Blackberry Pork Chops

I’ve been helping out our hockey team after work, and let me tell you, it’s kind of amazing.  Not even kind of, it IS amazing.  It’s been incredibly rewarding, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity.  And the added oomph to my sweet sock line.

It hasn’t been leaving as much time for homesteading, though, as I originally anticipated.  Things are still looking great, thanks in large part to JGL, and we’re still cranking out veggies (there are still tons of green tomatoes hanging out, and we have a small forest of jalapenos just waiting for me to dream up something to do with it).  But unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot of fabulous new updates for you.

BUT, we did have a fabulous dinner tonight–rosemary-pecan encrusted pork chops with a blackberry-vinegar reduction.  And some asparagus.  And some beans that JGL found buried under some of our marigolds.  Not bad for a Monday!

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Mums the Word

We struck garden gold this past weekend at our local Lowes and the little Mennonite store down the street.  Long story short, we were able to get 6 large sized mums, several flats of bright orange and crimson marigolds, and more bright blue lobelia.  What should have been about $75-$100 worth of plants ended up being about $20, thanks to reasonably priced mums at Andersons, and a 90% off shelf of plants at Lowes.  We’re trying to be better about adding more fall color to the front, and I’m incredibly thrilled and how it’s staring out.

Marigold Pairing

The other day our sweet across the street neighbors invited us over to take a peek at their gardens in the back.  They are certainly accomplished gardeners, and have been incredibly helpful in establishing some of our gardens.  Rusty was most proud, though, of his tomatoes, which much to my disbelief were almost as tall as I am and had several green tomatoes clinging to the vine.

Ours are not looking this good.

JGL immediately noticed that the plants were also free of those pesky little holes from where bugs and other critters nibble, and when he asked how they prevented that, Rusty pointed to the base of the plant and simply said, “Marigolds.”  For every plant there was a companion Marigold, which apparently helps prevents the bugs, deer, and other unmentionable critters from feasting on a harvest.

Considering that I remembered that a flat of 6 marigold plants were on sale for 99 cents a piece, let’s just say all of our plants are snuggling up close to a friend right about now.