Saturday, August 17, 2019

Around the yard

Sir Panther looking regal again

The yard is full of food and quite a few flowers right now.  Lydia found a tomato worm, and before she fed it to the chickens, she wanted to record it:

She put the pencil next to it for scale.  She wanted to show it to her friend, because they "are scientists, and we keep track of stuff."

This one isn't in our yard, but it's in front of the history center garden that the kids helped plant in spring.  They love checking on it.

Jeff is here.  He likes the canoe.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


I've noticed lately that my kids tend to say things that you won't hear out of other kids' mouths.  For instance, Lydia shouted as she ran out the back door, "I'll eat my pig hearts after I do the ropes course!"
Lydia and her friend on the ropes course

We have a diy ropes course in the backyard, courtesy of my creative husband.  He took an old hose, and created a ropes course that Lydia spends loads of time doing.  She's had several friends on it as well, and it is holding up nicely.  
As for the pig hearts, my younger three kids love pig (and chicken) hearts fried up in a bit of bacon grease. We just bought a hog, which arrived in boxes, and the kids were eagerly asking for the heart before I'd even got all the pork unloaded.  For the record, Elijah won't try it, and thinks his siblings are nuts.  Nathaniel and I don't eat them because Malachi, Gyunay, and Lydia love the heart so much that it doesn't seem fair to waste any on us.  (I did try one; it was pretty good.)

We also visited a local farm to play on their playground and buy a bushel of peaches.  It turns out that a bushel of peaches is about 50 pounds.  This sign was on the goat pen:

Of course, we loved it.  Also, Malachi caught a leopard frog, and Lydia commandeered it:

The kids had a great time.

Malachi let himself have lots of fun.  Elijah was too "cool" to play at first, but he did do the corn maze, and eventually he was talked into racing his siblings in the human hamster wheels.

This little bus is full of corn in the back.

It was hot, but we had a ball.  We were the only ones there most of the time.  

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Jeff's Canoe

Lydia has been eagerly helping her dad refinish a canoe for Jeff.  They have been working on it in the evenings, and it is coming along.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Queen of All Birds

Lydia enjoyed being the Queen of All Birds very much.  Her performance in Puss in Boots went very well.

She was also a baker, in a scene that Gyunay and my nephew found hilarious:

The bakers are standing on chairs as mice overrun their kitchen.  The boys laughed and laughed.  Overall, the kids did a good job.  Lydia talks about doing it again next year.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Horse Lovers

My nieces and my girl wanted to horse ride, so my sister and I took them for an hour-long trail ride.

My sister and I were sore and hot afterwards, but the girls were still full of energy and loved the ride.  

Also, here is a family picture from our vacation:

And Malachi had a short summer concert on the bass:

Thursday, August 1, 2019

July Harvest Totals

July is always a good time in the garden, because even when some crops fail (this year - cucumbers), others are sure to be thriving.  While most people are having a poor year in their tomato crops, I am having the best year yet, and the plants are still healthy and loaded, so I expect lots more to come.  I am very excited about the tomato harvest - it's over 30 pounds already, and I didn't get the first ripe tomato until about mid-July!  Also, the squirrels have eaten several of my best ones, so the plants are really producing well.  Other plants are looking good but are delayed, so there should be lots of beans in August, but almost none were ripe in July.  Overall, I am thrilled with the gardens, but I am always tweaking things for a better harvest next time.

