Friday, January 7, 2011

Granola Bars

There are lots of granola bar recipes floating around out there, and every time I came across one, I wanted to try it. I finally got around to it yesterday - and they're delicious! I used Ina Garten's recipe this time. It could easily be adapted for different flavors. It was super easy, and the boys love it. It actually made quite a bit too. The recipe says to wait several hours before cutting, but next time I will cut right away because some of the crispier edges just crumbled. I plan on using the crumbs when we're done with the bag for a yummy bowl of cereal.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Young Gardener

Seed catalogs have been arriving in droves since before Christmas...and I am elated. I'm not big on cold weather, Georgia winters are about all I can stand. . I mean, I know God created winter too, and I try to see the positive in the season. I love the cozy fires, the hot drinks, the big fluffy sweaters, the occasional snow…but they’re just the good side I try to focus on while I’m freezing my rear end off. I love the fall harvest, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they get me through the first couple cold months because of all the fun hustle and bustle. But then January rolls around, and for years I’ve just muddled through those chilly quiet months looking forward to April. Well, now that I’m vegetable gardening, I have found my ray of hope…seed catalogs and garden planning!

I learned a lot last year, if nothing else, how little I really know. It seems the more I read and learn, the more I realize I have to learn! I love the quote from Thomas Jefferson, “Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” Such a true statement. There are so many things to learn about all the different types of plants and the relationships between them. I devoured many gardening books and perused countless websites last year, hoping to narrow my margin of error. I’m sure it helped, but experience is a wonderful teacher.

This year I want to plant more of some things, and less of others. (How many cucumbers and okra can one family eat?!) I definitely want more squash and tomatoes. I tried to simplify my crop rotation by having one bed for everything with the intention of just shifting one over every year. But I feel a little more comfortable this year trying to plan successions for all year and using each bed more than once, thereby achieving more yield. I’m putting the grain on hold for now. I really want to try it, but until I have a mill, I don’t see the point. We also barely had enough green beans to eat, let alone put up or dry. I also see how much work drying would have been! Besides, dried beans are that expensive J

I’m also doing some seedlings early indoors this year too. I didn’t have time last year, so I just tried everything from seed outdoors. Generally, the advice I found in The Vegetable Gardener's Bible to be true. (I love this book!) If he recommended starting from seed outdoors, mine did wonderfully. Those he suggested starting indoors and transplanting didn’t do as well. Celery, which he said could be very difficult to grow, didn’t come at all! I planted over 200 seeds…so I guess that’s accurate.

The seed catalogs have so many wonderful varieties, it’s incredibly difficult to narrow down. I thought I was conservative last year, but I believe I still had too many varieties. I didn’t consider the chances of cross-pollination, and I ended up with over half of my ridiculously abundant cucumber crop to be inedible. The peppers were slow to come up, so the harvest was low, plus I don’t know what crossed. The English peas would be a lot of work for little reward. I probably won’t do them again this year.

As I make my selections and arrangements, I’ll be sure to share my plans. Now to drool over my catalogs…

Oh, want some in your mailbox? Check out these sites and request a catalog!

Monday, January 3, 2011

To Please the ONE

Why do we try so hard to please everyone? I suppose everyone's not like that, I mean, my husband isn't. He can shake off judgement with seemingly little effort when he's confident he's doing what he feels is best. But me, no. Sadly, I am not that confident. I do care. I want to somehow right it, I question myself, think over what was said. Perhaps I'm wrong? Maybe I'm the one who just doesn't get it? How can they think that of me? Do they not know me at all? Did I do something? I'm not even sure what I did...all incessant questions and analyzing to discover the I can fix it. 
I know that I am often wrong, but I know I'm not too. And that's where self-preservation kicks in. I am not wrong, they are wrong! That is not how that should have been handled! How dare they be so judgemental! Who are we to judge? God is set as judge, not us. Then, of course, am I not judging? We each do as we see fit, some with more arrogance than others. I do not feel jilted any less that one willing retaliate - I just keep those thoughts in my head out of courtesy. But, they're there all the same are they not? Am I not judging for judgment? Oh, the irony. Resenting those who are (sometimes) fellow believers for sinning.
And I know, I truly do know, that pleasing Him, the One whose opinion of me matters not most, but only, is what I should really care about. Not to recklessly live without concern for hurt, but to love without bounds. To see past the attack and wounds of this world that might cause me to lose focus, recede, and not be transparent for fear. One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, "When you love until there's no more hurt, there can be no more hurt, only love." God's love just doesn't make sense in our worldly terms. The world tells us to defend our rights (of which we have none in the Kingdom) and the love of God lays down all those rights. And yet, if we stopped fighting to defend ourselves (whether outwardly or by retreating inward), we would find ourselves more at peace with others than we have ever known.