Archive for July, 2013

Weekly Garden Post

I daresay we are having a great garden week.  A mixture of sun and rain has the plants flourishing.  We suddenly got bombarded with cucumbers, harvesting six larges ones this week.  We have continued to harvest beans.  We are enjoying the swiss chard in frittatas with our fresh chicken eggs.  We got our first crook neck squash this week, with what appears to be many growing and the zucchini is just about ready to pick.  We cleared out all our peas and bolted lettuce.  We put in a new round of peas, a lot of spinach and kale, and we put in carrots throughout all the spaces between our pepper plants.  This was the best I could do for our “fall garden.”  Next year, I swear I will be more on top of planning to maximize our output.  Our pumpkins and butternut squash plants have begun growing in every direction and look beautiful.  We have one very large sugar pumpkin and a lot more small ones beginning to grow.  On the other hand, we have 6 very nice spaghetti squash still hanging on to a doomed plant.  Despite extracting the vine borer, the plant still appears to be on its last legs.  I don’t know if the squash with fully ripen before we loose the plant, but I do hope so.  Right next to this plant, another is actually looking quite nice and has one squash starting to grow.  Fingers crossed for this plot.  The best discovery this week is nasturtium pesto.  I planted nasturtium next to my summer squash and cucumbers because it is often listed as a companion plant.  This has grown beautifully in our garden.  I knew both the plant and the flowers were edible, but I didn’t think about it beyond salad garnish until we had so much of it.  Well, thank you google, we found a nice recipe for pesto and it is wonderful.  Finn and Josette enjoyed harvesting it and helping me mix it in the blender.  We had it over pasta and all four of us found it to be delicious.  It will be put on pizza next and we have already gifted a jar to our neighbor.  Yum!

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More Blueberries

So, how do we recover from a trail marathon?  We go hiking back along said trail to the sight of the blueberries that we sampled around mile 18.  Oh, those beautiful blue jewels taunted me to stop and pick for hours in the middle of the race!  I did have a handful or two, but luckily the kids were excited to go and get another 3 lbs on Sunday!  We enjoyed a leisurely walk, and I think it helped keep the muscles loose.  We picked and ate a ton, then we had a picnic next to Bear Brook.  Lily was pleased to vacuum up as many berries as she could and then take a nice swim.  Josette got quite tuckered out and enjoyed a nap after our adventure.  And, of course, we just had to make a pie (we just love pie!)

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Back in February, a good friend of ours alerted us to a trail marathon in the beautiful Bear Brook State Park, just down the road from us.  At the beginning of the year, Sean and I had said that we were just going to focus on half marathons, but this marathon was so close and it was very inexpensive and it was a trail run, which was not something we had experience before.  Thus, it was just too good to pass up.   With just 4 months from the time we signed up to race day, Sean and I chose some basic marathon training schedules and got to running.  We tried to get to running on the trails as much as possible during training.  The training was wonderful and I have become a trail running convert, loving how you can explore and challenge yourself in the woods.  The race was by far the most challenging race I have experienced to date.  Yet, it was beautiful and fun and made me want to get better and try it again next year.  I certainly learned a lot about trail running and what I need to do differently next year, but there will definitely be a next year!  I had intended to write up a whole post on my experiences throughout the course, but I can’t seem to find the time.  So here are some pictures and here’s to more ultras and trails to come!

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Rainbow Foam Dough

A very rainy day yesterday led to some seriously messy play.  I came across this post on Rainbow Foam Dough and I was excited because we had both shaving cream and cornstarch.  Easy enough.  The kids helped mix it all up and then the squishy, messy fun began.  And, it was MESSY.  But, it was super fun.  It does have a wonderful texture and provided a lot of entertainment for quite awhile.  Luckily, clean up was much easier than I anticipated given what the mess looked like.  (And, as an aside, if you look at the original post, why did their experience look so contained and perfect?)  Corn Starch wipes up and dissolved very quickly and the kids were popped in the shower with all the toys that they covered in it and all was well.  We will definitely be doing this again on another rainy day.

