Sunday, August 3, 2014

Eat More Veggies!

I haven't been much of a vegetable gardener, I love flowers, my Mom always said, "Flowers are food for the soul." I've made a half-hearted attempt here and there to have a potato tower, failure, a tomato plant or two, failure, planted so late they were still green when the frost hit, sweet corn, failure, if the coons didn't get it before the ears were ever large enough or a high wind didn't flatten it, Bruce forgot to shut off the sprayer while spraying the neighboring corn field. You get the idea, there are people at the Farmers Market who work all summer growing and harvesting and all I have to do is go buy some and that is where I excelled.

Enter Elizabeth, retired from a career in the military, traveled and lived all around the world and came back to her roots and built a house on the family farm. She proceeded to carve a garden out of an old feed lot, with a little help from me - I loaned her my tillers, hey, it was the least I could do. She tilled and planted and watered and weeded and tilled more weeds that sprouted up, replanted where some died or did not come the first time and suddenly her garden exploded. That was when she called me and asked if I wanted some veggies, DID I??!

Elizabeth was also entertaining a niece and nephew who were visiting from the southwest, so the four of us, five if you included Mitty, the fearless hunter, who keeps the homestead free from marauding vermin, went the garden.

Elizabeth and David checking the summer zucchini, if not monitored closely, over night they grow to monstrous proportions and can then be declared a lethal weapon.  

Mitty was feeling very good about himself as he had just dispatched a small, furry animal and presented it to Elizabeth on the patio.

"I'm good, ain't I good??"

Meanwhile back at the garden, I was busy harvesting things I never eat, beets, zucchini (even after spelling it twice, spell check says I still don't know how), Swiss chard, (I think it's lovely but I never thought about eating it, and quizzing Elizabeth, "Now what do I do with THIS?" After being instructed on roasting beets and sauteing zucchini (finally I get it right), I picked some stuff I was more familiar with. A gorgeous head of purple cabbage, onions, cucumber, pretty red lettuce, and radishes along with basil and parsley.

I came away with this basket of beauty, I felt like I had my own CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, if you have never heard of it, look it up, without spending a penny.

I did feel a little guilty but hey, she made me take them.

I couldn't wait to get home to try out my new vegetables before I forgot what Elizabeth told me. I fired up the Big Green Egg and roasted my beets in foil while making a delicious salad with the lettuce, cucumbers, radishes. While the beets were cooling I sauteed the zucchini along with the flower still attached, I was getting darned adventurous! Then chopped onion and the Swiss chard and added to it just before everything was done. I threw on a couple of burgers, I knew Bruce was going to want some 'real food' and it was DELICIOUS!!

Elizabeth, you have broadened my cooking!!

She, Jennifer and David came to our house after dinner to see the tiny Serama chicks, their mother put up a heck of a fight when I went into the cage, she has waited a long time for this and she wasn't going to put up with me grabbing a couple of her babies!

Jennifer was very confident holding the tiny chick....

 ....but David was afraid he was going to crush his.

They decided to play a game of  'keep away' with the dogs, using a squeaky toy.

Jennifer is trying to convince Murphy to give up the toy without a fight.

Mollie and Murphy loved it....

....and Zoe, 'It's Good to Be Queen', was convinced that she could lay down in the middle of the playing field and no one would dare step on her.

And no one dared.

The kids did a good job of wearing the dogs out, I need to do that more often, Murphy doesn't get in near as much trouble.

David thought Mollie liked him best.

It was a great day, I branched out in my cooking, met a couple of delightful kids and the dogs made two new friends, it doesn't get much better than this.

Unless Elizabeth invites me back to her garden with my basket in hand.

And Mitty gets more vermin.


  1. Wow! Sounds like a beautiful garden. I too, am not familiar with how to cook beets and use the swiss chard. Will you cook some for me? I'll bring the hamburger...... RosannaVan

  2. we never had beets either, would you consider pickling them?? Loved the pix of the veggies in your basket, what a bounty and it's only just beginning!! Did you give her some of your horse manure too, maybe you can barter for more veggies!

  3. Elizabeth is going to pickle some beets and make cucumber pickles, I think I will stick to roasting right now. I did give her some compost for the asparagus seedlings but wonder if I contributed to her weed problem, it's seems as thought the elm trees are sprouting out of the compost pile, sorry! I need to spread it out and solarize it with plastic before putting it on the beds.