Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Summer Harvests

June 21, 2013

Our road trip was busy, hot, rainy, crazy but a fun time. More pics and details on that soon – as soon as I can sort through my pictures.
Right now though, we’re busy harvesting from our gardens and yard. Peas are being gobbled up and Adelaide loves heading right to the pea bed for a snack as soon as we go outside.

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I’m picking lots of herbs from the yard and my flower bed. Plantain, comfrey, yarrow and lemon balm to dry for a postpartum bath tea, rose petals, chamomile and lavender for belly salve and I also need to make another batch of boo boo salve with calendula, plantain and comfrey. I’m also picking red clover from the lawn to dry for tea and fresh lemon balm goes in my nourishing pregnancy tea every day.

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I also picked a big bowl of mint for mint syrup that I have simmering now.

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It will be delicious over ice cream or in lemonade.

And to celebrate the first day of summer, we made blueberry Popsicles this morning.

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Summer’s Coming to an End

August 31, 2012

We’re having fun with the last days of summer. Tuesday, we had an end of summer playdate with our homeschool field trip friends where we got to play in the sprinkler and enjoy snow cones.
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Adelaide didn’t really enjoy the water play, but did love playing with all the outdoor toys and of course she loved the watermelon.
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Thursday we hit the spray park with a few other homeschool friends.
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And we’ve spent lots of time outside with our new guinea pig friends. They’re taking a little vacation at our house for just a week. Both girls are loving them!
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Garden is still going a bit. I’m picking a basket full of tomatoes every day. I have two quarts of cucumbers fermenting on the counter, but I think the cucumber plants are completely done producing. Our peppers are still doing great and we have 4 small melons on the vine ripening. My first planting of fall peas is starting to bloom, and I’m pretty sure there’s a good batch of green beans from my second planting that we’ll be able to eat this week.
I vitamixed up a small batch of applesauce the other day that’s fermenting as well. I’ve never tried fermented applesauce, so I just did two pints. I will probably do some traditional applesauce with the remaining apples from the peck we bought last week. I love that I can just blend them up in the vitamix, skins and all and then heat it before canning. I even did the fermented applesauce raw. Can’t get much easier than that!

Harvesting

August 27, 2012

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They did great this year. Eleanore prefers them cooked, but Adelaide likes them straight out of the garden. I managed to at least get this one washed first.
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I’ve also been harvesting and drying dandelion root for tea this fall and winter and just put up a ton of tomatoes yesterday. We bought a half bushel of canning tomatoes and I’ve been saving our harvest from this year in the freezer so I could do them all at once. I will probably take what’s left to ripen and turn them into roasted tomato soup. I made some using smitten kitchen’s recipe last week and it was delicious.
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My kitchen was covered in tomatoes by the time I was finished. I ended up with 18 pints tomato sauce, 9 quarts chopped tomatoes, 1 quart and 6 pints tomato juice. My vitamix made canning the tomato sauce so easy, but it still seemed as though it took forever. I love that I can blend the whole tomato, skin, seeds and all before cooking it down for sauce. So much less waste!
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I have the canning bug again! Friday I put up potatoes I bought for a dollar a bag at the grocery (should make quick mashed potatoes or hash on a busy fall day) and we bought a peck of apples at the orchard Saturday for me to turn into sauce. Michigan’s apple crop is terrible this year due to the early warm up and then freeze, so I snagged the seconds when I found them. They were pricier than last year, but a canning mama has to do what a canning mama has to do 😉 We aren’t getting any apples at all from our three trees 😦

Garden find

July 16, 2012

Look what we found in the garden this week. The perfect addition to our nature table: a snake skin!
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Garlic Harvest and Homemade Play dough Fun

July 10, 2012

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Turns out that it was time to dig up the garlic! I dug all the heads up this morning after checking a few and being happy with the bulbs. This is the first year I got dividable cloves. Last year, I mostly had individuals, but I planted bulbils (the seed tops) rather than cloves. I had missed a few scapes when I cut them back a month or so ago, and those heads are MUCH smaller. I decided to leave those 6 plants in the ground and will harvest the bulbils for more seed starts once they finish blooming.
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Ha. It’s just one of Jason’s tool hooks. Works perfectly and is out of the sun, which is what you want. I’ll leave them hanging for a week or two, then cut off the roots and shake off more of the dirt. Then they’ll be ready for storage!

We decided it was time for fresh batch of play dough recently, too, and while we used our standard recipe, we colored this batch with some kool aid.
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From left to right is blue raspberry, cherry, lemon lime and orange. It was Adelaide’s first time playing with play dough and it was a huge hit.
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I also made a few imprinting tools using old buttons and hot glueing them to corks.
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Goodness knows we have enough spare corks around here as I can never bring myself to throw them away. I do enjoy the occasional (or not) glass of wine 😉
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Summer Watermelon Popsicles

July 9, 2012

Happy belated Independence Day!
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I made the girls some cute fireworks hair ties to wear for the holiday. I just tied little red, white and blue felt scraps to a elastic band.

