Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Friend, New Flowers, New Quilt

Meet Crawly

He is a caterpillar that we caught on the dill the yesterday.  Timothy named him and then said, "Crawly is the best caterpillar ever."  Jared and I are secretly hoping that Crawly does indeed survive into adulthood.  Timothy checks for a cocoon every hour or so.  We'll keep you posted on further developments...

Many thanks to my dad for making the bug cage and to my sister for painting it.  :)

Still waiting for tomatoes...

But not for the sunflowers!  The first 2 opened their heads today and hopefully this next week the entire sunflower patch will be in full bloom!

My triple Irish chain quilt is done!  I have had this thing basted and just waiting for the quilting for about a month whiled I mulled the options.  I really wanted to try to put a featured motif in each of the tan patches, but I was just paralyzed about the process as I haven't done it before.  Clarity came one evening while I was thinking about planning a picnic and this is the blanket I automatically thought about.  I am not interested in investing a ton of blood and sweat into a blanket that I was going to throw on the ground and roll up in the back of our van.  Besides, I already had hours into the piecing and I think the meandering line lets you focus more on all of the fun colors and the grid they make.  Three hours later and the quilting was done!  :)

I snapped a quick picture so you could see the back and binding...a subtle blue swirl with a navy stripe on the edge.  Many thanks to my awesome quilt holder, who willingly walks around the yard with a quilt in the air whenever I beckon him.  :)  I am sure that this quilt will be well loved for years to come.

And one more picture of some of my mid-summer flowers...the coneflowers have bloomed!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Produce coming in

I grabbed my camera the other night and took some closeups of what is going on in our garden...

Granddad's Dill 

Jared's cucumber trellis is working out well! 

Onions are starting to pop out of the ground 

New patch of beans have popped! 

The surviving cabbage is coming nicely 

Our spaghetti squash plant is going CRAZY!  We have only one plant of this variety, but it has stretched the entire length of our 18 foot garden.

Sunflowers are going to be coming soon!  (probably while we are gone camping haha) 

Our bush beans that decided to vine, so we quick through some tomato cages in to support them.   Tomato plants are LOADED.  I can taste them already... 

Berry crop is done!  I have raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry jams, all sweetened with honey, done and ready for the year.  Hopefully I'll catch the peach truck and add a few more jars, but we should be good for the year on jams.  

I tried a new jar...these are Weck jars, which are apparently made in and are popular in Europe.  I happened to win a case of 12 of these puppies.  They worked awesome!  They have a glass lid, a rubber gasket, and some little clips you use while they are in the canner.  I'll have to replace the rubbers every year, but they are cheaper than buying boxes of lids for the normal jars.   I have some larger half litter jars to try, too, I just need to figure out what to put in them...

New recipe of the year was rhubarb butter.  Sweet and tart, this is a keeper, even if did bubble and sputter rhubarb all over my stove, counter, cupboards, fridge, microwave, floor, and ceiling.  Messy is an understatement.  Jared volunteered to keep it stirred and had to use oven mitts to protect himself from the burning hot projectiles it was sending out.  :)  Hopefully next year I'll be better about getting the air bubbles out, too.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The carnage following the great cabbage worm war

First, something positive...honey sweetened raspberry jam anyone?  5 cups of berries and 2 cups of honey with some lemon juice.  3 8-oz. of lip smacking jam within an hour.  Our raspberry bush is still pretty loaded, so I am hoping that we can get another batch in before we our done for the year.  The recipe is here if you are so inclined.  

Basil is coming in pesto it is!  I have never made it before, but one spoonful last night convinced both Jared and I that this will be a regular in our diet.  It freezes really well too, so I have plans to get a few batches throughout the next 2 months into the freezer so we can enjoy some summer sunshine while the winter winds are blowing.  (which is the main reason we garden, along with being able to go out and pick a garden salad 10 minutes before sitting down to eat)

Well, here is the result from the cabbage worms.  It was bad, and we were on the losing side.  All of the broccoli (which was basically done anyway), cauliflower, brussels sprouts, most of the kale, and most of the cabbage have been ripped out.  The kale regenerates leaves, so I have a few left down there in the corner with just a few baby leaves left.  I am hoping they come back.  In the empty beds I planted some more cilantro and green beans.

Here is a view of the garden from the other side...where the squash has run completely wild, but is so loaded that we are leaving it be and clipping the tips off.  It is hard to see, but there is a big section of green beans right in front of the corn and a great little bed of dill, thanks to the seeds I got from Granddad!  We are always thankful for his knowledge, experience, and bottles of seeds that he saves and shares. :)  Do you see the large lawn bags sitting along the fence?  That would be the cabbage worm victims, ready to be hauled to the tree dump. :(

The survivor bed from our cabbage worm war.  I am not sure why, but the green cabbage on the bottom of the photo are a different variety and they each had a couple of worms that I have picked off, but have remained mostly intact.  Not sure why, but I will be looking for this variety next year and planting it exclusively.  Not that I remember the name, but it is a much smaller variety...hoping I can figure it out as I stand in the nursery next spring.  :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

We have a rider!

Timmy figured out how to pedal this week!  I am looking forward to going on some walks by the end of the summer with Timmy riding along side of me.  :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Early July Garden

If you look closely, you'll see the garden gnome working away.  :)  Things are really growing nicely (I love the splash of color the marigolds bring to the garden) and we are on the verge of counters mounded with produce.

I started counting the zucchini/summer squash and lost count at 18 over 3 plants.  The cucumber plants are covered in yellow flowers and 1" fruit.  The beans are all about 1/2" long.  The tomato plants are getting heavy in green globes of all sorts of sizes.  We have had a few cherry tomatoes already, much to Timothy's delight.  The corn grew from knee height to shoulder height in a week.  The only thing we have really been harvesting is herbs (I have been running oregano, parsley, basil, and chives through the dehydrator), salad greens, green onions, and broccoli.

It is that moment in time for the gardener to rest.  Sure, we are propping up plants here and there, pulling a few weeds here, stewing about this or that insect.  But the entire garden has been newspapered and covered in grass clippings, the fruit is not big enough to pick, and the canning and freezing in earnest has yet to be started.  It is time to gaze approvingly and give prayers of thanksgiving, along with requests for protection from hail.  :)

We have a problem though.  You see that netting we put around all of our cabbages, broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts?  It didn't work.  We are probably going to clear out that entire bed of half eaten, cabbage worm covered mess.  Sigh.

Raspberries will be coming in soon, though.  That makes us feel better.  :)

Here is the other side of the garden.  Jared is putting in tomato cages among the beans.  Our bush beans decided to climb and were taking over tomatoes and squash nearby.  All that green in the bottom part of the photo is a mess of 4 squash plants and they are LOADED.  We love squash and I am excited!

This picture of our Tiger Lily is for my mom.  Yes, those blooms reach the top of the deck rails and I think since I took this picture 2 nights ago, they have gotten taller.  The tallest flowers are taller than we are!

And a few pictures of Timothy, enjoying the July 4th carnival.  :)  Videos of Timothy riding the now mastered trike will be coming soon!