Friday, July 27, 2012

What is a Drought?

As I’ve mentioned before, most of the state of Indiana is in a drought.  Henry County, Indiana was just added to over 1,300 other counties that has been declared part of the "Drought Disaster List" and our crops certainly show it.  With that information in mind I was thinking to myself, what really defines a drought?

According to the National Weather Forecast, “a drought is a period of unusually persistent dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area.”  In Henry County, IN during the month of June, we had .56 of an inch of rain all month according to our local weather source.

I know that the current drought situation has severely had an effect on our crops.  With hardly any moisture, the corn stalks have produced tassels prematurely and the ears that are developing are miniature compared to what they should be.  The soybean crop has also been hit, as the plant itself is half the normal size it should be and the pods more than likely will not amount to much.  The orchard down the road from us is hauling water to their pumpkins so they will sprout and grow in the fall.  The local creek beds have dried up and critters and varmints are beginning to inch closer to civilization just for a drink of water. 

What should you do during a drought? 

Obviously, conserve water!  The American Red Cross encourages consumers to never pour water down the drain because you can probably use it somewhere else.  A good example of this would be when we had sweet corn and I let the water in the cooking pot cool down, and then watered some of my outdoor plants with it.  Other ways to conserve water are:

·         Turning the water off while you brush your teeth or shave.

·         Don’t flush your toilet unless you have to (like flushing a bug down it).

·         Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washer. 

For the outdoors:

·         Stop watering your yards!  If water needs to be conserved, your lawn sure doesn’t need it.   

·         Pick the plants you want to keep and put mulch around them.  This will help keep moisture in the soil.

·         Supply away from your house, a gallon or two (depending on the severity of the drought) of water a day for the birds, squirrels, etc to have a drink.  They are thirsty too!

This year, Bill and I have given up on our normal beautiful garden because we are trying to conserve water.  I no longer have beautiful plants outside on my porch...but on the plus side, I don't have to mow the yard!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rupert from Survivor

I haven't been on here for the last two weeks blogging.  So much can happen in just a short amount of time.  Where I have been?  Well, each year in July, our office hosts the local 4-H fair for the county and it is a wonderful (yet hot and humid) time for all.  Since Bill and I can't have children, it's such a blessing to us to be able to help these young 4-H members grow and develop in the program and then go on to be successful young adults. 

This year, we had a celebrity, so to speak, visit the fair.  Rupert Boneham from the television show "Survivor" is running for governor, yes I said governor for the state of Indiana.  He stopped by our fair to judge our first ever "Ice Cream Crank Off" in memory of long time ice cream enthusiasts Leona Mae Clark.  Then he stuck around to meet and greet 4-H members and families. 

While he was signing autographs and visiting with 4-H members, I was able to get to know Rupert a little bit better.  He is a unique individual.  With him, what you see is what you get.  He was excellent with everyone that stopped by to visit with him.  He loved telling the kids that he won a million dollars just by being nice to others and having respect for himself and others.  He encouraged the youth to be kind to each other and strive to be their best.  He never once said that he was running for governor and to vote for him.  He promoted the golden rule over politics.  I was impressed.

Afterwards, Bill and I were invited to go out to dinner with some of our 4-H friends and Rupert was going to be attending as well...I'm thinking to myself, how cool is this?  At dinner, he was funny and intelligent in his speaking.  He made sure to thank the servers at the restaurant before he left for allowing all of us to eat in a private room uninterrupted.  He even signed autographs for all the employees at the restaurant.

Rupert, thank you for being you.  You were the highlight of the 4-H fair for me. 
When was the last time you've been to the fair?

Oh Sweet Corn

There is nothing better in the summer time than biting into an ear of freshly buttered sweet corn.  We have an orchard just down the road from us that sells sweet corn and we usually buy it from them for dinner once or twice a week during the summer and although we are still in the middle of a drought, we had our first batch of really good sweet corn last night.

To cook my sweet corn, I bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, drop the ears of corn into the boiling water and let it cook for 5 minutes.  Slap some butter on it and enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dinner in a Bag

Sometimes you just don't have time to cook a gourmet meal for dinner.  On those nights, I like something easy to prepare and one of our new favorite things is a meal in a bag from J.T.M. called the "Philly Cheese Steak Kit."  You can make it in a matter of minutes and I usually serve it with potato salad and there you have it!  A complete dinner:)

I purchased my kit at Kroger in the frozen foods section.  I know that Wal-Mart also carries this item.  The kit comes with four blocks of Philly Beef Steak, four frozen rolls, a bag of frozen mozzarella cheese, and a bag of frozen onions. 

The first thing you do is put the rolls in the oven to warm up while you're cooking the beef steak.  Next throw the beef steak in a skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, flip cook 2-3 minutes on the other side and the meat just crumbles.

Next add 1/2 your onions and cook until they are heated through.  The meat is from two of the beef steaks.  I like to cook them two at a time.  When everything is nice and done, I usually go ahead and throw some of the cheese on here and let it melt a little.

Take your rolls out of the oven, add the meat/onion/cheese mixture and you're done.  I usually add a little BBQ sauce to mine, but my husband likes them as is.  There you have it.  Couldn't be any simpler.  Just make sure the rolls are heated all the way through.  It may take them a little longer than everything else.

Note:  The directions are on the back of the bag.  I vary a little from J.T.M.'s directions, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Call Us Fiona

Green toes for the 4-H Fair is an office tradition.
Every year, our office conducts the local 4-H Fair fair our county.  We basically plan and prepare all year long for this community event.  We enjoy doing it and love seeing the 4-H members grow and blossom in each of the projects they are doing.

