Friday, 29 June 2012

Slow Living - June

I'll be joining up with Slow Living Essentials with this month's slow living post.  It's a very interesting series if anyone wants to come along for the ride.

 Nourish:  Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

I stopped buying prepackage granola bars and snacks about two years ago.  For a while, I was making granola bars at home, but sometimes you want something a little different, right?

 In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 6 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2 cup milk.  Bring to a boil, add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and remove from heat.  Add 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and 3 cups rolled oats.  Mix well, roll into balls (makes about 3 1/2 dozen) and refrigerate.  I would love to give credit where credit is due, but this is something we have been eating since we were little kids and the recipe card is I have no idea where it came from.

Totally easy, totally tasty, and gluten free too if you need that.  I might add these to our Christmas cookie tray this year but for the summer, they make a quick and easy grab and go kind of snack.

I have also made Delicious Raspberry Sorbet and it was so easy I plan to try out currant and black raspberry versions as well.

  Prepare:Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.

We bought a 1/4 pig for our freezer from the Sunday farmer's market and so far, what we have tried of it has been delicious.  We will definitely order plenty to stock up the freezer before they close at the end of the summer.

In the meantime, I have been preserving the harvest...drying herbs and canning. 

So far I have preserved 2 small jars of spring onions (pickled), 3 jars of rhubarb strawberry preserves (find that post here), 3 small jars of currant juice (post over here), 3 jars of nearly seedless raspberry jam and I have a variety of berries in the freezer just waiting to be turned into something.

 Reduce:  Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

Always a work in progress at our house.  This month, I decided that in order to free up some mason jars for canning (rather than buying some more) I should just transfer the dried herbs and bulk snacks into glass jars from store bought items (like of our weaknesses, and pickles and such).  This frees up the mason jars for this summer's planned canning sessions and I don't have to recycle all those glass jars.

 Green: Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

I rode my bike to work 13 out of 18 days.  A little better than last month.  I have also biked to the market every time except the day I had to pick up the 1/4 pig (I can't fit a 1/4 pig in my two baskets!)  We biked and walked to the library, the drug store, the book store.  In fact, one of our cars (yes, we have two) only left the driveway maybe 5 or 6 times all month.

 Grow: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints.  

Still enjoying something from the garden every day.  Mostly berries this month, but the vegetables are coming along nicely.  We had our fill of peas, but I will be planting some more once a row frees up.  

 Incidentally, these are radish seed pods.  I didn't know until a few weeks ago that they were edible.  Since I keep trying to plant radishes, but have very little success, I figured I would try to let them go to seed and see how they are.  Delicious.  So far we have only eaten a few fresh from the garden, and some tossed into pasta salad, but I see some experimenting in our future.

 Create:  To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

Let's see...this month I have started a dress...haven't finished it.
Started a scarf...still in progress.
Started a hat, for a gift...about halfway done.
I thought I finished a pair of slippers, but I'm pretty sure I will have to go back, rip out the toes, and make them a little longer. 

Discover:   Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

For this part, I am mostly just going through my cookbooks as things ripen in the garden to see what else I can do with my harvest.  We have tried raspberry sorbet and strawberry rhubarb preserve as new additions to our seasonal eating.
Mostly, my new "discoveries" have come from reading other blogs.  I am truly enjoying 
Barn Hop at Homestead Revival - I learn something every single week there.
Carnival of Home Preserving over at Laura Williams' Musings - a blog I have just discovered so I have only participated twice so far, but several people are sharing their canning, freezing, drying ideas.
 Enhance:  Community: Possibilities include supporting local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group.

Let's see...this month, I spent  a day helping out at the city wide track and field meet that is held just next to the boy's school.  Every year, we do a barbecue and sell juice, pop, chips, and freezies (all healthy choices, right?) to raise money for the playground equipment we are hoping to install shortly.  The school is one of the few in the city that has "special needs" so we have been saving to build some accessible playground equipment that can be used by all of the kids...including those in wheel chairs, who right now have nothing to play on.  We are almost there.

