Farm Update, Unwelcome Dinner Guests & a Refreshing Drink

The plants and seeds have all been lovingly placed into the earth, cared for like a mother attending to her newborn.  The cool weather garden, planted just after we arrived, has brought much delight to our palates, a variety of baby lettuces, spinach, and kale tantalizing our taste buds.  Yesterday our first tightly held broccoli head was removed and gingerly placed into the fridge, waiting to be savored.  We are also quite proud of our handmade recycled barn wood and wire fencing tomato stakes.  All things ‘green’ can be found in this section of the garden.

Bringing toxin-free vegetables from garden to table is something I am once again enjoying, if agonizing over a bit (ok, a lot) as the stress of too much rain and too little sun is seen in the yellowing leaves of the tomatoes and peppers.  We have painstakingly selected these heirloom varieties, with the thought of a fresh caprese salad in our future.  Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind and shine the warmth of her sun on us, gifting us with plump, juicy tomatoes and crunchy peppers.

Along with Mother Nature’s many ‘less than sunny’ faces, we have also had to contend with some unwelcome dinner guests.  Don’t you just abhor that, those who, unannounced, appear prepared for a meal?

I will admit to having a romanticized view of vampires, but the creepy little eight-legged insect discovered on the back of my neck after a long day toiling in the gardens was not welcome to taste of my blood!  Honestly I had not even considered the risk of ticks here in Ohio, but after Terry’s mother found two on her I photographed this ugly creature and sent him off to the “tick expert” in the state, who quickly responded with the identification of American dog tick.  Thankful that he was not the dreaded deer tick, carrier of Lyme disease, I wasn’t much happier to learn that he does carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever at times and that the tick population has exploded here in Ohio over the past decade.  So daily tick checks have been added to the agenda.

For the health of the garden, the cute, cuddly bunny, who seems to think this is home, is much more destructive.  She immediately discovered the carrots and collard greens and claimed them for her own.  I granted her that but when she moved on to sample mother’s beloved peas, something had to change, or according to mom, rabbit stew might be on the menu.  I opted instead for a couple of organic recipes to keep said ball of fur away.  We will see how that goes.

As for the squirrel population around here, the folks have been enjoying a game of ‘catch and release’ after Terry’s purchase of a cage.  These bushy-tailed little guys seem to annoy them more than anything else…go figure.

Although Mother Nature is toying with the vegetable garden, she is presenting some delightful bouquets, much ‘pretty in pink’ appearing in the flower beds.

And after a long hot day working in the garden (when the sun shines that is) ;), I have found a refreshing drink packed full of vitamins.  Given some of my earlier food posts, I can already imagine some of you turning up your noses.  For those more adventuresome, here it is:

Green Lemonade

2 handfuls of organic spinach

1 lemon, peeled and segmented

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root

1 diced pear

1/2 cup coconut water

Sweetener of your choice, if needed

Throw the above ingredients in a blender (a Blendtec works great!) and blend until smooth.  Add a little ice and blend on high until frothy or pour over ice.  Delicious!

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72 thoughts on “Farm Update, Unwelcome Dinner Guests & a Refreshing Drink

    • No you haven’t and I admit to having some reluctance to a Twitter account as I am wondering how much more time that will put me in front of the computer daily. I don’t know much about Twitter so perhaps you can give me a quick lesson (she asks hopefully) 🙂

      • You don’t need a twitter account for a twitter button. But if you have a twitter account, you can lock it to your blog, and each time you post a blog, it automatically posts to twitter. As you receive more “tweeple” – twitter people – the more people will see your blog as it will be shared amongst the masses and more people will come to see you, share on twitter etc. You can boost your views by as much as 75% by adding twitter,

  • I am so glad you still have a sense of humor after all of these little critters have come to visit. It sounds like you will still have plenty in the garden to eat and flowers to view. Pictures are great, as usual. If I only had a blender!

