Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Christmas on a Farm
Good Day to all on this fine Christmas Morning. Our weather is rainy today and no snow in the forecast.

I'm looking forward to this year to end and the new one to begin.

Friday, December 16, 2016

67 Retirement Age

My 5 year Old Self - Before Work. Look how Happy!
67 is the new 65 retirement age. I have 12 years to go. I also read that to maximize your social security benefits, you should wait to the age of 70. What? Go back - I want full benefits, maximized at 65 - NOT 70!

I have been working full time since the age of 18 . I've actually been working since the age of 12 - babysitting then at 16 I worked at McDonalds. So - by the time I'm 67, my total working years will have been 55 years. It's a wonder I can still think for myself. I've been giving myself to "The Man" for more than my whole life.

My plan from now until then is to figure out how to make 67 into 57. We should retire Earlier Not Later. At 70, my knees won't do me any good. I have about 3-4 years on them now.

Just some thoughts I've had lately. I need to retire - now comes the "How" part.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

End of Year is Near

Luffa - 6 Made it But Read Below

Garden in Fall 2016

Begging Ducks at the Office

First Snow

Close Up
First picture is of the Luffa. I was so excited that I had 6 quite large luffa. Problem is, the first frost forced me to pick them prematurely. They needed to dry on the vines and completely air out. Meaning all of the moisture needed to naturally extract. BUT because frost freezes, the luffa will rot on the vine. So - brought them in hoping to dry them indoors. It didn't happen. I only received one out of all the beautiful gourds. All the others rotted. I even baked the 2 largest in the oven on a low temp for 4 hours but nope - they rotted too. Maybe next year.

Garden is long put to bed but I captured a fall picture.  I like the sassafras in the background. They really have a pretty color combo.

While lunching at the office this fall, there is a large pond with ducks and geese. I fed the ducks once and when I walk the path to the lunch area, they come a waddling and beg for crackers. They are the cutest things ever and so tame and friendly. During this shot, there were 8 or 9 of them. So close I could touch their heads. I went through an entire box of saltines taking my lunches outside. So worth it. They are adorable.

Snow pictures from last Sunday's first snow fall. It was so pretty I took a walk around our condo complex and snapped some shots.

Christmas and the end of the year is around the corner. Time is flying by. Enjoyed it while you can.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Buy Local

Saw this on the web - needed to add.

Christmas is upon us - buy local.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend

Winter fast approaching
My apologies for not posting for over 4 weeks. Time got away from me.

Bobby and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house! I love doing dinner parties and hope to make a habit of it. I made the following in two days:

Pumpkin pie - from the home grown pumpkins
Apple pie
Rice Krispie squares
Turkey with sausage stuffing
Sweet Pototoes
Regular mashed potatoes
Baby Brussel Sprouts - from the garden - picked that morning :)
Baby carrots in lime and honey sauce
Pop and Fresh bisquits - Bobby's request
Cranberry Relish - the can stuff -  again, Bobby's request

I'm missing something and it's not coming to me. I know I spent hours in the kitchen. I so enjoy the meal prep and getting out the pretty dishes and setting it all up. Then - once folks start eating - it's all over in 15 minutes. Two days of work - over - just like that.

Happy Holiday weekend!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

October is Here!

Corn, Pumpkin and Zinnia - Oh and Me!

Bobby took this Picture!


Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin

Alexandria, VA - view from my room
Fall is a busy time of year. My day job requires me to travel and the bottom picture is the Potomac River view from my hotel room. The bridge I believe will take you into DC.

My garden is almost done for the year. I picked all the pumpkins - 6 beautifully formed pumpkin pie pumpkins. The seeds are heritage true pie pumpkins and the puree is delicious. I froze the pulp and hope to make some pies soon. I used a test portion for pumpkin bread which was really good.

I'm already planning the layout for next year. Can't wait to put it to bed and start again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September and Cow Pea

Cow Pea - Ready to Prepare!

Leafy Seadragon

Sea Horse
Top Picture are shelled Cow Pea or Black Eye Pea. Love this plant! It keeps producing and these little buggers taste really good. Just dry them totally. Boil some water, throw in a handful or how ever many you want to eat, Salt the water and simmer for about 30 minutes or until they are soft but not mushy. Rinse them in cold water and toss them in a salad. YUM.

