Monday, January 27, 2014

Where are we now?

Where are we now? Well, we're in the same house we were in when I started this blog. However, we are three children, three dogs, two cats, one hamster (that ran away), and a good bit of chaos deep into this house. Our adventures in gardening continue to be just that: adventures. However, they feel like they've been a little less successful as time and children have accumulated--likely because I have less time to devote to seedlings that are not my own two legged variety.

Our children are growing and blossoming in their own ways. Ardis, our oldest and fiercest, is a couple months shy of turning five. Five as in five years old. Blows my mind a little, especially since she seems to have had a growth spurt during the past few months and seems to be getting much to tall for a five year old. She is beginning to read, which means that spelling out loud is out of the question, and is doing math in her head.  Hawkins, our tractor loving outdoorsman, turned two last month and continues to emulate my dad at times. While two years old doesn't warp my mind nearly as much as five years, listening to him talk (making connections between the things in his world) and watching him play makes two feel like a complete game changer. Jack, our newest, twenty-seven days old addition, is still a mystery. He made his entry twenty-four days before his due date, leaving Jesse and myself completely bewildered and a mite lost. Hell- we didn't have a bed put together for him.

Our yarden is still there- less productive than it has been in years past. Even less now that it is winter. In an effort to regain some sense of normalcy (and to escape the black hole that is my home), the children and I stole a few moments on MLK Jr. Day to visit the dreary, mildly neglected backyard. We'd returned from a trip to Rome (Georgia not Italy) visiting my mother's sister and a dear college friend of mine from my one year at Berry. While the monster and her minion explored the desolation that even a mild winter can condemn our tiny yard to, I cleared the leaves and debris from the raised bed.  We planted, spinach, kale, carrots, and radishes.

I suspect that there will be a few more entries in the near future. I'll warn you, though, my thoughts are leaning less towards flora and more towards my fauna....(maybe I shouldn't refer to my children as animals???)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back in the Saddle

It’s been a long year, full of highs and lows with precious little time for jotting anything down. Between my 19-month-old son’s erratic sleeping patterns and keeping up with our BEYOND chaotic schedule, I’m just happy to be standing and mildly coherent some days. Despite the many responsibilities I have taken on, I feel pretty certain it’s long since time for me to climb back in the saddle and get this blog going again. It might be a bit of a bumpy ride as I settle back into the rhythm of writing for a blog. It doesn’t help that I’m not entirely certain which trail this particular entry will follow.
We’ve completely demolished the front garden beds. OOPS. In reality, they were just old and in need of replacement more than repair. So, we built a large 4X8 bed in the back yard for radishes, carrots, beets, etc and a small 2x8 bed in the front for tomatoes. The radishes and carrots were a bit of a flop. The beans, on the other hand, have flourished. We’ve enjoyed a few meals with them. I was late planting squash and zucchini. The plants have grown and grown with plenty of flowers, but we have yet to find any fruit. Soon, I hope. We accidently overplanted our cucumbers. After the first batch didn’t sprout we planted another round, which was followed immediately by a couple weeks of rain. After the deluge, we found that all the seeds had sprouted. We’ve gotten a few sweet cucumbers already but have no idea what kind they are.
The summer has been pretty wonderful-nice and cool with plenty of rain. I’ve been grateful for the lack of heat. Heat and morning sickness don’t really mix. That’s right. Jesse and I will be officially outnumbered in January.  Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I like Big Bowls, and I cannot lie...

