Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Thunderstorm

We had a fantastic thunderstorm here yesterday evening.  The wind was really blowing, and the lightning and thunder were fantastic.  Gyunay joined me in the playroom to watch the show.

Here he's pointing to the trees blowing in the wind.


Yeah, he loved it.  He even clapped for the thunder.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Millions of Peaches...

That song always goes through our heads as we pick peaches and white nectarines.  This year, we picked about 30 pounds of each, so I'll be busy for the next few days!
It was Gyunay's first trip to pick peaches.  He and Elijah picked peaches with me while Nathaniel, Lydia, and Malachi picked white nectarines.

Gyunay loved eating peaches, but this one was about as big as his head!

Elijah took this one. 

After peach picking, we enjoyed eating at a Mexican restaurant on our way home.

(As you can see, Lydia has lost both of her front teeth now!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Adding Color

I found these black-eyed susans at our local Kroger.  They were cheap, and oh-so-pretty.  When I was a kid, black-eyed susans grew along the edge of the woods at Grandmommy and Grandpa's house.  I have very fond memories of all of the wildflowers that we picked there.  I planted these next to the hydrangea, which isn't blooming this year, and in front of the peony, which also isn't blooming.  I'm not sure what I did wrong with those.  Mamaw and Papaw had beautiful, wonderfully scented peonies at their house, so I planted a couple of those last year, but I haven't had any blooms yet.  And the hydrangeas remind me of the gorgeous and huge blue hydrangea bushes we had at the house we lived in when Nathaniel and I were first married.  Yes, I'm very nostalgic about plants!
I've also been sewing lately.  I've been mostly making doll purses with some fabric from Mamaw, and I made a nightgown for Lydia.  She has grown!  I plan on cutting out another shirt for Gyunay sometime this week as well. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On the Deck

Gyunay is the only one who actually prefers my homemade popsicles, even over drumsticks.

Here Lydia is watering the flowers she brought home for me from school.  I think it was for Mother's Day.  It was a very small plant, and it has really bloomed on the back deck!  She's standing next to the bubbles that both Malachi and Gyunay have been crazy about lately.
Lydia also had the best quote for the day.  We were picking the cherry tomatoes, and she said, "This garden is like a snack drawer!"  I'm so glad that she loves tomatoes like I do.  I'm still trying to convert the boys. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Days...

Today, it finally feels like summer, with blue skies and lots of sunshine.  And what feels like summer more than some ice cream treats?
P.S. I picked my first red tomato today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More rain, a baby raccoon, and almost red tomatoes

It's been an interesting week so far.  We thought the boys would get to have tennis yesterday, but literally 5 minutes before the lesson was to start, there was a small shower.  It wasn't much, but it was enough to soak the court and cancel lessons.  They've only managed to have 2 lessons out of 5 due to rain!  We've never had a summer quite like this.

The garden has suffered from the excess water, but I'm pleased to see that 2 of my Italian heirloom tomatoes are trying to ripen:
Also, one black Krim is turning purple (the color it will be when ripe).  We've been able to get a handful of red cherry tomatoes every day this week, and the yellow ones are just ripening now.  We also were able to enjoy some tasty crescent beans and green beans.  The tiny amount of broccoli I managed to grow has been eaten as well, and we've had 3 zucchini, with more currently growing. 
And now for the baby raccoon story that you're wondering about.  Well, for the past week, we've had a baby (small cat-sized) raccoon trying to live in our chicken coop.  Nathaniel has been trying to catch it in the trap, but it didn't seem interested in the bait.  He finally was able to catch it last night with the help of a fishing net.  (Who knew how very handy fishing nets can be?)  Anyway, the hens are much happier not to have a raccoon hanging around, and we are thrilled that he managed to catch it before it got big enough and brave enough to actually kill one of the hens.  We did lose one hen yesterday anyway, but not to predators.  It was our oldest hen, the one that came from June last year.  I think it just died of old age, since it was around 7 years old.  It had been acting just fine up until it laid down and didn't get up, so I don't think there was any disease involved.  I will keep a close eye on the other hens just in case, but I think we're probably fine. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Broccoli Arrives

Just last weekend, I was telling my sister-in-law and  my mom that my broccoli didn't do anything this year, but today, Lydia picked 2 small heads:
Also, I have 2 large tomatoes that have finally started to change color, albeit slightly.  These are Italian Heirloom tomatoes, so they will be red.

