Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Dreaded Zucchini Bugs

Can I just tell you a story real quick? I promise, it's a quick one. Be prepared, this isn't one for children. Nightmares will result.

This is the story of Amanda and the Zucchini Bugs:

One summer day, after a long day of work, Amanda went out to her beloved patio garden to examine her healthy, thriving, if slightly weed-y, plants. She exclaimed with joy over her baby cucumbers...sighed with delight at her reddening tomatoes, and beamed over her ever-larger herbs. As she was exuding such happiness over, if you'll pardon the pun, fruits of her labor, she turned with anticipation to her zucchini plants. Amanda loved her zucchini plants, for they produced the only vegetable in the garden everyone would eat without complaint.

Peering expectantly among the leaves, searching for signs of a tasty zucchini....she found


Now Amanda is a pretty brave girl, but when she saw these terrifying creatures, a scream of shock escaped her. And can you really blame her?

Amanda's husband ran to her, worried that aliens were invading or she had broken a leg or something truly dreadful had happened.  Amanda, shaking with fear, choked out the word, "Bugs!" She pointed to the afflicted plant. Amanda's husband, scoffing at the reaction she had to some bugs, went to the plants, determined to see what caused his beloved wife to react so violently.  "Agghh!" he shouted, when he too, witnessed the frightening sight.

Once the shock wore off, Amanda and her husband went to the trusty Internet to determine what these monstrous creatures were. The conclusion? Stink bugs or squash bugs.

Stink bugs are not native to the United States. They were first collected in 1998 in PA and have since marched their pesty little selves across the continent. They are frequently found in IN. Squash bugs are related to stink bugs, and are also pesty little creatures.

Treatment for the devil bugs includes spraying with soapy water (tried it), removing the bugs themselves (NOPE!), removing infected leaves (tried it), and spraying with neem oil (on the list for today).

In the meantime, Amanda's zucchini plant is in sorry shape. Death is quite likely. Fortunately, Amanda has gardening family and friends who will hopefully share their non-infested zucchini with her.

I told you this wasn't a story for kids!

If you'd like to know more:
Kill those stinking squash bugs

The truth about stink bugs

 PSU's fact sheet brown marmorated stink bug

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Garden update


Baby cucumbers! Lots of tomatoes. Herbs that are starting to thrive. Massive pumpkin plants and sunflowers to my knees.

The garden is good.

Life is good.

God is great.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Shake it up!

Summer in Indiana usually means hot, sticky, muggy weather. Which means a lemon shake-up at the State Fair is pretty much a requirement to be a Hoosier.

It's not State Fair time, and it's not been hot. Muggy and sticky, yes, but not really hot. But it was the 4th of July, so I decided that meant a lemon shake-up was the perfect way to celebrate.

Was it possible to make a really good lemon shake-up at home?

Why, yes, it was.

Lemon Shake-up
(1 serving)

12 oz  cold water
1/4 cup (or to taste) granulated sugar
1/2 lemon

Materials needed
a container with a lid (I used a food storage container, and then a clean, empty olive jar)

Pour 12 oz of cold water into your container. Add in sugar, and then squeeze the lemon. Really squeeze it. You want bits of pulp in there too. I cut my lemon into quarters so I can get all the pulpy bits in there more easily.  Put the lemon in the container too. Add ice.

Shake, shake, shake.....shake, shake, shake....shake your shake-up! Shake your shake-up!

Then pour it into a glass and enjoy! I figure the cost of one of these at less than 50 cents. Compare that to the whopping $5.50 they charge at the fair! I found the recipe at compliments of Sue Lau.

I think these would be a great fundraiser idea too. Super inexpensive to make, relatively fast, and perfect for baseball season or soccer games!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bisquick Blueberry Muffins

I work full-time. I get to have the mornings with my kiddos and hubby, but then I'm off to work until 7 pm. We'll talk about dinner another day, but for now I've been focusing on making breakfast at least three mornings a week. Yesterday, I was craving some blueberry muffins. We have (um, had) two pounds of blueberries from Sam's Club. Is there really a better use? Well, yeah, probably, but not one my kids will eat too. 

But it's not like I'm overburdened with time. In fact, I'm sacrificing blow-drying my hair to share this recipe. (Yeah right. I wouldn't dry my hair anyway.)
Behold, the Bisquick Blueberry Muffin: 

I found this from where it was posted by Roxygirl in Colorado.

2 cups Bisquick (reduced fat is fine, too)
1/3 cup sugar (I used about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
3/4 cup organic frozen blueberries (smaller, juicier) (I used about a cup)


1 Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2 Grease muffin pan well.
3 Stir all ingredients except blueberries in medium bowl, just until moistened.
4 Fold in berries.
5 Divide batter evenly in 9 muffin cups.
6 Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
7 Cool slightly and remove from pan to wire rack.

Yield: 9 muffins.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Garden pics

Don't judge...there's still some weeds. But it is much better than before!

Do you still love me?

I know it's been a long, long time. It has. Our life has been crazy, turned upside down, and plopped into a new place. Just recently, we moved back to Indiana. We were so blessed to be able to move in with my parents and sisters, and we had a good chance to get back on our feet. About a month ago, we moved into our own place! We are excited to get back to our routine and create our new normal.

Of course, you know this means... gardening. :)

We are really enjoying having our own giant, fenced-in patio. It has four little sections of dirt, which mean we must plant things. Fun things. Things that will feed our bodies and our spirits. For the boys, this means sunflowers and pumpkins.

They did a great job planting pumpkins. I know this because we have 13 pumpkin plants. And yes, they are all in that tiny spot.

Of course, it wasn't all planting pumpkins in the sunshine. Here's a couple pictures AFTER the initial weeding.

Now we have about 15 sunflower plants, 5 tomato plants, 2 cucumber plants, a zucchini plant, and a green pepper plant.  Plus about a zillion baby cilantro, dill, basil, and oregano sprouts.

I would love to show you a picture of my amazingly beautiful patio. I really would. But I'm sure you can imagine how much weeding I have to do. All those millions of weeds have had their revenge by seeding the ground from which they were ruthlessly pulled. So soon. I will show pictures soon. I have to go annihilate some baby weeds now.