Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Garden Harvests

Naturally, April is not a big month for produce, but we did get some.

219 eggs
2 c pak choy
4 radishes
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of arugula
some mint, cilantro, and galen
1 carrot

And we discovered that Lydia loves to eat fresh galen (a type of Chinese kale), and Gyunay loves fresh arugula and radishes.  Both of them regularly eat mint leaves, too.  And everyone will eat the mild pak choy in salads.  Many of our plants are looking good, so I'm hoping to get much more food in May.

Friday, April 28, 2017


We have a really pretty pond area, which includes this fairly useless dock:
But the dock gets full sun most of the day, so I decided to put it to use.  Gyunay helped me plant potatoes in these bags on the dock:

We planted 5 bags of Kennebec white potatoes, and 5 bags of Purple Viking.  The Purple Viking were the kind I planted last year.  I did many things wrong, but we did harvest some potatoes, and they were the best roasted potatoes I've ever eaten, so we are hoping to have a good harvest.  The Kennebec ones are supposed to be good for mashing, which all of the boys will appreciate.  I also planted some fingerling potatoes in the ground (and one more purple viking, because, you know...)  I ordered 1 pound of each type of seed potato, so I have leftovers, but luckily a friend has shown interest in growing them so I won't spend time trying to figure out where to put more potatoes!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Growth Abounds

Today was gorgeous, and I was out checking on the gardens and the multitude of plants that we have here.  First up, check out the blackberries:
The plant has never been so big, or so full of blooms.  I don't care for blackberries, but Nathaniel and some of the kids like them.  

Also recently, we had this little tree frog as our guest.  He was perched on the back door, and Malachi and Elijah worked to take pictures of him to show Lydia, since it was well past her and Gyunay's bedtime, and she just adores frogs.

Back to food.  Here is the garlic that Malachi and I planted in the fall.  It is growing really well, and should be ready for harvest in late June.

And lastly, these beauties:

I love lilies of the valley, and they are starting to bloom and smell divine right by my front steps.  I planted some years ago, and now they have multiplied into quite a nice little patch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A baby and more gardening

We were able to finally meet my newest nephew on Saturday:
He's a doll, of course, and we all enjoyed spending time with him and his family.  And he was wearing spiderman, which my kids all enjoyed.  My one-year-old niece loves her uncle Nathaniel so much; she made sure that he was with her all day.  And Lydia and her four-year-old cousin had a good time together.

In the garden, I've been busy.  I planted most of the tomatoes and tomatillos that I had started from seed.  I've even eaten my first radish, and some pak choy and arugula.  It turns out that Gyunay loves to just eat arugula leaves.

I also left one pile of just dirt beside the hugelkultur, where I planted purple Molokai sweet potatoes:

I have some orange sweet potatoes planted, too, in another spot.  I also had ordered some seed potatoes, and I hope they arrive soon so I can plant those as well.

And, of course, it was Easter weekend.  I was received into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil Saturday night, and then we all attended Mass on Sunday.  So we clean up pretty well, but it's hard to get a decent picture!
Nathaniel actually gave Elijah a hair cut Easter afternoon, so I'll have to get a photo of him up soon showing off his new haircut.  
Happy Easter!

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

-          -St John Paul II

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review - To the Farthest Shore by Elizabeth Camden

I've read several of Elizabeth Camden's books, and she has yet to disappoint me.  The latest, To the Farthest Shores, is set at the turn of the last century.  Like all of her tales, the historical details are fabulous.  Camden has a gift for placing the reader in another time and place, and I appreciate her diligence in researching.  I really enjoyed learning about the pearl industry, and the glimpses she gave of military intelligence's early start were fascinating.  I would have enjoyed knowing a little more about that side of the story.  Jenny's experience as a civilian nurse on an army base was very interesting as well.  I loved her back story, and her determined character.  I felt like she was a better-developed character than Ryan.  It was easier to get into her head, so to speak.

This story centers on forgiveness, and it is a love story between two flawed but realistic characters.  I highly recommend this book.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Thanks to our chickens, we have tons of eggs this year, and so I boiled about 40 of them for the kids to dye:

It was rainy, so we dyed eggs in the playroom.

