02.12.19 Chauvin Produce Company – Getting the Gardens Ready

It would be oh so nice for gardening to just be dumping some dirt out, making rows, planting some seeds and watching them grow!  But OH NO that is not how it is!

Our venture into gardening vegetables in the fall was a learning experience.  This year we are going the extra mile in every step along the way.

When I say “we” I mostly mean Roy.  I’m usually along for the ride helping make decisions, or doing some of the grunt work or supervising! For over a week we’ve been spending large chunks of most days on getting the garden ready to accept the plants when the seeds, the mirlitons, potatoes, garlic and sweet potatoes are ready to plant.

Again, our friends Chuck and Donna loaned us their tiller and our very gracious neighbor Daniel loaned us his trailer to pick up the tiller, dirt, and other items.  We used the tiller last year to prepare the blueberry beds and the small garden in the back yard.  This year Roy expanded the garden from 8′ x 16′ to 16′ x 16′.  We also prepared an area down by the pond where crawling fruit like watermelon and cantaloupe can grow.

I’ve tried to document with pictures all we’ve done and will try to identify what’s going on in each picture below.  I’m already thinking this may become a two part post because I’ve identified over 50 pics I want to share.  We’ll see.

The cool weather recently has allowed us to work for hours on end without being drained like the heat does.  We were worn slap out and our joints/muscles screamed at us after a few hours and overnight but we’re still standing and I have to think it was a healthy week of working out, at the very least.

Nothing is ever easy.  After Roy dug up all the grass where the garden expansion was he had to locate the electrical wire he laid down there last year to run electricity to our storage building. We couldn’t find pictures that showed exactly where it was so he dug until he found it.  The tiller would rip up the wire at the level it was, so after finding it he dug much deeper and relaid the line.  This was a full day’s project after the two days he spent digging up the grass.

We shopped for more frame lumber to go around the expansion portion of the garden and the rebar to make it all stable and stay in place. Here’s Roy working on putting it all together.

When we bought the boards and rebar we also bought five fence posts to create the fencing for my cucumbers and merlitons to grow all around.  Last years flimsy structure that cucumbers grew one was pitiful.  This one will withstand a hurricane!

The original gardens dirt/compost/peatmoss and the new gardens just dirt was tilled.  Over the course of this week I’d say Roy tilled both gardens entirely 10 different times.

One day last week Roy and I visited three different dirt pit locations to see, price and decide which dirt was best for us.  We chose a place called Zemurray Pit a few miles from here.  The guy running the place was very helpful and worked with us to get the best dirt before the rains came.

The next day Roy went to Lowe’s to buy the Peat Moss and Cow manure/compost, pick up the tiller and came home to till all that in. After the first tilling four huge bags of peat moss were added, I kicked it apart, raked it in several directions, Roy tilled it and I raked it one last time.

Here’s the bags of cow manure/compost that Roy added and I raked it out.  Roy tilled all of the peat moss and manure into the dirt. He tilled for a couple of hours before calling it a day.

He got up at 7:30 am the next morning (I know alot of ya’ll are at work then!) and went to get a huge load of dirt from Zemurray Pit.  He brought that home and tilled that into the stuff he tilled the day before. I got up when he came home and had worked for an hour and a day full of fun began for me.  What’s seen on the trailer below is what was left after he put half of the dirt in the garden with the nutrients and tilled it. 

Here’s the finished product.  One 16′ x 16′  vegetable garden that will withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and who knows whatelse!   Between doing research, shopping, and labor I estimate 30 hours went into this.  Certainly not the simple garden that the garden looks like! It’s amazing what all goes into it!

Here’s the view from the garden of what I call “down by the pond.”  The second garden that is down there isn’t as structured as this but many hours of work went into it also.

On our way down there looking back up the hill to the first garden.

