Monthly Archives: August 2010

Catching up on the Harvest

My apologies for the lack of posting, especially when it is prime growing/harvesting/preserving season. There is so much to share and I think of blog posts often, but as those of you who have been 36 weeks pregnant before will know, a lot of ideas get left undone. The couch and knitting always seem to be a better alternative to any activity these days. But we (and by we, I mean Scott) have been doing a lot these days. Mind if I share quickly with photos?
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We’ve been slooowly picking tomatoes. We didn’t pick our first until after the first of August, which is about a month later than usual due to this cool summer we’ve had (thank you weather gods!). Surprisingly the first two tomatoes were the biggest we’ve grown, this varietal is called Italian Heirloom which we’ve grown for a few years and really enjoy. Very meaty and great for both BLT’s and tomato sauce. Scott canned our first round of tomato sauce, five jars. We’ve gone from doing huge all day canning sessions to small batches done early, early in the morning. It all seems much more manageable that way.
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We still believe that Ali Baba is the best watermelon we can grow.
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Although these Orangeglo melons are pretty darn good. Sweet as can be although the boys won’t eat it because they can’t get over the fact that it looks like pumpkin.
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Have you had padron peppers before? We are growing two plants this year that we bought at the Sonoma Garden Park plant sale. These sauteed in a hot pan with olive oil and then sprinkled with maldon sea salt make an incredible side dish. Some are hot and some are mild enough for little kids to eat.
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Our golden delicious apples are ready for the picking so we’ve started on apple sauce and of course an apple pie.
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What’s been going on in your neck of the woods?

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State of the Garden

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I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted in the garden photos! I think we just surfaced from the plum/nectarine/peach madness only to find that our counter is starting to be covered now in tomatoes and melons. Anyway, come with me for a little walk. To get to the veggie garden you have to cross the lawn and go through this arbor. Notice the touch of white sky? This summer has been so cool and foggy, which I adore!
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As you can see the middle of the garden, behind that wheelbarrow is melon/squash madness. The melons are all in our straw bale raised bed and the squash are in the raised bed right in front of that. So far we’ve picked five cantelopes (Scott just walked inside with two more in his hands as I was typing this saying there were three more that were ready right behind those two!)
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This tomato spot is at the very back of the garden. We only planned on planting four tomato plants this year, but you know how that goes…you plant a few more seeds than you need just in case and then you can’t just throw those out. So we found space when we moved the compost piles. We didn’t hold out much hope for this forgotten about section of the yard because it doesn’t receive much sunlight, however the tomatoes obviously don’t mind. They are as healthy as ever, probably from the years of compost that they are planted in.
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Since we are at the back of the garden I thought I’d indulge you in one of the last oak leaf hydrangea blossoms left. Aren’t they spectacular? I just love oak leaf hydrangeas and the three that we planted are as happy as can be. I have in my mind’s eye an entire woodland garden planned under our cedar trees, but for now, while I’ve been busy growing and raising little children, those plans stay in my head.
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Our 6 year old son was in charge of the sunflowers this year and wouldn’t you know, he grew his flowers twice as tall as we’ve ever been able to grow ours. These tower above the roof line. He’s also resurrected a thought to be dead gardenia and it’s now flowering…green thumb that kid has!
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This is the first year our prune tree has had much of a harvest. Why do those leaves always look so yellow so early in summer? Any experienced prune growers out there?
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This is all we’ve been able to see of our banana squashes, they are so buried in vines. However, they look enormous. I think the suggestion that they could grow to 4 feet long might not be so ridiculous afterall! And I might add that these are growing on the complete opposite side of the squash bed than where the plant stems from. Super long vines!
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The Ali Babas…they are almost ready. I can’t wait!
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And the corn, that’s getting close too.

Thanks for taking a little tour with me. I hope you are having a great weekend!

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A More Natural Pregnancy

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I can’t believe that there are only about five more weeks left in my pregnancy! How quickly time flies! I am so anxious to welcome this little girl into our home full of boys. So far this pregnancy has been quite easy and very enjoyable, which has been a lifesaver having two busy little boys already. I know it will most likely be my last so I’ve been trying to enjoy it best I can. Even with these last trimester aches and pains and low energy. I’ll be back to my old self before I know it.

Although I’m far from an expert, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been doing during this pregnancy to ensure that it is a little more natural. I know some of you know many more tips than I do and I’d love for you to share them in the comments, but here is what I’ve been doing so far.