  • I have to admit there are times, although few and far between, that I miss the lushness of the Midwest….ah, the flower beds, stunning. I never get enough of flowers. That garden looks massive, sure to keep you and Terry VERY busy. We hope to be in Grand Junction when my sister-in-laws garden is ripe for the picking. We will definitely give that drink a try. I may even end up having to buy a new blender like yours. Mine seems to jam up a lot. Keep those awesome pictures coming 🙂

    • Thanks Ingrid, and although we are enjoying the lovely flower beds and the garden (although I am stressing a bit), our hearts are still out west. 🙂

  • I’ve been enjoying green “smoothies” now that all the good greens are showing up out here. I don’t generally do recipes, just throw whatever happens to be available in the VitaMix. I also use a new item our co-op has started carrying for the liquid part… http://alodrink.com/ (real aloe vera juice). It’s really yummy and probably good for you. Frozen berries work great for flavor and as a substitute for ice.

    The deer tick is really tiny compared to the dog ticks. Much harder to spot, especially the nymphs (babies), but they’re just as bad, or worse than the adults.

    • Thanks for the link Gunta. I drank aloe vera juice years ago but hadn’t thought about adding it to my smoothies…great idea! I use lots of frozen berries also as a substitute for ice. I too just throw whatever I have into my Blendtec or juicer, whatever is in season and mostly green. 😉

  • Lovely. I feel relaxed after reading this. Re Green drinks, I think of them as brain food. Both me and my brain feel terrific after drinking one.

    Love the photos. Is there a program to use to put them together in the patchwork quilt manner that you do? It’s so much more impactful to see them grouped that way.

    • Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I agree that green drinks are like brain food.

      As for the photos, they are inserted into the post as a gallery, which is something you can select after you download them into your media library. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  • ” I Love Lemonade and I Love Spinach”

    Do you hear a but?? LOL

    I just can’t get my mind around this combination in a drink! I am a vegetarian , so I am known to eat some ” strange” things. At least that is what non-vegetarians say to me. I will have to think about it for a while. 😉

    It must be so rewarding to eat what you have labored to grow.
    Mindfully chosen, lovingly tended and thanfully eaten!

    • I too have been known to eat some crazy things and you should see me when I juice green drinks. My husband never knows what I might like him to try. 🙂 I’d be interested to hear what you think if you give it a try.

  • Oh it all looks good to me and it’s surprising how quickly the plants can get over a good drenching if the fungus stays away… the tick however, was not good to see, having suffered tick bite fever so many times in my life.. when going into areas that are known to have heavy infestations we rub our legs with methylated spirits… for some unknown to me reason the ticks climb aboard smell this and fall off…. one also now gets an aerosol application for ticks that one applies to the skin.. I’m not to keen on that.. but we also use our mosquito replents which also works… avoid the fevers they are not pleasant, LuAnn…

    • I have known many people who have lived with Lyme disease because of the deer ticks and have been very ill. I have not heard of methylated spirits. Will have to see if this is available in the U.S. We do have mosquito repellent that has the product Deet in it that is supposed to work but I do not like putting that toxic product on my skin. Every day I find myself checking for ticks. Thanks for the info Bulldog. Sorry to hear that you have had to deal with their bites.

  • Ah that is one too many unwelcome guest and I well understand the stress LuAnn. The drink sounds delicious, even if the colour is a tad off-putting 😀

  • Love to go out and pick anything from the garden. Tastes so much better than store bought. We can’t wait to pick our first tomato.

    We had to put a fence around our garden. We have raccoons and ground hogs.

    We have to be sure to put tick medicine on Bella each month. We haven’t seen any in these parts of Ohio…yet!

    The flower garden looks so lovely. Enjoy the outdoors.

  • Love, love the garden! My mouth was watering when you listed the produce. But those bunnies, while cute, can take down a garden in no time. They ate all my beans one year!! But, to my surprise those beans that were ground level, resprouted and grew just fine! I put dried blood around the perimeter and that kept the bunnies away. The kale is my favorite…yum!

    Ticks!! I was itching just reading that. That is something I didn’t miss hiking in the desert. But they have them in CO!!! Thank goodness Lyme disease hasn’t gotten this far yet.

    Enjoy your delicious fresh produce!!

    • Thanks Pam and I had no idea there were ticks in CO. I guess I should have expected that because we dealt with deer ticks while in Yellowstone. I usually think of ticks on the east coast but climates are changing, as we know.

