Wednesday, July 17, 2013

busy {but awesome} summer days...

Summer. Days filled with fresh-picked berries, garden veggies, cold bottled root beer, trampoline-jumping, crocheting outside, dining al fresco on the deck, flowers, bumblebees, gardening, preserving, dips in the pool, and so many other wonderful, wonderful past-times. Oh how I love summer.

My gardens are doing great this year, other than some eggplant mishaps. Not sure why they didn't grow, but my guess is that our soil is lacking something that they need. I've got a huge load of banana peppers waiting to be picked though. I'll freeze some and probably can some as well.

Our cherry tomato plants are giving up a random ripe tomato every now and then. Lily is always the one to enjoy those as she makes the daily plant checks on the tomatoes and the strawberries.

The green beans are growing like mad. I've frozen oh-I-don't-know-how-many green beans over the past week. We pick, I wash, snap, blanche, vacuum-seal, and then two or three days later I repeat. I've recruited some helpers for the snapping part, though. They're good little helpers. :) I was also able to can ten pints of dill pickles. We love dill pickles here in this house so I always make sure to have plenty.

Our blueberries are producing abundantly as well. I was able to preserve 13 half-pints of blueberry/wild blackberry jam last week. And then there are the many gallon-sized freezer bags full of not only blueberries but also white raspberries from our bushes as well as wild berries from the farm property. My freezer is full of frozen berries which will be put to good use in smoothies and baking later in the year. 

One of my most favorite things to make when the gardens are growing wild is fresh salsa. I just kind of throw things together. I don't have a recipe, but I can tell you what I put in. Tomatoes, lots of cilantro ('cause oh do I love cilantro), onions, banana peppers, garlic, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Yep. That's all that's in there, but when it's all mixed up, oh my goodness, does it have a fantastic flavor. Dangerously fantastic. And, of course, there are so many fresh goodies adorning our plates at each meal. I'm loving it. We're all loving it. I made the turkey bacon/grilled zucchini sandwiches for lunch the other day. They were very yummy.

I have been working like a crazy woman on the granny hexagon afghan. Any spare moment I get, I pick up that yarn and hook. I am determined to get that finished soon so I can move onto the other handmade items I'm making for Christmas gifts this year. My basket of yarn and half-finished hexagons gets toted along with me everywhere I go so I can take advantage of each idle moment of the day.

We went to a local organic warehouse this past weekend. Brad found organic glass-bottled root beer. We love bottled root beer, but it's hard to find any kind of soda-pop made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, so he scooped it up when he found it at the warehouse on Saturday. We stuck it in the fridge to chill as soon as we got home, and then we each enjoyed a bottle while chilling on the trampoline Saturday night. I included some of the photos from that night above, but I will say that the photos got sillier and sillier as the moments passed and the sugar infused my children's blood stream. Oh my, did things get silly. We finished that night up on a blanket on our front lawn under the stars watching the fireworks our neighbor across the road was putting off. It was a fantastic day. Fantastic.

I've been enjoying some crafty and gardening books that I picked up from the library last week. I am loving this book by Jane Brockett. Wonderful, colorful, inspiring photos and writing that is just stirring up my creative juices. It's one of those books that I can pick up, read a page or two and set it down feeling energized and inspired and motivated to create. I'm also reading a couple of gardening journals that I'm finding so enjoyable. I really like to read about other people's gardening experiences and their emotions, attempts, successes, and failures.

Unfortunately, I'm sick today. As is Ian. It started with Lily, but she's mostly on the other side of it. But I'm sitting here with a sore throat and a headache, feeling quite drained despite the fact that I actually got more than six hours of sleep last night. Although I have more green beans to freeze today and laundry to do and those radishes out there that need picked and pickled, well, I'm going to attempt to take it somewhat easy today. But my body should know better than to get sick this time of year. I don't have time to slow down for sickness. {Wink.} But, alas, I will also take my resting time as an opportunity to work on the afghan and maybe read a few pages in one of my books.

Have a lovely day, friends.


Lulu said...

i just love your blog, tons of lovely pics...
love all the colorful hexagons, so pretty..Cant wait to see it finished, its going to be so lovely..
Hope you both feel better soon..
Take care,

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I hope you and Ian get to feeling better soon! Being sick in the summertime is the worst.

I love all your photos, especially the ones of the kids' silly faces with the root beer! Too cute!

Wendi said...

Beautiful pictures! I can see some of the sillies showing in the root beer pictures. :)

Green beans are in great abundance here. I picked 15 gallons yesterday and I could feel it this morning! The canner ran for most of day. Tiring, but a great feeling!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Amber! I wish I lived in western pa like you!

Reginas Cottage said...

what a wonderful you have.your dill pickles looks fantastic. how do you make them?love your crochet and this book of jane brocket is my favourite,too.
wish you a wonderful week,

born imaginative. said...

I'm a new follower now. I just love your site and find parallels to all your tabs on the side to my own life. :)