Deuce Cities Henhouse

Puddle Stompin’

Oh man! It downpoured for 15 minutes late yesterday afternoon, and as soon as the rain was over the kids went out to splash in some puddles. Typically they like to truck through the puddles at a million miles an hour trying to make as much sweet spray as they can. They like me to take videos of them so they can see how cool it/they look(s).

So I obliged, I ran inside to get my phone because that’s how I take videos (duh). I used to use my camera to capture moments, but now I use my always-at-the-ready phone. Isn’t that so lame? I mean it’s good in a pinch, but I’ve really come to rely on it.

Sitting on my desk was my phone and my camera, guess which one I grabbed – I bet you can already tell by these pics. I used my camera! I love all these photos I took of them puddle stompin’ – I realized I would really like to try and get my camera out in the action a bit more.

Aren’t these kids getting so big? They are going to be six and three this month and I wish I would have taken the time to document more of the last year on my real camera.

It’s on. I’m going to do better!

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in Finn, Gus, My Life

Spicy Brasied Beet & Turnip Greens Recipe
Hey Guys! Hope you all had a super great weekend. We had a great time hanging with buddies and seeing a show at the zoo – that’s right – the zoo, we are getting old.

This recipe is a really great one if you’re looking to use up your leftover turnip, beet or even radish greens. I had a lot of tops from the beets and turnips we received in this weeks CSA box. I didn’t want to just throw them out, but looking at all those greens and thinking about eating them all seemed daunting. Wilting the greens and breaking them down was a good and delicious way to get them in my stomach!

If I made this again I’d probably go a bit lighter on the red chilis and oil, but that’s just me. It might be perfectly peeñty for you. Here it is:


Spicy Braised Beet & Turnip Greens
Recipe from Driftless Organics


▼ 1 bunch beet greens, coarsely chopped
▼ 1 bunch turnip greens, coarsely chopped
▼ 4 scallions, diced
▼ 3 garlic scapes, diced
▼ 3 tbsp olive oil
▼ 1 tablespoon red chile flakes
▼ Salt to taste
▼ Pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, saute scallions, garlic scapes, a sprinkle of salt, and chile flakes in oil over medium heat. After a few minutes, add all of the greens, toss to incorporate all ingredients, and cover pan with lid. Once greens are wilted, remove lid.

Cook greens until tender, about 8 minutes leaving the lid off for the last 2 minutes. Serve immediately, using tongs to transfer greens onto plates. Drizzle with more olive oil if you’re into that sort of thing.
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Babe Morph : 1 Year Update

Heya Dudes! Are you guys fans of really weird bathroom selfies taken in a #teenish sort of way? I hope that you are because that is exactly what I have to share with you today. Actually it’s a little cooler than that, remember last year when I started my babe morph mission? I am super proud to share with you guys that just this week (1 year later) I have made it to my goal!

Well, I had two goals, one was a 20lb weight loss goal, and the other (that I never thought I would be able to achieve) was 30lbs. Guess what? I totally made it to 30, and I feel so awesome about it.

It’s been a year since I posted about this so just to refresh your memory; I was two years out from having my second kid and I still had a lot of baby weight. I was so over it! Not only that but I had been carrying around at least 15 extra pounds of beer weight from a Party Prime I took part in during my mid-twenties.

I woke up one morning and decided that I was going to change. I was going to lose the weight, and there was just no going back. It was making me miserable and I felt totally uncomfortable in my own skin. Starting that day I began walking 3-5 miles every morning, 7 days a week. I’ve kept it up for over a year, settling in recently on a 6 day a week walking routine. I leave my house every morning between 5:20 and 6:00 depending on the length of the walk. I’m an early, early bird now, incapable of sleeping in. It totally blows on the weekends.

However, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Not only have I lost the weight I wanted to, but the walking has made my body stronger and healthier than it has ever been in my adult life. I still might have stretch marks and stuff, but I feel better about myself than I ever have. Now I like wearing new clothes and dresses and swimsuits and shit, even though most days I’m happy in a pair of jorts and a muddy tank top.

Weight loss is very hard. It takes time and commitment and almost always it requires a lifestyle change. I remember the first month I focused on something my friend told me. It takes 28 days to create a habit. On those first days that I didn’t want to walk, or I was tempted to make bad food choices, I remembered those words and it became a mantra of sorts. I knew that if I exercised daily and ate well that there was no way around it; I would begin to lose weight. All I had to do was make it a habit.