Here’s where we tried out growing watermelons and cantaloupe last year.  There are some weeds that I knew would only get worse if I didn’t dig them up, so I did. Two hours later I was finished and Roy brought down the hill the remaining dirt.  At one point I crawled on top of the dirt to throw out onto the ground chunks of dirt.  It helped break them up to get ready to be tilled. Look at all my grey hair.  Can’t wait for the blonde stuff to go away so it will all be grey!

This is just the dirt raked out.  There are several inches of sand underneath the dirt. After church yesterday we went to Home Depot and picked up more Peat Moss for this garden area and several larger peat pots to move the seeded vegetables into when they get bigger, before they are ready to move outside. .

Here it is after Roy tilled the sand, dirt and peat moss together.

Roy handed me the shovel and sent me off to the front of the storage building to dig up sand that washed down the hill and settled there over time.  Roy rescued me and took over the digging going much deeper than I did.  He got several wheelbarrows of sand from that spot and dumped it behind the storage building for the garden. 

It was tilled before the dirt was added, after the dirt was added and after the peat moss was added.  I thought Roy was going to stop at that point but oh no, he kept on.

A lot of the dirt mixture behind the shed was shoveled into around 15 wheelbarrow loads and moved up the hill.  It is a steep hill and very difficult to get up with a wheelbarrow.  My honey did it though and about every couple of loads he’d rake the dirt over a large area next to the house we’ve been working on to get grass to grow for a while.  I have to admit I worried he’d pass out or die at this point.  I asked what I could do to help but he kept saying no.  He did rest often which is probably what saved my honey from something bad happening.

This is the area he dumped the dirt and spread it out before calling it a day and making a campfire near where Dora use to live so we could enjoy the beautiful weather outside after dark yesterday.  The soil mixture that he left behind the storage building is plenty for me to grow the second garden watermelon, cantaloupes, peanuts and maybe a couple of tomato plants there.

Some of the non seed plants we are helping sprout are our potatoes, garlic, mirlitons , sweet potatoes and Brussels sprout plants dug up from last years crop. Southerners know what mirlitons are and how absolutely wonderful the dishes they are cooked in are.  When our crop starts producing I’ll share some of the ways we cook it down here in the south!

We purchased three seed sweet potatoes.  They are cut up with either two eyes on them or the end for sprouting vines that are pretty.  Lots of people grow the vines in their garden just for the leaves, not the sweet potatoes! I’ve learned a lot about the difference between potatoes and sweet potatoes.  They are in no way related and grow in very different ways.  When the vines get to a certain point they are removed from the sweet potato since they don’t need it anymore.  They’ve grown roots by then and the vine with its roots are planted in the garden to grow more sweet potatoes.

The larger peat pots are in the picture below.  Our kitchen has turned into a plant sprouting place.  You can see the sprouts coming up really well in the other two pictures.  We’ve already decided that next years seeds will be planted in the little Jiffy pucks which are the little things in the smaller container in the second picture.

The only thing that isn’t planted for sprouting somewhere are the 100 yellow onion bulbs.  Those produce quickly and can wait a bit longer before being planted and can go directly into the ground.

Roy and I love the time we’ve spent on the road sitting around campfires visiting and enjoying the warmth of the fire.  We have some old wood we’ve wanted to burn for a while so Roy did that yesterday after it got dark.  Chip even came over to join us and got to have some dad/son bonding time when mama went to bed!

This garden project is wonderful for my brain because I am always doing research to find out something about growing some plant.  I don’t remember a lot for very long so I document it to go back to when the information is needed. That brings us current on the Chauvin Produce Company. Looks like I fit it into one post!

We are resting, catching up on things like this and a bit of being lazy today! Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

02.08.19 The Ten Commandments of Gumbo

Gumbo is one of the most beloved entrees here in the great state of Louisiana. People come from around the world to taste this amazing soupy concoction of rouxy goodness.

But don’t dare mess up any of the golden rules of a good gumbo. There are right and very wrong ways to make, serve and eat gumbo.

I, myself, break a couple of the commandments but I dare not say in public which ones…..

