Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Berry Patch - Deep Mulch

I am so leery of even blogging about this. It seems every time I do blog about something I am trying, it turns out in failure.  The idea of this seems good to me though and maybe some of you have some experience you can share with us as well.

I have been able to get a lot of wood chips from a very nice neighbour of ours. They have a deal with the tree clipping company to drop their tree mulch off at their house.  So, I wanted to mulch our berry patch very deeply to keep weeds at bay.

You can't tell, but the plants at the bottom of the above picture are blueberries and rhubarb.  There is a row of raspberries at the top.

Before I shoveled all the mulch out there, I laid down folded cardboard boxes and then topped those with about 4 inches of mulch.  I left 4 holes in between each row of fruit to plant all our squash plants. All the fruit are new transplants,so I knew there would still be room in between them for the squash.

Here are some pictures from today;

The rhubarb has grown, but the blueberries are still the same size.  The squash plants are doing very well in the holes I left for them.  I really like having them there, because it frees up space in our garden.  The raspberries at the top of the picture are bearing some fruit now.

I grabbed this headboard from the dump the other day and am using it for a support for some of our blackberries.
So far it is really easy to pull any weeds that grow through the mulch and I like how neat and tidy it looks.  Other than the blueberries, all the plants are thriving and there is so much moisture under the wood chips.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Unknown Local Attraction

Well, unknown to us.

We have discovered an outdoor gem today.  We have lived in this area for 9 years and only heard about Discovery Canyon in Red Deer, Alberta last year.  Our neighbour told us there is an outdoor man made, but quite natural, water "slide" with a little pool at the end only 45 minutes from our house.  And the great thing about it, is it's free!

I had to look it up online, because I really knew nothing about it.  It looked awesome on the Internet and we made plans with our neighbour to go today.  We got there at 11 am and were the first people there. It was cloudy all morning and cleared up right when we got there.  It was great for about 45 minutes, having the whole place to ourselves.

The kids had so much fun going down the slide all day.  I only wish we knew of it a few years ago.

Here are some pictures;

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Stampede Time Again

We always look forward to our local stampede.  There are so many activities to take in and we love the exciting atmosphere.

This year, Rebekah and I actually worked at the stampede grounds cleaning in the bucking shoots and infield where all the action is at.  We had a blast! We worked together as a team and I so enjoyed out time together. She is so awesome and I just enjoy her company so much.

Here are some pictures of our time;

Our stampede always starts with a parade and this is our church's float advertising our upcoming VBS.

This was such a cute mini horse!

While we were cleaning in the back field, the chuck wagon races were going on. It was so exciting to be this close!

Part of our job was collecting all water bottles and cans. We noticed lots down in the bucking shoots and Rebekah was brave enough to go in there and get them all.

There was always time to make new friends.

Larry's parents were with us during stampede as well. We absolutely cherished our time with them. We were so grateful they were still able to make the 13 hour journey in their motor home, pulling their van.

That wraps up stampede week here. Now it's back to weeding!

Monday, May 25, 2015

No Bake THM Chocolate Cookies - A Revised Recipe

Since I started Trim Healthy Mama a year and a half ago, I haven't found too many desserts I like.
I adapted my favorite sponge cake to THM and you can find the recipe here.  But, I wanted something easy and quick for summer snacking.  I know there is a recipe out there for these no bake cookies, but because I didn't have heavy cream on hand, I changed it a bit.  Here is my recipe;

1/4 c butter
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/4 c water
1/2 c xylitol
2 Tbsp whey protein powder

Mix together in a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute. Then add;

1/4 c natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oats
1 c coconut

I used a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop to make into cookies and placed them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Then place in refrigerator until chilled.  I made 16 cookies.  Adding the coconut, I think, makes it more an S than just oatmeal like the original recipe I found.  I did a rough check on the carbs and think there is about 3.5 net carbs per cookie. So that would make 2 a serving.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Small Town Excitement

Living in a small town, we don't get loads of exciting events taking place. So, when one does, we go out and enjoy it. This happened this past weekend, when our brand new John Deere building had it's grand opening. I know! How awesome is that? They made it so fun for the entire family. They had delicious barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, pedal race track, bouncy house and an inviting atmosphere for the adults to sit, drink coffee and visit with one another.

We were there for 3 hours and enjoyed every minute of it!

Here are some pictures;

Ben on the pedal race track

Even Rebekah took a turn on the race track.

Jacob racing

Milking a "cow"

I'm sure this wasn't by far the biggest tractor there, but you can see how big it is. The tires must be 6 feet tall.

Hanging out

What a totally awesome afternoon!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Makeables

I have been busy making cute things to sell at some upcoming spring markets in our area and thought I would share some with you.

A little hanging bird's nest.

I made this bird's nest using old rusty tart pans, a little store bought bird's nest, rusty wire, small tags and eggs cut off an Easter wreath from the dollar store.  I glued the eggs in the nest, fashioned the wire as a hanger and stamped "spring" on the tag. I tied the tag on with some twine and glued it in place.

Decorated jars

I get a lot of my craft supplies off Ebay from China.  I bought 300 little tags for $1 and 200 little metal keys, on the "dream" bottle, for $1.25 all with free shipping.  I like getting things delivered right to my home, so that I have less things to shop for when we do make it to the big city.

Framed keys on burlap background.

Rebekah wood burned garden markers. I hope she doesn't sell them all, because I'd like to buy some.

That is a little sample of the things I've made.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Canning Goal

I'm sorry to bore you all with my canning goal list for this year, but I'm afraid I'm a little disorganized when it comes to record keeping and at least now I can look back to stay on track.

I must say, this last few months we have almost completely depleted all of our home canned goods. We are down to just a couple of jars of strawberry jam, chokecherry jelly, zucchini salsa and pizza sauce. Oh, and 1 jar of mixed veggies (pure gold!).

This is what I hope to put up this year;

60 pints mixed veggies - onions, celery, carrots and green beans
30 pints apple sauce
28 quarts apple juice
12 pints & 12 1/2 pints strawberry jam
20 pints & 12 1/2 pints crab apple chokecherry jelly
6 pints & 12 1/2 pints chokecherry jelly
12 pints THM bumbleberry jam
42 pints dill pickle beets
21 pints zucchini salsa
35 pints stewed tomatoes (with zucchini)
14 quarts rhubarb pie filling
14 quarts sliced potatoes
21 pints pickled green beans
21 quarts dill pickles - (if I can grow cucumbers, which I have never been able to)
21 pints peaches

Now, I have to plan our garden accordingly. It's still covered in snow, so I have a couple of weeks before I need a hard fast plan. 

I have started the tomato, pepper and sweet potato plants and have the rest of the seeds at the ready. Although, I am waiting for my celery seed to come in the mail. It's hard to find here, because apparently, you can't grow celery here. But last year I grew beautiful celery, so I hope I can do the same this year.