July 30, 2012

Lazy Weekend

This weekend we went camping! In our backyard!

We found out Thursday that Ben would be getting Saturday off (Hallelujah!) so we made the most of the weekend.

Shopping Saturday morning was the only strenuous activity for the whole weekend.

Saturday afternoon we set up Faux Camp and had a wonderful evening sitting around, watching the kids play, eating hamburgers cooked on the burn barrel and roasting marshmallows to eat on s'mores. It wasn't to terribly hot, and by the time the sun went down it was pleasantly cool. We even got a little chilly during the night because I only grabbed a light blanket for Ben and I since I figured it would be too hot for anything else. 

We got up Sunday morning and had felt like we really did go camping. It was wonderful. That day Ben smoked a pork butt, and it was absolutely delicious. I have been completely ruined on BBQ. I can hardly eat it from anyone/where else because it just doesn't live up to Ben's. :)

Mr. Munchie has been hitting milestone after milestone lately - He's up to 14.6 pounds. He rolled over for the first time last Thursday, and Saturday - on his 5 month birthday no less - he started eating cereal. And he loves it! He took to it like candy. He ate the whole tablespoon that I made for him, both Saturday and Sunday night. I can't believe he is already so big and is now eating dinner with us. It blows my mind.

And now, it's back to reality. We have a few problems to deal with lately and I'm so frustrated. Ben was in a minor accident two weeks ago, and that meant his truck being in the shop for a week. Thankfully, insurance covered everything.

Then Friday we had an electrician come out to fix our main breaker. We had been having problems with our lights flickering and dimming for awhile, but didn't think much of it since every now and then the whole neighborhood will go out. Well I got back home from my Mom-in-Loves on Wednesday and our garage wouldn't open. I walked in the front door and the kitchen and garage power was out (although the rest of the house was fine). A few visits from PG&E (and a few more outages) and they found that our main breaker was burned and toasting and not connecting well.

Scary as this is to say, we were probably a few more power flickers away from a house fire. The Electrician came Friday afternoon and thank goodness, it is all fixed. He brought me the old breaker and showed me where it had just fallen apart in his hands while he took it out. I felt a little weird after that, thinking what could have happened. I am so glad it's fixed now.

And on top of all that, we are pretty sure the transmission in our family car is about to go out. Ben will be taking it into the shop to have it checked out. Ugh.

So many unexpected expenses! That's why we have an emergency fund, and why we budget but it's so frustrating when we are trying to pay off our house to only be able to put a tiny little bit extra because of all this other stuff going on. Oh well.

Today - Laundry and getting veggies ready to make another batch of relish! My tomatoes better get to it, because I have so many plans for puttin' up food this year!

Happy Monday,

July 25, 2012


Powdery Mildew


Onions - drying out and almost ready



Artichokes - Round two


About a month ago I bought this book What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden. It is a WONDERFUL book. It has helped so much in understanding how to grow our plants, what's going on with our plants and what our problems could be.

We have terrifically crap dirt out here, and while our soil needs just about everything added to it, at least we can figure out what each plant needs individually.

It goes through a bit of introduction and then it has a separate section for a number of different veggies explaining their growing season, needed nutrients, weather, water and light needed, any problems you might have and poly culture plants to plant with it. Then the last half of the book is all the different methods of organic pest and disease control and fixing.

The only downside to the book is now I see all the things that are wrong with my plants - my squash has powdery mildew, my grape and green beans seem to have leaf spot fungus/mosaic virus, my pumpkin looks like it has leaf spot fungus (I'm hoping it just needs some nutrients though) and I seem to have every pesty bug possible. I'm trying to avoid using the Spinosad I bought, even though it is organic, because it kills the good bugs too. And it won't help with the fungi.

But hey, my tomatoes don't have blossom rot anymore because I sprinkled them with crushed up tums (calcium ... it's all I had) and Epsom salt solution.

We're getting there. It's all a learning process and just one step on the road to where we want to be.


July 5, 2012

Busy Bee

I made cheese! I made cheese!! Honest to goodness real cheese!!

I used this recipe for 30 minute mozzarella, and it was so easy! It turned out great, but just a little on the bland side. I wasn't sure how much would be enough salt. But it is still really tasty!

After that was done, I made Ricotta (using this recipe) from the leftover whey. The remaining whey will be saved and used for bread making and watering our acid-loving plants. (Who knew?!)

I've also made a batch of Apricot-Nectarine Jam (Monday), and batch of Strawberry Jam (today), I'm working on a new dress (which I'm not sure is going to turn out the way I hoped) and I made a little skirt yesterday. Sewing is so much faster than knitting!

I have been reading my back issues of Countryside, baking, making candy for the 4th, making ice cream, dreaming of future acreage, going to the zoo and farmer's market, planning my canning for this summer, signing up for kiddo swim lessons and picking goodies from our garden.

Life with less outside noise has been so wonderfully, wonderfully good.

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