May 31, 2013

Today is Friday - And I'm Talking About Food!

And aren't you excited?!

I am swimming in produce!

Yesterday my grandmother texted me (my over 70 year old grandmother texts. It makes me giggle) and said they were picking the cherries and did I want some?

Umm, YES! I love cherries. They are my absolute favorite fruit. Even more than strawberries. So I was very excited when she asked, and I we rushed right over.

When I got there her and Poppi had gotten the tree about halfway picked, leaving the stuff that couldn't really be reached from the ladder. With a little thinking we were able to bend the limbs over and Poppi held them down standing on one ladder while I climbed a ladder a few feet away and picked the branches clean. It worked great! And the only one we couldn't get was the limb in the middle.

They also have an apricot tree that is so full of fruit it's ridiculous. So many apricots!

So I brought home 14 pounds of apricots and about 8 pounds of cherries. I have two trays of apricot puree drying in the oven to make fruit leather.

I just stuffed my food processor of pitted apricots, added a little lemon juice to keep the color, and pureed. Then I added honey until it tasted right then poured it into a baking sheet that I lined with plastic. The oven is supposed to be at 140* for drying, but mine only goes to 170* so I crack the door to let out the extra heat and any steam that might come off the fruit.

I also made 5 half pints of apricot jam this morning after breakfast. I've had one single pouch of liquid pectin and I have been saving it for something that really needed it. This was the thing! Now I just need to get more pectin for the berries, heh.

I was naughty though, and only used half the sugar. I don't like my jams overly sweet, and wanted to be able to taste the fruit. I figure if it doesn't set all the way, oh well I'll just have apricot syrup. 

Last night I made some stewed cherries to serve over ice cream. I just pitted them, put them in a saucepan with a little bit of water and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Covered them until they came to a boil, then took the lid off and let them simmer until they became soft and saucy. Oh my goodness. They were so good. I love warm fruit over vanilla ice cream, and these were especially good.

The rest of the cherries and apricots will probably be halved and dried to snack on.

Mimi also gave me a few very large zucchinis, so I guess I will be making zucchini bread today!

Last night I picked our first cabbage! They've taken insanely long to grow, but it was finally big enough last night to pick. It wasn't huge - maybe 2 pounds at the most - but it was delicious!

I also picked my first two garlic scapes. I've heard of how good they are, but I have never had them. I sauteed them in a little butter and we just ate them like that. They are really good! They tasted like roasted garlic - that soft, sweet, lightly garlic taste.

I also got my first three tiny cherry tomatoes last weekend and I made them into a delicious bruschetta on toasted french bread. Now I am waiting for my other tomatoes to ripen so that I can have more.

I'm so excited that summer - and all of it's bountiful goodness - is finally here!


May 29, 2013

How We Homestead - Part 3: Real Food

This is Part 3 in a 5 weeks series called "How We Homestead" hosted by Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm.  You can find Part 1 here. Be sure to visit the other lovely women, linked to at the bottom of this post.  

Homemade apple pie

I have to admit, I was so excited when I saw Real Food in the list of topics that Staci gave us. This is something I am very, very passionate about and if you give me the chance I could go on and on and on about real food and what it means for your body. (Seriously. Just ask Ben... And my sister... And my sister in law... And my mother in law...)

My journey into Real food sort of started out of necessity early in our marriage and parenthood. The pre-made food was just too expensive. We were spending $600+ a month... for two people (the boys weren't eating solids yet.) It got to the point where I really needed to look at our budget and how we were spending money on food.

While I mostly cooked meals - as in, not just microwaving TV dinners, but actually using a stove and more than 5 ingredients - I was still using processed and boxed/canned ingredients.

I think not only being a mother opened my eyes to food and nutrition, but being the mother of preemies was an even stronger factor. I not only had new little lives to take care of, but new little lives that were fragile and sensitive, and needed strengthening.

So I started watching our budget, shopping carefully, and cooking things mostly from scratch.

Then I found this book.

I threw away our shortening and kicked as much soy out of our house as I could. I returned to the goodness of butter.

And then I found this book.

I bought lard, and removed (almost) the rest of anything processed and fake.

