Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
A little cold going through the family just now. Very minor. Just a gentle reminder to slow down a bit in this very busy season. To take the time to let the little ones help make dinner, to remember to light the candles, take a deep breath and say a blessing. When I was little, sick time comfort food was College Inn chicken broth, with bow tie egg noodles. I wonder if when they are grown and get the sniffles my children will think, “Mom’s broth with grain free noodles and lots of kale and garlic…that’s what I need!”
We used up the last of the sweet thyme that we harvested and dried from the garden last year. Made into a strong tea and mixed with creamy and rich homemade almond milk it was amazing. I wish I could have some more right now. Luckily little green leaves are starting to appear in the herb garden again. Just in time.
Monday, December 10th, 2012
Both here and at home. A new banner, new color scheme, things moving about, still quite a lot of tweaking to be done here. Furniture is shifting all over the house, yet again, and I’m trying to set up another temporary crafting spot to help me through all of the last minute holiday/birthday crafting. Elijah’s cacti collection is thriving in it’s new spot on my weaving bench. Things are still being set up. There are no less then 3 quilts in progress here right now. I hung the decorative plates that my Mother-in-law sent. My kitchen window sill is getting a wee bit crowded. Every time I turn around someone is setting another something there to root. Remember our celery from back in October? Look how big it’s gotten now! And the one from the following week…and the one from the week after that…
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
kitchen garden tour
~July of 2011, when we first came to see the property.~
This is where I’ve spent so much of the last several months. I think it may be the dearest spot on earth. In the summer time the hummingbirds are often about, sometimes 3 or more at a time. They call to each other from different parts of the garden. Have you ever heard a hummingbird before? They make the most adorable little squeak! The hummingbirds are long gone now. Only the hardiest of my greens are still going strong through regular frosts. I’m looking back now over a season of growth and dreaming of next year.
So much has changed here. And it is still very much a work in progress. What started out as a completely overgrown 19 x 22 plot is now a 22 x 50 space, all freshly fenced in. Planting this year was far from methodical. Basically whatever was ready to be planted went into whatever space I had managed to clear. We were still building new beds well into autumn.
Outside the garden, off to the side there is actually a beautiful stone wall. It had become so overgrown that you couldn’t see it at all. When you live in the woods you have to decide where the cultivated land stops and the wilderness starts, otherwise you end up with tree branches knocking into your windows. That wall is our line on this side. The day after these photos were taken we started clearing it out.
All kinds of gardening methods are represented here. There are some container plants; some planted in pots others in objects found around the yard. There are traditional beds. There are raised beds. There are spots were we experimented with lasagna gardening. There are beds quickly made out of old pallets, layered plantings, a bit of everything.
The three beds above (two of which were already in existence when we moved in, as seen above and one that we built), are outside of the main garden space, near to the house, next to the herb garden. Two of them were gardens to Iain and Elijah this year. We ate some of their turnips just this morning. It was an in between time when I took this photo, with many seedlings too small to be seen and a swath mature plants waiting to be harvested.
~Early Autumn 2012~
Each of the children had their own small plot to tend. Little Rosebud found a pack of 3 year old ‘Cinderella’ pumpkin seeds and insisted on planting them. The vines grew lush and full, but the chipmunks ate every pumpkin just as soon as it started to show.
Our “orchard” is an orchard no more. For various reasons we had to move everything and it’s all out back with the kitchen garden now. This idea caused a lot of internal turmoil for me at first, but really I think it’s for the best. I’m with the trees so much more now. It’s easier to water and keep an eye on it all. Gardening, simplified. It does, however, mean that we have to be much more creative with our use of space.
We now have what amounts to an Orchard Walk, along one side of the garden in the area near the wall that we cleared. All of the trees are here, under planted with some strawberries that I’m hoping won’t deplete their nutrients too much. Before and between the boxed in trees reside high bush blueberries and a lone rhubarb plant.
See the wall and everything off to the side now? These photos were taken right before our first heavy frost of the season.
~November of 2012~
I’m so excited to see what next year will bring.
before and in progress
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
October Nature Study
Some scenes from our Nature Study week. The theme was, “What’s Happening in Autumn”. This was the main work of the week for the little ones and a side project for the big ones.
During the week we put areas of the garden that are done for the season to bed. We planted garlic and bulbs. Galen gathered a bunch of calendula to dry after we read that a bunch of dried calendula in the house was once believed to give strength and comfort to the heart. We ate a lot of squash, carved pumpkins and made apple sauce nearly everyday, putting up 20-some quarts over the course of the week. We ate squash with applesauce. We made a start to our little indoor window sill garden, with the end of a bunch of celery set in a cup of water. Already there are new stalks shooting up in the middle. Steve helped Galen to build a little bird feeder, which is now set outside the window of our homeschooling room, attracting all sorts of visitors. Two field trips were the bookends of the week. We started off visiting the birds at the rehabilitation center and ended the week at a corn maize.
The big kids are working on family trees, a completely fascinating subject for me. We’ve been telling a lot of stories. Getting out old photo albums. We’ve even got a small stack of copies of “official” documents to work from; birth certificates, baptism certificates, census reports. I am particularly intrigued by the blank spaces; the lines that have yet to be filled in.
