Thursday, July 17, 2008

A little bit of harvest fun

We grilled veggies for dinner tonight, all from the garden (we just added some purchased broccoli). Even the herbs I used in the marinade were from the garden, including parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. No lie, my life is a ballad! We ate garden-fresh eggplant, peppers, yellow and green squash, cucumbers, and green beans. And for dessert...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vampires Beware!

We harvested ALL of the garlic in our garden this week, and we consumed it all in the form of mighty mighty garlic bread. Originally I intended to cure some of it, but the crab grass was intruding mightily on the garlic patch, and all of the nutrients were being stolen away from my little bulbs, so I decided to just yank them all up and enjoy. There weren't that many bulbs and most of them were not that big anyway, but they were delicious!Next year we'll hopefully be rid of the crab grass and I can plant more garlic and do a better job of caring for it. Seriously, though, I had no idea how crazy the crab grass could be!

Besides garlic, what I am loving right now is an unending supply of raspberries. Pictures to come, but we've been eating them as fast as we can pick them so I haven't gotten a chance to take many photos. We had raspberry pancakes this morning, tomorrow I'll make raspberry scones, and I even tried to make raspberry jam last weekend but that didn't go too well.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Working!!!

I always had my doubts that the plants in our garden would grow. Insert seed, cover with dirt and voila, you've got food! -- it seemed like some sort of magic that had to be smoke and mirrors. I wanted to put all of my faith into it and believe, believe that it would work, and deep down I did but I still had my doubts. I didn't want to find out that vegetable magic was a bit like the Christmas Magic of Santa Claus. And it's not! Look at our garden -- it's a wonderful true bit of sorcery!!!Everything is HUGE and blooming or fruiting! Cucumber blossoms,tomato blossoms AND fruit,raspberries (the bees love them!),adorable string bean babies,and eggplant and pepper blossoms, too. The strawberry plants are putting out runners, all the squash varieties are expanding mightily, the corn is getting high (as an elephant's eye), and the tomato vines are becoming unimaginably HUGE -- I need taller stakes and more cages! But I'm especially proud of this one, that I started from seed:Tomato plants have a smell that takes me back to my mom's garden of my youth. I wasn't really too interested in it then -- I mean, what kid likes to eat vegetables? But now I'm glad I have such an experienced gardener to call on for advice.

Here's something else -- today Dave and I built our own compost bin! OK so it's not beautiful, and a pack of cub scouts could probably do a more symmetrical job, but it's functional and made of 100% re-purposed materials (except for the nails). I just hope that it doesn't attract the bears. Because bears are not a make-believe boogey man, I've seen them here on more than one occasion.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I'm a lonely little tomato in a tulip patch

Our garden is pretty much planted and ready for the season of growing! I am so excited -- every morning, one of my favorite things to do when Jonah takes his first nap is to go out into the garden with a cup of coffee and survey the progress. I'm especially excited to see new seedlings come up and increase in size, like here:
On the box in the left are corn and sunflowers -- about half the corn is from seed, the other half I bought as seedlings from Meadow View Farm in Southwick, MA, about 15 minutes from here. I love that place! It has mad crazy amounts of plants, and is only open May and June. I was so sad when most of my seedlings kind of dwindled off -- my visions of having a "from scratch" garden full of heirloom varieties were going up in smoke. But I learned lessons from this -- like not to leave little seedlings out overnight when the temperatures are low, even if the days are sunny and springlike. And little seedlings need lots of sunlight, something we don't have a ton of in our house -- I'll have to figure out a solution to that for next year. But anyway, I remembered that this is a learning year, and I still wanted us to have some veggies to harvest, so I gave in and bought a ton of seedlings. Happily, Meadow View had lots of heirloom tomato varieties.
Anyway, I digress. In the box on the right are varieties of squash -- about half from seed and the other half from purchased seedlings. We've got butternut (from Town Farm Dairy -- I saved the seeds from their squash last fall and dried them out), zucchini and yellow squash in there.The jungle-like bushes you see are raspberries, which were there when we moved in.

With the garden being quite full, I still had a few semi-decent sized plants that I grew from seed that may or may not be hearty enough to make it this season. I didn't want to throw them away, so I started planting them in random places around our yard. Here's the tomato amongst the tulip leaves:
And a pepper plant with the pansies and catmint.Three of the first radishes are ready to be harvested! Dave ate them tonight and said they were way better than store-bought -- the highest compliment to me! I tried them, but don't really like radishes anyway.
I planted a new patch of them about a week ago, and they're starting to sprout too (they're the little green things in front of the mature radishes).
I had direct sown a lot of seeds in the garden, but hardly anything was coming up. So when I decided to plant purchased seedlings, I covered up a lot of the garden with salt marsh hay to keep down the weeds. But I think I was too impatient -- a bunch of cucumber sprouts started poking through the hay, so I cleared the area and stuck stakes next to them so we wouldn't step on them (since they were in the middle of the row!) We are going to have so many cucumbers, because besides the ones that sprouted from seed, my mom gave me a bunch of seedlings that she grew from seed. So we have about 10 cucumber plants!

