Peas, Patience and Pulling Weeds

Sugar Snap Peas

I wandered past my garden the other day and noticed that I really should be picking some peas. (I also noticed I really needed to be pulling some weeds!)

I was very happy to see I actually had peas.  This gardening season has been a battle for my peas against rabbits, ground hogs, earwigs, weeds and grasshoppers.  The plants are shorter than normal, due to all the pruning they have had.  This makes it a little harder to pick them but they are so worth the effort.

This year I made sure to get the correct seed.  Last year I purchased seed to late and ended up settling for snow peas. I know many people love snow peas but we thought the pods were kind of crunchy and I really wanted to steam them and be able to eat the pods.

My husband and I discovered that neither of us were very fond of the snow peas so when the seeds came out late this past winter I  quickly purchased a couple packs of the Sugar Snap Peas that we like. My husband still asks me if we got the right ones.


We planted them on time and they quickly came up. Then the battles began. (Note to self: Next year plant them close to the beans, lettuce and other stuff that we put chicken wire around to keep out “nature’s self-appointed pruners”.)  Due to the limited amount of plants that survived we will probably only get enough for meals now and then ……no freezing any. At this point that is good enough for me!

I also spent some time weeding today, even though it was incredibly hot and muggy . The melon patch was starting to look pretty bad and definitely required attention.

Melon Patch

I am going to be gone for the rest of this week, with my sister, to attend and volunteer at  Together 2016, that is taking place at the National Mall in Washington, DC. I knew if I didn’t get some of the weeding done before I left the garden was going to get ugly pretty fast in this heat and humidity. There may or may not be a life lesson in there for me!

This trip was on short notice so I seem to be running around to get things done before I go. Perhaps the time spent in the garden was exactly what I needed; to slow down and take things one at a time. Lesson learned….for now.



Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature,
is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
May Sarton

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Darkness vs Light

Evening with verse.jpg

My husband and I were sitting on the porch with our morning coffee and the subject of all the killings came up. It was hard to imagine a world so full of hate when we were surrounded by the quiet of the morning.

We had no quick solutions, we had no easy answers, in fact there really was not any way to put what is happening into words.

The images on our television screens show people full of fear, racism, hate, loss, grief and anger. They show reactions to reactions to reactions to reactions and I wonder where did it all start?  Why are people stoking the fires of all this? What action started this vicious cycle? And how can we break it?

I read a post on a blog today “In the Face of your Grief and Anger Tend Your Space” by Michelle DeRusha.  I would encourage you to read it. She gives a voice to many of the fears and emotions this country and its’ people are going through these last days. She also shines a beautiful light into this darkness with her solution to “tend your space.”

There is not much I can do from where I am at.  But I can “tend my space”. I can always remember and not sweep the loss of these people under the rug in my mind.   I can show love, respect, compassion, and be Jesus with skin on to those around me. I can be light in a dark world.


Make Hay While The Sun Shines….


Once again it is that season to bale waterways, ditches and grass hay in general. I know it is that time when the temps soar into the 90’s and the air is so thick and muggy you feel like you could swim through it.

I knew this time was coming…..but I think in my head I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe it would not happen. A very distant hope, but a hope, none the less.

To understand my feelings on baling you need to realize that I did not grow up on a farm. I grew up in a small town and had cousins who lived on farms. When we went to the farm we had fun.  We played on the sack swing, played kick the can, played with the chicks (this may have triggered my love for chickens), and once in a while we decided we should try to ride a pig……because that is what you do as a kid in a rural area when you are done with your chores.

The closest I got to farm work growing up were the summers spent walking beans and detasseling corn.  These occupations in no way prepared me for baling or tractor driving.

When I married my farmer we decided we should milk cows. I found out quickly that milking cows involved more than milking twice a day.  There was the gutter to be cleaned every day, feed to be ground, bulk tanks to be washed, and baling. Pretty much everything you did, all day, every season revolved around cows.

Those first summers that my husband requested I drive the tractor for baling are etched firmly in my mind. As a gal who had never driven a clutch it was quite an experience for me and probably more for my husband as he attempted to remain upright on the hay rack as I would put that tractor into gear.  I must confess I had him on his knees several times……I am quite sure he was not praying…..but then again maybe he was! If not, he probably should have been.

Quite often my dad in law would show up as we were baling and ask if I wanted him to drive.  You have never seen a woman get off a tractor so fast! Now that he is going to be 87 I don’t think he is going to show up to rescue me anymore.

There came a time when we had to decide to get big or get out of the dairy business and we chose out. That ended my time of driving a tractor for baling.  I thought this was forever but nope.

Last year my husband decided that, once again, we should take up the fine art of small square baling. As he purchased a disk mower, rake, and baler I was really wondering if this was such a good idea for a couple who was a lot closer to 60 than we liked to think.

Once again I am learning how NOT to pop a clutch, how to decipher what all those hand motions mean (no, he is not just waving with joy at me all the time), how to make the turns and how to follow the long row of raked grass without leaving too much on the ground.

I am learning  slooooowwwwwllly. Yes very slowly. I am getting better (that might just be in my own head). I still do not like driving on a slant.  One half of my brain knows that I will not tip the tractor over on this gentle incline but the other half persist in arguing that the ground in not level. I pray against fear on that one. My husband keeps assuring me it will be fine but the one half of my brain, again, is not convinced. Maybe next year?

I keep telling my husband that a utility tractor would be a good investment if he is going to persist in this baling thing. I just know I would feel safer if I were driving a tractor that was lower to the ground and much “squattier”. Once again…..maybe next year??

