Grown with love

If you keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram, you might have noticed we have been doing a bit of traveling. The DP Sales Summer Tour 2017 left Kentucky and headed west over a week ago. 9 days later and nearly 2,800 miles later we pulled back into the driveway. DP usually does the summer solo, but this year he had some passengers along visiting breeders. Of course, Knox took home the popularity prize of the vehicle.

Here is what I love about traveling to people’s farms. When you pull into their driveway, you get to see what they love. Landscaping, machinery, playground equipment, peacocks, chickens, a cat or 10, kids, cows – its all there.

But let’s head to Auburn, Nebraska.

I am sure most of you know who John and Gwen McBee are that work for Bill Fulton at BF Black Simmentals. We have known them for many years, and I have known that they are avid gardeners . John is quite the cook, and I’m talking like awesome, outdoor, chuckwagon kind of cooking. Gwen brings the homemade jams, jellies, relish, and pickles to the table. Gwen and I share life through SnapChat, and I had recently been sharing with her my adventures in canning from our own garden. Hello, cucumbers who became pickles! So, on the Summer Tour I knew we had to make a stop at the McBee Ranch to check out their garden. Warning: pictures will not do it justice. 

If there was a HGTV show on gardening, John and Gwen would be the stars. It starts with a perfect little garden house complete with front porch and darling antiques. The building resembles a greenhouse and serves much the purpose. Gwen can bring her plants out when they are nearing planting, and let them enjoy the wonderful sunlight through the windows. The floor is natural so that helps it hold heat, and there is wood stove in case the temperature drops. Its dreamy with its large farmhouse table inside great for sorting vegetables or a Mother’s Day lunch. 

Step out on the porch and if you continue past the rocking chairs you are just a short walk to the garden oasis. You are welcomed by zinnias and marigolds, and then you can’t see over because of the HUGE tomato plants. Let me break this down for you: tomatoes; multiple varieties, eggplant, 3 varieties of potatoes, 2 varieties of beans, 2 varieties of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, horseradish, asparagus, garlic, beets, onions, leeks, okra, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and an impressive 10 different types of peppers. I’m sure I missed a vegetable, and did I mention they start almost all their seeds. All of which is planted neatly in a compact space. We’re not talking a huge garden, but every inch of space is used perfectly. Hello garden envy.

After the harvest is gathered and sorted in the garden dream house, it moves to the outdoor, garage kitchen that Gwen sets up shop in to can. Now I’ve only adventured slightly into canning, and it is hard, tedious work. Gwen had already canned over 100 jars when we were there, and by her SnapChats I know that she has been living and breathing canning since we left. Of course, she doesn’t just can things they grow in their garden, but also peaches and apples that they get as well. I’m pretty sure she could kick Martha Stewart’s butt. 

Their garden brings a sense of community to their property. Friends stop to pick up vegetables on their way home from work, and are able to enjoy a cold one on the painted benches or those wonderful rockers. I loved hearing both of them talk about the process of their garden, the labor of love the soil has been since they moved to Auburn, the wonderful varieties of fruits and vegetables, and of course, their favorites. We see people at cattle events and shows, but if you want to really know someone it takes going to their home and seeing what they are passionate about other than cows. It was evident as we spent a few hours at their home picking cherry tomatoes off the vine that this was most certainly grown with love.

Though I am sure I will never be the gardener and preserver than John and Gwen are, I did walk away with a bigger appreciation for how we can utilize the garden space at our house, and the need for an electric water bath… and a dreamy garden house.


Enjoy some of the photos of their wonderful garden paradise.


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