Wiley Weeds

We have probably spent 10-12 hours weeding over the past few nice days. And believe me, there are plenty more hours of weeding to come. Not to mention ripping out perennial plants that you thought, or someone thought, were pretty that have now staged a coup over multiple perennial beds.

As I moved into the veggie garden yesterday, I had to take a moment to appreciate how wiley weeds really are. In order to grow our veggies and fruit, we wage constant battles with Mother Nature. We are deal with too much rain/not enough rain, cabbage moth caterpillars, tomato horn worms, cucumber beetles, squash vine borers, deer, raccoon, bunnies, crows, squash bugs, japanese beetles, early blight/late blight, powdery mildew, groundhogs, and on and on.

But with no help from us at all, weeds come back year after year in full force:

weeds

Yesterday I focused on the particular weed where once the flower goes to seed, if you touch the plant to pull it out, it’s like a weed seed explosion and the seeds fly everywhere.

Fargo was keeping watch for me while I worked:

fargo weeds

I’ve come a long way. Never in a million years did I think I’d be touching beetles or little green caterpillars, let alone picking way too many off plants to drop in soapy water. It is definitely a labor of love and it gives a person a whole new level of respect for large organic farm operations. However, we know it will all be worth it when we sit at the dinner table covered with food almost exclusively from our little organic garden patch.

A Stunning Saturday

It was 22.8 degrees when I woke up yesterday and it felt COLD. We spent the early half of the morning cleaning, working on the bathroom, doing the glamorous things that dog owners do (cleaning the yard). We then drove almost an hour to visit a small running store I read about online because, although I’ve tried not to whine about it, I’m still looking for new sneakers that will work for me. It turns out the shop had closed, but luckily a new one opened in the same location. The owners were very nice and took time to chat and tried hard to help. I will be doing a mile or two on the treadmill tomorrow to try out the new pick and I will report back. Today I’ll be in the beat up Cliftons for a 9 miler.

By the time we got home, the sky was a beautiful blue, it was super sunny but the air was cool. It was an absolutely stunning Saturday afternoon, just my favorite weather. The sky made a beautiful backdrop for the blossoms on our apricot trees. Hopefully, the beautiful blossoms will lead to many apricots.

apricot blossoms

Fargo loves loves loves to hang outside with us. I caught him in a rare, quiet moment.

fargo tree

I started the fun job of pulling staples out of the old sections of fence so that we can reuse the coated wire for the new fence. You can see that the wood had really disintegrated in places. This is partly because I insisted on using untreated wood near the place where we grow food. It did last way longer than we anticipated, so that was nice.

broken fence

And, to top the day off, I tried a new recipe. I had almost all of the ingredients (we are sorely in need of a trip to the grocery store) for 5 Ingredient Granola Bars. I did have to substitute cashews in for almonds. The recipe says you can add other ingredients, so I also included dried cranberries and some mini dark chocolate chips.

The dates I had this time were much more moist than the last batch, which was exactly how they needed to be for this.

dates

I opted to toast the oats, though I’m not sure if it made a huge difference in texture or taste. Here they are, with the rest, ready for the pb and honey.

dry granola

I did my best to press it all down as tightly packed as possible. It mostly held together when I took it out of the glass dish.

granola bar slab

I think I will try it without the cranberries next time. For some reason, even though I didn’t really put that many in, the cranberries seemed to overwhelm the flavor of everything else for me. Hubby had no complaints 🙂

granola bars

 

Week 10

Week 10 is over, only 4 more weeks to go. Apparently Week 10 is when I get weary. I did a long run two weeks ago on Sunday and then last week’s long run on Saturday. That meant a 30 mile week, which was a lot. Maybe that day made a difference, or maybe Week 10 is just when I get tired if I really stick to a training plan. Which I did. Until today.

I have had a twinge in my left achilles for a few days. It’s nothing major or painful, just a twinge now and again, but it’s making me a bit nervous. The twinge, in addition to the weariness led me to shorten this morning’s run. I only cut off 1.4 miles of a 5 mile run, but in doing so, I broke the training plan streak.

Rationally, I know it means nothing overall in terms of race day. And really, with what is going on in the world and in the lives of some of my friends, it means even less than nothing. I knew before I got on the treadmill this morning that I was going to shorten the run and I knew it would bother me, and it’s still bothering me. I always tell people to “listen to your body,” and that’s what I did. Apparently listening to your body is easier said than done.

Week 10 also brought some nice weather. I had a decent 4 miler outside on Wednesday and then Fargo and I took advantage of the sun and warmth to hang outside and play (and do some weeding).

fargo running

Then the boys did some playing.

t fargo playing

t fargo bumper

Hoping for a nice long run on Sunday and that next week, the miles (and the body) feel better.

 

Bathroom is Looking Good!

Hubby made a ton of progress in the last week. Walls are patched and painted, floor is down, old caulking is out and new caulking is done, new light over the fan, and the vanity is in (though not bolted yet).

