An ‘Almost Fall’ Morning

The sky is blue and the air is crisp this morning so I decided just to grab my camera and take a walk around the yard. Here is a peek at what it looks like around here today as Fall begins to change the landscape.

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The garden is bursting with tomatoes and pumpkins as the morning dew evaporates in the sunshine.

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I think I have reheated my coffee at least 5 times this morning because I keep getting sidetracked by the beauty of the view around me. Thankful for this peaceful and glorious start to the day. Taking time to stop and smell the lavender today !

Have a great Monday !

Linda

Stop and Smell the Flowers

The sun is slowly breaking through the overcast skies this morning as I took a little walk around the yard. I took a break from projects this week due to a minor medical interuption that has me less active for a few days. So I decided to snap a few pictures of what is blooming around here.

One of my favorites flowers are hydrageas. I have a few different varieties and they surround our home. Here’s a little peek around our house.

 

Lavender also is plentiful in my landscape as I love the fragrance and harvest it to dry and use in recipes and sachets.

Another fragrant flower I enjoy is jasmine and I have it’s entangling blossoms around the edge of our deck. It is especially fragrant in the evenings .

Here are some other pops of colorful blooms around my yard.

Even cut of few of those big white hydragea blooms to enjoy inside as well.

So I guess it can be said that I took some time today ‘To Stop and Smell the Flowers”.

When was the last time you took some time to slow down and do that?

Linda

Did you know?

Did you know that if you cut the lettuce in your garden at the base instead of pulling up the entire plant it grows again? I am just figuring this out and it’s amazing!!!!! Ok so I’m a little behind on the garden train, but if you are new at this like I am you need to know this before you yank all those roots up with the harvest. It applies to spinach and arugula too.

 

I cut romaine last week and already have new baby greens. The arugula is growing new leaves as well. I’m not sure how many times it will keep regrowing , I need to research that. Anyway I thought this little tid-bit would be helpful for us new gardeners and prolong the bounty of the harvest.

I also am reassessing my curb appeal factor. This is how my front entry looks at the moment:

This is what I would like it to look like or at least the same feel as you approach our home:Pinned Image

So I think this house is BEAUTIFUL! I may have to scale down the landscaping shown here , but you have to admit it is fabulous.

Another pinterest post I find inviting:

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How does your house measure up in the curb appeal area? Looking pretty welcoming or could it use a little help? It is the first impression of those who live inside. What do you want to convey to those passing by? A welcome inviting home or one that says ‘KEEP OUT’ ?

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Let’s shoot for ” Weclome to our home”.

Linda

Arugula Pesto

In spite of our cool start to Summer around here, the garden is taking off. Since it has been cool spinach and arugula are out of control. Even though I tried planting them weeks apart, it is all ready at the same time. We’ve eaten it until I think our skin will start turning green soon so I had to find a use for the abundance. I wanted to harvest it before it went to seed so I decided to make arugula pesto.

I have made pesto many ways , traditional with basil and pine nuts, even spinach with pecans or almonds, but arugula was new to me this year so I decided to give it a try.

First I washed the arugula and gave it a spin in my salad spinner to remove the excess water.

To make the pesto , in addition to the arugula you will need :  olive oil, garlic, almonds, parmesan cheese.

I decided to use almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts, but really I think any nut would work.I chopped them in the food processor a bit before I added the remaining ingredients. For a colander full of greens I used about 2/3 cup of nuts.

Then I piled in the arugula gave it a few pulses in the food processor and added a bit more. I then added 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese and 2 cloves of garlic. Pulsed the food processor while adding just enough olive oil to to make a smooth pesto. You can adjust the amounts of each ingredient depending on your taste.

Honestly you can use spinach, basil, or arugula, any type of shelled nut, parmesan or other grated hard cheese, and optional garlic. Even a combination of greens works great.

I filled mason jars with the pesto leaving 1/2 ” space at the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. You could also fill ice cube trays with the pesto and when they freeze store in ziplock bags and pop out what you need and keep the remainder frozen. If stored in the refrigerator I would try to use within 2 weeks.