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We also made some delicious, simple, watermelon yogurt popsicles on July 4th. Adelaide quite enjoyed her first popsicle (and yes, she was a dirty mess from “helping” in the garden).
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All I did was blend up a few chunks of watermelon, added a 1/2 c. of organic, whole yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup and froze! A great way to deal with the 100*F heat.

Thankfully it’s cooled off a bit now and we were able to spend quite a bit of time in the garden this morning. I managed to weed all the beds as well as start our fall garden in our plastic greenhouse indoors ~ kale, swiss chard, broccoli and cabbage.

Here’s a peek at our garden this year.
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My overgrown herb bed ~ the oregano is completely taking over and I already cut my comfrey way back because it was huge. I still have plenty of boo boo salve from last year’s comfrey harvest, so I’m not worried about it.

Tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers. There’s also a hops vine and 2 cantaloupe plants you can’t really see.
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Pumpkins with a row of garlic behind. I think it may be almost harvest time for most of the garlic.
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Tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and two zucchini plants.
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Here you can see part of the middle bed, which has more tomato plants, hot peppers, carrots and newly started beets and turnips where I pulled up the peas. Not sure how well they’ll germinate in the heat though.
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Somehow I missed taking a picture of the asparagus and rhubarb bed, as well as the winter squash~ delicata and acorn. We also have a newly started green bean, carrot and radish bed that I’m hoping to transplant the fall vegetables into as well. And we also have raspberry plants at the bottom of our hill. We had blueberries last year, but they didn’t do very well and we’re thinking we’ll put in more raspberries as they do really well in our area. We have them growing wild all along the edge of our property so we will transplant a few into the hill at some point.

We also have numerous tomato plants, spinach and swiss chard in random pots in the garden. Most of the seedlings I started took longer than I expected to germinate and grow, so we ended up buying plants and we ran out of garden space once mine actually grew. Oops. I had major seed starting fail this year.

The early warm, then cold weather at the beginning of the season hurt our apple and peach trees ~ we won’t get even one this year from any of our 4 apple or 1 peach tree. The local apple orchards were devastatingly hurt this year as well.

Sick… again

February 22, 2012

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We have been hit hard this season with illness.  We all came down with horrible head colds/sinus infections/coughing fits last week (only a few weeks since our last bout!) and just when I thought we were getting better, I was awoken by someone throwing up on me this morning.  Sigh.  My fingers are crossed that it was a fluke, as (knock on wood) that was the only episode so far.

Adelaide is toddling around more and more each day.  She’s still not sure of herself and seems to forget that she can, but she’s walked halfway across the room to get to me half a dozen times. She’s a hoot and we can already tell she’s going to be a hilarious little girl. She will grab a tissue and pretend to blow her nose and sings and dances whenever she hears music. She’s also gotten very adept at stacking blocks!
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At least one thing is healthy in our home right now. Our green onions are growing wonderfully! I’ve already harvested them a few times and they keep growing back in just days.
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We also started some seeds earlier this week in a mini tabletop greenhouse we made from toilet paper tubes and a organic spinach tub. Hopefully we’ll have spinach, kale and swiss chard growing soon.
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I’ve been knitting a tiny bit lately, so will hopefully have updates on that soon. I just purged more than three grocery bags full of yarn and rooted through my stash, so inspiration has started to hit. Next up is organizing my fabric stash.

Another trip to the orchard and garden updates

September 28, 2011

Our homeschool theme this week is apples, so of course another trip to the orchard was in order! This time we decided to pick our own and got mostly Cortland and Jonagold for pie and more applesauce.
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It was lovely to stop and nurse Adelaide among the apple trees.
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While Jason was carrying the baby, I decided to put the ergo to apple-carrying use.

We found our first early fall wooly worm (aka tiger moth caterpillar) at the orchard, too.
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Our garden is still producing a bit. Eleanore has been enjoying snacking on raspberries and grapes every time we step outdoors. I love that she just finds a spot and settles in for a snack.
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I just picked what will probably be the last cucumber from our dying vines, and we enjoyed a few handfuls of beans with our dinner Sunday night. We may have enough for one more meal with them. Our sunflowers are still blooming, and we have a few heads drying in the garage for the seeds.
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We still have a few peppers on the plants that I’m hoping are able to get a bit bigger, and just a few more eggplant, too.
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Vine borers got our squash and pumpkin plants, and we think it was deer that ate three four of our pumpkins. This one pumpkin survived with only a small nibble taken out of the skin, and we got a nice crop of acorn squash before the bugs killed the plants.
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We had a nice salad the other night with the last of our tomatoes.
Eleanore is starting to express an interest in learning to write her name, and did a great first job trying this week!
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She has been changing so much the past few months, and it was so evident when we started going back to library story time last week. My little girl who once wanted to hide in my lap rather than participate, is now front and center singing and doing all the finger plays.