a swim.

broken stepping stone path

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08/03/17 Thursday – Matchstick Ribbons


I wanted to spiralize some of the zucchini and crookneck squash that I harvested, but I didn't want to buy another bulky kitchen appliance. I searched the Internet for alternative handheld sprializers with good reviews. I choose the UberChef Julienne tool even though me and anything sharp don't get along at all. I like it! It was priced right, works great, juliennes evenly, cleans up easily, and I didn't cut a finger off. 5 stars.

julienne zucchini

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08/02/17 Wednesday – Twenty And Counting


The neem oil treatment took care of the hornworm problem and the bell peppers are doing so much better. Although, I am finding some bells with minor sunscalding but it is a relatively minor problem as of yet.

green bell peppers

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08/01/17 Tuesday – Kahuna


Three pound zucchini are not uncommon in our garden and they are deliciously meaty with very little seeds.

hubby with big zucchini

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07/30/17 Sunday – Path to Pool


We had a bunch of broken stepping stones so I thought I'd use them to make a curvy path from the back porch to the pool. I've been digging these level to the grass while Hubby is servicing the pool.

stepping stones to pool

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07/29/17 Saturday – Helping Others


Another load for the homeless shelter.

crookneck squash and zucchini

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07/27/17 Thursday – Bubba Gump Squash


So far we have had Zucchini Patties, Zucchini Lasagna, Zucchini Corn Salsa, Zucchini and Sausage Alfredo, and ... Zucchini Quiche. It's time for a zucchini break.

zucchini quiche

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07/26/17 Wednesday – A Favorite Of Mine


This is what pretty smells like. Lilac.

lilac

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07/24/17 Monday – Garden Grubs


I went to harvest the garden and check on the cute lil' bell peppers to see how they were doing and I quickly discovered a garden enemy. The Hornworm! Eggs too! There was considerable damage to the leaves of the bell peppers. All of them. I instantly went into SAVE THE BELLS mode, hopped on the Internet, and frantically searched for organic ways to eradicate The Enemy. Hubby and I decided it was best to use an organic neem oil which is known to kill hornworms in addition to other enemies of bell peppers and tomatoes. Hubby treated the garden and it seems to have worked so far. We'll know more in a few days. I'm thinking, maybe it's time that we get some cage-free, range-free chickens. Yep. Yep.

rubber chicken

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07/22/17 Saturday – Drip Drops


Hubby built a drip irrigation system for the garden. Thank you! Amen! While I love to garden, I don't enjoy the annoying insects or fighting with the garden hose up and down 40 foot rows of fragile tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. We've also had extremely hot weather lately and unless you are born and bred a farmer, getting up at 4:00 a.m. is not always the easiest thing to do - especially when you typically fall asleep between 2:00 - 3:00 a.m. So, needless to say, this irrigation system is better than awesome! It's working well resting on the ground beside the garden plants, and it looks and operates much like the one that The Wrinkled Dollar built.

pvc garden irrigation

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07/21/17 Friday – Giving Back


I've always believed in giving back and helping the less fortunate. I've been there. Recently I found a homeless shelter relatively close to our farm that operates with a "hand up" not a "hand out" policy. This shelter helps others help themselves. I like that. And they kindly accept donations of garden fresh vegetables. Since we have an abundance of squash, we opted to donate a big box of it to them today. I was humbled. And now since the people of this shelter opened their arms, we will fill them until there is no more garden left. I'm so thankful for the blessings in my life, including the garden and being able to share it with others.

farm at sunset

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07/20/17 Thursday – Garden Lasagna


Some people might think that zucchini get mushy inside as they get larger. I use to think so too, until now. Our organic zucchini are firm and meaty at any size and we've been harvesting some huge ones. Lately I've been trying to perfect a lasagna recipe by omitting pasta and using large slices of the bigger zucchini instead. I've made two batches of it so far - big batches, and I don't think I'll be making another batch of lasagna anytime soon. We need a zucchini break. Next year we'll cultivate a smaller garden; I think I was a little overzealous this year. But we'll always plant a big enough garden to help feed the homeless. Counting our blessings and sharing some too.

big zucchini

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07/18/17 Tuesday – Ringing The Bells


Can you guess what's new in our garden recently? Bell Peppers! I'm so happy, happy, happy! They are tiny lil' bells right now, and so dang cute!

bell pepper

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07/17/17 Monday – Quintessential


Homemade spaghetti/lasagna/pasta/pizza sauce using all garden fresh ingredients, including the herbs. I cooked it all up using two crock-pots that infused all of the Italian flavors in juicy tomatoes overnight. Delizioso!

spaghetti sauce

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07/16/17 Sunday – Patty Cake Patty Cake Baker's...