We put down the hay to keep the weeds away, and to help the soil become more fertile next year, after we till everything into the ground at the end of the season. And it's not just weeds that the hay keeps away, it's grass -- since this used to be part of our lawn, lots and lots of grass keeps trying to grow where we tilled. We could really use this grass in other parts of our lawn, but it insists on growing where we DON'T want it. See it starting to surround the garlic?

This fall we'll cover the entire garden with some sort of mulch after we till everything under. That should help keep some of the grass away.

So to sum it up, from seed we planted butternut squash, zucchini, radishes, garlic, lettuce, basil, corn, cucumbers, sunflowers, basil and a few tomato plants. Okay we initially started with more vegetables than that, but those are the things that seem to have a chance of having one or two plants make it. The raspberry bushes were already in place, so we didn't have to do any planting with those. From purchased seedlings we planted zucchini, yellow squash, corn, pumpkins, strawberries, peppers (yellow, red, green and scotch bonnet), tomatoes (MANY varieties, including yellow and cherry), eggplant, and a whole mess of herbs. And my mom gave us some cucumbers and string beans that she grew from seed.

Can I just say a fews words about my mom here? She is awesome. She totally made this garden possible. She spent many hours either weeding or occupying Jonah so I could weed/plant. She brought me tons of lilies and cosmos, and even planted the cosmos for me, in a semi-border around part of the garden. Not to mention the from seed plants she grew and brought me. I'm so lucky to have her! Thanks, mom, you rock!

Oh, and in case you haven't checked out Jonah's blog lately, here's a picture of him practicing eating (so that he can have all of those yummy vegetables...maybe next year!)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lots of Growing

Besides having a growing baby in our home, we're also growing lots more plants! I was so excited to see the flowers we had planted as bulbs in the fall start springing up all around the yard. I think that I didn't really believe that it would work -- this is the first time we've ever had a yard to plant anything in, so I was skeptical that those brownish-yellow bulbs would ever actually yield anything like this!Also, I transplanted a lot of the vegetable and herb seedlings into bigger pots.And this is where Dave and his dad roto-tilled for a garden a few weeks ago. I think I need to mulch. Notice that you can't really tell where our lawn ends and our garden begins? That's because our yard is very very brown. I think we have to invest in some grass seed!Still no knitting or spinning going on here, but the Guru was here with Mr. Guru this weekend, and she was knitting a sock in all of her spare time. It really woke up my knitting bug again!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A different kind of baby

Spring has sprung, and I'm getting excited to plant my first ever garden! Last fall we put in some tulips, daffodils, crocuses and other bulb flowers, and they are finally starting to sprout up. I've seen crocuses in full bloom around town, but our snow took a looooong time to melt so I'm hoping we didn't miss the blooming season.We also planted some garlic, and I "think" these are the sprouts of those bulbs, although I'm not sure -- the previous owners could have planted some other bulbs in this area too. We're excited to see what comes up in our yard.We tilled a little bit by hand to plant the garlic bulbs, but in the next week or two we are going to rent a tiller and plow up some of the yard for a real garden. I started some seedlings in my "greenhouse" a few weeks ago, and as long as Kingston doesn't feast on them, they'll go into the garden and try to become vegetables. Dave gave me a whole bunch of heirloom and organic seeds for Christmas. We have various types of tomatoes and peppers growing in the greenhouse, along with eggplant, basil, parsley and sage. Hopefully more will sprout soon, and then I also have many different seeds to sow directly into the ground. I'm not getting my hopes up that this year will be a perfect garden, because we are basically just plowing up the lawn of crab grass and tilling it over a few times. I know the soil will have to be fertilized to get it to the right PH level, and maybe we'll need some top soil too, but for this year, we're just going with the basic till and plant method. As one of my new friends in town, who is a for real farmer, says, "Plants want to grow" -- I hope they will!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy one month birthday to Jonah!

Is anyone surprised that I haven't posted for a while? And that now that I am posting, there is really only minimal non-Jonah content? Hey, I'm a new mom, what can I say?I have good news, though -- my right hand is back to normal! No more numbness! That means I can knit again -- when I get a bit of free time, that is. I really want to make an organic cotton blanket for Jonah. I wanted to do it the whole time I was pregnant, but wasn't able to.

Here's a cute pic of Jonah modeling some knitted gifts! Booties from Vicki, and a rattle from Mary.I really haven't been doing much other than tending to the baby's every need. And that kind of suits me just fine right now!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Been a little busy...

