Friday, June 28, 2013

In the Garden: June 28

Things are looking much more garden like out there- it's still much too large to be photogenic in a full on photo- as you can see here:

It just looks huge- and mostly empty. I sometimes wish for a more compact space- with small mulched pathways, and lots companion plants growing cozily next to each other- but the reality is that the wide pathways make maintaining the garden much easier, and harvest also- as the 'gator can motor around in between rows, and we can load it up and haul the produce out, we can also drive in between with a water tank in the back and water really effectively. I am thinking about seeding a ground cover in our pathways- then green manuring it in, but I worry about weed control too. This year we had a ton of beneficial volunteer plants ( I love that term- it seems so helpful and eager)- borage, and calendula, a few bachelor buttons, cilantro, dill, poppies, larkspur and lots and lots of stocks (which I don't really love as a flower- but will let grow just for the bugs). We also had a lot of weeds, and it seems as though they are mostly in the areas that were rows last year- which proves that tilling our paths had a good effect on the weeds, since we're rotating rows and paths now, I'm hoping that a few more years of keeping the paths black will really cut back on bad weeds (round leaved mallow, thistle, shepherds purse, pigweed, sow thistle). After that maybe we can start sowing clover, or fall rye, or vetch in the pathways- and keeping them mowed instead of tilled (though I hesitate to add more mowing to the chores.)

Anyways- a few things are in bloom, the Atomic Carrots we overwintered are producing lovely flower heads, they are so fringed and beautiful, I can't get enough of them- even though it has been too windy to really photograph them- I'll keep trying. The spinach is producing now, as are the strawberries, the beans are starting to climb, or bush out, the peas are flowering (and not being eaten by deer- which has us totally paranoid about what is in the yard that is keeping the deer away- coyotes? cougars? goodwill?). The tomatoes are flowering too, and looking really strong and vibrant.

We've had a bit of a pest problem though- grasshoppers are everywhere- eating everything, though the recent rains and strong winds have sort of knocked them back a bit I think- no new holes on the emerging leaves. I'm going to try some molasses water traps, and I will keep you updated on how that works, if worse comes to worse we may have to spread some eco-bran bait, which is not organic- but which is specific to grasshoppers- so it won't hurt any (many?) beneficials. I think we would only spread it in the long grassy areas around the garden- and not in the garden itself- I'm not sure if it would have enough impact to justify the use. Hopefully it won't come to that though, I'd much rather not use it. I suppose if they do continue eating everything we'll still have our row covered cruciferae- so that's something, it almost makes me want to cover the whole darn garden.

Linking up with Amanda's garden updates- how is your garden growing?- leave a link the comments to let me know.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In Bloom: Roses

The rambling old yellow rose bush is flowering, so we made rosewater. It's a simple procedure- all you need to do is simmer the flowers in water and collect the distilled steam- which then smells lovely. All of these flowers only produced a half pint of rosewater- but it's pretty concentrated. I'm not exactly sure what I'll use  it for... stay tuned...

There is nothing more ephemeral than these yellow roses- they really only bloom for a day- and then start to wilt- it's impossible to cut them and bring them inside for more than a moment, though they are so sunshiny and bright that the temptation is hard to overcome. The longer we live here the more I look forward to these little 'bloom anniversaries', it's a nice way to mark the passage of time, sort of ordinary in that it's a little thing that happens every year, again and again, but also sort of special because it's so fleeting and spectacular.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A: this pursed mouth is the result of a few more teeth coming in, so tough on the happy-go-lucky babe. In between clingy- teething time though, she's been walking! for real- no holding on to anything for support sort of walking!

N: the remnants of the first garden strawberry on her face, so juicy and delicious, a totally different flavour from store bought strawberries. She was actually thrilled about eating it, but as usual her dramatic side took over once the camera was out.

Loving this cute photo from last week, posting along with Jodi as usual.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In the Garden- June 20th

Row covers in the background- looking tiny.

The frame of the row covers without the sheer covering.

Strawberries in bloom! 

Raspberries in bloom too! 

N has a little corner of the garden- beans, corn and peas growing, and
now with the bean tee-pee for her to go inside, it's like a mini- homestead. 

We've reached that point in the summer where the garden looks more like a giant weedy mess than anything else, where the plants are too small to visually count and the pathways look like the rows, and the whole thing makes me think "What have you gotten yourself into?" It doesn't usually last long, and tilling the pathways goes a long way to restoring my confidence, but we are at that point now, and I've been weeding and mulching to try to rescue the plants from their weedy captors (wouldn't life be easier if we could eat quack grass and round leaved mallow?)