As promised, here's my recipe for Zucchini Patties.

Ingredients:
1 pkg. crushed Crackers (I use Club Original)
2 C. Panko (I use Japanese Style Panko Breadcrumbs)
1 C. Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)
1 tsp. Spanish Paprika
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Black Pepper (coarsely ground)
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. freshly grated Nutmeg
½ tsp. Granulated Garlic
4 C. shredded squash (I use zucchini and crookneck)
4-5 large Eggs, whisked
Olive Oil
Butter

To prepare the squash: Line a deep pan with a double layer of paper towels, line paper towels with thin layer of shredded squash. Repeat if necessary. Cover and let it sit in the frig overnight so it can absorb a good amount of the moisture from the squash.

Directions:
To a bowl add dry ingredients; whisk to combine.

Add 4 C. shredded squash to the dry ingredients and mix until the squash is thoroughly coated. Set this aside for approx. 15 minutes.

Heat 3 tbsp. Olive Oil and 3 tbsp. Butter in large skillet over medium heat.

Now here's the trick to awesome patties. By allowing the shredded squash to sit for a few minutes after coating them with the dry ingredients, it shows the level of water content your squash has by how wet or dry the mixture becomes. So if the mixture seems a little dry add 5 eggs. If the mixture seems a little wet add 4 eggs. Mix the eggs in until thoroughly incorporated.

This is the messy part:
Form balls approx. the size of a golf ball. Flatten ball into patty. Place in skillet. Repeat. Lightly brown patties on one side. Flip. Lightly brown patties on other side. Turn heat down to medium-low to cook approx. 10-12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through, flipping when necessary to avoid over-browning.
(Every stovetop is different so your temperature might need adjusting.)

Place cooked patties on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Best served warm.

squash fritters

Side note:
These freeze just fine. Cook first, cool, freeze in air-tight Ziploc. To reheat, let thaw overnight in frig then reheat in skillet or microwave. Enjoy!


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07/15/17 Saturday – Abundance


I don't want to see another squash for a while. Heh.

squash

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07/14/17 Friday – Hop to it!


It was a very busy day. Hubby did the recycling, trimmed the orchard, fixed the mower, and shared some of today's garden harvest with a friend of ours. I'm not sure which one of these chores I appreciated the most. I'm so happy that some of our friends are accepting all the extra zucchini that we have to share. I have zucchini coming out of my heinie! Tons of it! I'm chopping, dicing, shredding, chipping, spiralizing, draining, flash-freezing, packaging, and cooking up zucchini left and right. In addition to today's harvest, I've been doing the typical household chores; got a chicken in the crockpot; tending to an elderly cat; preparing meals; cleaning garden fresh tomatoes and corn given to us by a friend; and coding up a storm. I've been debating on whether or not to post my 2015 journals. It was a year of building the farmhouse. I decided that it should be a year to share, so I've been busy transferring my pen-to-paper thoughts to a coded calendar of events and attaching respective images. Currently it is a sporadic journal at best. I do have other coding priorities, but I'm kind of excited to post 2015. Coming soon.

frog

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07/12/17 Wednesday – Faded Mural


This quaint little spot in Jonesborough quiets my mind. A burbling brook flows right beside it which emanates sounds that awaken sweet memories. It's occupied with tiny fish and paddling ducks that are simple, yet intriguing, entertainment. This spot faces a large parking lot right next to the train tracks. I love trains...and tranquility. Bricks. A Bench. A Brook. And a Book. Perfect.

bench and brick

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07/10/17 Monday – Grows Proud


The garden is so pretty, healthy, and strong. It makes me smile.

garden

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07/09/17 Sunday – Pop Corn


It was late in the season before Hubby got the corn planted. We don't mind. He said if he gets only one cob that he'll consider it success. I couldn't agree more. Besides, it looks like the corn is coming along just fine. It popped right out of the ground, is standing tall, and looking pretty.

corn crop

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07/08/17 Saturday – Ways Of Weeds


Unlike most people who garden, I enjoy weeding. BUT! But, weeds here are nothing like weeds in Alaska. With the recent rain storms that passed through here, the weeds in the garden were growing fast and thick. It wasn't until recently that I read it was easiest to pull weeds right after it rained. See, in Alaska weeds pull out rather easily all of the time albeit the weather is typically rain rain rain. Regardless, the soil here in Tennessee is much different than in Alaska. Shortly after we moved to Tennessee I tried to weed by hand only to be defeated and ultimately deprived of my weed-therapy. I was bummed out. Since then I craved weed-therapy, and not the kind some people might smoke. I'd see weeds and instantly yearn the pleasure I often found in thinning them out. So when we planted the garden here on The Farm, I wondered about how the whole weeding process was going to work. As it turns out, this too has proven to be a subject for research but so far a gardening success. Obviously it is best to get the whole root of weeds when you pull them out but that is not always possible in red clay soil, however; we've also learned that it is common, and a preferred method, to cultivate the weeds right back into the soil by tilling it. Imagine that! I've never heard of such a thing. Crazy new cool! We've opted to do both methods of weed control; Hubby rototills and I pull the weeds that are closer to the base of the plants. Maybe we're doing it all wrong - who knows. But for now we have a healthy garden that is repaying us for all of our hard work with a bountiful harvest of delicious squash. Time to make squash fritters!

