Browsing Archives for Garden

Our town is nestled in at the northern edge of the Flint Hills, one of the last places on earth where Native Tallgrass can still be found covering the prairie in huge quantities.  There are several Tallgrass preserves in our area, and the Country Doctor and I love to take the kids to the Konza outside of Manhattan and the National Tallgrass Preserve near Cottonwood Falls for hikes.  We both love the wide open, wind swept, ocean of grass that is the Flint Hills.   (For great pictures, click the Flint Hills link.)




We have long wanted plant our own little patch of tallgrass on the further reaches of our yard.  

This Spring, we finally got the seed in the ground.  




Besides finding the time, our only other obstacle was deciding how to best plant the seed.

 The task was somewhat daunting as everyone we talked to gave us a different set of complicated directions.  






“You are going to have to kill all the existing grass with Round-up, before you plant anything…”

“You gotta get yourself a disk, plow up the ground, and then you can plant the seed…”

“First you need to plant a cover crop of milo…. then plow it in and the next year you can plant tall grass…”

“Get a boom truck… spray all the existing grass with Round-Up… plant clover…. wait six years and then spray Round-Up again.”


The suggestions and recommendations went on and on and on.  The Country Doctor almost gave up on the idea as he just doesn’t have time to follow all those steps and he didn’t know which way was the right way to go.   I absolutely insisted that we would not be spraying mass quantities on Round-Up on our land.  We have fish in the pond and plants that I don’t want to die and a neighborhood full of kids… I just don’t like putting poison on the ground for any reason.





Finally, I said, “Honey?… when God planted the tall grass prairie did He use Round-Up?  Did He plant a cover crop of milo first?  Did God get a boom truck?  Good Grief!  Sometimes we just need to have a little faith in the laws of nature!  You put a seed in the ground, cover it with dirt, pray for rain, and usually something will come up.”



And that’s how I ended up sitting on the tractor.







Which the Country Doctor has to start for me because you can’t just turn the key… oh no… you have to pull this knob, flip this switch, push this button, turn around and bow to the East, pump the throttle, jimmy the clutch, jiggle the handle, yank the hydraulic, and then you turn the key…at which point nothing happens… so you start all over … except this time you bow to the West as you aren’t quite sure which benevolent force you have to please before the tractor will start… go through the whole process again… and finally you realize that you are in park… or have the mower engaged… or are out of gas…

It takes about three hours to start the tractor.





And another three hours to get the planter that you borrowed from the USDA to work.







But we did finally get that seed in the ground. My best guess is that some of it will wither in the ground… and some of it will get choked out by the brome and the weeds… but some of it is going to sprout and grow, and thrive.  Just like in the Bible… except back then…


…they got the boom truck first.

Wilted Lettuce

April 16th, 2009

As soon as people discover I have fresh lettuce in my garden, they start talkin’ wilted lettuce.

Oh!  You have to try some wilted lettuce they say…

My grandmother always made wilted lettuce…

We ate wilted lettuce when I was a kid…

Have you made any wilted lettuce yet?..

I had never even heard of wilted lettuce, but I managed to wangle the recipe out of my pastor to whom I recently gave a bag of my fresh garden greens.  

But I must warn you…

This recipe is not an easy one…

Because first…






You have to plant a garden…







You’ll need some bacon… and some lettuce… and oh for crying out loud!… just look at the photo!







Fry the bacon… 

Does anyone else feel like I am overstating the obvious here?






Host a celebrity milk-off…







While hosting a celebrity milk-off, your bacon will mysteriously disappear.







Fry some more bacon.






I certainly hope you had the foresight to soak your lettuce a bit and then gather it into a pillowcase.






Get a young’un to swing the heck out of that pillow case.






‘Tis penance for the stolen bacon.




Take a tablespoon of bacon grease out of the pan.

I’m starting to wonder if I should write a bacon grease cookbook.





Add the bacon grease to a small mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of vinegar…






And a teaspoon of brown sugar.

And yes, that is a tablespoon of brown sugar in the photo, but that is only because I couldn’t be bothered to find a teaspoon.  After the celebrity milk-off, I was far too weak and shaky to hunt for a tablespoon in my kitchen, but a tablespoon really is more sugar than you need.  If you use a tablespoon, like I did, you will have to add more vinegar and that will result in adding more bacon grease and before you know it you will have filled every jar in your kitchen with this concoction in an attempt to try and find the right mix, and I really don’t want that to happen to you.






I also added a little salt.

Do I seriously need to post a photo of the adding of the salt?

Surely you can picture it in your mind!

When you get the mix adjusted to what you think tastes good, pour it right on top of your lettuce and mix well.






I also added some sweet olive tomatoes…

Just cause.





And whatever few scraps of bacon that I managed to hide from my kids.






Next, because you are a total weirdo, take your salad for a tour of your yard.



Then hurry back inside because the wind is blowing your salad all over the place.








Eat your first bite ever of wilted greens.


I gotta tell you this whole bacon grease thing is a pretty good idea.

I think I might get to work on that cookbook.


Right after I finish up the celebrity milk off.

This Garden is Coming Soon.

April 16th, 2009



I hope to get a garden giveaway up this evening.  If you like upside down homegrown tomatoes, you might want to check back tonight.