It really is easy and tasted wonderful stirred into pasta. I also used it as a spread for grilled flat bread (that is something I make often around here, I will share that sometime soon.). Any where you would add basil pesto you could use this instead for a change of pace.

Hope you’ll try it and let me know any other similar ‘pesto’ recipes.

Linda

Linking to :

 Somewhat Simple

   

Happy Trails

No it’s not the rain forest, just our property here in the Pacific Northwest. It has been pretty rainy the past couple of days and the grass is green and the foliage spilling over onto my husbands groomed trails and pathways. He is always mowing, burning fallen limbs and making new trails around here. He loves it when the kids are around and they run and hide amonst the ferns and trees. You can hear them giggling from the house as they make forts and spend hours in Papa’s trails.

I often refer to ‘out back’ or ‘ on our property’ so I thought I would give you a peek into what I’m talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood pecker nest, could hear them calling the parent birds for food this morning.

We do have beautiful natural surroundings and keep our landscaping to around the perimeter of the house. The garden area is new this year and we are enjoying the fruits of our labor in fresh greens at the moment. We are still waiting on sunnier and warmer days before tomatoes and other veggies are ready.

I’m not sure even Popeye could eat all the spinach we’ve been picking lately.

Peas are finding their way up the trellis.

Arugula, first time we have tried to grow this…. evidently it likes our cool PNW weather.

Waiting to put the rest of our outdoor furniture and hammock out once the nice days out number the rainy ones.

Have a great weekend!

Linda

Garden, It’s All About the Soil

I must admit I am a novice at gardening. I have dabbled in it off and on but just for fun and to enjoy fresh veggies through the summer. My in-laws however have more of a ‘produce for the year’ type garden, with enough to can, freeze and share with others. Their soil is rich and seeds and plants thrive. The soil where we live is rocky and I am told from glaciers many years ago. We even find rocks with fossilized shells in them once in a while, proof this land my home sits on was once part of the sound and underwater.

Hence we have raised beds to control the quality of the soil and avoid planting on rocky ground. We started planting a few weeks ago and had a few set backs due to mild frost a few mornings last week. Here is how it looked this morning:

It is way behind my in-laws garden with their rich soil , but it’s growing.

This past Sunday our Pastor Jon Cobler and his darling wife Fawn shared from Matthew 13 and the parable of the sower. How appropriate with all this planting and gardening going on. Many things spoke to my heart from what was shared. Funny how you’ve read passages before but each time a new truth speaks to your heart and you see something in a new light. Proof again that God’s word is the Living Word, appropriate for each new day, as much today as when it was written.

One of the main things I have been pondering is that when the farmer went out to sow his seeds, it wasn’t the seed that was different in how the crop grew , but it was all about the soil. Same seed, different soil produced fruit or withered and died. The seed is the Word of God and the soil is me or my heart. God’s Word is the same , presentation may vary, but it is the condition of my heart that takes it in and determines whether it grows, changes me , draws me closer to Him or dries up and withers away.

I want to be rich , tender soil ready to let the seeds of God’s Word sink deep and establish steady roots that will weather the storms of life. That takes pulling weeds and watering daily. I love what Fawn shared about the weeds, they are the distractions of this world. Those are the things the ‘world ‘ cares about and we get caught up in and they distract and entangle us, choking out the life God would have for us. Can you tell this word hit my heart this week?

Take time to read Matthew 13 and see what truths, seeds, God wants to plant in you today.

God Bless you today for taking a minute with Him.

Love,

Linda

Living Water Church, Olympia , WA

http://www.livingwater.com/content.cfm?id=213&content_id=753

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

Seems like I sort of fell off the grid for a while and haven’t sat down to blog for a few weeks. So pardon me while I ramble and try to catch up.

The garden is up and going with peas, beets, spinach, lettuce (  a few different varieties), potatoes, artichokes, planted in the raised beds. In the greenhouse, tomatoes , peppers, squash of 3 kinds and 2 types of pumpkins are getting their starts. Had a little mouse problem, but I put some wire mesh down at the base of the greenhouse floor and haven’t had a visit from them since.