I lost the first 20lbs by mid November losing only a couple more over the winter. The winter was hard and there were days that I would eat and drink and be merry in order to stave off those winter blues, that’s how us Midwesterners cope – but I still kept up walking every day. I can’t tell you how miserable it was to get up in -25º weather to drive to the gym to walk on a tread mill staring at my reflection in a window because it was too dark outside to see a view. I was committed though, and I didn’t want to give up on my goal. Taking part in those daily walks allowed me to maintain the weight loss that I had worked so hard for – therefore it was worth every cold, depressing, lame minute of it.

As soon as the spring came back I was outside again daily, and I am so happy for that. I decided that I wanted to go for the big goal and lose the last 7lbs – so I did!

I’m a year in now, and I hope that I stay committed to my goals over the coming months and years. I don’t want to go back and I don’t want to forget how much I enjoy walking and feeling healthy. I am proud of myself.

I also want to encourage any of you who are struggling with your weight, I want you to know you can do it. You need to make the choice and start a habit. In a way, it’s as easy as making a decision and being committed to that decision. Easier said than done, I know, but really that’s what it’s all about. I’m still walking daily, with my trusty fitbit at myside (or tucked into my bra as it were). Follow along if you wish or find me on the mapmywalk app (username deucecities), we can all be friends!

Thanks for listening to my story and looking at my funny selfie pics. I promise there will be no more.
P.S. I just looked at my fitbit stats and over the last year I have walked, 2,012.70 miles, tyte.

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in My Life

My June Garden

Hanging Basket

Hey, Guys! Hope you had a cool weekend, I know we did. We spent it up at the cabin, and I’ll be sharing a few photos in the coming days. Anyways, if you didn’t notice it’s July 1st and it’s time to recap you on my June garden.

Lots of things have been happening over the last month in the garden. This year the garden is full sized, some plants are actually bigger that I anticipated them being and I may have to thin a out a few, or even move some around. I already lost a Delphinium because the Hostas were choking it out, and I’ on the verge of losing one of my phlox for the same reason. There has been so much rain that the Hostas are insanely large, I’m talking 3+ feet in diameter. I also have been a bad documenter and have missed taking pics of a few blooms, but I’m hoping to catch what I missed over the month of July.

Here’s how things are shaping up this month:


Yellow Day Lily


What is It?

Guys! What the heck is this? It’s the second year it’s appeared in my garden, this time with more vengeance then the last. It’s big, it’s leafs are reminiscent of Wild Geranium or possibly even Anemone but I don’t remember ever planting it. It’s tall, about 3 feet and has what I would describe as layers of leaves. Is it a giant weed or is it actually a real plant? Someone must know.





These are the petunias I grew from seed, they are large now and starting to hang over the sides of the planters. I would totally grow petunias from seed again, only next time I’d start them in February.


Painted Fern


Purple Lamium


Hosta Flower

Certain types of hostas can produce beautiful orchid like flowers – thick, waxy and full of soft detail.




Huchera Flower



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in gardening

Gardening Basics : Installing a Garden Bed

I’m back to share with you today my method for adding garden beds to my yard. When I moved into my house there were absolutely no garden beds – I mean none! I’ve installed and planted all the gardens on my own over the last 4 years. I’ve gotten pretty familiar with installing garden beds and have a bit of a standard routine I use. I wanted to share it with you guys. I know when I started gardening I had no idea what I was doing, and it took a lot of trial and error to “figure” it out, I’m still learning. Sometimes not knowing how to initiate a new project can be debilitating, especially when it comes to first-time gardening. I hope some of this info can give a few of the confidence to try it out on your own. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Determine the Shape of Your Garden
I usually spend a lot of time planning and determining the shape of my gardens. It usually starts with a sketch on a piece of paper and after thinking about it for awhile, maybe even weeks, I’ll start to lay it out in real life. I’ve had a general plan for this garden for over two years, you need a plan before you start. Then you need to really visualize it – what do I have that’s long and flexible and works as a good visual representative? Well a hose of course. Yes, I usually layout all my plans with my trusty garden hose. If a hose isn’t your thing, try a little spray paint.
Dig out a Trench around the Border
Once I finalize my layout and plans for the garden, the next step is to dig out the border. To do this I highly recommend investing about $15 into a manual lawn edger or even better, and ice scraper. I find that using tools like this allows for precision edges and nice even 90º trenches. I will leave my hose in place while I do this, moving it to the side as I cut out a border with my ice scraper.

