Category Archives: Uncategorized

Living Off the Land

Grilled Kokanee with Sugar Peas & Wax Beans sautéed w/ green onions

Above is what I made for dinner last night.  The veggies were harvested from the garden.  This is about the last of the sugar peas and the beginning of the yellow wax beans.  I sautéed them with green onions growing in the garden.  My husband and sons fished out many Kokanee from a local lake and brought them home.  This is an example of how our family often eats.  I am proud of their sportsmanship.  My sons are very proud to provide their mother with meat for the family; it also gives them a sense of purpose and usefulness (we all need to feel useful & needed).  The kokanee was simply dressed with olive oil, dill (which does grow in my garden – but I was lazy and used dried), salt and lemon over the bbq.  We smoked the rest of the fillets.

This is where the blog starts going into the topic of hunting and fishing.  That time of year is around the corner; What time?  Fall – The Hunt…..As we round out the vegetable growing season, look forward to topics including canning and hunting game meat to carry the family throught the winter months back into next Spring.


Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


It’s going to take off soon…

The kids harvested a big colander full of snap peas, parsley and a couple bunches of green onions.  They are sitting on the corner trying to sell their wares – see another benefit of growing your own vegetables:  The kids will leave you alone for at least an hour if making some money is possible.

It’s finally starting to heat up here.  The Green Beans are starting to wrap their tendrils around the support fencing I put up.  The tomatoes are growing rather quickly.  the zuchinni and squashes look like they are going to blossom soon.  Broccoli still growing. Potatoes, peppers, cantelopes and onions growing along.

I expect to harvest beans, zuc/squash in July/aug. Potatoes and onions I expect to start harvesting in Aug/sept and the cantelopes around sept. Tomatoes Aug-Oct. Peppers – ??I’ve never had good luck, but July/august I suspect.

The succession planting of wax beans are also starting to sprout while the other ones continue to grow rather slowly. Hopefully the weather will coax them on.  The basil is not doing anything and I’m not sure if it’s because the birds keep eating the sprouts?  I just never quite catch them in the act.  I am trying to start some inside.


Almost Genius Idea — ReUsing Quart Jars

This week is teacher appreciation week and as usual I am running totally last minute. My almost genius idea was to make those cookie mixes in the mason jars – but I’ve never done this before.  My girlfriend has a few of these recipe type books for cookies, cakes, soups in a jar mixes.  My nail lady also told me to look up “gift in a jar” on the internet too.

Since I preserve, I already have jars with already used lids/seals (which you usually don’t reuse again to seal) and their bands!  Layered the ingredients.  Very easily done.  The time consuming part was crafting up some wordart for some jar labels/inserts to go underneath the band showing the instructions and then taping a ring of ribbon around that band to add the finishing touch.

Then my genius kicked in…..Idaho doesn’t recycle glass; so I thought that in the future I would save any quart jars from other purchases with their lids and save them for future repurposing.  For example, use a RAGU jar for one of these gifts in a jar.  Of course, it will require me to cover the lid with cloth and string and convert the lid label/instructions into a tag to attach around the jar lid, but that will save the $1 for the cost of the jar (assuming you can scrounge some fabric, string, card stock at the store, goodwill, attic, neighbor) to decorate lids with.  Wanted to pass it on….Give gifts whose components are repurposed, that the recipients can use and maybe reuse or recycle!

One son reported much excitement expressed by his teachers (6 in all).  I also donated a couple to the kitchen basket the kindergarten class is supposed to put together for the carnival.  I still have one to give out.  Much thanks to my friend Dawn who lent me the recipe books!

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


Harvesting in the garden already

I am already able to harvest mesclun lettuce from the garden, along with spinach and arugula.  I had started these by seed indoors in February and the warm indoor temperature allowed them to germinate rather quickly.  I cut the outer, bigger leaves leaving the babies to grow a little bit to continue feeding us.

You’ll recall that I transplanted them in mid-march into the garden and then a couple of weeks later made a succession planting.  Due to the much lower outdoor temperatures, those seed have germinated and are growing slowly.

I hope to continue succession planting on the greens each month or so so that I can have salad greens all the time.

Right now, what I am harvesting, I am mixing in with bagged baby spinach purhcased at the store, but there is enough to feed 2 people alone – but I’ve got 5 to feed, so I supplement it with the cheaper spinach.

Onion bulbs – have sprouted (both the green onions and the big onions).  I’ve still got to transplant the walla walla starts I began in Feb.  They are still growing in their cups indoors doing fine.

Bell Peppers – Still have those indoors and intend on planting them and putting the walls of water around them. 

