Posts filed under ‘gardening’

Making a wish list

My husband and I have been working on creating wish lists for each other for future gift buying situations, and also just for fun. (There’s not much budget for actual shopping, so it’s fun to dream)

My wish list has some of the usual suspects for a girl … purses, jewelry, perfume. But also some unusual items:

A pretty compost pail ... the fact that we're not already composting shames me

Le Creuset stock pot in Caribbean blue. I would just leave it on my counter. I can't stop looking at it.

A food processor ... in aqua preferably. 🙂

And the several years from now wish. How dreamy is this greenhouse? Now imagine it with a vintage chandelier in it, overstuffed chair with ottoman, small bookshelf, a million candles, and tons of flowering plants. Heaven.


February 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm 3 comments

New song obsession: The Garden


As if the warm weather weren’t enough to tempt me to be working in the garden, I heard this amazing song on KXCV’s amazing Rhythm and Roots program two weeks ago and it’s been on constant repeat.

Check out Ruth Moody’s The Garden CD if you get a chance, it’s amazing, bluegrassy goodness.

And the beautiful lyrics of The Garden:

O light shine down on me
You know what I need
Shine down on me
Shine down on the garden

Sweet earth alive under me
You know what I need
Cradle me like a seed
As I lay in the garden

O wise and beautiful tree
Standing high over me
Oh the things you have seen
Tell me your story in the garden
Tell it to me in the garden

And tell me
How long have we slept
How long have we wept
There’s work to be done

Sky above
so vast and so deep
You know what I need
Rain down on me
Rain down on the garden

O light surrounding me
Sweet mystery
In everything I see
Come and find me in the garden

And tell me
How long have we slept
How long have we wept
There is work to be done
In the garden


*Dreamy sigh*

February 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

Garden plans for spring

Valentine bush bean

Orange banana tomato

It always happens. February rolls around and I can’t wait to get my hands in the garden. (Come 110 degree weather in July, this feeling fades fast.)

Most of the garden is filled with perennial flowers, a lot of which are native species. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvisation from year to year, but I always find ways to sneak in some herbs and veggies. (All photos from, my favorite place to order seeds from)

Plans for this spring:

Green onions

Amarillo (yellow) carrots

Cosmic purple carrots

Snow white carrots

Regular orange carrots




Genovese basil

SIam queen thai basil

Black cherry tomato

Slo-bolt cilantro

Cosmic purple carrots

Dragon tongue bush bean

Frosted queen mix bachelor's button (I know, not a vegetable)

Green grape tomato - super excited to try this

Green zebra tomatoes - a yearly favorite

Illini gold

Jujube cherry tomato

Lemon cuke cucumber

Lilliput mix - zinnia

Riesentraube tomato

Royalty purple pod bush bean - another yearly favorite. Turns green when cooked, great taste, prolific grower.

Sungold select

Violet jasper

February 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm 2 comments

Green tomato and dried cherry relish

This year, I had way more green tomatoes left on the vine than any other year. Thanks to two volunteer tomato plants that grew three times larger than my other tomato plants, I knew I had to find a recipe to take advantage of the bumper crop.

The third attempt was the charm. (The first attempt was using a green pickles recipe by Emeril Lagasse that turned into a hard rock of carmel – not usable. The second attempt was an adaptation of my refrigerator pickle recipe, and after several days those started to taste good, but still not perfect.)

This idea was inspired by Martha Stewart’s recipe:

However, I had many more tomatoes than she had in her recipe, and was missing some ingredients. I adapted and it turned out so tasty.

Here’s what I did:

8 cups of green tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces (halved if they are cherry tomatoes, quartered for grape/plum tomatoes, etc)
1 large white onion, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup dried cherries, chopped into very small pieces
1 large cucumber, deseeded and chopped into bite sized pieces

In large sauce pan, bring 3 cups brown sugar, 3 cups vinegar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, 1 teaspoon ginger to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add vegetables/cherries to mixture and reduce to low boil/high simmer for 15-25 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft, some of the liquid has evaporated, and before the tomatoes have begun to disintegrate. Pour into mason jars (this made about 1.5 32 ounce mason jars worth of relish), including enough of the syrup to add some flavor but not so much that it would be swimming (think consistency of pickle relish).

Store in refrigerator for up to a month. Delicious on pork chops, pork loin, grilled cheese sandwiches and more.

October 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

The dumping of the iPhone photos, part 2


Spoiled puppy

Beautiful day for a Bearcat football game

To a sold-out crowd of more than 10,000!

The 100th anniversary of the Administration Building at Northwest

I think my reading pile has gotten a little out of hand ...

One of the last garden harvests for the season 😦

Preparing to play tennis ... badly

Attempting to make green tomato pickles (another post for another day)

A view from my drive to work every day

October 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Recession cooking

As we are tightening our belts, the first thing we started to look at was food cost savings. Eating out is out. Grocery shopping is on a major budget and based off what’s on sale. It’s been a struggle to find cheap things to make that were also tasty, so I thought I’d share some of our recent creations for those in similar situations.

English muffin pizzas (serving size: 5-6. Price per person: 60 cents)

1 bag sourdough English muffins. Split each into two disks, lay on two baking sheets with middle parts of muffin laying up. (Should make 10-12 mini pizzas)

For sauce, look for what is leftover in your fridge. Sure, you can use leftover marinara from pasta, but think outside of the box. Use ranch dressing. We used spinach artichoke dip that was leftover from a party. Spread your base down.

We topped with roma tomatoes from the garden, pineapple tidbits (cheap at 50 cents for a small can) and pieces and stems of mushrooms (also less than $1), and then with mozzarella cheese.

Broil at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and slightly golden (about 10 minutes)

Total expense:

77 cents for English muffins

about 50 cents, 1/4 container of Leftover spinach dip

50 cents, pineapple tidbits

$1, canned mushrooms

75 cents worth of shredded mozzarella

Total: $3.52 for 6 meals

October 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm 3 comments

Garden sadness

It has taken me a bit to be over this enough to write this, but, our house was hit by a microburst two weeks ago while we were in Kansas City visiting with my inlaws. Luckily, our house was OK, but our garden and backyard – not so much.

Huge, huge branches cracked off of our maple tree in the back, sending a 25-foot branch crashing against our cable lines and power lines. Yes, this was sad and a P.I.T.A., but the saddest, oh the saddest – was the 15-foot-long branch that feel smack dab in the middle of my backyard garden. Half of my sunflowers were broken at the neck, and nearly all of my flowering lemon balm was crushed. My backyard, you see, is the unruly garden, filled mainly with 5-foot-tall lemon balm, 6-foot-tall goldenrod, 6-foot-tall sunflowers, and the occasional lily, black-eyed susan and mint and basil plants. I let it grow unruly and tall because it is visible out my kitchen windows when it grows that tall and makes the view all beautiful bright, sunny, yellow and cool purple flowers. It’s pure joy every time I look out the window.

Except this year, now. With half of the flowers gone and the remaining leaning every which way as a result of the tree damage, it looks uncared for and abandoned. Sigh.

Even worse, the 60+ mph sustained winds knocked down and killed many plants on the side of my house, my beloved 5 feet X 45 foot perennial garden. All of the petals were knocked off my asiatic and day lillies. My yarrow was beaten to the ground. My holly hocks snapped and died. My coneflowers were blown over. Columbine petals were scattered to the wind. Onion and tomato plants toppled. The petals of my carnations blew away. A whole year’s worth of waiting, blown away in one crazy storm.

On the bright side, this is the great thing about perennials – there is always next year.

July 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm 3 comments

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About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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