"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2014"
Reece, summer has been pretty darn good to us this year, and you, my little man, have soaked up all the goodness it has had to offer. We still have a few more weeks, and I am sure there will be a ton of time spent outside as summer slowly fades away.
You might think with all the gardening, and putting food by my hands would be busy enough, but they aren't. There is always knitting happening around here, sometimes it is just a row here and there, other times I am knitting every second I get. This summer knitting has been a little slower, mostly because I am not knitting any Christmas gifts this year. There will be the traditional winter solstice hats for Justin and Reece, and maybe a sweater for Reece, but other than that Christmas gift giving will include other handmade goodies.
The wonderful thing about not knitting Christmas gifts is that I am free to knit for me! I cast on the hitchhiker while we were away at the end of June and finished it shortly after we got home. I highly recommend this knit. It is fun, easy to pick up and put down, and as you can see, looks amazing. With the cooler temperatures we have been having, and the forecast of a cool September, I just might be wearing it sooner than later.
I finally picked up the courage to cast on the February lady sweater. I have had this pattern printed, with the yarn and needles ready to go since March, and just couldn't cast it on. Finally, one night, I just did it, and I am so happy I did. It is a top down knit, which I love, and now that I have separated for the sleeves, and have the four row pattern pretty much memorized, it is moving along nicely. I am really looking forward to wearing this, just need to make sure I keep steadily working on it so I can wear it this winter season.
In between these two projects I knit up some mason jar cozies, a few knitted wrist bands and some little yarn bowls, which still have to be felted. My needles have definitely been clicking away a little slower than usual this summer, but they are clicking, and I have to admit, I am enjoying the process of knitting for me.
Wednesday is nature day in our home, and not much keeps us from heading outside to explore the trails close to our home. Yesterday, Reece and I headed out to a new-to-us trail about 45 minutes from home. There is always a little excitement in the air when we check out a new trail, we just never know what we will find. Yesterday we found a gem.
The Seaton Hiking Trail was beautiful. Wooded paths, beautiful meadows, a creek flowing beside us at different parts of the trail, and wild herbs and flowers everywhere. The two of us walked, talked, laughed, enjoyed our picnic, stopped often to take in the view, and searched for wild plants along the way.
I am not sure how far we hiked, and really, it doesn't matter. We spent time together, connecting to nature, ourselves and each other, and ended up back at the car a little dirty, tired, and very happy.
It's a jungle out there...well, pretty close. Things are getting a little wild and crazy in parts of the garden. The tomato plants are starting to lean over, heavy with tomatoes to ripen, the pole beans are reaching out looking for more trellis to grow on, the cucumbers, zucchinis, squash and pumpkins have left their individual raised beds and are spreading out far and wide, and we keep harvesting greens, beets, and carrots, but can't seem to put a dent in what is out there. It has been a pretty good gardening year. Yes, some things did better than others, that happens every year, but really we have nothing to complain about. The pantry shelves are filling up, over 100 jars of food have been put by so far, and the freezer is filling up fast.
I am still fighting the cabbage worms in the garden, and with all the rain and cooler temperatures, powdery mildew has hit the squash, zucchini and pumpkin. This happens pretty much every year around this time, but this year seems a little worse. I have been spraying them with my trusty water, dish soap, and baking powder mixture, and trying to control it. The plants are still producing, and sending out new leaves, so I am hopeful I can keep them around a little longer. The cucumber plants look brutal from all the hail damage, but the cucumbers keep on coming, and the pole beans are coming along great and providing us with lots of beans, for both meals and putting by.
The strawberry plants are getting close to giving us some late season strawberries, and as soon as they ripen, I will be taking them all out. This is their third year, and production is dropping. I am planning to move them next year, and will start fresh with some new plants. This bed will be worked over, amended with some compost and fresh soil, and will wait for garlic to be planted in late October.
The fall and winter beds are doing great. Seeds are sprouting, and this week will see a little bit of thinning here and there. We are hoping to get the tunnels up on the two raised beds this weekend, and then once the cooler weather hits we can get the covers on and protect our precious food for the fall and winter.
I moved a little soil into the empty potato beds, getting this area ready for berries next year...blueberries and raspberries. We are also adding some blackberries in another area of the yard, and will have the new bed of strawberries.
