Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Tomato Taj Mahal

 I planted the Tomato Taj Mahal yesterday.  I transplanted the tomatoes, peppers, luffas, basils, and okra.  Then I planted carrots, peas, spinach, lettuce, and bok choy.

I love my square foot seed template.  I just put it down and stand on it.  It works like a charm.

I like cherry tomatoes and last year the purple bumblebee tomatoes were exactly what I wanted.  My favorite thing to do with tomatoes is quarter them, roast them, and enjoy them on pizza.  I also planted a couple of Sasha Atlas for fresh eating.  

I went back to the forks and corks method of labeling my carrots and lettuce.  I'm trying to be scientific about which carrots are the best.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm known for a lot of things.  Being scientific has never been one of them.

I'm afraid I may have to put a little heater in the greenhouse as today it has rained and the temperature has dropped. As long as it doesn't snow I am happy.

Do you have anything planted yet?  What are you veggie garden go to plants?

Sunday, April 25, 2021


 Today I planted my strawberries.  I had 25 Earliglow and 20 Mara Des Bois.  

I mulched them with some leftover alfalfa.  Then I covered the water tank with a fine mesh screen.  The boards are holding everything in place.

Hopefully, I will get a few strawberries this year and a ton next year.  

I was lucky enough to have my friend from college and her husband swing by this weekend for supper and a few games of pool.  She has lived out of state for several years, but they recently moved back.  It was a wonderful evening and I am so happy she is back.

Do you have any strawberry tips?  Do you still keep in touch with any of your college friends?  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Close to completion...

 All that is left on my nephew's quilt is the binding.  There is enjoyment in sitting on the couch hand sewing.  I miss hand quilting, but it bothered my wrists too much.

I made some raspberry jelly and bacon jam this weekend.  The smokey bacon jam turned out perfectly.  
First, put a pound of smoked bacon in a pot and cook.  Then remove the bacon and put it on a plate covered in napkins.
Remove all but two tablespoons of bacon grease and saute one sweet onion for 8 minutes.  Then mix in 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.  Pour in 1/2 c. Water, 1/3 c. Maple syrup, 1/2 c. Brown sugar, 1/2 c. Apple cider vinegar.  Boil 10 minutes.  Pour into a mixer and blend until small chunks.  Spoon into jelly jars, seal and refrigerate.

Delicious!  Excellent on toast, patty melts, and bagels.  Nobody said this was a healthy living blog.

This weekend kept me pretty busy.  I'm waiting for good weather.  I think next weekend I will put my seedlings in the greenhouse.
Have you ever had bacon jam?  If so what do you enjoy it on most?  I hope things are melting where you are.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

I'm a wanderer...

 I did a lot of walking this weekend.  My husband and I met up with one of his friends to look for antler sheds.  Ella and I also went for our weekly jaunt.

We met Tom and his brother (Charlie) at the Wickham Gulch Campground in Montana.  It is on the Custer Gallatin National Forest.  It was a perfect day for shed hunting.  
There were many valleys and peaks.  The pasque flowers were blooming everywhere.  I didn't do a very good job of taking flower photos.  I was too busy looking for antlers.
I was lucky and found several sheds.  Most of all we enjoyed visiting with friends.  

I've never been in that country and it was beautiful.  I would love to explore it horseback.
Meanwhile, the weather at home is cold.  We had quite a bit of snow.  In fact it is snowing again.  Argh!
It was great to get out and see friends while enjoying the outdoors.  When was the last time you went somewhere new?  What did you do there?  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Potatoes and planting

 Yesterday I planted Adirondack Blue potatoes.  The best luck I've ever had with potatoes was when I planted them in a wire tower.  Thanks to some leftover alfalfa, I'm able to give it another try.  

Take a wire cage and press straw on the outside.  Fill the middle with soil and potatoes.  Slowly building your way up.  I put some wayward chives on top.  Who doesn't like chives with their potatoes?

My first batch of seedlings are ready to go.  Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, pumpkins, okra, squash, and I forget what else.

I also spent yesterday putting up birdhouses.  Every year I am hopeful and every year I am disappointed.  I have had squirrels, chipmunks, and even bumblebees, but never birds.  Maybe this will be the year.

Don't they look inviting?  I hope so.  As I write this I am listening to the weather lady talking about snow.  Drat.  Maybe, just maybe, she will be wrong.

How many bird houses do you have?  Do you get tenants?  Any tricks I should know?  Hope everyone had a happy Easter.

Sunday, March 21, 2021


 Finally, there has been progress.  The weather warmed.  My rose bed and the front flower beds melted off.  I was able to go in and clean them out.  Luckily, there were no signs of any garden pests.

It feels like we are coming down the homestretch.  Once the earth is showing and soaking in the sun the snow melts pretty quickly.

The other progression is my nephew's quilt.  Today I finished quilting.  I'm not quite finished in these photos, but it is done.  All that is left is the binding.  I really enjoyed this one.

It feels good to be moving forward.  Hopefully, the weather will stay consistently warm.  I am ready for spring that is for sure. 

When this quilt is done my next task is spring cleaning.  It is also getting close to seed starting time.  Actually, it has been hard to hold back because the greenhouse has been super warm.

Are you finishing up your winter work?  What is next on your agenda?

Sunday, March 14, 2021

got nothing...

 It snowed and I quilted.  That's all I have to contribute.  I hope you had a more eventful weekend.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

What once was lost...

 The weather was fabulous this weekend.  Ella and I both enjoyed a few walks.  We also were estatic that we were able to spend the morning on the porch.  The first time this year.  