 See the #8 in white in the middle there?   That's S.  They ran all the groups at the same time and then divided them up by age.  He won first in his category for the 1500m.

As usual, I am trying to buy as much as possible from the farmer's market to support them.  
Oh, and at the beginning of the month, I bought some plants from "Return the Landscape", a group in town here that is trying to put naturalized, native plants back in the parks instead of constantly cultivating, watering, and spraying things that really don't want to grow here.   
Enjoy:   Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

 With the school year coming to a close, we are trying to find activities that we can enjoy as a family...spur of the moment activities that we can choose to do when the inspiration strikes.  We have made several trips to our local animal farm (which for some reason is actually called the "Children's Farm" which strikes  me as being very odd indeed) to see the new arrivals.
 This little guy, Jaxon, is just 5 days old in the picture.  He was very very entertaining!  He kept trying to jump on his mother, and would jump about a foot in the air to step from the grass to the cement, even though there is only about an inch different in height. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Preparing for June

 I am always looking for new home remedies to try rather than buying over the counter medications filled with strange ingredients (not to mention I have strange reactions to said over the counter medications and usually can only take a 6 year old's dose of children's medicine - if even that).  Last year, I was thrilled to find out that currant juice can be used for sore throats.  I tried it and it worked like magic.  And I just happen to have currant bushes in my yard.  The problem...what do you do in the winter when the currant bushes are sleeping?  The answer - I hope...preserve the juice!
 Basically I just boiled the currants until most of the colour was gone from the berries and put them through a sieve.  Last year, I mixed the black and red currants, but this year I used only the red because I am wanting to use the black ones in a mixed berry jam.  Unfortunately, after I made the juice, I read that it is actually the black currants that are more effective for treating sore throats...I will have to wait and see what happens.
 I tried to squeeze as much juice out as possible using a cheesecloth, but I have to admit, I ran out of patience.
 Then I just poured the juice into hot sterilized jars.  The pH of berries is probably low enough that I didn't need to actually do anything further BUT if you are making currant jelly or jam, I believe you have to put the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, so I did that with the juice just to be safe.
I used small jars because really, I am hoping that the sore throats won't last that long.  You take one tablespoon at a time as often as needed (because it is, after all, just juice).  Last year, I found that it was effective much much  longer than the kids' lozenges I usually use when I am desperate.  The three jars above is the whole yield from my bushes this year.  Next year, I am hoping the bushes will yield a little more (as they will be older) and I will again mix the black berries with the red ones to go a little farther (and ...if it is actually the case that they are more effective, then I guess that is the smart thing to do).

Note: refrigerate the jars after opening...the cold helps the sore throat too.

Anyone else have a good home remedy I can try?

Linking up with Laura William's Musings for Carnival of Home Preserving
                                                                    Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole

Monday, 25 June 2012

Raspberry sorbet

 A few days ago, I had decided that after the raspberries were done, I would rip most of the raspberry canes to plant something else next year.  They take up a lot of space (probably about 200 square feet) that could be used for growing veggies, and we weren't really using them up very much. 
In previous years (2009 above) I had a helper to pick them...this year, no one seems to be interested.  So I was picking them - because they are there - but I still had a bag full in the freezer from last year.
The other day, I picked just over a pound of them.  So I looked up a recipe to use them up.

Enter...Raspberry Sorbet....da da da DAAAA!

So super easy, fast, and oh my so so good.
Note: even if you have to buy the raspberries...this is probably still worth it, it is just that good.
One pound fresh raspberries, rinsed...put them through a food processor until they are nice and liquidy and then put them through a sieve.
 Add 1 1/4 cups water and 6 tbsp honey.

Put in a freezer proof container with a lid on it, in the freezer for about 7 hours
 Enjoy!  The full recipe along with many others is in the cook's garden by Canadian Gardening.
I am really starting to quite like this book.  There are sections on all kinds of fruits and vegetables as the season progresses.  How to grow, harvest, and a handful of recipes for each fruit/vegetable.  I love just looking through it to kind of get ready for what is coming up next.  And, to be honest, I like that it is a Canadian book, because it isn't full of all kinds of things I just can't grow here.

