My Garden Harvest – “Only The Good” Friday

July 31, 2009

On this “Good Friday”… I want to share my veggie garden harvest.  This  harvest may not look like a lot to you… but I’m proud!   I’ve been harvesting tomatoes for several weeks now … but the cukes are new.  Wow! They were hiding under the leaves and I hadn’t noticed.  Not a bad yield  for 4 cucumber plants I planted in my flower bed.   My peppers are coming along too.

harvest

Now the strawberries are a sad lot.  I’m lucky to get these few… because the quail usually beat me to them.

Now… I don’t garden for great yield.   I go down to my friend, “Farmer Grant’s” garden store when I want an abundance of produce.  I garden for my “Soul.”  There is nothing like watching the plants grow and develop produce.  I’m out in my garden everyday… checking things out.

Garden Sanctuary
You who walk,
Maybe with troubled thoughts,
Come, enter here and rest;
And may the sweet serenity of growing things,
And the heavenly,peace
Be mirrored in they soul.
-Doxis M. Palmer

I enter my little garden… and love the sweet serenity of the flowers and veggies I grow… no matter how small.

I hope you have a hobby or some small thing that give you respite for your soul.

Have a “Good Friday.”

Till later,

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Join Shelly if you want to be a part of “Good Friday” news.    My sister Sheila, participates too.

Ranch Potato Salad – Made With Ranch Dressing

July 29, 2009

Ranch Potato salad is a big hit with my family.  Making potato salad with ranch dressing is a refreshing change from the mayonnaise potato salad…. or salad made with Miracle Whip.  Also,  you might call this a loaded potato salad because it has celery, red onion, eggs, fresh parsley  and …. best of all… bacon.  This is a “Cooking for a  Crowd” recipe because it provides potato salad for 25 hungry folks.

finishedpotatosalad

Here we go with our mighty good potato salad.

potato-salad13

The ingredients are:  14 medium red potatoes… about the size of your fist… or a bit smaller.  (abt. 6 to 6 1/2 pounds)  4 to 5  med. stalks of celery, 1 small red onion, 2 TB fresh parsley, 10 Hard Boiled Eggs, 1 Lb. Bacon, dry Ranch Dressing Mix, Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.  Opps… I forgot 1 1/4 C milk.

potatosalad12

Wash and clean the potatos.  You don’t have to remove all of the eyes… but take out the deep ones because they had a tendency to hold sand.

potatosald11

Divide the potatoes and put half of them in a bag.  Add about 1/4 cup of water and seal them up.  Cook them on high for about 10 to 15 min.  You’ll have to be the judge on the timing because each microwave cooks differently.  I start mine out at about 10 min. then check them. If they are a little too firm… add more time.   My potatos usually take about 15 min.

When the first batch is done… pop in the other half and cook them up.

potoato-salad-10

While the potatoes are cooking… boil your eggs.  When the eggs come to a full boil… time them for 10 min… and remove them from the heat.  Cool them quickly under cold water.

potatosalad2

Cook up the bacon crisp.  1/2 lbs is pretty adequate… but lots of bacon tickles my taste buds… so I use a full pound.   (Save out a bit for garnish)

poatato-salad3

Chop up the celery… at least a good heaping cup full.  Chop a small red onion.  Chop up enough fresh parsley to equal 2 TB.  If you are using dried… only use 1 TB.

potatosalad4

Now comes the Ranch dressing.  Place 2 C. of Mayo in a bowl.  (1/2 quart)  Add one package of Ranch Dressing and 1  1/4 C. of milk.   Mix well with a wire whip.  (This mixture is just a bit different than the recipe on the packet.)

potato15

Peel the 10 eggs and cut them up coarsely.

potatosalad5

Cool your potatoes.  Cut them into bite size pieces (leave the skins on). Salt them to taste.  If they are still a little warm… allow them to cool completely.

potatosalad6

Add all of your ingredients on top of the potatoes.

potatosalad7

Fold all of the ingredients together gently so you don’t mush up the potatoes.

potatosalad8

If the potatoes are a bit dry… I add a big old scoop of Miracle Whip.  It adds more moisture and just a little zing.  Of course, this is an optional step.

finishedpotatosalad1

Give it an extra toss and your done… Ranch Potato salad.   Add the extra bacon and a bit of parsley for a garnish and a few red tomatoes for a bit of color.

This is one of the best Ranch Potato recipes I know of.  At least my family and friends think it’s great… and I’m betting your family and friends will think so too.

Now… if your want to watch this process in action… watch this short video.  Videos are the best!  (Ignore the raw bacon thing… it really is the Potato Salad video.)

