Saturday, March 29, 2014

Love What You Grow and What You Love Will Grow

I have had my own garden since I purchased my very first house when I was 21 years old. It was tiny, I didn't allow enough space in my rows, it all grew together and by July it was covered in weeds and I ended up mowing it down. It was a failure. But the next Spring, I planted another garden and it got better every year. It still does. To me, that's the beauty of Spring - Winter kills everything off and Spring is your fresh start.

Now, almost ten years later I actually know what I am doing. I keep a very neat garden, weeds are not allowed for more than a day, I grow only what I buy in the stores and I pick one different thing to try every year.  I spend a lot of the winter researching different gardening tips and shopping at one of my favorite gardening stores, Gardeners Supply.

The first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is that you want to plant. It's always fun to try new stuff, but as I mentioned above, try and mainly grow the things that you purchase regularly at the grocery store. Gardens are a lot of work and a lot of maintenance so you don't want to get burnt out growing things that you don't eat.

This year I plan to grow the following:

  • Sweet Corn (2 rows)
  • Baby Red Potatoes (2 rows) 
  • Tomatoes (4 -5 plants)
  • Cucumbers (2 rows)
  • Broccoli (1 row) 
  • Cabbage (1 row) 
  • Zinnias (flowers just to border one side of the garden, i love fresh cut flowers in my home)
I usually buy my seeds at the local Farm and Home store, but I really don't think that you can go wrong in any seed purchase as long as they are not old seeds. 

When picking just the right spot in your yard for a garden please consider the following:
  • An area with full sun
  • Close to a water source for easy watering of your garden during the hot summer months
  • If you live in the country (like my farmer and I) don't plant it close to a field, you can get over spray and chemicals used on your crops will kill your produce. 
  • If you live in town, be careful planting close to a neighbor, any chemicals that they use could also kill your produce. 
After you have decided what you are going to grow, and picked your spot, you need to make sure that its the right size. Always remember this - YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH SPACE IN BETWEEN YOUR ROWS. In the beginning everything may seem so spread out, but once July comes, and you have ample rainfall and sunshine, your little garden soon takes over. Not all crops mature at the same rate so leave 18 to 24 inch pathways between rows to allow easy weeding and harvesting. 

The ole saying around here is to have you potatoes in the ground by St. Patty's day (that was 2 weeks ago)... it's entirely too wet still - which this future farmers wife is not complaining about. As soon as it dries up I will till up my garden and start my planting and when I do that I will write a post by post of everything that I plant and my tricks that I have learned over the years, i.e. (cucumbers growing up cattle panels, always throw your ashes from your charcoal grill in your garden, coffee grounds are great for tomato plants, and always keep a rain gauge in your garden. 

My farmer and I are still in the early stages of our new farmhouse construction. I know, a month ago i said we were in the beginning stages, we are currently waiting on a survey of our land and for approval from our local County Planning and Zoning to build. It's a lot of hoops to jump though, but the general idea of that is to preserve farm ground in this county, and of course, we are all for that. 

I have really been wanting to start a strawberry patch, but I am going to wait until next Spring when the house is done and I know exactly what I want in my yard. Next Spring will also bring my very own little orchard. Small fruit trees lines up perfectly to replicate the beautiful orchards that are in this area of our state. I think someday that picking strawberries and fruit from the trees is the perfect chore for my little farm kids. What better way to learn to appreciate the land and respect the hard work it takes to grow something.

 So for this year, I will continue with my vegetable garden and plan for the upcoming year - because after all, to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

Remember that last post where I promised to post more.... That was a month ago. I have so many things that i want to share with you, time just gets away from me. My farmer and I are getting married and breaking ground on our new house all within the same month AND... that's about 83 days away (who's counting, right).

Spring is finally here and I know more Spring like weather is just around the corner - so in the upcoming weeks i will be talking about getting your garden and your yard ready for Spring. My farmer will also be hitting the fields, so I am sure to do a post or two about him and his green tractors. But for today I am going to talk about cinnamon rolls.

They are my staple for almost everything. It's a tradition that I make them for birthday's and I like to dress them up for holidays with things like colored icing, heart sprinkles or it may just be festive ribbon tied around the container.

This recipe, like a lot of my favorite recipes comes from another blog i follow regularly, Everyday Occasions. Someday I am determined to be that farm wife and that farm mom that gets up at the crack of dawn and makes everything from scratch and all farm fresh ingredients. That sounds pretty dreamy to me - but for the time being, this farm girl has a hard enough time getting up early to work out and chug coffee, much less make from scratch cinnamon rolls. SO.... when I came across this recipe using frozen bread dough, I had to give it a try.

A day before I make them I always lay out however much dough I need. In this case I just made enough for one pan.

Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm area. In my house its always in my laundry room , which is full of windows.

I let my dough rise all day.

That afternoon/evening when the dough has fully risen I butter my dish. It doesn't need a lot of butter, just a light coating.

Flour a surface generously and roll out your dough. 

Add the butter. Notice its NOT melted - just softened. That way more of the flavor stays in the dough as opposed to running out of the sides.  

Add the remaining ingredients. 

Roll up 

Slice up and cover with a damp towel 

The next morning bake on 350ยบ for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

I made these on the 1st day of Spring so I added a little blue food gel to the icing.

Cinnamon Rolls: 

1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
3 tablespoons of butter, softened
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/4 cup of sugar

I have yet to really master icing that I can't live without. Maybe it's because I have never really been an "icing" girl, but for these rolls I mix milk and powdered sugar together until I have found the right consistency. 

If you have a little extra time this week I would definitely suggest giving these a whirl. Have a good week everyone, and stay tuned for later in the week I will be talking about getting your yard and your garden prepped for Spring and planting.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


We have been back from Mexico for one week. I am still sweeping sand up from various places around the house, I have an abnormally dark tan, I am packing back away summer clothes and starring out the window at the moment of snow coming down at a rapid pace. Something is not right about this picture, right?

We stayed at the beautiful Iberostar Paraiso Beach Resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  Check out some of my favorite pictures of that place-it was so breathtakingly beautiful.

AND.... Leave it to me to find a beautiful cow plate at the Mediterranean Restaurant. I took a picture of the back label and tried my best to find the match back here at home - but no luck....

Mid-week we set an "excursion" up to visit the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. They were beautiful. Minus having to get up super early on vacation and the extra long, extra scary (if you have ever been to Mexico you know what I mean) bus ride, we all loved the ruins and had a great time.

a beautiful beach overlooked the ruins.

HA. I love this photo... The guys really did love the ruins too, although this photo doesn't look like it too much.

The rest of the photos are some of my favorite shots (out of 360) of the whole trip. Each person has a special place in my heart and i think that we all had a vacation that we will always remember. It was understood that it was one of our last "friends" vacations that we will go on for a while. Soon we will all be married and before you know it we will all start having babies. Our vacations will start consisting of Disney World and Mt. Rushmore, but there is no doubt that that someday this group will be back on the beach together.

My soon to be new last name....

Our wedding date... a few short months away.... I wish it was tomorrow. I don't want to spend another day NOT being that man's wife.

As it turns out, 3 of the 4 guys on the trip are farmers. We did our daily morning of checking the grain market back home and talking about who does and doesn't still have corn and beans left. 

Wishing that tan wasn't already fading, but the snow and lack of sunlight has almost done it.

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