Peas starting to sprout:

 Greenhouse is my plant nursery at the moment:

Clothes pins work great for plant markers, inexpensive and hold down a bit of plastic if I need to cover a pot to speed germination.

 

The squash and tomatoes need to wait for warmer days to be planted outside, sometime this month if the sun shows up more often.

Also when we start getting warmer nights I can plant the beans in the raised beds. The garden is filling up and if the slugs would find other places to munch I may be eating lettuce in a few weeks. I plan to plant the squash and pumpkins on a slope we have so they can sprawl out and cover the ground. They would have taken up too much space in the raised beds and from the looks of the starts I have ,providing they produce well, I will be sharing with family and friends.

It will be fun to see if all this hard work pays off and we get fresh, organic produce to enjoy this summer and fall. How’s your garden going? Depending on where you live and the weather conditions you may be well ahead of mine . I’m just waiting on the sun and some warmer days to see things really start growing.

Happy Gardening!

Linda

Found Them!

Another craigslist find.. WhooHoo! Just what I wanted for $10 and a little fuel to meet the lady selling both of them.

The little one I have had , but the large one  I purchased from craigslist as well.

They will be a charming addition to my garden and greenhouse. Now if the sun would just stay out a while so I can get out there and finish what I’ve started.

I would like to find a little cart to add to the whole outdoor theme. Something like this:

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I have an old radio flyer wagon similar to this :

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Other outdoor carts I like:

Vintage Garden Wheelbarrow

So I will be on the search for one of these beauties and let me know if you spot one in your treasure hunting adventures.

Have a great first weekend of Spring!

Linda

Watering Cans

I am on a mission to find a couple of galvanized metal watering cans for my garden, deck and greenhouse. I thought it would be such an easy item to find. It appears I was wrong. New ones I find are painted with some cutesy pattern or plastic, NOT what I’m looking for.

So I guess I need to start going to garage sales or flea markets to find my treasured watering can.

This is what I am looking for:

 

Large Vintage Tin Watering Can - NO 12 - Copper Spigot - Treasury Item

French Watering Cans

If you have one and would like to part with it I am interest, I just don’t want to spend much.  For my friends and family ,if you see a inexpensive one at a garage sale or somewhere let me know or grab it for me. My gardening mode is kicking in big time and this is on my list.

Water Can Wednesday! Let’s find one!

Linda

Spring Mantel

While the calendar indicates tomorrow is the first day of Spring , I have been in Spring-mode for the past month. Unfortunately the weather here has not been reflecting the change of season as much as one would have hoped for by now. Still I try to tell myself anyday now it will be above 60 degrees and NOT snowing.

So I will keep Springifying the inside of my home while I wait for warmer days to work outside.

Layla over at http://theletteredcottage.net/ is planning to host a link party for Spring mantel makeovers beginning tomorrow. http://theletteredcottage.net/spring-fling-link-parties/

I had decorated mine a few weeks ago when I finished painting the chalkboards. It remains neutral in it’s color scheme but fits the rest of the room’s decor.

Since I have the mirror over the mantel I don’t feel the need to over accessorize, but love to change to reflect the seasons or a special event by adding a few things. Also having a mirror there means when I try to photograph my mantel, if I the shot isn’t from just the right angle you get to see my kitchen and whatever happens to be laying out on the counter..oops. That happened more times than I care to admit.

Here are some of the other options for the mantel I experimented with:

Either way it looks much better in reality than it photographs.

This weekend between rain showers I moved the flower cart to the greenhouse and redid the entry.. Again.  Yes it’s been said I have “Obsessive Compulsive Decorating”, OCD sort of. I worked in a couseling office recently and a pyschiatrist , whom is now a sweet friend, and I decided this must be my condition. I can live with that. I even had to fluff the waiting room pillows when I was there to redecorate her office.

Anyway…. here is the flower cart in the greenhouse:

And the entry.. for the moment:

More indoor Springyness:

Signs that Spring is tying to manifest itself around here:

Be sure to check out all the Spring mantel ideas over at http://theletteredcottage.net/ tomorrow.

Happy last day of Winter! Whoo Hoo!

Linda

The Lettered Cottage