Out of my gourd

Remember this?

gourds taking over the yardThat’s my garden consumed by gourds. I’m thrilled that they’re productive, but they leave very little room for other lovely green life.

climbing gourds

Because I need to make room for my fall plants I thought, ‘maybe I can pull some of these out and get them drying, so I can use that space for other things.’ Apparently, no such luck.

Here’s the skinny on gourd processing, thanks to AmishGourds.com.

  • My gourds are currently about 6 inches in diameter and they need to be about 10-12 inches for Martins to nest in them. Since I want to make these gourds into bird houses…I must wait.
  • You can cut the gourds from the vines (leaving long stems) and set them in a well aerated space in the sun on pallets to dry, but they may rot. The best solution seems to be to leave them on the vine….I must wait.
  • How long will said drying time on the vine take? About 3-6 months…I must wait.

My gourd takeaways for next year are as follows:

If I do plant them again, I should put them in an area along a fence where they can climb to their hearts content and not take up precious garden space.

Do NOT have the area where they’re planted earmarked for fall plants. The gourds will still be there come planting time and you’ll have dying seedlings on your hands. (yes, I’m talking to myself here. Like I said, I’m out of my gourd.)

If you want just a couple gourds and you want them now…order them. AmishGourds.com has many you can carve and paint yourself and you can of course find some finished at Etsy. I’m tempted to just break down and buy some myself, but I need to get a grip and see this thing through. Patience is a virtue I most certainly am lacking in this situation. It’ll be worth it for the birds though!!

Deep breaths and patience,

Claire

 

 

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Yes I Can!

Or eventually I will any way…

OK, whenever I don’t know how to do something (and I’m a bit intimidated by it), the first thing I do is read about it. Read. Read. Read. This does several things to benefit my process.

  1. I get to be a student (by far my favorite job),
  2. I get to procrastinate starting said new task I’m skeerd of, and
  3. I usually get to buy a new book or two. šŸ™‚

Here’s where I am in the process of learning to can.

1. Ā I’ve bought my canning supplies:

Kit, pot, spices, vinegar, salt, and jars…

2. Ā I’ve bought and read two inspiring and informative canning books:

Tart and Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern KitchenCanning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry

3. Ā And….I’ve picked a bunch of food from my garden that needs to be processed (See here).

So, what am I waiting for? Time? Nerve? A sitter to watch my little one while I boil things on the stove? All of the above and none of the above. I think the root of the issue is I’m still a bit intimidated. I hear Botulism is kind of a big deal, so I’m hesitant to get started. How will I solve that problem, you ask?

I’m looking for a canning class to take.

Yes, next to Amazon orders and reading more and more books, taking a class is the procrastinators next best friend. šŸ™‚ I’m on the hunt and I’ll be sure to share what I learn.

Peace,

Claire

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Where the wild things are

So apparently when you go out of town for two weeks in the middle of the summer and neglect your garden you come back to this…

My messy yard

There are squash,Ā gourds,Ā Ā tomatoes, melons, and beans climbing all over the beds, lawn, and trees. You can hardly see the ground. (You’ll notice my dog wandering in this photo like a lost child. ‘What is this disaster?!’ He asks himself.)

Grey Gardens

It’s like the set of Grey Gardens back there. Gives me the chills. I clearly need to spend the weekend clearing out the old and bringing in the new. Today, alas, I have to work, so all I had time for was some harvesting.

This is the upside of the wonder of nature meeting with neglect. Apparently in all that greenery run a muck there was ALOT of food.

tomatillowatermelon

summer squasheggplant

tomatoes, melon, peppersmisc veggies

This resulted in gift baskets of food for three colleagues, two eggplant parmesans (frozen for future use), a fresh pasta sauce for last nights’ dinner, 6 bags of frozen veggies for the winter, and lunches for the week. Phew! I need to learn how to can, STAT, so all this urban homesteading goodness doesn’t go to waste!

Peace and plenty,

Claire

 

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Beach time!

The month of August has been devoted to planning, prepping and traveling to the BEACH! Now we’re here and I’m loving it! Here’s some photos of our fun, then I’m off to play in the sand with my little one some more :).

Peace,

Claire

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Big Girl Bed

My daughter is officially sleeping in a big kid’s bed and I’m loving it! Of course her growing independence is nice. It also marks nearing the end of potty training and the beginning of no more diapers. But let’s get real. What I’m really excited about is redecorating her room from a nursery to a big girl’s room :).

When I want to scratch the shopping itch without spending money, I find a little virtual window shopping often does me some good. So, here’s what I’ve been tossing around for my big girl’s new space from some of my favorite stores in cyberspace.Ā 

Sources:

Art

Pillows

Toys

Furniture

Lights and Rug

Peace,

Claire

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Mountain Girls

My daughter and I took a girls trip to the mountains with a great girl friend. It was much needed down time, wonderful to see one of my BFFs, and a fun change of scenes. I didn’t get to go out to any flea markets, but the cabin we stayed in was ‘flea market chic’ and had a price tags on EVERYTHING! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t buy a bunch of unnecessary, but pretty goodies…

I’ll share my finds and where they are now in my house in another post. For now, I’ll just share some photos from our hikes, rafting, and lounging in the sweet smokey mountains.

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Finally

July is coming to a close and I finally have tomatoes! I was getting less than a handful a day (and was starting to worry that my six foot tall plants would give nothing but green), but worry no more! My plants are just covered now. I was wrong and never so happy about it.

yell cherry tomatoes

The tomatoes I’m having the best yield from so far are theĀ Blondkopfchen. They are sweet and beautiful, especially when combined with some red tomatoes. I’m loving eating them sliced with cucumbers and onions in a simple salt, pepper, basil, oil and balsamic vinegar salad. Yummy. Takes about two minutes to make and as a result, I’ve made it about every day for a week.

While holding a colander full of fresh picks, I was brainstorming additional recipes to try when I realized that my daughter’s last day of summer play school was tomorrow. In a moment of mama panic I remembered the need for a teacher gift. My abundant tomatoes stepped in as life savers.

I tromped my two year old into the garden at dusk to pick tomatoes for her teachers.

tomato picking

 

We had so much fun getting dirty in the garden! After she had picker (and tasted) her fill to was off to bed and time for me to get crafty. I had about 20 minutes worth of energy left though, so it had to be simple. Thank goodness I had some berry boxes laying around I could fill with tomatoes. I then made a little card featuring the sweet proud photo of my kiddo in action picking and tied it to the berry boxes with yellow string. It just screams summer to me and took about no time at all. My favorite.

 

It of course also reignited a passion for berry boxes too.

*sigh* Oh etsy, you tease.
Peace,
Claire

 

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