In the Garden

When we decided to build and renovate our dream home, initially we ignored all things in the garden. The house project was just too overwhelming for first-time DIY people. Eventually, the house nears completion and you move in and you look out the windows of your beautiful home for the first time. The yard isn't a yard. It is a construction debris zone and you want to rush to buy curtains so you can't see it. Yeah, it was that bad. Things in the garden were the last things on our list. We let it get out of hand because we had too much other stuff to take care of. When we had a moment to spare, the grass (mostly weeds) were waist high or better. It was also full on summer and that meant snakes. I don't know if I have mentioned that I have a strong aversion to snakes. I think that is the politically correct way to say that I am terrified of them. So, between spring rains and mud and the summer heat and snakes, we had to push back everything in the garden. Which was fine since we were still not finished with the house (will the punch list ever be finished???) We have plans and dreams and a pretty spectacular vision for the yard From landscaping to edibles in the garden and orchard, here is our on-going attempt to make it beautiful, sustainable, and (best of all) edible! We have four acres to play with and a long laundry list of what we think we want. Luckily, beyond our small plot is a vast amount of crop land where the scenery is always changing.

  • In the Garden

    Magnificent Mullein Plant…My New Obsession

    Beauty and Usefulness: Magnificent Mullein Plant is Both I love learning about how things were done in the past.  The building techniques used on our 1846 Homestead were fascinating.  I learned how to milk goats so I could authentically make cheese.  Winemaking is also on the list of things I have mastered in the name of learning the “old ways”. Now we can add cultivating magnificent mullein plants to the list because of its usefulness and general coolness. Medicinal herbs and such are fascinating, but I am very much a novice.  As we continue to put in our flower beds and our garden beds, herbs that we can cook with…

  • In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden Our garden is bursting.  It has overrun its beds like a river rises out of its banks after heavy rains.  Ironically, those heavy rains are what has caused the garden to be so productive.  We are firm believers that, even though it was “free” food, we don’t want to waste it.  Our new favorite meal from the garden is homemade spaghetti sauce with grilled eggplant.  Of course, the Italians call it sugo con melanzane e pomodori.  That sounds so fancy. Making the Homemade Spaghetti Sauce I usually grab the tomatoes that are the ripest and blanch them so that removing the skins is easy. …

  • In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  Uncategorized

    Mustang Grape Jelly: A Family Tradition?

    They Grow Wild and Free As far as wild ideas go, the decision to make wild Mustang grape jelly fits the bill.  Wild idea.  Wild grapes. Texas is blessed with abundance, usually, and I do wonder about what my great, great, great grandparents thought about Texas when they emigrated here from Scotland in 1851.  They had been promised that Texas was a land where things grew easily.  Where life would be easy.  Abundance.  You know, the typical stuff you would say in order to get people to move half way around the world.  My great, great, great grandmother, Isabella Wood, wrote a letter back to Scotland and told a different…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    1st World Problems at the Homestead

      Ha!  It makes me laugh when my “worlds” collide.  Back in Virginia, I kinda got on a subsistence life-style kick.  I learned how to make wine, can vegetables from our garden.  We even had goats so I could milk them and make cheese.  It was fun and it was a lot of work.  I loved the forced routine.  When it was time to milk the goats…it was TIME.  When the vegetables needed picking, we were out gathering.  I loved the routine and the order it brought to my life.  I had things that absolutely had to be done and it was fun to pretend that there weren’t grocery stores. …