Monday, August 27, 2012

Navel Gazing

Photo taken by my Mom- you can see the bump in my lap there- it looks like a
beach ball on my lap.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the mental prep for childbirth. I am currently in the
"any day now" stage of pregnancy, and specifically as I went to the Dr. last week and she was pretty sure that labour would start soon. Which of course makes you crazy, thinking about what needs to be done, and how it's all going to go and what it all means, and everyone asking you how you are feeling all. the. time.
Well anyhow- a few days after being told that the baby would possibly be here early- it's still not here- or birthed I suppose I should say. This is fine with me really- a few more nights to get a good rest in, a few more days to do some laundry and to prep the big sister for what's coming, a chance to let my body do it's job without getting induced or forced or whatever, the baby is happy and healthy, I'm healthy, it's all good. But this last week has made me think about what is required to bring this kid out, I mean Labour is really the equivalent of running a marathon stamina wise- you need to be in good shape, and any other little niggle of doubt, or pain or fear is not going to help in the end goal (my end goal is as natural a birth as possible, no pain meds beside laughing gas, and no other interventions that are not strictly needed, just because I think the odds are better health wise for both mama and baby in that situation- less recovery time, better breastfeeding, less complications and grogginess etc).
This time around I am aware of how tired I will be after it all- and how much effort it's going to take, and also I'm aware that I'm bringing a new element into my family life. It's going to be an adjustment, no matter how happy an adjustment, and I'm aware that there are things that make my family run more smoothly; a good sleep schedule, nutritious, plentiful and tasty food, a clean house, a really regular routine, with minimal visits, and fewer planned activities.
So I'm trying to get those things in order- just in case it happens early, remembering to take some time to look inward as well, to prepare myself mentally for the emotional aspect of birth, to give myself some space to breathe, and think, and get calm, and ready and excited all at the same time. To minimize doubts about this (because really it's a bit too late for that right? I'm sort of committed to this whole second child thing now...though putting that extra car seat in was a bit of Woah! moment), to reassure myself that I can do this in any way I have to, that I will be as strong as I need to be, whatever happens. It's a pretty big deal, a pretty big transition to make, and navigate and I want to enjoy that as well, that in between time, when things are just on the cusp of changing, when you have to give up control, and let something else take over.
I'm going to be a bit absent here for a while, at least until the baby comes and then probably after it's here for a 'coupla few minutes' as N would say too- but I will let you know when the new sweet one emerges, I promise.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

this week

This week, or was it last week- we had company last week and it's all a bit blurry, or maybe that's just my baby brain, which seems to have seriously amped up in forgetfulness this last month- I've never burned so many pot bottoms.

We made more blueberry muffins for the freezer, and a few more jars of Dills; harvested and ate the first of the rainbow carrots, so pretty to look at, and delicious to eat; rediscovered some old favorites from the costume box; picked a few zinnias (those are 'candy cane mix' and some 'envy' which make a perfect bouquet if you ask me); enjoyed a few sunsets out by the garden; have been eating fresh ripe tomatoes at every meal- at last!! (could that be contributing to my heartburn I wonder???); and have been spending a bit of time courting these three semi-tame cats we've moved onto the farm to keep the rodent population down and replace our beloved Fats, who disappeared last fall (yes three cats to replace one- he was quite the cat).

These kittens started out life at our neighbours place and have been a bit hard to get to know, they are pretty shy- deemed "wild cats" by N, we have finally been able to pet them- while we feed them- well two out of the three, anyhow, but it's taken a couple of weeks of just being near them, trying to encourage N not to chase them away. They do seem to know when feeding time is anyhow...typical opportunistic cats. They are all silver tabbies and so pretty, just like Fats was. They've already brought us a couple of 'mouse presents' as N calls them so at least we know they're working hard!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is Zucchini good for you? Really?

These are the patty pan squash that we grew this year- very tasty- definately our favorite

Like so many gardeners, we have a lot of zucchini right now- so much that we're considering pulling the plants. But that is a tough sell for us because it's free food, it's producing, we like the way it tastes, and global food prices are going up dontcha' know- surely someone could use it right? So I've been preserving what I can, and baking with it, and eating it, and trying to think of new ways to freeze the stuff. I've been using this method- with hopes that it will not become a soggy mess in the freezer, I also have been using it in brownies- which were pretty good, and cooking up some of the patty pan squash to go into macaroni and cheese which is totally awesome, and probably a good way to freeze them as well.

But somewhere along the way I remembered having a discussion with someone about the dubious health benefits of Zucchini, you always hear that the inside colour is what's so important about antioxidants and everything, and Zucchini is basically water- I mean, yes it's a vegetable- so of course it's healthy- but isn't the white flesh inside really just a sponge? Is there any benefit to adding it to your baked goods at all- or is it just essentially filler?

