Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Swiss Chard anyone?

"A time to plant...and a time to pluck up that which is planted"

Saturday was great, even if I did sew the entire side seam of my dress-in-progress wrong for the second time.  You see, I spent a good part of the day outside with my favorite Master Gardener!

It's that time of year. The time where baby leaves coat the oaks, the fog is gone, and the March storms delightfully fickle.  Here in the Great Central Valley, if we are lucky enough to have gotten winter crops planted, well, we truly do both parts of that famous Ecc. verse.  The boysenberry vines have been pruned and meticulously tied.  See the new growth?  Just 2 short months and I'll be back to picking boysenberries every 2-3 days.  The one outdoor activity I missed Sat. was the planting of a 2nd row of berries over on the far hill.  Next year will be the first harvest.....I'm hoping to have some u-pick berries from that row! 

 Striding out with camera in hand, I found the imaginers and their sidekick.  Sarah was picking weeds (yeah, weeds at our house in spring time is fairly common) and feeding "glansen" to her horses.  John was adding sticks to a leftover tomato cage to make his windmill.  Stephen? Just wondering around blissfully a part of the outdoor action =)

Stephen - watching our Master Gardener hoe the baby potatoes.
MG actually said it was one of his favorite things! 

Tiny onions...I had the pleasure of dividing and transplanting the "extras". I'm actually a wee bit concerned about the size of our possible harvest.  3-4 35' rows?  

Seeing the rows of potatoes coming up IS extra rewarding when you have a hand in dividing all of the potato seed. It's a bit of a contest to me....how many eyes CAN you separate out of ONE potato? =) 


Yes, my husband is a measurer...each row gets a piece of pvc at both ends, a string to mark the row....and voila...straight rows.  It really is GOOD that I'm not in charge of that process. =)

 Our trusty 4 row planter completed the 7 row job faster than our row man could make new rows.  =) 
 Yeah, we like to gang up on him like that.  For those of you interested in varieties, we planted Ambrosia - a bicolor "sister" corn to our favorite - Bodacious. I'm sure our next planting will be the latter.  Thanks, Sharon - for bringing some seed from IN!

First time ever - we planted some beans to dry - Italian Rose.  I'm rather intrigued.  The zucchini doesn't "call" me at quiet the same level...especially when I hear that there are 14, yes FOURTEEN, Zucchini out there.  "Well just feed the mission if there is plenty" says He. Hmm, I'd better reserve further comments until said squash is ready to pick.  But if you see me dashing around the church yard this summer after church...=)

A few of our cabbages have heads, the rest appear ready to bolt - a combo of warmer Feb. weather and starting our seed at the time we should have been planting transplants. I'm really ok with it, b/c that amount of cabbage sounded a bit overwhelming....I like sauerkraut, just not sure I'm ready to make it.  Plus I don't have a big crock.  Which is ok, gotta save SOMETHING for next year, yes? =)
Sugar Snap Pea picking bribery abounds at our house...it happens so much happier when you say...."you have to pick one container full.  When you get 3 containers full...then you get a sucker"

 Whoosh...they are out of the house.  I joined them today for a more thorough going over.  They aren't perfect, but my older 3 all eat them - esp. with that childhood favorite...ranch dressing. 

Speaking of eating...the last and best garden moment of the day was walking out to the front flower bed and picking a bunch of swiss chard with Sarah.  It was the seed SHE picked out this last fall, and now we've had it 2x for supper.  The Multicolored really is pretty!
 We had to wash it thoroughly.
 and sauteed it with oil,  garlic, salt & pepper, and boysenberry vinegar for a bit of sweet zing. 
delish...hardly enough for 5 of us. Now i just need to let it grow and get BIG like the acreage over on Covert Rd.  That is some lovely swiss chard. 

I really do have hope for Stephen - right now he's a bit of a fruits and veggies snob....but how can he resist the delicious bounty of Daddy's garden?  He'll learn....=)  cause I'm not about to give up. I'll just send him out with John this summer to pick beans....cause John eats them off the vine...tomatoes too...you MIGHT not want to have him over if you have a garden .

Keep planting and hoping and eating and praising the Lord for his bounty.  Most all of us know the law of the sower.

You reap what you sow
You reap more than you sow
So sow in truth

And that wonderful thought question....what is the one veggie you don't really like?  Why?  Mine is bell peppers.  The odor is offensive.  The crunch? delightful.  I like them roasted....but NOT raw.  And please don' t ruin a pizza with them =)  And beets?  Well, I'm neutral on those beauties.  My husband wants to plant some, so who knows, maybe I'll be plugging beets into allrecipes.com this summer?

Kendra - No, I didn't aim this post at you...and I hope it doesn't make you sad!  Ok, now I'm sad b/c it has been so very very long since we've seen each other.  Praise the Lord for computers, yes?  Miss you, and certain other of my far flung friends that go waaaaayyyy back to teen years =) I can't name you, b/c that would be leaving someone out.  But if you knew me back then, consider yourself missed.  There is just something special about old friends. 

