Buckwheat – Your Garden’s New Best Friend.

We try new things in our garden each year. This year we have been experimenting with using buckwheat as a cover crop. It’s super cool because it chokes out weeds, adds nitrogen back to the soil, is quick to bloom (so loved by pollinators), self seeding, and creates the perfect habitat for beneficial and pest insects — you can also harvest it and make your very own buckwheat flour. You might even get froggy and make some tasty buckwheat pancakes on a rainy Saturday morning which happens to be my Papa’s favorite.

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If you’re struggling with pesky insects like aphids or caterpillars, planting some buckwheat nearby or amongst your garden might be a life saver. Buckwheat attracts a number of beneficial insects like hover flies which feed on aphids. The female hover fly likes to lay her eggs close to an aphid infestation. After hatching, which only takes a few days, the larvae starts feeding on the aphids immediately. Now, it would be hard for us to know when this is all going down but say we did, we would be able to tell a difference in aphid population in just a few days. Resulting in happier and healthier plants.

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Staggering your planting in almost any crop is smart (in my opinion). Especially if you’re needing continuous flow and to stay out of the grocery store. I mean who wants 20 heads of lettuce ready for harvest all at once (unless you’re running a CSA or something like that)? And for that matter we want a continuous nectar source for our honey bees and for our hover flies. If we provide them with the optimum habitat then they will stay. Its a win-win, for them, us, and our garden. So I guess a win-win-win.

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When planning our apiary we decided buckwheat/wildflowers would be the perfect pair. At first we planted a 20’x50′ plot of buckwheat. A few weeks later, we sowed a 50’x 100′ plot. We also planted buckwheat around a lot of our trees, around our brambles, blueberry rows, and even around and in-between our potato rows. So far, although early, everything is looking good. It’s hard to give an accurate comparison from last year to this year with only having my memory to compare. I try to document things but lets face it… that’s really hard to do. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. BUT, it’s really smart to keep a garden journal and if nothing else log a garden blueprint. So you know what was planted where and what worked and didn’t for the next planting.

And did I mention that it’s one of the more affordable seeds and that its non-gmo? Check with your local mill. We purchased a 50 lb bag for around $45. If you’re new to cover crops or haven’t given your soil a break in a while… try your hand at buckwheat. It’s an easy to grow crop that gives back to the soil, your harvest, and you.

 

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Banana Espresso Muffins

We recently sold our vintage camper. If you’re new to my page you can read on her and her remodel here. To be completely honest with you.. my heart is kinda broken. I really really loved that camper and wasn’t ready to say good bye to her. I really wanted to work on her a little longer. We went camping a few weeks ago and talked about putting her up for sale. By the time we got home I thought I would post her on good ol craigslist. We had 6 people interested in 24 hours and she was sold in 48 hours. It happened so fast my feelings didn’t have the chance to get in the way. It was happening. And we doubled our money on our investment after owning her for 2 years. And she was gone. Just like that.

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So we bought a fifth wheel. Daniel has wanted one for years. It tows great and fits our family perfectly and I can see where it will accommodate us better especially on long trips (we go on these often). No more eating a meal indian style on our bed like college kids. We actually have a dining room and chairs… and our own bedroom. To me the majority of campers have such ugly upholstery prints. Why?? Really, is it that hard to find some decent non-floral pattern? And soft material? I seriously think our 1975 Avion had better looking original upholstery than these modern day campers. But maybe thats because I’m an old soul and love anything vintage. Truth is… my heart belongs with a vintage camper. I plan on remodeling this camper in the Fall. Maybe a little paint, butcher block counters, new floor (toss the nasty carpet), different curtains, upgrade the tv and such. I’m thinking maybe a outdoorsy theme… beige (or white), burlap, and flannel of some sort. Rereading that sounds so tacky but I’m sure I can pull it together.

