I think the operative word this week is creep. Those tomato plants and are just creeping and crawling and taking over every edge of the garden that they can. I can’t even get to the orchard from the house side of the garden. And so many new tomatoes are on vines! the last tally for tomatoes was 75 pounds. The okra too is now taller than the pergola. I’m going to need a step stool soon to harvest the top fruits!
The zucchini is gone, soon to be replaced by lettuce and beets and carrots. The cucumbers failed again this year. Having recently tried dilly beans I might forgo trying to grow pickling cucumbers and just grow eating cucumbers in a pot like lemon cucumbers or Armenian cucumbers.
The bell peppers are coming along though something is chewing nice little round holes in the leaves… no rest of the weary gardener.
I’m excited about the strawberry plants sending out shoots and making new plants. Finally, after all summer of seeding and re-seeding the cumin it has sprouted. I use a lot of cumin in my cooking and I really wanted to have a homegrown source. I’m excited to watch it grow as I have no idea what the cumin plant looks like. Lastly the mint I planted in an old dutch oven has finally become strong and taken root. It’s even blooming. I’ve still got my fingers crossed because I am really good at killing mint.
We’ve had three rain storms in a row this past week and I’m so glad because it brings the temperatures down to nice 85-90 degrees and does all the watering for me. The chickens are really happy about it too. Though I’m sure they don’t mind the ice water footbaths I make them twice a day on the really hot days.
It might not seem like it but I’m already thinking and planning for the fall garden. I’m not sure what this winter will bring weather is colder than normal or warmer than normal. But I am looking forward to brassicas and root veggies again.
I think this is the most waldorf-y birthday yet, and it was lovely. We started the night before with the retelling of her birth story and looking at some pictures since she was born in the middle of the night. In the morning I made her favorite soaked spelt pancakes with maple syrup and she opened her few gifts.
Over the past six years (since S was born) I’ve been slowly accumulating the little things for the making of a special birthday. The girls have come to love the birthday ring and the banner, and look forward to putting on their crowns every year. There is something so lovely about a plastic-free birthday.
V asked for a king and queen for her castle since we only had a wooden princess and those were her first gifts. I didn’t even bother to wrap them. They looked so pretty this way on the table. I do like wrapping with fabric and ribbons though and reuse those all year long.
I made two batches of cupcakes, one for the traditional foods eaters and one paleo. Both vanilla since V loves vanilla.
A birthday wouldn’t be complete without a new birthday dress too. This one was made from a japanese pattern book. I didn’t intend to make a dress until V told everyone she met that I was going to… for days and days before her birthday. Clever girl!
We had a small party (really a playdate with cupcakes) of which I took only one picture and that was a group photo, there was just too much fun being had.
It was a joy for me to have the time and energy this year to really celebrate her. Turning four is a big milestone and she moves out of babyhood. I can no longer say she is a baby if she can read simple books and write (all of her own doing). She still lets me snuggle and squeeze her but will tell me when I’ve given her one kiss too many and will ask me to take it back. She loves to play faires and explorers, but also likes to play mommy and Star Wars. She wants to be a Black Mamba hunter when she grows up, or a geologist. She’s silly and funny and full of compassion. She can be sweet and lovely one second and terribly frustrating the next. I love her fiercely and hope very much that she will be my friend when she grows up.
Last week here was HOT! Like 106-110 degrees hot. As dear friend C and I were watching our girls swim in the pool and their little faces turn pinker and pinker, we said “let’s get out of here and go camping!” Two days later I met her at her house my car full of camping gear and excited children, with her car looking just the same. We headed up the mountain saying goodbye to the heat and hello to 9,000 feet and cool pine forests.
We only stayed one night but the time passed slowly and we enjoyed every minute of it. I tested out my fire building skills (note to self: need to work on starting a fire with a flint, so much harder than it looks!), the girls roasted holier than thou pastured non-gmo organic hot dogs over the fire and they played happily all day alternating between drawing pictures and playing Star Wars fairy explorers. I made a super easy dinner of chopped potatoes carrots and beets wrapped in tin foil and cooked it over hot coals. I found wild yarrow too!
