july, welcome!

IMG_3393

June was a full and, at times, a challenging month for us, with many lessons and reminders of how little of life we have control of, except for our reactions to it, of course. And during these days when patience and resolve may be tested, expressing gratitude for all of the abundant gifts we have, including the amazing good fortune to live in such gorgeous surroundings, becomes a priority and way in which I center myself. So as we welcome July with open arms, here is a list of June moments that helped to buoy us over some bumpy waves.

  • Chocolate ice cream cones for Sunday dinner
  • Watching our six chicks grow and their personalities begin to emerge and develop, so fun!
  • Picnics in the garden
  • Leni’s first summer with us — she continues to be the happiest dog and the most determined spreader of joy I’ve ever met. Recently, she was given upstairs privileges and surprised no one with her special leapfrogging technique with which she launches herself up the entire flight with only three touches — boundless joy, I tell you! <3

IMG_2059

  • The start of berry season! I mean, really, can you ever get enough fresh berries, and the pies, tarts, and jam that follow :-)
  • The BBC Radio 4 WWI serial Home Front — LOVE it!
  • A good closet sort out (and as a bonus, I made some extra $$ sending a big bag off to Twice)
  • Baby birds everywhere! In addition to the chicks, we’ve delighted in watching the downy and red-bellied woodpeckers bring their youngsters to our feeders, as well as the house wren family that has holed up in one of the bird houses for the season. The Northern mockingbirds, bird birds, red-winged black birds, robins, and catbirds are all busy with their latest offspring, too — it’s been a very successful breeding season for sure :-)

IMG_3400_2

  • Rainy days, which equal baking days when my husband is home :-)
  • Weddings, weddings, weddings!
  • Summer breezes that keep my office mobiles a’spinning
  • The light, all that extra daylight that makes me often lose track of time, especially when I’m in the middle of doing something I love. May you keep shining down on us, and as the great Walt says, let the shadows fall behind us

Happy July!

the ladies

IMG_2076

IMG_2078

The ladies — Tammy and Loretta (Ameraucanas), Emmylou and Dolly (Buff Orpingtons), and Mother Maybelle and June Carter (Delawares) all celebrated their two-week birthdays with the emerging of these sweet little tail feathers and a series of other accomplishments: June Carter is the lead flier and now likes to perch on top of their water bottle; Tammy, who was the most reserved and shiest at first, is now the largest, which seems to give her a new sense of confidence, especially with Mother Maybelle (who remains the top maternal figure); and Emmylou and Dolly have become more comfortable with being held. They will remain in my office for at least a couple more weeks, which I don’t mind because they’re a lovely distraction. Plus, we need to finish up their outdoor home and chicken tractor first! Always so many projects to finish around here. :-)

 

{this moment}

As inspired by SouleMama (who has since retired this feature, yet I’ve decided to carry it on): {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 

IMG_3351

in the garden

IMG_3329 IMG_3330  IMG_2043 IMG_2052 IMG_2058

This past week the weather has been warm and humid, with a bit of rain — exactly what the garden ordered. As a result, just about everything has been shooting up in leaps and bounds: the sunflowers grew more than a foot, pea pods began to fill up quickly, and wee zucchini seemingly burst out of nowhere. Tat soi, salad greens, radishes, and host of fresh herbs — cilantro, oregano, and basil — made their way from the garden to our plates this week, too. And the garlic scapes are almost ready to cut and grill up this weekend — can’t wait! The rest of the garden is looking a bit of a wilderness, to be frank. The late afternoon rains and lingering dampness have meant there’s been little mowing this week, but I confess there is a part of me that adores the overgrown look. :-)

gratitude sunday

IMG_2035

gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • This handsome little guy, who has been a semi-regular visitor to our garden (but has the good sense not to sample the produce!)
  • Evening thunderstorms that break the heat of the day and bring breezy cool relief just before bedtime
  • Opportunities that take me off the Hill (Baldy, that is) and introduce me to new folks and places and worlds I’ve only dreamed of before
  • The knowledge that other homesteady types like us also face challenges in getting all the work done, have to put off projects from time to time, and often don’t get much weeding done after July :-)

IMG_3300_2

  • Another great market day on Saturday — we always meet the nicest people at The Red Barn. Many thanks to the new folks who stopped by and to our repeat customers too! :-)
  • Sweet peas popping out of their pods
  • Great fun at the local country fairs — cows, tractor pull competitions, and the best chocolate ice cream cones
  • A new knitting project this week — I often take a little break from the needles in the spring, but now that planting is done, it felt great to pick them up again :-)

IMG_3316

  • These six little wee-bits that arrived this weekend: Loretta and Tammy, Dolly and Emmylou, and Mother Maybelle and June Carter. Happy to report they’re all thriving and cute as could be
  • My collection of favorite childhood books — I tend to dip into them during the summer when I favor lighter reading
  • Another book, this one by Elizabeth David, which forever changed my way of thinking about summer cooking/not cooking; in a nutshell, June through August is one long picnic :-)
  • An open schedule this coming week, which will allow plenty of time to coo over the chicks! :-)

in the garden

IMG_3257 IMG_3262 IMG_3265 IMG_3275 IMG_3277 IMG_3278 IMG_3280 IMG_3282 IMG_3283

Like many gardeners on the east coast, we spent much time watering the garden last week — hot temperatures, no rain, and young plants are not a good mix. And I’m happy to report our efforts were successful. Unfortunately, when we finally got the much needed rain, it came in overwhelming downpours for several days. But now we’re beginning to dry out and no longer feel waterlogged. I was able to get out in the garden today to do some weeding (note to self: in future, take photos for blog AFTER weeding, not before :-) ) and prepare some more ground for planting tomorrow.

Since last week, the first garlic scapes have appeared and today I harvested the first of the radish (French breakfast — yum!). The beets and peas look healthy and vibrant, and the beans should soon be climbing as well. Posy-wise, there are peonies, daisies, lupines, pansies, geraniums, and more gracing our garden with their cheerful colors and gorgeous smells. I could breathe in this air forever. :-) But like the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc., I’m hoping for the return of some sunshine and warmer weather in the coming week!

gratitude sunday

IMG_3238

gratitude — the state of being grateful : thankfulness

On this Gratitude Sunday, I am grateful for:

  • a truly glorious month of May — visits with good friends and family, new restaurants to try, a new job for James (which he is really loving so far), our sweet puppy who at 10 months of age had a training breakthrough, when everything we’d been teaching her seemed to suddenly make sense (except for my yarn stash, which she’d still tear apart if given the opportunity :-) )
  • the smells of May — to simply breath the air around Baldy Hill these past few weeks has been divine — honeysuckle, lilacs, wisteria, peonies, not to mention the sweet cut grass, wildflowers, lily of the valley….who needs perfume!
  • the return of fresh locally grown produce — nothing is better in May than asparagus by the bunches and box and boxes of strawberries ;-)
  • eating lunch on the porch, with little to listen to except for the birds and the bumblebees
  • the best of picnic foods: my mom’s macaroni salad, pickled red beet eggs, and sweet zucchini relish :-)

IMG_3246

  • visits to the garden center for yet another bag of potting soil
  • watching those seedlings grow, grow, grow :-)
  • the books of Dervla Murphy — just finished The Ukimwe Road, fascinating read as always, and so honest and real. I love her writing.
  • rain, finally some much needed rain!
  • rhubarb custard

IMG_3244

  • making time for regular drawing sessions again — feels great!
  • chocolate ice cream cones from the nearby drive-in
  • a rare firework display on Baldy Hill last night, as part of a wedding celebration — beautiful and a wonderful send-off to this lovely month :-)