Remove Grass and Weeds
This is the not so fun part, the part that everyone tries to avoid. Let me tell you though, if you want to have a garden that produces healthy plants, you’ll want to take the time to remove the grass, weeds and roots from the garden bed. To do this I like to use a spade or shovel. Dig shallowly into the grass loosening the roots from the soil. Pick up the grass piece and shake excess dirt from the roots. Discard the grass. Continue to do this making sure to remove of any debris, roots and rocks that you don’t want in your garden bed.
To spare your yard from getting dirty, lay down a plastic tarp to collect the sod you’re removing from the garden bed. If you have bare spots in other parts of your lawn reuse the grass and fill in the bare areas, just make sure to water daily.


Rotate, Amend and Grade the Soil
Great, you made it through the hardest part. You know have a nice clean bed of soil! Good for you. If you’re planning on adding plants to your new bed I would recommend amending the soil with compost or manure to give your new plants nutrients. If your soil is clay-like consider adding some peat moss to help with drainage. Combine the new soil with the old using a shovel to rotate it. Turning it over and mixing it in multiple times. If you have a large area that you are transforming consider renting a rototiller for this job. Lastly, you’ll want to grade the soil. For this garden I mounded my soil slightly in the center and then graded it downwards towards the trenched edges.

Install the Edging
This is where your garden will really start to take shape. I was working with a beer budget so I went ahead and used plastic tube edging for my garden. I like using black tube edging because it looks decent, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it’s standard and works, it keeps the mulch in when it rains, and it makes mowing easy. Black tube edging is inexpensive, about $16 for 20 feet and installs very easily. If I ever choose to upgrade my edging down the road it’s easy to remove and replace as well.

To install it use your lawn edger or ice scraper to clean out the trenches, making sure to level the sides of the garden creating a 90º or “V” angle to the lawn. Unroll the edging and install in short sections (apprx 12″). Hold the edging in place while backfilling with dirt or topsoil. The soil will hold the edging in place. The edging comes with stakes, but I never use them – a proper backfill always seems to do the job. Continue down the edge of your garden adding edging and backfilling while you go. When you reach the end use a hacksaw or garden shears to cut the edging to the desired length.

Types of Edging:

WOOD : Landscape timbers and railroad ties are popular, but installation requires more effort.
METAL : Gives a modern look.
PLASTIC : Available in rolls and easy to install.
STONE, BRICK or CONCRETE : Lends itself to a tidy and formal appearance but requires time installing and can often be expensive.
LIVING : Use living plants such as mondo grass, dusty miller or other seasonal annuals.
NATURAL : Cut a trench into the sod and mulch.

Lay Down Weed Barrier and Tuck in the Edges
Typically I don’t use weed barriers, I find that weeds are something that just go with the territory. If you are a dedicated weeder the less weeds you will have overtime, especially if you remove weeds from your beds before they go to seed. I am always reorganizing and fine tuning my gardens, with a weed barrier I’d have to cut through it every time I rearranged my garden. It’s more of a hassle than it’s worth, plus the results aren’t guaranteed.

However, for this garden I knew that I wasn’t going to be planting anything alongside the edges of my raised beds. I was only going to be mulching so I decided to try something new, newspaper. There was grass growing around each raised bed, and instead of digging it out, I turned it over with my shovel and then covered it with thick layers of newspaper. A few of you recommend this approach to me when I was planning my garden, so I decided to give it a whirl. I wetted down stacks of newspaper with my garden hose and then laid them around my raised beds. I kept the sections thick using at least 10 layers per section. After I laid out the paper I used my ice scraper to carefully tuck the paper into the edges of the raised beds and the plastic edging.

Types of Weed Barriers:

NATURAL BARRIER : Thick layers of straw, peat moss, mulch, compost or other organic materials
HOMEMADE BARRIER : Using what you have around your house, items include newspaper, plastic garbage bags, and cardboard.
FABRICS : Weed barriers sold at garden centers do a good job of blocking out light and the black color mimics the color of soil. They also reduce soil moisture.
PLASTICS : Plastic weed barriers are usually the most effective – an excellent choice for long term well planned garden beds, but often more expensive.

Add Mulch on Top of the Weed Barrier
Assuming you’ve gone ahead and planted your garden, you’ll want to cover your weed barrier and protect your new plants with a good hefty layer of mulch. I covered mine with my old fav, Scott’s black mulch.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help. If I don’t have the right answer I’m sure someone else will. Good luck!

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in gardening, Outdoor, Tutorial