C and I stayed up way too late talking (so worth it!) In the morning it was super windy and we packed up quickly as it felt like the weather was changing. We were up there less than 24 hours but it was worth it and was a much need respite from heat and everyday routine.
We have several days in a row of rain and every morning that it isn’t raining the native bees are out in force collecting nectar from the flowers in the garden.
The garden has slowed down production, but there is a new wave of flowers and tiny fruits coming in. The girls and I have been talking a lot about the botanical classification of fruit vs. vegetable.
The ripe tomatoes are all but finished. But there are hundreds of new flowers out there. It’s like a jungle of tomato plants. Soon enough I will have another harvest of tomatoes!
This is the ugly part of my yard that I never show you. But I wanted to show you this because I plan on transforming it by painting the bricks and filling it with healthy living soil and planting lots of nettles and mint and maybe even comfrey in here. We don’t really go here other than to check on the greywater tank. But I would like to change that in the coming months and see if I can’t add some color to it! Here we are at the back of the yard, outside of the garden. As you can see there is nothing growing out here except that desert poppy in the picture above this one. We have decided we need more garden space. We’d like to add potatoes to our list of home grown foods and so we need beds that have full sun. The fence and gate will be extended out 16 feet opening a much large plot that is going to include a mini greenhouse for grown seedlings. With all the sun we get year around I figured there is no reason I should grow my seedlings indoor. When fall rolls around we will be literally digging into that project amending soil, building new beds, building new fence, and a green house.
Isn’t this a pretty picture of a newly filled bucket of non-gmo soy free organic chicken feed? Our chicks really love this blend I do too because it smells nice and isn’t powdery.
Thanks for walking around the backyard with me and checking things out.
How are your gardens doing? What are you harvesting right now?
The other day messaged a good friend telling her that “If the zombie apocalypse comes and $&it hits the fan that were covered because I can now cure and smoke bacon.”
That got me thinking about lifelong learning, and how important it is to keep learning to do, make, be new things. In the past decade-plus since I’ve known D, I have become a completely different person from the one he met (thankfully he doesn’t mind!). I like myself much more now than ten years ago. I would say I am much more interesting because of this desire to learn. So that got me thinking about all the things I can do, and I thought I would write some of them here for fun.
speak a foreign language fluently
start a fire in the rain without matches
cure and smoke bacon
sew my own clothes
grow my own food
whittle a spoon
fix basic plumbing problems
build a table/simple furniture
make butter, bread, and jam
sew a rope bowl
change a tire on car
make soap, lotion, and shampoo
knit a sweater, hat, or socks
cook dinner while breastfeeding a baby
spin wool into yarn
There are a lot of other mundane things too but I don’t need to list things like boiling water or building a picket fence.
So tell me what are some things you’ve learned to do lately?
A girl can only eat so many tomatoes and eggplants before she’s bored. This past weekend we went to the farmers market and I hit up my three favorite farmers to get ourselves some fresh produce since my garden is just hanging out waiting for the summer heat to dwindle so it can get back to producing beans and cucumbers and so on. Even heat loving plants don’t love 105 degrees.
I really like chatting with these farmers because they know us, I’ve been going to them to buy veggies for the past six years. They are the real deal, I can go to their farms and see where the veggies and fruits are coming from. Often we come home with extra produce just because the girls are cute.
Did I mention we bought 5 pounds of honey? We do that every 3-4 months. That honey is so lovely and dark and aromatic.
I feel really grateful that I have the option to get fresh locally grown food when my garden is not producing enough. All of this food was grown within 100 miles of my house. I feel it is important to share that, although I have this rockin’ garden, I’m not to the point yet where I can grow all of our produce needs. I’m still learning what each plant need to thrive in this warm climate. And that’s ok.
Take the cucumbers for example. So far I’ve only gotten 5 cucumbers from my three plants. So while I figure out what I need to do to help the plants thrive, I can still make fermented pickles by picking up some cucumbers at the market. Next year I’ll do things differently and maybe I won’t have to buy them.
