Friday, July 28, 2017

Garden Bounty

The tomatoes are really coming in now.  We picked these today:

I'm not sure how big of a basket that is, exactly, but it originally had 20 lbs of apples in it.  The largest tomato in that bunch weighed 1.25 lbs!  I now have 6 1/2 quarts of crushed tomatoes in the freezer, waiting for me to can salsa later.  I plan to can a lot of salsa at once, now that I have the huge canner.  That way, I don't heat up the kitchen as often.  I should be doing well enough in tomatoes to also can crushed tomatoes for sauces, too.

I also harvested the fingerling potatoes, and I roasted them with olive oil, rosemary, and parmesan cheese.  Now it's time for dinner, with those and bacon and tomatoes!

And here are all of the grandkids on my side of the family:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tadpole Rescuers

We use an inflatable pool, which the younger kids are generally in about every day, but we went a couple of days with no swimming or adding new water, and we ended up with tiny tadpoles.  Hundreds of tadpoles. These two spent an hour rescuing tadpoles by transporting them bucket by bucket to the pond:
Here they yelled "Save the Tadpoles" before posing.  

Some of the saved tadpoles are visible here in one of the buckets.  Lydia took the bucket pictures.

Gyunay was less interested in tadpoles, but he enjoyed pushing around his lawnmower.  

Sweet Corn!

I've tried and failed to grow heirloom corn in the past, but this year just look:
I harvested this last night.  We tried a few kernels raw, and I did a happy dance.  It is absolutely delicious, sweet, and fresh.  I only harvested half of the corn, since the other half will probably be ripe next week.  Tonight, we are having sweet corn!

And this golden jubilee tomato has Lydia very excited.  We are also having hamburgers tonight, with fat, juicy slices of tomato both on top and on the side, sprinkled with pink salt.  I love summer.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I wait all year for this:
And now Lydia and I are in heaven.  These are mostly Black Krims, with one Black Vernissage (the striped little guy).  We've also had some Golden Jubilees, but Lydia devours those pretty quickly.  Gyunay also enjoys the tomatoes, although he doesn't eat quite so many as we girls do.  The St. Pierres and Woodle Oranges aren't quite ripe yet, and both are new varieties, so I am curious as to how those will taste.  In the meantime, I'll be indulging in the ripe tomatoes we have!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Peach Picking Time

We had our annual peach and white nectarine picking session this weekend.  We ended up with a bit over a hundred pounds of peaches and white nectarines!  I've been busy peeling, dicing, and canning.  We also picked up 20 pounds of apples for applesauce while we were there, and Lydia has been a huge help in using the corer/peeler/slicer to prep those for me.

Elijah wanted a picture with his hat full of fruit, and it turned out quite well.  

Lydia scored some free sunglasses that morning at our county day parade, and Gyunay looks so cute in the fishing hat.

Speaking of fishing, Nathaniel took those who wanted to go on a canoe ride/fishing trip yesterday afternoon while I was peeling nectarines.

They had a lot of fun, although no fish were caught.  Nathaniel wanted to enjoy some time on the water, and then relax at home.  We've had lots of visitors lately, both this week and last week from Thursday through Saturday, and before that he was in China, so he was due for a day to just relax.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

New Canoe

The kids love Daddy's new toy.  They were searching for tailys in the Amazon.  

(Lydia recently invented a new species, tailys, which she gave a speech on last night.  She has spent a lot of time determining their diet, habitat, etc.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June Harvest Totals

The garden is healthy, but it's taking much longer than anticipated to get the crops ripe.  I thought that with the early spring and starting seeds earlier, we'd be harvesting earlier, but I didn't account for the increased shade in the yard this year.  The trees have really grown, and shaded parts of nearly all of the gardens.  And although my tomato plants are loaded, none are ripe by the 4th of July (always the goal Papaw set, and I stick to that goal).  Still we did start harvesting some veggies and a few fruits, so here's the list:

galen - 1c
turnips - 12
pea pods - 3 3/4 cups  (Delicious!  These all got eaten quickly.)
radishes - 20
garlic scapes - 8
kale - 2 bunches
raspberries - 1/2 c
arugula - 4c
garlic bulbs - 28 (would have been more, but a tree branch fell on the crop and took out several)
dragon carrots - 10
green onions - 8
swiss chard - 1bunch
blackberries - 3 1/4 c
cucumber (white Edmondson) - 1
Herbs - mint, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, some basil

Also, we lost 2 chickens this month to raccoon attacks, so we now only have 7 hens.  Still, we had 205 eggs this month.
This head of broccoli looks good, but none of the other 5 plants has a head at all yet.  Neither does the cauliflower.

The butternut squash is looking good.

And it looks like we will have some corn!

Gyunay loves his new lawnmower.  He also loves telling everyone that he is 5 now!  

Book Review - High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin is the best novel I've read in a long time.  I absolutely loved this book.  The main character, Eve, is a nurse and spy in Belgium during WWI.  Her character has depth and growth, and it was very easy to root for Eve.  Her anguish and determination are palpable.  Several secondary characters were also well-drawn, and all were realistic.  The historical detail of this novel is excellent, and I really enjoyed that aspect, as I knew nothing of Belgium and little of WWI.  I also appreciate that the author has notes at the end to separate her inventions from the historical record.  The story is suspenseful and engaging from start to finish.  I highly recommend this book!

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

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bulgarian Reunion

I didn't take very many pictures at the reunion, and the ones I have are not the greatest.  See?  I don't know why Elijah has such a hard time smiling.
Our cultural activity this year involved learning about traditional Bulgarian clothing, and then letting the kids make their own versions.  These three really enjoyed making shirts:

on the porch of the cabin

A couple of the moms were great sports and did face painting for hours.  Lydia chose to be a black dog.

These descriptions were provided by Cincinnati's Bulgarian group, which taught us about the meaning behind the embroidery.