Every so often I take a turn on the rack when the ground gets steeper than I like or the turns get way to tight in the back corners of the waterway.  My husband is very gracious with my stacking of bales.  To be very honest…….. My stacking skills suck. (please forgive the language–I have raised three sons—-on a farm).

I will have to say there is a satisfaction in seeing the bales, stacked neatly in a haymow. I have a feeling that for my husband, it is the same feeling I get when I see my pantry full of  canning jars that are full of produce.

I think my husband loves baling because it brings back his teenage years.  He spent many hours throwing bales for various farmers who needed extra help. He worked for the grand wage of $1.75 an hour.

I am starting to think I may have to find one of those teenage boys who want to throw bales.  That way my husband could do the driving……I am seeing a win-win situation here.

“Only a farmer
knows the difference between
5 MPH and 5.5 MPH”

“Farming is a profession of hope”
Brian Brett



Remembering On The 4th of July

Fireworks with quote.jpg

For as long as our children can remember we, as a family, have spent our fourth of July holiday at Lake Okoboji with my side of the family.

The day is spent laughing, swimming, going to Arnold’s Park, getting a boat ride, watching fireworks and of course eating. It is a day to catch up with what siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins and friends have going on in their lives.

As I was mowing lawn the other day I had plenty of time to think about this day. It occurred to me that there was very little time during that day of celebration that I actually spend any time remembering the reason we can have this holiday.

I was remembering, as I was mowing, that the 4th was our nation’s birthday.  I was also thinking about what it took to birth this nation. It took the dream of dedicated people, commitment that sometimes ended in death, courage in the face of great hardships, and the vision of our forefathers of what this nation could be. It took the life blood of those who have gone before and put their lives where their commitment was.

As a country we have not always done it “right” but we have always tried and been willing to back up our beliefs with our lives.

I would like to take this time to salute those who serve and have served in our military. I salute those who came home from that time of service and went on to live their lives.  I also salute those who came home to a family that was filled with sorrow at having to lay them to rest.

I am especially remembering my cousin and his family who gave that full measure in the life of their son, grandson, and nephew; Julian.

dignified transfer of Julian Scholten



I only ever met Julian one time at a family reunion several years ago. I don’t remember even speaking to him that weekend. Looking back he did not strike me as a hero……but I am finding that true heroes seldom are obvious at first glance.

True heroes do have that same commitment, dedication, courage and determination that our forefathers had when this country was birthed in hard work and bloodshed.  The determination that all men are created equal, that the constitution drafted back then is still relevant today and that our bill of rights, our freedoms and our way of life are something worth fighting for and even worth dying for. The belief that people and values matter.

On this day, this birthday of our country, I want to remember all of those men and women who have served and the families they leave behind.  I am in awe of your devotion to this country and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Freedom is never free.
~Author Unknown



The U.S. Military is us.
There is no truer representation of a country than the people
that it sends into the field to fight for it.
The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids,
and our job is to support them,
because they’re protecting us.
Tom Clancy

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Prepping For The 4th


Fireworks over the Lake



In a few more days it will be time to celebrate the birthday of our nation.  People are starting to get on the road and travel to different destinations to enjoy the holiday. My side of the family usually gathers and enjoys a day at the lake together. According to the weather man we should have great weather on Monday to spend time sitting by a lake.

Today we are having a wonderful break from our normal hot muggy summer days.  The temperature is in the 70’s  and it seems like a great time to do some baking to restock the freezer and also to do some preparing for the upcoming holiday celebration.

When our family gets together for this particular holiday we typically all bring our own burgers and buns and a side dish to share; plus some snacks for the afternoon.  There are just certain things that have become standard for the day.

The side dish that I bring to share for the evening meal has turned into one that has become a 4th of July tradition.  I am now required to make the taco salad.  My husband really dislikes taco salad and I sometimes wonder what would happen if I brought a different salad?  Would I be barred from the festivities? Hmmm I don’t think that I will test that one out.

Taco Salad Fixings.JPG

Taco Salad Fixings


The recipe that I use comes from an old cookbook I received as a bridal shower gift from my sisters many, many, (did I say many?) years ago. My original cookbook has long since lost the back cover along with the entire last section of recipes.  The pages are dog-eared and worn. Some pages even stick together from having ingredients spilled on them. It is a book well-lived and well-loved.

MS Cookbook.JPG

I love this cookbook so much that last year I asked a friend, who runs tag sales, to keep her eyes open for another one that would be in good shape. (This cookbook is long out of print). I was so excited when she found one for me!

I will hang on to my original one though; as there are lots of memories and notations on those stained, well-used pages. I like to think I am like this cookbook….a little worn but well-lived and well-loved!


For those of you who want to try making the taco salad I have included the recipe:

Taco Salad
1 Large head lettuce (torn)
1# Ground beef
1 Can dark red kidney beans (drained)
8 oz. Shredded cheddar cheese
4 Red tomatoes (diced)
1 Large onion (diced)
1 Bag Dorito Nacho Chips
1 Pkg. taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon Taco Sauce
8 – 10 oz. Thousand Island Dressing
1/3 cup sugar
Brown the ground beef.
Add taco seasoning (reserve 1 tablespoon for dressing)
In large bowl layer ingredients – lettuce, cheese, ground beef etc.
Cover and refrigerate.
At serving time toss salad with dressing and crushed nacho chips.

Here is hoping you all have a blessed weekend and enjoy your 4th of July holiday! I also wonder what do you and your families do to celebrate the holiday?

Food is our common ground,
a universal experience.

 James Beard quotes