      Kale is my favorite as well and Nina dubbed me the kale queen some time ago (lol). Hopefully we can get some produce out of this garden to help subsidize the folks’ grocery budget.

      Keep those great posts coming. Got to live vicariously through the likes of you two for awhile! I did an 8-mile exercise walk yesterday but just not the same. 😦

  • The garden looks beautiful. Though I can’t take a whole garden with us I am growing some herbs that travel in the shower on moves, rosemary, basil and thyme. I love having fresh herbs.
    Ticks are almost everywhere in the midwest. John found one crawling on him yesterday- YUK.
    Smoothies are a great way to get your veggies, especially for people who don’t like veggies. Our recipe is simply whatever fruit we have, a little protein powder, as much green stuff as will fit, mainly spinach and kale, and just enough almond milk to get it to blend. People just need to get over the color and give it a try.
    Hope you find a way to stop the rabbits and other varmits and I wish for you sunny days on the farm.

    • Thanks Janie. I’m with you on the smoothies. Perhaps I gravitate towards green drinks as green is my favorite color. I just know how many wonderful nutrients I am getting with each swallow. Enjoy your time with your family and that beautiful grandbaby. 🙂

  • Lu, loved reading about and seeing your garden. It is much larger than I thought it would be. You and Terry must be busy tending to it. My mouth was watering when I read about all of the fresh veggies you are eating. How fun. Not so easy to grow here in Phoenix. I love my green smoothies….I’m going to try this one. Sounds so good. Thanks for sharing. I love keeping in touch this way. Love to you and Terry.

    • I remember trying to raise a garden when I first moved to Phoenix. That lasted only a season and a sad gardening season it was! I hope to raise enough to do some canning and freezing of vegetable for the folks to help lower their grocery costs. Love to you and Carl also.

  • I’ll say it again, I am so jealous with your gardening and your produce. Looking at it makes me long for those days again. I used to make those green juices using my vegetable juicers and as you may have guessed it , we disposed it. I sure would like to try that Green Lemonade using my hand blender.
    Great pictures as always.

    • I love the idea of picking fresh vegetables from the garden and incorporating them into healthy dishes but don’t like the stress of too much rain and too many critters. When we came to help Terry’s parents, my thought was to grow a garden where I could do some canning and freezing, to help reduce their grocery bills. So, not unlike me, I have added some stress to my life seeing this might not work out as planned. I still travel with a good blender and my juicer, much to my husband’s chagrin.

  • LuAnn I am so enjoying reading your posts and looking at your beautiful pictures. They add so much to the words you use so effectively. I know you are pouring yourself into this new job of caretaker/farmer just as you did your job at Yellowstone and you will reap the rewards. I just hope that those include a lot of delicious foods. Mother Nature has always called the shots with regards to weather, sometimes favoring a good crop, sometimes not but even in the “bad” years or seasons there are rewards for the efforts you just have to look harder to find them since they don’t come in the form of what you were expecting.

    We have gotten a VitaMix and make a lot of drinks using various fruits I have around and adding kale. It is amazing how good something can be that really doesn’t sound that good. We will be getting our garden planted this week. We have not had the weather for good germination yet and last year we learned that to plant much before June 1 was fruitless,

    We did Lasagna gardening last year and this year the stuff that is coming up is really showing that it likes the “soil” that was created using this method. Our Fennel is about 4 feet tall and sooo lush — now just have to figure out some new things to do with it. I use fennel seed in cooking a lot and also love making sun tea with the leaves.

    • My mother-in-law is a master gardener and taught lasagna planting several years ago. As for fennel, I have not cooked with it much, and don’t know why as I love the flavor. We were over at a friend’s house for dinner a few months back and he made a pork roast that included carrots and fennel bulbs. It was delicious!

  • As kermit once famously said “It’s not easy being green” but your gorgeous garden clearly proves that it can be worth it, LuAnn, just beautiful. I’m going to try your drink, I love everyone of the ingredients so greatly looking forward to it! Beautiful photographs (sorry about the pesky critters, goes along with nature doesn’t it, 😦 ). As always a wonderful post, thank you for sharing. I greatly enjoy your posts (your creativity just leaps off of the page! 🙂 xx

  • Rabbit stew…hilarious! We went to a garden show a few years back and was complaining to one of the master gardeners about our rabbit problem…she was an older woman…she whispers in my ear…i have something that will give them a very long tummy ache and bats her eyes. We just laughed.

