Peas and Happiness

 

 

 

 

 

The day we planted the pea seeds was fun.
Waiting and watching for the first sign that they were about to poke through the carefully raked soil was sweet anticipation.
Watching their tender green leaves struggle up through the soil and reaching out to the sun was exciting.
Leaving for 10 days and coming home to really big pea plants with blossoms was a thrilling surprise.

My first pea harvest is a moment to mark on the calendars, people. This is the first time I’ve had a real garden space, so picking a vegetable that grew from a seed in my own backyard is beyond thrilling.

Just this morning PB and I were strolling through the garden beds checking on things, as you do. One moment she was by my side, the next she was standing by the pea plants munching on a snap pea. I love it!

How does your garden grow on this Monday?

Today

Today I am:

♥ feeling inspired by all the mothers in my life, from my own who is about to embark on a great and spontaneous adventure to India for a family wedding; my sister who recently welcomed her second babe and is gracefully navigating all the change that brings; a dear friend who is now a mama to four children; mama bloggers like Amanda and Ginny , Kathy and Jean, who remind me to take pleasure in the work of everyday things, make time for craft, and to really see my child as she is right now.

♥ a bit overwhelmed with some potential life-changing decisions.  Something big is brewing, and while I’m excited and optimistic, a dark cloud of doubt has moved overhead, causing me to question everything.  How do you know when the time is right to make a big change in family, work, or lifestyle?  I’m trying to trust my heart and intuition, but they can be hard to hear over the noise of self-doubt.

♥ planning for summer. There’s so much I’d like to accomplish this summer that I’m in danger of letting it pass me by entirely.  Reminder to self: make sure to spend plenty of days barefoot, splashing, blowing bubbles, eating strawberries straight from the patch, and just being summer.

♥ challenged to create satisfying, tasty vegetarian meals.  I haven’t had any meat since March’s vegan challenge, and I feel great.  But I’m still learning the art of creating meals that feel whole, as opposed to a collection of disparate side dishes and salads.  Thankfully, the summer market and my garden are providing great inspiration, but each week the grocery shopping and meal planning feels like a chore.  I long to be excited about those tasks again.

♥ excited to have made it into the homestretch of my lace shawl.  It’s going to be beautiful!  I am so pleased to have retrieved it from the dark corners of my hope chest.

Oftentimes writing what’s on my mind is such a relief!  It can lighten the load a bit, breathe some air into stagnant thoughts, brighten my mood, and bring me new energy. What is on your mind today?

 

Monday Catch Up

Today is a recovery day.  I typically stay close to home on Mondays to play catch up (and slow down) after the weekend.  I’m feeling a bit tired but oh so happy for all the time spent with friends, old and new, in the luxuriously dry and sunny weather.  As you can see, PB was very serious about those hula hoops, as were many of our BBQ guests.  I’m pleased to say that almost every adult at the party gave hooping a try, and it was so much fun!

Our first strawberry has turned the corner on its way to ripeness.  I think it’s going to get eaten very soon, along with any neighbors who follow suit.  PB has already sampled a couple of white berries in anticipation.  The rest of my garden has really exploded too.  I need to get some poles up for those beans and peas, and it’s time for a first harvest of chard, lettuce, and spinach.  Weeds and mint are starting to stake their claim in and around the raised beds, so it’s time for PB to learn how to help pull weeds!

Tonight I’m looking forward to a quiet evening spent catching up with my knitting.  In all the excitement and activities, I hardly touched my knitting all weekend!

 

 

Of Food and Flora

Quince blossoms

Fennel?

There has been a little bit of cooking and time spent outdoors this week, the latter happening in the small windows between downpours.  It’s been a wet week, which is good for the plants (tough on my seedlings, though) and a little hard on this at home mama and toddler duo.

I made it to the farmer’s market twice in the last week, which excites me beyond what seems reasonable.  Who gets so excited about vegetables, anyway?  Oregonians, that’s who!  It’s such a festive, happy place filled with live music, gorgeous local food and flowers, and excellent people watching.  On Saturday I bought lettuce, radishes, tiny carrots, and swiss chard, which means we’ve been eating salads all week.  Somehow in all the excitement I didn’t do much “regular” grocery shopping, and with all the rain never wanted to go on a big shopping trip.  So it’s been greens and pantry things (soup, pasta, grilled cheese), homemade pizza, and a little potluck with a friend who made the most delicious sweet potato risotto.  And then I just had to make a half-batch of the strawberry rhubarb crumble after scoring some strawberries at the Wednesday market.  That day I was so desperate for some fresh air that PB and I sat in the drizzle and shared a burrito for lunch at the market. I guess we’re adjusting to our new climate fairly well!

The sight of brightly colored plants, blooming berries, and my daughter tromping around in the mud outside, as well as the smells of cooking, jasmine tea, and knitting inside definitely help.  It’s supposed to be a relatively dry and warm weekend, so I hope to get back outside and play!

I hope you have a colorful and tasty weekend.