Hello from my garden! It’s looking so lush and green out there right now. The tomatoes are still rolling in, as is the okra. More eggplants are ripening each day and new green beans are just coming out of the ground.
Best of all, I found a stinging nettle plant growing under the corn next to the melons. How it got there I can only assume it was birds. I been manifesting the idea of growing nettles, I even bought some seeds wondering if they would grow here in the desert. Now I know…
Every evening instead of a prayer at the dinner table we go around the table from person to person to say one thing we are grateful for that day. Often the girls are grateful for the food in front of them or for playing with D. Sometimes they say other really lovely things like my sister or something they did that day.
The weekend was a particularly lovely weekend and I am grateful for:
grocery shopping by myself
making all the meals for the weeknd with ingredients from the garden
for old dear friends coming to visit
for pounds of tomatoes coming in
for time to wander in my thoughts and not rush
for D letting me just read the afternoon away and taking care of the girls
sipping wine on the patio with our new outdoor string lights
treating myself to a lovely magazine
for the new healthy exercisers that D and I have become (more on that soon)
for the question I get every night before I wish the girls good night “what are we doing tomorrow?”
Let’s start the week off with something lovely, tell me what you are grateful for?
Just when I thought it would never rain again, we woke up to rain. Lots of rain. The all day kind of rain. I took these pictures in the five minutes between downpours.
I’ve gotten a few question asking how the chickens are doing. They are doing very well! If you look closely at the picture of the coop from behind the garden you will see a hawk who landed on the coop, and that is why my girls have a 100 square foot enclosed run. They would all have been dead otherwise.
Back to the garden, things are picking up again. Lots of blossoms coming out and even the beans are coming in again. At least the ones under the bird netting. As for my hoped-for bean arch, the birds have decided green bean leaves are awesome to eat and so they are pecking the vines to pieces. So sad. Next time I will plant bush beans and cover them with netting.
The tomato plants are taking over, I can’t even walk down the walkway anymore. They are still producing about 1.5 pounds of tomatoes each day. I have harvested 60 pounds of tomatoes this season. The strawberries are sending out runners and I am trying to make them take root in a new pot. The more strawberry plants the better I say!
I created a new space for green beans because I’m not giving up yet! The circular wire cage you see has been planted with green beans. I will be covering this soon with bird netting too. A girl can hope for dilly beans one day right?
So much goodness in the garden. I know your gardens are rocking too! Tell, how is it going?
When I started this blog I was six months pregnant with S. It was my first gardening season, I didn’t edit any of my blog posts, and I was a fledgling urban homesteader. I’ve gone back and forth through the years on what exactly I want this blog to be. I started by just sharing my world, but then got serious and started doing tutorials and interviews and weekly themes. I had sponsors and free stuff sent to me. After a while I decided to go back to just sharing my happy life. I didn’t have time to be a big professional blogger, I just wanted it to be fun.
Oh my, has the last six years been fun. I am so happy to have “met” so many wonderful amazing inspiring women. Some of whom have been reading since the very beginning and who are very dear friends now.
Now blogging is something very different, it includes not only jotting down lovely bits of your life to remember but it includes a community. Before I write I think, will they like this? Is this something lovely to read about? I love seeing familiar names come up every few days in the comments. I’ve only met two of you lovely readers in real life but I feel like I know many of you and I so enjoy seeing your comments come up again and again. I enjoy reading your blog post when I can and seeing how your lives unfold.
For a while I thought I’d quit blogging, I couldn’t be consistent enough do all the recommended things to keep readership. But what I found was if I just keep writing with honesty and be genuine then you all will keep reading. So I hope you’ll stick with me!
I think this is the most pictures I’ve ever included of myself in a blog post. Thanks to D for taking pictures of me throughout the years! That’s V’s chicken Zee-Anna (there isn’t an official spelling for kids chicken names), she likes to be held and even cuddles you.
After all these years I’d say I’m well on my way to the vision of a life I had for myself. Here’s to another six years of growth and learning and making new friends! Thank you all for reading.