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May 23, 2007

One more week and counting...

A few more photos until I have time for a "real" post.







Our first cherry crop is well on its way!


May 18, 2007

What's in Your Garden?

Chelee recently posted photos of her veggie garden and patio, with an invitation to share what's going on in our own back yards. Since we're moving in less than two weeks, I haven't planted anything new, but there are many things that are happily shooting up without any help from me.

This robust looking Black Tuscan kale shot up from an abandoned seedling that I left in the ground last fall (I've got large brussels sprout plants that resulted from the same neglectful method). I'm going to harvest it soon and make a batch of Kale and White Bean Soup.

There are volunteer potatoes popping up all over the place. I'm obviously not a very thorough potato digger.
The garlic that I planted last fall is doing well. These I'm going to dig them up and take with me.

Strawberries seem to have taken over the garden. There's at least one whole 4 X 7 bed full of them.

And finally, here's the shot of our "patio". It's not much, but it's been a nice spot to sit for a cool drink in the afternoon, or a cold beer in the evening. I'm going to miss it.

The flat of seedlings on the table is a preview of the garden to come.



May 16, 2007

Spring Babies

Many of you have been posting photos of your gorgeous spring babies recently, so I thought I would get in on the action and show you some photos of what's been hatching here on the urban homestead.

I was out taking a peek to see if there are any holes filled in the Mason bee house yet (there aren't), when I spotted these little beauties hanging out on the clematis.




Click to enlarge photos.
The kids came out to watch them (even my son, who has a major spider phobia), and we noticed that many of them were floating away on their own little pieces of silky thread, just like at the end of Charlotte's Web.

It's amazing how much life there is to see, even in the middle of the city.

May 15, 2007

More Garden Shots

We're busy packing these days (just over two weeks until we move!), so I'm afraid I can't muster up much more than a few more garden photos.

Irises are popping up all over the place.

The Concord grapes have such pretty pink leaves.

I think chives are one of the most underrated flowers in the garden. They have the cheeriest purple flowers, and they bloom for ages - I could happily have a whole field of them!

To read about our recent experience using all natural dyes, click here.

May 08, 2007

Spring Garden

I love spring! Everything is so green, and the air smells incredible. Here's what's going on around the garden.


The lilacs are largely responsible for the sweet smelling air. This one sits at the edge of the veggie garden, and there's a white one in the front.


There's a thick carpet of sweet woodruff covering the ground beside the garage.

I don't remember what kind of tulips these are, but they're gorgeous.

The fruit trees are very productive this year.


The peach tree is covered with these adorable little fuzzy fruits.



Our apricot tree suffered a huge loss last year - we staked it up straight because our neighbor was worried about it leaning over the fence into his yard, and 80% of the tree died - but the remaining two branches are happily cranking out baby apricots.



The fig tree has four tiny figs on it!!!


And the Gala apple tree is absolutely covered in blooms.

A week ago, I would have been weeping over my lovely fruits, but I met the woman who bought our house last weekend, and she (yippee!) has no interest in most of the fruit trees. We're still working out the details, but it's looking like I'll get to take most of them with me!


May 07, 2007

The Secret Garden

Thank you all for the nice birthday wishes!
My daughter and I finally made it out for our "high tea" date today at our favorite tea house, The Secret Garden. We'd planned to go for Bee's birthday last month, but every week between then and now one of us was either sick or busy with other things.

To start things off, we both ordered ourselves a pot of tea (I had my favorite Creamy Earl Grey, and Bee had the Lemon Mango Punch)and then they brought us this lovely three-tiered platter full of goodies.

Everything looked so incredible that it was hard to know where to start!

There were rich and creamy egg salad spirals, pita cups with turkey and mango chutney, and mini croissants with genoa salami.

The next level had blueberry tea cake, and mini apple scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam. Their scones are so fluffy and delicious, I'd love to know how they make them like that!

The piece de resistance was the dessert plate, which held an assortment of sweet delights, including luscious lemon tarts (Bee's favorite), mini blueberry panna cottas, and chocolate hazelnut rolls. Delicious.

We had so much fun today that we're thinking we'll make it an annual double birthday celebration.

May 06, 2007

Weekend Goodies

The first week in May is always fun for me, the biggest reason being that my favorite local potters club always holds its semi-annual pottery sale on the first Saturday in May. My mom and I were there when the doors opened as we always are, ready to find some new handmade pieces.

I'm ashamed to admit that I lived up to my reputation and bought another teapot (it's a sickess, I realize this). I used the fact that it's my birthday on Monday (the second reason that this week is always fun for me) as justification for this moment of weakness. My dad sent me a little money as a gift, so the teapot was essentially my gift from him (are you buying any of this?!).



I found myself a new mixing bowl to replace one that I broke a few months ago...



...and I also got four of these cute soup mugs. They're a nice size (about 5 inches across), and I'm envisioning winter evenings by the fire with a steaming mug of homemade chili or soup.

I just had to share a photo of the amazing cake that my mom made for my birthday (we celebrated tonight). It's the biggest, loveliest (and yummiest) strawberry shortcake I've ever seen.

May 02, 2007

Things I Love - Freecycle

I know, I know - I may have mentioned how much I love Freecycle a time or two since starting this blog, but I've never actually dedicated an entire post to it. Just in case there are some of you out there who haven't yet taken part in your local chapter of this wonderful online community, I'm doing that today.

We all know how important it is to recycle these days, and Freecycle is a great way to encourage that. For those of you who may not know what it's all about, Freecycle is a Yahoo group where people post items that they no longer want, and where you can post requests for items that you need that someone might have gathering dust in their basement. It provides a forum for the exchange of items that second hand stores might not take and prevents them from going to the landfill. We've found new homes for plants that there was no longer room for in the garden, as well as magazines, toys, and numerous building materials (including the carpet that we tore out when we redid the kids' bedroom floor). I will likely be posting a lot as I pack and try to downsize before our move.

We've also been on the receiving end of some great freecycled items (anyone remember the washing machine?). This gorgeous nightstand is the latest example, and it came from a woman whose parents had it in their house for 40 years before passing it on to her. The stain is chipped and bubbled in spots, but it looks so well loved that I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to refinish it (any thoughts?).

This recent aquisition makes my heart go pitter pat. I worked my way through highschool doing various odd jobs (from babysitting, to shelving books in the library, to working in a kids bookstore), and most of the money I made went towards expanding my beloved record collection. We've moved hundreds of albums around for the past (egad) almost 20 years, but I haven't been able to listen to any of them in decades because a) we've never had a house big enough to set up a turntable and b) my record player had its arm broken off during a past move (I still think my darling hubby might have had something to do with that - he's been pleading with me to part with them for years). Well, that is no longer a problem since I picked up this little beauty last week. Anyone up for an 80's bash?

The exchange of goods isn't the only great thing about Freecycle, it's also a fantastic way to get out into your community and meet other like minded folks. I've met lots of interesting people that I never would have met otherwise, and it always feels good to know that something you no longer need is being put to good use by someone else. I've recently gotten my mother hooked, and she's quickly becoming a regular poster.

If you haven't Freecycled before, what's holding you back?

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