Of course I turned to the Internet to this nutrition data website that is pretty cool- you can look up virtually any food and see how it all breaks down. It turns out that it is good for you- it has  potassium and folate, and dietary fiber, vitamin c and a as well as lots of other minerals. I assume that if you peel it you lose lots of benefits. I originally looked up the data for a baby, raw zucchini, but then I also looked up the data on a cooked large one- with skin and I'm totally blown away, turns out the zucchini is actually healthy, not just a sponge for flavour. So I guess I'll keep on shredding it, and baking it into random things, and giving it away to people.

I'm going to try to saute up some of the patty pans with onion and summer savory and then freeze them to add to pasta later- maybe that will work? last year I tried just blanching and freezing, but it was not really good- maybe cooked in a bit of butter though- will help to save them. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This week

Pink Larkspur and Green Envy Zinnias

Cleaning the freezer out and making the last of last year's frozen tomatoes into pizza sauce

Fresh raspberries and homemade bread eaten on the table outside

The first ripe Tomatoes!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I realized this weekend that I really should have been making pickles last week- there are a few very large seedy cukes ready to get composted now, and I was told by N that I was being "rude to the food" while I was throwing the large yellow ones out into the pathways. I guess we've said that to her in the past about wasting food?????? the things that come out this kid's mouth, I tell you. Anyways I explained that we'll turn it into food for the plants next year, so it's not really wasting it- and then I was told twice that the yellow ones make really good relish (not by N, she's not that aware of old time preserving recipes), but I'm sure I'll get more oversized ones by the time I'm through.

Anyhow I picked a bunch of cukes and dill and beans and made 16 jars of pickles this weekend- a slightly stupid number because my canner holds seven jars at a time, so I had to boil one last batch of two jars- annoying. It was really hot work, and long, and darn it, I just don't know how I did it last time I was pregnant. And I really went nuts with the pickles when I was having N, we're still eating pickles from 2009, and I haven't grown pickling cukes since. I do want to make a few more batches- but I'll try to keep it on the minimum I think, I always do salsa and pickled carrots though, and I do want some bread and butter style pickles, and I have a recipe for zucchini relish that I think I'll have to try (though it only calls for a measly three pounds of zucchini- and my plants are producing at least much daily), so the pickle express is far from over.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sewing- Faux Chenille baby blanket

Baby Blanket and Kicking bag-
stuffed animal meant to demonstrate- otherwise it looks like a fancy hot water bottle cover
So despite being extremely practical when it comes to handmades for this new baby, I did make a couple of special items just for it- every baby needs at least one new blanket right? I saw this tutorial and fell in love. I made mine with an old flannel sheet I had kicking around because darn it flannel is expensive- and I could not justify spending 8 bucks a metre on something that I wanted to cut up and fray. I was a little concerned that the old sheet wouldn't have the right weave or the bias cut would somehow not work- but it did- so if you want to try this using an old sheet- go right ahead.

I also really love the idea of a kicking bag for this baby- though who knows if we'll need it at all- if it stays this hot here I'll probably just let it roam in diapers. I didn't have one for N and I think it will be handy this fall and winter. It's a pretty loose pattern- the one I read was meant to be knit in the round- but I used straight needles and just sewed up the bottom and sides. I added a little bit width after the ribbing as well because it seemed tight otherwise- and then to hide my yarn over increases, and add a bit of interest I did a row of a miniature leaf pattern with a contrasting yarn. It looks exactly like a large hot water bottle holder (and actually has me thinking that a hot water bottle cover might be a good gift for Christmas- especially out of hydrophobic wool), but once there is a cute baby to put inside it it will make sense- I hope.

Friday, August 3, 2012


These Poppies were grown from seed we collected least year. I have three rows of pretty thickly seeded flowers out in the garden next to the peas. I could collect the seeds to eat, or just to grow again next year. These will self sow pretty prodigiously, even if you collect the heads- somehow a few always manage to escape and get past me. But they are pretty spectacular looking, and they are the easiest seeds to collect, I just snip the seed pods once they dry out and keep them in a Ziploc bag. they do finish blooming pretty early, but the seed pods themselves are quite nice looking too, so it doesn't bother me. I've heard that you could cut the flowers to bring them inside, but I imagine the mess those thin red petals would make once they were done would not be great- and I don't think they'd be very long lasting.

I can't tell you what variety these are- I think when I first bought them- years ago- they were a mixed colour package, with salmon and white as well as red- but have managed to select out to just red pom pom style flowers, which are lovely all on their own.