right now

right now

May 27, 2010

On TV Tonight!

New Series: "The OCD Project"
Synopsis: 6 people diagnosed with severe OCD move in together while cameras are rolling...

What more can I say? You know what I'll be doing tonight - watching this curled up on the couch with my 2 obsessive herding dogs, great minds think alike...

Question for my gardener friends!

Who among you grows parsnips? I just planted some homemade seed tapes with parsnips, but now on further research, I am finding that only 1 in 20 germinate? Thinking now I should have just thrown the whole packet in the bed or is it even worth it? I've never done them before, and have never eaten them before, although people that know me say I would love them.

So what do you do? How successful is it? Should I place a board over the planting like I do for carrots?

Tell me your stories!

May 26, 2010

We be jammin'!

I even played a little Bob Marley while I was jammin'! Today was another berry day. This weekend is the big Pungo Strawberry Festival, which is my signal to get all this stuff done prior to the crowds and while we still "get our pick" of the available berries! Pungo is known for it's strawberries, among other berries and come Friday there won't be a parking spot within a mile of the event. So armed with a child helper we headed out to the fields one last time to finish up our berry preserving.

Today's haul of about 16 quarts, or 12-13 lbs. Added to
our 15 lbs from a couple of weeks ago brings our strawberry total this year to almost 30 lbs!! See why I leave this crop to the local farmers?

Dropped Finn off at preschool and rushed home to begin, I have 2 hrs, 15 mins of alone time!

First was another batch of freezer jam to add to my stash. I officially have enough jam for the next 12 months, if you think the amount of strawberries we pick seems excessive, remember that I have 2 boys in school - that equals alot of PB&J!

Next up was smashed berries for fruit leather. I will be making this for the next few days, some in the oven and some in the dehydrator depending on which isn't full at the time. I smashed them all at the same time and just store them in the fridge with a little lemon juice for freshness, and ladle it out on sheets for each sucessive batch so I only make one mess. I have no sugar in my fruit, but I think I may add a little local honey to one batch per Finn's request.

One large batch of dehydrated sliced strawberries. These are great snacks and I think I may put some in Kate's Homemade Granola Recipe to send out to the ship! Once dehydrated, they store all year in the freezer, although they don't last that long unless I hide them!

Net result: 14 jars freezer jam, 5 trays dried sliced berries, 5 trays fruit leather, and a bunch left for fresh eatin'!

I finished processing them all in 2 hrs and 5 minutes... just in enough time to pick strawberry bits off of my face before going back to preschool for pickup, LOL! (Yes, I'm that mom who peels in the parking lot with farmers overalls and flip flops covered in bits of dirt and sweat!) This may be embarassing for the kids in a few years, but it's not a problem yet!

Funny I'm not sick of them yet... I am already thinking maybe I should get just one more load of berries....

At least this weekend I can enjoy the Strawberry Festival without having to worry about my berries going bad in the parked car!

Sweet Strawberry Dreams to those of you who don't have them yet... your time is coming, soon!

May 25, 2010

Me, Speechless?

yeah, I dug an asparagus bed out by hand today, by myself... wish I would have had this bright idea a week ago when hubby was still here. Speechless.... and tired.... good night y'all!

May 24, 2010

Go Go Gadget, Kitchen!

Ok, I've done all I can do! My day went like this...

Finally got the rest of my seedling trays and pots washed
Notice I did have a dining room table in there that was useless since nobody could slide their chairs in and out to actually sit at the table!

A gazillion trays and pots take up considerably less space when not strewn about the house!

Then I turned a tiny linen closet into my canning closet. I can't believe it all fit, the shelves are only about 9 inches deep. All my jars, pickling junk, freezer containers, dehydrator and food saver fit and still had the bottom 2 shelves for seed starting paraphenilia, or should I say "growhouse paraphenilia"... it sounds so much more exciting that way, teehee! As for the linens? Who needs linens anyways?

Right across the little hall from the canning closet is my wicked cool poster that has everything you need to know about starting anything from seed and companion planting - bonus is that it's a nice conversation item for anyone standing in the little hallway waiting to use the bathroom during a party! (See how the rule of dual purposes plays out everywhere?!)

Next the kitchen table got the boot back into the living room...

But now all my appliances are actually in the kitchen! Major victory, unless there are those of you who like the college feel with the kegerator in the living room... I am not one those! And getting my deep freeze out of the living room? I might actually look in there now...

What you see above is a stainless prep table (I cannot live without this table during tomato season) with 2 stools brought down from the attic, deep freeze is behind there, cart with appliances, & kegerator - all previously not in the kitchen! I find that when my appliances and tools are hidden in cabinets or away in closets I completely shut down and cease preparing anything that resembles a nice meal. I am one who likes a very unfitted, moveable kitchen with all my tools within reach, and now my breadmaker is out - yippee! Maybe I will start using it now...