  1. Prenatal Vitamin – I heard once that you get your money’s worth when you buy cheap vitamins. I don’t know how true it is, but I heard that the cheap one-a-day vitamins just pass right through you whole. So for this pregnancy I decided to splurge a little on vitamins and bought these Super Nutrition vitamins. They are green-food based tablets which help for quick digestion (about 15 minutes). I take them after dinner, because taking them any other time of day made me completely nasceous during the first and second trimester. This vitamin combined with Prenatal DHA sample tablets that a kind Whole Foods worker handed to me (a huge stack of them – so sweet of her) have been keeping me feeling good.
  2. Easing Morning Sickness with Milk Thistle - For my two previous pregnancies I had awful morning sickness. Luckily it really was just limited to the morning, but it was full of throwing up and just awful none the less. So when I first found out I was pregnant for the third time I did some research on how to lessen morning sickness and found this post on mothering.com. The basis of the info says that the liver is what takes it the hardest during the early parts of pregnancy and what helps out the liver is milk thistle. Ideally you want to start taking this before you become pregnant. Since this pregnancy was a surprise, I didn’t have time to do that, but I started taking it as soon as I could and although it didn’t get rid of my morning sickness, this was the easiest first trimester I have had, which was a blessing. Was it due to the milk thistle? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt to take it, so give it a try.
  3. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – Since my last pregnancy I had read up on how good drinking red raspberry leaf tea was for you during pregnancy. It supposedly, when drank regularly, can aid in shorter, less complicated labors. Red raspberry leaf tea is said to strengthen and tone the uterus too. I, unfortunately in the name of natural living, have to have a planned c-section with this pregnancy due to a very thin uterian wall. But I have been drinking red raspberry leaf both hot and iced anyway to at least strengthen my uterus. It is also high in iron, which is good for my pregnancy induced anemia. More reading can be found here.
  4. Nettle Tea – Stinging nettle is also another good pregnancy herb to have on hand. Luckily about a year ago I won a contest where I was sent a huge bag full of dried nettle leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs and have enjoyed drinking regular infusions. Nowadays I mix it with the raspberry leaf tea I have to make my own pregnancy tea. Nettles are chalk full of nutrition, especially folic acid which is important during pregnancy. It also, along with red raspberry leaf tea increases breast milk which will be helpful next month!
  5. Preventing Stretch Marks – I already have my fill of stretch marks from my first two pregnancies, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to take preventative measures to avoid any more. So through some research I found that coconut oil is great for skin and for preventing stretch marks. I rub coconut oil directly onto my stomach in the evenings and I use my homemade hand lotion on my belly every morning, but instead use half olive oil and half coconut oil when I make it. So far, even though I’m as big as I’ve ever been there haven’t been any new stretch marks! Yahoo!
  6. Easing my Mind – As you know, I have energetic 6 year old and soon to be 4 year old boys which can be exhausting to follow through the day even when not pregnant! I know how important keeping your stress levels low are during pregnancy, but between the boys and my business, staying calm constantly seemed impossible. Luckily as the good world turns, I met the founder of the Hearth Foundation and encouraged her to teach a non denominational meditation class to myself and a few other moms here in town. Learning this practice, which I try to do daily has been an incredible live saver both in parenting my two growing children and for keeping my stress levels low while growing a new little bean.

What have you found helpful during your pregnancies?

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Sunday Flowers-Little Boy Version

Sunday Flowers

Sunday flowers gathered by little boys. They didn’t do half bad with their bouquet, did they?

If you’ve picked some fresh flowers for your house, please do add the link in the comments!

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Another weekend of preserving

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The peaches have ripened and this has been our biggest crop yet! Besides giving bags and bags away to our friends, we’ve put up 11 jars of peaches (with more to do tomorrow), made cobbler, pie and frozen countless ziplock bags full of quartered slices to use for future pies and smoothies.

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For the first time this year we’ve had to put up makeshift support beams to keep the branches from breaking off. Slowly, yet surely these branches are straightening up as we pick them off.

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The last of the nectarines and two giant ‘forgotten about’ zucchinis lay cut up in the sunshine for drying.

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Preserving food for the future months is something I never thought would fill me with such satisfaction. Seeing our cupboards and freezer fill up with neat, colorful, edible packages is like money in the bank to me.

Tell me, are you doing any preserving this weekend?

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