Category Archives: Gardening

Friday Ranch Day October 9, 2013

The girls and I headed down to the garden to start winterizing this weekend and while Rose helped me to pull the onions, Evelyn wandered around as 15 month olds are known to do.

Evelyn – “While Sissy is off pulling onions, I’m gonna esplore.”


 “Outta my way Mommy, I’m esplorin!”


“Diggin, diggin, diggin in the dirt.”


“Dis flower is so butiful!”


 “It may be pretty but does it taste good?”


 “Oh my god!  This leaf ripped right off when I pulled!!!!!!!”


 “This place is falling apart around me.  I’m outta here!”



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Filed under Evelyn, Fun, Gardening, Gardening, Rose, The Ranch

Winterizing the garden

After much delay due to weather/holidays/activities/avoidance I took the opportunity of Steve taking the girls to the train museum to finally winterize the garden.  This entailed pulling up and dragging all of the dead and dying veggies down to the manure pile for composting, rolling up the drip lines, and discovering the huge complex of vole holes under the tomatoes.

I waited a little late in the season to take everything out of the garden so most of the plants were getting quite wilted or dead.  While this did make them a little lighter to carry, it resulted in a number of them breaking off at the base as I tried to pull them out of the ground.  It also made for some really gooey rotted veggies to pick up.  Blech.

Apparently the vole ate the inside of this egg plant and then filled it up with dirt.  It makes a new meaning for stuffed eggplant.

Most everything was dead or dying but the sage is over wintering wonderfully.  I gathered some of the lovely fragrant leaves to fry up with some browned butter.  I don’t know what I’m putting it on yet but just about anything with sage and browned butter is delicious. 


The plants were taken down to the horse poop pile and buried under a few inches of manure.  Due to the damp weather a few days before I didn’t need to wet anything so I just placed a tarp over it and used additional manure to keep it from flying away. The tarp will keep the soil moist and keep the turkeys out (they like to redistribute the manure looking for bugs).  I plan on uncovering it every few weeks to turn the soil and re-wet as needed.  In about 6 weeks I will have wonderfully composted soil for this years garden.  Wohoo!


After all that work I went up to my Thinking Rock for a rest.  This is my spot for reflection, thinking and just breathing.  Not much beats this view.  Between work and two kids I don’t get a lot accomplished these days so a few hours on my own and a pretty big thing checked off my to do list was incredibly good for my soul.


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Lemon Bars

Nothing says summer like the tartness of freshly picked lemon.  The bright yellow color and shinny glowing skin that almost glows from within makes me think of sitting on the porch swing in the cool of the shade, watching my daughter splash with joy in her wading pool.  One of the best things about our property is the huge Eureka lemon tree that gives us oodles and oodles of lemons each summer.  Many an hour is spent at my Kitchenaid juicing the beauties and freezing the bounty to be enjoyed throughout the summer.
Lemon bars are a delicious way to enjoy the tartness of a fresh lemon while balancing it with enough sweetness to keep the mouth from puckering.  I like my lemon bars with about a 50/50 ratio of shortbread crust to custard.  Mostly because I’m not a fan of things that are too gooey.  Too much custard means to much gooey which, much like my aversion to all fruit seeds, makes my mouth go ‘yuck’ despite the taste. The mind is a mysterious thing.

Lemon Bars
from Alpineberry

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large eggs
1 cup superfine or bakers’ sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

To make crust:
Combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside crust. 

To make filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in lemon zest and juice until well combined. Pour over crust (it’s okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

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Filed under Dessert, Gardening, Recipes

Gardening with Papa and Mommy

My dad found these electronic anti-gopher devices and we figured the best way to try them out was to stick one in the tomato section of the garden.  That area is over-run with gophers/voles and will be a perfect place to test its effectiveness.  We planted a mess of onion starts and garlic around the device and now its wait and see.  I know the gophers/voles love onions since a few years ago, one found its way into the garden and systematically ate all 40 that I had planted.  I would go down and there wouldn’t be anything left but a little hole where the the green part once was.  Sigh….

Rose came down with us to the garden and was a really good girl for almost the entire time.  While we cleared the row and my dad rototilled, Rose played by the fence line, chomping on the last of the seasons tomatoes, tasting rocks and organizing weeds into piles.  I started off with her in the backpack but it is really hard to rake and pull weeds with a 14 month old leaning waaaaay over to the side to see what you are doing. I kept feeling distinctly unbalanced!

Yummy tomato!
 “I’m a real farm girl!  I cut my teeth on extension cords!”
 Contemplating life, the universe and everything.
Helping mommy plant onions is fun!

And then she went all Godzilla on the newly planted onions and I had to take her back up to the house.  Thanks for finishing dad!

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Filed under Gardening, Gardening, Motherhood, Papa, Rose, The Ranch