Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Hello blog, I missed you.  Lots is happening around here and posting just was not happening.  Then I started getting that weird craft blog guilt thing where you can’t post new stuff until you’ve posted old stuff, but you can’t find your camera cable to get photos from your grownup camera, and you feel stupid posting MORE pictures from your cell phone, because honestly, and you’re irritated about that dragonfly washcloth pattern you felt impelled to write even though you apparently can’t count to eight, and does anyone really care that I fried some okra? 

So here’s some fried okra.  I would have already had a harvest if the dratted squirrels hadn’t eaten the seedlings, thereby forcing me to actually purchase okra seedlings.  I’m ok with buying tomato seedlings.  But for some reason okra seedlings makes me feel kind of fraudulent.  Oh well, it’s not like I won’t eat the okra.  When I picked these, Little Owl was so excited that she spent 10 minutes running in circles screaming “Okra okra ba-bokra!”  It was eaten very very quickly.  Happy days.


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In the Can

Well, the jar, to be strictly accurate.  Today I put up some tomatoes.  We had just barely enough ripe in the garden to make it worthwhile – but I consider that remarkable given that it is June 3 and that the tot eats them off the vine at an incredible rate of speed.

This is the first time I’ve ever canned anything.  Although I realize that it’s not exactly rocket surgery, I do hope that what I’ve canned is food and not an elaborate and somewhat time-consuming way to poison everyone.

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Doll has been repaired. I can’t find the before pic I took, but her poor little self was all ripped and stained and worn through. I found her in a box in the top of the closet in my old room on a recent trip home and kind of freaked out a little. I don’t remember her at all but I just love her sweet little face.  And I love how her hair has gotten kind of smooshed into a fauxhawk.

I made a new body for her, following suggestions from Jean, The Artful Parent.

I used an old t-shirt for the body – a knit is definitely a good idea.  I made it a bit bigger than was strictly warranted, so the shoulders are a bit loose.  And the neck is slightly wonky.  But all in all I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.


I always love the ideas Little Owl comes up with for art, and particularly for artistic mediums.  Today she was playing in the kiddie pool, with the little backyard climber’s slide stuck in it so she could slide down into the water.  I found a piece of chalk that had been soaked by the sprinkler and just handed it to her.  She then spent 30 minutes drawing on the slide, erasing, and drawing some more.  She drew individuals, family groups, the dog, all sorts of things.

She also spent most of her shower this evening drawing on the shower wall with finger paint.  We actually do that pretty often.  Fun fun fun.


And today, I finally made my Little Owl her long-awaited sandbox.  She’s been loving them so much at friends’ houses, one of the nearby parks and at her playschool.  And her beloved school is closing.  So it was time for something big, and a sandbox seemed a good idea.  I ransacked the scrap lumber in the garage and came up with leftover planks from the deck and some timbers from the raised garden beds.  IU built it back in a little corner of the yard that was a huge mess when we came in and is now filled with native plants and wildflowers.  Perfect.  We picked up a bunch of sand, but I need to go get more tomorrow.  The tot loves it.  Happy day! 



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Why is it that when things get chaotic, knitting and crafting in general – my most relaxing activities aside from actual sleep – go right out the window? Ah well. At least I can take pictures of the garden.

I planted some fennel to attract swallowtail butterflies, and now it’s covered in caterpillars. At least a dozen – such fun! Things like this, simple little things like growing plants for the butterflies and then watching those little lives unfold, always seems like a small miracle to me. It’s not a surprise, really, that it happens, but it is so wonderful every time it does.

Also the tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Joy.

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The rosemary in my sunny garden have really taken off this year.  I love the scent that lingers when I walk through them, I love to feel the warmth of the sun that has soaked into the leaves.  I love to harvest little snips for meals or just to stick behind my ear while I go about my day.  I love that rosemary is for remembrance.

This is the first time I’ve made massage oil, not that it’s exactly rocket surgery.  Glass jars (recycled from Gundermann Farms jam I bought at the farmers’ market, yum), snips of rosemary, grapeseed oil (from Aura Cacia).  It lasts longer when stored in a cool, dark place.  And I guess you are supposed to strain out the herbs after a month or two, but these jars are small so they may just be used up before then.

It just looks so beautiful to me; I am disproportionally pleased with myself about this project.  These will be presents for Mother’s Day.

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I have been working a lot on the front yard, trying to get a bunch of plants in and get it all fixed up cute and, you know, not awful. I am always kind of scared when I’m doing any planting because I hate to chop a worm in two and I’m always afraid I’ll accidentally murder a toad or something. So you can imagine my horror when I turned over a shovel full of mulch and this little fellow came flopping out all chilly and confused.

Poor thing, just trying to hibernate. We hung out for a while and then I made him a pile of mulch and leaves to hide in.

So to make up for it, I finally got around to painting some toad houses with Little Owl. I’d been meaning to do it for months. There’s a ton of information about different ways to do it. In the end I opted for easy – just flip a terra cotta pot upside down and kind of bury it so it’s crooked and the toad can crawl in on one side.

The tot loved painting them and setting them out – now it’s just a question of convincing her not to look under all of them every time we walk past.

I just hope I’ve appeased the toads.

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Fry it!

I like to think that the meals I cook for my family are pretty healthy. But there are some things you just gotta fry.

My mama makes fried okra that I cannot describe any better than to say that it is ambrosia. She’s always worried that it’s too salty, or too done, or not done enough. But a serving for me is however much she harvests. It is so good.

So for a long time, I never made fried okra. But then my Little Owl arrived. And now I am Mama, and Mama makes fried okra. That’s just how it is. So out came the cast iron, and the okra was fried.

One night, I asked her if she wanted it fried or curried (a yummy African recipe we’ve enjoyed at Whole Foods). My heart swelled with pride when she yelled, “Fry it!!”

Last year I got all our okra from the farmers’ market. Which is good. But really it has to be perfectly fresh. ‘Cause that’s how my mama does it. So this year I planted okra. The seedlings just came up. Little Owl and I did a little happy dance in the back yard. I am so excited.

Now Mama is really gonna fry some okra.

This is my Best Shot.


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