Posts tagged ‘gardening’
I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to see what what my potato plants were doing under the dirt. I dug some up on the weekend and ate them straight away. I scrubbed, sliced and steamed them and sauteed them in a little butter and onions.
What a summer it was. I’m not sure how I feel about it really; happy it’s over, but sad at the same time, and feeling a bit guilty because I really do love summer, but I’m happier it’s over more than sad. A lot has transpired in our home and our house. The house has undergone so much transformation that I can’t even begin to describe it. My yard has been an eyesore for too long now, but I’m certain it won’t take long to get back together and it has to be done before the snow flies. The piles of stuff have killed the grass on the sunny side of the house, which has now presented itself as an opportunity to create a large vegetable garden… or at least that is what we are thinking. I’m worried about too large a garden even though I dream of growing enough organic roma tomatoes to make a slew of pasta sauce because this summer I learned that I have a fracture on my spine that will be with me for the rest of my days. I’m working to strengthen my back so that I can continue to garden, but my back needs time to heal and grow stronger. I’ll probably put the garden in anyway and cut back on other things, but not the bees.
We are getting ready to harvest our second batch of honey and then we will be helping the hive prepare for winter. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they make it through the winter. Keeping bees has been a unique learning experience… our hive was healthy – too healthy, it swarmed, the remaining bees that were left behind created a brand new, healthy queen. Despite the swarm which meant a three week lull in honey production while the new queen hatched, mated and started laying brood (essentially starting over), we managed to extract about 40 pounds of honey so far. I suspect there is another 20 pounds still available for us… with enough left for the bees.
I planted a few more wild flowers in my flower beds this summer for the local bees (mine live too far away to forage at my house) and butterflies.
I made a giant batch of dill pickles with my mom and sister. We had quite the system going and were done in record time. Unfortunately, I we made the pickles at the peak of my back issues and was in agony for two days after, but I have a lot of pickles to show for it. Maybe this is something I can cut back on next year… but I still want to make sauce… dilemma.
We took a short trip to NYC. My husband had to go for work so we tagged along and I saw NCY through the eyes of a 4 year old. I highly recommend this.
We grew some veggies. We did some crafting. We started Jr. Kindergarten. We started university. We baked. We installed central air.
Now that summer is almost over, I’m happy autumn is almost here. I have a lot of fun projects and outings planned provided my back lets me. We may even finish the hallway…
This past weekend we hosted a tea party in our backyard for my daughter and 4 of her friends. We made tea party hats, tiny tea sandwiches, and the girls enjoyed drinking their tea (aka apple juice) in tea cups that they took home with them. Since it was a garden tea party, we also decorated clay flower pots and the girls took home their very own package of seeds and child-sized gardening gloves. And because every girl needs a fairy wand, I made some fairy wands, but we sent these home in the goodie bags; I had fears someone losing an eye – this was a healthy-high-energy group of girls. Here are some pictures from the big day.
Since the girls are still pretty young, I invited the parents to stay. To keep them refreshed I made a few summer plates of veggies, meats and cheese, and fruit. And keeping with the tea party theme, I made some seasonal iced-tea.
Strawberry Iced-tea (modified from Martha Stewart)
I modified this recipe from one of Martha Stewart’s creations. She called for basil and sugar in her recipe. I changed it up a bit by using spearmint since I have a huge crop growing in the yard. Next time I think I will swap out the sugar for sucanant or honey instead and dial back the amount a bit. I also doubled the recipe and it worked out just fine. You could probably use just about any berry in this tea, or even peaches when they are in season. I like mint, but I might try peach and basil next time with green or white tea. I used a giant pickle jar to make and serve the tea, but a large pitcher would work just fine too; I just don’t own one.
- 8 black-tea bags
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
- 1 cup water, plus more for steeping
- 3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1 cup fresh mint
- Ice, for serving
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and set aside.
Place strawberries in a large mason jar. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add mint, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain over strawberries; discard mint. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Add the tea to the strawberries (with syrup) in the jar. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with fresh mint.
I have been busy! So much to do and so little time. I wish weekends were an extra day and I could sleep less and still feel rested by morning. Alas, that is not going to happen so I will have to scale back on something… but what? Here’s a little recap of some of what I have been up to:
- waiting for a few finishing touches on the primed hallway walls before I paint them
- finished the bathroom… as soon as I take some pictures, I will share… need to buy some new towels too
- made this and this and this (all very good)
- been learning a lot about bees with my colleagues… our very own bee hive is teaching us so much about bees
- went to NYC with the hubby and my little one for a few days… saw Mary Poppins on Broadway while we were there – loved it!
- put in another small veggie garden and cleaned up and planted all the other gardens (when did I start like gardening?)
- made birthday party invitations for my little one’s upcoming birthday party
- read a book
- made my mom dark chocolate covered marshmallows dipped in toasted coconut because she said she never gets any treats (this is really easy – melt really good chocolate – dip marshmallow in melted chocolate – roll in toasted coconut)
- planning to make these for the birthday party
De sauce was good. Very, very good. When my fussy 4 year old eats off her dad’s plate and finishes her own, I know de sauce was good. She even had thirds off my plate. I finally know what I do wrong. I cook my sauce too long; this makes it a bit bitter. I thought I was supposed to cook out the liquid, but look at all the liquid on the plate – it was sweet and light and fresh, and so very, very good. Sorry Mom, I didn’t save you any, but I’ll try to make some now that I think I know what I’m doing wrong.
A couple weeks ago… maybe three, a nice elderly fella stopped by and asked me about my giant hibiscus plant in my front garden. He wanted to know what it was called. This is a special hibiscus plant. My grandfather grew it from seed. He grew many of these plants and I was a very happy recipient of one about six years ago. I promptly planted my hibiscus in my front garden and it has done very well there. I wish I had a picture to show it to you in full bloom. It is such a show stopper that we’ve actually have a car accident in front of the house when it was in bloom. I heard the person who caused the accident say that they were looking at the plant. I promise to take a picture later this summer to show you the size of the flowers. Anyway, I told this kind gentleman of 83 to come back in a couple weeks and I would dig him up a piece. I finally saw him again today and I had a plant ready for him. He came back later to collect his plant, and he brought with him a jar of homemade pasta sauce. He said, in his thick Italian accent “I givea you de sauce. I give no one de sauce.” I think I may have acquired something good here and such a treat too. I was going to just give him some of my plant… I will let you know how de sauce tastes tomorrow, but it sure looks good… look at all that basil and garlic.
What a difference 24 hours can make!