We love gardening. Well, I love gardening. The kids like to help a little when I'm out there. Baby likes to carry the bowl around while I harvest peas and onions. She used to love to harvest the lettuce, but we put a stop to that. Otherwise we wouldn't have any lettuce left. We like gardening books. Ceecee is holding on to one of our new favorites - "The Curious Garden" by Peter Brown.
Here is my herb garden. I wrote about the beginnings of my herb garden in this post - Herb Garden. Well, it's coming along quite nicely.
Some of the seedlings keeled over, but a lot of them lived and are thriving. I've got mustard (I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I'll have to look up some recipes.) and cilantro (already used that in some salsa and a great black bean recipe I have) and Italian parsley and marjoram and culinary sage and oregano and thyme. I've got my row of peppers in there along with some Sweet Alyssum and zinnias just to make it pretty.
Here are my tomatoes. We decided that we had too many tomatoes last year (we had eleven plants), so this year we planted twelve. We're not very good with math around here. LOL!
This is my perpetual onion box. I planted onions here last fall and have been eating them all spring. But, I discovered last year that onions will grow ALL year, so now.... as soon as I've harvested a small patch, I plant more seeds. So, I have onions growing here in all stages of development. And I'll have green onions year 'round. That's definitely a good thing.
Here's my cucumber trellis. I'm doing cucumbers from seed this year and I'm experimenting with three different varieties. The problem is.... when I planted my first batch, I didn't plant them. My little garden elfs (aka my kids and their friend) planted then and I forgot to tell them to tell me who planted what and where they planted them. So, now I have no idea what is what. However, I did plant another batch of seeds and I labeled them, so I guess I'll know on my second crop. I also planted some zinnias here. I have two reasons to plant zinnias. One is that they are pretty. I love zinnias. But, also they are my autumn go-to bouquet flower. There is nothing more beautiful on the table than scarlett, orange and red zinnias in the fall. Lovely!
One of the things we do each day is work on memorizing poetry. Every month we memorize a new poem, and even though we don't sit and analyze the meter and the rhyme schemes and what the poet really meant when he wrote thus and such, we memorize for enjoyment and because it's important. It's important to have a stock of good poetry in your mind and in your soul. The poems we memorize run the gamut from fun ones like "Five Eyes" by Walter de la Mare (In Hans' old Mill his three black cats, Watch his bins for the thieving rats. Whisker and claw, they crouch in the night, Their five eyes smouldering green and bright.....) and "The Wind and the Moon" by George MacDonald (Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out; You stare In the air Like a ghost in a chair, Always looking what I am about - I hate to be watched, I'll blow you out!") to thoughtful ones like "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost (.... I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.) to meaningful ones "The Quality of Mercy" by William Shakespeare (The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.) And a whole bunch in between. We've memorized poets such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Blake, Lewis Carroll and others. And today I spent some time pouring through some poetry anthologies I checked out from the library and made copies for the upcoming school year. I'm afraid I have no real rhyme or reason (no pun intended) for how I choose poetry. I'm not "in" to poetry, so generally I choose poets I've heard of (William Wordsworth, John Updike, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Rudyard Kipling) and poets we've memorized before and liked (Walter de la Mare, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Macdonald). Every year we try to memorize a little Shakespeare. I found a passage from "The Tempest" in this poetry anthology that we will memorize next. And then there are a few poems that were nice, written by people I have never heard of. I threw those into the pile, too. So, I think we'll have a good collection to commit to memory in the upcoming school year.
I'm a little behind the times. I know. I'll never admit to being one of those trendy, cutting-edge people. Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. For the first time. Everyone I know has done it numerous times. Some even make it a habit. We never have. I guess I'm just one of those traditionalists. You know, breakfast for breakfast, lunch for lunch and of course, dinner for dinner. Mixing them up can seriously upset the delicate balance of the universe. Or so I thought. But, tonight..... for some reason.....we just decided to live dangerously. If we wake up in the morning and the sun is going in the other direction, well.... I'm sorry! Anyhow, we had a truly wonderful meal. Whatever you want to call it. We had bacon. Here's my bacon fryer extraordinaire! Each slice was cooked to perfection.
