It’s been a busy summer here. I feel like I have spent the entire Summer behind and without enough energy to do everything I want. (or at least everything I think I should be able to do and still have time to enjoy life)
I spent the day with the girls…all day…a day they needed and I needed. We are together all of the time except for the 30 or less hours I work each week. But, I spend so much of my down time trying to play catch up that we don’t spend large chunks of quality time together. So today, we finished breakfast and were in Grey’s room by 10. Grey spent all day working on making American girl doll hammocks using her sewing machine. I was there for moral support and the occasional tech assistance or to talk her down off the ledge. Mycah cuddled up with me and I helped her with her hand sewing and we watched Julia and Jaques make desserts on Hulu. We all had a really good time. I also knit a bit between consultations. Grey said this was the best day ever and I have to agree. Here are pics of Grey creating and of her creations. I am also throwing in picks of the 16 pounds of zuchini I shredded, bread I made, sweater I finished a bit ago and the shawl I started. Busy, busy….but in a good way.
I tried a new recipe tonight because I am drowning in cherry tomatoes. I took about three pounds to work today. I got rid of them in about five minutes! I think everyone enjoyed them! But this afternoon I knew I needed to do some serious picking, so I found a recipe to use them up. I picked another pound or so and used two pints in this recipe. The recipe is from The Heirloom Tomato, a gorgeous book by Amy Goldman. The book is brimming with photos,descriptions and recipes using heirloom tomatoes. The recipe I chose was Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Crumbs…..yes, I said toasted crumbs. Basically you make a tomato and shallot salad dressed in a vinaigrette. It marinates for an hour while you put a loaf of bread through a food processor to make crumbs and then toast them in olive oil and salt in the oven and cook the spaghetti. When the spaghetti is done you toss in the tomato salad and fresh basil. Then you serve it with the toasted crumbs on top and some Parmesan cheese. The girls were very hesitant about it and I was afraid this was going to be a fail…..but it wasn’t. It was amazing. We all loved it. I am so glad necessity made me dig around for something to do with our bumper crop of little tomatoes. I will definitely be making this again.
We have had a week of hellish temperatures here. We had three days in a row of 102-105….real temps, not heat index! It has taken a toll on my garden! But we are still getting plenty of tomatoes, eggplant and okra. I’m not sure how long the garden can make it inthis heat and total lack of rain. Pluseyewear were gone for two fullweeks in June and the garden suffered a little neglect. We have finally gotten our contractor to get over and get the fence done. It is pretty close to being finished and will need painting. This will finish all construction on the garden. I can’t wait. The brick path is done and all we lack is the patio and lawn substitute.
Sorry I missed last week folks. I’ve just been so busy. I ordered a bunch of potato sets ans worked on the girls fairy garden trying to get it straightened out so that I can share it with the fairies. I did check with them and they said ok. So, I worked for 2 days pulling weeds and digging up weed bulb or seed…whatever it is that makes them keep coming up. Then, I had to relay the stone. That is where I ran into trouble. I have never laid stone. I have a pretty good understanding of how it should be done, but it turns out I lack one important piece of the puzzle…..the ability to pick up and move stone large enough to do what needs to be done. Henry saw my handiwork and asked if I would like help. Of course! He had to take out 90% of my work and he worked on it on and off all week. Bottom line….no potato bed, still.
The garden is changing on a daily basis now. I got three squash mid-week and cooked them with onions. They were very good, but three squash is not much. Yesterday I picked 5 and I may get one or two more today. That will be enough for a good mess. I also have radishes coming out of my ears. I found a recipe for braised radishes in Mark Bitman’s cookbook and will try those tonight as well.
My one big problem with the garden right now is cucumber beetles. Now, don’t be fooled by the name. They eat squash, cucumbers, melons…any cucurbit. I have used and organic repellant of essential oils and insecticidal soap. Neither of these worked and I feel they may like it. I am going to make some hot pepper spray today and see if that works. I am trying not to use neem oil as it will kill beneficial bugs as well as the bad guys. I bought a book called Good Bug, Bad Bug and she suggests using beneficial bugs to fight off pests. The only problem is I am afraid I’m to late for that. Nevertheless, I am getting produce….it just looks like I may have to share it with the bad guys this year!
Well, the garden is growing by leaps and bounds. I am a week late in staking the tomatoes and like always…I regret it! Good grief, they have taken on a life of their own and I am waiting for one of them to stand up and say “FEED ME.” I started making tepees for the tomatoes and cutting them back, but only got through five or so. I went ahead and put the tepees in, but have not yet trimmed and tied up the rest. I was too busy finally unfurling my espalier fruit trees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espalier We have five apples, a crab apple and two pears. We have not been able to allow them to be completely untied because we had not finished the permanent support system for them. Today Henry finished the work (with a little help from my dad) and we were able to remove all temporary support and attach them to their new home. I am so thrilled. They look stunning and I found a couple of pears growing and a lot of crab apples. I was hoping for fruit this year, but not counting on it due to transplant shock. I think we will get a little, but not much. Next year should be great, though.
In totally unrelated news, I finished the skirt I have been working on for about six weeks. I sew on the bus and any time I am waiting in line or for the girls. This skirt is from Natalie Chanin’s first book, Alabama Stitch Book. http://www.amazon.com/Alabama-Stitch-Book-Celebrating-Contemporary/dp/B004KAB3FC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1337567159&sr=8-3 As you can see on her site, you can purchase a hand made skirt from her and would not have to do the work. http://alabamachanin.com/store/collection However, I am a little too stingy and a lot too interested in making to actually by one. She shows all fo her techniques and even gives the patterns in her books. I had the good fortune to meet her one time when I took a workshop with her and I must say…she is very genuine and warm. I love her business model, her dedication to sustainability and her love of her home. AND>>>>>>I LOVE MY SKIRT!
I have to say…I am feeling a little lost without my skirt at my side, calling out to me to do a little stitching. I have to decide what to start on next. I really want to make a couple of tops from her newest book. I wonder if I can get it done before our vacation???