Thursday, April 18, 2019

Typically temperamental - but the garden is going in!

In typical April fashion, she is being temperamental. One day, she's shining the sun down on us and makes the plants shoot up in front of our eyes, and another day, she's dumping rain and makes us light the wood stove.

But while she's having a hard time making up her mind, I'm single-minded and focused: get the garden in.

So whenever the sun comes out, I shovel compost, broadfork garden beds, and plant things.  Peas, radishes, garlic, carrots and beets are already up.  And all our 40 pounds of potatoes are planted!  We've expanded our garden into the South-East corner of our property, since the potatoes get to grow there with a pretty view of some mountains.  Great logic, huh?

Of course I enlist the help of youngsters whenever I can.  Since I plant potatoes in furrows, there's quite a big of digging involved, and by the time rows are dug for that many plants, my back is grateful for the help and company of cheerful kids.

I have a blog post about planting potatoes if you want to learn how to do this.  >> Click here to read it <<

In case you are wondering why I have bird netting over my garden beds, it's so that the pesky birds can't pull up the emerging, succulent green sprouts.  So there, birds!

Springtime is such a lovely time of the year, even though she can't make up her mind about the weather.

Cherry and plum trees are blooming in full force.

Foraging for wild food is abundant.  I have already gathered and dried a bunch of nettles, and I often snack on Miner's Lettuce and Dandelion leaves when I go for walks.

And volunteer kale is sprouting up in a corner of our property where I dumped some garden clippings the year before.  What a treat!

Plus: tulips and trilliums and baby goats! What's not to love!

Spring time also signals bicycling time - one of my great loves.  So whenever weather and time permit, I grab one of my kids and drag them out on an excursion.

Or kayaking and canoeing: We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and by golly, we will be out in it, even if it rains!  We took the boys and their friends out to Lake Shannon for an impromptu rowing trip in the rain.

Hint: when you take four teenagers out rowing while it's drizzling, bring lots and lots and lots of food.  Treats are a great motivator.

I will leave you with images of more spring:

Naturally dyed easter eggs - dyed with cabbage.  I have a tutorial on how to do this on my blog.  >> Click here to read it <<

I finished knitting my skirt (called "Bee You Skirt", found here on Ravelry):

Our pot hole filling neighborhood party was a great success! Our one-mile-long unmaintained forest service road had gotten impossible to drive without throwing our backs or necks out, so now it's easy going again!

What's blooming in your part of the world?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The most beautiful naturally dyed easter eggs, how to make nettle pesto, and how to use a broadfork

Easter is a month away, but the stores are already filled with Easter stuff.  I don't like all the hype and commercialism around holidays, but I do love the simple rituals that go with special holidays.

Enter easter egg dyeing. For years now, our family has used an easy method to create the most stunning easter eggs, involving cabbage, vinegar, leaves and panty hose (or cheese cloth).

>> Here's my tutorial if you want to make these. << 

You totally should! It looks so complicated, but it's NOT!

Spring has arrived here. Last week, most of the snow melted (except on the North side of our five acres), and we worked in the garden with T-shirts and shorts. 80 degrees, people! Crocuses are blooming!

Luke and I planted garlic. I shovelled our home-made compost (which is gorgeous!) from our finished-compost-pile, hauled it over to the garden in the wheelbarrow, spread it over the designated garlic-growing-bed, and Luke helped me dig it in with the broadfork.

If you have never used a broadfork, you should watch my video where I explain why it's so much better for the soil, and how to use it. Or you can read the blog post I wrote about it here.

We've been picking the first nettles for cooking in soups. Ohhhh, our bodies are loving this extra nutrition!

Many people don't know that nettles are edible, let alone a famous powerhouse of a food that nourishes your body like few other greens.  If you want to learn more about why nettles are so good for you, how to harvest them, and how to make nettle pesto, watch my video tutorial here, or read my blog post here.

Last weekend, my hubby Steve, our nine-year-old daughter Eva and I set out for a bike ride on the Cascade Trail, which goes from Concrete to Sedro Woolley. It's a lovely gravel trail meandering through farm land, forest, and along the Skagit River.

I am proud to say and not at all shy about bragging: it's a 23 mile bike ride, and we did the whole thing. Our daughter rocks! She's strong... although she did complain after a few hours. We bribed her with many treats and the promise of ice cream, and it worked!

We started out at 5 B Bakery in Concrete, with a belly-full of breakfast.

We met buffalo along the way...

And ran into a flooding trail that gave us wet feet.

On a break at the river, we fed Eva who was kind of sick of the whole trip by then, let her rest a little, and I got to sit and knit...

Eva got a second wind at the end of the trip and sprinted to the restaurant where we met her brother Kai, who would drive us back home. We stuffed our faces with Mexican food and were grateful for chairs that didn't make our butts hurt like our bike saddles...

Let me share some other favorite pictures of the week with you, including

~ Steve and Luke building a bike ramp (can you tell why my heart is in my throat a lot of the day with Luke doing all these crazy potentially neck-breaking mountain bike jumps???)

~ A bonfire after pruning our orchard, and drinking hard apple cider that we made from our own apples last year... Heaven!

~ Taking my computer outside and working on the porch, as if it were summer!

~ Reading to Eva at night while she knits, after a long day of work. To be honest with you, some nights I just want to go hide and not interact with anyone, or space out on Netflix, and that’s OK. But when I can rally no matter how tired I am and really go the extra mile to spend quality time with my kids, it usually turns out to be very rewarding. I am aware of how fast they are growing up. 

It can be tricky to balance this desire to be the best mothers we can be with also taking care of our own needs, right, Mamas?

How are you doing? Is spring happening where you live? What are you doing in the garden? Please leave a comment below and share with us!

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