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Weekly Garden Post

Oh, gardening, it will bring such joy, but also break your heart.  Overall, things look beautiful, but I am overwhelmed by the pests.  In particular, the squash vine borer has gotten into our plants and I don’t know if our winter squash is going to pull through.  We had already lost some plants, but others were looking really good, so I was ever so hopeful.  But now, our spaghetti squash are starting to die and there is some evidence that the pumpkins might be next.  We found that you can slit the vine and get the bug out, and Sean successfully extracted two.  But then we couldn’t get them on the others.  We are going to do our best ot save them, but we are nervous that they are on their way out.  So sad.  There is a gardener down the way whose garden I admire and every fall, she has loads of pumpkins and winter squash and I so want that.  I had no idea how difficult they were to grow.  I am determined to figure it out.  One of my gardening books says it takes a good ten years to become a good gardener.  I don’t want to wait that long, but I suppose I do learn a lot more every year.    We have also found our first hornworm damage on the tomatoes.  We picked several off yesterday, much to the delight of our chickens.  They are still small and I am hopeful that we can deal with them.  We had plenty last year, but stayed on top of them, plus many were parasitized and I hope we see that again this year.

The good news is we are harvesting our first bush beans, taking in about 7 oz over the weekend.  We are also very close to picking our first cucumbers.  We have yellow crookneck and zucchini starting and those plants look great.  We have been picking lettuce here and there for wraps and sandwhiches.  We may actually get some swiss chard here soon too.  I was looking at a lot of space around the pepper plants and we need to take our pea plants out and I need to get more things in to grow.  I keep talking about a fall garden, but as usual, I am behind on planning and implementation.

Finn and Josie are still ever so helpful in the garden, from picking hornworms, to weeding, or just having a picnic while I tie up tomato plants.  They also love to play in the corn plants and potato plants.

What are your gardening woes and successes this week?

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3 & 3: T-Ball

Finn is doing a summer program through the Park and Rec department called 3 & 3 for 3 & 4.  It is 3 weeks of T-ball followed by 3 weeks of soccer for 3 and 4 year olds.  They separate the ages.  Finn did the 3 year old program last year and now he is enjoying playing with the other 4 year olds.  It is fantastic to watch him play.  He is the first to run on the field and he gives his all in every task, from running the bases, to throwing and catching the ball and to hitting.  He can be a bit of a ham by trying to slide into bases and being very silly with the ball, but he is always quick to listen to his coach.  Play Ball!

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Swim Lessons

Whew, we just completed 2 weeks of swim lessons!  Our town is fantastic in offering free swim lessons to all residents in the summer at the town lake.  Josette and I did the parent/child class and Finn did the preschool class.  Both kids took to the water like fish.  It was a lot of fun to spend every day at the lake swimming and enjoying the sun (or rain last week).  We didn’t miss a class despite the weather at times and no one complained (well, maybe I did) on the rainy days.  Josette and I did the class first and Finn was really good about playing in the shallows and sand while I was in the water.  Then, Finn was up and he was always the first to run up to the life guard and jump into class.  On his exit sheet the life guard wrote, “Finn did incredible.  Loved his enthusiasm and how much fun he brought to class.”  It was really great to see how readily he attempted each task and how excited he got to tell me about it afterwards.  Josette was also quick to try anything the life guard asked and she excelled at blowing bubbles and even let us sweep her under the water.  After the lessons, when the weather was nice, we spent plenty of time enjoying the beach and swimming through the afternoon.  Josette loved to swim in the shallows and practice her kicking and singing songs like “motorboat” the whole time.  Finn liked to play, “how deep can we go” with his friends from class.  Then, Josette also learned to play, “how deep can I go” until she was up to her nose.  No fear of water for these two means I have to be on my toes, but hopefully we are well on our way to some good swimmers!

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