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GUMBO

I Thou Shalt Never Use Tomatoes
If we’ve learned anything from the Disney folks, it’s this. Any cooyon with half a brain knows “Making Gumbo 101” contains this golden rule — it’s roux-based and not tomato-based! Tomatoes are for things like spaghetti sauce.

II Thou Shalt Not Use Un-Cajun Sausage
Sausage in your gumbo can only come from authorized vendors. Brands like Savoie’s, Richard’s or any name ending in “eaux” and you good, bebe!

III Thou Shalt Not Use Store-Bought Roux
Don’t even entertain this thought. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some that are just fine…if you paresseux comme ca! This a movement that needs to start immediately. Don’t be lazy, stand by the stove and stir that flour and oil patiently until it’s a perfect brown.

IV Thou Shalt Always Use a Bowl
There is always that one person who “just can’t stand all that juice” and will insist on making them a plate of rice covered with gumbo. That’s not gumbo bruh, that’s rice and gravy!

V Thou Shalt Only Use a Wooden Spoon
I guarantee you that gumbo knows what’s stirring it. It has feelings too you know! There’s only one kind of spoon that can enter a gumbo pot, and that’s a wooden one.

VI Thou Shalt Adhere to the ‘Gumbo-to-Rice’ Ratio
Two parts gumbo, one part rice. It’s simple math. You don’t want it runny and you don’t want it ricey. (Yeah, I don’t know what “ricey” is either, but you comprende, oui?!)

VII Thou Shalt Always Keep Filé In Ya Cabinet
Don’t make me fill my bowl with rice then add all that chicken and sausage goodness, plop some potato salad next to it and then find out you out of filé. Oh, we gonna fight, yeah!

VIII Thou Shalt Not Mix Chicken & Sausage with Seafood
Chicken and sausage gumbo = mais yeah cher! Seafood gumbo = pie-yow comme ca! Chicken and Sausage + Seafood = that don’t go together, no! Stop that. Leave that separate please.

IX Thou Shalt Never Tell People Where the Potato Salad Goes
It’s an age-old question: Should the potato salad go straight in the bowl or in a bowl of its own? That’s a personal choice. It’s like politics, leave that discussion out of the kitchen.

X Thou Shalt Always Stir Your Gumbo Counter-Clockwise to scare off de Hurricanes

Just a little Cajun gumbo humor to start your weekend off right!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

01.31.19 Sunshine, Food and Family

What a wonderful time we had this past sunshiny Sunday afternoon with our family.  A lot has been happening in our families life not leaving much time for to just sit a spell and visit.

We got to do that Sunday with our son Chip, his wife Misty, their niece Haylee, and Chip’s friend Trey who he calls his son, so I think that makes Trey our grandson!   We ate bowls of chili and got to visit.  Here’s Misty, Chip, Trey and Haylee.  All of these photos are clickable to enlarge.

We went down by our pond where we had a nice long visit while Haylee and Trey road around the pond in our paddle boat.

Haylee is pretty good at catching fish with her hand.  This pic shows her holding a piece of bread tempting the fish to jump up to get it!

I love it when Roy brings his new drone out and takes videos and photos.

This is the screen on his ipad he uses to show what the drone sees.  These are some photos Roy took with his drone Sunday afternoon.

In the photo below,our house is on the left.  I absolutely love seeing our area from so high up! 

Having Chip, Misty and those two young people around was fun.  The weather was beautiful and the fellowship was even better!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

 

01.21.19 Our Superhero Swooped In!

We are not the superheros. I just remembered we had this photo and it made me smile so I’m sharing!

Monday, January 21, 2019 – You know how sometimes you have a friend that you haven’t seen in forever and you need something from them?  You contact them and being the special person they are they don’t hang up, even though it’s been forever since you talked last, and now you’re calling needing something!

Well, not only do they not hang up but they end up doing way more than you asked for.  Just cause they are that kind of person!

