Burning the midnight oil

Literally…it is 11:30 and I am processing beets to freeze.

I need my head examined. Seriously.

But for those of you that know me, you’re not too surprise now, are you?

I figured since many of my friends are amazed at the amount of food that I freeze/can/prepare for winter, I would give you a quick rundown on how to freeze beets. It’s easy. Really easy. Not sure if it’s lets-start-this-at-10:30-at-night easy, but we’re going with it.

1) Wash beets. Leave 2 inches on the top and the tap root. Trust me. You want to cut them off, I know, but don’t. Or you’ll have enough purple dye to make royal robes.

A big 'ol bucket of beets. The last of our garden fare. Ready to hit the freezer.

A big ‘ol bucket of beets. The last of our garden fare. Ready to hit the freezer.

2) Boil beets until you can stick a fork in them easily. I could pretend to give you a time, but it all depends on the size of the beet. Some of these bad boys took an hour. You do the math.

3) Put cooked beets in cold water, peel off outer layer. Dice, chop, slice, leave whole, however you want to freeze them. Place in freezer bag (easiest), vacuum seal, however you wish to freeze them.

4) Freeze them. (Usually in a freezer of some sort…but it’s October…and North Dakota, so that’ll become optional soon.)

Hey, what do you know, I become a bit sarcastic and snarky at midnight. Lesson learned.


Don’t worry, I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow. I promise!

A game of “I Spy”

Let’s see if you can spy what I am thankful for today:

Come Halloween, I'll be happy that these guys grew!

Come Halloween, I’ll be happy that these guys grew!

2013-08-07 16.02.15

A little treat for late-summer dessert.

2013-08-07 16.02.54

These guys are just hanging around, waiting to be supper!

2013-08-07 16.03.07

Sometimes life needs a little spice.

2013-08-07 16.03.49

A perfect snack, any time!

2013-08-07 16.04.56

Just starting to turn red.

2013-08-07 16.05.21

Coming soon to a pickle jar near me!

2013-08-07 16.05.45

A new addition to our garden…and a scrumptious one as well!

The Ultimate Gift

I’m sure you’ve read about our sweet corn before. We planted it earlier this spring, have watched it grow, taken care of it and waited for the day that we could enjoy the product of our hard work…and now we’ve given the excess of our crop to some pretty deserving people.

Giving our corn through the ND Huger Free Garden Project.

The Great Plains Food Bank arrived on Wednesday afternoon and picked up the remainder of our crop that was ripe and have been able to make it available to food banks across the state of North Dakota.

I have to thank my friends, neighbors and everyone who volunteered to help with this crazy project of mine.  Especially those that came from a distance, like my friend JP who flew in from St. Louis, and my friends at the ND Dept. of Agriculture. Thank you all!

So many volunteers, thank you everyone!!!!!

I’m so happy that we are able to share this with those that are down on their luck, or are struggling to put a meal on the table. And I’m so happy that we were able to find a place for it, instead of seeing it destroyed by wildlife, time and eventually, our tractors.

Sacks of corn, ready to share across the state.

It’s been a crazy week, one I’ll have to tell you about later. I’m going to go enjoy a cob of corn, a cold glass of milk and some time with my kiddos. School starts next week, and I’m not ready…even if they are.

Frosty Farm

We were really, really close to a frost this morning…and our farm isn’t ready for that! (Of course, Mother Nature never waits ’til you’re ready, though.)

So, what does frost mean for the farm?

Well…it means work.

Frost kills the plant, which in turn makes the fruit of the plant ripen sooner than planned. Unfortunately, when plants don’t ripen on their own, and a frost helps ripen them, they can all ripen at the same time. Which is stressful!

Today our high is supposed to be mid-50’s, tonight a low of upper-20’s, and then a slow warm up again. It’s hard to plan in the fall, because you never know what the day is going to bring. My boys leave for school in heavy jackets and come back without them. You start the day in long sleeves and end the day in shorts. It’s crazy, but it’s the same thing every fall.

Another sure sign of fall? I was up ’til almost 2 this morning, canning the vegetables that were ready to go, just in case frost did set in. I’m a tired prairie mama today!

Just some of the produce now prepared for winter!


Wordless Wednesday – Mini-veggies

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve been working hard on getting our garden to make it through the year. You see, it’s not just because I like vegetables, or I think we’re the only ones who can grow a tomato right, or I don’t like getting vegetables from my store or anything like that.

It’s much more simple…I want to provide for my son.

George’s condition? George’s diagnosis? George’s illness? Hmmm…what do I call it…let’s just go with OTC. George’s OTC will not allow us to provide him with the wonderfully delicious beef that the rest of our family gets from the farm. And he never will be able to enjoy it…at least not much. George is limited to 10-12 grams of protein per DAY…and well, that just isn’t much in the scheme of things. And meat is basically out of his realm of menu options. Completely.

George loves his fruit! It's a good thing, since that's about the only thing he can eat a lot of!



So we go with fruits and vegetables. And since North Dakota isn’t real high on the fruit scale of production, we’re going to do our best on the veggie side. Like these:

These sugar snap peas are just about ready!



