Living in the Midwest has taught me many values. Respect each other. Love. Take care of each other. Be happy. Try to not stress out with the little things, but instead take a deep breath and relax. Keep your family and friends involved in your life. Try to live off the land. In the past year and a half I have become more connected in the city I live in. I have been here for years, but some people think it is nothing but a college town. I disagree. This city is my home. My parents are here. My sister and her family are here. My grandma is here. I know the side streets (maybe not all the names but I know the area 🙂 ) There is a chance that I will get a job here after I graduate in May. I could buy my home here. I could get married and raise my children here. That is a big idea to get my head wrapped around. What if I should leave for a few years and then come back? I love Midwest values. I love the life I have had thus far. I love the childhood I had. I want to be able to keep those values, and possibly this environment.
Becoming more comfortable in this town has allowed me to meet more “locals” and this in return has keep me more grounded. My family has always been into gardening. I enjoy it, but I have never had a real garden of my own. I haven’t owned my own house yet, and I have lived in apartments since I moved out of my parents’ house. I am now in a rental house, and I have a fair amount of plants in pots, and I have fixed a few flower beds…and one tomato plant…but no garden. Yesterday I went out to a garden with my sister and her little ones. Her friends purchased about 40 acres of land a few years ago, and they have built their home and created a garden. They said that my sister and her family can pick as much as they would like from the garden, and in return they help keep the garden and can/freeze the produce.
While we were driving up the lane to get to the garden, we had to stop and back up…it was a little muddy and instead of getting the car stuck we decided to get out and get our feet muddy instead. While my sister was parking the car she told me to hop out and see if that was a turtle or frog out in the road. I was standing there searching for this animal, and I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t find it. And then I did. How my sister spotted this tiny guy is amazing. It was an adorable baby snapping turtle. He just sat there and stared up at me. He didn’t run away immediately. Estelle was able to see him, and I took a few photos and a video. Then he ran over to the side and we went on our way up the hill to the garden.
Just a little cutie! Can you spot him?
We went out with a mission of picking tomatoes. Or “matoes” as the little ones call them. Hazel did really well helping me pick cherry tomatoes as T worked on the monster roma tomato plants. Gabe came over and showed me that he picked a green bean, so we picked those too! Estelle was eating a tomato like an apple. It was quiet and peaceful. The color green was everywhere. This is how a summer day should be spent. With your family. Doing something that doesn’t cost a ton of money. Something that will benefit you in the long run. (My sister has made jars and jars and jars of tomato sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa is on the way.) I was able to bring home fresh tomatoes and basil, and tonight for dinner I am having the best salad ever. Here is the directions for one of my favorite Midwestern salads!
Tomato Mozz Salad:
- Tomatoes (fresh from a garden is the best)
- Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
- Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Fresh Basil leaves (again from a garden is the best)
- Cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into small chunks
- Slice the basil into small pieces
- Put it all in a bowl and add in dressing (as much or as little as you would like)
- Mix it up (or shake it) so all the ingredients are covered with the dressing
- Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (I like it best cold, but room temperature is good too)
Here are some photos from the amazing adventure I had with my family.
The little ones and T working away
Estelle checking out the corn
Gabe eating a green bean. Can not getting any healthier than that! Straight from the plant, straight to his tummy!
Myself with fresh peppers in hand
I have amazing people in my life that influence me to make each day better than the past. They know I have some bad habits that I need to change, and I am very lucky that they are supporting me in my changes. What can you do to make your day better?
Until again, alc