Monday, September 5, 2011

Fall Movement

Fall is approaching, it's in the air and if you are observant, there are a number of things that suggest it is almost here. There is alot of movement among birds and butterflies. Birds are bunching up in anticipation for the long migration journey ahead. Last night while eating dinner, we noticed movement outside the french doors. It was a mass of monarch butterflies that were attaching themselves to our trees for the evening. The burnished copper color of the butterflies in the evening sun was spectacular as you can see...
Monarchs settling in for the night
The butterflies too are getting ready for migration
If you look closely, many of the butterflies appear
as leaves on this tree
The delight of Nature
Our granddaughter, Kelsey, on her way back to college in Michigan stopped overnight at our place with a friend, Emily. The morning before they left, we went to the garden to harvest vegetables for them to take along. They are both seniors living in a house so they have to provide their own meals. Produce from Grandma's garden is a treasure. It was a hot, hot morning but we got the job done. Here are the girls with the produce...
Emily (L) and Kelsey (R) with fresh dug potatoes,
beets and carrots; along with fresh picked green
beans and tomatoes. That along with eggs and
they will be set for awhile.
The garden got a slow start this year because of the cool wet spring. My tomatoes are just ripening and already the evenings are getting very cool so hopefully I'll get a decent crop to put up. Potatoes and beets are great this year - the root crops seemed to thrive. My green beans are wonderful. The cucumbers started strong but seemed to quit on me so I don't know if I'll have enough for pickles this year yet or not. I'll be pickling beets this week. A gardener has to be an optimist... I find myself thinking, there's always next year.
Looking south from the north east side of the garden;
the asparagus bed is finally established so hopefully
next year we'll be enjoying the succulent spears.
A view west from  under the steel rod arbor; there
are a variety of sunflowers behind the garden bench
this year.
      This is the west side of the garden. Tomatoes
      outline the garden. Raspberries are planted in
      the planters and blueberries are planted in the back
      of the garden too. Someday it will be a delicious
      berry patch! The compost bins are south of the raspberry

The baby horses have been weaned and moved here
to the ranch so they get a good diet to grow strong and have
a safe place for the winter.

          This was the year of the sunflower - they were
          everywhere...our pasture was full of them and the
          road ditches too.

Update: The guinea eggs in the incubator didn't make it. The guinea tried two more nests but neither clutch survived. We're very sad about that. Also, the big french marans bird turned out to be a rooster. He had a weak crow but we heard it. We gave him away and peace has returned to the Dot House!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ride A Horse, Gather Eggs and Make Pasta

We were privileged to have family from Florida and South Dakota visit this summer. Mark's sister, Carolyn, and her two sons, Cory and Troy and Troy's family, flew in for the day. Cory was the pilot so we had lots of flexibility with time and they could leave whenever they were ready.

Cory, Mark, Me, Megan, Troy holding
Jenna, and Kim
 Troy and Kim follow the blog so there were definite things the girls wanted to do while at the ranch in Nebraska for the day. The girls agenda was to ride a horse, gather eggs and make homemade pasta.

Sometimes just sitting on a saddle is
really fun too!
 Making the homemade pasta was definitely Megan's thing. She cooks with her Dad, Troy, and loves to be in the kitchen. She mixed the dough and once it was chilled, she caught on quickly to the folding and pressing process preparing the dough for the pasta maker. She was able to take home the pasta along with the eggs she and Jenna gathered!

Megan mixing the ingredients for pasta

Rolling the pasta in the machine
You have to put it through the machine
many times to get the correct thickness

Here's the final product; Megan is cranking
the handle to cut the pasta

It's always fun to see what the hens
laid and to gather the eggs

Megan and Jenna checking out the Dot
House after gathering eggs

Check out Megan putting pasta in the
pasta machine on her own.  Troy is smelling
the sourdough starter as we discussed what
you can make with it. I think I may
have another convert.
We did all that plus have fun with the puppy, Buddy, and swing on the front yard swings.
Buddy and Jenna were pals
Swinging is everyone's favorite activity

Troy and I working on dinner
We were able to have dinner at the ranch before they had to leave. Troy helped with the sweet corn and prepping for the lemon chicken. Kim made perfect asparagus. I had made old fashioned carrot salad earlier in the day so it was ready and chilled for dinner. Of course, I used carrots from the garden. We ended the meal with peach pie.  Delicious end to an active fun day.
Mark with his sister, Carolyn, who is mother to Cory on left
and Troy, and grandmother to Jenna and Megan! Beautiful
The girls got to do everything they wanted --- ride a horse, gather eggs, make pasta plus more. We hope they come back next year.