The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Latest on Coal Creek Farm


I was sitting on a decrepit wicker love seat that I bought at a garage sale many years ago when I took this photo.  I had just finished planting 100 sweet potato slips and my back was whispering it’s disapproval when I eased gently in the wicker seat that is in no way comfortable, in fact, it is horrible, it’s scratchy, it creaks as if it’s going to spew splinters and collapse the second any weight is on it.  It’s one of those things that I’m keeping just until I need something to burn, but for now it’s nice to have a place to sit in the garden that doesn’t allow me to get comfortable so I’ll get back up and work some more.

As I was sitting there I noticed Preacher, our farm dog, sitting upright on the squash bed looking out over the cornfield.  I took my phone out and zoomed in to take a photo of him.  He’s such a sweet dog, but he has no ability to distinguish lawn from garden, plant from weed, grass from mud.  He was sitting right on top of a summer squash plant and he totally squashed it.  Get it?  He squashed it.  It’s a squash plant and….he squashed it.  I know, Comedy Central is missing out on this.


I’m in the process of caring for the largest garden I’ve ever planted.  I’m not saying it’s successful, but it’s growing.  I lost my peas and the first planting of beans to a late frost, it seems no matter how long I wait I never wait long enough to plant.  I planted 100 sweet potato slips (pictured above) then I pulled out 50 of them the next day to space them a little farther apart.  This is how I garden….chaotically.  I move plants until they finally find the right spot.  I still have so much to learn.IMG_3402

This is part of my potato patch, I planted three varieties.  It’s the largest bed I’ve ever planted and so far it’s doing great.  The green bushy thing in the raised bed is Chocolate Mint, it’s invasive, it smells fantastic and it’s really fun to use in baking and cooking.  Behind the bush is part of the garlic patch.  Garlic is so easy to grow, you can throw it on the ground and it will survive and spread.  And there is Preacher, being Preacher.  IMG_3369

These are garlic scapes.  The scape is the top part of the plant that will bloom into a flower with seeds.  I picked half of the scapes and made a garlic paste and a garlic/spinach pesto.  It’s really wonderful to have early in the season.  It has a milder taste than the garlic bulb and is easy to add to any recipe that calls for garlic, which is every recipe I use.IMG_3367

Last year Clay built the two beds on the far left.  I had him make them 2’X16′ and I loved them so much more than my beds that are 3’X16′ because I can work entirely from one side.  I also had him put the beds closer together so I wouldn’t have such wide paths to weed between the beds.  This year I added three more and put a wide path for the wheel barrow and truck to travel through.  I arched two 16 foot cattle panels between two of the beds and planted peas and beans to trellis up them.  I’m also going to cover it in plastic this fall and try a hoop house.    The white sink you see sitting on the ground is my washing station.  I set it on the edge of the bed while I’m picking and throw the greens in the sink with the hose sprayer washing off the dirt, the water and dirt travel through a short hose that I put in the bed which waters the plants while I wash the greens.  I bought it at my local Salvation Army store for $5, it was a great find.  I like that I can move it around the garden, I just wish it wasn’t so white, it sticks out a bit.IMG_3364

Easter Egg Radishes are one of my new favorite crops.  I am loving these, I eat them like candy and I’m throwing them in everything I cook.IMG_3347

This was the second picking of spinach.  I had a banner year with this stuff.  Now I’m sick of spinach, but the ants have taken over, so I think I’m done with it until this fall.  I’m so in love with my garden this year.  I’m trying a lot of new things I’m certain some will fail and some will succeed.  I find such joy in watching things grow, it’s exciting to see a tiny seed grow into a plant that feeds my family.  And speaking of family….IMG_3117This picture was taken on Easter this year.  My oldest son was taking the picture and I have no idea where Ellen was, but this is pretty much what my home looks like now that my older two are off working and becoming adult humans.  My family is growing up.  Also, if you look closely you might find Salt the Barn Cat, she can’t stand not to get attention when we are outside.  I hope you are having a great summer so far.  I am enjoying a healthy husband this summer!  We are busy catching up on all the things we set aside when he was sick last summer.  It is amazing how much can pile up on a little farm when the fake farmers aren’t paying attention.


He Grew Up

I closed my eyes and he grew up.

Seth's Senior Pictures-17He became a young man when I wasn’t looking.Seth's Senior Pictures-20His personality matches his stature. He started caring about clothes. He wants to know if I like what he’s wearing and he let me pick out his shoes.

Seth's Senior Pictures-14He was just a little, tiny, chubba-wubba-bubba two days ago.

Seth's Senior Pictures-19I’m so thankful that he has a sense of humor and that he can shake that thang!Seth's Senior Pictures-2He has told me a few time that he wants to marry a girl who laughs at him like I do.  I don’t think that will be a problem.Seth's Senior Pictures-6Eighteen years of getting him to this finish line.  I’m so proud of him.  He’s going to do amazing things.  I see the greatness leaking out of him when I don’t expect it.  He’s ready, he’s got this! He’s one of a kind that boy of mine.Seth's Senior Pictures-16He’s my Sethy Boy.

Because I’m Happy!

We spent part of our spring break in St. Louis.  Clay’s home office is there so we dropped him off to work and we went to have fun.

IMG_2753Clay’s office is located just down the street from Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.IMG_2757It is a beautiful office building with a fabulous view.IMG_2759It takes so little to impress us and even less to entertain us.IMG_2767My older two hadn’t been to the Science Center for many years, so that’s where we went.  The first stop was to master the flight simulators.IMG_2770This is outside the planetarium.  I was all about the selfies this trip.IMG_2773A sign said, “Do not feed or climb on dinosaurs.”  So, we just ran from them and poked them with large sticks.IMG_2782Technically, this is not climbing, it’s planking, captaining, and riding, so…


IMG_2822And the dino asked me to dance, so….still legit. IMG_2792

My kids built the arch.  Yep, they did.  My heart just about burst watching the four of them together.  Because, how many more of these moments do I really have left?  My guess is, not many.  Ellen is already out on her own and Seth is graduating this year. They are spreading their wings faster than I can catch them by the tail feathers and make them sit down and be a BABY!IMG_2795 IMG_2796 IMG_2798 IMG_2800 IMG_2803 IMG_2809I’m having a major Mom Moment right now.  I’m so proud of these four ridiculous human beings.  They are my reason for doing just about everything I do.

IMG_2810I’m amazed that I get to be their mom.  I hope I make them as proud as they make me.  I hope they love their children even more than I love them.  I know I’m going to love their children a ridiculous amount, so that may not be possible.IMG_2818 We ended the day by finding a very hip coffee shop that also made gellato in an old part of the city.  I love visiting St. Louis with my kids, we are such a rag-tag bunch of Kansans, but dad-gum we’re happy!