Homemade granola

I have been trying to cook with raw, simple, basic ingredients ever since. Some things we can't quite do because of expense (I still buy pasteurized milk and meat from the store, raw and pasture-fed are too expensive), and some things I am getting better about (I'm now buying organic just-plain-peanuts peanut butter, and I've moved from regular all purpose flour to at least unbleached as well as adding in whole wheat), and some things we're doing pretty darn good (I am trying to grow most of our veggies, and those I don't I now get from the farmer's market.)

Nourishing Traditions really opened my eyes. It is food and facts that make sense. I believe that we should eat food in the purest form possible, as close as possible to the way God made and intended it. And the current state of the nation's health is a good indicator that what the smarty-pants doctors are saying isn't actually good for us.

And cooking real food is fun! I love being in the kitchen chopping and stirring and boiling and tasting and knowing that what I am making is not only good tasting but good for us.

Drying plums in the oven

I can tell you, that since we have changed our diet to real food that we are very rarely sick now. And the times we do get sick? We've either been naughty and gone on a fast food binge for a week and/or our bodies have been weakened from being over stressed and over tired.

It is more work, I won't lie. It's not easier. It takes a bit more effort - either to find the good ingredients, or to prepare them (although it doesn't take all that much longer). But it's worth it. Cooking with real food, to me, doesn't just feed the body.

It feeds the soul.

And isn't feeding the soul what homesteading  is about?

~ * ~
 Visit the other women of the How We Homestead series:
Daisy from Maple Hill 101
Tammy from Our Neck Of The Woods
Amber from Making A Home 

May 22, 2013

How We Homestead - Part 2: Living Simply

This is Part 2 in a 5 weeks series called "How We Homestead" hosted by Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm.  You can find Part 1 here. Be sure to visit the other lovely women, linked to at the bottom of this post.  

We found this spot on a trek in the mountains. I wish it was my view!

This week's topic is about living simply and how we've tried to simplify our life.

This is such a regular, ingrained part of my life that it's a little hard for me to think of specific things we do. We just do it!

Let me start with a little background. I grew up in a house in I guess what you could call the middle of town. It was my grandparents house, and it housed them, my parents, by brother and sister and I, and my great-grandmother. Starting when I was about 8 and continuing over the years, my grandparents converted a one story, 3 bedroom house (I think it was a 3 bedroom) to a 3 story, too-many-rooms-to-count house. On top of that my grandmother loves to buy people things, so if we ever mentioned anything that we might or might not have wanted at one time, she would get it for us.

Needless to say, I did not grow up very simply. I grew up in abundance and consumerism, and in the end I think all it really did was stress me out. You know all those stories you hear about people who had everything they ever wanted but still weren't happy? That was me. (I am very thankful to my grandmother. She was very sweet and just wanted to make us happy. It just didn't feel right for me.)

I don't like clutter, and over the years I've realized I don't like having too much stuff because it takes up space in my brain thinking about caring for it. It's more stuff to clean and find a place for. And while I'm not a super hippie, there is the part of me that says "this is so wasteful and unneeded."

Another place I wish was my view. :)

So part of our homesteading journey has definitely included living simply. I'll explain how we live simply in certain areas.

Simple Living in our Finances:
As of 2011, we are debt free aside from our house. I can not begin to tell you how this has given both of us a sense of freedom. It has given us the opportunity to pursue whatever we please, because we do not have to worry about what we owe to people. It has also made our actual banking much easier, because I just pay our few utilities at the beginning of the month and then things like gas and groceries come out when we need them. It's also allowed us to look into the future without worry or stress.

Simple Living in our Home:
We try to live very simply when it comes to stuff. For little purchases we usually ask ourselves (or each other) "Do we really need this? Will we actually use it? Does it serve a purpose?" before we purchase anything. This really helps in keeping the clutter and excess at bay. For the big purchases we make sure we save and budget for them, which in itself is a good deterrent for keeping unneeded things out of our lives. We have just enough clothes for each of us to wear, and a few special outfits for everyone. We don't have a ton of stuff, and the things we do have are things we love. We are fairly minimalistic and just like having our special things, not just things that fill up the empty spaces.

We also like to make a lot of the things we have or use. It allows us to spend less money, while opening our creativity at the same time. I can food, bake, and knit. Ben is an artist with metal and can make just about anything, or make some broken work again.

Add to all that the fact that we don't spend a lot of time out of the house doing things - we'd much rather be home, enjoying sitting together on the porch and watching the kids play - and I would say we live a very simple life indeed.