shredded zucchini and crookneck squash

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07/07/17 Friday – The Garden Curve


Gardening here in Tennessee has proven to be a whole new learning curve for us - challenging and fun. It has pretty much been trial and error after continued gardening research. So far we've had great luck with our organic garden with no evident infestations of any kind. Occasionally I'll have a bunny join me in the crop or we will have deer tracks in the garden but neither seem to bother a thing. Although, I wouldn't mind if they did. We decided long before we planted the garden that we would share it with our furry friends. It's just the way of life here on The Farm, and I don't want to mess with that balance. It's humbling the way it's suppose to be. Grow the food. Share the food. Happy.

cottontail rabbit

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07/06/17 Thursday – Pot Of Gold


Rainbows on the foothills. Pretty.

rainbows

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07/05/17 Wednesday – Fritters First


Our first harvest from our first garden in Tennessee. Zucchini and crookneck squash. It is a very rewarding experience; an amalgamation of bees and bunnies and weeds and weather. I love it!

zucchini and crooked necks squash

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07/04/17 Tuesday – Sugarfied


I call these Rookies. It's like having a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on top of a Brookie. I'm typically all about quick and easy recipes. And while these aren't the quickest cookies to make, they are easy, and they are worth the time it takes to make them. They are DELICIOUS!

cookies

Rookies

Mix the following ingredients until creamy:
1 package brownie mix
1 large egg
1/4 C. + 1 tablespoon melted butter
4 oz. room temperature cream cheese
Form small balls, about a tablespoon, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-13 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Next, mix the following ingredients until creamy:
1 C. creamy peanut butter
3/4 C. powdered sugar
Spread on top of Brookies.

Lastly, melt 1 C. of milk chocolate chips and dollop a teaspoon or so on the top.

Yields approximately 24 Rookies.


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07/03/17 Monday – Cloaca


Fresh Butt Nuggets! We buy them from a friend of ours who has many years of husbandry experience. Her chickens are treated with the utmost respect which I greatly admire. They are cage-free and free-range. Chicken's raised right.

fresh range free cage free chicken eggs

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07/02/17 Sunday – Hey There!


I love it when the hay bales are made because they make the countryside look more serene.

hay bales

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06/30/17 Friday – Make A Wish


The saying goes, "If you want to know where your home is, listen to where your mind goes when it wanders." 99% of the time my heart and my mind are in Alaska. Yep.

herring cove sitka alaska

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06/29/17 Thursday – Over The Rainbow


Lesson Learned #2: Look for the lesson that is being taught, in anything difficult that you face in life, even if you have to swim for it.

sitka alaska

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06/27/17 Tuesday – Sting


I discovered this hornet nest in the peak of our roof. Hornet venom contains a large amount of acetylcholine and one hornet can sting repeatedly. Angry hornets can do some serious damage to humans. I bet that there is a colony of at least 500 or more hornets because this nest is HUGE! Hornets are the largest of the eusocial wasps and they are wicked, so I had Hubby call in reinforcements: The Bug Man and his exterminator expertise! His professional first reply was, "Are you trying to kill me?!" Funny man. He'll be here tonight to eradicate the nest because he said that's when hornets are less active. That's not what I read while doing my usual insect research; typically something I do when we come across anything new around here on The Farm. I read that hornets are most likely inside their nest in the early morning hours, so that is the best time to destroy it. Well, I'm just glad that I'm not The Bug Man. Ouch!

hornet nest

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06/26/17 Monday – Verdure


I couldn't resist. I had to plant some Greek Oregano, Sweet Basil, and Rosemary. I'll transfer them to the garden later.

herbs in pots

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06/25/17 Sunday – Fresh From Their Garden


Oh how I love a trip to the farmer's market. We have many of them around this area, but we shop at this one the most. Smith's Produce off of highway 107 in Jonesborough:

smiths farmers market

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06/23/17 Friday – Birthday Reminder


Even though my list of projects just keeps getting longer and longer, I thought I'd start a fun, new, helpful project. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint: J F M A M J J A S O N D.

birthday board

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06/22/17 Thursday – Alaska Rocks!


