Support Local Farmers

DSC07062A 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.

Posted in Garden | 5 Comments

In My Garden

IMG_1622IMG_1624IMG_1625IMG_1633IMG_1619IMG_1621IMG_1637IMG_1638 IMG_1623 IMG_1634 IMG_1639Hello 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…

 

Posted in Garden | 12 Comments

Grateful this Weekend

IMG_1615Every 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?

Posted in Life Notes | 12 Comments

In My Garden

DSC07054 DSC07050IMG_1602DSC07049DSC07048DSC07047DSC07045DSC07043DSC07042DSC07041DSC07040DSC07036DSC07034 DSC07033DSC07032DSC07031DSC07030 DSC07026 DSC07025Just 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?

Happy Friday!

Posted in Garden | 7 Comments

Then and Now: 6 Years of Blogging

My very first garden and the seedlings I was about to plant.

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.

My garden in France.
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On the beach on French/Italian border.

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.

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My two square foot raised beds at our house after returning from France.
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The first zucchini in our OWN home garden.

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.

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My largest garden to date.

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! :)

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A little chicken and wine therapy after a long day.

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.

Happy Monday!

Posted in Garden, Life Notes | 30 Comments

In My Garden

Come walk in my garden with me. Come observe and listen.
DSC07007 DSC07009 DSC07010 DSC07011 DSC07012 DSC07013 DSC07014 DSC07015 DSC07016 DSC07017 DSC07018 DSC07019 DSC07020 DSC07021 DSC07022 DSC07023 DSC07024There is still so much kale! Even the desert heat won’t kill it.

Happy Thursday!

Posted in Garden, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Peaches, geckos and face paint

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IMG_1533Wednesday morning found us impromptu driving an hour north of home to this little orchard run by one man. We’ve been going to Howard’s orchard for years now. I’ve got some yummy peach recipes one of them being this Gelato.

It was hot but we picked quickly, ate our fill in peaches, and even picked up some tomatoes. I’ve been canning everyday since. I made a peach galette and  peach jam and canned peaches, peach jam scones, and now I’m going to make peach lavender butter. We’ve had peaches and cream for breakfast and peach compote on our pancakes this morning. I’m almost peached out.
DSC06994The next day this happened. It was a yes day and I let them put on face paint. We are having a lot of yes days right now.

IMG_1528The day after that we found this tiny tiny gecko when we went to check on the chickens. I like geckos a lot. They eat so many bugs. These babies as so darling aren’t they?

This past weekend was so full and lovely. I spent most of Saturday out with my dear friend C. For just a little while I felt like I was teenager again. I picked her up at her house and we listened to 90’s music in the car, talked about news, books, and music. We had lunch at a local cafe and then hopped about the local thrift shops looking for summer clothing. We ended up in a funky  bookstore at one point and spent like two hours there. We both said to our families we’ll come home when we are done. And so we did and it was so worth it.

Now that my girls are getting a little older I am beginning to take the idea of self care much more seriously. It doesn’t just mean taking a shower or having a cup of tea, but making sure I have clothes that fit properly, exercising, doing my own activities, and–most important–time off from being a mom.

A few weeks ago I had bit of melt down on the front porch of my friends house. I began to sob uncontrollably and had no idea why. She let me stay and cry it all out even though I only meant to pick something up. She said something that really opened my eyes to self care for mothers. She said that if you are a stay at home mom your workplace is your home. You can’t go home to relax after work so you need to leave your house in order to relax.

I really love my house and puttering in the garden and such, but for real, leaving the house alone is so refreshing. OR leaving the house to meet a friend for coffee. So friends, take care of yourself, go out, get over the guilt of doing something just for you and do something without your kids that makes you happy.

Happy Monday!

Posted in Cooking and Food, Life Notes | 7 Comments

In My Garden

DSC06964 DSC06963 DSC06962 DSC06961 DSC06960 DSC06959 DSC06956 DSC06955 DSC06954I seemed to have skipped last week… Probably due to all the tomatoes I was canning. Not much going on right now as the garden waits for the monsoon season to take off. The skies fill with clouds and a shower may happen here or there across the valley, but no storms to drive you inside and wonder if the lights will go out. We thought the storms of our camping weekend had kicked off the season, but not yet.

