Official Summer kick-off.

It’s officially summer here at the homestead, and not just because it’s been hot as all get out or because the calendar says so or because I’ve picked the first tomatoes and cucumbers in the garden.  Edie’s bff Soph is home from Guatemala for the summer and we had our first (of many) river days with the Smiley clan, which is our official measure of the summer season.

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Bawlmer, hon.

IMG_2587 (1024x683)Last week was Edie girl’s first week of summer break, upon which I realized I had failed to put together any semblance of a summer plan, which coincided with the realization that my better half was off to a conference for the week, leaving me to wing it alone, with no plan.  So I did what I always do in that situation – I packed up the car and hit the road to Aunt Jenny’s in Baltimore.  While most of our time up there was spent visiting with family, we did take advantage of being in the city for some fun adventures. Continue reading


IMG_2565 (1024x683)My Granny and Granddad’s back yard backed up to a Catholic Church.  All of my aunts and uncles, as well as my parents and myself (and one of my sisters) attended the parish school, just steps from their back yard.  My parents were married in that church, I was baptized and confirmed there.  As kids, we played all over the grounds, including the graveyard (most particularly that graveyard). As the area around it changed and developed, that particular spot stayed the same.  Sure, the uses have adapted – the ‘old’ school is now a retirement home, the ‘new’ school (built in 1959) is now a private Christian school and I’m not entirely sure what the convent is – but the church is still there, its physical presence seemingly unchanged.  For all intents and purposes, it is the spot that is home to me, the one that is always there, exactly as I remembered it, if smaller (because everything is smaller than we seem to remember it). Continue reading

My must-have ferments.

So, let’s talk fermenting, shall we?  It’s one of the oldest, if not THE oldest way of food preservation and is frequently touted as having loads of healthy benefits.  I’ve only recently – as in the last few years – started dabbling in it.  I have a sourdough starter, which technically is fermenting, and then I managed to get my hands on a kombucha scoby because Edie was on a kombucha kick, but it’s taken me some time to really wrap my head around the whole fermenting process.  For someone who only vaguely follows recipes, it seemed like the loosey goosey-ness of fermenting would be a solid fit, but I have to admit, it’s taken me a good bit of reading, attendance of several fermenting classes and trying my hand at it more than a few times to really feel like I got it. Continue reading

Baby birds and pretty flowers.

I spent the weekend weeding all the gardens – and I do mean ALL the gardens.  I hate weeding, but three straight days of rain last week meant that weeds had completely taken over and when you get down to it, there is something so satisfying about weeding when you look back at a freshly weeded bed.  It just seems so neat and orderly, if only for the time being.

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Nature on top.

Five Photos, Five Stories, #5

IMG_2185 (1024x683)I don’t know why this sign amuses me so much, but it does.  I pass by this sign several times a daily, as it’s just up the street.  It’s had the plummage on top for over a year, so I’m guessing I’m not the only one who finds it amusing.  If only every road sign had a little welcoming flair….