One thing us girls enjoy each year, is going to the local nail salon and having our toes painted green.  This year was no exception.  Ladies, if you have never had a pedicure, I encourage you to pamper yourself a little and go get one!  They are amazing!  First, they let you sit in a back massaging chair as your feet are soaking.  Then they trim your toe nails and cuticles, trim the rough skin off the bottom of your feet, scrub your feet, get a lotion leg massage, then your toes nails are painted the color of your choice.  All in about 45 minutes.  Feels great.

We inevitably go with a green color, since 4-H is represented by a green 4 leaf clover.  While my toes were being painted I said, this looks more like a Shrek color green...and since Judy and I had the same color, the gentlemen replied back, "well, I guess Shrek now has two Fiona's."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Veggie Pizza

With temperatures in the high 90's, I've been looking through my recipe books for things to make that are cool and refreshing to eat.  When it's this hot outside, we just don't feel like eating.  Today, I decided I would make a Vegetable Pizza.

Veggie Pizza


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Other optional veggies: green or red peppers, tomatoes, radishes

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    1. Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a 9x13 inch baking sheet, and pinch together edges to form the pizza crust.
    2. Bake crust for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Once finished cooking, remove crust from oven and let cool 15 minutes without removing it from the baking sheet. I usually, go ahead and use a pizza cutter to cut the crusts into squares.
    3. In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and dry Ranch dressing. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange veggies over the entire pizza and finish by sprinkling Cheddar cheese over the top. Chill for one hour, slice and serve.

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Triple Digits

    Here in Indiana, we've been seeing triple digit temperatures and triple digit heat indexes.  To say the least, it's been HOT!  When I left work the other day, my car thermometer read 109 degrees.  Some parts of the county that we live in have seen less than 1/2" of rain the entire month of June.  No rain is a really bad thing when you're married to a farmer and those crops are a major part of your income.  Specialists are saying this is the worst drought to hit our crops since 1988.  How does the drought impact the crops?  No rain or moisture in the soil will cause the crop to produce much lower yields because they are not getting the nutrition (i.e. through rain) they need to grow and pollinate.

    Our crops aren't the only thing suffering.  We've been diligent in watering our garden nightly, but it still looks sad.  We haven't mowed our yard in over a month because the only thing growing are the weeds.

    In heat like this it's important to remember your outdoor pets and animals. 
    • Water frequently
    We have chickens on the farm and Bill water's them three times a day with cold fresh water, even if they appear to have water from earlier.  Sometimes my hens get so hot that they will just go and stand in the water to cool off.  We have a water trough outside and many indoor drinkers to provide them with water.

    • Provide shade/shelter from the sun
    Even though it doesn't seem like much, a little bit of shade helps tremendously when that hot sun is scorching down on you.  Your animals need that as well.

    • Don't play with or over exert your pet/animals.
    In this kind of heat, if you don't have to run around - DON"T!

    Now in saying all of this, these rules apply for us humans as well.  Get plenty of fluids on hot days, cool off in the shade when you can and don't over exert yourself.

    Keep praying for rain!!!

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    KY Friends

    Nothing is better than seeing friends and spending time with them.  In high school you get to see each other every day and spend time together in the evenings and on the weekends, but then real life sets in and there are jobs, marriages, and meetings that get in the way.  I am very thankful that I have 3 close friends from high school that we make it a point to see each other on a regular basis.  Although our friend Wendi has moved to Kentucky, we planned a girls weekend get-a-way to see her.

    This is Wendi and her beautiful daughter Ansley.

    While visiting Wendi, we were able to enjoy her sweet daughter Ansley.  Such a happy baby who smiled all the time...except when she was hungry and needed a diaper change.  She got lots of love from her three Auntie's while we were there.  That was a lot of the fun, getting to spoil Ansley. 

    The Nascar race was going on in Sparta while we were there, so there was quite a bit of traffic.  We did make our way to Georgetown, KY and had lunch and walked around a Peddler's Mall.  That was so much fun. 
    At the Peddler's Mall, I found a neat idea that I can't wait to try, especially since we're remodeling our home.  You take an old window and put an old quilt behind it to sort of "frame" it.  I have several old quilts that I would love to try this with.  Additionally, I hate to divide a quilt, but I am thinking of cutting one up and giving them to my siblings for Christmas.  What do you think of this idea?

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Happy 4th of July

    It's hard to believe that today is July 4th.  Our county and most of the state of Indiana is under a burn ban because of the current drought situation.  Here in Henry County, if you get caught setting off fireworks, you will be fined and could possibly visit the local jail.  The local officials will be having their normal fireworks however, but it's just not the same.  I can take or leave the fireworks, but I always like to reflect on those families who are without their loved ones because they are serving our country in the military. 

    Today, I'm just chilling at home at taking it easy.  We are remodeling our living room and dining room, so there isn't much house work to do.  I think we're going to have steaks on the grill for dinner, so we needed something cool to go with the steaks...especially since it's in the high 90's outside.

    I had seen a recipe on Pinterest not to long ago that I've been wanting to try out.  It's a Paul Dean recipe and after I made it this morning, I decided it was a keeper.  In the summer, when onion, tomatoes and cucumbers are plentiful this is a recipe that you can whip together in minutes.

    Aunt Peggy’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad

    This is Paula Dean's Aunt Peggy’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad

    1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I didn't have any today, so I omitted them)
    1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    We like the taste of apple cider vinegar, so I added about 3 T total to the recipe.  We were out of tomatoes, so we just skipped them.  This was a really quick, tasty recipe for a hot day!