Okay, I’m sure you’re bored with my camper talk. Muffins. These seriously are so good they have a texture more of a dense soft (this made me giggle) cupcake. Idk they are amazing. And talk about a crowd pleaser! People KEEP talking about these! I think the first time I made these they were gone in two days. Yikes!! They aren’t gluten free. Not yet at least, but I am working on it.

Banana Espresso Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 F

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 farm raised egg
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix ingredients together in the order they are listed. This recipe makes 12 standard muffins. Distribute the batter evenly amongst the 12 lined muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is firm. Be careful not to over bake.

So simple. Enjoy this delicious treat!

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I’m Not a Supermom

First off, Happy Father’s Day! I hope everyone made the father in their life feel loved and happy today. I personally think these “days” are kinda silly, because we should make our loved ones feel loved and special everyday. Although, its fun to acknowledge each person on special days like today. And it makes for a good reason to grill out if you didn’t have one already!

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As I’ve mentioned before, we have tried a lot of “diets” and at this point I totally despise that word. I catch myself seeing/reading it on social media and roll my eyes and keep scrolling. Guilty. I haven’t done a lot of research on diets, working out, and all of that. But I do know what works for us and we don’t do anything special. We simply try to eat a ton of vegetables, some fruit, probiotics daily, and limit animal protein. I think its simple.

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When we decided I was going to stay at home with our daughter and quit my job working at a pediatricians office. I was beyond stoked. I thought I was going to have it easy. Seriously, I couldn’t wait. I quickly realized how chaotic and stressful staying at home could and was going to be for me. It’s in my nature to get stressed out easily. With a baby (now two, a two year old and a 6 month old–all in 2.5 years), my husband is off working hard for us. For me. For me to stay at home. I really felt (especially in the beginning) that I needed to have the house clean: laundry up, dishes clean and put away, floors swept and mopped, and with a home cooked meal waiting on him. Because I was at home. THATS CRAZY!

I heard something a while back that really hit home with me. The laundry piles (clean or dirty) show that your kids are clothed, dirty dishes show that your kids are fed, toys in the floor aka landmines (as we like to call them) show that your child gets to play, all of these things show life. Life in your home. If you’re house isn’t clean SO WHAT. It’s not important. You have tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many nights after the kids were in bed that I sat on the couch and ran through my day in my head. Did I give enough attention? Did I praise her enough? Was I too harsh on her? Did I teach her anything? Did we read enough books? Was she happy today?

I remember as a child my mom would always ask me before bed, “What was your favorite part of the day?”. I’m sure I came up with some crazy answers but that is something I try to always ask my little girl before she goes to bed. And normally she responds, “Have fun today”. She may not have it yet but eventually. I’m not sure when my switch flipped but I soon started gauging my day as a good day by how much I made them laugh. Making my kids laugh show me that they’re happy. They’re having fun. And I don’t want her having to think and scrounge around trying to figure out what her favorite part of the day was. The house can wait. I’m not a super-mom regardless of how society makes you feel like you should be. I’ll be the first to admit I’m far from that.

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So, if you’re a parent struggling with any of these same issues. You’re doing amazing. Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s the most rewarding. Push work to the side to spend a little extra time with them and watch their eyes glow. They love us so much. Trust us. Want us and our attention. They seek our comfort. They want to be held by us not someone else, us. And they deserve everything that we have. They are our humans that we prayed for. Asked God for. Asked God to protect and to put his hand on.

With our busy life I seek simple meals. That at times take a little longer to make because I have two littles running around. But tonights meal was out of this world. I use a lot of Juli Bauer’s recipes mainly for their simplicity and I tend to have a lot of her ingredients on hand and not one has failed me! But tonight I made her Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers and they were so simple and nothing short of amazing. We paired them with a veggie melody that we harvested from our garden. Potatoes, patty pan squash, yellow straight neck squash, and onions. I marinated them in Allegro marinade (found at Wal-Mart or on Amazon) for about an hour. Grilled until tender.

So amazing and yet so simple and wholesome for our busy life.

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