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Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

 

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For the past couple months – since Christmas, really – I’ve been allowing myself time to freely play around in the studio with whatever my focus naturally gravitates toward. I have really cherished this time, and I feel like a part of me that had become stifled and restrained is coming back to colorful life. I had gotten to feeling like I didn’t know why I was making the things I was offering anymore, and needed to come back around and find my own creative initiative again. It’s been the longest period ever since I’ve had a true change of work in the shop, which also means a true change of work for me. I am a creative, sentient being. I am not a catalog, nor am I a machine.

Some of the things that I’ve been especially enjoying is exploring different kinds of leather work, digging into my stash of collected textiles, and getting immersed in a variety of wood carving projects. Sometimes I’ll go upstairs thinking I’ll just carve for a few minutes, and a few hours will easily pass. I love that kind of focus, where you are effortlessly, fully present in what you’re doing. That’s where it’s at! I’ve also been making an effort to let go of unneeded habits that have formed, and ideas about what I should be making. Free it up!

There will be a shop update pretty soon. Once I know the date, I will be sure to announce it here. I’ve been editing photos the last few nights and I have a few more bags I want to finish up. I’m excited!

Outside of the studio, we’ve been readying the garden and working out the details of a pretty big garden expansion. Not sure how much of the new garden we’ll get done this year with all the other things we are hoping to accomplish, but we’ll be making some first steps soon. In the existing garden I’ve sown the first round of peas, which are already popping through the soil, and I recently planted tomatoes, hot peppers, sunflowers and various greens in starter pots. We replaced the plastic sheeting on the hoop house recently and Steven’s been working on setting up irrigation in there, which is very exciting! I can easily spend an hour a day in there hand watering, so to have it automated with timers will be a huge help. There are a bajillion other ways I could think to spend those hours. Oh and my beautiful kale I was recently talking about? Well folks, the aphids have landed! They sure do love that stuff, dangit.

What are you all excited about these days? What gets your creative spark glowing?

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the winter that never was

It looks and feels a lot like spring here, and it has for a while now.

feb_greens_0Self sown and self maintained greens and flowers. After a tough go with kale this past summer, it has beautifully transformed with the cooler, moister weather.

apricot_blossoms_0aFlowering apricot. This year marks the biggest show yet for this little tree. Fruit? Apparently that is another matter…

hoophouse_febHoop house carrots, planted in the summer. It was too hot back then and they didn’t take well, but over the late fall and winter they have taken care of themselves. I haven’t watered in here for months, so was really surprised to find them! And they have been so sweet and delicious. Over the course of a week or 2 I’ve picked a handful at a time. We are finishing the last of them now and I am making a mental note to do this again, with a little bit more effort on my part.

hoophouse_feb_1I finally started cleaning out the hoophouse. This year we need to replace the end walls, which were set up with plastic sheeting we had lying around, and wasn’t really suited for so much sun exposure. We have all the materials on hand now, and the plan is that we get it done this week.

crocus_diptychCrocus. Fresh, tiny, beauties.

gunneraSome of our Gunnera babies. Steven has been raising (SO MANY OF) these Dinosaur plants from seed. This year they should put on a huge amount of growth. We’re wondering what we’ll do with them all…

sunset_february_1Most every evening lately we are lulled by spring peepers, one of my favorite, most comforting sounds at this home. I think this year marks the earliest appearance they have made yet.

 

I know it’s bitter cold and snowy on the east coast, which has been so hard to imagine here. I try to keep in mind that nothing will necessarily be as I’ve known it to be. There could be another ice age. We could dry up and this land will turn to desert. Everything is changing. And we are changing, too.

 

 

 

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June 20 in the garden

 

carrot_flowersfuture carrots

carrotslast year’s carrots

rhubarb_artichokes_0some of the last of the rhubarb

harvest_june20_0typical picks these days

berries_cherries_0blueberries and cherries!

harvest_june20_3one of the first full fava pods

Today was the first day I felt that well of excitement that comes with the anticipation of days of full, real garden harvests. The fruiting plants all had quite a growth spurt last week and I’m seeing a lot of tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers forming.

So far this spring we’ve been eating plenty of rocket (one of my favorites and luckily it’s doing so well this year!), arugula (which is starting to bolt pretty quickly now), lettuces, kale and cilantro. The past week or so we’ve been enjoying artichokes, and are just now starting to be able to crunch away freely on sugar snap peas.The fava beans are filling out, and I think it won’t be long now til I’ll be able to start really picking. We discovered our love for favas last year and couldn’t get enough of them.

The crows have been helping themselves to the cherries this year, but they’ve been nice enough to let us get to at least a few handfuls. And the first few blueberry clusters are ripening.

Today I planted more seeds, filling in every nook and cranny of space that was left – parsnips, carrots, beans, spinach, more cilantro, more zucchini. I don’t think it’s too late (or in some cases not too early either I hope).

Still dealing with aphids on some of my kale plants. Strangely, it’s the only plant that seems to be a target. After pulling last year’s kale plants I thought I might have a fresh start, aphid-free.

The eggplant leaves have been getting chewed by flea beetles. This is the first time I’ve ever dealt with flea beetles. They’ve been few enough that it’s been manageable, and luckily their only interest has been the eggplant. Picky eaters, these bugs are. And the basil has had something chewing it’s leaves, but no matter how much I inspected, I never seemed to find anything – until one night last week I found a bunch of earwigs on the plants! To my surprise, it turns out they feed on many types of plants. Those creepers of the night.

I’d love to know what’s happening in your garden, if anyone wants to share.