Take a Moment

Peaceful Baby is all about stopping to smell the flowers these days.  All flowers get equal attention and admiration, from the lowly dandelion to the newly opened tulips.  The grape hyacinths in our yard seem to be her favorite for picking.  Her enthusiasm for every little thing that is new to her has me looking at my surroundings with renewed interest.  I never really noticed how nice a daffodil smelled until I had watched her take several deep whiffs of one and decided to see what all the fuss was about.  And dandelions? They don’t smell so bad either!

Sometimes you need to take a moment to smell the flowers.  Such a simple act can be both calming and invigorating, and it may just turn your day around.

Alison recently wrote about how spring has invoked a sort of reverse hibernation in her life.  That, while the weather is changing and warming, she wants to spend more time playing around her own home, installing a garden, raising chicks, and encouraging the littles to unplug and play outside.  I have been feeling much the same way.  When it stays light until 8pm, as it has been doing around here lately, it hardly seems right to curl up on the sofa and watch tv.  It’s still a bit chilly to sit outside in the evenings, but I tell you, every time I see the sun come out, PB and I are throwing on our jackets and getting out there to stop and smell the flowers, throw some rocks, watch the ducks fly overhead, and just soak it up.

As you can imagine, there has been less knitting going on with all this time spent outdoors.  This time of year, I’m okay with that.  A few rows done here and there are fine progress, and things will get done when they get done.  I’m still working on a secret project, my around town socks, and deciding what to do about that darn Rayonnant Pullover.  There is a new issue of knitty out, and I am thinking of knitting this instead.  With any luck, I’ll be able to knit on it while sitting outside in the spring sun next to a bouquet of dandelions!

In the Garden

My mom has been in town this week, helping me get my garden in shape for the growing season.  There has been weeding, churning, mowing, raking, digging, and sowing.  I am so excited and thankful for the progress that has been made.  There are seeds in the ground!  Seeds that will hopefully turn into delicious food for our family: spinach, kale, romaine, red lettuce, peas, carrots, and beets.  This is a first for me (aside from the occasional container tomato), and I’m sure there’s a lot more to learn.  For now I’m basking in the spring sun and checking my plantings regularly, looking for signs of growth.  PB has been a big help, too.  She loves climbing up into those raised beds and digging around.  I think it’s great, but I am a little worried she’s going to eat a slug or two this summer…or maybe she’ll raid the herb garden instead.

In Bloom

Not only was my knitting a little neglected this summer, the garden was as well.  I had enjoyed spring blooms with daffodils, crocus, tulips, and pansies.  When they were gone, my rosebushes and day-lilies perked up.  Then somewhere along the line, everything stopped blooming, the weeds seemed to invade, and some of my potted plants went crispy in the sun.  I suspect this transition began when we were out of town for two weeks in June.

Over the weeks I have slowly been reclaiming the flower beds and am happy to say things are looking lively again.

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Since we bought our home in 2008 I have been trying to stock the beds with hard working perennials, based mainly on what I see thriving in neighbor’s gardens.  These Black-eyed Susans are new, purchased at the garden center end-of season sale.  Now is a great time to stock up on perennials on the cheap.  I also picked up a couple conefloweres (Echinacea) at the sale.

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My favorite find, however, was a lush little pile of lavender.  I have been looking to buy lavender for two summers and could not find it anywhere!  I even attempted to grow some from seed last spring, and only have one 2-inch plant to show for it.  This is a welcome addition to the garden and is in a pot by the front door.

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It’s supposed to be searingly hot here this weekend, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend tending to the garden.  It’s likely I’ll be inside with my knitting near the air-conditioner.  I hope you have a great weekend!

How My Garden Grows

I love playing in the dirt.  Digging holes, planting seeds, pulling weeds, it’s all fun to me.  We bought a new house last spring, and I had a great time planting things in our yard and side garden.  I learned a couple of hard lessons about the harshness of full sun exposure, but I think I’ve got the major kinks worked out now.

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That said, I was a miserable failure at planting fall bulbs.  I went out and bought them, sure.  There was even a color scheme and everything–red, yellow, and purple tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth.  I just never got around to planting them at the ideal time.  So when I was reorganizing the storage table in my garage a few weeks ago, I was saddened to find the paper bag I had brought them home in.  There they were, patiently waiting to be put to earth, sun, and water so that they could do their little bulb jobs and grow.  About 75% of the bulbs had sprouts, and since the weather seemed to be evening out a bit I took a gamble and planted them.

I know, I know.  March is not the ideal time to plant bulbs.  Heck, I already had some daffodils coming up out of the soil!  But with a little bit of hope and a gambling spirit, I planted those babies and sat back to see if anything happened.

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The hyacinths seem to be struggling to get their bearings as they bloom while still coming up out of the earth.  Other than that, everything I planted seems to be thriving!  And thanks to the April showers and a weekend of warm, sunny weather the first flowers started blooming.

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I also planted some perennial seeds in an incubator at the beginning of April.  Lavendar, echinacea, and coreopsis.  They seem to be thriving as well, and I am looking forward to transplanting them to larger containers soon.  For now they’re still babies and need to stay in the nursery!

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We also splurged this weekend and purchased a new deck lounger with a lovely pear green cushion.  I can see myself relaxing outside with my knitting and a cool drink nearby.  Of course, I might have to fight Maxwell for it; he’s barely moved since we set it up!

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