Sunday, June 5, 2011

Taking Charge

I have three days of work left for the school year.  If I don't get a running start to the summer, nothing gets done.  So for the last few weeks, I've been super busy so that I keep up steam when I have nothing else to do.

In what appears to be an annual tradition, *B* and I went to see Prairie Home Companion at Wolf Trap.  We took an adult picnic complete with wine, crudites, and cheese.  The show was great, the day was beautiful, and we had a great time. 

 The garden has been a point of stress for me.  For about a month, I threw my hands up and left it alone.  Now, it's coming along well.

 My mom made us a hanging strawberry planter.  It's not enough to feed anyone person at a sitting, but it's nice to be able to pick berries every day.

 Our potatoes may or may not make it through the season.  They seem to by dying off now, and they haven't even flowered yet.

 Indian false strawberries have taken over our yard.  Despite the name, they taste like nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

 Our raspberries are doing SO well that we even have a few berries on them!

 We planted snow peas everywhere.  They are doing so well.

 These snow peas had been eaten to the ground by the rabbits.  We put up more fencing, and they popped right up.

 We'll have more peas than we know what to do with!

 Even our lettuce is doing well.

 We were taught this trick at a gardening seminar this spring.  We fill up a holy milk jug rather than watering the plants directly.  It seems to help a bit.  We'll see at the end of the summer how well it works.

 This is one of only two rhubarb plants that made it through germination.  I'm excited for this new experiment!

We planted San Marzano tomatoes to make sauce this year.  We'll see what comes of it.  Last year, I got 2/3 cup of tomato sauce out of all of our plants.

Apparently our compost was not very hot when we tossed things in there.  We have tomato plants in one side.

In the other side of the compost, we have melons (I think).  We're going to try transplanting when they get a little stronger.

The plants even made it into our new herb bed.  We have thyme, basil, cumin, German chamomile, melons and tomatoes.  Go figure.

 Our asparagus came back and we planted two more beds.  The ferns are about 4 feet tall.  My only lament is that we won't be able to take it with us when we move in a few years.

*B* had to have his nasturtiums this year.  That boy loves his nasturtiums!  We also planted some purple ones, but they're tiny still.

  We had a small harvest of peas for the day, but it's enough for the two of us to split.

In our front yard, we have a huge bed of strawberries that I neglected to photograph.  I had a record harvest this year.  I'm estimating about two pounds of strawberries, and they're only about half picked!


Recently, *B* has moved from winemaking to cider and beer brewing.  At the moment, we have a gallon of mead, two gallons of apple cider, and three gallons of red ale fermenting in our basement.  It's truly been an interesting experience.

Not to be outdone, I have been doing some fermenting of my own.  I discovered water kefir a few months ago and became hooked.  Our organic market only has a limited supply, so I broke down and bought the grains online.  I soaked them the past few days to rehydrate them, and am now working on our first batch!

On the left are the soaked grains.  The demerrara sugar makes the mixture brown.  On the right is sugar water.
I added a slice of ginger, some raisins, and a half of a lemon.
It'll stay sealed for two more days, then I can bottle it.  Supposedly, it'll become carbonated at that point.

In a future post, I'll show the results from my water kefir as well as *B*'s projects.


The left side of our sink has been squirting water everywhere.  We couldn't understand what was going on, so we put a bucket under the sink and stopped using that side.  Today, I got fed up and explored further.

 If you look hard, it looks like someone went at it with a saws-all.  There's a huge gash in the locknut.

For the immediate time being, I fixed it up nicely with plumber's tape and a layer of duct tape.  I'm hoping to brush up my plumbing skills so that I can replace the locknut all by myself soon.


And that's been my last few weeks.  We've had a ton of parties - baby introductions, Memorial Day, and end of school year get-togethers.  We have a wedding this weekend, and my best friend's wedding in two weeks.  We'll be traveling to Oklahoma the second week of June, so I'm very excited.  I've been before, but *B* hasn't.  It'll be a new adventure all around.


  1. loved reading and touring your garden! those are cute strawberry holders your mom made.

  2. Is that the wrong picture for the rhubarb? That doesn't look like any rhubarb I've ever seen growing in that cinder block.

  3. Thank you!

    Jenna, we grew them from seed. It keeps looking more and more like rhubarb as it grows. I should have gotten a better picture of the stalks.

  4. Seller talks about growing kefir is like art, but the kefir that i got from him was flat. After readind on "DOM'S KEFIR" site i believe the grain was squeezed by the "Seller" ouch !