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Raised in a Barn…

Day-to-Day Life of a Country Mama

Great Tips

I’ve noticed a drop in the number of fruits and vegetables I’ve been eating. I don’t like this and have decided to get back better with it. I was reading an article on the subject this morning. It has some great tips about increasing the number in my diet so I thought I would share them here. I hope they help others too. 

From Better Nutrition (January 2017) ‘Ask the Nutritionist’

7 ways to boost your intake of vegetables and fruits (Try these tips for increasing your intake of vegetables, and to a lesser extent, fruits:)

  1. Include vegetables or fruit with breakfast. Add sautéed assorted vegetables to eggs or sausage, and have a side of fruit. 
  2. Substitute vegetables in place of pasta. Spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles are two great alternatives. 
  3. Have cut vegetables available as fast-food snacks. Cut them into sticks that you can easily grab from the fridge, and eat plain or with a dip. 
  4. Make celery sticks or apple slices with nut butter a go-to staple. This stabizing snack is good between meals, and it can serve as an easy to make breakfast or lunch side dish. 
  5. Set out a fruit bowl in the kitchen. This encourages eating assorted varieties of fresh fruit instead of eating processed convenience foods such as crackers or chips. 
  6. Have some frozen vegetables and unsweetened fruits in the freezer. They can serve as essential backups when you can’t make it to the store to get fresh produce. 
  7. Eat more than one type of vegetable with lunch and dinner. Emphasize two or three times more vegetables on your plate than protein, grains, or beans. 

Peach Tree Update 

We had two of the five peach trees we were given survive. Two of the ones that died never recovered from the shock of being out of the ground so long. The third that died started to perk up, but I got inconsistent with its watering. It was planted off to one side by itself. Anyway, at least we have two that survived. I’ll be learning a lot about fruit trees in the next year!

Revitalizing Garden 

We have had a few weeks of unseasonably cool and wet weather. While this doesn’t agree with getting a second cutting of hay, the garden is loving it. 

The green beans had been thinning as though they were nearing their end of production. They began reblooming and now have twice the foliage they did. The bean pods aren’t as thick as their first big production, but we will probably get a nice mess of them. 

The tomatoes are reblooming and growing new foliage as well. I have one last squash plant that was a slow grower and is just now starting to get big. The others all died from different pests. After they were gone, I was able to get rid of the few squash bugs that showed up on this plant. It is growing like crazy in this weather too. 

The only down side is my replanting of corn isn’t doing well. I’ve only had a few come up. I’m afraid with all the wet weather, I may have to try planting again. I’m also concerned it is now to late to get it grown before winter. 

The month is already flying by. It’s hard to believe it’s August, especially with this weather. I’d better get back to work, while I have the chance!

Guessed-at Spinach Dip 


I am really surprised at how good this turned out for me just guessing at ingredients and amounts. 

I left 8 oz. of cream cheese out for awhile to soften. Later, I thawed and heated a little less than a cup of frozen spinach. I sliced up some fresh vining spinach I have to supplement the frozen and cooked it in with the other spinach. Together the greens were probably a bit over a cup. 

I minced 3 small cloves of garlic and sautéed them in about a tablespoon of butter. Once they were tender, I combined this in with my greens. I stirred in the cream cheese, about a half cup of sour cream and a half cup of grated Parmesan cheese. I added salt and pepper to taste. I like diced tomato stirred in it too, but for a group I served it on the side. I served it with plain tortilla chips. Another member brought homemade pita chips. I thought it was even better with them. 

I am so happy it turned out great. None came home from services at all. That’s always a good sign!

Fast Learner

Savannah may be slow to potty training, but she picked up shelling beans quick. We had just a small handful from some vines that died. I finally got to shelling them and invited Savannah to help me. 

I showed her how I was opening the pods, popping the beans out and putting them in a little container. She took right to it! She started by picking up the beans I shelled and putting them in the container. Then she started grabbing pods and trying to shell them. She actually got one shelled all by herself before we were done. 

She only tried to taste a bean a couple times and a pod once. This was my main concern when we started because she thought we were eating when she first sat down. She realized soon after what we were doing and that the beans weren’t fit for eating yet. 

After we finished with our little mound, she asked for a snack. I told her I’d fix her one while she threw the empty pods in the trash. She hopped down and took them by handful to the trash can as I fixed her a plate! I’m so excited that I can involve her in this already. 

So Much for That

The intense three-day technique for potty training didn’t work for us. I think it put more stress on both of us than it did good. We’re going to go back and keep at a more relaxed pace. If we still haven’t made more progress later, we may try it again. 

Not a Good Start

Well, I’m trying to potty train Savannah and it’s not going all that great. I feel like I’ve tried several different techniques and nothing is working. 

I am cutting us some slack for today though. It was the first day of a three-day technique. Not only are we just getting used to this trial, but we are on our third week of very uneasy rest. (This morning was the first morning I got up feeling relatively rested.) I regret to say that the longer I go without enough sleep, the shorter my fuse gets. I’m working on this, but it’s hard and made worse by the fact that poor Savannah takes after me in this regard. 

I have my schedule clear for the next two days to concentrate on working with Savannah on this. I hope we’re able to pull it off and say goodbye to pull-ups. Given how tired we are, maybe I should have picked a different week…. 

Anyway, it’s shaping up to be a long week. We’ll make it through, though. I’ll try to catch you up on the garden and a few other things as the week progresses. 

An Irritated Visitor 

I was clearing out some photos I needed to delete off my phone. I came across this one and realized I never shared it. 

This is from several weeks ago when I was picking some of our corn. I came inside and was sitting at the table when I felt a tingling to one side of my hip. I unconsciously ran my hand along the area. I felt something scruffy and then my fingers started to tingle as well. I looked to find this guy. 

I guess I picked him up in the corn plot. The ride in to the house must have agitated him into secreting something for defense. I don’t know what kind of catepiller he is, but I’m interested to find out. 

A Shift

I’ve noticed a shift in my collection of recipes, especially on Pinterest. I now look for recipes for produce I have, instead of looking for produce to make a recipe I find. 

It makes so much more sense. I thought of this as I was looking up ways to prepare beets the other day. Why spend the extra time and money trying to find ingredients when I can just cook what I have or can easily get? I am learning more ways to cook everyday foods than I ever thought possible. 

I also think being around the farmers market has helped me get more of a feel for what is easily available throughout the year. It makes me think of a book I saw and am still trying to decide on buying. I can’t remember the exact tittle, but it was a guild to cooking seasonally and locally with farmers markets. 

It may not always yeild the fanciest food, but it has its perks. Buying and eating locally grown foods creates a community that can self sustain itself. It is what sustained folks through settling the area and the depression. Why not get used to feeding my family like this in advance before something happens that requires it? 

It’s also easier to know who grows what food and how it is grown when it’s locally based. I know what I put on my crops and I can simply ask others I buy from. Can I still be lied to? Yes, but it’s a little harder to pull off and cover up. And there is more fall out if someone does. 

Needless to say, I’m excited and happy about the shift in my cooking habits. I just hope my family is enjoying the shift in their food as much as I am!

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