in my kitchen :: in my garden

these days, these middle-of-summer days, it's nearly impossible to share anything about the kitchen or the garden without mentioning the other.  and so, for a bit, I'll just be sharing them together.

and so there was iced coffee, with sticky buns brought back from up north by a dear friend who so generously shared.  turns out all it takes to make me feel like I'm on vacation myself is sticky buns and iced coffee on the deck in the midmorning sunshine, listening to the birds and catching up with good people.  there's the honey, of course.  in recent days, as we've finished up the bottling, it's not been unusual for me to have honey on my elbows, my feet, my forearms.... there is plenty and so I just wipe it up or lick it off as I see fit.  it is a sticky, sweet business, to be sure.

and then there are beans- oh so many beans all of a sudden.  certainly it didn't just happen overnight, but with our attention elsewhere it definitely seemed so to us.  I'll be needing some good recipe recommendations for pickled beans and pickled beets I think.  the squash and zucchini are coming on strong, along with the volunteer squashes that seem to be a mix of zucchini and yellow squash and as long as we get them early enough, they are excellent sauteed or grilled.

I made yogurt.  it was runny, but after straining it was quite good.  topped with pumpkin seeds, apricots and some of that honey, it was more than quite good.  and oh my goodness- have any of you read that book?  Me Before You?  surely several of you have.  wow.  I stayed up until 2am finishing it, sobbing the last couple chapters, then reread a bit in the morning to try to wrap my head around it some more.  I'd been steering clear of tragic novels for the better part of this year and only somewhat knew what I was in for with this one.  all the same, it touched me and I quite enjoyed it.  and I want to talk about it.

black bean stew.  raspberry jam.  a large batch of granola.  jam on toast with another good book in the morning sunshine.  eggs + beets + seeds.

the garden from the deck, flowers tucked in here and there, mixed up garden beds, tomatillos, cabbages, a glimpse of the hives, a girl in the beans.

the kitchen and the garden.  two of my favorite places to be.

*playing along with Heather for her This Week in My Kitchen blog hop


it's a go

twenty-six bloggers from the U.S. and four from Canada are participating in the summer blog swap.  if you are one of them (or I suppose even if you're not but you're curious) follow the links below to spy (the good, not creepy kinda spying) on each other's blogs and get to know one another.  feel free to share links to your own posts regarding the swap in the comments below if you'd like.  for the duration of the swap, I'll add this post as a sidebar on the left over there for easy access.

Marianna - Cardinal Acre
Jenny - phishybee
Tracey - Clover
Kerrie - wild mae
Sarah - Gentle Home
Jen - iHappy
Stephinie - Gypsy Forest
Jaimie - Knitted Time
Heather - Getting Greener

cheers, and happy making and sending and receiving!


honey in july

last wednesday~ 18 frames of goodness from one hive yielded five gallons of the sweet stuff.  this is our first 'big' harvest and oh my, I feel rich indeed.



 I will close the swap 'sign-up' this evening and by the end of the weekend will email those of you who are participating with information regarding the person you are to send your item(s) to.  we do still need ONE MORE PERSON (updated 7/13/14- swap is full. if you are disappointed not to have signed up, let me know and if we get a few more 'extras' I can add you in, but let me know by this evening) to play along to get the numbers even, so let me know as soon as you can if you'd like to be in or know someone who does.  for more info, look here or here.

cheers and happy weekend!



there are a lot of things that have been making me smile lately.  among them are the zinnias, and the dinosaurs I found battling it out on the deck railing.  the raspberry jam being made and the garlic curing in the woodshed.  and there are other, bigger things.  like that my mom has been home since July 4th, and is doing well.  getting around with the help of a walker for balance, still using just a bit of supplemental oxygen, but overall she is kicking butt, really.  the strongest person I know, for sure.  and to think that earlier this year the world came close to losing her, that the doctors were talking about trying 'any heroic measures to save her life' and such.  that I almost cut off all her hair so I'd have a piece of her, and had midnight conversations with physicians about things like chest tubes and paralytics and defibrillation.  and here we are~ in this promising and vastly happier place where we speak of things to come and allow hope in for a good long visit, treating it like a dear friend instead of sending it packing whenever it comes around.

and thank goodness for the garden.  it's been here all along, providing me with free therapy when needed and giving me tasks to complete that would send my thoughts elsewhere and turn my focus onto this soil, these seeds, this little patch of land, right here and right now.  sure I garden for the food and all, but maybe mostly it's for the therapy that comes freely in so many different forms.

it's a shame these carrots tasted so terribly, because they sure looked good!

we wait for the tomatoes to ripen, harvest the first honey of the year...

