Like usual, the summer is a bustling time a business; only this year, we've added even more to our already full plates by finishing the house. As my grandpa says, I have "a lot of rods in the fire" right now, and I'm finding myself struggling to stay afloat some days. I wouldn't trade any of it though; these days are wonderful, magical, and what memories are made of.
We are officially in our house! If you haven't checked out the reveal series, be sure to do that and see the work D has done to make our house a home. I honestly do have to pinch myself sometimes....Last summer at this time I was walking along the road of my city house, dreaming with D about this exact life. And now we're living it. It's amazing. I feel so lucky and so at peace with where we are at right now. We're home.
I can feel that we are on the verge of canning season. We are so close and so many of the vegetables we preserve are right on the brink of ripening! The garden is growing fast and furious now, and I'm proud of how much we've gotten into our space and excited for what we'll get out of it. We've been enjoying basil pesto, zucchini, peas, broccoli, green peppers, and lettuces so far, and even had a few blueberries to add some sweetness. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans are so close to ripening, and when they do, we will be canning like crazy to get a stored supply for winter. I've harvested all of our garlic, and it has been curing for storage on the front porch. I was really impressed with the size of the cloves, and I'm excited to plant more in the fall.
One thing I'm a bit disappointed with is the hot peppers. The foliage is beautiful and the plants look healthy....but there are very few blossoms and it doesn't appear that there will be more any time soon. I've read that Epsom salts can help to encourage blossoming, but I've never tried it. Have any of you? Anyone have any suggestions?
We've been really lucky to have not been plagued by potato bugs. I don't know how it's possible, but I've only found 2 so far this year. There are a lot of cow birds that hang out in the garden...maybe they eat them?! I'm not sure the reason, but I am happy about nevertheless!
The first batch of radishes and peas that were planted in April are about done, and I've done another planting of both of them for another harvest. I've also planted some swiss chard and will soon get another batch of greens in the ground so we can have them farther into the winter.
The wildflowers that I planted along the edge of the garden have started to bloom too, and that makes me happy :) I really love flowers. I'm so excited to get a flower bed started once the yard is done. For now, the pollinator bed in the garden makes me happy too.
It's a happy time with the garden. It always makes me grateful for the earth and amazed at what a tiny seed can do.
These are some good days. I'm home with my little ones, the sun is warm, our land is beautiful, and we spend lots of time outside....These are happy days. We've spent many a days picking wild raspberries right now, as they are finally ripe and ready. Even the kids enjoy it- for a while at least. Little Miss K eats them about as fast as I pick them, and Miss B does the same. As we pick, I freeze them so that we can have enough to make wild raspberry jelly, which we love! (Get the recipe and directions here). The rest I freeze in mason jars to add to pancakes and oatmeal in the winter. It really can't be beat in those cold winter months! Next will be blackberries, and we're anxiously watching the berries to see when they'll be black and ready! It looks like it will be a good year.
C is in t-ball, and he's really loving that, though he's sad that it's coming to an end. He'll be back to being "just a regular kid", as he says, soon. He has a game each week, and that has been fun to watch.
All of our outdoor time has caught up with me, and I've unfortunately contracted Lyme Disease. I had a tick stuck on my leg in mid-June, and a couple of weeks later, a bullseye rash formed on my leg. The next day, I was sick with joint pain, a pounding headache, and fatigue. I started a 21 day round of antibiotics which I just finished this week. Unfortunately, my symptoms have now returned after completing the antibiotics... The joint pain is back, along with the headaches and fatigue. It irritates me more than anything else- I don't have time for this! I messaged my doctor about the reoccurrence of the symptoms after antibiotics, and she said it could be Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome and could take up to 6 months to go away....I'm really hoping this is not the case. Hopefully these symptoms will subside soon and life can go back to normal! It's hard to get my daily chores done and to be a good mom when it hurts to walk and move and all I want to do is sleep. My hatred for woodticks has really increased- so much so that we're looking at getting guinea fowl to help with them. Do any of you have any? The main thing holding us back now is that they don't always get along with chickens....I'm not ruling it out just yet, though!
Speaking of chickens- our meat birds were processed in the beginning of July, and we've gotten a freezer full of birds now. We've eaten one so far, and we were happy about the taste. It's a different feeling, definitely, raising your own meat. You've seen the animal alive and breathing...and it makes its sacrifice that much more tangible. It's easy to disconnect the fact that the meat you buy from the store was once a living animal. Growing it yourself puts the reality of what meat is back in the forefront of your mind. When we sat down that first night to have the chicken, the kids continued to ask questions and comment on it:
"Are these our chickies?"
"Are we eating the chicks?"
"B, this was our chick that used to be outside."
I'll admit, the constant reminder that it was our chickens that we were eating made it a bit hard for me to eat it. I shushed the children and quietly ate my dinner, giving thanks to the animal who provided us nourishment for the night. That isn't something I normally do when I eat meat at dinner time. I appreciate that we know what the chickens were fed, we know they were raised humanely, and I have an appreciation for the animal that died for us to eat. It connects us back to nature and back to reality, and I am grateful to experience that.
The other big thing happening in our lives right now are just the horrible tasks of unpacking. I'm convinced we might never get unpacked. There just isn't time! We have our essentials in the house, but some things, like winter clothes, hunting clothes, etc. just can't seem to get unpacked or even brought into the house. In time, we'll need them and they'll make their way into their places....but for now the garage is still filled with boxes. Someday we'll get it all done...maybe.
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What have you been up to this summer? Tell us about your adventures in the comments :)
Until next time,
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