We had strawberry crepes. Yes, it's strawberry season again, and yes, I'm spending a small fortune on strawberries again! Our little "Strawberry on the Fence" experiment, while it is going well, just does not supply us with the abundance that we have grown accustomed to.
I've never made crepes before. But how hard could it be? I found a recipe and went to town. The first ones were weird looking, but I got the hang of it. Just takes a little wrist action.
Still, some of then ended up with "fingers".
We had fresh squeezed orange juice. My parents have two enormous orange trees and every time we go over there, Baby loves to pick oranges. So, we have tons of oranges and they are yummy. Orange trees are very interesting. They are the only tree I know that blooms when there is still fruit hanging on it. There are tons of oranges still on the tree, but it is blooming like crazy. And the scent is just heavenly!
And here is the final product. I put a little mixture of cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar inside the crepe and then spread the berries on top and rolled it up. Everyone agreed it was a delicious dinner.
And if there is a disruption in the universe.... please accept my heartfelt apologies.
We took a train trip today. It was so much fun. And I was so flustered leaving the house that I forgot to bring my camera. So, I'm sorry, but I have no pictures for you today. But, it was still a great trip, even though I do not have photo-documentation. We went with a bunch of people from my church. We had so many they gave us our own train car. We went down to Hanford, which is about 40 minutes away. Hanford is this charming little town and the home of Superior Dairy. Superior Dairy is a destination in and of itself. When you tell people, "Yeah, we're taking the train to Hanford!" they always reply with, "Oh, and are you going to Superior Dairy?" Superior Dairy has the best icecream. Really! And they give you a ton! Their single is like.... a triple anywhere else. I bought 2 singles and between the five kids and me, we were stuffed full of icecream. That's how much you get! It's incredible. So, anyhow, we went down to Hanford. Hung out at the park for a while. They have a lovely park in the center of town. Lots of old buildings. Had lunch. Had icecream. And then took the train back. Traveling by train is really the way to go. Lots of leg room. Don't have to fight traffic. The scenery is gorgeous, especially in the spring. Although one time we were taking the train back from Sacramento and were driving through this pasture and there were three teen-age boys standing out in the pasture "mooning" the train. That was pretty funny. That didn't happen on this trip. And the kids were extremely well-behaved. Remarkably so. In fact, someone from church actually called me this evening and remarked on how well behaved the children were. I was happy to pass on that information to them and they were pleased.
Ok, I'm just whipped. It's been a rough couple of days. Hubby is gone on business for a couple of weeks and the kids are a mess. He generally doesn't travel much, and when he does, it's just for a few days here in the States. However, this time it's different. He left yesterday for Germany and then he's on to the United Kingdom, so communication is different, he's gone for longer and it's been just hard. And he's only been gone one full day. But, we'll manage. We've been busy, so that helps. And we'll just make it through. I keep thinking, we're not the only family whose Daddy goes on a business trip and if other people can make it without complaining too much, so can we!
I have to report on a fabulous book I just finished with the kids. We are, as I have mentioned, studying California history and this book was one of the recommended novels in our curriculum. Oh my word, I haven't read a book this good in a long time. The boys have just loved it and so have I. It's set during the Gold Rush and it's about a boy Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy, who set off from Boston for the gold fields of California to make their fortune so Jack's Aunt Arabella won't lose the family estate (she's fallen on hard times). They have many adventures and it is an entirely unpredictable book. You really have no idea what is coming around the corner. It is honestly one of the most clever and delightful books I have ever read. It really stands out and I would heartily recommend it!
I flooded my herb garden today. The irrigation isn't working all that well on it, so I have to water it by a hose. I was doing very well, too for a while today. I set the hose very low and then weeded a little in the onions. Then, I moved the hose, and weeded a little more in the onions. Then set the hose again and weeded a little in the cucumbers. And then..... I made the fatal mistake. I went in the house to check on Baby. And I forgot to come out again. I didn't remember until a couple hours later when I was coming home from the dermatologist and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd forgotten to turn off the hose. Well, it was definitely flooded when I got home, but fortunately the water wasn't on too hard, and I hadn't been gone too terribly long. I guess between the good drink they got and the temperatures are predicted to get nice and warm, I should have a growth spurt in the herb garden in the coming week.