I watch the volunteer squashes growing here and there and wonder about them- some of these are quite large... could they be those gourds people use to make birdhouses and whatnot?  I threw one of those in the compost last year after forgetting about it and it rotted before I could try my hand at drying it out and making something of it.

deciding I need more color in my grey/brown/black wardrobe, I brought a pile of bright and happy home from the thrift store yesterday.  among these things there is a bright pink mexican embroidered cotton dress.  uh huh.  we'll see.  if it was a 4T I'd put it on Claire in a heartbeat, and I'm always saying I wished some of her sweet clothes came in my size......

also, fort building.  Cory~ we love the quilt!

as far as the swap goes, I'm just waiting for one more person to sign up to get us back to an even number, and I'm calling it done.  are you that person?  or I suppose three people would work.....

cheers from NC~


around here (and Blog Swap update)

last weekend I celebrated a friend's birthday with her by joining a large gathering of her friends who were breaking in her new porch (LOOK at that porch!) for the occasion.  kids running around happily, mint juleps on the wide, wide porch, good conversation.  cupcakes.  good times.

there has been music at the lake on Thursday nights, bike rides, mosquito bites, fireworks watched with friends.  we've been tending the garden, eating plenty of greens and raspberries and waiting for the garlic to cure, the tomatoes to ripen, and the green beans to grow.  I am realizing that my decision to plant more squash this year since it somehow didn't do well last year will end with us eating summer squash for breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks.  starting very very soon, going by the number of teeny little baby squashes bursting from each of the (8? 9?) plants out there.  I know all about this squash madness, the we're-overrun-with-zucchini  craziness that comes mid summer.... but somehow glazed over it when planting.  ah well.  need some summer squash?  I'm your girl.  or I will be soon, anyway.

I'm also working on a sweet little kitchen rug woven out of old t-shirts.  it's so easy and quick and satisfying.  I highly recommend holding on to your old t-shirts so you can make one, too- if you like that kinda thing.

also, flowers.  bee balm, queen anne's lace, dill, day lilies, cow vetch (below), cone flower, daisies, black-eyed susans, zinnias, sunflowers, oh my.  flowers everywhere!  LOVE this time of year, when the garden is nearing it's peak and the flowers are popping open everywhere I look.  ah, summer.

BLOG SWAP UPDATE: 22 folks have signed up so far (there are still a few of you who haven't gotten me your email and physical addresses yet, I'll need those to add you to the list!) from the U.S., and 4 from Canada.  I will leave it 'open' for the week and then contact everyone with who their swap recipient will be by this coming weekend.  We'll shoot for having the packages sent out no later than 4 weeks after I send that info out, so end of first/beginning of second week of August-ish.  feel free to spread the word to try to get more people on board- I'll follow up again later in the week~


this week in my kitchen

scraping the bottom of the barrel of last year's honey, thinking we'll do an early harvest and a later one to keep from having to buy any.  last year (our first year harvesting) we got a little shy of 2 gallons.  this year we're thinking it will be at least double that!  we shall see.

enjoying last year's blueberry jam a bit less stingily than I had been, now that it's clear we'll still have a couple jars once it's blueberry picking time again here.  soon, very soon.

the raspberries continue to flow in.  I've got a batch ready for jam (if only jam-making wasn't such a hot and steamy undertaking) and some in the freezer.

a big batch of a tomato/white beans/garlic/onion/kale sort of sauce was served multiple times for dinner last week.  served over rice or pasta with grated parmesan and lots of fresh basil.  I am not one who gets sick of leftovers quickly, no ma'am.  I'll eat it all week if it tastes good!

also- chocolate walnut oatmeal cookies.  Claire's idea, and a good one it was.  yumyumyum.

if anyone is interested, you can still sign up for the summer blog swap.  we've got about two dozen folks so far and I plan to cut it off around 40 or so this time around.  if you'd like more info click on the link above and follow the links there to get all the details, then let me know if you want in!


*playing along with Heather for her weekly This Week in My Kitchen :: Blog Hop series