The birds were abound.  I saw my first robin of the spring.  From the porch, I saw a brown creeper, several blue jays, crows, chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, and pine siskins.  I could hear turkeys gobbling, a hawk screeching, and woodpeckers knocking on the trees.  I didn't get one picture.  I didn't want to go in the cabin to get the camera.
This was the weekend for finding lost things.  My husband put on a vest he hadn't worn in awhile and found my little Swiss army knife and our tree marking ribbon.  I had to crawl under the porch for a lid that had blown under.  I found many lost items: a purple button, purple lighter, a penny, and of all things a turtle that seems to have escaped a flower pot.  It was somewhat interesting.
It was a perfect day to clean out the greenhouse.  If you are wondering about the wine bottles they keep me from poking my eye out on the rebar.

Did you have good weather?  What was the last lost thing you found?  I hope you have a wonderful week.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Just poking along...


I have nothing amazing to share.  We got about a foot of snow.  My weekend was spent quilting, shoveling, cleaning, and sleeping.  

I'm poking along on my quilt.  I'm almost done quilting the leaves.  I would like to try and quilt a wind pattern behind the deer.  My confidence on such an endeavor is waivering.  Any thoughts or advice?
The leaves were easier to do with the templates I created.  The quilting part is my favorite.  It gives me something to focus on when it is too cold to be outside doing projects.  A search on Amazon proved successful in finding a few things that make machine quilting easier.
This little table and measuring mat make a big difference.  The table helps keep the quilt flat, so I won't get puckers on the back of the quilt.  The measuring mat helps the quilt slide eaiser.  Small things that make a big difference.

That's it for life in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  I'm just poking along waiting for spring.  What are you doing to alleviate spring fever?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A long cold February...

 As February takes its long cold sweet time, I haven't been up to much.  I'm almost done quilting.  It was finally warm enough to take Ella for a walk.  Other than that life is moving pretty slow. I hope you are all seeing warmer weather.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Duck Duck Jeep

 The weather has been hovering around-10.  Thank goodness there isn't a wind.  The goal this weekend was to settle in.  I have always wanted to make these Swedish Cardamom Knots.  They turned out perfectly. The recipe is here: https://the 

My ever romantic husband got special M & M's for Valentine's Day.  They are wonderful.  I am forever grateful to have such a sweet caring man.
We have been on high alert for the last few weeks.  This young lion has no fear of humans.  Our neighbor took these photos and has video as it inspected his place. 
He has been making regular visits around the cabin and seems to enjoy going under our porch.  We are not pleased.  
On a positive note, I learned about duck duck Jeep this weekend.  It started in Canada.  If you see a Jeep you like, you leave a rubber duck on it.  If you get a rubber duck you are supposed to take a photo and post it on a Duck Duck Jeep website.  It was started by a woman who was having a super bad day.  Instead of getting sucked into the hate trap or falling into self pity, she saw a Jeep she liked.  She left a little rubber duck on it along with a note that she liked the Jeep.  Her hope was to make someone smile.  I LOVE it. I am tired of  negativity, the thought of spreading something positive is great. Once I learned about Duck Duck Jeep, I immediately bought three rubber ducks to give out.  One I put on a beautiful orange Jeep I see daily.  She never waves.  Who hasn't heard of the Jeep wave?  Jeep people always wave at each other.   I left the second duck on a Jeep driven by a wonderful lady I also pass every day and she always waves like crazy.  I haven't given out the third.

I'd like to think I've learned a few things in life.  One is not to dwell on the negatives.  They are always there and never ending.  Instead, look to the positive.  Make people smile and feel good about themselves.  I try very hard to tell my students positive things.  I tell my amazing husband I love him every day, because it is true.  I am forever grateful for his presence in my life.  I hope you have a spectacular Valentine's Day.  Remember there are a million beautiful things in the this world, please don't take them for granted.   Have a Duck Duck Jeep kind of day.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Hunkered down...

 It was a whopping 1 degree today.  We were ready for the big chill.  I got my husband a bunch of books from the library and my quilt project was calling.  We had chocolate waffles for breakfast.  Even better with hot coffee and vanilla peach syrup. 


I'm pleased with my quilting progress.  I wanted the leaves to be random, but I am not that good at machine free-motion quilting yet.  It is a lot of work.  I am becoming more confident.  This is going to be one of my favorite quilts.

I also racked my wine.  The three gallons of grape and 1 1/2 gallons of raspberry were ready to bottle.  One day a month I rack and bottle my wines.  It always amazes me how my little kit years ago has turned into a pretty steady hobby.  I have made 147 batches of wine.  Every month I make a new batch and bottle a batch.  My husband got me a little keg a few years ago for my grape wine. Today I filled it to the top.  The oak gives the wine a deeper flavor.

We had a few small snows.  Just enough to keep us shoveling.  Despite the frigid temperature Ella and I went for our weekly jaunt.  As the saying goes, "there is no bad weather, just bad clothes."  I dressed warm and the trip was refreshing.  We were super careful, as the last few days we have had a mountain lion wandering around.

The lion's tracks have been sticking close to the house.  It was here about the same time last year and likes to go under our deck then up our sidewalk.  Ella has become wise to lion watch.  When she goes on the porch she gruffly barks both ways.  Then she goes to the end of the sidewalk and barks both ways.  Then she checks to make sure we are behind her before she goes to do her business.

Despite the cold temperatures it was a good weekend.  It sounds like we will have a few more like it.  How is the weather where you are?  What are you doing to stay busy?