That will round out everything I’ve started indoors and then I will wait until about mid May to direct seed the beans, squashes, and whatever else I feel like.



Fat Fishing worms in the composter

I have to update you on the worms living inside the composter.  They’ve been there for over a month and they have not only grown, but multiplied!  I am astonished at how active they are.  About once or twice a week we give them water and a tumble or two then I open it back up to see what’s going on and there they are squirming back down into the dark.  It is kind of like having another pet, though; you do think in the back of your mind….Do they have enough water??  I mean, if they weren’t there I wouldn’t be thinking that at all.  But water is important to the composting process, so maybe it’s just as well.  I water them at least once a week and it’s not even hot yet….

I think my husband is onto something here……What with fishing right around the corner.  The countertop composter keeper is the bomb!  I really like it; there is no smell (unlike the bowl I was using before).  And it is somewhat attractive for what it is used for.  They do make under the counter compost keepers too that are just little trash cans with a charcoal filter.  I add a little shredded paper or dried out leaves or grass every 3rd time I add the gallon sized compost keeper of counter shreds to the composter.


Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


Material List for my Tomatoes

Over the past few years I have tried a few different strategies to stake my tomatoes.

1st year – nothing – I planted them in the ground and let them grow as is.  I have had friends ask “Is this okay?”.  Well, how do you think the farmers grow them in their big fields?  They’re not going to trellis and stake each plant!  It worked fine, they are just big plants and take a lot of room, not to mention that some tomatoes will rot if left in contact with ground too long.

2nd try- I purchased those cheapo cages at the hardware store.  They DON’T WORK!!! Don’t waste your money.  I bought the “upgraded/tougher” ones and they all crumbled under the weight of the plants.  I will save these cages though and try using them on my pepper plants this year.  My mother and I even used some extra tposts I had laying around and tied the tomatoes with string to the posts and that actually did okay, but it was still quite messy looking.

Last Summer – I used those stake set ups you see in my pictures from last week (which I am using this year for the peas).  I used one “staked row” in the middle of the row for the plants to grow up onto.  This set up worked okay, except the plants were still bushy and unsupported on one side. Also, you have to encourage the plants to grow on this type of trellising; no big deal.

This year  — MY PLAN — is to make a hedge row trellis system that I saw used in that square foot gardening book (see Resources tab).  You basically make 2 support systems on either side of the row and plant in between them.  The plants will then grow up onto each side of the trellises making a type of “hedge”like appearance.  I need to measure my row length to make sure I purchase enough stakes and fencing material

Materials needed:

  • 6 or so – 7′ to 8′ ft tall Tposts (I will be pounding these in about a foot down so the end result will be a 6ft or 7ft tall trellis).
  • Big Metal Mallot to pound in the posts
  • Sturdy Wire Clippers if I need to cut/trim fencing/panels
  • 2 panels of hog fencing OR a roll of fencing wire that has holes that are 5-7″ big (big enough for me to get my hand and a big tomato through and back into the house.  Hog Panels are a fencing material that is more sturdy than the wire roll with bigger holes throughout the majority of the panel and smaller, closer together holes near the bottom (so the hogs can’t escape underneath).  At the moment I am not sure what lengths the hog panels are sold in.

After I set this up, when it is time to plant the tomatoes, I will plant them in between the rows.  I know that I will have to encourage/train the tomato plants onto the wires and I should have some plastic tying material handy should I need it.  I am hoping that this method will create a wall of tomato plants that I can just reach into to harvest.  I expect to put in more labor to take them down too because I will have to cut or strip away the plant from the fencing after the season (late October);  I will reuse the fencing again for next year.  P.S. I am told that you can use the fabric netting too; but when I looked into this I decided I wanted to go with something reusable; I just don’t foresee the netting to be reusable-but way easier clean up — so you decide what works for you. NOTE: if you go with fabric netting you will need extra Tposts to straddle the tops on the vertical ones staked into the ground, zip tie them to one another so your netting has a proper frame.

Tomatoes are important to our family.  I harvest many and can/jar them for our use throughout the year.  There’s nothing that can compare to the sweet taste of home grown tomatoes (store purchased canned tomatoes taste awful to us now).  I also make and can sauce and spaghetti sauce (my neighbor makes and cans a great salsa).  We will get into the subject of canning later in the season.

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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


Holding off planting until rain passes

I am remembering that last year when I planted the pea seeds it was really rainy, muggy, wet and that manyof the seeds I had planted didn’t germinate and molded in the ground.

The calendar is a guide to follow. I am waiting out the week to see how the weather turns, but have decided to wait until this series of storms passes so that seeds will not become waterlogged and mold.

Talk to you soon.

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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized