We take care of the land...it takes care of us.

We're just a couple of country dwellers......

that love nature, hunting, fishing, gardening, campfires, crafting, cooking, canning, laughter and living!!

Ya just never know what I'll blog about next...

So visit us often!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wishin' We Were Fishin'


All of the boys were lucky enough to go fishing with Stanley last summer.
Stanley has a pontoon fishing boat and regularly takes people out on the Missouri River by Ft. Thompson.  I don't know of anyone that knows fishing like Stanley knows fishing!!  He is the "boss".
Everyone got to catch some, not sure if they were all keepers, but it really didn't matter if they had to toss one back.  The experience of being on the water, casting that line, and just hanging with the boys was priceless!!


(Eric with his catch, Stanley, and Beniah)

(Beniah)

(Mike and Beniah)

All of us girls stayed home and did our projects, while the boys chilled out on the river.
They were lucky enough to have one of those dream S.D. days where it's calm and sunny, yet cool.
You know, one of those two perfect days we get per year in South Dakota!



This one is a "keeper". 
"Good Job, Sully!"
18" is the required length on small mouth bass.
They all came home with plenty of fish tales, a cooler full of bass and walleye, and memories to last a life time!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Farmin' Aint' for Wimps


This farming gig is no barrel of monkeys!  
How ever much we both love the peace and quiet on the farm...
 fighting Mother Nature negates our love ten fold!


Last night after 2 weeks of missing the heavy storms, it finally got us.
It started raining at 3:00 in the afternoon and just wouldn't stop.
At 10:00p.m. the sump pump wasn't keeping up in the basement. The outflow was underwater, so I trucked out in the rain to re-locate it back to the hill.  Steve trucked out to the chicken coop to locate a 2nd pump.  We saved the basement from filling up with water, but there was nothing we could do for the garden.
Our spirits broken, our will and determination....gone!  We both knew in our hearts the cucumber crop was washing away along with our hearts.  All we could do was stay up and listen for the pumps to keep working.




I swear, sometimes I feel like settlers from 200 years ago!!  
There must be something easier than this??
Farming chemical-drifts, Hail, Snow Drifts as big as the house, now Floods. What Next?? 
All you can do is go with the flow....
Keep the faith,
keep on keepin' on, yada, yada, yada!

In case you are wondering, we made it through the 8 hours of heavy rains!  Approximately 9" fell. Our rain gauge only measures 5 inches, we dumped it out once and collected 2.5 more inches.  Our neighbors one mile away measured 9.5"!! 
We both slept terrible! Worry, Worry, about everything....the pickles, the basement, no flood insurance, no way to get out of here.  I had a dream a helicopter was flying around our farm looking for us.  When I woke up this morning I felt like Dorothy must have felt! Jeeeshhhh!
I threw on the clothes I had last night and got outside as quickly as I could. Expecting to see water everywhere....to my relief, it had all ran down stream and only the usual water holes remained in the yard!!
The sump pump kept working while we slept a few hours.  The worst evidence of the torrential downpours was the road to the west of us.




The culvert is still in place, but totally un-passable.  It's a three foot drop from the road to the rocks!!
As far as the cucumber patch goes...in a few days we will know.  The vines are thick and will drink up a lot of the water!!  They are sitting in very saturated soil, and it will be a real challenge picking cucumbers tomorrow!
But, at least it wasn't hail!  It was really hot and humid today, they will dry out eventually.  God forbid, we get anymore rain soon.  I guess we'll take each day as it comes. Try to stay positive and look for that rainbow in every situation.



Which reminds me of my original thought....
today I needed flowers.  In my time of despair and stress, why couldn't someone just show up with some flowers...just for me!

Didn't happen, I went to work in the pickle kitchen.  And now here I am with an old snapshot of some flowers.....beautiful, anyway.



And after I have my favorite dinner (B.L.T. and corn on the cob)
I am going to watch the sunset and think happy thoughts....




                                        There's no place like home...
There's no place like home....
                        There's no place like home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rain Again!!


Reaching flood stage here tonight. Raining since 3:00 this afternoon.  Our gauge over-flowed at 5", and still coming down in buckets.  Oh well, you know the old saying..."When it rains, it pours"
Hopefully the garden can withstand 5 + inches.  The trenches that we dug 4 weeks ago have gotten tilled over and not as deep as we would've liked them now.








I'm only sticking my nose out the door to take a few snapshots.




Can't see the road in either direction.  Dang, where's that boat when we need it??

Progress is a Process

Ohhhh, the horrible memories of canning from my youth...
My parents both worked, so it always meant starting the process in the evening. 
Washing every cucumber by hand. Washing and boiling every old used jar before a cucumber can be put in it.  Then start packing cucumbers in the jars.
I actually enjoyed packing the jars with my Dad, just because he made everything fun.
Mom would make the brine on the stove and the kitchen would start to get hot.  Then another canner of water would start to heat up on the stove for the hot water sealing process. It's getting hotter, open the back door and let the hot summer breeze in.  Now the smell of dill and vinegar is drifting from our kitchen down the road towards the neighbors.
The muggy heat is stifling, everybody's tired and there's still a 1/2 bushel of cucumbers to stuff in jars and heat process yet.  Those were some long unforgettable nights at our house.
Thank goodness for progress.


Pickleman and I have quite a different process going than in the old days!!



It's not the way my parents used to can...



A whole separate kitchen just to do pickles...how cool is that!



Brining the pickles, all 20, that's three times more than Mother did at a time.



Hot water / steam bath in the deluxe pickle processor!



It still gets pretty steamy at full capacity, but it's a small price to pay.



Pickles go on the shelf to let the dill, garlic, pepper and spices do their thing.
The longer they sit, the "hotter" they'll get.  We've had some really zowiee wowie pickles over a year old!!!
Still sealed, still crunchy, but who can leave them alone that long???
I'm hungry for a pickle just as soon as they come out of the processor!!

What Was I Doing?



It's been one of those days....


Ever have those days that you're trying to do 10 things at once?
Then suddenly someone wants you to do something else, and the phone rings and there's something else you need to do...and on and on.
Well, today the plan was to pick our own cucumbers and process them.
Then the email came for an order on Etsy....


Now, it's "get those plates shipped to New York."
Okay.
Hold it, Steve needs help in the pickle patch and decides to go recruit some neighborhood kids to help.
An hour and a half later he comes back with no help.  Hmmm, imagine that, it seems kids don't have to work these days.  Oh well, it's back out to the pickle patch....
Hold on...
The colony is calling on the cell phone.....


Marvin: "Three boxes of pickles are sitting here waiting for you"
Steve: "I'll be right there"
Okay...
Now, garden man leaves and leaves me in charge of the watering.
Hold it, the phone is ringing....


A pickle order from Billings, Montana!! Sure, we'll get those right out Ma'am!!
Now what was I doing??  Oh yeah, watering. 
Steve got back with the cucumbers, we put our own pick on hold till tomorrow.
In a few hours we processed 6 cases (until we ran out of supplies).  Then my brother is knocking on our door.  He and his wife are visiting from Colorado.  We only get to see them once a year, but he's here now for a friends wedding.  They want to come over for dinner tonight. We are happy to see them, and they are bringing the steaks and the Olathe sweet corn.  We can get done in time to entertain!! 
What was I doing?  Oh yeah, making pickles.
Now it's head to the house and remove that mound of junk off the dining room table so we have a place to eat.  And fold that mound of laundry on the couch, and wash the breakfast and lunch dishes in the sink.
What was I doing?  Oh yeah, getting ready for company.
 By 9:00 we were all raving over the terrific supper and the delicous rhubarb pie that Mom brought.
A little late, but an enjoyable evening.
What was I doing?  Oh yeah, relaxing and enjoying time with family!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anticipation

When something is just not ready to be, there just isn't a thing you can do but, just wait.

Our cucumber vines are slowly making their way to producing some sizable pickles. We want to be able to go through the rows and fill up several bushel baskets!  The waiting is eating at us both.  Patience, patience, patience.  

In the mean time ....weed, weed, weed.
The rains we've had are keeping the ground too wet to till and the weeds are taking advantage.
So far the weeds 10
the Salls 0
So we keep on our toes weeding, dusting for bugs, and watering.
And now (add to our preventative gardening techniques) stay on Coon Patrol!!
Some sweet corn laying on the ground this morning half eaten means the raccoons found our corn.
What they don't know is that we own guns and don't tolerate raccoons in our sweet corn.


