Monday, May 17, 2010

Some Good Old Fashioned Summer Time Fun!

Even though it is not quite summer yet, here in the south we have been feeling "summeresque" temperatures for quite some time. Recently, however, Madelyn has taken up some quintessentially summer activities for the first time and we thought we would share.

Here is Maddy at her second swimming lesson...she loves them! Our neighborhood pool opens this weekend so I am sure we will have more to post then!

Here is Maddy swimming in Grammy's hot tub...she loves her "swimmies" and her froggy inter tube!

Slip and Slide:
Our wonderful neighbors, Daniel and Monique, are just big such they own a slip and they have no children...yes I did say slip and slide. On Mothers Day it was so blazing hot that we thought it was only appropriate to christen it. Madelyn understood the concept straight away and dove right in...literally and figuratively. For the sake of everyone involved I will only be showing Madelyn slipping and sliding!

Blowing Bubbles:
One of our favorite hot day past times is blowing bubbles. Mainly because Mommy can stand in the shade and blow bubbles and Maddy can run like crazy to catch them...and then take a really good nap!

Strawberry Picking:
Yesterday Madelyn, Mommy, Daddy and Grammy went to Springs Farms to pick strawberries. It must be in Maddy's blood because Aunt Amanda and I went strawberry picking in the same place when I was about 36 weeks pregnant...Madelyn has loved it since she was in utero and yesterday was no different!
Hunt for berries...

Selecting the perfect berry...

Giving it a little try...

Maybe one more, got to make sure they are good... have to try these...

Look at all the "Barry's" in that car! Ok...I couldn't resist...I tried...

To close, here is Madelyn, Brutus (her Ohio State yard gnome) and Grammy surveying the back yard for the next fun thing to do.

Have a great week...we will be here just having fun!
Kristin and Madelyn

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garden Therapy

In recent years (and especially after I have stayed home with Madelyn), I have taken to gardening as a way to release stress and focus my once overworked brain into something productive and useful (Facebook is not usually considered useful!) I have not taken any pictures of the gardens in previous years because they were starter gardens and not very photogenic. This year, though, I think I have mastered the basics enough to share a few pictures!

Here is an early shot of the garden (taken 4/21/10). The first two triangular trellises house snow peas and sugar snap peas. These will be the first producers of the garden and will be the first to fade with summer's heat so these were planted at the very beginning of April.

Here are the peas today, quite a bit bigger and flowers which tell me delicious peas are coming soon!

The next section in this raised bed is the cucumbers. We have 6 cucumbers: 4 slicing (like English cucumbers- Burpless Hybrids to be exact) and 2 pickling. The supports are tomato cages turned upside down with a bamboo stake in the center for extra climbing support.

The next section houses our lettuce collection...OK, it is not really a collection, it is all Butter (or Boston Bibb) lettuce. These are really expensive at the store so they are much cheaper to grow at home...almost picking time for a few of these. When the lettuce comes out in a week or so the green beans will get planted here.

The last section of this raised bed is herbs and peppers.

Starting on the far left and back of the bed and moving forward, there is Thyme (which I use all the pun intended...not really at least), Chives, Texas Tarragon (Mexican Mint Marigold) which is a great substitute for French Tarragon, and the little one at the front is French Tarragon (it is finicky in my garden so the Texas Tarragon does much better for my purposes).

The next row to the right (with bamboo stakes) is peppers. At the back is hot banana, middle is jalapeno, the front is sweet banana.

The next row to the right is herbs again. The back is basil and the front (bush-like herb) is flat-leaf parsley.

Along the back of the bed, against the wall, are leeks. These are a new one for me so we will see how this goes!

In this picture you can see the bed I just described along with the second bed (way at the back of the picture near the deck):

The second raised bed in my little garden plot houses all of the tomatoes (except one renegade tomato but I will get to that later). Here they are today. Some have fruit already, all have flowers and they are growing fast like the delicious weeds that they are!

From left to right there are:
Early Girl (normal red globe tomatoes)
Sweet 100 (red cherry tomatoes)
Yellow Pear (small yellow pear-shaped fruit)
German Johnson (large dark crimson tomatoes)
Juliet Roma (red grape tomatoes)
Purple Cherokee (dark purple/black globes)
Mexican Midget(orange cherry tomatoes)
Pineapple Hawaiian (yellow globes with red striped skin and cool!)
and two Amish Paste (roma tomatoes that produce fruit all season instead of the usual romas that produce all of their fruit at once).

Here is the renegade tomato I mentioned had to be planted in bed #1 by the peas because I saw it and wanted it and had no room in the tomato bed for it (I swore I would only buy 10 tomatoes this we have 11)! This is a Green Zebra- it is way cool. He has green globe fruit with dark green stripes on him...totally cool, right?

So I figure my salsa and tomato salads will have red, yellow, orange, purple, crimson, yellow/red striped and green in them...a fiesta for the eyes I tell you! Maybe this will entice Madelyn to eat them all!

I also have a raspberry bed but they are not very showy right now as they are just getting their flowers and little fruits that you can't really see- these are new this year too and I am very excited about eating fresh picked berries- if the deer and birds and wild turkeys don't get them first!

Thanks for letting me ramble on about my current obsession. Madelyn and I love to check on everything every morning- she knows what each plant will make, she waters things to the point of drowning, she picks off caterpillars and puts them back in the "jungle" and she lovingly scoops dirt onto's a start right? Maybe she will have more talent out of the gates than I, at least I can hope. The only trouble I see with my plan to garden rather than drink to relieve stress and frustration is it keeps making me want to eat food that pairs so nicely with wine and margaritas...drat!

To close here are the beautiful azaleas in bloom...not so much a kitchen garden but it is food for my eyes and soul!