Next, a pile of boys on the couch:

And see how beautiful the tomatillos look!  They are doing very well this year.

Some little peppers:

And the handful of Sultan's Golden Crescent beans and green beans:

Lastly, Lydia was disappointed that her picture was not on here, so here's one of her catching a ride on a trike with a new friend at the Bulgarian reunion a couple of weekends ago.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I made this really good cheesy spaghetti squash casserole today.  The recipe that was the inspiration was here:, but as usual, I changed a lot of things.  Here is what I did:

1 small onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
1 c milk
1/2 c water
1 c grated cheddar cheese
1 T butter
salt, pepper
1/4 c or so flour

Cook your spaghetti squash and shred it.  Then, melt butter in skillet and saute onion for about 5 minutes.  Add flour, mix well, then add zucchini, salt, pepper, milk and water.  Stir over medium heat until thickened.  Add cheese and stir to melt.  In 13" x 9" pan, combine sauce with spaghetti squash.  Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.  Nathaniel, Gyunay, and I loved this.  (The older kids think squash is about the grossest thing ever.)

And check out our super three-year-old!  It's hard to believe that he's already three.  He was confused by all of the birthday hoopla, even though we kept it pretty simple and low-key for him.  Still, he handled it really well.  He had his "closed" expression quite a bit, but he still interacted and didn't get  upset over anything.  He even smiled off and on!  Since the last time we were at my parents' house, I was at the hospital for Malachi's appendectomy for a couple of days, he worried if Nathaniel or I went out of sight.  We expected him to be nervous, and he was, but he did enjoy himself during the visit, and he was genuinely happy to see all of the relatives.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Strawberry Spinach

This year, I planted something I've never actually seen before: strawberry spinach.  I bought the seed packet last year from Seed Savers Exchange, but I didn't get around to planting any last year.  This year, I planted some of the tiny seeds in pots on the front porch:
The "strawberries" are edible, and tasty.  Lydia and I tried them yesterday.  The leaves are edible, too, and can be used in place of spinach.  We've eaten some in salad and in pesto, and I haven't noticed a distinct flavor for them, really.  They are pretty bland, like leaf lettuce, but they are supposed to be very nutritious.  All in all, this is a very pretty edible, and would look great in landscaping, with the bonus that you can eat it.  Next year I may plant more in my front flower beds, to add some color there (when we're not snitching all the berries).

This is our front flower bed.  Although it is currently lacking some actual flowers (with the exception of the lilies) I do love all of the vibrant greens.  That light green ground cover started very small in one corner of the bed, but now it is filling in everywhere, and that has helped keep out the weeds and improve the look of the bed tremendously.

Part of the front porch.  I get good sunlight here, and until recently, the squirrels never visited the front porch (I did see one yesterday).  So I've got lots of potted herbs and etc here.  You can see that one of the strawberry spinach plants is to the far left, next to a pot that's supposed to be growing marigolds (not sure that it ever actually will, though), next to a pink blueberry plant, then a Bulgarian pepper, basil, mint, and carrots.  I've got some more pots to the left of the strawberry spinach, too, holding more basil, strawberry spinach, carrots, and dill.  There is also a big planter full of carrots on the railing.  We really like carrots, and we've had better luck in pots, although I do have some growing in the garden by the deck, too.  So that's the tour of my front porch.  It may be small, but we fit quite a bit onto it, which helps because I cram so much into my yard gardens!