You know it! I brought all of the pretty rocks that I found in Alaska with me to Tennessee. Yep. Yep. I did.

alaska rocks

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06/21/17 Wednesday – Alaska Fisherman


Our oldest son knows how to fish for the big ones. Nice catch David!

alaska fish king salmon

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06/20/17 Tuesday – Bald And Busy


Today is a busy but quiet day. Refreshing.

alaska bald eagle

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06/19/17 Monday – Worms And Rain


We got a little rain; enough rain to water the gardens and awaken the worms for all the little birdies to eat. Locals tell us that we planted way too much corn. And squash. And bell peppers. Story is is that we only needed one or two plants of each one. Maybe they are correct. I do have plans on stocking the freezer to help get us through the winter with meals that I commonly prepare using these ingredients. If our friends are correct, we'll have plenty of extra corn and squash and bell peppers to share with them and the local food banks. Tomatoes on the other hand are a different story. I don't think we could overplant them. I'll be canning tomato sauce, salsas, spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, and whole tomatoes. Although, come harvest time I might eat my words. I'll be busy. Very busy.

gustavus birds at bed and breakfast porch

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06/18/17 Sunday – Two Gardens and A Hose


Still no rain. Hubby put a post up next to the garden and added a garden hose. I have a feeling that this will come in handy. Heh.

garden hose

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06/17/17 Saturday – Corn Dog


Hubby worked like a dog and got the corn planted! Done! Now all we need is rain. It's dry dock here.

gustavus dry dock boat

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06/16/17 Friday – Sing a Song For Me


The garden keeps us busy. Hubby is still determined to get the corn planted.

gustavus birds

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06/15/17 Thursday – Drip A Drop


I lived on Baranof Island for 20 years with endless rain and endless wishes for it to stop. Then I lived landlocked in the capital of Alaska for another 20 years; a place where I could count the number of sunny days we got each year on ten fingers. The rest of the weather was either depressing gray sky, plenty of snow, or endless rain. Now, somehow it seems like a struggle for me to wish for rain here on The Farm. I want it to rain for the garden, but I also want blue sky and sunshine a majority of the time. To compromise, maybe a small rain cloud could come on by and just park right above the garden and water it enough to give the plants what they need for the day. A garden rain cloud. Hum. Sounds perfect.

gustavus water pump

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06/14/17 Wednesday – Before The Sun


I got up at the crack of dawn and watered our garden. Now this may not sound like a whole lot of fun to you, but I was in Hog Heaven! Throughout life, I've always enjoyed gardening and I have taken the time to Stop and Smell the Roses. It brings balance. And I don't even care for roses. So heck with the roses, now. I have a garden! I. Have. A. Real. Garden! Makes me wanna Stop and Smell the Squash. Balance. Heh.

plant

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06/12/17 Monday – Muscles Awaken


I've been raking and sifting soil for two days in 85 degree weather. Why? Well, we already knew that we were under the gun to get certain garden plants cultivated. By the time I got the bug to garden it was already too late to get some things going. I didn't mind. I just wanted to garden something...anything. But still, we knew we had to hurry because there was a very narrow window to get plants in the ground. With Boo Boo 1 and 2, the days have been adding up with still no plants in the garden. So while Hubby operates the rototiller, I've been raking and sifting out the weeds. Hard work but it feels wonderful!


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06/11/17 Sunday – No Naps


I always had great admiration for farmers. GREAT admiration AND appreciation. This admiration and appreciation went to a whole new level today. Hats off to all you farmers! You. Are. Amazing!


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06/10/17 Saturday – Breaking Bricks


The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the...

rototiller

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06/09/17 Friday – Implement


The rototiller won't start. Big Boo Boo number 2. Common sense would have told us to check that 100 year old rototiller to see if it would start, before buying garden plants.

I have a feeling that this frog knows more about gardening in the south than I do. He has been sitting here giggling ever since we bought the plants for the garden. Um huh.

frog on copper

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06/08/17 Thursday – Plan Before Plants


We went and bought plants before we prepared our plots. Big Boo Boo. Although, we did decide where the best location would be to put the gardens: West to East; sun comes up over there and will cross to shade over here; land slopes from there to there; water from rainfall will flow from here to there, and so on. We thought to ourselves, no big deal, just plow the soil and we're ready. Nope. That's not how it works down here in the south. Dirt here is like clay. Yeah, the kind of clay you make bricks out of. Hard! And the weeds. Don't get me started on the weeds! It's like the devil has a firm grip on their roots!

It's Rototiller Time!