Showing the right side of the kitchen, the shelves on the back right hold all our cereals, snacks, baking ingredients, serving dishes, and my sushi barware addiction. When I look at the picture, it looks bigger than it is, that area in the back, the "eat-in" area is only about 4 ft by 9 ft, so not much!

I am completely exhausted now, (I even cleaned the tops of the cabinets- yuck!), but now I can say, bring on this weeks' strawberries and peas, it's time to make jam and freeze garden goods, and now I finally feel that I'm ready! And hubby, good news... I have staged the dehydrator in an easy to get to location and I think I will now be able to make you some jerky and dried strawberries!

Making a mess...

Oh no, what have I started????? This happens more often than I want to admit, and it IS a problem with me - organization! I am such a polar opposite of hoarder that it tends to get in the way of my life - and it takes on frantic levels during deployments, some kind of subconcious signal to rearrange and throw stuff away, the closest thing I can think of is the nesting instinct one gets while pregnant.

Meet my kitchen: you have seen it in pictures before but what you may not know is that I only have 980 sq feet in my house and no garage or laundry room to store things, and no dining room either! You can imagine the high expectations of this little galley kitchen. I demand alot out of her and she is suffering from trying to do too much, sound familiar moms?

I tried all winter to have a dining room table in there but at what cost?

Oh yes, that's a FREEZER my living room! And wait, it gets better...

A KEGERATOR in my tiny living room too!

I started the morning by just wanting to get my canning supplies together in one spot, and this has quickly progressed to completely clearing counters and any moveable furniture out and wiping baseboards, yeah, it's that crazy here! Now instead of digging a new asparagus bed I will be trying to reassemble my kitchen. I am thinking to just scrap the idea of ever having an actual table to eat at in my eat-in kitchen and making it more functional to ME! And this time of year, that means planning for harvests, canning, dehydrating, messing with seeds and glue, you get the picture. What I intend to have by tonight is a Farmhouse "Summer Kitchen" in my little apartment sized house. I know it sounds a little far-fetched, but you have never been in my way when I am on a mission to create space - watch out! Hubby has been here to witness the craziness right up until he was booted out of the house until I was done. I know he is thanking his lucky stars that he is out on the high seas right now and chuckling while reading this.

It's overcast and supposed to rain outside so I actually do have the time to do this instead of being outside, but why couldn't this have waited until, say, "Freaky Friday"?

I hope to update with pics tonight, if you don't hear from me, it's probably because I got swallowed up by that kegerator! Hmmm, or vice versa!

May 23, 2010

Killer Sunday!

I can't quite believe the amount of work we (I) got done today! We headed outside this morning
and got both the border beds that run the length of each side of the fence weeded, Loch helped without complaining and thus has started earning some weekly cash! We are going to start a chart for this and see how it goes. Finn complained the entire time but that was pretty much expected, his brother is really the one more into the garden thing. I was able to dig some amendments into my tomatoes, tie them onto their cages and pinch off some suckers. Next came pruning of a couple of small trees and raspberry canes and tying them up. It started getting really dark then and we heard thunder in the distance so we picked up the yard and all our tools, then I remembered "Ladybird" Dove in the hanging basket... she has a thin bamboo roof covering the pergola above her but could still get wet - so I climbed up there and laid some shingles across giving her a "roof" to stay dry under! Yes, another "look at that crazy lady" for the neighbors moment watching my balance-beam walk on the balcony railing while crouching under the pergola and flinging shingles up in the air - what's next I'm sure they wonder!

Ladybird in her new improved digs...

When we went back into the house after hearing the thunder, I was amazed to see it was only 12:55 p.m.! I didn't mind calling it a day for yardwork and waiting out the rain since we got so much done. Bored inside, I decided we'd take a trip to the big box store to get a lightbulb and cabinet hinge... yeah, that's how it always starts...

and returned home with this 18 pack of healthy petunias marked down from $18.97 to $6 !

and then I really got suckered in - I'm finally going to do it... ASPARAGUS! It was 75% off so I figured what the hay, I have an area that would be great for it, so I'll give it a go. If they aren't viable I'm only out like 2 bucks! I kept saying that I didn't want to do an asparagus bed until my "forever house", but whatever!

We have had the same exact dinner twice the past week! But my freezer is officially cleaned out of last fall's pea harvest and miscellaneous cornish hens that have been chillin' out in there too. The kids think they are fun, I just know they're inexpensive and easy!

Kids just went to bed and my legs ache so I'm headed to relax with a glass of wine and knit! Don't you just love that feeling of a productive day's work? I better savor it because I know tomorrow may be a completely different type of day. Hope you all had a great weekend!