Homegrown Popcorn.

This year we planted popcorn.
It is something I had always wanted to do, but never remembered to order the seeds in time. Well this year I was ahead of the game and ordered my popcorn seeds here while ordering some of my other seeds.
We planted the popcorn seeds in the same rows as our Indian and sweet corn. Instead of picking the popcorn when we did our regular sweet corn we just left the popcorn in the garden until the husks started drying and turning brownish. Then a few weeks ago we picked and husked all of the ears and set them inside to dry a little longer.
For the past two weeks, every few days I have been popping a few of the kernels on the stove to see if they were ready. Then two days ago we got a few kernels that popped and then today we got a whole plateful!
I really can’t tell you how exciting it was to hear and see those little kernels popping.
The kids were just as excited as I was.
Then once I saw that the kernels would pop in the pan I had to try and see if the kernels would pop right on the cob in the microwave. So I just took the cob and placed it into the microwave.
And a few minutes later I got this…
not exactly what I had hoped for, but still pretty cool to see. And just in case you were wondering, our homegrown popcorn is like everything homegrown or handmade…
way better then any store bought popcorn by far!
Here is a great resource for those of you that want to try and grow your own popcorn next year. It is so fun and easy to do, go ahead and give it a try!

Have any of you grown popcorn before?

pumpkins, gourds, frost…oh my!

We knew it would be happening soon, the first hard frost of the year.

I spent most of the day yesterday picking the gardens clean.
Which you can see have been severely neglected and was still full of fresh goodies. Along with lots of pumpkins, gourds and squashes.
Normally picking the pumpkins is a family affair…not this year.
This year it was a scramble to get everything out of the garden, into piles and undercover. The kiddo’s helped at times, but mostly played in the car where it was warm and full of gum and lost treasures hidden under car seats.
Normally I would take my time and admire the beautiful pumpkins and gourds and all of their odd shapes.
But this year was all about getting these beauties undercover.
And safe from the frost.
I think the biggest pumpkin weighs a good 40-50 pounds and really wished the hubby was home to help to carry it.
But not just because he would have been more helpful then these little hands.
But because it would have been more fun.

And not just a scramble.

Its that time of the year.

Its that time of the year when the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. In a few short weeks we will be getting our first frost. And in a few short days fall will be arriving.

Its my favorite time of the year. The sunflowers are in full bloom and are towering over the cornstalks.
The pears are just about ready to be picked.
And time spent in the garden is getting less.
But we are picking some of my most favorites.
The leaves are beginning to change colors and soon will be falling from the trees and blanketing the grass.
The pumpkins and gourds will be picked soon.

And the snake gourds are as big as they are going to get this year. Its that time of the year that I wish would last forever!

"mo pees peesz?"

I love capturing the simple moments in life. The ones where you can watch their sweet little movements and expressions. Watching the kiddo’s eat straight from the garden for the first time is always the funnest thing to do. They are so curious and unsure.

But it doesn’t take them long before they know exactly how to get to the goodies.

I love watching those little nibbles.

And those chubby little fingers.

And how they know just where to go to pick more.

These past few months have made me appreciate these moments even more. And in all reality, made me slow down and take the time to enjoy these moments.

Because these babies of mine are growing up way too fast.

Our little family of 5 is complete, but I can’t help but think maybe there is room for one more.

Because I just love watching those little babies grow.

But I have also loved sleeping and wearing a normal bra again…so maybe I will just make the garden bigger next year…and watch that grow from seed.

**Unrelated note…We had a super productive weekend! I did some sewing and Im almost finished my gift for that sweet little baby niece of mine. I just keep adding more goodies to the mix…I just need to stop! Plus we (mostly the hubby) worked non-stop all weekend on the house. We finally have walls up and the rooms are actually looking like rooms. Maybe we will have it finished by Christmas!**

Baked Jalapeno Poppers {and a giveaway winner}

Each year we grow jalapenos for making salsa. Unfortunately sometimes the timing of when the jalapenos and the tomatoes are ripe don’t exactly line up. I didn’t have enough jalapenos to fill a jar and be pickled, so I decided to give jalapeno poppers a try. I have to be honest, I have never had them before and what a shame. They are delish! I used this recipe here and just made a few minor adjustments. I used less then the full amount of seasonings called for and instead of making my creole seasoning I just used one that I already had in the cabinet.

