Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just a precursor to my whole wheat bread post ...

Check out this article


I had stumbled onto milling my own wheat a while back when I decided I was going to start baking all of our own bread to cut costs.  Over the process of researching mills and where to purchase my wheat berries, I became a little more educated on the subject of eating more "naturally".  My recent viewing of the documentary "Food, Inc" has also fueled my fire and given me a whole different outlook on what my family consumes (I know they just show the most horrific examples of what's out there in these documentaries, but even 10 degrees less horrific is still too much for me!!).   I strongly urge everyone to at least watch it and form their own opinion (because this is just mine)...go get a free trial of Netflix and watch it online for free.

Has it REALLY been FOUR months?!?!!

My only excuse is the pure out insanity that comes with the end of the school year (projects, parties, baking, gift making, recitals, ceremonies, etc, etc, yada, yada), and then, well, school's out.  What I've learned over the past four months though has been very eye opening.  Sometimes, even in the mist of trying so hard to simplify life and stay "uncorrupted" by the demands of the world, one can still so easily get caught up in the turmoil without even seeing it coming.  It's like a flash flood, one minute you're standing on solid ground and feeling very secure, then, in the blink of an eye, your swept off your feet and drug miles down the road from where you started.  All the while, kicking and clawing for your life as it passes before your eyes.  It didn't dawn on me until this moment while I'm writing...this verse has been popping up all over my life the past few weeks

 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."  Matthew 7:24-27

Jesus says that a wise man will build his house on a firm foundation.  When we base our life and all it's meaning on Him instead of the world and it's pleasantries, the wind, rain and even flash floods can come and sweep us miles away, but when all is said and done, His house will still be standing with open doors and open arms to welcome you back home.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with all of the end of the year activities, but with my track record, I can really get carried away with myself and end up spending time/$$/other precious resources on a house built on sand.  Handled correctly, with the right heart, and lots of prayer, all of those activities can be the walls and roof of a house built on His rock.  But, the exciting news, should I find myself miles down the road, His grace and mercy will bring me right back home!!   And, believe me, He's had to come scrape me off the ground many of times and bring me home to nurse my wounds, but that's what I love about Jesus!!

With that said, really, the summer and end of school is no excuse for keeping you all in the dark about what's going on in our Big Life, Little Garden.

...where to begin???

Here's a little example of the fun baking I got to do...Alexis' school did a "Bakery Day" as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.  One of my hobbies that I've managed to keep up while simplifying is my love for cake decorating.  I've managed to adapt to cupcakes...much more, simple (and inexpensive).  I wish I had taken a better picture, because these really did come out cute and they were a great way to say "Thank You" to the teachers for all their hard work and dedication.

Spring Gardening has come to an end and we're, believe it or not, prepping for Fall. The exciting thing is that I can recap the entire Spring growing season in one post. It'll be like the Reader's Digest version!! For starters, the spring season was a little disappointing. Once the bizarrely cold winter was over, we were finally able to get our seeds out for an actual sun bath on March 20, which gave us a late start.

We planted tomatoes, squash, eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli, okra and cucumbers.

And, this always amazes me...just 2 weeks later on April 4 they nearly tripled in size

And then, August came in May!! Our poor little plants couldn't figure out which way was up and the heat has not let up.  We managed to harvest the majority of broccoli before it got too hot.  I like to just cut the broccoli head from the plant and let it sprout little side shoots which I LOVE in salads, but the heat tends to make the broccoli bitter, so, as soon as that happened, we pulled the plants.

I did manage to get a few sample pictures of the fruits of our labor.  We got a harvest like this at least twice a week all throughout May.

The squash plants did excellent until they got a case of powdery mildew that came VERY fast...too fast to control and we lost the plants.  We've got a second very successful crop going right now with our first fruits coming this week.

The tomato crop was fair.  I wish I had taken pictures of some of the very strange shapes and markings on the harvest though.  I'm assuming this came from the extreme changes in temperature we have been experiencing.  The good news is that we managed to keep the horn and army worms away just by hand picking them.

The bell peppers are still going strong.

The cucumbers suffered from the same problems as the tomatoes...check out the one in the front.  We did a second round of those as well, and they seem to be fairing.

The okra, surprisingly, couldn't stand the heat.  We lost 90% of the plants.  We've started some new seedlings and are hoping they do better!

The eggplant did incredible!!   I need to get some pictures up of the cute miniatures we planted.   I LOVE them!!  Mostly because I am the main eater of eggplant in the house and a full size eggplant is always too much.  Plus, it takes care of the whole bitter female fruit problem...all the fruit was perfect!!!

Well, off to get some YUMMY whole wheat bread out of the oven.  Stay tuned for that recipe...finally :) !