~ * ~
 Visit the other women of the How We Homestead series:
Daisy from Maple Hill 101
Tammy from Our Neck Of The Woods
Amber from Making A Home 

May 21, 2013

A New Day

Thank you all for the sweet, wonderful, encouraging comments you all left yesterday. I try not to be whiny on the blog because... well, honestly who wants to read whiny posts? But it felt good to get it out, and it was so nice to hear you all say you've been through the same, or you understood, or you just sent hugs. Thank you so much. (And extra thanks to Misses T - I got your hug via my brother! :) )

Today is a new day! I feel so much better today. With all your comments I was on the mend, and once Ben got home I was starting to feel better. And I have decided that I will let go of the things that are not super important right now. I was starting to make myself crazy. (Like dealing with the berries. They are in the freezer and can stay there until I have a chance to do something with them.)

We got the kids over to Mimi's house and she watched them while we went out. We went to the bank and were able to get new cards for our main account without any hassle. My business account will take some time because I have to dispute some of the charges. So am without a bank card until that is over. Thankfully I still have PayPal if I need it. So, that is taken care of.

We went to Home Depot to get new toilet parts, and got a new seat while we were at it since the hinges were broken on our old one. It looks like a brand new toilet! (Is it weird I'm kind of excited for a fixed toilet? haha.) Ben even scrubbed the whole thing, and I told him it was the best anniversary gift. He's very good at cleaning. Better than I will ever be!

After we ran our errands we had a wonderful, delicious dinner at Olive Garden. I had an amazing Lobster & Shrimp stuffed cannelloni. It was SO GOOD. I highly recommend it.

Then we went to Goodwill and got Ben some new jeans and a belt. By the time we got back with the kids, it was bed time so straight to bed they went and we got to keep our evening going with quiet (and toilet fixing, lol) until we went to bed and I passed out and got a full nights sleep. I haven't slept that well in over a week. It was a wonderful evening.

Today, I am baking, which always seems to take the blahs out. It's faster than knitting, and I get to eat stuff when I'm done! :D So far I have sandwich bread rising, and a loaf of applesauce bread in the oven. I think I will make granola and maybe a sweet as well. I also pulled some pumpkin out of the freezer just in case I want to make pumpkin bread as well.

Make sure you come back tomorrow for the next installment of the How We Homestead Series!

Happy Tuesday!

May 20, 2013

In Search Of Peace

This is how I feel.

Warning: I'm feeling whiny today.

Would you like to hear about my weekend?

On Thursday we spent the afternoon at my in-law's house to start setting up for the wedding (it was in their front yard). Munchie didn't get a nap. Bad mojo.

On Friday morning I was updating our check register and doing online banking when I found a charge for $353 dollars that I didn't recognize. A call to Ben said he didn't know what it was either. A call to the number on the charge told me it was for a skateboard (that I certainly didn't order) and I found out that yay, someone had stolen my bank card number. Woo.

A call to the bank got the card blocked and out-of-service so that left us with the few hundred dollars in my account that I used for my business, and the little bit of cash we had in the house. Ok, not a super big deal, we didnt' have big spending plans for the weekend. Just needed diapers really and we got that with cash. The bank told me that since the skateboard company was refunding the money, all we have to do is come get new cards (rather than file a dispute over the charges and go through some big fight before we can get new cards.)

Friday night, more setting up, the rehearsal and dinner, and Super Angry Munchie of Doom who had yet again, not had a nap. Super Bad Mojo.

On Saturday morning our toilet broke. Thank goodness we have two bathrooms.

On Saturday evening we pulled off a beautiful, wonderful, sweet, flawless wedding. It was amazing and it was so sweet (and a little sad, in a good way) to see my sis-in-law take the next step and get married. She was a beautiful bride, and if I get a hold of pictures and permission, I will share them later.

On Sunday morning I thought maybe I would feel better now that it was over. I've been crazy stressed out the last week (I know, kind of silly since I wasn't getting married, but I think we've all been a little edgy trying to get it all done). Sadly, I woke up Sunday morning not really feeling better, but worse. Maybe I am just trying to come down from it all.

We were talking about how our car needs gas, and Ben was stressing about it a bit (remember, our bank card is blocked) and I said it's ok, I have a little bit in my knitting account that we can use.

I decided to access my account online to see just how much I have in there...




All but $19 left in my savings account. Wiped. Completely.

I just started to cry.