I'll excuse us both from have to deal with the usual diatribe about how long it's been since I've posted and how sorry I am for not doing so. We both know that I have two children, a crazy household, and no Internet connection at home. I'd much prefer to be typing an entry than silently composing it in my head while trying to beat insomnia into submission each night.
The yarden, this year, is well...there. There are tomatoes, but nothing too fabulous going on with them. They exist. They are slowly growing, blooming, and producing. However, we have yet to be able to pick a ripe tomato. Ardis chose a package of beautiful "green" beans- one that contained seeds for purple, white, and green beans. Those were superb producers- and have been completely consumed. I planted TONS of "surprise" winter squash, which, thankfully, have been thriving despite neglect. They are "surprise" squash  because it was a mixed pack, and we won't know what varieties are growing until they produce. Hopefully, there will be lots of butternut and spaghetti squash.The one thing that seems to be doing well are the cucumbers. Yes, I know--finally, cucumbers in our garden. The first two were a wonderful surprise and delicious. At least,  I was told they were delicious. Ardis ate one for breakfast and saved the other for her Nanny.
So, now, you might be wondering what I have been doing with my time if I haven't been making the garden grow. Well, aren't you? Besides trying to keep a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old alive and entertained, I've been making bread. Lots of bread. I've been making my usual sourdough bread from the starter that my mom gave me a couple of years ago. Since the starter grows a little each time to make bread- I now have 6 different starters in the fridge. A couple of those starters will be going to new homes soon.  Additionally, I've been trying out an artisan style bread recipe that involves baking in a cast iron dutch oven. I'll share the recipe soon. I've enjoyed this particular style of bread because it is simple and very versatile. I can add whatever herbs, spices, nuts, or cheeses I want. It also allows me to use my massive McCoy bowls that I got from my Aunt Pat. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I get see the large cream bowls (with pink and turquoise stripes) sitting on the counter with a batch of bread rising inside. It is almost as good as the satisfaction of hearing Ardis's nagging "Is the bread ready yet?" or the way that Giddy will snatch a chunk of sourdough out of my hand.
With an luck, it won't be so long until the next post.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tornado, anyone?

We've been working in the yard on a regular basis- getting things planted and weeded and moving and grooving. Well, at least, planted and weeded.  Our tomato seedlings are almost tall enough for transplanting into the yard. I've been waiting for our other seedlings to come through so that we can pull back the protective fencing that keeps the canines from digging up our future meals. Cucumbers are in the ground ("Cross country" and "Marketmore") as well as bush beans (a variety pack that includes purple, green, and white beans). My daughter insisted we go ahead plant corn- so we've already got a row of "Ruby Queen" and with "Mammoth" sunflowers along the  back of one of the beds. Our Brussels sprouts continue to grow. CANNOT wait until those are big enough to pick and eat. At the moment, they are the size of large peas. We've spied a few pears on the trees and have planted more blueberry bushes. Jesse has been edging one of the beds with three years worth of glass recycling that has been sitting in the garage. As soon as that's finished, pictures will be posted. Adventures in making different types of detergent for laundry and dishes (recipes to follow soon). OH! AND we've been enjoying our three-year-old, four-month-old, and full time jobs.
so, how are you?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recipe #7: Blackbeard's Black Bean Chili

For Ardis's 3rd birthday, we decided we were finally ready to party. She chose a pirate theme (which I will admit, I loved!). I had far too much fun finding ideas for food and decorations and games. Unfortunately, the games were rained out. Thankfully, the food and decor seemed to be a hit. We made up the following recipe for black bean chili (a vegetarian alternative at the party). It makes a rather large amount- which can either be halved easily or frozen...or shared for that matter.

Blackbeard's Black Bean Chili

2 bags dried black beans (picked through for rocks and other misc. debris)
2 bell peppers (diced)
1 bag of frozen corn
2 cans of diced potatoes (because I was running out of time)
2 cans of diced tomatoes (because I'd forgotten to defrost frozen ones- I would've preferred them pureed as well)
homemade vegetable stock (I don't know for sure how much I used...likely it was around 60 ounces)

4 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon basil
2-3 cloves of garlic

1) Put beans in a large pot and cover with water - enough water to be 3-4 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit covered for an hour. Drain, rinse, return to pot. 2) Add stock. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 3) Add corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, and spices. Bring to a slow boil. Cook until beans are tender (likely another 20 minutes or so). 4) enjoy!