Oct 28, 2013

The Best Soup I Ever Made

I am not a HUGE soup person, but when fall weather hits, and I realize I have an abundance of squash, I try to make it a little more because it fills our bellies and seems so healthy.
I was watching the Food Network, and the Barefoot Contessa made this Winter Minestrone that looked pretty good.  Then I went online to look at the recipe, and although there were a lot of ingredients and steps, most everyone that reviewed it said it was just fantastic.  So I was sold.

One of my very favorite things is to make complete meals from scratch, and make them with things we have harvested or purchased locally.  I remember one time in Lincoln we had a dinner of elk steak, homegrown potatoes, and applesauce.  I felt so proud, and it all tasted better because I took the time to make it or grow it.  That's just about how this soup was for me--almost completely from our garden and sooo tasty with those Wyoming soil nutrients. 

I will definitely be growing more shelling beans next summer.  They were a riot with the kids to shell, and they look so pretty in my jars.  And they have a really nice, mild taste.
I had to make a few substitutions...I didn't use any pancetta and I just put in some cut up tomatoes (that were getting mushy on the counter) and also didn't use spinach.  
The pesto and wine were critical, and I think those ingredients are what really kicked up the taste.

Cash saw the herbs I hung up and made an "I don't understand what is going on here" face.  I just wanted to be new age-y and look like I know what I'm doing.

Butternut squash is currently my favorite squash.

And though the soup was sooooo delicious, the kids barely ate any.  Tyler had a cold and earache, and Cash had a full-blown ear infection.  That just meant more for me!
(of course no photos of the soup cooking, because I was too busy with other things!)

Oct 23, 2013

Canyons and Rocks

Last weekend we took a drive toward the mountains to collect some rocks for a pathway in the backyard.
Looking West over Bighorn Lake
It was cool and windy, a typical fall day.

Heart Mountain (near Cody and Powell) and the white towers are the sugar beet factory in Lovell.
You really can see for miles.

Found a canyon to explore

Everyone became a rock climber--these little canyon walls were fun to climb up and down

Tyler found a fencepost and decided to drag it out.

"Ohio rock"

My new office, downtown Lovell!

Oct 20, 2013

Buddies, Sugar, Pumpkins, and Dress-up

I was finally able to organize a play afternoon with some of Tyler's pals from school.  Declan and Payton came over and I was a little nervous--when other kids are here my boys become wild men. And I usually can't deal with all the ruckus.
Frosting sugar cookies
Little did I know that having two sweet kids visit would make all the difference!  They played "family" for hours; taking turns being the mom and dad.  
I laughed endlessly at their arguments, where do they get this stuff???  "Mom" and "Dad" bickered continually about whose turn it was to go to work, and who had to stay home and take care of the "baby."  There was a lot of hand-holding as they walked from room to room.  At one point Payton had on a cowboy hat, Tyler had a wig on, and Declan had a fake mustache on. 

Their completed pumpkins.  Payton's (far right) had lots of dots poked into it because she said it was crying.

Pre-carving.  They were drawing pictures on the pumpkins so that I could carve them.
Declan put as many mini-marshmallows on his cookie as possible.
This is not Cash's Halloween costume.  He normally wears very colorful outfits.

Oct 13, 2013

Lessons From the Garden

1.  Just because carrots are huge on top doesn't mean they are longer than 3".
Everything we have picked so far has been fat and short, most likely due to the heavy soil.

2.  Just because I work at a greenhouse and he gives me extra tomatillo and tomato plants doesn't mean I need to plant them.
I had way too many tomatillos and cherry tomatoes.
2a.  Don't plant "Orange Wellington" tomatoes near beefsteaks and neglect to label them.  You will never remember what is supposed to get orange, and what is supposed to ripen to red. 

3.  Brussels sprouts are worth the wait

4.  The less you tidy up during the summer, the more you have to clean up after the growing season is done.

5.  The $0.75 lady figurine that you buy in June with the intent to paint with retro-whacked-out-cool colors may eventually be dwarfed by squash and pumpkins.  She will still have the same ice blue eyes in October.  Maybe next year... 

6.  Take caution when planting something labeled "prolific."
I had quite a few giant snake gourds.  And many little decorative gourds that took over.  They kept the onions and cabbages from getting very big.

7. It doesn't matter what it is, chickens will mess it up.

Finally painted my mailbox.

This was a volunteer plant of "jack be nimble" pumpkins.  Tyler and I counted after all were harvest and we were up to 93.  This wasn't counting all the ones I gave away or put inside the house.

A Night Away

Friday afternoon we drove to Billings to stay the night at hotel.  We found one with a waterpark inside, and decided that was just what the family needed.
Ready to swim

Cash has a great sense of style

It was a little chilly in there until you started to move around.
Cash was overwhelmed with all the water and noise.

The next day we swam again, and went to a Corn Maze.  Some friends met us there so we had a group of kiddos to follow around.  There were other activities at the maze, which was good because at $9 a person it was kind of pricey.  I would have enjoyed it more if it was dry, warmer, and not so hard (but it was still fun).

Riley, Kyla, and Tyler

It was very muddy, and everyone was slipping and sliding and falling.

Yes, we were lost.  We only made it halfway and then bailed.  Shawn would have liked to do the whole thing but the kids were getting annoyed (maybe I was, too).

"Why is she crying?"