Around the Farm, Backyard Style

When we were preparing to move cross-country last summer, I was feeling a bit bummed out that it meant I wouldn’t be planting a garden at our house, after all.  I had grand, albeit imaginary, plans of installing raised beds alongside our driveway, the only spot on the property that received a good amount of sun.  Nevermind that we were on a pretty homogenous suburban cul-de-sac where such a thing may have been considered an eyesore.  Instead, I settled for some container plants and annuals in the flower beds, and got to packing up our belongings, looking forward to our new life in Oregon.

We moved to a town I had not been to, into a house I had not seen.  It was quite a leap of faith, and in hindsight I wonder why I wasn’t a little more unhinged about the whole situation.  Sweetie will probably tell you that I was a little crazed, that I dug in my heels a few times and declared that I didn’t want to move at all, what with a new baby and all.

In the end, it has turned out to be the best place for our little family, and my dreams of a raised bed garden were granted!  The best part? I didn’t have to do any of the digging or clearing, as they were already here.  So this spring I excitedly got to planning a garden, my first, and have been enjoying watching things grow and change and enjoying the bounty all around.  For there’s not only the vegetables I planted, but a bounty of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and herbs to enjoy as well.

Without further ado, may I present Sonia’s #1 Garden Adventure, July 2011:

Beets. From seed.  Amazing.

Beans, peas, and corn, trellised with a makeshift arrangement of repurposed bamboo poles and kitchen twine.

Articoke!

Cherry tomatoes.

There’s also a couple of types of cucumbers, chard, lettuce, spinach, a cantaloupe, and a pumpkin, plus some volunteers from the compost bin that are most likely pumpkins.  That’ll be a fun surprise!  It’s amazing how much food can be grown in a relatively small space, particularly in a back yard.  We have gotten so far from the source of our nutrition in a lot of ways; it feels good as one family to be making some of our own food in our own space.  Not only is the end product good to eat, the hours of work and tending to get there are great entertainment for me as a gardener and mama of a curious toddler!

PB has been so funny around the garden.  She loves to pick the peas, berries, and sample the leaves of all the greens.  Digging is fun, especially now that the seedlings are big enough to withstand her tools.  Most recently we taught her how to hold the sprayer so she can help water the garden, which is great, wet fun.

How does your garden grow this July?

Summer Weekending

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of summer in Oregon for about two months now.  It was this warm promise that got me through the cold, wet days of winter and spring; I needed a dream that these things were only temporary, that the flowers would bloom and my skin would feel the warmth of the sun again.

Throughout June, I looked out the window every morning hoping to see clear blue skies and, more often than not, they were grey.  It was pleasant out for the most part, and things were growing and blooming and generally behaving like it was summer, but there was just something missing.  For me, summer hasn’t truly begun until you put on your swimming suit (and sunscreen), eat sugary popsicles, and spend entire days out side.

Well, I’m happy to say that summer arrived here in full force on July 1st, making for a wonderfully summery weekend.  We set aside small things like laundry and housekeeping to bask in the glory of long, warm days following the whims of our toddler and our taste buds.  And it’s still happening!  I hope you all had a nice weekend and, if you celebrate it, a fantastic 4th of July.

***

Don’t worry~ I spent plenty of time knitting, too…

Summer Lovin’

This summer I am loving:

  • picking strawberries and raspberries while dinner cooks on the grill
  • eating berries right off the bush with PB after dinner
  • hanging laundry out to dry
  • asking for (and receiving) help
  • discovering sleepy kitties in the raspberry patch
  • daydreaming in the hammock
  • using homemade compost in the garden
  • meeting new mama friends
  • planning and getting excited for Sock Summit with a very good friend
  • my library card and stack of borrowed books
  • hearing baby birds in the nesting box outside my bedroom window in the mornings
  • knitting with fingering weight yarn (3 projects!)
  • cheerful summer linens
  • local festivals, markets, and parades
  • thrifted dresses and skirts

What are you loving this summer?

Strawberry Cake: Not Just a Dessert

 

This weekend when you go to the farmer’s market and see strawberries, you should buy some.  In fact, buy as many as you are able, eat some as you walk around, and then bring them home.  Snack on a few while they’re still warm from the sun before settling in to the work of cleaning and hulling them.  You will probably want to make strawberry shortcake, or strawberry rhubarb crumble, or maybe even some freezer jam.  After a few days have passed and you’re not sure what to do with that last pint or two of berries, make this cake.

Admittedly, I got distracted with arranging the berries on top.  Don’t be tempted by berry artistry; cram as many berries onto the top of that cake as you possibly can, because the batter will puff and rise around them as they turn into little pockets of sweet deliciousness. The more the better. And since there’s fruit in this cake, it’s not just for dessert. Strawberry breakfast cake, anyone?

 

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?