Beans, Dragon Tongue - 5.3 ounces
Blackberries - 2.5 cups (last year the plant was severely damaged during house painting, so less crop)
Cabbage, green - 1
Carrots, Little Finger - 22
Eggs - 135
Herbs - cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, sage, thyme
Kale - 1 bunch
Kholrabi - 1
Onion - 1
Peppers, Bulgarian - 2
Potatoes, Irish Cobbler - 1lb 7oz
Potatoes, Kennebec - 1 lb 3 oz
Potatoes, Red Pontiac - 2 lb 6 oz
Radish, Daikon - 3
Radish pods
Squash, yellow - 2
Tomatillos - 1 lb 3 oz
Tomatoes, cherry (Golden Nugget and Mexican Midget)
Tomatoes - Black Beauty - 3 tomatoes, total 1.2 lbs
                 - Black Krim - 26 tomatoes, total 15.2 lbs
                 - Black Vernissage, 14 tomatoes, total 1.3 lbs
                 - Emmy, 1 tomato, total 7.4 ounces
                 - Golden Jubilee - 7 tomatoes, total 3 lbs
                 - Mortgage Lifter - 16 tomatoes, total 7.2 lbs
                 - paste - 3 tomatoes, total 3.5 ounces
                 - St. Pierre - 12 tomatoes, total 4.3 lbs
                 - unidentified - 2 tomatoes, 4.5 ounces
Watermelon, Sugar Baby Bush - 1
Zucchini, Tatume - 2 (total 2.5 lbs)

I've been planting a few things for a fall/winter harvest.  I've never done very well at that, so I am attempting to grow more this year.  We'll see.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Beauty Everywhere

Morning Glories have been in my yard in several places since we moved here.  They readily self-seed and are aggressive, so they come back all over the place every year.  I have to pull tons of them, or they would choke out the vegetables, but where I can, I leave some in place because they are really so beautiful.

Another one of Lydia's gladiolas came up this week.  They have been blooming one at a time, and most of them are in front of our statue of Mary, but this one is in the front bed.  This bed looks pretty wild this year, but I kinda like that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


My Long Island Cheese pumpkin plant is huge and taking over the hugelkultur.

I hope it continues to do well.  Then there was this surprise:

It's not a great shot of her, but Mama Hen is broody again!  She's sitting on a clutch of eggs.  I'm not sure how many, actually.  I wasn't expecting her to go broody again so soon.  

And here are some zinnias next to the dill, cilantro, and corn.  I've been adding flowers to the gardens the past couple of years, and it really is nice.  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Back Home in the Garden

The garden grew while I was gone, and mostly, things are looking good.  This is a spaghetti squash growing on the trellis, among other things.

And this is a tiny cantaloupe.  I really hope to harvest some of these!

One huge disappointment: the plum tree.  Two weeks ago, it looked lush and healthy, but now just look at it.  I have no idea what happened.  

The eggs and some of the tomatoes I harvested Friday evening.  (Well, our pet sitter harvested some of the eggs.)  We enjoyed our first BLTs of the season Saturday!

The cats really missed us.  Panther even posed for this photo for me.  He and Midnight have both been extra cuddly.  

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Michigan Vacation

We had a great time on Wall Lake in Michigan with Nathaniel's family this week.

We visited the Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan.  It was a big hit.

Everyone enjoyed swimming and fishing at the house.  Lydia has been baiting her own hooks.  She caught some little fish, and a big one snapped her line.

Lawn games were very popular, too.

And we even had a dog visit for a couple of hours.  He loved fetching a wiffle ball out of the lake.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Tomato Frustration

Lydia, Gyunay, and I were very happy to eat the first ripe tomato from our garden yesterday.  We've picked 4 so far, and I check on the garden many times a day.  The only ripe ones we've had are St. Pierre and Mortgage Lifters.  This morning, I had my eyes on these tomatoes, hoping they would ripen maybe tomorrow, but alas:

The squirrels must have got to them.  Squirrels are pesky. Katie doesn't scare them off like she used to, both because she isn't outside as often barking at them, and because the squirrels have realized that she rarely sees them in the yard, just on the deck.

Another view of the trellis.  To the left, the tallest plant is a crescent green bean.  There is also a small cantaloupe plant and a butternut squash, as well as some really pathetic looking cucumbers.  To the right is a tatume zucchini, some tomatillos, and a spaghetti squash.  
I've been getting lots of cherry tomatoes the past few days, so we have been happily snacking on those.  The Golden Nugget ones are prolific and delicious.  The Mexican Mini ones aren't producing much this year; I'm not sure why.