Thursday, June 26, 2014

this week in the garden

Our early summer harvests have slowly started, and mainly consist of squash blossoms and various mints and balms for tea.  We have also been enjoying beet greens.  The tomatillo plant is full of blossoms and small tomatillos, and we have a few tomatoes starting.  We picked a couple of early ananas noire tomatoes the other day, and they are on the counter waiting for their turn on our dinner plate.  Handy Handsome Hubby did not care for the squash blossoms, but he did not hate them, either.  I love squash blossoms. 
I am between lettuce harvests.  I made the mistake of waiting too long to plant new lettuce seeds, and our first harvest was long gone before our second batch is ready.  All of my radishes bolted.  I'm pretty sure there was too much nitrogen in the soil.  I'm going to try again.
I love the rhythm of this time of year.  Wake up, open the blinds.  Check the garden.  Water, if necessary.  Do a bit of weeding, a bit of bug catching with Jo Bean.  When it becomes too warm to be outside any more, we retreat to the couch to watch a movie, or read a stack of books.  This week we have been learning about bats.  They are fascinating creatures, and we are enjoying learning everything we can about them.  Handsome even joined in on the story time, and has agreed to make Bean a bat house or two. 
We have decided that next week's reading will be about bees.  And strawberries, which are Jo's favorite thing in the world this week.  I'm pretty fond of them, too.  I've been making a ton of jam, putting it away for later in the year when the family yearns for a taste of summer.  Strawberries just taste like sunshine and warm, don't they?  Our winter toast will be so much more enjoyable.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rainy Day Reading

Reading:  Hidden Kitchens
Stories, recipes, and more from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters
by Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson

loving it! 

working on a vest for Josephine.  I'll update more on that as it progresses

My garden is loving this rain!  We harvested the first of our tomatoes from our Ananas Noire plant.  I think I should have left them a few more days, but the girls were becoming impatient.  They will set on the counter for a few more days, and hopefully ripen a bit further.  If not, then we will enjoy some fried green tomatoes.

The tomatillo plant is going to be hugely productive this year, it seems.  There are several papery little lantern-like baby tomatillos so far, and dozens upon dozens of little yellow flowers, the sight of which makes my heart happy!

The gourds are growing up the trellis, which has been a magical sight for hubby.  He is a city boy, and is making new garden discoveries every day.  He was very excited that the gourds grab on to the trellis with their little curly hands all by themselves.  No need for human intervention. 

I'll post garden pictures soon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend happenings

This weekend:

-we visited the farmers market.  Bought a flat of marigolds to add some sunshine to my vegetable garden.  There's just something about a border of cheerful marigolds around a green veggie bed. 
Also, it's super nice to visit the market as a shopper instead of a vendor.  Don't get me wrong, I love my little business, and I love selling at farmers markets.  But it's nice to enjoy the market as a shopper. 

-My handsome and handy husband built trellises for my garden.  The squash are getting HUGE, and needed something to keep their unruly nature just a bit in control. 

-hooked some colorful washcloths.  More to come on those soon.

-visited the library with Jo.  It's one of her favorite things to do.  We chose an armful of books for the next week, and read a few while we were there.  She likes the beginner reader books, with only a few words that she can quickly memorize.  Then, she pretends to read them to me.  I love to watch her grow more independent every day, but at the same time I just want her to stay little.  So I am soaking every minute of her little-ness, well aware that it will soon be gone. 

-canned strawberry jam and bread and butter pickles.  Oh how the smell of fresh cucumbers, sweet onions, vinegar, and pickling spices brings me right back to my Grandma Helen's kitchen!  She would make bread and butter pickles every year, dozens and dozens of jars.  It's one of the many tasty gifts from her kitchen that we would all look forward to every year, and that we now miss so much.  This is my first year attempting to fill her pickle-making shoes, and I hope I do her memory justice with my attempt.

Today I have a long, fun list of homekeeping activities to attend to, between playing, reading, and snuggling with my little Josephine.  She is such a ray of sunshine in our lives.  But all of that can wait a few more hours.  First, I'm going to enjoy the peace of this beautiful morning, spend a few minutes absorbing the quiet before I begin my day.  Enjoy your Monday!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Making Cupcakes

Jo loves to help with the baking.  She's fantastic with the sprinkles.  Whenever Josephine and I bake, our little white dog, Bonita, is never very far away.  She takes care of any spills and drops that happen.
Also, please look away from the dirty dishes in the sink.  I did not stage these pictures.  Just keeping it real, y'all.
Have I showed you my gussied-up kitchen aid?  Love her! 
Here at the Smith house, our days have been full of gardening, creating, and lots of playing in the sprinkler with the neighborhood kids.  We are loving the warm weather.  The last several days have been rainy, but it has been much needed rain.  And only in spurts, mainly in the evenings.  The days have been full of sunshine and laughter.  Our new house feels like home.  We are very blessed.