And the winner of the Blue Sky giveaway is Laura.

Congratulations Laura, your on your way to being one super organized momma!

Sorry I’m a little late on this one…

Giveaway winner was #15
Adriane said…These are lovely! I think my favorites are the white and pink chrysanthemum rings…so cute!

Congratulations Adriane, I will be sending you an email shortly!

And besides this little munchkin, the exciting news around here is that our little farm stand is open for business!

The garden is overflowing with fresh veggies and needs picking everyday. We are already getting waaay more fresh veggies then this little family of ours can consume. So whatever we don’t eat ourselves goes straight into the farm stand. Each year my goal is to make enough money to pay for next years seeds and plants. But really, I’m just happy that nothing is going to waste. It is actually amazing how many customers I have on a daily basis. But I guess when you sell cukes for 10 cents you are bound to get some business. I even have a few customers that like to stop by before I pick the garden to place their orders. So if I’m not crafting and blogging as much as I normally do then this is why. Veggies this beautiful cannot go to waste and a farm stand this cute needs to be well stocked!

More garden pictures.

I have had lots of requests for more garden pictures, so here are a few…ok, here are a bunch! I’m so excited that you are enjoying all of the photo’s of my garden. I love my garden almost as much as my kiddo’s…almost. Even though this is my 7th year growing a garden, I am still amazed by how fast those tiny little seeds turn into large plants and then veggies for us to eat. For those of you that have never grown a garden and want to, just give it a try. It really is so easy and you will be surprised how much better veggies straight from the garden taste. Really, they taste so.much.better.

This is our main garden. We also have another garden for all of our fall squashes, pumpkins, gourds and peas.

We will be lucky if we end up with a red tomato this year. This little munchkin loves picking them when they are green.
It’s so hard to get mad at something this cute.

The corn is already high enough to hide in.

Aren’t these tendrils just so beautiful?!

Of course we couldn’t have such a big garden without this beauty…our tiller!
We bought it 6 years ago for $50 buckaroos from one of our neighbors. Runs great…once it’s started.
Because I can’t help but share some more flower pictures with all of you.

Oh and I know you all want to see Wilbur and Ray again. These are the funniest two pigs ever! They love running through the “sprinkler” and good thing, cuz this little guy loves spraying them with water.
They act more like dogs then pigs.
I can already tell we are going to have a hard time sending them to “the fair.”

embrace the camera {garden days again}

I had always hoped the kiddo’s would love being in the garden as much as I do. But I’m thinking they love being in it a little more then I do. Just last night the two oldest were making dirt angels in the garden. Yup, I’m pretty sure you wont see this momma sprawled on her back in the garden, flapping her arms and legs back and forth to make dirt angels.

There is nothing this momma loves more then seeing those kiddo’s covered in dirt playing in the garden. Yes, my littlest likes to wear just one sock. Apparently she is already starting a fashion statement. Running back and fourth in between the tomato plants is their favorite thing to do.

This is where we spend most of our days and nights. Can you see why?

embace the camera {Memorial Day weekend 2011}

Memorial Day weekend always marks the beginning of gardening season for us.

Every year grampa comes down to till our gardens. This year the girls were so cute watching him drive around on his tractor. They sure love their grampa and not just because he always brings them candy.

We spent just a little under $200 on seeds and plants this year. And thanks to our little farm stand, last years profits paid for this years seeds.

My little guy is like his daddy when it comes to planting. He takes his time and likes them evenly spaced out.

While this little girl is like her momma and fills those hills to the max.

While daddy kept planting, we took lots of long breaks snuggling under the trees with the buttercup flowers.