The cucumbers are showing up! Yahoo!!!



These peppers aren't much yet...but they're getting there!



Tomato...tomahto...can you say salsa???

Mary, Mary…

Well, after wondering if my garden would pull through the flooding, it’s obvious that it handled it rather well! Yay!

In fact, I spotted my first pea pod already filling…can’t wait for more!

I thought I would take a few pics of my favorite blooms to share with you…enjoy!

The hard, fast rain has compacted the ground a bit, but nothing a little hard work won't help out!



These spaghetti squash will serve as George's noodles in the upcoming months. Can't wait!!!



We have a pea pod! Yay!!! Can't wait for the others to set on!



Cukes, cukes and more cukes. Hubby loves them, and so do the kids!



The peppers have been the hardest hit, but they're coming around.



Some of my tomatoes look great, and some look pretty sparse, but this little guy is trying to blossom...giving me hope! My salsa is demanded around this house!



Hopefully in the next few weeks this patch will be pumping out the produce and my boys will be enjoying my hard work. I won’t lie to you, it’s been a really tough year to do this. But in the end, it’ll all be worth it…


Bucket list…

Not so long ago, I received a bucket in the mail from Red Hill General Store – in collaboration with the Real Farmwives of America and Friends. Let me say that securing the bucket for MY use, and not the uses of little hands, was my most difficult task!

But, I found it extremely helpful for various projects that I had going on around the farm…including:

A bucket-ful of healthiness!

1) Picking asparagus – This was the PERFECT sized container for picking a supper-sized bunch of asparagus! Add a little water to the bottom, throw in the asparagus, and toss it in the fridge until ready to cook! EJ decided that eating the asparagus raw was way better than waiting for it to cook, but who can blame him?

Pickin' some strawberries!

2) Picking strawberries – Once the rain stopped around here, the strawberries have come on hot and heavy. We’re in charge of the overrun when Grandma and Grandpa are busy, so the bucket has come in handy on those days!

3) Future use – Picking peas, peppers, etc. This will definitely be my go-to tool for picking fresh produce out of my garden…as long as the weather doesn’t get to it first!

4) Watering can – I don’t have a watering can for my flowers around my house. Mostly because I’ve never planted flowers before, so this is my first year. But I’m addicted! So be on the watch, I’m looking for tips, ideas, etc. to get my flowers off on a better foot next year. Not dealing with a new puppy will help out a lot!

5) Rock collector – EJ and Big Bro decided that this bucket was the perfect size for collecting rocks. And although they are right, it definitely is perfect for that, I had to dump their rocks back on the road so I could continue to use my bucket. I have a feeling that I know who will end up with it in the long run!

Sit, Maggie...sit!

6) Treat dish – Big Bro decided to teach Maggie how to sit (and he did a pretty good job!), and he used the bucket to hold her treats while teaching her! The handle was PERFECT! And I do believe we have a little gal who now knows how to sit on command. (Don’t tell Big Bro, but he learned a little about animal care and patience along the way…let’s keep that between you and me, though, OK? In fact, it’s a 4-H project for him!)

7) To be continued…you see, on the farm, everything has many, many uses. A Halloween bucket may become a flower-pot (you’ll see that one in the future), a tire rim may become a ring dike, tin cans become tomato protectors, five gallon buckets become step stools, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless.

I’m sure in the future this bucket will become a valuable tool in many projects. But while I’m using mine, why don’t you head on over to the Red Hill General Store and pick out your own? Or better yet, head over to the Real Housewives of America and Friends page and sign up to win your very own galvanized and embossed bucket!

I’ve shared my ideas…now what will you do with your bucket?

While Red Hill General Store did provide me with a bucket to blog about for this post the pictures, ideas and opinions shared here are my own.

The only planting around here…

Just like most of the state, our area has been too wet to plant. And although this week has seen more and more fields getting going, our planter is still parked in the shop, getting ready to go. So this is the planting that I did this weekend:

Part of our new garden project will include Spaghetti Squash for George to eat through the winter.


Our garden is taking on a new role this year. You see, with George not being able to consume much for protein, that really, really, really limits his diet. So I decided that instead of spending a ton of money on frozen and canned fruits and veggies, that I would try to supplement his diet with our own home-grown veggies.

Spaghetti squash will replace his noodles, I’ve started some sugar snap peas, some watermelon and I will get a few packs of other veggies and fun stuff at the greenhouse this week. I can’t wait!

I started these seeds inside a few weeks ago, but they’re outgrowing my containers and the garden isn’t ready yet for them to go outside. So I transplanted them this weekend.

I'm new to all this, so these are my chosen tools for the year.


I, of course, needed some extra soil.


The bottom is what I started with, and the finished product transplanted at top!


I even planted a few flowers in a hanging basket. I know, it's scary for me too!

OK, so in the last week or so, I’ve baked, I’ve crafted and now I’m gardening. I think Mark’s going to be glad I started this whole blogging thing!
Now, to only figure out how to organize…