P.s. - When I say "Master Gardener" - I mean of our small domain - there are LOTS of Master Gardeners out there!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flashback - Christmas 2011

Christmas was lovely this year, we had 4/6  celebrations in our home - counting Thanksgivingtime Christmas with David's family.  It was a more challenging Christmas in one way (for me), and one of the most blessed of Christmas's in another.  I realized in Oct. that Christmas this year was going to be mostly handmade....not what I thought my cup of tea was (that design/create gene that I lack).  Lesson learned....Ebay, Etsy, Amazon...are all wonderfully handy and easy...but the truth is, neccesity REALLY is the mother of invention.  Once I got my attitude in check, I made use of the tools available to me...namely, websites with awesome tutorials, a creative mother/sister/aunt to bounce ideas off of, odds and ends in the sewing closet....and of course....the most challenging component of all - TIME.  I truly spent 2 months making things.  With little children and a home to run, there really aren't oodles of extra hours available.  I got a lot of ideas from this website Simple handmade gifts .  I made #'s 7, 8, 13, and 48.  There were several more that I saved that I never got to...next year?  They really were simple and seemed to turn out pretty well.  Several people recieved aprons. They were all fun to make, and all quite different The following is the only one I have a picture of...hint hint =)  I was especially pleased with the denim one as it was an original idea....plus, my denim trim package completed the apron with ~8" to spare....oh that made me happy!  One of the big challenges of making gifts is making sure that you have all of the correct accessories before the slotted gift making time arrives! You know, the joys of shopping with toddlers =)
Dad with his "work apron" - I cut the pockets off of old jeans that I'm saving for a beach blanket...plus a bizarre pair that my mom bought at a Thrift store....not acceptable for CAM, that's for sure =)

We made the mugs with the children - for a few family members and their teachers.  It was easy for them to color in the letters after I outlined them.  David got drafted to make the letter stencils...a Sunday afternoon project.

Both Jons/Johns got owls made from repurposed scarfs...I just about couldn't stand cutting into the Gap 100% merino wool one, but...I have enough left for a little clutch.  =)

A robe, several dresses (I just finished the last one! hurray =) even a table runner and placemats.  You know, I think that I might some day get into quilting...the math was kind of challenging and fun.  Getting all the puckers out...not so much.  The sisal rope bowls were neat...Deborah B...ask me about your connection to that story sometime.  I went to the thrift store and bought an inexpensive silver basket and followed the tutorial.  Basically, it just requires lots of planning.  Which equates to lots of time to think about how much you love the person, correct? 

 The previous Christmas I had purchased a Christmas cookie cookbook, and did nothing with it.  Like I've said before, artsy messes aren't my thing.  But this year, I thought it would be fun to make a special cookie with each child and use those for our friends/special people/neighbors cookie trays.  The children loved it, of course!
And if you ever want to make your husband flannel pajamas....don't bother with the cheap stuff....(family plug coming) Creative Handworks has a great selection of high quality, wonderful-to-snuggle with flannel - just ask! =)

David had to help me mold the napkin rings I made...it was a great team effort...he formed them in the shop, brought in his etcher, and etched the Bible verses (double as conversation starters) on the fork and I went over the etching with a sharpie, then wiped the excess off with ethyl alcohol.  SURPRISE, I recieved a set to - all with verses refering to Creation.   Details are his thing

The homemade Christmas gift that will poignantly linger in my memory is the Tomato Soup I made for my Grandma Jarboe.  She never got a chance to have any.  For those of you who don't know my family well, she passed away the 3rd week of January.  We knew she wasn't doing as well in December. Christmas was a big effort.  I told the boys when we arrived at our school Christmas program that they were to MAKE SURE and thank Grandma Jarboe for coming to the program, b/c she hadn't went to a function in the morning so that she could be at their program.  I told them that we never know when it might be the last time."  =( 

She gave Sarah a doll called Tuesday's Child. So glad to have this picture.

 The dress Sarah is wearing was the one
 I made for her for Christmas.  Glad to have found an easy pattern that fits true to size
and works for cotton or cotton knit. 

More assorted Christmas pics

 I WILL climb onto this box =)

 Jon and A. Sharon

 John - very pleased with his Legoman headlamp...and new Mercy Watson books.  He would read a paragraph and then just giggle...hehe.

 Just a tad bit excited for Christmas breakfast -we always use these festively colored squarish plates from Grandma Wagoner.

 Stocking time!

We celebrated Christmas with
A.Virginia & Grandma Jarboe

None of us know what a year may bring...it's a beautiful lesson to each of us to cherish each one around the table - each and every time!

Part of our relaxing day with U. Jon and A. Chris the day after Christmas was...a man challenge
followed by fun for all

Oh, and I think a CHEESECAKE tradition for the Cover Family
Christmas celebration has officially been started!

P.s....it's good to be back =) Any favorite memories of Christmas 2011 you want to share?

Blog was linked here

Sneaky Momma Blog Design