Friday, May 25, 2012

Broccoli, BCA and playing catch-up

For all the years I have been gardening, I have never been able to grow a really nice, pretty broccoli. Something always happened - it was planted to late, cabbage moths visited in droves, the weather turned hot & dry and it bolted - you name it, I have experienced it in trying to grow my family's absolute favorite vegetable. Now, thanks to wet weather and the grace of God, I would like to share a picture of some of the prettiest broccoli I have ever seen!

I am still planting and still adding garden patches. We don't usually grow corn, but will be doing so this year. A patch for eating and a patch for popping. You can hang popcorn in open shucks to dry, then take it down as needed to pop. My grandkids are great fans of microwaveable popcorn, so you can imagine our delight when I read that you can take half an ear of dried corn, put it in a lunch bag sized paper bag, fold it closed tightly and put it in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Don't hold me to this, now, since we haven't tried it yet, but we're planning to once the corn is ready!

I also took advantage of where the "girls" had been in their henhouse over the winter. They furnished a nicely fertilized, mostly plowed little patch of ground that measured about 15 x 7 feet. This bacame a new potato bed for this year. I put some of the shavings from their house onto the area, planted the potatoes in ot and covered the area with some old hay. It is not the prettiest garden I've ever had, but it seems to be producing. I did this on Easter Sunday morning, and already have a number of nice little potatoe plants growing. Next year, I believe I will let it be a flower bed. I don;t have a bed for cut flowers. This new bed is easily seen from the road, and it would be a joy to us and our neighbors to see such a large, beautiful bed of cut flowers.

Last week, I spent some time in the pantry, sorting & organizing. We have a fairly extensive pantry, consisting mostly of things you'd find in a farm pantry "back in the day", plus some convenience items like soups, microwave popcorn (!) and convenience foods. As I sorted and made room for the upcoming jars of pickles, tomatoes, beets and more, I thought about how much I enjoyed having the security and beauty of a well-stocked pantry.

My first "pantry" was developed during the winter of 1962, when I was a little girl living in Central New York state. We lived 3 miles out of town, what we then thought of as "in the country". Our area was famous for it's deep, lasting, lake-effect snows, and the winter of '62 was no exception. We were sledding out of our second story bedroom windows! (What were my parents thinking???) All went well until we'd been snowed in for a number of days and started running out of food. My parents were not "country folk" - my mother was a comitted grocery shopper, not a gardener or canner. Eventually, it was determined that my father was going to have to snowshoe into town for groceries.
I don't remember all the details, but he did go to town and did get back with groceries.

I was impressed for life with the desire never to have to go through that again. I don't recall anyone being upset over him snowshoing into town, but apparently it affected my little girl's psyche, since I immediately started keeping empty mayonaise jars so I could fill them up with flour and sugar. When I grew a little older, my sister brought me a pack of strawberries and I started my first garden. I learned to can in  my early twenties, putting up tomatoes, pickles, beans - anything I could grown or buy fresh at the farmer's market. My skills and interests expended and well, here we are!


For us, as with with most of you, spring is really busy! I keep seeing all these wonderful things that I'd like to share with you, take a quick picture and then don't have time to post!  Here are a few things that I thought you'd enjoy!

This is one of our new Sheriff's cars. We used to have brown cars with gold lettering, (see the one in the back?) but due to budget changes, the county decided to embellish white cars which didn't have to be repainted. Our community is very big on Breast Cancer Awareness, but imagine our surprise when we drove past the county jail and saw this  little baby sitting on the lawn!

When I stopped to take this picture, one of the deputies was just pulling in, so I stopped and chatted with him about the vehicle. It is assigned to one particular deputy and he says he thought it was done this way just for community support. We loved it!


This is one of the magnificent poppies that grew in my front flower garden this year. The rain has really made everything so much more thick and lush than usual. And see those flower windmills in the back? There is one for each grandchild, and we have so enjoyed watching them whirl!

What are you doing this spring? Is your garden in yet? Are you growing anything different from what you usually grow? As you garden for the pantry, are you keeping an eye toward beauty? Try adding some flowers or ornamental shrubs just for fun. I have peonies & roses on each side of our front porch steps and the fragrance is heavenly whne we come in that way. Yes, it's importaant to produce on practical terms, but remember to - literally - stop & smell the roses!