Great Northern Gardening Experiment, Part 2

Gardening Mid SummerA couple months now into our Spring seeding and sprouting, and we are officially in the midst of Summer gardening… and it is OM!  Much of the garden this year was grown from seed and some fruit roots, with a few small berry shrubs thrown in for good measure.  We did see some returning plants from our first year, and things are coming along quite nicely – however, just a little slowly.

Everyone here says it’s been a wet season thus far, though even moving as we did from Texas last year, I find it has been very hot as well.  I will say, 85 degrees with 80% humidity really DOES feel like 105!  Now I understand why the farmers get up so early.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

The Time-Space Continuum and Savory Vegetarian 15-Bean Slow Cooker Soup

15 Bean Soup BowlWe eat whole foods as much as possible, in the European slow-cooking, slow-eating countryside style, preparing most meals from scratch with a minimum of packaged convenience items, and a sprinkling of favorite indulgences.  Dinner is when this really comes to bear, since we have a real chance to sit down, share, and *linger* – my main term for all things “slow living.”

I make heavy use of my slow cooker year-round in the process… so much so, I’m considering just keeping that gargantuan beast on my counter at all times as a practical measure. ;) Continue reading

Front Door Redoux … And A Giant Lion’s Head

Front Door BeforeEver since we moved into our house, I have wanted to re-paint the front door.  More importantly, I was eager to replace the door knocker, which was personalized with the last name of the original owners – who owned the house before the people we bought it from – and who  themselves were here several years. Like many things in the home, most elements of the decor (down to the lightbulbs… ;) were left as-is since those original owners before, so there has been MUCH updating to do.  The energy of this house needed to be refreshed, STAT – starting here! Continue reading

Green Tomato Lime Cilantro Salsa

Green Tomatoes Pig Plate

My son, Mighty O, will be starting at a very cool, very small school this Fall. We’ve had lots of interesting experiences with education already in his young life (perhaps more on that later…), though we are very excited about this one!  This school follows an outdoor-oriented program that is similar to the forest schools of Scandinavia and the American Pacific Northwest, with a very hands-on learning approach that also includes lots of music and performing arts.  If I were the type to ever say, “Squeeeee!” – well, it might be now.

At any rate, the school maintains a wonderful garden, which is tended by the students during the school year and once a week through the summer months.  A very nicely-producing young tomato plant was uprooted by a well-meaning child at our last visit, and the green tomatoes on the bush were begging for a use. I grabbed them to make a tomatillo-style salsa or chutney, which could come in use for the school’s Fall festival, where they serve food from the garden’s bounty.   Continue reading