(I'm pretty sure it happened because of this, since it is the only place that I have used both of my cards. I am extremely ticked off.)

It was a whole bunch of charges to Experian and Transunion (the credit unions)...

A call to Experian yesterday resulted in them very nicely refunding me all the charges (and I found out that whoever this (pardon me) douche bag is thankfully doesn't have my social. They were all for a different name, just using my card to pay for it.)

A call to Transunion this morning left me with nothing but them saying that they are sending me an investigation questionnaire in 7-10 business days and they won't refund me anything until they get that back and go through it. Thanks.

I didn't sleep for crap last night. I feel like a bundle of nerves and stress and I'm on the edge of breaking.

So this afternoon we get to go down to the bank and get new cards for our main account. But I won't be able to get a new card for my business account until those charges are refunded. Oh and a new float thing for the toilet.

I want to crawl in a hole and hide.


I feel like I have no peace. I have been so busy for 2 months, doing something nearly every weekend, and our schedule isn't going to let up until at least the end of June, and now this stupid crap on top of it all....

And guess what? Today is our 7th anniversary! Not the way I wanted to be spending it... At least I get to go to dinner with Ben for a bit (after the bank and getting toilet parts) and try to forget about all of this for awhile.

I hope this week gets easier.

If not, I'm going to run away.

May 16, 2013

Garden & Wedding

My sister (in-law, but just as close as my blood sister) is getting married this Saturday.

That's three days.

I'm in the wedding.

I've also been dubbed the official coordinator.

My kitchen table has been covered with my computer, clip board, and lists upon lists for the past week. We have a very busy three days ahead of us, starting with making centerpieces and flower arrangements tonight. That is why you get nothing buy glaring, unedited pictures of my garden.

On top of all that summer is creeping upon us and the gardens are producing and I have so much to do here at home. And not enough time. All of my delicate greens are starting to bolt, and I will have to just sadly let them go as I don't have time to mess with them. The cilantro I will just say was intentional, with the idea that I will get coriander. ;)

I spent two hours on Tuesday picking berries. 10.5 pounds of berries for that day alone. There are more ready today.

Here is my berry trellis. I wanted you to understand the full, behemoth madness that we planted. This trellis is eight feet long and over 6 feet tall. This year after the harvest it is getting hacked back to just a few canes.


I need to make jam. I am just putting the berries in the freezer until next week when I can get to them.

I just finished cooking beet greens that were on their way out.

My grandmother gave me a gigantic bag of basil last night, so I need to make pesto today.

I can feel the panic of too many things and not enough time creeping in, but I am working hard to keep it at bay.

 My hair is up.

My apron is on.

Let's go!


May 15, 2013

How We Homestead - Part 1: How It All Began

This is Part 1 in a 5 weeks series called "How We Homestead" hosted by Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm. Be sure to visit the other lovely women, linked to at the bottom of this post. 

~~ Before we begin I want to say Welcome! to all the followers that have joined me in the last week. I'm so glad you are here! I also want to say thank for all the sweet comments on yesterday's post. You are all so wonderful and encouraging. I am so blessed. Now, on to the post! ~~

I think homesteading for me began a long, long time ago. I've always had a love and desire for "the old ways", simple ways, and doing it myself. I love the idea of farming, raising your own food, and living off the land as much as possible. Thankfully, I married a man who shares my desires and love of old ways and things.

Honey Whole Wheat bread

I think it officially began when I made my first loaf of bread. The twins were little little, we were in our second place, our second year of marriage, and we didn't have a ton of money. We ate a lot of bread between toast and sandwiches and I realized it would be a lot cheaper if I made our own bread. It was all downhill from there!

I loved it! Getting my hands into the sticky dough, kneading and punching and working, smelling that intoxicating, heavenly aroma as it baked, and finally tasting the sweet, chewy, scrumptious end product of my work. "I made this, and this is awesome!" I was so proud of myself. And I couldn't help but think of all the woman of generations before me who did the same thing, providing food for their families. It was just bread, but it sort of grounded me, and encouraged the part of my soul that said homesteading was the way it should be. This was right.

Blueberry Freezer jam (I was feeling lazy that day)

A little while later I decided to make and can jam. We had been using store bought grape jelly and I was kind of sick of it. I grew up with a grandmother that put up a lot of stuff every year when I was younger, so I was no stranger to canning (well, the idea of it anyways) and I wasn't afraid.

