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.

 

slow gardening

You know about the Slow Food movement, well I’m here to tell you that there’s another movement in the works: Slow Gardening. We’ve made minor progress with our garden this year and everything has taken seemingly for-ev-er to get done. Let’s just say that this Mama is (finally!) understanding that everything naturally slows down with little ones underfoot and in arms. And this is OKAnd this is OK. And this is OK. Although it was 90 and humid this weekend (what, northern Michigan?!), it’s still been freezing a bit early in the mornings so that has helped me to find some contentment with feeling behind with my gardening work. I’ve seen neighbors covering up their seedlings at night and I’m thankful I don’t have one more “baby” to snuggly tuck in at night.

Plus my gardening helpers are really cute with their sweaty, dusty little heads so I’ve got that going for me…

And really, I just looked back at last year and we had also JUST planted the majority of the seeds this very same week. Sigh of relief! Phew.

volunteers

We had a few “volunteer” pumpkins in our garden this year. My best guess is that they sprouted from the pumpkin seeds from last year’s compost pile. Their vines and huge leaves vigorously grew across the carefully-planted rows of potatoes, carrots, beets and tomatoes. By the dog days of late summer, they had taken over most of the garden; their vines reached up to the tomato and pepper cages on the north end and stretched up and down the rabbit-proof fencing. I just didn’t have the heart to rip them out, even though their showy leaves created a dense forest for the peppers and their prickly vines tangled up the asparagus and delicata squash plants. I just wanted to see what these rogue volunteers would do. I even started having daydreams of growing more interesting Martha-esque heirloom pumpkins since they seemed to just want to be here with us. It was meant to be!

They grew bigger and rounder, but they refused to give up their green hue. A little bit of orange here and there to be sure, but they never matured into the true orange pumpkins that garner big bucks at the pumpkin patches. I picked them anyway and hoped for the best, but when our pumpkin-carving night rolled around and they were still tough and green, I gave up hope. And I had let them grow in our garden! Sigh. So I let them be. For another day.

So what’s a Mama to do? Wren and I decided that even though Mother Nature hadn’t turned them orange, it would be fun to paint them. Take that! This might be our new Halloween tradition…

Planting a Rainbow

Yahoo, we got the last of our bulbs in the ground before our new little birdie arrived! It was one of those post-baby jobs that seemed almost Herculean as I pictured holding an infant while helping Wren dig, place and bury without flailing wet dirt all over her new little birdie friend. Whew. Done.

We were especially inspired this fall by one of our favorite books: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. We read it every week, at all times of the year. It seemed to really make a lot of sense to Wren this fall, however, since the beginning is about a child planting bulbs with her mother and then waiting all winter long for spring’s warmth and sunshine to sprout the rainbow.

Wren quickly developed some fairly particular “rules” about planting bulbs, which I had a difficult time following. God forbid I kneel on HER knee pad or get any dirt on it, the bulbs cannot stay in their “sleeping bags,” which meant she HAD to remove the papery husks (?) from the orange tulips and azure allium, and the hardy cyclamen bulbs HAD to stay snuggled up together as a family, which meant that ideally there were three or four cyclamen bulbs all piled up together. I had to do some fairly tricky “hey, look at that over there!” maneuvering to separate them before hiding them with a little bit of dirt. I was caught a couple times… it wasn’t pretty.

We said “good night” to the bulbs as we covered them up with some more dirt, put our tools away for a while and went back inside, feeling hopeful and relieved. Whew. OK, baby you can come now!

Happily cool and rainy

Wet, cool fall has decided to officially arrive in northern Michigan after making a brief appearance then quickly running away for the blazing hills for about two weeks. It’s actually quite a relief because I don’t have the guilt of not playing in the backyard when I’ve got a mountain of indoor projects that I’d like to tackle. Funny how that works, isn’t it? After a trip to the grocery store and long enough at our local children’s museum, we’re settled back in our nest while the rain coats the windows outside. It feels good. Looks like this weekend will be chilly and rainy too and I’m looking forward to lots of indoor (nesting) projects like figuring out what I want to do with this surprise bounty of October tomatoes. I’m starting with about six pints of salsa and then moving on to tomato jam if I have some tomatoes left. Any other ideas, lovelies?

What fun things do you have planned for your weekend? Are you looking forward to a lazy weekend in your nest? I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Bundling up in northern Michigan…

scenes from the nest

How’s your week going, lovelies? It’s been another glorious week in northern Michigan. I realize it seems trite to use the word “glorious,” but it’s true. More blue skies, more sunshine, more gasp-worthy fall color, more 70s, more tomatoes! This might be it for our “Indian Summer,” but it will not be forgotten any time soon. And I’ve got the mosquito bites to prove it – strange in mid-October, no? I’m in the midst of a bunch of nesting projects and thought I would just share a glimpse of some of them with you, along with a few shots from around the nest that we’ve been loving. Enjoy!

1) Wasabi Powder.

We decided to paint our house a light chartreuse-y green that’s called “Wasabi Powder” and we love it. The little birdie calls it yellow, but it’s decidedly not yellow. The pictures also turned out a bit on the mint-y side, but I know you can use your imagination. Ahem. Nothing like a really big project right before the baby is born, right? Ha!

2) Harvest Time.

I was thinking about cleaning out the garden earlier last week when things were wet and chilly, but 70 and sunny arrived–and stayed–bringing with it a slew of ripened tomatoes. I can’t quite believe I’m admitting this, but I’m a bit sick of fresh tomatoes. Salsa, anyone?

3) Bulbs!

Our bulb order finally arrived. I am especially excited about the orange tulips that I plan to plunk in the front. Won’t they look great with the new green if they squirrels don’t get to them first?!

4) Leafy greens.

Remember when the little birdie and I planted some dark, leafy greens? Our kale has arrived so that means that little birdie #2 will arrive shortly too. Wow!

5) Taking time to enjoy the flowers.

We’ve had a crazy morning glory crop this year. In fact, I have to remind myself next year to provide them with some thread/twine so they can more freely climb the fence and not just each other. And the mums have been lovely too. So nice to have such bright spots of color here and there.

What’s been happening in your nest, lovelies? How are you enjoying this beautiful time of year in your neck of the woods? I hope you’ve been having a good week!