Our sweet corn miraculously stood up after the last 60 m.p.h. wind came through.  Don't think we're going to let some crafty little raccoons spoil it for us now!!


We are days away from another unbelievably good veggie to add to our dinner plate.
Corn on the cob
Red ripe tomatoes
Cucumber salad
New Potatoes
If it weren't for the Bacon on my B.L.T., I could seriously become a vegetarian right now!
Stay tuned on the "Raccoon Saga"....



Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farewell New York!

After 3 years in the "Big Apple" our son Eric and his wife Rachel have decided to move back to the Midwest.
This week they are struggling through mounds of stuff to pack up and dealing with the daunting task of hauling it all down 3 flights of stairs onto a truck and driving half way across the U.S. to Kansas City, MO.  We would love to be there helping them in their time of need, if only it weren't pickle season and things were easier!!  So good luck, you two.  Keep cool and keep packin", you can do it!!!!!




We were lucky enough to go visit them in N.Y.C.
It was an incredible trip.  They showed us the sights, as native New Yorkers.  We couldn't have had better tour guides.  


It was our first time there, so we went to all the typical hot tourist spots.


Off we went, in our typical tourist garb...camera and credit card ready!


The famous Katz's deli...where Harry met Sally!

Ellis Island....found a possible link to Sall's grandmother arriving here!!
Chilling experience, the history here is mind-boggling!


Rockefeller Center...seen where all the news stations film.


The Empire State Building.  


Walked around downtown Manhattan.  


Had a wonderful picnic in Central Park.
Seen all the sights we could in 5 days.  Way too much in too little time, absolutely incredible.
Thanks again, Eric and Rachel.  All the walking, all the sight-seeing, all incredible but,
I think our most favorite memory is hanging out on their fire escape and enjoying the view of the East River.
Quiet, peaceful, relaxing and what a view!


I'm sure, this too is what Eric and Rachel will miss the most about leaving New York.
That, and all the wonderful friends they found in the last 3 years!!
Now they have little Wyatt to think about.  Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles are all waiting for them in the Midwest. 


 Hopefully, they will visit back east often and all of their friends will visit them in K.C.
Best Wishes you three, you deserve happiness wherever your moving truck takes you!!!!!



Friday, July 23, 2010

When Things Get Rough

Okay, so when things get a little stressful? Go to "their" perspective!!
No one has it better than the pets on Sall Farm. Three cats: Maddy, Lucy, and Socks, and one golden retriever; Max.  They live like kings and queens, no worries no stress.....
"Looks like it's going to rain, head for the barn."
"Is that thunder? Head for the house!!"
"Thunder & Lightening?  Head for their bed!!!"
And that's where we usually all ride out the storm.
So, Wednesday early evening there was another torrential storm brewing, all three cats are in the house.
I'm watching the radar and see nothing disturbing.  So I continue to do what I do in the evening, waste countless hours away on the computer.  The hard rain comes and passes over us.  I'm thinking, "phweww, no hail, we were lucky again!"  Then Sall gives me his grave news," the sweet corn is toast!" 
"How can that be? I didn't hear any hail? What about the cucumbers?"
"The cucumbers look fine, but my 7' tall sweet corn is flattened!"
"Ughhhhh, just another stressful night at the Sall Farm" 

So, the next morning the sun is shining and all of our pets are out and about carelessly enjoying the morning sun.  I decide it's not worth it!  Stress over some corn? So what if it's horizontal, we can still pick it. It'll just be a little more difficult to pick.  I gathered up my optimism and started taking pictures of my carefree feline friends and suddenly I was feeling better too. 


Sometimes it's just best to look at the world through someone else's perspective (even if it's a cat or dog)

Step back...take a breather....take 5....chill out!!
The storm will pass, the damages are accessed, then the bright side will appear.

and yes, there is always a bright side!



"Hello, Rainbows!!!!"

I've learned more from my pets that 100 therapists combined!  
Trust, loyalty, and integrity what more do you need to live a happy life?
They are your best friend and the perfect role models.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Summer-time Favorite


I wait all year long for this....








One of my top favorite things.....











Maybe even thee top favorite thing.....















You know where I'm going with this, don't you????









YES, mmmmmmm, it's BLT time!!!!!



Garden-fresh, mouth-watering goodness.  The person that invented this sandwich is a Saint in my view.
"Tastebuds, party on!!!"