Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden updates

It was an absolutely gorgeous day here.  Too bad I spent the majority of it at work.  I guess it was good, though, work was fulfilling and we had a meeting with our new director who outlined for us how the department will be restructured.  This would actually give me the opportunity to apply for a supervisory position- if I want to.  I'm still on the fence about that one.
I only had a brief time out at the acreage.  We ate out there since J15 had her violin lesson tonight and the music school is less than 2 miles down the row.
Things are growing like mad out there.
The peonies are ready to burst at the seams!
The tomatillos, undaunted by frost, are blooming already!
The peppers and tomatoes look a bit singed around the edges but are doing well.  The one that I had my doubts about is still hanging on.  Really, we fared pretty well.  Out of 50+ tomatoes, I have to replace only 5 (3 due to frost, 2 to animal damage) and one pepper.  The heirloom peppers are already budding!
Looking around, I am finding just how much work there is to be done outside after we are finished with the house.
If you look really carefully, you can tell that this is a bed of iris.
This is the front 'flower' bed.  I guess dandelions are flowers....
My peas are growing and outpacing the weeds- barely.
It's going to be a challenge to keep up with everything outside.  We did investigate state tax write-offs for 'wildlife habitat' and wetlands conservation land.  We don't have enough acreage for the wetlands set aside- you need 2 or more acres that would qualify as wetlands.  Some of our land is a wetland- I can tell by the vegetation, and the squishiness- but we don't have over 2 acres that would qualify.  However, the wildlife habitat write off can be done with even less than 2 acres.  So we may apply for that for next year.  Essentially, we need to state that we won't use the land for commercial purposes and that we will leave it in a natural state for wildlife.  We've got no problem leaving a portion of the property in a natural state- I actually love the look of 'unkept' land.  I had fun looking up different wildflowers that we've found out on the hills.
I'm also excited to have some 'wild' land for the children.  I've been amazed at how much the boys have loved wandering around, exploring, and hitting things with sticks.  For two city kids, they have been loving it.  I just hope they keep it up after we move.  Right now, they don't have access to TV or video games out there so there isn't an entertainment option.
But they have been having fun:
Kids and barns- what a great mix.
They rigged up a 'pulley' system and have been hauling stuff up into the hay loft.  Of course, we have had them working as well.  Again, for city kids, it is a bit of an adjustment to actually having things that we expect them to do.  Not that they had no responsibilities at all before, but with us all working so hard to get things ready, they have had to pick up more than they have been used to doing.  It's good for them.
Pasta primavera anyone?
And now, a kitchen update.  The base cabinet is in place by the stove.  We don't have a counter top yet but I discovered that the cutting board that was in the microwave cart that the previous owners abandoned fits pretty well over the cabinet base.   The stove is also fully functional now.  I made a lovely seafood pasta primavera for dinner out there.  Yum!  Even K9 liked it.  I LOVE the simmer burner- it was great for the cream sauce for the pasta.
In cheesy updates from last night- we managed to get it all done- of course I was up til midnight cleaning pots and pans but it's all ready.  We estimated where 90 degrees would be on one of the 'old fashioned' thermometers that had the first mark at 100 and went with that.  I figure that when people first started making cheese things weren't so precise that you had to do something exactly at 88 degrees.  J15 now has probably about 1.5 lbs of cheese for her project and 2 loaves of bread.  We sampled the third loaf for dinner and it was great.  She needs enough for approximately 40 people to have a sample taste- that's several classes of students and any visiting parents/teachers.  Her teacher is really excited to try the cheese.
It should be another warm day tomorrow. I just hope I have time to get to the farmer's market for some replacement tomatoes- that and the lawn here in town desperately needs mowed.  Ah, no rest for the weary.


  1. I like your makeshift counter-- :)
    I had a 1/2 sheet of OSB...its amazing how the cooking can still get done. Have a great week!

  2. Your comments about the land reminded me of being a kid. My parents chucked life in Seattle when I was about 9 and we moved a farm town in MN where they grew up. When we first moved out to the farm, my parents used to have us kids "walk the fenceline". Now that I am older with kids of my own I know this was just to get us out of their hair for awhile, and wish I had a big fenceline for my kids to walk as a "chore", LOL. I agree with leaving part of it wild, that was where all the fun stuff was to be found when I was a kid!

  3. Love your Peonies. Mine is in full bloom right now. It's so pretty. Didn't realize it until the other day. I need to bring a little bouquet into the house. They smell so good. Did see this on my dashboard, but mine never showed up and neither did any other up dates show...make me frustrated. Hey, on the tomatoes. Even though it's still small I see I am getting buds on my tomatoes. Do I pick them off until it's taller or leave them alone. I have no idea what to do...debbie

  4. Great post - glad your kids are enjoying country life. Tyler spends hours back in the woods and climbing trees. Have a great day!

  5. Wonderful post Judy! So much going on!! I'm so glad your kids are enjoying the transition into country life. :)

  6. Congrats to you and J15 on the cheese making success, I am certainly impressed. Funny about the makeshift counter- my mother had the same thing even though we had our regular countertop the whole time. The cutting board on the cart was more convenient for her (because of height) so there it was!
    Glad your tomatillos pulled through the frost, they are DELICIOUS :-)

  7. I love peonies! My grandmother had them and she gave me one, but it didn't make it. I've never had any luck with them.
    I can imagine how beautiful those flower beds will be after you get your hands in them.
    It's so nice that the kids are enjoying and exploring the property. Maybe by the time you move they'll have had so much fun that they won't even care about the video games.

  8. Did I just read that you have 50+ tomato plants???! Wow!!! Your freezer will be full! Sounds like your kids are having a great experience.


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