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06/07/17 Wednesday – Spice It Up


This afternoon I put on my Mexican Sombrero and whipped up some killer-good Chipotle Chicken Tacos. Oh the taste, people! Delicious! It made me holler "Oom-Pah" while I jigged The Chicken Dance! Go on, take a bite!

chipotle chicken taco

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06/06/17 Tuesday – Plot To Plot


It's all the cat's fault! The other day I planted some catnip for the cat and now I have the gardening bug. Hubby and I have had plans to plant a garden since before we even moved to Tennessee, but I decided that we had way too many projects in the hopper. I thought it was better to put the garden at the bottom of the list and not play in the dirt for awhile. Well except for planting the fruit trees, catnip, and occasional flowers here and there.

It was inevitable though that the therapeutic nature of gardening would eventually summon us much sooner than many of the other projects - for obvious reasons. Operating The Farm is a busy life. Chores often outweigh any other projects of lesser importance. Then add Project Ma Ma to that list...Um, yeah.

Nevertheless, with the deep itch for gardening, Hubby and I went to a local family-operated greenhouse to purchase some corn seeds; green, yellow, and red bell pepper plants; zucchini and summer squash plants; and some tomato plants. And because we only do organic gardening - I bought some marigolds, sage, and thyme to serve as common pest control for the respective vegetable plants. Today we decided where to put the garden plots and Hubby will plow the soil soon. Then we plant! So much fun, I tell ya. So much fun!

mokingbird

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06/05/17 Monday – Gemstone


Sweet Saphire is so very talented. I'm in awe.

artist saphire fish

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06/04/17 Sunday – Pot In A Pot


I craved dirt today. I wanted to get my hands down in some soil and plant something...anything. So I planted some catnip.

catnip

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06/03/17 Saturday – Peace Paint


Our first grandson. He is now 1 year old. Time flies!

body paint

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06/02/17 Friday – Through The Looking Glass


We bought a bunch of antique windows from a friend of ours. I have a couple of really neat ideas for them. But first, they are in need of some TLC and deep cleaning without taking away their rustic farmhouse charm.

antique windows

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06/01/17 Thursday – Silence


There is an unusual calm on The Farm tonight. Typically my back porch ambiance is filled with the sounds of a constant yet calm wind, crickets playing their violins, and a huge choir of mud frogs. But not tonight. Tonight there are no sounds, no bugs, no activity whatsoever. No bunnies hopping. No cows mooing. No donkey bray. Nothing. It's too quiet. Maybe, possibly, most likely...I'll be blessed with the sound of my Hubby snoring later in the night (....said with sweet affection and everlasting unconditional love). Heh.

berries

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05/31/17 Wednesday – Words on Wood


I finally got my new bookshelves stained and finished!

My old makeshift bookshelf was made from books stacked between old particle boards to give my office the illusion of a functional bookshelf. It did provide a place for my books so I decided something rather than nothing would suffice. But I was so happy to get rid of it today.

makeshift bookshelf

I'm so please with the new, much prettier, bookshelves.

makeshift bookshelf

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05/30/17 Tuesday – Work Never Done


There is definitely never a dull moment in retirement...if you choose busy. Hubby's ma ma stays busy building her bird houses, sewing, and other projects. She also maintains a great network and often meets her friends for regular breakfast gatherings. On the other hand, I'm still waiting on Hubby to retire. The work is never ending on The Farm. Never.

wild flowers on the farm

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05/29/17 Monday – Project Undone


Hubby started to build shelving units for the pantry over a year ago. I wobbled with the idea of it and didn't know if this is what would work for me. Today we decided that this project needs to be completed. Here is a before picture. I'll post an after picture once this project is finally done.

shelving unit

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05/28/17 Sunday – Fly In My Fruit


It's that time of year again. The fruit flies have arrived. This is another annoying bug problem that I faced when I moved to the south side of America. On the Internet, you can find a lot of recommended ways to eliminate or reduce fruit flies in your home, and I tried them all. None of them work as well as what I came up with. The popular vote for the ingredients are the same: Apple cider vinegar and liquid dish soap. But I went and bought the cheapest plastic food storage containers - the shallow ones with lids. Then I asked Hubby to drill 8 to 10 tiny holes in the top of the lids. Fill each container half full with apple cider vinegar, add a few drops of liquid dish soap, snap the lid on, then carefully swirl it around without spilling any of the liquid out of the holes. Set the prepared containers in the areas where you have problems with fruit flies. After a day or two, I typically give them a quick swirl to activate the odor that attracts more fruit flies. Cleaning is a cinch, just take the container outside, remove the lid, dump and rinse. Depending on how many fruit flies there are, I'll empty and refill my containers about once every two weeks. Make sure you buy the clear plastic containers so all you have to do is lift it up and look at the bottom to see how many fruit flies you caught without having to remove the lid. It's an awesome method that has worked very well for me year after year. Give it a try.

fruit flies catcher

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05/27/17 Saturday – You-See-Ums


Let us talk about bugs.