Oh, and in case you were wondering...this recipe has earned the raspberry canes a reprieve.  They will be staying for a while longer yet!

I'll be linking this up with Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On because it's kinda crafty food                                        Homestead Revival's barn hop #67
                                      Wildcraft Wednesday over at Mind Body and Sole

Friday, 22 June 2012

Preserving the Harvest - Round 1

I have realized that if I am going to eat something from my garden every day this year...then that means throughout the growing season, I will have to preserve something every day as well to make up for the days nothing is growing.  If I really stretch it, I could count the growing season as being May to October - and only because I planted greens for the spring and jerusalem artichokes and brussel sprouts for the fall along with a few root veg.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Preserves
I'm not so sure about this one.

The idea was great, but I don't know what to expect with the finished product.  The recipe is from "The Joy Of Cooking" which I normally love, but I have never used the canning section.

The recipe starts out with rhubarb and sugar...
 This is half of the sugar...I wanted to stop here...but it was my first try, and I am told you have to follow canning recipes exactly in order for them to be safe.  So I continued...
This is all of the sugar.  Um...what?  Can this be right?

So I cooked it up like it said...and added:
...the strawberries.

Then it said to simmer it until thick, about 15 minutes.  Well, I simmered it for about 40-45 minutes and it never got thick.  It was thicker than when I started, but it never thickened.  Now nowhere did it say to add gelatin.  Not in the recipe, not in the preserves section it said to read first.  So I don't know if I was supposed to add some or not.  I got three jars of the preserves and a little bit in a third jar that is in the fridge.  I didn't have time to check it this morning.  I am hoping that it thickened up a bit overnight in the fridge.  Otherwise, I guess it will be a "sauce" for the winter...maybe on oatmeal???  Come to think of it, that sounds delicious.

So, here is my question of the day...if you could have only ONE canning cookbook...what would it be?

Gonna go link up to the Carnival of Home Canning over at Laura William's Musings, and while I'm there, maybe I will learn something.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

I'm back

I'm back...more or less.  I have been unwell.  We all have been at my house.  Nothing drastic.  One had the croup (again), one had something laryngitis-ish...then we all had colds and coughs.  Not a huge deal, but I still have been having a hard time.  I used to have bronchial asthma, and once in a while, when I get a bad cold, I struggle.  If I try to do too much,  I start wheezing and have to sit down or lie down again. Oh, and I can only take a 6 year old's dose of kid's medicine if I get really bad (and only if I am "supervised") because I have weird reactions to medicine.  I try to use herbal teas and stuff in stead, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it.

So, only the bare minimum has been getting done...and sometimes not even that.  But today, I can share pictures I took before we all got sick.  I'm going to do all things fiber to catch up all at once:

I have one batch of the alpaca fiber (that I bought at an open house) washed up and have started brushing it out.  I think I might look into getting a miniature drum carder as it is slow going with the method I am currently using.  It is hard on the wrists and elbows...or I am just not doing it right.  I have promised N that his bag will be washed next...and then HE can brush out his.

A few weeks ago I bought this delicious fiber from Andrea's etsy shop.  Andrea from Wisdom Begins in Wonder is the hostess of Fiber Arts Fridays, just in case you have missed that.  And I spun it up into this beauty...
I will be knitting this up into a hat for myself...oh yes I will!  But first, I have to finish a few projects that are already on the needles.
And, just to document my progress for my own self...
 The yarn on the left is the second last that I spun, and the yarn on the right is this last batch.  Progress!
I have four ounces of the white spun up and ready to dye and after I do the other 4, I will be doing another plant dye.  I have already picked it out, and it is bookmarked in the book on my bookshelf, but I forget what I picked.  I will share for sure once it comes out of the dye bath...but honestly that is still probably weeks away.
And this is something I am very pleased with the way it turned out.  Remember that white cotton that I dyed hoping to make a self striping yarn?  It is working.  In fact it is working very very well!  