So the garden just sits, waiting for pests like beetles and hornworms to come and eat it up. I’m anxious to plant more, and harvest more. Even the tomatoes have slowed down their march to ripeness.

I ripped out all that failed garlic and replaced it with chilies and bell peppers. So far those are all doing well! The onions are coming along and here and there I get a cucumber. But for some reason I can’t seem to grow cucumbers or zucchini in great numbers.

As I look at these pictures I realize that the plants just keep getting bigger and bigger. The Okra is just under my armpit (I’m only 5’4″ mind you), the zucchini is overgrowing its path trying to take over the okra. The butternut squash is vineing out in all directions. The tomatoes are spilling out of the bed on to the path like a drunkard.

The birds (knock on wood) have finally let up on the zinnia’s, which are starting to recover. I guess they finally figured out that you can’t get seeds from a newly opened un-pollinated zinnia.

I complain a bit but things are so good. I canned 12 pints of tomatoes this week. I made a healing salve from herbs grown in my own garden, I eat dinner from the garden almost everyday. That to me is the biggest success.

If you are writing garden posts drop a link to your garden; I want see them! :)

Happy Thursday!

Posted in Garden | 15 Comments

Growing Fast

IMG_0281When you are a parent to young children you are completely consumed by living everyday with them moment to moment. Rarely do you get a chance to stop and observe how much they’ve grown until one afternoon they fall asleep next to you on the bed and you look down to see their little feet going past your knees, where once they were snuggled up so small they could fit into the crook of your elbow.

Though I had to go to the bathroom terribly bad, I didn’t even move because wanted to keep this moment suspended in time.

Oh but it’s not just me that get snared in by the nap trap:

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Happy Monday!

 

Posted in Life Notes | 6 Comments

Monthly Camping

Warning: This post is slightly photo heavy. Bear with me. :) 

DSC06943 Camping, next to my family and cooking, is my favorite activity. I went so far as to buy my tiny tiny hatchback a backpack so we could  fit 4 people’s worth of camping gear in it and on it! I love getting ready for each trip as I find myself getting more and more efficient.

Once a month, for the last 4 months, we’ve been going camping. It’s been the best. Not only have we been camping, but camping with friends. We have found wonderful friends who share our love of the out-of-doors and who want to go camping just as frequently as we do!

DSC06936 DSC06935 DSC06928 This trip in particular was special as it was our longest outing yet, and all family members on both sides were present. We set up camp together, cooked together, laughed and drank wine (for the adults) next to the fire. The girls played happily (for the most part).

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D and I made this cool spiral path. I’ve always wanted to do this and this was the perfect spot with lots of large rocks!
DSC06905 This swing was made by my dear friend C’s husband, D2. He is a survival instructor and can make just about anything!

DSC06899 DSC06898 DSC06889We hiked together, celebrated the birthdays of both husbands and got completely soaked in the summer rain storms. The rain came raging in every evening around dinner time. Lucky D2 had all the parachutes and rope to help make our little shelter from rain and sun.

DSC06875DSC06880DSC06876I also asked D2 to teach me how to build a fire and now I can start a fire in the rain with wet wood. That’s right! I can even start a fire without matches.

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The girls all got a lesson in fire safety and learned how to properly add wood to the fire. This was a big thing as they wanted at first to just throw the wood in, but that’s really dangerous for a handful of reasons. Little V was the most patient and fearless when it came to adding wood to the fire.

I like meals cooked over open fire. It somehow tastes so much better.

My favorite part of the whole trip was staying up late drinking wine chatting about non kid related things and scaring off the skunks who wanted to eat out of our trash bag.

We already have two more trips planned. If my children don’t  grow up with a deep sense of longing to be outdoors than I shall have failed them. Hopefully not, as they always agree to the next trip!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments