The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret.
Planning Ahead to Your Garden pt. 2
Make a list of exactly what you want to grow. We love corn
and potatoes, but potatoes are very time intensive, unless you want
to use chemicals. Those little rascal potato beetles, can be an
awful nuisance. If you use powder to keep the bugs away, you have to
re-apply every time it rains. I tried row covers last year, without
any luck. Actually, it made more work. Those little buggers got in
there anyway, so I had to open the row covers, to pick off the bugs.
I really hate to use chemicals, but I may have to resort to desperate
measures. And, the cost of the chemical that is safe for vegetables,
must be factored in. We do love digging those potatoes, tho, and
probably feel like the effort is worth the result. But there is a
potato farmer nearby, who deals with all the trouble for us, and we
can buy bags of seconds pretty cheap in the fall, and that is
important to keep in mind. That is a good thing to think about, if
you have lots of great farmer's markets, and the prices are fair, why
bother with a garden at all? You have to love gardening, have the
time, and the equipment. You have to know what your goal is.
Now, if you want to can, the easiest things to can are
tomatoes, applesauce, pickles, relish, chili sauce, and grape juice.
Peaches and pears aren't too bad, either. When you can process 50 or
so jars in one day, that is pretty cheap food. If you have a
pressure canner, you can do beans, corn, and other low acid
vegetables, but I can buy cans for less than 30 cents a can in the
fall at the canned goods sales that last the winter, so that is the
route I take with them. We grow beans and corn just for the table.
And, there is nothing so good as a fresh ear of corn straight from
the garden! Who needs dessert! I love self-sufficiency, but only to
a point that it makes sense. When you can buy a good product
cheaper, then why go to the trouble?
I like to grow a few hills of winter squash, because you can
keep them in a cool place and they will last a long time, without any
I also like to grow summer squash and zucchini. They make
great summer vegetables, and there is hardly and care to them. It is
easy to throw a couple bags in the freezer for winter, but I don't
think freezing a lot of vegetables to be eco-friendly. I save the
freezer for mostly meat and fish. You can can meat, such as venison,
with a pressure canner, also.
Another thing to keep in mind. If you plan a big garden,
unless you have a lot of time on your hands, equipment is a big
factor. Will you need a tractor, or roto-tiller? How important is
it that no weeds come up in your garden? I've been in gardens (there
are a couple) where weeds disappear before they hardly see the light
of day. But there are always a few weeds in my garden. I just never
can keep up, and it isn't so pretty, but, summer is too much fun to
keep my garden weed free. And, it takes quite a few weeds to
actually hurt the harvest. And, even if you have a perfectly weed-
free garden, weed seeds will still blow in, so you are never really
ahead of that game. So don't worry about it. The corn you pick
doesn't care if there were a few weeds between the rows. Sometimes,
weeds can be a good thing. I actually read an article once about a
man who didn't even try to weed his garden. He just planted, and let
things come up through the weeds. He was of the idea that the weeds
were like a living mulch. That is true, to the point that the weeds
could be too much competition, and steal the moisture from the
vegetable plants. When we think about nature, even a bare spot in
the grass, will fill in of its own accord.
One year, a neighbor asked to plant some tomatoes at the back
of our garden. Since we had extra space that was all ready to plant,
we agreed. Those poor tomatoes had very poor care. Forget about
weeding! They would get watered just a tiny bit, when they were
absolutely wilting! And this was a drought year. Even if I wanted
more work, I had enough work to take care of my own plants.
However, those plants went on to produce a bumper crop. There were
way to many tomatoes. And the neighbor who planted them, decided it
was too much work to come pick them. So I was giving bushels of
tomatoes away to anyone who would take them, and canned some myself,
even though I had enough of my own. But it was an interesting thing
to watch. We laughed, thinking those tomatoes would never amount to
anything, but nature got the last laugh, since there was a late
frost. I've rarely had a harvest compared to those tomatoes that
refused to die.
So, even if you don't think you have any green thumb at all,
think again. A few small plants or seeds, and nature is just about
all you need.
* * *
Simple BBQ Chicken
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, or legs
1 c. catsup
12 oz. can diet or regular coke
Put chicken in non-stick skillet. Mix catsup and cola, pour over the
top. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes.
Uncover,turn up heat and continue to cook until the sauce become
thick and adheres to the chicken. It turns into the most delicious
Send me your favorite simple recipe! I would really like to
share it with our group!
Keeping it Simple,
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We find comfort among those who agree
with us - growth among those who don't.
~Frank A. Clark