And...a totally unrelated picture, but this is part of what is keeping me away from crafting and from the computer:
It is berry season.  I don't get a whole lot at once, but I do have to pick them and clean them every day and what we don't eat goes into the freezer to be "turned into something" once I have enough.  I will be trying my hand at jam in the next few weeks.  Wish me luck!

Linking up with Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom begins in Wonder and Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia and also to the new to me Saturday and Sunday Sharing on  The Handmade Homemaker.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Eat what you Grow/Grow what you Eat - June edition

I am one month in, officially, to my Eat what you Grow / Grow what you eat challenge.

I think I should explain my situation a bit to those who are new here.  I don't live on a homestead.  I live in the city.  Our entire property is 75' x 125' ( 9375 square feet).  On that, we have our house, a garage, a shed, a firepit, a seating area, and a driveway.  We have a large maple tree that shades out a section of the back yard, and our neighbours have a HUGE maple tree that also shades out an area of the back yard (hence the firepit and shed).  Half of our front yard is shade because of the city's maple tree planted on the boulevard.  And, our house is on the north side of the street, which means that our house and garage actually shade a portion of the back yard.  So, in the space that is left, maybe around 5000 square feet, I am endeavoring to grow enough food to eat something that I grew every day for a year.

Edited:  it would be about 5000square feet if I was able to use every single bit of it.  So far, I have not been able to dig up the boulevard, so that is maybe 800 or 900 square feet.  Some of it is unusable as there are too many tree roots to dig around (so I planted a meadow there) and some is planted with "landscaping shrubs" around the fit in with the neighbours.  So really, it is less than 4000 square feet.  I think I will measure for next month to see what it is exactly.
I am going to record what we ate from the yard in the last month.  This is more for my records than anything else (you know, to keep me honest, but also so that I can look back next year and see what I need to change) so feel free to skip ahead if you want.

What we are eating:
Keep in mind here that it is the beginning of the season (our last frost date is May 24), so the pickin's were slim in May.
May 15 - sorrel on our burgers
May 16 - made some parsley pesto and spread it on our subs.
May 17 - fresh rhubarb dipped in sugar
May 18 - some more fresh rhubarb dipped in sugar
May 19 - fresh mint tea
May 20 - mint iced tea and a handful of thyme, basil, and oregano in our spaghetti sauce
May 21 - salad greens and pea shoots mixed in with some romaine from the market
May 22 - a bowl full of pak choy to go with our home made sushi night I need to plant more pak choy / bok choy next year as all that I planted got used up in one meal.
May 23 - mint and lemon balm iced tea in the lunches
May 24 - salad greens with pea shoots and also some parsley pesto on noodles I need to plant a wider variety of salad greens next year as the same two over and over gets a little redundant.
May 25 - some more salad greens and parsley pesto noodles packed with my lunch
May 26 - mint iced tea popsicles made by N
May 27 - herbs in our spaghetti sauce
May 28 -salad green, green onions and salsa made from last year's garden in our tacos, mint tea popsicles and exactly 7 strawberries
May 29 - onions and green onions mixed into the stir fry
May 30 - a huge batch of kale and also some of last year's frozen strawberries mixed into some rice pudding
May 31 - rhubarb strawberry compote I will be making more of this next year as it was super delicious!  I have already planted more rhubarb.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:  I used equal parts strawberries and rhubarb, a bit of sugar to taste, a little water in the bottom of the pot to stop it from burning before it cooks down.  Cook it gently until it is soft enough to mash up with a vegetable masher, mash, then simmer it until it is the desired consistency.  This is good plain, with yogourt, or with ice cream too.
June 1 - lettuce on our sandwiches and more delicious strawberry rhubarb compote
June 2 - last year's frozen raspberries in pancakes and last year's salsa with nachos
June 3 - salad - 2 kinds of lettuce, pea shoots and strawberries
June 4 - herbs in the spaghetti and strawberries for dessert
June 5 - salsa with nachos again
June 6 - strawberries for dessert and more mint iced tea
June 7 - a huge heap of kale and chard and also strawberries in the school lunches.  This is the first time I have ever had chard.  Plant more next year.
June 8 - strawberries in lunches and herbs, onions and lettuce in our dinner
June 9 - strawberry shortcake
June 10 - herbs in our pasta salad
June 11 - salad with radishes, peas, 2 lettuces and also strawberries
June 12 - strawberries in lunches and also some more salsa
June 13 - you guessed it...strawberries, but also a handful of the first raspberries of the season and a whole bowl of peas with supper
June 14 - strawberries in the lunches.
I have to say that strawberries is what I have the most of at this time of year.  I have the ever bearing kind so I get a large colander full, about every 2 days for weeks, rather than a whole bunch all at once.  
The other item in abundance is the mint, specifically, but also other herbs.  I didn't actually list it all the time, but I would say we are having mint iced tea more often than we are NOT having it.  It has cut down on the amount of frozen juice concentrate that we buy, which also has cut down on the garbage as only 2 kinds are recyclable.

