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DIY Popcorn!

Growing popcorn in the garden is a fun way to teach kids about gardening with a special reward at the end.

You can grow popcorn stalks the same way you would sweet corn; just not both at the same time.

Late in the summer, the kernels on the ears will harden and it’s time to harvest.

Our resident zipper spider ; )

Strip the ears and give them some time to dry out and fully harden. I also discovered this handy popcorn tool that makes the job much easier (and less painful) than twisting off the kernels by hand.

Now the popcorn kernels are ready to store or cook on the stove. (one year we even tossed an ear that still had kernels in the microwave…lots of laughs but makes a mess…worth doing once though)

Eat and enjoy!

DIY Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are awesome garden plants for lots of reasons. They grow fast, and they grow big so kids love them. Birds love the seeds, bees love the flowers. And after the rest of the garden is done for the summer you can easily harvest the seeds for a fun salty treat. Here are a few pointers:

– grow big sunflowers that have big seeds

– black seeds have a bad taste and stain your skin so stick with gray or white seeds like Mammoth varieties

– let the sunflowers die and turn ugly brown before harvesting

– Cut the heads off the stalks and let the kids help you work the seeds out into a pile

– take the seeds inside, dump them out and separate the seeds from all of the leaves and dirt

– put the seeds in salt water overnight

– spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and add more salt

– cook at 300 degrees for 30-ish minutes and stir several times along the way

– err on the side of over cooking so your seeds dry out and get crunchy (damp seeds are chewy)

– pop them out of the oven and enjoy them while they are still warm!

Dove Hunting

We bought the bigger part of our farm just 18 months ago. This was our first stab at working up our own dove field to hunt. So a morning hunt with a couple of doves on our own farm was a big win and lots of fun.

Shootin’ Skeet

With opening day of dove hunting season just two weeks away, it’s a good idea to practice shooting clay targets.

We have three young shooters this year so it’s also a good chance to go over all the rules to keep everyone safe.

Shooting is fun and competitive among brothers with plenty of chances for us to see who the top shot of the day will be.

Doubling Down

Charles got a 20 gauge double barrel for his 12th birthday back in spring. Dove season is just around the corner so it was time for some shooting lessons.

And we topped off the lesson by scouting for turkeys in prep for the fall turkey season. Look closely.

Recently I headed out to do some bush hogging with our Corgi, Persimmon, in tow. As we passed the cows, she couldn’t resist the urge to chase them.

I just kept on going but soon I realized the cows weren’t running away anymore…in fact they started surrounding her.

Things started to get ugly fast. So I plucked her from an early demise and she made the trip riding high on the John Deere.

If you start planning your garden at Christmas, and spend January buried in seed magazines searching for the oldest heirloom seeds, and you start your baby tomato plants under lights in February, and pairing down to your best 70 seedlings of 20 varieties of tomatoes breaks your heart, and you pray your little plants won’t all be wiped out by a late frost and you spend the next two months in anticipation of your favorite tomatoes to eat during every single meal all summer, seeing your 15 month old baby girl pick her first one and devour it right there in the garden is a special moment that can make every gardener tear up a little bit.