The other thing we've been focusing on this week is putting up the bean tee-pees, and the row covers. We only have two out there so far, well only two made actually, and as usual the things that looked huge in the shop look tiny out in the field. We've made them ten feet long, and three feet wide, and we planted 12 cabbages in one, and about 15-20 broccoli in the other. The plants can push out the sides of the row covers so I think they'll have enough space.  I still have some trellises to make for the cucumbers, but I love the height they give to the garden, It lets me know that something green will be that big at some point in the summer

Posting along with Amanda, if you want to please share a link to your garden update in the comments.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


A: Big Toothy smiles all the time with this kid, the other shots this week were mostly obscured by her hand reaching for the camera, though the one eye showing in those pictures is always clear and delightfully happy.

N: Summertime is upon us and my kid is nuts. There is no way to describe the week we've had with N, except perhaps to say that my eyelid is twitching. This week we've been working at finding N's usual temper, which is not exactly tractable, but also not quite as wild as she's been. It's a difficult path to tread though- requiring a vast amount of patience, and humour, and thinking outside the box, and it wears me out- I feel like I'm avoiding landmines, reminding myself to tread carefully, and go gently. She is a delightful child, and much of her charm is in her unique, imaginative and willful spirit, but she needs routine, and personal challenges, and attention, or she tends to go a bit berserk.

Posting along with Jodi.

Love these shots- such amazing eyes!

Monday, June 10, 2013

In the Garden: June 10

It finally feels like summer. Things are growing pretty well so far- only half the Tomatoes have made it in the ground- but the other half are hardening off nicely. The most soul lifting thing at the moment is the little grain patch we've got going- we've got some barley, two kinds of Lentils- pictured above- which are just so healthy and lovely looking- and two kinds of Quinoa, which seems to be not doing as well- last year our Quinoa didn't take off either, so we're on the verge of giving up on this grain, but maybe we'll still figure it out, who knows.

The asparagus is done I think- we'll maybe get another stalk or two, we've been enjoying it on pizza- so yummy! The strawberries are doing great, and pretty much all the seeds we've put in the ground are up and thriving, which is also tremendously cheering. We transplanted some Chamomile and some Oriental Poppies this week too. Hopefully these sunny days keep on coming.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


A: My beauty in the sunshine. This girl is mostly smiles, all the time, she is so funny, and she loves to be so, though her favorite joke is pulling my glasses off my face. Also she learned to clap this week, and will sometimes sit rubbing the palms of her hands together absentmindedly, which is just too darn cute.

N: Just enjoying an impromptu picnic lunch, lying on the grass "belaxing", she has such a sophisticated vocabulary, saying things like " Nothing like a picnic on a hot summer day!", though she still changes the "r" on ridiculous and relax to b, which is "bidiculously" adorable.

Posting along with Jodi.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Since starting this blog I'm sure I've posted photos every year at this time, featuring the Lilacs,  (yep- 2010, 2011, and 2012, and wow- have my photos ever changed over those few years). I love summer milestones like this, and as the girls grow I look more and more towards these yearly events to record their progress. This year, this dreary, drab, cold, is-it-ever-going-to-be-warm? type of year we've been having is really getting my spirits down, and the Lilacs as always seem to be promising abundance, and warmth, and beauty, and just general goodness, it's hard to feel down when the Lilacs are in bloom.

 *the slightly dreamy, blurry effect in the first four photos are the result of tiny greasy fingers smearing my lens, which I didn't notice until after I'd taken the photos, Is that what old Hollywood starlets would mean by a "Greased Lens"? I think the flower photos are great, the children a little too blurry for me, though you do get the general idea- and there is this hilarious outtake:

which happened when I asked N to look like she was thinking "Oh, wow the Lilacs are beautiful", and all the  blurry dreaminess took it a bit too far into the saint in ecstasy realm, can't you just hear the angelic choir?

Monday, June 3, 2013


N: She's been painting a lot- I've been painting on a project, and so it has taken her fancy, she goes in fits and starts with things- painting daily for a week, then nothing for a couple of weeks- (like me actually when I think of it),I'm always amazed at the giant changes in her motor skills when she picks up a brush again. This week she said that she wants to be a Mail man, then a painter when she grows up.

A: Standing up in the garden- getting ready to take those first steps, I feel like it'll be any moment, though probably not for a couple of weeks actually. She refuses to be out in the garden without playing in the dirt, and will squirm so much in my arms to get down that I almost drop her.

joining in with Jodi.