What we are preserving:
To help me get through the winter on this challenge, so far I have:
-dried plenty of mint, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley (I hang them in my dining room until they are dry, and then I will pack them into mason jars)
-I have 2 milk sleeves packed with strawberries in the freezer with which I plan to make jam, once I have assured myself that we will have enough frozen strawberries for a couple of dinners
-I have pulled out my electric dehydrator and have tried drying a few things I have never done before: green onions that I think will be great in soups, herbs in the dehydrator (usually I just hang them to dry) and I sliced up a couple of strawberries to dehydrate but they shrank away to almost nothing so I think I will try again with some bigger pieces.
-I have 2 half-pint jars of pickled spring onions
-I have made a small jar of chive blossom vinegar which I intend to use in the winter for salad dressing
-I have enough frozen parsley pesto to make one more side dish of pesto pasta.
-I am freezing the red and black currents (I am getting a handful or so a day) until I have enough to make some current juice for sore throats this winter.
These are the pickled onions, the dehydrated green onions and the mint that went through the dehydrator.

What I need to do for next year:
-Plant a wider variety of lettuces and spring greens.  I did try to plant a few things out under row covers but the seeds didn't take.  I think they were eaten by critters.  I want to try to start them indoors early next year, and plant them out in row covers when they are a little more established.
-Hopefully, next year, I will have a little more preserved to get me through the month of May.
-Make sure I have dried a variety of herbs to make tea blends.

How others are getting involved:
Even though I set this challenge for my own self, I encourage others to try to grow a little something too.
My dear sister who lives in the big T.O. (Toronto Ontario) has planted out her whole balcony with edibles this year and has been kind enough to forward me some pictures of her new plantings:
Her significant other built the planters from reclaimed wood from houses he has worked on and the planters that are plastic are made from recycled material, as are the glass lanterns.  These pictures were taken when everything was newly planted, so next month, when I update mine, maybe I can share her progress.  I keep saying that I live in the city, but really, my sister lives in The City!  So you see, you can grow a little something anywhere!

I really do hope some of you will share what you have been eating and growing.  Either leave a comment with a link to a post, or just leave a comment with a list or a tip or whatever you wish to help encourage others along.  Any little bit, right?

Gonna link this one up to barn hop #66 at Homestead Revival.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Yarn Along - Current Projects

Linking up with Ginny at small things for weekly Yarn Along
I am excited to share this week's book first and foremost.  Last week I posted about our great find at the artwalk...our local library was selling Mystery Bags of books for ages 9-12 for $1.00 per bag (about 10 books in each).  Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery was in one of my bags.  In the last year, I remember reading that some of the fellow yarn-alongers were reading Anne of Green Gables (some even for the first time).  Imagine my delight at finding this book in my pack.  I thought I already had all of hers.  I was missing this one.  I liked it just as much as all the others.

I remember watching a few minutes of her biography on TV a while back.  Only a few minutes because the one guy just kept saying that her books were trite.  That it was the same thing over and over and if she had applied herself she could have contributed more to literature.  So I changed the channel.  I like her books. A lot.  In particular, I think she captures her characters very very well.  And I almost always laugh out loud while one of her characters are talking.  That is good enough for me, even if I am not some sort of hoity toity professional.

