Thursday, March 28, 2013

Progress and planning...

Last weekend not only did I get my blog cleaned, but I also finished my quilt.   I just had to show the red binding I used.  I am so happy with how it turned out.  Then to top it all off, while it was snowing I gave my kitchen a good spring cleaning.  I was able to use Dawn to cut the grease that builds on top of the cabinets and was astounded at the amount of junk that accumulates in cupboards.  What is going on in there when the doors are closed?  I know I couldn't have possibly thought some of that stuff was ever going to be useful. 

 Best of all my seeds came this week.  I will be starting my tomatoes and such inside.  I have never used Territorial Seed Company before and am anxious to see how they germinate. 

I went with some unusual plants this year.  I chose a rattlesnake bean, because it does double duty.  If we don't eat it fresh, it can be allowed to dry and then used in soups and stews.  At school last year, we planted lemon cucumbers and they never made it to the kitchen.  The kids would eat them right off of the vine (ok I had one or two myself).  They are wonderful and I can't wait to have some here.  Since they were such a pleasant surprise, I decided to try the Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers just for the heck of it.  I'm going to try eggplant for the first time ever.  I had an eggplant soup in Washington DC that was wonderful.  I am going to try eight ball summer squash and tigger melons.  I chose both because they were small and my garden is only supporting two people.  I am going to try sweet corn, potatoes, and onions again this year although I have yet to be successful with any of the three.  I am hoping my garden will look like this:

I also set some gardening goals this year based on the successes and failures these past two years.  Salsa is a must.  Pressure cooked canned vegetables proved to be an invaluable addition to my cupboard this winter.  I wish I had written down what I put in there.  Carrots, peas, onion, and potatoes for sure, but it seems like I had other vegetables.  No to the tomato sauce.  That was a failure.  I also want more canned peaches and maybe try canning some pears.  The apple cider and hard apple cider were also successful endeavors.  I will continue with my wine and jam making for sure.  I also used a lot more dried herbs this winter.  I am really hoping my garlic does good this year and I can make a garlic braid.  I enjoyed using my harvest from this winter and can't wait to see how my new choices and quickly becoming garden staples do this year.

That in a nutshell is an overview of my weekend progress and garden plan for next year.  I can't wait to see how everyone's gardens grow.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring blog cleaning...

Ok, I admit it.  I am horrible at the whole reply to comments part of blogging.  I love to read the comments, but I rarely reply because I somehow it seems impersonal to reply on my own blog.  Where am I going with this?  Well, I have some loose ends to tie up.  Comments I need to reply to, awards I need to accept, and thanks to give out.  Here it goes.

First, Alicia and  Alison commented on how I made a blog book.  Well, I used a company that sent me an e-mail.  I couldn't reply to their comments until I got another e-mail from the blog book company and finally I got one.  For those of you interested in making a book out of your blog, this is the company I used.  They were ok to work with.  My only complaint was I couldn't erase link buttons from blog hops when creating the book.  To save space and keep them out of the book I would have to erase them from the actual blog and I didn't want to do that.  It was a bit expensive, but worth it knowing that my brother would get to see the blog.  Here is a link to the company that publishes them:

The next housekeeping item is a huge thanks to Deborah Jean's Dandelion House for the apron I won at the 101st Farmgirl Friday Blog hop.  I have gleaned so many good ideas from her hop and am so excited about the apron.  I am always wear aprons when I cook, so it will definitely be used.  If you get a chance swing by her blog hop.  I can't wait to try the freezer meals I read about at The Thriftiness Miss Blog.  The hop is at:

Last, but not least, I have been nominated by two people for the Liebster Blog Award.  I didn't realize how quickly time had passed since the first nomination by Kristi at and then another from Connie at   Somehow March went fast (sure didn't seem like it) and I am just now getting around to thanking them.  I enjoy both blogs and hope you hop on over.

The Liebster award  is for new bloggers who are just starting out. This award gets passed around by other bloggers who were nominated and they nominate other new bloggers. This helps getting the new blogs noticed. Basically, the purpose of the Liebster Award is to get blogs with less than 200 followers noticed.
Here are the rules:
1. Thank your Liebster Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 5 questions from the nominator, list 5 random facts about yourself and create 5 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less whom you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have been chosen.

4. Copy and paste the blog award on to your blog. It is an award so show it off.
5 Questions For Nominees (Actually 6, three from each nominator):

1. Which would you rather have, 20 chickens or 1 goat?  I'm very sorry blogger world, but I HATE goats.  I did not have good goat experiences as a child.  I'm going with chickens on this one.

2. What would your ultimate vacation be?  Staying at home with my husband, family and friends.  I own a beautiful log cabin in the woods with my husband.  What more could life offer?

3. What are the biggest influences in your life? The people around me.  I have learned that everyone has something to offer. 

4. What is one thing you couldn't live without?  My husband.  He makes me laugh. We go on adventures together.  He has more faith in my abilities than I do.  He is my best friend. 

5. What is your least favorite thing to do? Clean the gook at the bottom of the drain after dishes.
6. What is one character trait you admire?  I have to pick two persistence and the ability to only say good things about others.  It is easy to quit when you aren't good at something or don't know how to do it.  For some reason I cannot quit and I admire other people that are that way. The other trait was one my Grandma Gregg held.  I never heard her criticize another person.  That is a trait I aspire towards, but it might be awhile before I get there. 