For your printed copy of this Ranch Potato salad… simply fill in the box below.  You’ll not only get this recipe… but all future recipes will be sent to your in box.  Pssst… I’ll also be sending you all kinds of great things… occasion cards… craft ideas, gift ideas, printables for your kids… all sorts of great information and good stuff.   Once you’ve signed in… you’ll never have to do it again… you’ll automatically be on the “goodie” list. Hmmmm. I think I’ll add a printable bonus recipe to sweeten the pie.

So… go ahead… sign in.   It is my firm policy never to share e-mail addresses.  Not ever!

Now dig into this superb potato salad… and enjoy!

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Did I mention that you should put the salad in the fridge for several hours for the flavors to blend?  Ranch Potato salad should be kept cold… to avoid… well…you know… that darn bug that I don’t know how to spell.

Pioneer Day In Utah – “Only The Good” Friday

July 24, 2009

Today is Pioneer Day here in Utah.   Completing a treacherous thousand-mile exodus, an ill and exhausted Brigham Young and fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints arrived in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The Mormon pioneers viewed their arrival as the founding of a Mormon homeland, hence Pioneer Day.

The Mormons, as they were commonly known,  left their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois and journeyed West seeking refuge from religious persecution.

images

Determined to settle in an isolated region, the pioneers made their way across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Utah. (The region was Mexican territory.  Utah, the 45th state, did not acquire statehood until Jan. 1896 )  They lost many of their party to disease during the winter months. By the time that they reached Utah, the desolate valley was a welcome sight.  Brigham Young and his party entered the Salt Lake valley on July 24, 1847.   By December, of 1847, nearly 2,000 Mormons had settled in the Salt Lake Valley.

Over the next twenty three years, over 70,000 latter-day- saints would journey from foreign countries and the eastern United States to join the pioneers in the Salt Lake valley.

I give tribute to those pioneers who blazed a trail across the United States to the West… allowing many people to follow their trail…  to  settle the west.  As a note of interest… the railroad coming from the East coast and the West coast joins in Utah….. just a few miles north of Salt Lake City.

On this “Only The Good” Friday…  the 24th of July….  I wanted to share a bit of my heritage with you.

Have a Good Friday!

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  If you want to join in the “Good” Friday posts… contact Shelly… she’s the host.

Home Safety Tip – Personal Safety Tip

July 23, 2009

Here’s  a great home safety tip that my friend, Sherry Liston, shared with me and I thought I would pass it along.

keys1

Put your car keys beside your bed at night!  Your battery powered car door opener is  a security alarm system you probably haven’t thought about.  The nice thing is… it  requires no installation…. so no expense.   Click on the “horn” or alarm button on your opener.   It will go off from almost anywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or you reset the button.  It works if you park in your driveway or the garage.  This home safety may save you some grief of someone is trying to break in your house.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to break in, just press the alarm button on your car key pad.  Odds are the intruder won’t stick around.  After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and no criminal will want that!   Do you think it will scare mating cats away?  Hmmmmm.

(If it doesn’t work from your bedroom… perhaps your battery is low in your pad or you need a stronger pad.  My bedroom is 60 feet from my garage and  didn’t go off.  I’m on my way to get a new battery or a new pad.)

Here’s a personal safety tip.  Remember to get your keys out before you leave the store and enter a parking area. Carry your keys while walking to your car with your finger on the alarm button.  Again… sound the alarm if you are approached by someone you are suspicious of.  The effect will be the same because it will draw attention to the area and the person will most likely flee.

Be safe now!

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  One more thing… if your like me… sometimes I can’t remember where I parked.  If I sound my alarm button… my car will “honk” at me.  Once I get the location of my car… I quickly turn off the alarm and look real innocent.   I try to keep folks from knowing that my mind slips now again.

Tomato Pollination – How To Pollinate Your Tomatoes

July 23, 2009

Tomato Pollination is usually left up to the bees.  Since each yellow tomato blossom has both  male and female parts, the tomato is considered a “self-fertilizing” plant.   All the bee has to to is flutter it’s wings around the blossoms, which causes the blossoms to vibrate, and waaa laaa… tomatoes are born.  Almost!  There are a few other factors to consider… one is temperature.  Tomatoes love the night time heat between 60 and 70 degrees.  If the temperature falls below 60 or above 75… it interferes with the growth of the pollen.  Also so… if the weather is to damp or too dry…it interferes with the pollination.

Now… I like to help Mother Nature’s bees along by pollinating my own tomato plants.  Follow along and I’ll teach you how to pollinate your tomatoes.