The harvests keep rolling in. I head out at meal times to pick a little bit here and there, and Justin usually hears me yelling from the garden to bring a few bowls out. You would think after all these years of gardening I wouldn't be surprised at how fast everything grows and ripens in the garden during these late August days, but here I am again, surprised and loving it.
The chickens were out, roaming about, when I snapped photos of the garden yesterday afternoon, so you get a few photos of them, free ranging around the yard.
I tiptoe softly out of the house, tea in hand, camera over my shoulder. The soft, still air is filled with morning bird song. Streaks of sun peek through the trees, catching the dew drops, making them sparkle. I walk slowly around the yard, breathing deeply, enjoying the early morning peace.
Natures beauty is not lost on me. I stop, I notice, I try to capture it with my lens. I watch a dew drop fall slowly from a leaf to the ground. Leaves that once adorned the birch tree, are now scattering themselves on the green grass. Tomato plants, heavy with fruit, look wild and crazy, and flowers, in different states of bloom, add a dimension of beauty to the garden. Quiet mornings, like this one, offer connection to myself, and to the earth.
My tea is done, my soul alive. I walk slowly back into our home, the sound of laughter echos from the bedroom. They are up. Pumpkin pancakes are made, and a batch of pumpkin granola slowly baked in the oven. More tea is steeped, and then breakfast enjoyed, slowly.
"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2014"
Reece, when I work in the kitchen, you are always close by. Some days you like to hop up on the counter and help with whatever I am doing, and other days you grab something to do and find a place on the floor, just under my feet. On this day you were drawing a dinosaur, so very focused on your drawing you didn't notice I had stopped working to take a photo or two.
Over the last year I have observed the budding friendship between my little man and this lovely little lady. It has been interesting to sit back and watch as the two of them have grown closer, figured out the ins and outs of friendship, and formed a bond, one that is much stronger than I realized.
Reece has not seen his friend since mid July. She has been coming to our home once a week since last September, and in January that was bumped up to twice a week, and we also share time in nature with her family on a regular basis. I was not prepared for how much he would miss her. He asked constantly when she would be coming back, and when he would see her again. It was sweet, and made me realize just how much this friendship means to him.
She returned from her vacation on Tuesday, and Reece and I picked her up yesterday for a little nature adventure. To say he was a little excited when he woke up was an understatement. We spent the morning in the woods, and then hit the library before dropping her home. Watching them connect again, walking along the path chatting and laughing, feeding chipmunks, chickadees and woodpeckers, and climbing trees together made this mama's heart melt.
These two little souls get along very well together, and seem to really care about each other. I feel very lucky to be able to watch it all unfold...it feels like little bits of magic in my days.
These days in the August garden are not exactly as they should be. The weather the past week has been cold, and wet. Daytime temperatures topping out at 18 degrees and nights cooling down to single digits. Definitely not the best weather for all the ripening that needs to happen in the garden these days. But we are rolling with it as best we can, you can't fight Mother Nature, and she did bring the sunshine out on Sunday and Monday, so for that I am grateful.
Our big pile of dirt was delivered, and the three of us spent Sunday morning moving a lot of it. The cold frame, the new raised bed for cut flowers and the raised bed in Reece's play space all got filled up. The two raised beds will now be put to sleep for the winter, waiting patiently for spring to arrive. The cold frame was planted with seeds....lettuce, radish, pok choy, spinach, beets, kale and Swiss chard. We cleaned out another raised bed we will be tunneling this winter, topped it up with dirt, and planted more seeds there. The most exciting thing, because it never gets old, the seeds planted last week are sprouting.
Meal time harvests happen three times a day, even in the rain, and every few days I head out there for a bigger harvest, bringing in food to put by for the winter. The pantry shelves are filling up, and I smile every time I walk by them. This week beets and cucumbers were
pickled, blueberries, peaches, and zucchini were added to the freezer
stash and the first harvest of tomatoes were roasted and frozen.
My little man is still happily harvesting carrots, he is excited about the eggplants growing in his garden, he is watching the pole beans carefully, patiently waiting to start picking, and he can't wait to dig into some of the food we have put by, especially the dilly green beans.
The days are good in this August garden, despite the cooler temperatures, but I am hoping Mother Nature has some hot, summery days left to share with us.