This morning is very winter like. I’m steeping tea, eating a clementine, roasting chestnuts and reading about when our first real snowstorm of the season with be drifting in, all while flames dance merrily in the wood stove.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
simple cookery: enjoying the harvest
We’ve been eating so much squash lately it’s ridiculous. If we’re not careful I think we might all turn orange. I’m in the middle of doing the Whole30. Which isn’t really far off from how I usually eat, with a couple of exceptions. Including strictly avoiding all sweeteners. After a very busy end of summer/beginning of fall, I just felt like my poor body needed a rest before heading into the holiday season. There are some people, you know, who’s bodies can tolerate just about anything and years of abuse add up to just about nothing. I’m kind of like the opposite of those people. Just the tiniest bit of over-indulgence does me in. Sometimes for a long time. And I’m too darn busy for a broken body, so great care must be taken in it’s upkeep. Right now that means a diet free of dairy, grains, legumes, food additives, nightshades and sweeteners of all kinds.
But back to the food. The good stuff. The stuff I *can* eat. I needed some new ideas in the world of squash preparation. My sweet neighbor inspired some experimenting which resulted in a whole new-to-me favorite. Whenever I make these, the Wee Girl stands by the counter eating them all before I have the chance to bring them to the table.
As usual, the process is simple….
cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds
slice into pieces about a 1/4″ thick
arrange on a cookie sheet, in a single layer with several gobs of coconut oil and a good sprinkle of salt on top
bake in an over preheated to 375 until done
You can serve them when they are just soft, but we like them to get a bit browned and crisp around the edges. Leaving on the skin makes them especially nice with a mix of crisp and chewy that is most satisfying. Also the combination of being a bit fatty and sweet makes them seem like a very great treat to me just now. You don’t have to flip them as they cook, but they will turn out much, much nicer if you do. And this my friends is why there are never any cookie sheets clean in my house!
This year I’ve also started using a new to me method of saving fresh herbs. I’m still utilizing all of my fall back methods, but I think this one is a nice little change of pace. I put my fresh clean herbs in the Vita-Mix (you could us a food processor or blender, basically use whatever you would make pesto in) with a bit of olive oil and blitz them to make a sort of thick, chunky paste. Then I spoon it out into ice-cube trays to freeze. Once frozen the cubes can be moved to a freezer safe storage container (jars, bags, what have you). Pictured above are some of my cilantro cubes. I think these will be very nice to have for adding a quick bit of flavor and summery freshness to soups, sauces, greens, on top of chicken…really the options are endless.
What’s cooking in your kitchen these days?
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
on a day like summer….
Last week we had one of those witchy step out of season days where everything we were just starting to get used to fell away and we had the feeling of stepping back through time.
They built a house…
So sukkah like. It’s interesting to me to feel like we’ve lived into this particular holiday so deeply that even without me doing anything, it feels right to them to do that sort of thing at this time of year.
While my oldest and youngest helped me to move strawberry plants.
My Queen of Sweden rose even held out with one last blossom for us.
It’s hard to believe that day was just last week. The chill crept back quite quickly. They’re predicting our first hard frost this evening. Today it’s back to the garden for me to gather in whatever is left to be gathered.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
The illustrated CliffsNotes version….
“bubble messages”- someone stands on the balcony, someone stands down below and they try to deliver messages (bubbles) to each other.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
our garden gate
I wanted the entrance way into a storybook garden. It’s not perfect and it’s not done. I’ve been struggling with perfectionist tendencies. I keep putting off posting about things until they are “completely done”. Only nothing ever seems to get completely done. For one thing, projects and spaces are always evolving and for another, we’re just too darn busy! Which means that we have to prioritize. Which means that we almost always move on to something more important before all of the little details get taken care of. I admit it. I’m jealous of those people who can start a project and follow through down to the very last detail. Sometimes I get down on myself feeling like it’s a lack of discipline or something that keeps us from never really finishing. But the fact is, that’s not the case at all. We’re just spread too thin, with too many commitments and responsibilities to work that way. Like for this project I know that we have yet to install a handle or latch because it was more important that money go elsewhere. I never finished setting the stones because there are only so many hours in the day, and the fall vegetable garden needed planting, if we were going to be able to harvest in time. The gardens out front weren’t fixed up and the planters that I’ve dreamed up still remain in dream land because the strawberries needed weeding and side dressing, we had to build a new bed for the cantaloupes and dozens or hundreds of other little things that beat out “cleaning up and adding to the old flower beds” on my to-do list on any given day. So those moments, here and there, where I grabbed a few weeds, were as far as I got. But really now, how silly of me to dismiss this beautiful spot, because it’s not quite done yet? We worked very hard, designing and building this gate and arbor. And it’s lovely. It makes me smile every time I enter the garden, even all unfinished as it is.
The design was our own. The arbor was finished with Vermont Natural Coatings Polywhey Exterior Finish in ‘Acorn Brown‘. The gate was finished with the same product in ‘Barn Red‘.
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
these, mostly sunny, days
There has been an epidemic of card house building. Also games of rock, paper, scissors.
I’m gathering flowers to dry. Early spring can be so fickle here and I might not have much to choose from for floral arrangements. I tie a thread to each stem, then loop all the threads together and hang them from nails in the pantry. Next week I’ll carefully wrap them all in tissue paper, then pack them away in a box until I’m ready to use them.
We harvest at least a bit from the garden everyday. I wish it was more.
I’ve been making “pesto” from everything…all sorts of herbs, nasturtium leaves, kale, thinned carrot seedlings…
I finally transferred all the heights from boards from three different houses on to one master kid height board.
A pair of juncos decided to build their nest in a grassy patch by our kitchen garden.
We laid out a ring around them to remind everyone to tread carefully.
The herb garden is completely over run. I’ve not gotten a chance to get out there and move things around.
Galen’s sailboat “Amazon” had her maiden voyage.
Elijah helped with her sail and made her flag.