After living in Alaska for 40 years, a state that is relatively free of annoying insects, someone like me finds great relief from Big Bug Kingdom when I go back to visit. Alaska pretty much only has two annoying insects: the blood sucking mosquito and the skin chewing no-see-ums. Alaskans commonly call mosquitoes, “skeeters” and no-see-ums “you-see-ums.” They are the only two insects big enough to survive the long cold winters of Alaska. They grow big, and strong, and in the thousands and thousands. I was a victim of them each and every year but I really didn't mind because I grew accustom to them. Apparently I am the type of person whose skin emits many of the odors that attracts every single type of bug on this earth, so it was inevitable that I would receive hundreds of insect bites every year. I might know what you're thinking at this point...and no, no, I never have suffered any effects from all those insect bites – well, except for a whole lot of itching.

So far, since living in Tennessee – almost four years now, I have not received one single mosquito bite. Why? Here, skeeters are wimpy, teeny-weeny, at bottom of the bug ladder bug. There aren't very many skeeters here and I know why. Because there are some huge, and I mean HUGE, pterodactyl like monster bugs that chew 'em up and spit 'em out like a cowboy does with chewin' tobacco. People! There are TONS of bugs in Tennessee! All kinds of bugs. Pretty bugs, ugly bugs, and pretty ugly bugs. But mostly Gigantic, Creepy, Fugly ass bugs. I just spent the last half hour killing one of them. Wore my ass OUT!

I'll leave you with a picture of a pretty bug, so you don't have nightmares tonight. Heh.

white butterfly

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05/26/17 Friday – Monsters Live Here


Peanut butter oatmeal cookies for my Cookie Monsters:

cookies

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05/25/17 Thursday – Tennessee Sunset


I could never get tired of watching the sun go down in Tennessee.

tennessee sunset

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05/24/17 Wednesday – Fly By Hours


You know that list of projects that I told you about that needed to get done? You know, the non-coding, non-computer, non-Webwork related type of projects? Ya, that list. This morning, I told myself that I was going to limit my time plugged in and booted up so I could get to work on those other projects. And here I sit, 10 hours later, behind my computer screens coding, managing client sites, and doing Web development research. O.k...

...I'm leaving now.

keyboard dream

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05/23/17 Tuesday – Squeeze It


If you go through freshly squeezed lemon juice like I do, you're gonna want one of these:

lemon juicer

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05/22/17 Monday – Work At It


Our farmhouse is built but it is far from completed. There is a very long list of things that still need to be done on the inside before it looks like a home instead of a bachelor pad. Today I tackled a few of the things on the list. I completed one. Sometimes I really really miss our old home and I often find myself daydreaming of simple amenities and fun days of yore in Alaska.

kids fishing in alaska

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05/21/17 Sunday – BBQ and Country


Hubby and I spent the day grillin' and chillin'. Then we went to see Clint Black perform at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. It was awesome!

clint black

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05/20/17 Saturday – Trash To Cash


Hubby and I went to the Iris Festival in Greeneville today. It was fun! There were some really neat things to see there, like these upcycled critters made of old rusty shovels, axe heads, rake tines, and other odds-n-ends. Creative!

upcycled critters

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05/18/17 Thursday – East Side Moo


My vocabulary use to commonly consist of words like: King Crab. Razor Clams. Star Fish. Whales. And Bald Eagles. Now I talk to cows. They visit to the east of us along our fencerow. Curious creatures.

three cows

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05/17/17 Wednesday – Butt Light


The fireflies arrived last week; I watch them fly all about right after sunset. They light up the trees that line the fencerow surrounding The Farm. They look like hundreds of those tiny twinkle lights that are commonly hung on Christmas trees to brighten things up. I find these fireflies fascinating: A bug. With a blinking light bulb. On his butt! Imagine that. Heh.

They make me smile.

tennessee sunset

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05/16/17 Tuesday – Whit-Chew Whit-Chew


The Northern Cardinal; it's the official state bird of Kentucky. He's far from home. We have a lot of them here on The Farm. Pretty bird.

northern cardinal male

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05/14/17 Sunday – Blessings


There are two very beautiful women out there whom I am so very proud of. They are the mothers of my grandchildren. They are incredible mothers. The best of the best. Happy Mother's Day sweethearts.

Little Man:

eivin standing

Sweet Pea:

katelyn tball

Pumpkin:

kennedy

Image credits go to respective parents.


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05/13/17 Saturday – Logo


Saphy is a natural artist; she's incredibly talented. Recently I asked her if she'd draw me something for this Website. And in 3 seconds flat, she sent me this rough draft. Wow! Wow, wow, wow! Awesome! Thank you Saphy!