Our friend that just did this is John S. known by most as Chip S.  No, our Chip Chauvin was not named after him but he is the person named Chip that we got the idea from.  Chip is our son’s real name but Chip is John’s nickname.

Long, long ago before we had our sons I worked as a legal secretary for Chip at a law firm in New Orleans.  I’m not really sure how I came to work there but I remember eating a lot of Charles Chips there and him playing the guitar.  I again worked for him at a different law firm a couple of years later.  I believe it was during that time that Chip started writing a novel.  I was blessed to be the one who typed what he wrote during that time. We even went to Oak Alley Plantation one time to gather information for the novel.

We went our separate way but Chip sent us his family’s Christmas photo card each year so I got to watch his two sons grow up that way.  Maybe every five years or so we’d contact each other and then there was Facebook.  He continued to sporadically write his novel and now 40 plus years later he’s finished and it is being published!  The story line changed drastically over the years but the part I typed is still somewhere in there!  I’ve read parts of it and I think it’s great.  When it’s published and I get to read it I will be sharing about it here!

When we began communicating with the family that Dora is going to California to live with they sent us an agreement to consider that they entered into with someone else whose RV notes they took over.  We reached out to Chip to just review it.  We wound up having in depth conversations about various options he pointed out that we had with Dora.  He made important phone calls on our behalf and really helped us see much more than what we were focused on.  He listened to all our thoughts and concerns and explained so many things to us that helped us make our final decision. I’d rather not explain it all here but he once again proved why we will always be friends.  He didn’t lead us to make any specific decision, he just informed us so we could make a good decision.

He just finalized the agreement we will sign with the couple from California.  It is perfect for this unusual situation and I believe protects us and the other couple very well. Through this process I’ve felt so comforted to know that this Superhero attorney was on our side and had our best interest at heart.

Thanks Chip, from the bottom of our heart for your advice, support, guidance.  Anyone looking for an attorney superhero let me know and I’ll give you his contact information.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

 

 

11.17.18 New Rocks!!

Saturday, November 17, 2018 – My inventory (yes using a big word considering it’s about rocks) of rocks has dwindled to where I have been using big rocks from our driveway and road!  Living in the country on a gravel road does have it’s benefits! I prefer a little larger rock for my painting creations.

My son Chip and his beautiful wife Misty came through for me and added some new inventory to my rock pile!  On Chip’s day off he took me to Smith’s Landscaping in Ponchatoula and helped me gather many, many rocks.  64 pounds worth.  Here’s photos of me at Smith’s so very happy!

Here’s the first four rocks I painted with these rocks.  Smith’s Landscaping also paints rocks.  When we were there they were working on some strawberry rocks and were selling a bunch of Santa Claus rocks.  I loved their Santas so I tried my hand at copying the Santa rocks.  Mine are above here and theirs are in the second photo below.

Anyone wanting to purchase for me some rocks please go to Smith’s Landscaping and help me out! A girl can hope, right??

I believe I’ve finished painting the rocks for my rock village.  My grandchildren have contributed to the village.  I have it all on the dresser in our bedroom and hope to set it up this week.  I’ll share when that’s done.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

11.11.18 Chauvin Produce Company ends its 2018 production due to freeze

Monday, November 11, 2018 – Yes, I knew what I’d be doing today! My little venture into gardening is probably over for the year but I’ve learned so many lessons that will help with our spring crops! Recommendations for what we should grow in the spring are welcome!

We picked lots of radishes before Monday but these were the last of the radish crop! I’ve been enjoying them in my salads made from lettuce, cucumber and radishes from the garden!!!

Somehow this photo makes my carrot crop look like the carrots are bigger than they are.  The largest was no bigger than my little finger 🙂 but they will be perfect in a salad.

