seed catalog time

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Those seed companies really have their finger on the pulse of the Polar Vortex, don’t they? Just when we get buried in another blanket of white, the seed catalogs arrive in our mailbox. Perfect timing! Phoebe has really taken to these catalogs. Like Wren has for the last couple of winters, Phoebe will get to choose a couple things to grow this coming year.

Hopefully there’s some room left for all the different types of cabbage I want to grow this year! I took a class on fermenting earlier this week. We made our own curried ginger sauerkraut and learned how to make kombucha and kimchi. Ferment on!

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While I’m not one to lament winter and begin the “days to spring” countdown yet, it’s fun to dream about getting dirt under our fingernails again…

Have you started your gardening plans for the year yet?

Novembering

As it turns out, there is much beauty to be found in November. Zane inspired me to look a little more closely at the beauty in our midst. Our asparagus plants look so Christmasy, don’t they? They’re lacy and full of red seed pods that look like a holly berry. And did I mention the purple potatoes that we planted this past spring? The color that we’ve found in the last bits of our November garden has me full of quiet awe. Thankful.

a November garden

What a strange garden we’ve had this year. Hardly any peas, beans or melon, not one single carrot, but lots of tomatoes, basil and oh my goodness, the tomatillos! And radishes as big as the human heart. I am not joking. Potatoes, yes indeed. And just the perfect amount of delicata squash to get us through the winter. We harvested the last of our bounty just the other day. It was a long, strange growing season this year, lovelies. How did your garden grow?

 

big and green

What’s big, green and full of crab grass? Aah, yes, the garden. Despite the out-of-control weeds in some areas, the garden is actually looking pretty good. Or pretty green and full of hope anyway. It’s hard to believe with all the heat and sun this summer that we haven’t yet harvested ONE red tomato. Or really much of anything else besides basil, beans and a handful of sugar snap peas. Soon enough we’ll be inundated with tomatoes and I’ll be begging for new tomato recipes, right? Please?

There is beauty in this August garden of green, no?

How is your garden growing, lovelies? Are you harvesting anything yet or are you (impatiently) waiting for something delicious to magically come from the earth like me?

pesto love

Happy weekend, lovelies. I hope you’re having a great one. I’ve found myself with a (very) rare moment of quiet with Chris out on a bike ride and the girls both asleep with sweaty heads. It probably won’t last long, but I’m soaking up a tiny bit of me-time. So I wanted to share a few pics from this week’s pesto fun. We’re finally getting to enjoy something from the garden: basil!

Why do I always think I’ll enjoy my tomatoes with my fresh basil, but my basil usually has come and gone before my tomatoes are ready? I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong with the basil, but we’re all enjoying it so much right now while it’s still growing strong. Wren picked all the basil for the pesto we made this week. This is a great thing for little hands to do. In fact at one point I asked her to look at me so I could take a picture and she said, “can I just pick, Mama?!” Apparently the paparazzi is getting a bit out of control around here. Sorry, kid, just trying to capture these fleeting moments…

We had grilled basil pesto pizza one night, a basil pesto pasta another night and three mornings in a row we had green eggs (scrambled eggs with pesto on top) with ham! But you’re only allowed to make and eat them AFTER you’ve read the book for the billionth time, Sam I Am.

Oh, and we had pesto straight off the spoon too… we just can’t seem to get enough.

Are you enjoying anything from your garden yet, lovelies? Or is it mostly just big and green and overrun with weeds like mine? Arrghh. Any tips on how I can get the basil from bolting before the tomatoes are ready? Please and thank you.

 

Grandpa Jon’s raspberries

Last week we spent a steamy mid-afternoon picking more than our share of Grandpa Jon’s raspberries. Strawberries are usually my favorite fresh summer fruit, but put a quart of hot-off-the-bush raspberries in front of me? Watch out. Amazing.

Wren is a funny little birdie, but you probably already knew that. She’s really into being nude these days and all she needed was to see Grandpa picking without his shirt to join in on the fun. Soon enough, however, even a pair of shorts proved to be too much constriction. Because really, who doesn’t want to pick raspberries in the nude? Oh my.

Phoebe is into a different sort of fun these days. While she too enjoys nudity, she also loves a good round of peekaboo. Or maybe she’s wondering where all the raspberries went? Guilty.

Once we got home, all four of us dove (almost) head first into the raspberries. Phoebe thought it was pretty incredible too.

I’m not really sure how babies do it exactly, but they make such a ridiculous mess from such a small amount of anything. Phoebs, raspberries on your cankles, really? Bathtime was a juicy one.

visiting the iris farm

Another spring, another trip to see the irises. We love visiting the Black Iris Farm just a bit outside of Traverse City. We’re greeted with countless rows of vibrant colors, which is quite the spectrum spectacle for a color lover. The bearded iris flowers are always in bloom around Wren’s birthday and I hope I’ll always remember going there to get flowers for her first birthday party. And again last year when I remember it perking Wren up after a rough morning when she was entering her charming “tasmanian devil” stage…

We visited this year once during the day and then we begged Chris to take his girls there another evening when the shadows would be long and the sun full of gold. Do you ever go back somewhere with the light in mind? I learned that from my Dad.

Here is a great example of the light difference in these two untouched photos. The one above taken in mid-morning with harsh, almost directly overhead, cool light. And the next one taken in mid-evening, with the sun lower in the sky and full of warmth.

My Dad also taught me to “choose happiness.” I am reminded of this perspective on life every day when I see Wren’s free, creative spirit in action.

I’m not sure how this post turned into things I learned from my parents, but seeing this sign for one of the varieties of iris makes me think of my Mom and our mutual love of words. I’m pretty sure I got this from her.

Although I don’t see my parents very often because we don’t live close to each other, I think of them every day. I wonder what my kids will learn from me? This has been on my mind a lot lately as Wren is now of the age where she can form lifelong memories of events, or so “they” say. Will she remember visiting the iris farm? Or will the photos create the illusion of a “memory” for her? Or will she just remember being nagged to keep her shoes on instead of remembering the pure joy of running through the sandy fields, bare toes and all? Please, dear child, remember the joy.

strawberries v squirrels

Lovelies, we’ve had a tragedy of sorts at 605. The squirrels have destroyed our (insert your chosen expletive here) strawberry patch. Well, not the entire patch. Just the almost perfectly ripe strawberries. Sniff sniff. So what’s a strawberry-loving Mama to do? Pick twenty pounds of strawberries and make some very strong strawberry daiquiris to drown our sorrows in, of course. Plus, it was almost 90 degrees and what else is there to do? Don’t answer that, air conditioning folks. At least there was a breeze… Apparently when it gets really hot, my mind says let’s get out and sweat in a hot, dusty field like when we were in North Carolina. Well, we had a great time again despite the heat. What’s not to love about the reward? Strawberry smoothies, strawberry daiquiris, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry muffins, bowls of strawberries for breakfast, lunch, dinner… Take that, squirrels.