On to the knitting.  Absolutely no progress on the bunny (free pattern by April Cromwell can be found here.  A little progress on the scarf (up at the top there) but it isn't due until September so I am hoping to do a foot or two per month.  And the biggest progress is that I have finally untangled my huge mess of yarn and have cast on for a hat.

If anyone is interested, I am re-posting the information for the "Scarves for Street Kids".

Needed: Knitted Scarves for Street Kids
Did you know that there are over 20,000 teens on the streets of Toronto? Bill Bowers does. He knows because he’s out there on the streets with them, giving scarves to teens in need of some comfort. Bill is retired from the Salvation Army, formerly of Petrolia. He goes out three nights a week, in his uniform for protection and a back pack and gives away knitted scarves to teenagers.
Please join Sarnia Craft Supply in knitting scarves for Bill to distribute. They need to be 4’long and 8”wide. What a great way to use up some of that leftover yarn! (from Sarnia Craft Supply)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Craft on my friends...

You know how sometimes you look at a piece of fabric and it is pretty much just telling you what it wants to be?  When I saw this fabric:
 for the first time, I knew it had to be turned into a smocked dress.  The problem is, I don't know how to smock.  This fabric came to me when I received a portion of my grandmother's stash and has been sitting in my stash for a few years now, waiting for me.  And since I need some new summer clothes...I am fake smocking...
 I basically just tidied up the edges (to make sure they were perfectly straight) used my serger to make a rolled hem all the way around all the edges, sewed it up the back, and then cut a long rectangle of something I believe is satin (also from my grandmother's stash) and rolled the hems around all four sides to be used as a liner in the bodice portion.  Now I am just following the dots in the fabric to make a series of "tubes" into which I will insert some elastic to make it look like smocking (at least that is what I am hoping for).  I have left an opening to insert the elastic but I can't really take a picture of it until all my tubes are sewn up.
You can kind of see on the inside that it will maybe look smock-like when it is done.  I had to leave the top for now so that I will be able to insert the straps (I don't do scares me).
This is how far I got before the pedal on my sewing machine got to hot to touch.  It does that every once in a while.  I think it is getting tired.  It is, after all, older than I am.
So, I will link this part up with Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams and hopefully I will have some more to show you know, when it actually starts to look like something. Also linking with Stash Bash with Crunchy Catholic Momma and also with Needle and thREAD over at In the Heart of my Home.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention my book.  I have just finished "Kilmeny of the Orchard" by L.M. Montgomery.  I loved it as I do most of her books even if they are predictable.  I love the way her characters "speak".

And a sneak peak to my Eat what you grow/Grow what you eat post that will be coming on Friday:
Part of our dinner tonight was homegrown salad with 2 kinds of lettuce, radishes, sorrel, and peas.  Pretty yummy, but I am looking forward to a little more variety in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Around the "farm"

I love the around the farm posts over at Old Gates Farm so I thought I would do one this week too.

Keep in mind I am smack in the middle of the city.
 Hobbes... on a leash/ harness.  My only "farm animal".  For now.
 Not enough support for the bumper crop of peas...they have fallen over completely.
 A volunteer maple tree in the strawberry patch.  I will be digging it up to put in a pot like I did with the other give it a chance to grow and then plant it out somewhere it will have room.
 Blackberry blossoms.
 The mint patch in its early days.  In about 2 weeks I will be overwhelmed with it.
 The "meadow" where I plunk flowering plants that should attract butterflies and bees.  And in the background...our wedding tree (the evergreen).
 Look at all the fruit to be on one of the "wild" blackberries that I transplanted to our yard!
 Finally tidied up the front bed so it looks better from the street.
 The new blueberry patch in the front yard...the neighbours don't know yet that they are blueberries...they just think I planted shrubs.  I am sneaky like that.  All the sedums in the previous shot used to be in this bed.
Yesterday's harvest.  I had planned to try to pickle the onions using a recipe I found yesterday but I didn't get to it.  Hopefully tonight...then I will share.