Malachi got a hair cut at a sports clips place with his best friend.  He is now sporting a summer haircut that looks really good on him.  He sort of spikes the front up with gel in the morning.

Yeah, not much luck in getting a good picture of all 4 at once.

I told them that if they eat a lot of boiled eggs this week, we can dye more in a couple of days.  We really love dyeing eggs!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review - Pursued by Lisa Harris

Pursued is the third book in the Nikki Boyd series by Lisa Harris.  I've read and enjoyed all of them.  In this book, the danger to Nikki starts with a plane crash and continues in rapid succession as Nikki tries to solve her case and deal with personal issues.  I really enjoy this series.  The suspense and action keep the reader intrigued, and I also like the characters very much.  There were several surprises in this book, and I won't give any away here, but the pace is pretty relentless.  So maybe start this book when you've got lots of time to read!
I like the way Harris catches up readers with info from previous books without being overly repetitive.  I do feel that the book could be read as a stand-alone, but it is much more enjoyable if you read the series in order.  I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the next Nikki Boyd novel.  Like all good books, when I finished it, I wished for more.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hugelkutlur Part 2

Yesterday was gorgeous, and Lydia helped me plant onions and peas in the hugelkultur bed.
Closest to the camera, you can see the little pea plants.  I started them from seed in the playroom, and we transplanted them to the hugelkultur.  They look really good, actually.  Lydia is planting onion sets in the background.  I bought some (rather impulsively, I admit) a couple of days ago, and now they are all around the hugelkultur mound, along the bottom and most of the way up the sides, except where the peas are, and a small area where I planted some arugula seeds.

Nathaniel also finished the kids' square garden.  Each child gets 4 squares, and Gyunay and Lydia started planting in theirs.  (As you can see in the background, he also made me a square garden, so bonus gardening space for me!)

Naturally, although I have lots of more gardening space from last year, I am still struggling with where to plant everything I want to grow.  That is a never-ending battle for me, but I will definitely be able to plant more food than last year with these new plots.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hugelkultur Part 1

I've mentioned before my plans for a hugelkultur bed this year.  Today, the dirt was delivered, so I've mostly completed one!  First, we had a pile of logs, sticks, stumps, etc:

Next, add dirt.  Specifically, I had a dump truck load of dirt delivered,  It was dumped partially on top of the wood, but I had to shovel most of it.  Also on top of the wood, before the dirt was added, went the possum that I killed yesterday.  I didn't want to dig another hole.

This is not all of the dirt, as some of it is destined for potato bags, square garden beds, etc.

Here is the view from the opposite side.  You can see the additional dirt pile in the background.  All in all, the hugelkultur bed is about 4 feet tall, and it ended up being rather oval shaped.  It's probably 8 feet long and four feet wide, but rounded not rectangular.  I'm very happy with how it's going.  I will probably add a bit more dirt to the top tomorrow, and then I'll start planting.  Onions, pumpkins, and sunberries are definitely going in this bed.  Other things probably will as well.  The onions will be planted first, most likely tomorrow, both because they are earlier, cooler-weather crops than the pumpkins and berries, but also because they deter deer, and I may have to worry about deer bothering my hugelkultur bed since it is in the front.  The rest of the gardens are in the fenced backyard, and although they have been effected by deer before, the front yard is a more likely spot for that.  On the positive side, though, the deer haven't been on our side of the neighborhood nearly as often this year, and I haven't seen them in the area where the hugelcultur is for at least 2 years.

And here is a tulip, because it's beautiful and shows that it is really spring.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring Break Ups and Downs

We've had a mostly good spring break so far.  We got to visit family, and that was great.

 Lydia, Gyunay, and Malachi got to feed giraffes, which was a fun and new experience.  Elijah took the photos.

And then there's today, where the weather dropped to very cold, and I had to kill a possum that was in the chicken coop.  Normally, Nathaniel handles all predator problems, but he was out of town, and I had to get the possum out of the coop.  I tried to do it without killing it, but possums just play possum and lay there.  Not fun.  Not fun at all.

On the plus side, our chickens laid 233 eggs in March.