She was happy just hanging with her momma until she heard daddy’s tractor start.

And quickly threw a chick-fit when daddy left without giving her a ride.

But like always, daddy returned to give her a ride.

After the long weekend both gardens are planted and we are already seeing little plants poke up through the soil!

Of course we don’t want to forget the real meaning behind Memorial Day. Thanks to all that serve, have served or have lost their lives for us. You are the ones that allow us to live in such a beautiful country!

See you all tomorrow on Fat Quarter Friday for…

The Beach Comber Bag!

Anyone recongnize the bag from Color My Summer?

Rhubarb {harvesting, baking and freezing}

The rhubarb patch is overflowing, which means it’s time to start filling the freezer with homemade rhubarb goodies again.

For the past few years I have been making all of my breads, pies and goodies while we harvest them from the garden instead of freezing the cut veggies or fruits with great intentions of baking them later. I never did end up baking with them later, so we would end up with a freezer full of frozen fruit and veggies unused. I know shame on me. So a few years ago I decided to make all of our baked goodies or freezer meals once something in the garden was being harvested. So now I spend a few days cooking and baking like crazy once something is harvested and in the end I end up with a freezer full of meals and goodies. Last year I think I ended up with over 40 loaves of breads, lots of cakes, muffins, sweet treats and numerous amounts of freezer meals.

Each year I discover new recipes to try and learn better freezing methods through trial and error. I also seem to get better and faster at baking and cooking all of our goodies. I have learned that cooking in large quantities and spending 1/2 a day cooking it all at once actually saves me a ton of time in the long run.

I wait til I have a good amount to harvest, then pick all that I can, wash it and cut it up. Sometimes I have so much that I cannot cook or bake it all in one day so I simply place my cut up veggies or fruits in the fridge for the next day. Then depending on how much I have cut up, I pick out the recipes that work best together, like having the same oven temp or the same ingredients being used. Then I start mixing and baking, and in a few short hours I end up with an insane amount of freshly baked goodies. But the best part, is that you only have to clean-up once! For me, cleaning up is the most time consuming parts and my least favorite to do. But if you get it all done in one day, then you only have clean up once.

Rhubarb was never one of my favorites but with some newer recipes that I have found over the past few years it is becoming one. I use allrecipes.com most of the time while cooking or baking. I like how the recipes are rated, have pictures, and are pretty simple to make. I like to cook and bake, but don’t want to spend a lot of money buying ingredients that I don’t already have right in my cabinets. I also have a few cookbooks that focus mainly on cooking and baking things harvested from your garden.

My favorite rhubarb recipes:

How I freeze my baked goodies:

I like to bake my crisps straight in canning jars or bake them into a large pan and then transfer the crisp into canning jars once cooled. This way it is easier for my hubby to bring to work and they also act as a ice pack in his lunch box. Of course you can bake the crisps in a pan and then place the whole pan into the freezer once cooled. Just make sure that you wrap the cooled pan in plastic wrap right onto of the crisp and cover pan again with some aluminum foil.

I like to freeze my cakes and breads wrapped in plastic wrap. If you want to wrap them in wax paper, just make sure you place them into a freezer bag afterwards. Last year I wrapped close to 20 loaves of breads only in wax paper and they all became dried out and had a freezer burnt taste… so lesson learned.

When it comes to pies, I bake my pies in a pie pan and once cooled I wrap them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil on top of that. I also have found that some recipes can be assembled ahead of time, frozen and then baked later. Rhubarb pie is one of those. So all I have to do is grab a frozen pie, let it thaw for a bit and then bake per directions.

Don’t forget to label! I have to admit I don’t always do this, but if it is a new recipe, an uncooked pie or covered in aluminum I do. This way I also know what recipes work and which ones don’t.

At the end of the season, you will be so thankful you took the time to bake first and freeze. It is a great feeling to have a freezer full of meals and baked goodies. Not to mention a great way to save money, eat healthy and have some great baked goods when you need something in a jiff.