And it helped that I had a box full of plums from my mom-in-love and I had to do something with them.

That first batch was an interesting experience. My pot wasn't big enough, so the jam boiled over and made a mess of my stove. I didn't having a canning pot, so I had to make do with my large stock pot and a towel on the bottom to prevent the jars from breaking. I didn't have a canning funnel so jam dripped all over my jars, and I didn't have jar tongs, so I ever so carefully and precariously lifted jars in and out of that pot with regular cheapo tongs, which resulted in a lot of burning of my hands. But I made jam! And it too was awesome. All the work and pain was worth it. (And we haven't bought a thing of jam since then.) A little while later my grandmother blessed with me a brand new pressure canner (which I can also use for water bathing) and the tongs and funnel. I was one step closer!

Our first three years of marriage were spent in an apartment. I can not even begin to describe the ache I had for a little bit of dirt to grow a garden. It was painful. I wanted to plant. I needed to grow something. I'd never planted anything in my life, but that didn't matter. I had watched my grandmother's luscious gardens produce more veggies than she knew what to do with. I wanted that.

The before. Everyone thought we were crazy for getting such a fixer upper.
 In April of 2009 we bought our little house, on our little 6500 square foot lot (actually I think it's less than that), and a year later we had our little garden and raised beds set up. I haven't been able to grow much, as I work ever so slowly to improve our dismal soil. But I was growing something. (If you want to feel accomplished, plant a zucchini seed. It will grow anywhere, in any soil, and you will start thinking you're living out Little Shop of Horrors.) And it was wonderful.

Once we moved here and I was able to really dig in, that was it. My heart was gone. Forever in love with homesteading and doing things ourselves. Over the past four years I have read and researched and thought about this way of life and how much I love it. It feels good to work hard and provide as much of our own food and things as I can, even it means still having to buy the ingredients, but making the end product myself. I've picked up soap making, sewing (a bit), cheese making, and a few other skills.

As I said, I was blessed with a man who has the same thinking, who shares my dream, and I've been doing this since the boys were babies, so getting my family on board hasn't been hard at all. Ben's mother, my precious mom-in-love, did all of these things before me - she baked and ground her own flour, canned and put up food, made soap, and sewed. His dad builds and fixes things and does it himself most of the time. They aren't ones for waste. He grew up in that, so that is just "normal" for him. (In fact he told me the other day that I am severely under quota for soap. I didn't even know there was a quota. ;))

And here we are now, a little ways in, with so much farther to go!

~ * ~
 Visit the other women of the How We Homestead series:

Daisy from Maple Hill 101
Tammy from Our Neck Of The Woods
Amber from Making A Home 


May 14, 2013

It's A Wonderful Life

This past week has been extremely frustrating in the emotional department. It seems like nearly every person I've talked to (who isn't family) has said nasty things about their own children, or been shocked and disgusted when they have found out that I have four and I stay at home.

The protective side of me wants to yell at them and tell them how awful they are and that I love my children deeply and wouldn't trade anything. But I know that arguing with these cruel people won't get me anywhere.

So instead, I'll just say

You sad people have no idea what you're missing.


May 9, 2013

The "How We Homestead" Series

I'm so excited to tell you about a project I am going to be a part of!

Staci from Life at Cobble Hill Farm had the idea for a little series on Homesteading and I will be joining her and 3 other women in sharing our journey, how we do it, and where we are hoping to be in the future.

We are starting next Wednesday, the 15th, and will post each Wednesday for the next five weeks.

The other wonderful women who are a part of it are

Daisy from Maple Hill 101
Tammy from Our Neck Of The Woods 
Amber from Making A Home 

I'm so honored to be a part of this and I can't wait to learn about the others and their stories!


May 8, 2013

The Picking and Eating of Berries

The boysenberries are upon us! This morning I picked two and a half pounds, and that is just the first harvest of the season. There are SO MANY more to come, all in various stages of ripeness. This is when I start picking berries every two to three days. I think they are better this year than they were last year. They are so sweet and tart, I think I ate a half pound just while picking.

I have many plans for berries this year! I will be making jam, both with and without seeds, and I would like to make some syrup as well. I'll be freezing some for cobblers later, and I think I might make a tart or galette for dessert tonight.

