Last Grill Out of the Season

Back several weeks ago, when the weather was more favorable, we had our last grill out. The temps had been forecasted to drop below freezing that night; Derek planned to lug the grill up to the shed for winter storage at the end of the day.

I couldn’t resist this last opportunity! So, I lit the flame, defrosted minute steaks, chopped up and foil-wrapped some new potatoes, onions, and peppers.

 

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Yum! Except I botched the steak — I read 2 tsp of sugar as 2 tablespoons. Sweet steak = no, no, no.

 

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Fire, food, and the outdoors — I’d grill all year round if I could! I had the chance to enjoy this beautiful sunset while manning the flames. The sky in 2017 has been SPECTACULAR, displaying more incredible the storms and sunsets than I usually see. God sure knows how to make a scene of beauty!

Then, to my alarm, this guy caught my eye.20171004_171927

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hanging out right next to my pots of things! I’m not normally intimidated by bugs, but this guy unsettled me. Easily thicker than my thumb and longer than my index finger, he was HUGE!

 

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How can bugs be so beautiful and yet so creepy at the same time?

 

My hubs, who normally rescues me from unsettling insects, had busied himself out of reach in the garden at that moment. So I waited and faithfully kept my station at the flame, all the while keeping an eye on this giant caterpillar. I felt for sure an insect so large much be rare and amazing! (And hopefully not poisonous…)

Turns out, Derek recognized it right away. It was neither rare nor amazing — rather this giant caterpillar is a pest! It’s a tomato hornworm. Derek said he’d see this guy earlier; it’d munching the tops off my vine-ripening tomatoes that stood behind my pots o’ things.

With the growing season rolling to a close, we let this guy quietly crawl away into the grass. I felt much relieved when it’d gone, needless to say, and finished my grilling and sunset-gazing in peace.

 

 

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Sunset Colors

In between storming, the sunsets gave us quite a show this summer! Here are some pictures Derek ran out and snapped.

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I’m sure glad he did! Look at those reds and crimsons. I love the silhouettes of the evergreens. Sometimes I like to think of God as a painter and the sky His canvas.

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Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.

(Psalm 74:16)

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The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

(Psalm 19:1-4)

 

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Summer Storms

This has been a summer of the most amazing thundercloud formations. On more than one occasion, you would have found Derek and I standing outside, slack-jawed, marveling at the sky. (Often lingering so long we had to scurry inside through the rain that began pouring down!)

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The front comes rolling in. Many powerful, Iowa thunderstorms have a bank of clouds pushed along the out edge by high winds. It creates an amazing spectacle. And a degree of foreboding.

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It gets so still. Only distant thunder rumbles and a capricious breeze stirs the grass.

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When the wall cloud moves overhead, all at once the winds escalate and bring sheets of rain pouring down. It so powerful and dramatic. I love how God’s power is reflected in how He made Iowa weather.

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The failing sunlight must have been streaming through the thunderheads above us. It cast this pillar of light shooting off into the east. I’d never seen anything like it.

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To the south, the sunset lit up the thunderheads.

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Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! (Psalm 148:7-8)

The majesty displayed in the sky was so incredible! It was hard to decide which way to turn our heads; I just wanted to stare at it all at once! At the end of it all, this last show of glory before the close of the day.

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Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?
Lord God of hosts,
    who is mighty as you are, O Lord,
    with your faithfulness all around you?

(Psalm 89:5-8)

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The Mint that Lived

What a summer! That garden keeps our hands busy, that’s for sure. It’s autumn now, and I find I have quite a few catch-up posts to do. This is back from the start of growing season.

Maybe you remember “Pots o’ Things” from last year. Well, after the ground thawed out, here’s what I found…

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All dead. None survived the winter. (Excepting a stevia; being tropical, that herb spent the winter by a window, cozy indoors.) It’s not too surprising really. Iowa is sliced in half by Plant Hardiness Zones 4 and 5. Our particular location is right on the borderline. Most herbs can’t survive above Zone 5. (Excepting chives — some varieties of which thrive all the way up to the Canadian border.)

I’d been experimenting to see if we were deep enough into Zone 5 that herbs could overwinter. The bare pots have answered a resounding no. Time to start over…. But wait!

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Chocolate mint – coming out of the bottom of the chive pot? Shoving the pot back, I found a network of white roots alive and well. The mints overflowed their pots last summer. Some of that overflow must have escaped and put down roots. (Mints are evasive, by the way; always put them in pots! ) I dug up the sprig, and it’s now a lush, happy herb — and back in its pot.

A few days later, my hubbs came up to me as I washed dishes. He said, “I think your mint has escaped.”

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Apple mint? Behind the pots, a long stem of this apple mint had reared itself above the grassy thicket. Flourishing. I’m not sure how it survived too, but it did. I promptly transplanted it into it’s own pot. Though I missed a good chunk, because it showed itself again the following week. I haven’t had the chance to corral it back in over the summer, and I doubt I will with it being the thick of harvest season.

The apple mint has officially escaped. I hope I don’t live to regret it.

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Red Rock Seedless Watermelon

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Juicy.

Crisp.

Delectably sweet.

A favorite for as long as we’ve grown watermelons, Red Rock Seedless watermelons are the highlight of picnics, potlucks, and our farmer’s market stall. This melon sports a deep pink flesh with pale seeds so few, thin, small, you may not even notice them! This is the watermelon that summer dreams are made of. We’ve never had a seedless watermelon this good; and we’re willing to bet you haven’t either. Come find us at market and give it a try!

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Chelsea Watermelon

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Say hello to this old-fashion, Iowa local — the Chelsea Watermelon! Hailing from the town of Chelsea, Iowa, this watermelon was renowned back in the 1900s, being pulled in from the fields by horse-draw wagons and keeping well for weeks once picked. This 15-20 pound melon is now an unique heirloom. Expect a thick rind, big white seeds, sweet pink flesh, and an old-time watermelon experience!

 

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Sugar Baby Watermelons

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A common question we get about our watermelons is “What’s that?”
While we carry traditional seedless and seeded watermelons, we also feature several fun, heirloom varieties, some of which you can’t find in stores.
Pictured above is the Sugar Baby watermelon. Recognized as one of the sweeter, seeded varieties, it’s often a favorite for those who’ve tasted it before. Weighing in between only 5-10 pounds (about the size of a bowling ball) makes it ideal to take on picnics, store in apartments, or save to eat all by yourself.

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