I won't overburden you all with a million pics of Jonah (although I could if you wanted me too -- he's really too cute to not stare at him all the time). I just wanted to post and say everything is going great so far. I added a link to Jonah's blog on the sidebar, so your Jonah fix is just a click away.Also, I wanted to share these pictures of the wonderful handmade gifts my knitting group in South Bend (aka Frog Pond Fiber Arts) sent me. It was such a happy package to receive, and right before Jonah was born. It really meant a lot to me, those ladies put so much effort into these presents. You can be sure you will see photos of Jonah modeling this booty in the weeks and months to come. I'm sorry it took so long to post the picture of these awesome presents, but right after I received the package, "stuff" happened!

Vicki made the blue/grey sweater and hat on the left, along with the blue booties and striped socks. Aubrey made the light blue and multicolored socks. Carol made the teddy bear (the colors remind me of Eric Carle -- who by the way has a museum in MA not too far from here, where we'll take Jonah when he's a bit older) and Jess made the cabled blue sweater on the right. The light blue vest is from Elizabeth, and Mary made the light blue hat and the ball with a rattle in it. The very colorful blanket underneath all the gifts was made by Sandy, it's a stroller quilt. These gifts are all really so cute!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I voted today, did you?

I had the funniest experience voting for the first time in our new town. I'm used to the old school voting machines with the lever, and as we went into the school gym we saw all these little boxes. I was thinking, "Cool, high tech computers for voting!" So the woman checking us in asked if we've ever voted before, and I said, "Yes, but not with these new machines." She handed me a folder with a piece of paper in it and basically said, "Take this over to any 'privacy booth' and fill in the dot next to the name you want to vote for then put it in that box over there." What??? Total regression to 1800's technology! I guess there is a paper trail, but still...

And by the way, go Obama!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

He's here!

We are so in love with Jonah Gino, born January 25, 2008, at 2:44pm. He weighed in at 6lbs 15oz. We're all doing great, we just got home from the hospital today. More details later!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Induction Scheduled!

Just a quick update with no pics -- still no Bacon! I went to the dr's yesterday and everything is fine but that little boy is just not moving down where he is supposed to be. Man! Stubborn little baby! So if nothing happens by Sunday, we'll be induced Monday morning and Bacon will be a little Aquarius by Tuesday at the latest. Thanks for all of the comments and well wishes, and please keep on sending us those good thoughts!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2 More Days - sort of

Bacon is due in 2 days, but of course that doesn't mean he'll actually be here in 2 days. So we're just waiting. In the meantime, David and I went out for a great dinner at Metro Bis last night to celebrate my 34th birthday -- I guess I'll never be a 33 year-old mom! Also, David gave me a great present -- hand cards! I've been wanting a set almost since I started spinning. I can't wait to wash the fleece that has been stinking up our closet and prep it -- carding is so relaxing.

I had a nice "visit" with my niece and nephew at Stew Leonard's earlier this week -- those kids really like the dancing chickens, man. I felt sorry for the employees working near that station, because Sam pressed the button to make them sing over and over and over and over...and then she and Brady danced.

Any day now, and Bacon's face and name will be revealed!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Something knitting-related!

I'm still bummed that my numb hand is preventing me from knitting at this point in my pregnancy, but luckily I have some talented friends to cover me (or to cover Bacon) in this area. I should have posted these pics a loooong time ago, because I received them all (except the socks) at our baby shower in November...but better late than never. The blue blanket was knit by my childhood friend's mom, and the colorful blanket was made by Dave's Ciocia Pat. The adorable and lusciously soft alpaca sweater is from the guru herself, and so are the socks (but those are for me!) And of course Bacon has the knit dinos made by Claudine, which I did get to show you a few months ago.

These pics kind of show my huge belly -- and they are also a before and after of my new haircut. Don't I look so Katie Holmes in the second shot? I'm feeling really well and just kind of waiting right now. I'm due Jan. 18, so that's just 2 weeks away. According to our dr's visit today, there is some progress in the effacement area, but that's about it. I'm very content right now, not in any rush to have the baby but very very excited to know that his arrival is imminent. I'm on maternity leave and am still surprisingly mobile and active, going out and doing errands and such rather than sitting around the house all the time. Although I do my fair share of movie watching and chilling -- nesting, reading, and trying to cook a bunch of meals to freeze so we don't have to eat take out every night after the baby is born. If we were still in NYC, take out would be a most welcome option, but the restaurants out here don't deliver and it gets COLD. We've had snow on the ground since early December -- maybe it will melt next week when the temperatures get into the 50's, but I'm not holding my breath. I like the snow, but then again at this point I'm absolved from any shoveling duties and Dave scrapes the ice off my car every morning before work -- so my take on the weather is a bit skewed by my lack of responsibility for dealing with its side effects.