The berry plants we have are Thornless Boysenberries. This is what Wikipedia has to say about their origin:

In the late 1920s, George M. Darrow of the USDA began tracking down reports of a large, reddish-purple berry that had been grown on the northern California farm of a man named Rudolph Boysen.[4] Darrow enlisted the help of Walter Knott, a Southern California farmer who was known as a berry expert. Knott had never heard of the new berry, but he agreed to help Darrow in his search.
Darrow and Knott learned that Boysen had abandoned his growing experiments several years earlier and sold his farm. Undaunted by this news, Darrow and Knott headed out to Boysen's old farm, on which they found several frail vines surviving in a field choked with weeds. They transplanted the vines to Knott's farm in Buena Park, California, where he nurtured them back to fruit-bearing health. Walter Knott was the first to commercially cultivate the berry in southern California.[4] He began selling the berries at his farm stand in 1932 and soon noticed that people kept returning to buy the large, tasty berries. When asked what they were called, Knott said, "Boysenberries," after their originator.[5] His family's small restaurant and pie business eventually grew into Knott's Berry Farm. As the berry's popularity grew, Mrs. Knott began making preserves, which ultimately made Knott's Berry Farm famous.

Fun Fact: My dad used to work at Knott's Berry Farm when he was younger! I have still yet to visit that theme park.

Finding the perfect time to pick a berry is hard. I've found that they are perfectly ready when they give a bit of resistance, but still come off easily. If you are smashing the little cells when you pull, they aren't ready yet. Give them another day or two. If they cover your fingers in juice when you barely touch them, they are past their prime.

When you bring them inside fill your sink or a bowl with water and a splash of white or cider vinegar. Let them soak for a bit, swishing them gently as you put them in the water. The vinegar will kill a lot of the little bacteria that accelerate spoilage, making them last a bit longer in your fridge. When you do store them, place them in a shallow dish so that you have only two to three layers of berries. Any more and the ones on the bottom will crush. They should last a few days that way, maybe a week if you are lucky.

One of my favorite ways to eat berries is fresh, and maybe with a bit of sweet whipped cream if I'm feeling naughty. ;)

Are you harvesting anything yet?


May 6, 2013

The Big News, And Other Things

Morning Glory


"Mmm mmm"
Well, I meant to post our big news last week but we got caught up in Life and Stuff! It's probably not as awesome to everyone else but:

Ben got a new job! He started this morning! Hurray!! If y'all have been following for awhile, you know that he's been working 10's and 12's six days a week for nearly three years now, and we finally couldn't take it anymore. There was no end in sight.

And this new job? 40 hours. Period. They even say that if you get called in on a Saturday, you get Monday off.

Even better? We found out Thursday that during the summer they change their hours to compensate for peak energy hours. So instead of getting off in the early afternoon, he's getting off even earlier than we thought! He'll be coming home while the kids are still taking a nap! I'm so, so excited to finally have him back, and awake. It's been a very hard past few years of him falling asleep as soon as he sits down after dinner and being exhausted and at work all the time. I'm very thankful for this new job and I hope it works out as well as it sounds like it will and he will finally have time to rest and relax.

We were at the beach over the weekend, for the "men folk" in my family to take my grandfather on a fishing trip. It was his Christmas gift from my brother-in-law. It was a nice little trip and the weather was beautiful.

We came back to a monster dust and wind storm. On the stretch of road from the freeway back into town the dust was so bad you couldn't see past maybe half a mile. It was crazy. I have never seen dust that bad. Once we got into civilization the dust wasn't as bad, but the wind was still whipping things around. My poor grapes are so wind burned and sad looking. I think I lost most of my bunches that were blooming. I'm really bummed about that. But today is beautifully breezy and cool, with puffy clouds floating through the blue sky.

The blueberries and boysenberries started ripening over the weekend. The boys and I wandered around after school this morning and munched on berries. Munchie loves berries. I would say "Do you like the berries? Are they good?" and he would reply with grunty "mmm mmm"s. The first week or two of boysenberries is wonderful. The weeks after that are a little tiring once we're swimming in berries. And there are a LOT of berries coming this year.

I didn't get a lick of knitting done while I was gone. I spent our sitting time just relaxing, doing crosswords (my brain needs exercise haha) and enjoying the weather and the company. We squeezed 15 people into a tiny little two bedroom house. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and it was nice to have so many people around to play with the kids, so I could really unwind and not be on alert.

Well, I think that's enough babbling for now. Ben will be home in a few hours! :)

Happy Monday y'all!
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