5 Random Facts about Myself:

I have to have two cups of coffee in the morning or life isn't good for anyone involved.

I am the 'mean old principal.'

I love wearing cardigans.

I have only had three jobs in my life: rancher's daughter, sawyer, and teacher/mean old principal (I count them as one since it is at the same school).

I am not a patient woman.

5 Questions for Others:

1.  What is your greatest strength?

2.  Who do you admire and why?

3.  What was your biggest adventure?

4.  What is one thing on your bucket list?

5.  What is your favorite movie?

5 blogs I am nominating are all South Dakota Blogs:
Gumbo Lily @  She is from my area and I love hearing about her life on a diverse ranch.  Her photos are wonderful.
Twin Bridges Nature Resort @  This is a very new blog and I can tell I will be enjoying it as we have the same interests. 
 The Ranch Wife Chronicles @ She does a great job explaining life on a working cattle ranch and capturing the strength of ranching roots.
Sall's Country Life @  has more than 200 followers, but she is a South Dakota blogger and I want to stick to my SD theme.  I just recently found her blog and it reminds me of growing up East river.
Last but not least is Pickles and Petunias @  This blog has some wonderful recipes and I love how old advertising is incorporated into the posts.  I enjoy looking at the past. 
There it is.  I feel so good about getting my blog cleaned up that I may have to start spring cleaning the house.  Might as well clean during a snowstorm instead of waiting until the weather is nice and I'd rather be outside.  Hope everyone has a productive weekend.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marching on...

We still have a bit of snow on the ground.  It was a close call yesterday when a snowy fog crept up the valley.  Much to our joy it got to our cabin and went back down.  We went for a drive out on the prairie.  Then I spent the afternoon working on my quilt and bottling my hard apple cider.  I ended up with 19 small bottles.  Even though I made both batches exactly the same, one batch is lighter colored. 
It has been in the 30's and 40's so I went out to get the greenhouse going.  I loosened up the soil.  Planted my chamomile in the washtub.  I put a few carrot and Swiss chard seeds in the ground.   The spinach and parsley still looks good.  I watered everything and tidied up a bit.  My husband did a little Bonnie hunting.  Dad in case you haven't noticed, the hat does a great job of hiding my face from sneaky photographers. 

I remember what it was like when I started blogging.  I compared it to fishing.  I was so excited for my first bite.  If you get a chance swing by this new blog Twin Bridges Nature Resort
Our parents are good friends and we are lucky enough to have some of her father's artwork in our cabin. 

I hope your March is also working it's way to spring.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Something old is new again from the auction...

Going a little stir crazy here.  There was a nasty cold wind yesterday and there is too much snow to do anything outside.  We decided the best way to spend the day was at the auction. 

There was a huge collection of advertising crocks being sold.  I fell in love with the Wildman Grocery.  Isn't that the greatest name for a grocery store?  It was a very early store in Rapid City. 
My husband wanted this sign and we were lucky enough to get it.  He had it up five minutes after we got in the door.  He remembers these trains going through his town as a kid.  NorthWestern was employee owned from 1972-1975.  I love how well it reflected the light when I took the picture. 

The mirror/thermometer below was our real prize.  We both really liked it.  It works well with our cabin decor. 

That was our excitement for the weekend.  Today is going to be a quiet day of quilting and my long run.  I will be glad when the weather warms up and I can start running outside again.  Ella misses running with me.  Oh, I suppose I should do a little house cleaning also.   Hope everyone else had a productive weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

today was a beautiful day...

Life is full of ups and downs.  Usually it seems like more downs than ups, so it is important to appreciate the good days. 

Today started with my husband getting a clean bill of health from the doctor.  A big relief.   We celebrated by spending a very fun day together filled with laughter. 

Then the day ended with a wonderful call from my brother.  He has never been able to see my blog, but yesterday he got my blog book in the mail.  He called today to tell me.  We had a great visit about people and places.  It meant the world to me to be able to share my work with him.

Today was a beautiful day indeed!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

the view from the porch...

Well, spring may be getting closer.  It was warm enough that Ella and I were able to enjoy morning coffee on the porch.
 I am loving every second of it.  It is a virtual symphony of chickadees, blue jays, and one very upset hawk.  I have never seen as many chickadees as we have had this year.  I would guess there are more than 50 visiting my feeders.  They are not used to me being on the porch and I have had a couple of close fly-bys. 

The fresh air smells of rain, but it is bittersweet as snow is what is forecasted for tonight.  I found a pine cone in the snow and Ella is laying on my feet happily chewing away.  Not before we played a few rounds of pine cone catch mind you.  The snow is still about 2 feet deep in parts of the yard. 
I wandered over to my greenhouse to see how the plants are faring.  The spinach looks great, but the lettuce may not have the head start I was hoping for.

The lettuce isn't looking very perky.  It may not recover.  I watered everything and will keep my fingers crossed.  I did enjoy just standing there in my robe smelling the warm earth. 

Other than that things are quiet here.  I made some Honey Wheat Bread yesterday and slaved on my quilt.  I am hoping to finish quilting this morning.  I also have my Sunday run.  I am hoping to compete in the Michelson Trail Half Marathon in June.  I will do attempt 9 miles today.  I'm tired just thinking about it.  I hope the weather is warm in your neck of the woods.  Thanks for enjoying my 1st morning on the porch in quite a while.