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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