  • So much to look forward to in your garden ther LuAnn ! It makes me feel healthy just gazing at your photos 🙂
    I wonder if I should try that green lemonade ..hmm not much of a spinach lover but if it’s good for the brain well – I might just have to give it a go !

    • I find that when I add spinach to my drinks I don’t even taste it, but then again, I do like spinach. Wish me luck on the garden. We have been having too much rain.

  • I continue to enjoy your blog! Now I’m really missing the heavy and cumbersome juicer that I left behind! Your lemonade sounds refreshing! I sure don’t miss the dog ticks that we left behind in Kentucky. Just be sure to do a “tick check” after time spent outdoors!

    • My juicer weighs 29 lbs. My husband made me weigh it before we added it to the RV (lol). As for the ticks, they make my skin crawl just thinking about them!

  • It must be so rewarding to grow your own food like this. When I was a teenager we had a few acres of land in Australia where we had a few fruit trees and bushes. There was something so cool about going into you back garden and grabbing an apple, a banana, a mango or some berries!

    Watch out for those ticks, we used to get them a lot in Australia as well, the paralysis ticks were the worst!

    Thanks for sharing, lovely stuff 🙂

    Rohan.

  • Such variation in your posts, everything from danger, to recipes. How i have not seen this post before now I do not know, timing I guess. Love the squirrel, he looks like a cuddly stalker.

    Whilst you are doing all the work, we readers are wishing we could live in what seems an idyllic way of life, however our romantism probably means we are immune to all the stress of it. Love, love, love your posts!

    • Thanks SteJ and yes, although it may seem like an idyllic way of life, it does come with its stress, or maybe that is just me making more of something than needs be! 😉

  • I have to agree with Ste J…..your photos are exquisite and do evoke a longing to be in such an idyllic setting….though after reading of said critters and knowing how very much work goes into it….I shall day dream of it and enjoy your photos instead hehe 🙂

  • All your efforts have been well rewarded, LuAnn. I’m not a big fan of eight-legged critters, so your pic and back of neck story sort of freaked me out. 😯
    Love that red barn and the pale pink rose. 🙂

    • Those were my two favorite photos as well. Ticks really freak me out as well as I know too many people who now carry Lyme disease thanks to these 8-legged insects.

  • Oh nooooooo…ticks. I hate those things!! I can see from the pic right away that it’s not a deer tick. Still has issues, but not the Lyme disease issue. It’s the really, really tiny ticks that are the worst (look like freckles). Don’t really know many good ways of keeping ticks at bay except for horrible chemicals. We have a bottle of DEET (terrible stuff I know) that I spray on my clothing, particularly around the bottom of my pants. Then I tuck the pants into socks if I can. It’s the only way I know to battles them.
    Nina

    • I was pretty certain that this was a dog tick after doing some initial research on the web. I came across an article where the “tick expert” in Ohio wanted people to send him their photos and where they lived as he has been mapping where the populations are greatest in OH. Just one more interesting facet of OH. 😉

  • I hear so much about green smoothies and your green lemonade looks delicious. I need a blender, then I cna really go wild. Shame I haven’t got a garden wiht all the ingredients in it like you, it looks fantastic.!

  • A tick on your neck LuAnn? What a thoughtful tick. We’ve been avid tent campers for years, and our experience is that they usually attach in less, ahem, “convenient” spots. A full-body tick check is part of our daily camping routine. They can be a nuisance, but Lyme disease is scary. ~James

    • I know of others who have found these creepy little characters in much less “convenient” spots also. My mother-in-law found two on her neck as well. Perhaps dog ticks are a more thoughtful bunch than deer ticks. 😉

      • Lu, I’m looking for a post of yours. I haven’t read but had a peek of it before. It’s one with I think, a lawnmower, maybe it’s a tractor or something. I wanna see it.

      • It may be a post I did on April 24th, The List is Long… There has not been much to post on being in central Ohio so organic farming is what I did to entertain myself, that and a lot of physical labor! 😉

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