He’s crafty.

We’ve been plotting this year’s garden expansion since last year. I say ‘we’ in the royal way of course. This year’s spring garden expansion is entirely my husband. From the newly built raised beds to the new strawberry barrel and the garden markers – he’s been a very busy fellow.

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Handmade for the Holidays.

I aspire to Becky made gifts for most everyone on my Christmas list annually, but this year felt like the first in a while that I actually succeeded in doing that, beyond handing out jars of pepper jelly and pickles and jam. Although this year, I outsourced most of the jam to my friend Daniel the jam god. Between the great canning jar shortage of 2020 and the dire straights of most small businesses this year, it was a no brainer way to support one of my favorite local purveyors while also handing out handmade gifts. Not only is he able to source things like Damson plums, he may be one of the only people I know who is at least as picky about where his food comes from than I am. I know, right? I honestly don’t know why I haven’t outsourced to him before, but I’m totally doing it from here on out.

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On the porch, in pots.

When people find out I’m a free lance writer, they tend to assume I write about food. So when they find out I mostly write about gardening, they then begin to assume that I’m some fabulous gardening guru and start asking me questions about their gardens or tell me they’d love to come see mine sometime, which leaves me in a bit of a stammer because my gardens are really not all that. For starters, I’m lazy. Secondly, my lot gets lots of shade, so there are any number of plants I would love to have that just simply, don’t do well in our yard, like roses. Continue reading

Going native.

pawpaw1Pat came across some pawpaws on a recent fishing trip and brought them home for me to experiment with. For the uninitiated, pawpaws are a native fruit not typically found in the grocery store or even at farmer’s markets.  They tend to fall off the tree when they are fully ripe, which happens to coincide with them being incredibly delicate. This delicateness is a large part as to why they aren’t well known – they don’t travel well and need to be eaten almost immediately while giving off an aroma that permeates the surrounding area. They smell like they taste, tropical and yeasty – think a slightly fermented mango-banana mix.  They aren’t much to look at – shades of green and black. Peel the skin off to find pulpy, soft flesh littered with large seeds, that require some work to get to the fruit. A 3″ pawpaw produces a surprisingly small amount of pulp. It takes a number of fruits to be able to make something with them, so if you come across some, grab more than you think you’ll need. They can be eaten raw, but they bake well too, especially when paired with dairy. Continue reading

DIY Furniture Polish

Contraire to popular belief, I do actually clean my house,  it just happens to be low on the to-do list, especially this time of year when I’m up to my elbows in produce (just had a bag of zucchini and another one of cucumbers dropped off as a matter of fact) that needs to be dealt with.  I prefer to use as little chemicals as possible in cleaning my house – even when I’m not pickling everything in sight, I go through a substantial amount of vinegar on a regular basis.  I use it to mop floors, in my laundry in lieu of bleach and fabric softener (and no, our clothes do not smell like vinegar as a result) as well as to spray down the showers after using them to help keep the funk at bay.  Continue reading

Homegrown, in jars.

IMG_8949It was hard to capture exactly how loaded our cherry tree was this spring with cherries.  Last year, being the first year we harvested any fruit from that tree – a banner two pounds! – I was hoping to get as lucky, if not luckier this year. Continue reading

Every day a holiday.

It’s Earth Day.  That one day a year we’re supposed to stop and consider being nicer to this planet we call home.  There are all sorts of events scheduled to take part in this time of year where one can learn to conserve, to show your love of mother earth or just plant a tree. Being married to a Riverkeeper, I am often asked what we do to celebrate the day.

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