The little carrots and radishes after being cleaned up

I was growing the turnips for the bottoms. I think they didn’t have enough time in the ground to get nice and large.  Roy however loves the turnip tops so that meant we spent some hubby wife time at the kitchen sink rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing then peeling the leaves off the stems, then rinsing and rinsing some more.  The tiny bottoms will be cleaned up and cooked along with the tops.  Here’s the little bottoms:

Here’s a few of the turnip green tops:

Here’s the two bags of turnip green leaves, and a picture with the tiny turnip bottoms in it, after all the washing and work.  It’s amazing to me that we grew two rows of turnips and MAYBE we’ll get two meals of turnip greens.

We lived in Minnesota for five months our first year on the road.  While there we grew tomatoes, some of which were still quite green when it was time for us to leave there.  We picked them and eventually all turned red and were delicious.  I am hopeful that’s what will happen with all of these tomatoes below.  I did leave a few small ones on the bushes to see what would happen with a couple of nights with freezing temperatures.  I went down the hill to where the watermelon’s are growing and said goodbye to the two little watermelons there.  Aren’t they precious!  Can’t wait to grow some next year at the right time of the year so they can be eaten!!!

The two peanut plants are doing well.  Don’t know how the freeze will affect them, we’ll see!

I left a few green onions, a few small tomatoes, a few cucumbers and all of the new okra so I can see how they do in a slight freeze. Another thing I hope to learn from.

This is all of the cucumbers I picked today.  Guess I’ll be pickling cucumbers this week!  

The small turnip roots all cleaned up (before they were chopped up and in the bag a few photos above) and what’s left of the green onions.  We’ve enjoyed going out to pick a fresh one to sprinkle on top when we’re having baked potatoes. 

I’ll let ya’ll know if any of the vegetables we left on the bush, vine, etc. make it through the freeze and do anything.  The weather experts now say that tonight will go down to 28 for four hours tomorrow night and the following night.  We’ll see!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

11.09.18 I know what I’ll be doing on Monday!

Friday, November 9, 2018 – Well, I know what I’ll be doing Monday.  Starting possibly Monday but definitely Tuesday and Wednesday the temperature lows overnight in our area will be between 29 degrees and 31 degrees which is below freezing.  We can’t leave the vegetables in the garden to freeze!  Too much love and effort has gone into the garden to let that happen.

This is Louisiana so we may have 80 degree weather the following week until Christmas but next week there is a freeze so I have to deal with that.

Monday I’ll be picking all of the tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, okra, carrots, and lettuce.  The okra may only be small but I’m going to try to pickle them.  The cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts and bell peppers haven’t produced anything yet so they will get to freeze 😦   Our sweet little watermelons aren’t nearly big enough to pick so their life is over too! That doesn’t sound right but I am sure you know what I am saying.

Our blueberry bushes (in their current space next to the fence) just got pruned in this cold, windy, damp weather.  They finally are dormant and now pruned.  Roy will dig them up and transplant them in their new location by the house tomorrow.  The ground in their current space and the new space is soggy, soggy, so it will make transplanting them much easier.

Before pruning – there are five in the back and three in the front.  Four had no leaves and four still had some leaves.  This picture was taken last week so they were minus a lot more leaves when I pruned them.

After pruning

The cucumbers that I pickled (using a refrigerator method) are ready and we are really enjoying them.  They taste just like kosher dills!

Even Roy loves these delicious pickles!!

I’d do them all that easy way but they will only stay good in the refrigerator for one to two month and I’d like to have some around longer.  Since I have to pick them Monday a bunch of them will not be able to grow larger.  I may try making small cucumbers into pickles.  It’s worth a try.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

11.05.18 Early Voting – Vote Republican, Painted Rocks, Cucumbers, Baseball Cards!

Monday, November 5, 2018 – Early voting for the mid-term elections is over.  In our first voting as new (again) Louisiana voters we went to the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse and voted at the Registrar of Voters office last Monday.  Seems that gone are the days of stepping inside the big voting pole and having the curtain closed behind you.  Now there is a fairly open to everyone small electronic voting booth.  Every one of these small booths was occupied which confirms what I’ve heard of high percentages of people choosing to vote early rather than waiting for voting day.