You can see the old paint color in the left corner.

hubby at work

bathroom flooring

Notice that the vanity actually fits in the space and is not needing to be cut out around the door trim.

vanity that fits

bathroom nearly done

Just need to plumb in the vanity, hang the mirror that goes with it, and update the light over the mirror, add the shower curtain back in there and this winter project is DONE! Good timing because after a few days with winter weather, spring days should be more frequent soon. Time to switch the focus outside.

PB Cookie Challenged

Yesterday I wanted to make cookies, something different, to share with friends. It’s been a while since I made peanut butter cookies so I looked up a recipe. Pretty sure I’ve tried peanut butter cookies twice before, neither looked like the pictures in the recipes, so I figured I would try a new recipe.

I found a recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies on Sally’s Baking Addiction (my go-to site to check first). It looked fairly simple and I had the ingredients. I usually like when there is a picture of what the cookie dough should look like, but there wasn’t one this time. This is what my cookie slab (dough) looked like:

pb dough slab

I used Trader Joes salted, creamy peanut butter, and their old fashioned rolled oats, and in this case, I also used their organic brown sugar. The recipe gives instructions for blotting if the peanut butter is too oily, maybe this peanut butter was not oily enough?

Instructions after chilling the dough are to put balls of dough on the cookie sheet and press down to flatten with a spoon. I, faultily, assumed that the dough would soften/melt while baking and therefore, I didn’t take time to shape each ball into what I thought the finished product should look like.

The finished product pretty much looked exactly like I left it after pressing with the spoon. Once I realized this, while the cookies were still hot, I tried to make them look just a little prettier, but it didn’t do a whole lot to help.

ugly pb cookies

They are a little on the crumbly side, chewy though, and on the up side, they taste delicious. We had a cookie with a little vanilla ice cream last night and it was a yummy treat.

Given how much we love peanut butter, I will just have to keep trying to find a recipe I can work with at my skill level. Although, it’s not a huge trauma to eat the rejects along the way.

Celebrating Spring With Seed Starting

Yesterday I got the garden seeds started. There are only 2 trays this year as we are determined to have fewer plants to tend in order to focus on projects on the to-do list. Fewer tomatoes this year, no brussels sprouts or cabbage or beans or peas, etc. We are planning a smaller herb/lettuce garden and then tomatoes, peppers (lots of those for canning), cucumbers, sweet potatoes and winter squash.

seeds

I started four types of peppers, two types of tomatoes, and a random assortment of broccoli seeds from a “broccoli blend” packet.

seed starts

Hubby got the shelves and the lights set up. This will be their home for the next 2+ months.

I logged the first double digit mile run yesterday since MCM training last Fall. We ran a day early because the weather predictions for today were pretty dicey. The weather today, as it turns out, is fine…cold, but dry. But it was a reasonably good 10 miler, with great company, quite a few hills (walked the largest one), a few longer waits at traffic lights, lost gloves (but found them later) and a little sun here and there. Nine weeks of training completed!

Dessert for the Over 21 Crowd

A friend made Irish Car Bomb Brownies a few weeks ago and it sounded so interesting (and hubby loves beer) that I asked her to share the recipe.  Given that it is St.Patrick’s Day, I thought it was a perfect time to make them. In preparation, a few days ago I read through the recipe blog post, including the comments and was surprised that some of the comments were fairly nasty about the title of the treat. The blogger responded in a very professional way (she used the same response more than once) by giving a short history of the alcoholic mixed drink, Irish Car Bomb, which has been around for years.

Yesterday evening, I made the brownies, but had to wait until this morning for the topping. I think that mixing up this brownie batter left me with the biggest baking mess yet. The flour/cocoa powder mixture just kept poofing out of the bowl every time I added some, no matter how much or little I added.

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This picture doesn’t even do the mess justice. Also, every time I added the Guinness, it splashed out over the counter, onto me, onto the floor. I really have no idea what I was doing wrong, but I was obviously doing it wrong over and over again.

Also in the comments, a lot of people said their chocolate batter (there are two batters), came out pretty runny. Mine definitely did not…

thick batter

It has three different varieties of alcoholic beverages. Guinness in the (supremely) chocolate batter, Bailey’s Irish Cream in the white batter, and Irish Whiskey in the ganache. The instructions said to line a 9 x 13 baking dish with tin foil, which I had never done before. I decided that is not my favorite way to go. When I tried to add the batter to the baking dish, especially as thick as my batter was, the foil kept sliding all around and I don’t think I got my swirl on like I was supposed to.

swirled batter

Let me tell you, these are some heavy duty brownies. It baked up somewhat akin to a fudge-like consistency.

baked brownies

It was really, really hard to leave them cool and not sneak a little taste before bed, but we managed.

This morning I used a ton more chocolate, melted it with cream and whiskey for the ganache.

alcoholic brownies

THESE. ARE. AMAZING!!!! No doubt about it, they are delicious. I’m not sure I can taste the individual types of alcohol included, but it’s a fantastic combination. Each piece of brownie weighs a ton, but it’s a ton of chocolaty goodness. The only down side is that they are definitely not swirled enough and there are a number of brownie squares that don’t have enough of the Baileys batter.

brownie goodness

We’ll get it right the next time…or the next time…or the next time. We’ll just have to keep on baking and eating these until we get it right 😉