Big stories don't happen every day on Sunnybook Farm. Mostly life is everyday stuff, like watering the garden.
You do things because they have to be done, but good things happen - like a zucchini growing three inches overnight, at least it seemed that way.
I sliced and cooked the first zucchini in butter. I thought, Yum, but Bob wouldn't even taste it. Now he has me thinking up ways I can sneak . . . I mean creatively cook zucchini so he will eat it. I could never eat all that squash by myself.
One foolproof way to get Bob to eat some of that long green vegetable is to put it in a quick bread. He's already eaten some zucchini bread I bought at the Methodist church bake sale. I didn't have to disguise it or anything.
Bob knew what he was eating and he liked it. It didn't hurt that there were chocolate chips in the bread.
More zucchini is coming our way, too - you wouldn't believe what one plant can produce.
My next recipe will be zucchini lasagna. It's easy. All you do is slice the squash lengthwise, getting nice strips and then replace the noodles in the lasagna recipe with the vegetable slices.
The rest is the same: layers of zucchini, sauce, and cheeses, maybe a bit of ground beef. Lucky for me, Bob will eat anything with cheese on it - actually, zucchini doesn't have much taste itself. It takes on the flavor of the sauce and seasonings.
Baking the lasagna would make the kitchen hot these days. I don't want to do that. To fix that, I created a summer kitchen for myself.
The other day, I put a pork roast in a crockpot, set up a table on our screened-in porch, and plugged in the crockpot there. It cooked for hours, undisturbed.
I almost forgot about it, but when I did remember it, we had the enough tender pulled pork to last for days. Enough to be frozen or to share with company and the kitchen wasn't made a bit hot by the hours of slow cooking outside.
I'm not so sure about making the lasagna in the crockpot, but I have another idea. Not too long ago, I bought a toaster oven. It will work perfect for making my special lasagna.
At first, I thought I could keep my little oven on the porch for the hot weather as my summer kitchen, but that didn't work.
Dust floated in and coated it. (There's so much dust this year and no rain to dampen it.) So I covered the toaster oven with a huge plastic bag, thinking this would keep the dust off, but that didn't work either.
The dust coated the bag inside and out. The solution was to bring the oven inside for storage when I wasn't using it and haul it onto the porch when I want to bake in it - using my built-in kitchen oven not only heats up the house, and it doesn't work well.
It either heats way up or cools down on its own accord no matter where the controls are set. Can't figure out why, except that it's about as old as I am. Guess we'll be looking for a replacement eventually, hopefully before Thanksgiving.
My garden also supplies us with lettuce and onions for salads. I love walking outside, picking enough to eat, then returning to the house with my preparations - Bob will eat salad as long as I don't overdo it. He has his limits.
As for another piece of life, we haven't been doing a lot of lawn mowing lately. The grass isn't growing because lack of rain.
Bob's favorite pastime is driving his zero-turn mower. When things get crazy farming, he usually can leave it for a while and cut some grass.
Not this year though. Only a few odd weeds pop up when it's this dry. Still you can see some of my husband's creative handiwork in the lawn.
If you drive by and see patches of tall weeds sticking up here and there, you may think Bob did a rotten job mowing. But look closer at those weeds. They are daisies.
Those flowers came of their own accord; maybe with the help of birds, I'm not sure. There's patches in the mowed ditch and even a few flowers in our lawn.
There's no rhyme or reason where they are, so Bob had to delicately mow around them. Why, you may ask. He did it for me.
Bob knows I love daisies and that I have not had a lot of luck growing them in my flower garden where they belong. So my husband took the time to avoid cutting those daisies and I smile every time I see them - Bob may not be one for buying me bouquets of flowers, but he does have his moments.
As I said, nothing special is happening here, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening. Life goes on.
What is not usual is my preparations to speak at Farm Technology Days July 17, 18, and 19. I'm currently working on my presentations. Bob and I can't wait for the big days to arrive. Hope to see you there.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;