Thursday, July 28, 2016

Purple Potato Surprise!

I thought we had no chance at harvesting any potatoes this year.  It's been horribly wet, and the plants looked dead, and some even looked a bit rotted.  Today, I decided to dig them up, and surprise!
Lydia helped me dig up 3.76 pounds of these purple viking potatoes.  Aren't they pretty?  So now dinner plans have changed to add potatoes 2 ways!
Also from the garden, the golden crescent beans continue to look great:

 And Lydia loved harvesting a zucchini.  We've picked 2 so far, and yesterday we made chocolate zucchini bread.  It's already gone (the whole 13" x 9" pan), which was good because Malachi made his granola bars today, and those yummy things are disappearing fast, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

White Cucumbers and etc

Our garden is starting to actually produce food!  The white cucumbers are doing wonderfully now.  We've already gotten 16 of them, and they just started ripening last week.
Can you spot the white cucumber?  The cucumber plants are very robust, and their leaves are everywhere.  Luckily, several of us like cucumbers.

Our tomato plants are healthy, but it will still be a while before we get that first red full-sized tomato.  This is one of the plants with the biggest green ones.

To the right are the cucumbers, and to the left are the cantaloupes, which are covered in little yellow flowers and even a few tiny cantaloupes.  The potatoes were in between the two, but those have pretty much died, I think due to too much rain earlier in the summer.

Here are my golden crescent bean plants.  They are really pretty.  I harvested some yesterday, which we ate with dinner.  I think I'll have enough to harvest for eating again tomorrow.  I'm hoping so.  Malachi particularly loves these beans, and I'm always trying to get more vegetables and fruits into him.  Elijah and Gyunay like them as well, along with Nathaniel and me.  Lydia has never liked any green beans, so it's no surprise that she turns her nose up at these.  Fortunately, she eats the cherry tomatoes and cucumbers really well.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Baby time

My newest nephew was born this week, so we traveled to see him.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Great Weekend

We were happy to have Nathaniel back for this weekend.  We went to the farm and got 112 pounds of peaches and nectarines.  We split up, with Elijah, Malachi, and me picking peaches, and Nathaniel, Lydia, and Gyunay picking white nectarines.
Lydia and Gyunay painting outside in their pillow case smock painting shirts

In our new van on the way to pick peaches.  Can you tell that they were really wanting a picture?

So now I'm peeling, cutting, and processing peaches.  We've already eaten peach pudding, peach ice cream, and plenty of fresh peaches.  Next up: peach jam, peach pie, and peach syrup.  Yum!  (The nectarines are not quite ripe yet, so they are on the back burner right now, but the kids are already requesting white nectarine ice cream.)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Quiet Rooster

It should come as no surprise by now that one of our "hens" is actually a cockerel.  This has happened a few times now.  One of the Isa Brown chickens is definitely a cockerel, but it is just in the last two weeks that he has gotten noticeably bigger than his kin, and has started developing a rooster's tail.  He has never tried to crow, and he is still very timid.  He still is bossed by the "big" hens, but mostly he has not figured out that he is "the man" of the flock yet.

Our cockerel is on the right, next to a pullet of the same breed.  Behind them are the red sex link pullets.

One of our "big" hens, just for fun.  Actually, this gal is still technically a pullet, too, since she doesn't turn one year old until fall.

And in other news, Lydia did get her kayak last weekend, and Nathaniel has declared that she is an excellent kayaker.  Here is the first trial run in the little pond:

She joined Nathaniel and the big boys on a lake the next day, and she rocked it.  She's super happy about her kayak.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review - An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

I just finished Kristi Ann Hunter's novel An Elegant Facade, which is set in England about a hundred years ago.  The historical details are very good, and readers fond of Jane Austen's England would enjoy this.  The book involves Lady Georgina, who has a secret to hide, and Colin McCrae, a Scottish businessman who will never really fit into London society.  Both characters develop over the course of the novel.  I enjoyed both characters very much, actually.  Some of the secondary characters are interesting as well, although there are a lot of secondary characters, so most have trivial roles in the novel.  It was sometimes difficult to keep track of some of the secondary characters.  This is the second book in a series, and I didn't read the first, but it was definitely a stand-alone novel.  (Although, if you don't want to know how the first one ends, read it first!)  Overall, this is an enjoyable, romantic historical novel.

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

June Gardening Review

I took this lovely picture of my hydrangea last week.  It has even more blooms now, and all are a purplish/pink mix.  I am so happy that it bloomed this year.

Gardening has been slow so far.  The extremely wet spring kept the plants small for far too long, but I am getting a lot more growth now.  Very few things were harvested in June, mostly herbs and carrots.  One bright spot was the garlic:

I harvested 6 bulbs last week, and 7 more today.  I still have 3 in a shadier area, and it will probably be two weeks before I dig those up.  But overall, the garlic was super easy to grow, and it was successful.  

I did harvest some kale, 1 kholrabi, a bit of lettuce, some arugula, and a few radishes as well.  So June was disappointing, but not a total loss.  July is already shaping up to be a good month.  The beans look great.  The zucchini and cucumbers have blooms, and the red cabbage could be harvested soon.  I still have a bit of kale to harvest.  As for the main events, the tomatoes and peppers, that will be a while.  Usually we are happy to get our first red tomato by the 4th of July.  This year, Lydia got our first red cherry tomato on the 4th of July, but there are no big tomatoes at all yet, not even green ones.  And the other cherry tomatoes are not ready yet.  The only tomatoes I have are tiny, and the same for the peppers.  The plants look really healthy, though, so I hope we will still have a good crop, even if it is late.  The cantaloupe and pumpkin plants look good, and the potatoes do as well.  We'll see how those end up doing.  The corn was a failure; the chipmunks at it all.  We did get some blueberries, sunberries, and raspberries, but not very many.  They were delicious though, and next year we hope for more.  

Book Review - Missing by Lisa Harris

Missing is the second book in Lisa Harris's Nikki Boyd Files series.  Often times, the second book in a series is not quite as good as the first, but that's not the case here.  This story has action and suspense from the first page.  The case is full of twists and unknowns, with lots of action and danger thrown in.  Fans of Nikki's budding romance with her friend Tyler will be thrilled to find him deeply involved in this story.  Both Nikki's and Tyler's characters are so realistic, and their bond is both complicated and touching.  This book also includes many secondary characters that are intriguing.  Although it is the second in a series, it is a stand-alone novel.  I would advise reading them in order, though, just because they are so good.  I loved this book.  Anyone who enjoys suspense should read it.  I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next  title in the series.

I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Four Years Old

This little man recently turned 4.  It's hard to believe.  He really enjoyed his birthday, and this year he understood how these things go.  He was excited!
He enjoyed a pool party with his cousins:

And Nana made these awesome minion cupcakes, which he loved:

He's been home 1 1/2 years now.  He has adjusted so well!  His speech is improving all the time.  He has therapy only once a week during the summer, but we are still seeing progress.  He can now say lots of single words, although combining words is still difficult. 
 He had his first round of swimming lessons in June.  It was a little surreal watching him.  If you have forgotten, he was terrified of baths and standing water when he first came home.  He has come so far!  He now loves baths, and he loves being in water (although, he wasn't too thrilled with the swimming lessons themselves).  He decided to potty train back in March, and he has done fabulously with that.  He basically never has accidents, practically from the beginning.  My happy littlest son is doing just fine.