 

 

 

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garden chat

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Little by little our spring veg garden is coming along. I’ve felt really relaxed about it all this year, and it’s been coming together naturally and at an easy pace. I am sure I’ve overlooked some things, and still need to do a bit of direct sowing, but I think I’m almost finished planting starts. A lot of them are in the hoop house, soaking up the extra warmth. The hoop house is almost weeded of the grass that runs up the sides (in the sections not shown in the photo) , which got pretty thick this year, and the garden is holding us over with kale, small treats of arugula, and the last few carrots while we wait for new greens and peas to start picking up the pace.

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I just planted cucumbers and squash last week. In the past I have tended to plant them a little too early. I’m hoping the timing aligns, so that once they are ready to go in the ground, we are past the threat of excessive soaking rain and coolness. I saw the first sign of basil germination yesterday. I wish I might have started basil a little bit sooner! I like to grow a lot of basil each year, in a few successive plantings. I did pretty well last year, and we still have a little bit of pesto in the freezer to look forward to. One of my favorites.

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Since moving the tomatoes from the house to the hoophouse, I am seeing visible growth by the day. Some of them seem to have doubled in size since this photo was taken less than a week ago.

rhubarb_april

I keep talking about making a rhubarb galette or pie of crisp or what have you. It’s time to actually do something about that.

fruit_trees_april

We were able to take the fencing down from 2 of our fruit trees this year, as they are finally tall enough to reach out of harms way of nibbling deer. A deer can strip a little tree of new growth pretty quickly. We expanded the fencing around the other 2 trees and all of them are looking pretty happy for the changes. We should have quite a few pie cherries this summer, and I think we might have our first small set of plums this year.

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This is a fairly regular harvest these days – though more so on the greens than the carrots.

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What’s happening in your part of the world? Are you growing food this year? Anything you’re particularly excited about? A funny little thing I’m looking forward to is parsnips. This will be my first time growing them.

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eggs

kale

eggs and greens are a match made on earth.

 

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I learned something new last week. A crustless quiche is one of the easiest, tastiest, most satisfying meals to throw together. And it’s equally suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty much perfect, right?

With springtime eggs and greens in abundance, this is an affordable, nourishing meal that even my not-so-egg-friendly man enjoyed quite a lot.

 

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My friend Amber‘s chickens have been laying on the regular again, and I’ve been so lucky to have received quite a few eggs from her recently. They are seriously the best eggs I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot of fresh eggs! Her chickens are no doubt happy, healthy girls.

Our garden doesn’t offer a whole lot this time of year, but we can always depend on kale. It loves the cooler weather and is super delicious and abundant right now.

 

On the day I made this quiche, we were even lucky enough to share this meal with my chicken keeping friend.

 

No-crust kale, cheese and mushroom quiche

2 Tbs of butter

1/2 – 2/3 large red onion

12 ounces kale, chopped

5 medium crimini mushrooms, chopped

7 fresh eggs

3 cups grated cheese (I used pepper jack)

1/4 tsp sea salt

fresh thyme and black pepper to taste

 

In a large sauce pan or skillet, sautée your onions in butter until soft, then add your kale. Sautée the kale until brilliant green and softened.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your eggs.

Add grated cheese.

Add the onion and kale mixture.

Add chopped mushrooms, salt, thyme, pepper.

Combine well.

 

Pour the mixture into an oiled 10 inch pie pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes – until the eggs are set.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

 

This meal is even more delicious with toasted sourdough… recipe coming soon.

 

And just for fun, cuz I’m like that :) whoever can first name the leafy plant coming into the top of the frame on the kale image above (2nd from top) – I will send you a gift! :)

Hope you all had a great weekend xo

 

Update: It’s an artichoke! I’ll be in touch soon, with those of you who guessed.

PS asonomagarden, your email doesn’t work so please get in touch if you’d like to receive your gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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vernal equinox

equinox_6a_pruneThe Stanley Prune is starting to flower. Maybe we will have our first fruits from this tree this year. There were tiny bees – which I think were mason bees – buzzing around the new blossoms today.

feb25_apricot_blossom_0Flowering apricot. The prettiest pink.

equinox_5The first of the sugar snap peas, with so many more to plant! We’d like to grow more of these than ever this year.

equinox_2One single tomato seed has sprouted. Just today.

equinox_6We have been hitting the weeds hard the last couple weeks. This is the best time, while the ground is soft and they are relatively small still. They grew like crazy this year, with our mild winter.

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Winter was pretty mild – even for here – and spring has been coming gradually and gracefully. I am so grateful for this time of year, with warmer, longer days; meals outside again, with fresh herbs at an arms length; coffee time in the sunshine; camp fires in the yard; digging in the dirt. I feel like an emerging young plant – sort of sleepy still from the dark of winter, yet bursting with life and ready to bloom. I won’t even start with my excitement for summer!

 

Happy Spring friends, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet where you are.

xo

 

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snapshots

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Garden, kitchen, studio. These are the places I seem to spend most of my time recently. The garden is just doing it’s thing these days, making lots of food. There is a lot of food coming out of our relatively tiny growing spaces! Our main meals are almost 100% homegrown right now. The realization never gets old, that an entire meal is homegrown. I can really geek out on that sometimes, it’s just so satisfying.

The studio has been a busier place recently, and I have so many things I thought I might get done up there this summer – from painting the floor and some of the dark beams overhead, to building a new table. How does one renovate a space that is overwhelmingly occupied? I haven’t figured it out quite yet.

Speaking of the studio, my friend Camille, the talented craftswoman behind Red Onion Woodworks, has put up an infusion studio tour on her blog, Wayward Spark, if you’d like to check it out. And be sure to see her her beautiful raw edge cutting boards. I have been on the verge of treating our kitchen with one of her boards for so long. They are all one of a kind natural beauties, so if you see one you love, it’s best not to let it pass you by.

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