First… I grow container tomatoes… and I have cherry, grape and regular tomatoes.   The containers sit on casters so I can roll them around if I need to.  Tomato plants  need at least 8 hours of sunshine.  I water them every day because they dry out easily because the container exposes  the soil to extra heat.  When tomatoes begin to appear… I fertilize them once a week.  It keeps the blossoms coming.  Now if your have a regular tomato garden… this regiment may be difficult to follow.

tomato-blossoms

Grape and cherry tomatoes have clusters of blossoms… when when the bees come around fluttering their wings… a lot of blossoms get pollinated at one time.

green-tomatoe-cluster2

Successful  bee pollination produces lots of tomatoes on one stem…. like the grape and cherry tomatoes.

ripe-cherry-tomatoes

And, it produces an abundance of tomatoes for salads or just to pop into your mouth one at at time.

tomatoblossoms1

Regular tomatoes have fewer blossoms in a cluster. When is a blossom ready to be pollinated?

When the tomato blossom is wide open, the yellow petals turned back and the flower is  pointing down, the blossom is ready for pollination.

Here are the male and female parts.

tomatoe-1

The bees flutter their wings or a wind will blow… causing the pollen to come out of the straw through the Antlers on to the  Carpels or Ovary.

many-tomatoes1

If the tomato pollination is successful… you’ll get an abundance of tomatoes on one tomato plant.

tomato-blossoms1

Now, I help tomato pollination  along by gently tapping the blossom stem, causing a vibration.  From all I can find… the best time to do this is mid-day… around noon.  Not earlier  than 10:00 and not later than 4:00.  Some folks have been know to use a battery powered tooth brush… as it’s vibration is suppose to simulate the bee’s wings.  I’ve never been that particular.  I just give the stem a little shake so the pollen will fall out of the male straw and fall on the end of the blossom.

Now some say this is all  “folk lore… or myth.”  Who know?  My experience is.. I have one heck of a lot of tomatoes on my plants whichI haven’t had  before hand pollinating.

So give it a try because  the tomato harvest is just beginning….  and you have the rest of the summer… into the fall…  to see if this pollination process works for you.

You can watch the video… to see this procedure in action.

Till Later,

Kathy
Insightful Nana

P.S.  I’ve already pick my first tomato, wiped it on my shirt and with my salt shaker in hand… given it a dash of salt… and popped the whole thing in my mouth at once.  Mmmmmm.  Is this heaven?

P.P.S.  I may not look like it… but I removed a lot of leaves from my tomato plants.  Looking at these photos… it reminds me it’s time to remove a few more leaves.  Taking leaves off will give your blossoms a greater change of being pollinated by bees… and more energy goes to grown the tomato rather than the leaves.

Also… I read about a farmer who walks down the furrows of his tomato garden with a stick and gives the plants a shake.  He claims his tomatoes produce  50 percent more yield.

P.P.P.S.  One more thing.  A woman standing next to me at the nursery says she give her tomatoes a shot of Epson Salts a couple of times a season.  1 TB to a gallon of water will do the trick.  She claims it sweetens the tomatoes as well as encourages greater tomato production.  She said, “Tomatoes love acid and the Epson Salts provides it.   Haven’t tried this one yet… but I’m heading to the store for my Epson Salts.

My Country ‘Tis Of Thee – “Only The Good” Friday

July 3, 2009

“My Country ‘Tis Of Thee,”  was taught to my second grade class by my teacher, Miss Hyatt.  It’s one of my favorite patriotic songs. The words,  “From Every Mountain Side…Let Freedom Ring,” went straight to my heart.  Since a grand view of the rocky mountains could be seen from our class room window… I was sure the song has been written especially for us.

Follow the words and listen to the tune here.

In 1831, Reverend Samuel Francis Smith was approached by the famed organist and composer, Lowell Mason, who had with him some German school music books. Mason wanted Smith to either translate the German, or write new text for the tunes.  Smith particularly like one tune and rather than translate the German, he wrote new lyrics for it…. “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee.”

marianandersonsings

In 1938, Marian Anderson, a famous African American contralto, was refused permission to sing in Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.   Their refusal placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level usually only found by high profile celebrities and politicians.

She never openly complained… and on Easter Sunday, 1939, “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” was brought to the forefront when Marian Anderson sang it at an open-air concert, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.   A crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions heard her performance.

You can see her preformance here,

And… who could forget Aurtha Frankin’s rendition, 70 years later, at the last inauguration.   Wow… Love the hat.

On July 4th, we will be celebrating the two hundred thirty-third birthday of signing of the Declaration of Independence.   And, on this “Good” Friday,  I’m grateful and proud to be an American as was Marion Anderson and Aretha Franklin.  I carry a pocket size copy of the Constitution Of The United States, which is read frequently.  I have a lot to be thankful for and defend in these uncertain times.   “My Country “Tis Of Thee… Sweet Land Of Liberty… I Thee I Sing.”

Have a “Good” Friday” and a  great 4th of July.

Kathy
Insightful Nana

P.S. Shelly, our host invites you to click on over and she what she has to say.   At the bottom of Shelly’s post, is a group of folks who have joined the “OtGF” movement. You’re welcome to have your name added to the list.  Just let Shelly know. My sis, Sheila, welcomes you to her site also.