Art By Saphy

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05/12/17 Friday – Thunder Gods


Aktzin, Tlaloc, Yopaat, and Chaac visited the sky above our farm today. The Thunder Gods were strong, and fierce, and almighty! The lightning rods hit ever so close to the farmhouse, which were followed by bone-chilling sonic booms that instantly released shock waves strong enough to vibrate all the windows. Thankfully storms pass quickly here, but we got a double whammy today. Storm. Calm. Storm. After the storms were over, this Turkey Vulture jump-started his internal thermoregulation process while he drip-dried his wings atop the dead tree which still stands in the fencerow not too far away.

vulture

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05/11/17 Thursday – The Feast


The vultures showed up in the back field today. We call them, "The Cleaners". They meticulously devoured a dead barn cat that somehow met his demise sometime during the night.

vultures

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05/10/17 Wednesday – Cornbread and Coffee


We love cornbread. I searched the Internet high and low for a good cornbread recipe. After trying nearly every cornbread recipe that I could find, I resorted to a recipe of my own. I like a sweet cornbread but not too sweet. Its delicious! Give it a try.

cornbread and coffee

I like quick and easy recipes; here it is:

Sift:
1 1/3 C. Yellow Cornmeal
1 C. A/P Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

Whisk:
1/4 C. Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. Melted Butter
2 Eggs
1 C. Almond Milk

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
Grease square pan.
Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.


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05/09/17 Tuesday – Book Bee


I read books. Lots of them. Recently, I've been working on a couple of new bookshelves that Hubby put together for me.

bookshelf
bookshelf

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05/08/17 Monday – A Good Ma Ma


I love her. Yep. Yep. I do.

female cottontail rabbit

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05/07/17 Sunday – Launched


I've been working on a fun project for a customer. I launched it today. Check out her eCommerce store on Etsy!


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05/06/17 Saturday – Chicken On The Range


The Clucker Trucker. Hubby built it for a friend.

clucker trucker
clucker trucker

Then Hubby built the Clucker Sucker. It's a watering system for the chickens.

clucker sucker

Pretty cool, huh!


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05/03/17 Wednesday – My Wagon Is Full


I have some zero-coding projects that very much need my attention today. I can't wait to show you what I've been up to!

dollywood wagon

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05/02/17 Tuesday – Taco Tuesday


Pulled Pork Taco. To die for! Last week I threw a pork butt into the crockpot. The results have been mouthwatering. I fried up some corn tortillas, diced up a sweet Vidalia onion, shredded some Pepper Jack cheese, then I put it all together for one very tasty meal. Yum!

pulled pork tacos

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05/01/17 Monday – Allium Ampeloprasum


I've always been a picky eater. I'd rather starve than consume calories that I didn't particularly enjoy. However, since living on The Farm, I have learned that you can't just hop in the car and go grab something that you are craving to eat. Well, you can if you want to drive 50 miles to go get it, bring it home, and then prepare it. By that time, I'm no longer in the mood for it. So, I've learned to eat what is on hand, get creative with substitutes, and even enjoy eating seasonally now. This has encouraged me to try new things too, for example green bell peppers. In Alaska, they are bitter and the taste of them overpowers my palate. Here in Tennessee, green bell peppers are sweet and fresh and oh so delicious. Recently I thought I'd try leeks. Rumors of them being a pain in the ass to clean are unfounded, at least with me. They are simple to clean and worth trying too. Leeks have a tasty, mild, onion-like flavor. Tip: The outer leaves can be kind of fibrous, so peel those off and discard - like you would do with a green onion.

leeks

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04/30/17 Sunday – The EF Scale


Hubby installed his new weather station. He loves it! It delivers weather conditions like the air temperature, wind speed, and rain predictions. I ordered this gadget for Hubby as a birthday gift knowing he'd be enthralled with all of the atmospheric data processes it delivers. I'm only interested in those extra 13.2 nanoseconds it gives me to find my cat and head for the storm shelter before that damn tornado hits. Heh.

weather station

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04/29/17 Saturday – Hop To It


I think it's time to service the pool. It's getting hot outside!

frog

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04/28/17 Friday – Crock It Out


I love my crockpot; throw everything in it before bed and whala! Dinner! Done! I threw this pork butt in the crockpot last night after Hubby put a killer-good smoke on it. Can you say, "Pulled Pork Sandwiches". Yum!

pulled pork

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04/26/17 Wednesday – Cottontails


And then there were three. Thumper didn't have twins. She had triplets! These lil' fellers are small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. Cute, I tell ya! Cute!

baby cottontails

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04/25/17 Tuesday – Lucky Duck


Hey Shayla! You know it! Rice Krispies! Topped with Lucky Charms! Nom, nom, nom. Nom. Nom.