The aquatic pictures are from a work trip I just got back from. We visited the Atlanta Aquarium and these two creatures were amazing.

September 1st! Summer is almost over. I am actually looking forward to cleaning up the garden to get it ready for winter. This year I think I'll plant some winter wheat.  Sow the seeds before frost and then next spring, they will grow and I won't have to weed the back.

Stay turned - more garden harvest pictures to be loaded soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cow Pea

Cow Pea Blossom with Luffa Vine

Cow Pea Pods - A LOT OF THEM

Cow Pea Pods Drying

Harvest - Jalapeno and Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Bouquet
I am fascinated by the Cow Pea plant. It is also called Black Eye Pea but they are really a bean. It's growing like crazy.

I have two cherry tomato plants and they are the sweetest cherries I've grown. They might be called a Grape Tomato but the seed packet said Cherry.

Last picture is a bouquet of the zinnias - they are so beautiful and I try to pick a bouquet each week. It's raining like crazy right now so I have to wait until tomorrow to pick.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Luffa! Well... Not yet. Just a blossom.

Did you know Luffa grows like a cucumber plant? It's a vine plant and gets yellow blossoms. The gourd or Luffa looks close to a large cucumber while developing. To create the sponge, you dry the large luffa completely. 

A few years ago I grew them but someone picked them before they had a chance to fully grow. Since they do look like large cucumbers, my guess was someone thought to help out. I did test one that was hidden under the leaves and after I pealed it, it did look fibrous like a sponge inside.

So - once the luffa is large, it needs to dry completely. My plan is to give luffa's out at Christmas.  We'll see.

It seems lately, I can't plan to well. My planning skills need some work. Each weekend I make a list of things to do or that need to be done. I sometimes get so sidetracked that a few weekends go by before I complete the list. I'm blaming it on the weather. All week was perfect summer weather.

I'll keep you posted on the Luffa. The plant is healthy and large so we shouldn't have any issues this year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Garden

Balcony Flowers - English Garden?
Cow Pea Blossom

Cow Pea Pod

Urban Garden - Zinnia's all around

Cherry Toms

Garlic Harvest


Blueberry Pie - Berries were a gift from my Neighbor

Black Brandiwine Toms

Green Pumpkin

Ready to Harvest!

Another Pumpkin hidden

Zinnia's hidden in the Pumpkin Patch
Some pictures of the garden and all that is growing right now. We've had enough rain that it is all flourishing!  It's a joy to stop by each morning and see the changes.

A picture of our balcony. It looks like a mini English Garden to me. Pink, white, purple and green. The humming birds come by each morning and make there rounds to each flower.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Community Nursing Home Garden


Standing by the corn

Ground Cherry - looks like a Tomatillo

Sweet Onion

Pumpkin Pie Baby Pumpkin
Just a few shots Bobby took of the garden this morning. I've let the weeds run all over the paths but close to each plant, I've weeded.

It takes over before you know it and I feel like I should be there right NOW weeding. I just feel lazy today and keep telling myself that I'll wait until fall and rip up the path. I have a "Not to weed" excuse each year. "It rained too much" , " The ground is too wet", "It's going to rain", "It's too Hot" - and on they go.

I think that as long as the plants I'm trying to grow are weed free or close to weed free, I'll be ok.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mid July

Upside Down Plum Cake

Bobby and Barb Selfie!

Canned Flowers

Balcony Flowers


Golden and Red Beets - they were delicious!
Some pictures of things in July - Baked a Plum cake, selfie at the 4th of July parade, flowers on the balcony and beets from the garden.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Clematis in June

Moss Roses


Clematis in Small Vases
The garden is growing like mad. The weather has been close to perfect so far this month. Hot and sunny one day, raining and soaking the ground the next.

I took a mini vacation and visited with the residence of the nursing home Friday. They asked to bring something that was blooming from the garden to share. It's too early in the season for the Zinnia but the Clematis were beautiful. The entire sides of the trellis was covered with blooms. I snipped about 30 of them off and made little vases. They lasted about 3 days.

Love the Residence of the Community Nursing and Rehab Center of Naperville. I try and visit when ever I can.

Thanks for stopping by.