Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Early Morning Garden Goodies

The best thing about going away on a trip is how terrific home looks when you return. It was so hot in Tennessee this weekend, that I realized summer was here in ernest and I need to plan better when and how I do the regular chores.

So early this morning, with just a cup of coffee to brace me for the day, I got out to the garden to pull some weeds in one of the pea patches. We planted the garden this year in small plots, with small bits of things growing in a patch or a raised bed, hopefully to discourage pests, with lots of marigolds spotted everywhere and herbs scattered around.

After weeding the pea row by the north fence this morning, I ripped up an old dish towel and tied a lot of tomatoes to the fence to get them out of the dirt, pulled weeds from around the potatoes, and brought out a bowl to harvest a handful of edible pod peas for tonight's dinner, as well as a handful of tiny carrot thinnings for a salad.

I think tonight we'll have a fresh kale and potato soup, as well as a big salad with bibb lettuce, tiny carrot and pea pods, with a fresh sour cream dressing.

The vegetable spaghetti squash is blooming well, and four of the tomato plants have small tomatoes on them. All the tomatoes are blooming, and it's going to be a bumper year for them. The garlic looks good too. All the lettuces are growing great, and the romaine is curling into vertical heads, the bibb are growing faster than we can keep up with them. The Florence Fennel is broadening into those bulbs that taste so good to roast for a side dish for dinner, but it'll be a while before they're ready. In the meantime, the thinnings from them make a great addition to the salads too.

Something got into the strawberries last night. There aren't a lot of them, and the scarecrow sprinkler usually scares away the rabbits or raccoons. I forgot to turn it on last night, so they took advantage. Everything's coming along well. Following this are pictures of the progress.

Family Reunion-What a wonderful time!

I've always loved family reunions. Something about knowing that all these people were family always gave me a marvelous feeling of connectedness, even when I was at that teen-age time of rebelliosness. I was lucky that there were a bunch of us cousins at about the same age, so that as my interests changed, I could always find someone to talk to.

Through the years, as the venerable elders passed on, we sort of lost that closeness and didn't have our annual reunions for many years. A few years back, we started an email newsletter. There are about 30 addresses on the list and sometime during the week, an average of 7 to 10 of them send in a note. Each Sunday morning, I compile them into one email, including any pictures they want to send along, and send it out to everyone.

We share the big news, births, family crises, unfortunate losses, and the funny thing your grandkid said last week, but we also share the small gossipy things that you tell your next door neighbor. This has brought us back together as a family and our annual reunions are now going strong again. We met last weekend at an amazing house full of love in Tennessee and shared a whole weekend of fun. There were lots of kids again, and they had a ball in two small wading pools out in the driveway, staying wet to beat the heat. Us older ones stayed mostly inside to swap stories and snuggle the babies. What a great time. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a marvelous family. The following pictures are of the oldest, youngest, kids in the pool, all the little girls and all the little boys. It was a great time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Beautiful!

Sometimes it’s best to just let the pictures speak for themselves. Following are: the view outside my office window, and just one of the crazy new kittens, peonies, wild roses and mock orange. This place is just beautiful this time of year!

The quilt at the bottom was a gift for my niece on her high-school graduation. It was my first, and a huge job. I may make another someday-waaaaay off in the future.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Everything's Coming Up Salads!

This is the time of year when we are in a race to keep up with the green and growing things in the garden, so we eat salads daily. Big heaps of green salads, salads with hot wilting bacon dressings, taco salads with beans added, and chicken salads with scraps of leftover chicken.

I always try to space out the plantings, then somehow they all come ripe at the same time! We're not complaining though, it's all delicious and so very good for us.

The garden's going gangbusters this year, with everything planned, the raised beds to make it easier to just scratch up the soil, work in a little new compost and slip those seeds in. We added soaker hoses all through the beds this time, but with the semi-regular rains, we've only needed to turn them on a few times. Anna's strawberries will be ready this week.

Speaking of rain, Anna had a ball with the rain this week. She just had to get out in it with her boots to try to stomp the puddles dry!

The potatoes are coming up beautifully green, just needing a side dressing of compost to help out as soon as I can get out there to do it.
The tomatoes are just great, and beginning to bloom. We planted them along the fence this year, so as they reach up, we'll just tie them to the fence for support and they should do very well. The herbs are planted in between the tomatoes. Hopefully their strong odor will confuse the bugs and keep the tomatoes safe, as well as being handy to harvest together for fall soups and sauces.