rice krispies

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04/24/17 Monday – Pilot Hill


Occasionally Hubby and I will go to a local restaurant for Pickin' on the Porch. That's when a bunch of musicians gather to play their fiddles, banjos, and knee tappin' spoons. The atmosphere is old-timer, antique, and very laid-back. The food is delicious. We're comfortable there. The building was built in 1902 and it was originally a county court house, post office, and pharmacy all-in-one. It is adorned with all kinds of oldies but goodies, like these boots sittin' on the front steps:

boots

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04/23/17 Sunday – Wild Side


Wild onions grow in our fields. When we mow, the air is filled with the sweet smells of fresh cut grass - And onions. I always crave a Poor Man's Salad after mowing. Not long ago, I was at the grocery store buying ingredients to make a salad. While I was checking out at the register, this nice old lady told me a story as she bagged my items. In short, she told me that her and her mother would go out to the fields and pick greens to make a salad because her family was too poor to buy greens. She would forage for Chicory, Dandelions, Ramps, and many other edible plants. She called it, "Poor Man's Salad".

wild onions

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04/22/17 Saturday – Smell It


If you put your nose up to the screen really close, you just might be able to smell this delicious banana bread. Go on, give it a try.

banana bread

Didn't work? O.k. Here's the recipe. Super easy!

banana bread recipe

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04/18/17 Tuesday – Whale Bubbles


Hubby surprised me with this whale. I love whales. It blows bubbles! I love bubbles!

whalebubbles

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04/17/17 Monday – Skunk!


There are critters in our neck of the woods. Mean critters. Stinky critters. Since I will not allow anyone to kill the critters, Hubby bought himself a paintball gun. I can guarantee you that there is a skunk or two out there somewhere with green and blue spots all over it.

paintball

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04/16/17 Sunday – Thumper


This bunny showed up a few days ago. She built a nest right next to the house, right next to the back porch where traffic is heavy with humans. She trusts us. She gave birth to twins and nurses them twice a day, allowing me to get up close to her to take some really cool pictures. I think I love her.

cottontail

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04/15/17 Saturday – Chop Shop


Things are starting to heat up here, so I joined my mother-in-law at the chop shop. The beautician cut approximately a foot of my hair off. I like it.


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04/14/17 Friday – River View


I have officially dove deep into my coding and working on a big project for my mother-in-law. I'm excited to tell you about it. Stay tuned.


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04/13/17 Thursday – Spring Time


These two baby birds are hungry.

twobirds

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04/12/17 Wednesday – Shop Talk


There's a story behind this picture; a lesson really. Not so shortly after we moved to Tennessee, we learned that we had to set boundaries and limits. So once a week Hubby works for his mother. Once. A. Week. Wednesday. No more. No less. We call it Slave-Day since he does not profit from it whatsoever and he doesn't particularly enjoy it. Every Wednesday Hubby is typically summoned to work in mom's woodshop to build bird houses that his mother sells locally. I don't particularly care for the grumpy side of Hubby when he returns home each Wednesday, but I can't help to find the positive side of Slave-Day. I believe that one day Hubby will look back and cherish the memories that he made with his mother there in the woodshop. Besides, there are days that he does come home in a pretty jolly mood.

woodshop

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04/11/17 Tuesday – From Crazy to Content


Where do I begin? It wasn't until May of 2016 that I realized everything was going to be o.k. I'll tell you about that later. But first, let me back up a little. Retirement. My husband and I spent years discussing his retirement long before he was actually eligible to retire. We researched specific areas in Oregon, Idaho, Tennessee, and even New Zealand. In the end, my husband's hometown kept calling his name. At the time, in my heart of hearts, I felt like Tennessee wasn't the right decision. Something just didn't feel right about it. I argued with those funky feelings, even fought with them in my head, and in the end I went along with the decision to retire in Tennessee - for multiple logical reasons. And now, almost 4 years later, I am finally ready to embrace life again ... here on The Farm.

4 years later.

The first year of retirement I was tired, lost, and confused. I was fighting many emotional battles. Basically I struggled 24/7 to find a way to fill my void. The second year of retirement was about making big decisions, setting goals, and trying to stay sane. We decided to build a house. The third year of retirement was about overcoming obstacles and persevering come hell or high waters. We completed our house. The forth year of retirement has continued to bring me lessons in life. Good lessons.

Lesson #1: This new chapter in life is a lot different than how I thought it would be.

mark1withbrick

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04/10/17 Monday – Code Life Code


I'm back. Recently, I've been busy coding. I haven't journaled since we left Alaska in June of 2013. Why? Long story short, life got busy. Really busy! But I'm excited to tell you all about it. The problem is is that I don't know where to start.

farm

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