Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is a Comin'

I can hardly believe that Christmas will be here in just over a week. The Christmas season has been very short this year due to Thanksgiving being as late as humanly possible.  I have been trying to squeeze in as much Christmas cheer as I can to hold me over until next year ;)

Friday, December 13, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mamma.
In her words: "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." If you're inspired to do the same, head over to her blog and leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This Week in My Garden

2 Weeks Ago:


This Week:


The bush beans are about finished producing, but the pole beans are growing more and more everyday. They should soon be ready for picking.

I need to weed the front garden bed, collect my spinach seeds, and then plant kale for late fall harvest.

Our tomatoes are finally ripening.  The Rosso Sicilian tomatoes are so pretty with their red wrinkles.  I'm starting to wish that I had planted more tomatoes.  This is my first year planting indeterminates, and I think I should have twice the number of plants in order to have canning quantities ripe at the same time.   So far, I am really liking how indeterminate plants grow, and they will most likely dominate over determinates next year.

The auxiliary garden is completely run over by weeds, but the garden plants seem to be doing well so I haven't worried too much about the weeds.  It looks a little terrible, but with the rainy weather we have had for the past two weeks I haven't bothered trimming anything back. Our corn is the shortest corn I have ever seen.  We do have baby ears growing so maybe we will get something from this after thought planting.

I have been enjoying my zinnias in the garden and on my kitchen table.  Next year I am planting many more flowers, especially sunflowers.  Only three sunflower plants made it this year, so next year I will plant more seeds. It makes me smile to see their leaves and heads turned towards the sun.

Scott's watermelon is still alive but only has one tiny melon on a tiny vine. It does not appear to be thriving.  I'm not sure why. We will see if it grows to an edible size by the time summer ends.

I have been keeping a eye close on our pears this year in hopes of catching them at peak picking time.  I'm not exactly sure when that is though since out European pears must be picked slightly green in order to ripen correctly.  It is more confusing than picking apples.

We have ripped out two of the overgrown flower beds near the house.  In one we left the hostas we hope to transplant up front this fall, but the other bed we tilled to plant a fall/winter garden.  We are on the lookout for old windows in order to make some cold frames.  I hope we find some! I have starting planting carrots and will continue to make successive plantings of various greens in the coming weeks.  I am trusting that we will find windows but if we don't I will only be out a few dollars worth of seed.  It is worth a shot to try and grow/harvest vegetables all year long.  I have been devouring the book The Four Season Harvest. It has so much information and is incredibly inspiring.

Hopefully next week I will be able to report that there are enough ripe tomatoes to start canning!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Garden Progress

After chipping the brush pile

Before chipping the brush pile

 This weekend we worked on the yard and garden.  We rented a 6" wood chipper for four hours and ground up the giant pile of brush from last year's yard clearing and started to chip some of the overgrown honeysuckle bushes along the fence.  We were hoping to chip all of the honeysuckle but four hours was not enough time to get it all done.  We will probably end up renting the chipper again in the fall to finish the bushes and what ever else we cut down this summer.  By renting the chipper and doing the labor ourselves we saved $200.  We plan to use that money saved to buy some dirt since part of our front yard has eroded and the grade around parts of the house could use a tad more angle.  It is amazing how such a large pile of brush is reduced to a rather small to medium sized pile of wood chips.  Once the brush pile was gone we were left with open dirt.  Not ones to let open dirt go to waste, we promptly planted some corn and more bush beans in the open space.  I think I will also throw some sunflower seeds out there for kicks and giggles as well. It is amazing how different the yard and garden look in the span of one year.  Our yard is still rather wild looking but it is significantly better.  In the midst of overgrowth we have found quite a few lovely plants. Things such as daffodils, grape hyacinth, tulips, iris, columbine, coral bells, money plant, and hostas.

The garden is completely planted now and almost all of our support structures are built.  I am trying some climbing french beans this year so Scott made me some lovely bean tepees from our surplus branches.  I think the tepees are so pretty!  On one side of the tepees I added a nylon lattice for my cucumbers.  We still need to decide how to support our tomatoes this year and once we do we can install that structure. This year we are leaning towards trying hog panels for support.  Speaking of tomatoes, I found large clumps of volunteer tomatoes from last year's plants.  They look very healthy so I think I am going to split them up and plant over in our new garden (where the brush pile used to be).  It can't hurt to see what happens since they are essentially free plants. I also plan to mulch the garden with cardboard topped with either grass clippings or wood chips in order to reduce weeds and conserve moisture.  Sure hope it works! I hate weeding, and watering the garden quickly reduces it's food cost savings.

It takes a bit longer to work in the garden when Ike wants to help or Little Sister protests the outdoors. Scott has been such a huge help getting the garden up and running this year.  It wouldn't be this far along without him.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Birthday Boy

{Warning} This post is picture heavy.

Ike turned two last week and we had a lot of fun celebrating. We started the fun the day before by going to the park. Ike is currently in love with playing at the park and so we knew he would have a blast being a little monkey and running over the open fields.

That evening, once the kiddos were in bed, I worked on finishing the birthday preparations. Streamers wear hung in front of his door (a birthday tradition from my childhood), the birthday banner was strung over the window, presents were wrapped, and the finishing touches were made to the chocolate cake.  Just as I was getting ready for bed I remembered that I had not built Isaac' s present from Grandma & Granddad  Brewer. So I woke Scott up to help build the Ikea child's chair. I always seem to have such trouble getting Ikea furniture together.

Once Ike woke up in the morning and ate breakfast,  we opened gifts.  This year Ike knew what to do with the tissue paper and didn't need much help.  Once he opened his helicopter, all he wanted to do was play with it, so we had to convince him to set it down and finish opening gifts.  His favorite gifts turned out to be the hammer from his tool set and his helicopter. They are constantly being played with.

Cake was next on the agenda. We figured that having cake as a mid-morning snack would cause the sugar buzz to be over by nap time and allow us to have cake on Ike' s actual birthday before Scott had to go to work.

When lunch rolled around I expressed by love for Ike by frying up homemade chicken nuggets. I hate frying food but Ike loves nuggets.  I figured it would be healthier to make my own rather than have McDonalds make them. Ike LOVES dip so the meal was based around the concept of dipping. Chicken nuggets, baked sweet potato fries, and green beans. At the beginning of the meal Ike used the food to get the dips into his mouth but by the end of lunch he had abandoned the food and went straight to sucking the dip off his fingers. This tendency to just eat dip is why we almost never offer the option of dip to him , but since it was his special birthday meal we let him eat a lunch almost exclusively comprised of ranch, ketchup, mustard, and bbq sauce.

Once the morning festivities were over Ike went down for a nap, Scott went to work, and the day returned to normal.