America has been becoming Great again since the day President Donald J. Trump was elected.  It is over the top important that every one gets out to vote on November 6th and more important that just voting is to

I do not like all the tacky, untasteful, etc. words that sometimes come out of our President’s mouth.  I do LOVE all the progress our country has made under his Presidency. He is, regardless of the fake news, Making America Great Again. I firmly believe we need more REPUBLICANS in the Senate and House so that the President’s agenda can continue to move forward.  Please get out on voting day, November 6th and vote intelligently, vote REPUBLICAN.

After we met with Elisa from People’s Health, Roy and Chip went on a guy’s road trip.  When our sons were young they collected baseball cards and have a huge collection.  Chip remembers when he’d go to work with his dad, Roy, they would buy a box of baseball cards and open all the packs. He loved that.  Someone posted on Facebook that they had a wrapped box of 1990 Upper Deck baseball cards (the good ones) for sale in Pearl River.  They drove there, bought the cards and came home to open them!  It was fun for even me watching them open the packs and reminisce about pro ball players we’ve followed in years past.

Our vegetable garden is doing well. The cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, turnips and radishes are doing great.  We pick lettuce every day and have harvested the radishes and planted more lettuce and radishes in their place.  The lettuce is reproducing itself each time we pull some leaves! The carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are doing well but I don’t know if they will produce before it gets too cold.  We’ll see!  All of the lessons we are learning with this crop will help us with the spring garden.

The cucumbers in the photo below are just a tiny portion of the crop we have growing!  There must be 100 cucumbers on the vines! I’m going to learn how to pickle cucumbers and would love anyone’s tried and true pickling recipe and instructions for how to do it!

The little watermelons, cantaloupe and peanut garden that is located down the hill near the pond are another learning experience.  When the time is right next year we’ll do this again in the same place.  Here’s how the watermelons are doing right now.  I think they are adorable, just too little to eat yet!

I love the view out of our living room windows.  When the cows are in the picture it is even better!  We have squirrels scampering around now and I love it!  The sun setting view is exceptional! The colors in the picture are just a smidgen of the beautiful colors we actually see.

I am still loving my rock painting and took pictures when I finally got it straightened up and back to being organized!

My view of the back yard, pond and garden out the rock painting room window is very special!

We had bad weather come through a couple of days ago and we woke up to the garden being in bad shape.  Everything is now standing back up and I am hopefully the emergency care will help the plants do well again.

We delivered Dora yesterday evening to LSU’s campus for a weekend of tailgating.  It is such an amazing campus, we really enjoyed this delivery to a really great lady and her family!

That’s the goings on in Chauvin world last week! Ya’ll come back now ya hear!

10.17.18 Tangipahoa Parish Fair 2018

Click to enlarge. These words of wisdom are great!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The Tangipahoa Parish Fair 2018 was last weekend.  The school children were allowed off of school the Friday of that weekend.  We’ve lived in Tangipahoa Parish (that’s like a county in other states) for over 30 years and have never been to the fair.  We went this year and took our granddaughter Madisyn to it.

The day started with the Tangipahoa Parish Fair Parade.  We have parades for everything in Louisiana and each fair has a parade.  We live in Amite, Louisiana which is the parish seat for Tangipahoa.  The parade went through the downtown of our small town.  All of the schools in the parish were represented by their cheerleaders, dance teams, flag teams and bands marching in the parade.  There was a lot of candy and lots of beads thrown and we caught a bunch of it! Here are some photos of the groups that marched.

I thought this tractor with the umbrella and flags we just adorable! 

I love horses in any parade.  This is all there was in this parade but they were very pretty.

We love this little munchkin so much and love taking photos of her with us!  She’s growing up so much I’ll have to stop with the “little munchkin” thing I guess.  Probably won’t though!

Madisyn is in 4H at her new school and this was their display in the 4H building.

That wraps up this exciting event in our lives! Probably not the most exciting event ever but any time we spend with our grandchildren is very special! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!