Update

I’m afraid I’ve sort of fallen off the blogging bandwagon.  I’ve drastically cut back my computer usage in recent weeks, and it’s been wonderful.  I can easily waste way too much time on the internet, and I’ve tried several times before to cut back to no avail.  This time, I wasn’t even trying (how does THAT work?!).  I’ve been keeping busy in the meantime, though, and here’s some pictures to prove it:

 My garden is in:  tomatoes, potatoes, green and lima beans, cantaloupe, green peppers, peppermint, and garlic!  I’d still like to plant a few more herbs and flowers and things, but even if I don’t get that far, at least we’ll have fresh tomatoes this summer.  That was my main garden goal for the year, since we love salsa and tomato sauce so much. 

We started our landscaping adventures!  So far our house-related energies have been mostly concentrated on inside-related fix-ups: tile, painting, a new garage door, carpet, windows, furniture, etc.  But this spring we’ve been hard at work in the yard.  In addition to the garden, we added two hydrangeas (one on either side of our front steps), four azalea bushes (lining our driveway), and a bulb garden (around the mail box).

The azaleas will eventually make mowing WAY easier by crowding out the grass between our crepe myrtles.  And think how pretty they will look all in bloom! 

We staggered pink azalea bushes with white, and we put a blue hydrangea on one side of our front porch and cream on the other.  In our bulb garden are lilies, tulips, hyacinths, gladiolas, and irises.  Someday I’d like to get some daffodils.  We’ve been composting our scraps for 18months now and have some very nice mulch to supplement our almost nonexistant topsoil.  And it rained all day yesterday, so everything got a good dousing–plus I collected two big garbage cans full of rainwater (from leaks in our gutters) to use later in the week as things start drying out again.

  

In other plant news, our backyard blueberry bush is bursting with fruit, as is the grape vine and blackberry bramble.  We discovered a wild blueberry patch in a local city park a few weeks back, which thrilled me to no end.  Imagine: wild blueberries in the middle of big city Richmond!  My country-girl inclinations were largely mollified.

Tim is still working crazy hours, and we’re both very ready for his schedule to return to normal.  I keep saying this, but hopefully this time it’s really true: the project he’s immersed in should be wrapping up soon (maybe even by the end of this week). 

I have two more weeks of science before summer break.  I’m really enjoying our unit on plants, and hopefully the kids are, too.  They all grew their own vegetables, which was pretty thrilling. 

I snuck in a little visit to my parents in Kentucky during one of Tim’s busiest weeks.  It was so good to see them, and also fun to experience spring in the mountains.  What a show!  These wild irises were particularly delicate and absolutely gorgeous.  We also got to catch up a bit with Tim’s parents last week as they made a quick visit to our neck of the woods!

We continue to really enjoy having Pop with us.  I especially have appreciated his company with Tim gone to work so much.  He has added a few duties to his dish-washing regime, including keeping the cookie jar full.  He baked these while Tim and I were planting our hydrangeas and left a few out for us to sample when we were finished.

I’m continuing to make slow but sure progress on getting Secondhand Chance (my thrift store wannabe) off the ground (and no, sorry, I’m afraid there is not a cousin for Baby Stam ((my sister’s kid!!)) in there amongst all that stuffing).  I’ve had several people contact me about purchasing clothing, and that’s really helped keep my motivation and excitement up and running.  Thanks to those of you who have supported in that way!  I recently discovered a thrift store that sells $.50 clothing, which was a dramatic improvement from the $2-$2.50 I was paying at Goodwill and Salvation Army.  So I’ve been haunting their aisles weekly, stocking up on great merchandise.  My next goal is to purchase a mannequin to help speed up my picture taking process. 

We had BLTs for lunch today for the first time in months.  I guess summer really is here!  I froze close to a dozen meals of asparagus that I found at a farmer’s market earlier this spring–yum!  I’ve also been serving lots of corn on the cob in recent weeks, and just last week freshly picked strawberries arrived in our fridge courtesy of one of Tim’s cousins.  I may go pick a few pints of my own next week sometime.  Anybody know anything about freezing them?  About all I know is that it can be done, since I can buy them frozen in the store if I so desire.  I tried last year, but I sliced and sugared them first, and they got all mushy.

Well, Tim’s getting ready to wake up (he’s working night shift this week), so I’d better sign off for now.  I can’t make any promises about when I’ll be back, but at least now you know a little bit of what’s been going on here in our world!

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  1. #1 by Miriam on May 5, 2011 - 3:34 pm

    My MIL freezes them, and she just caps them and puts them on a cookie sheet (single layer) to flash freeze, then dumps them into Freezer Ziplocs. My mom did the sliced/sugar method and we never liked them. My MIL’s way they still aren’t like fresh – they’re soft, but not gross. She uses them in smoothies and even pies and jellos. I plan to do the flash freezing method this year, b/c I want smoothies!!!

  2. #2 by Angela on May 5, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    http://www.pickyourown.org/strawberries_freezing.htm

    pick your own is my go-to preserving resource

  3. #3 by Gretchen on May 5, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    I missed you and your cheery photos in blogland. I second Miriam’s way of freezing– you just have to find room for a cookie sheet in the freezer!

  4. #4 by Anna C on May 5, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    I sliced and put them directly in ziplocs to freeze, but then you have to break them apart to use. It worked fine for me though. They don’t thaw really well, but they’re good in smoothies, etc when used frozen.

  5. #5 by joannamv on May 6, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    Missed your blogs!

  6. #6 by Rachel R on May 9, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    I missed your blogs too! You inspire me! You reminded me that I want to plant some herbs and hopefully we can go strawberry picking this year! I always went growing up, but havent been able to find a place near us in Philly to go. You are such a great motivator 🙂

  7. #7 by Cristy on May 9, 2011 - 2:56 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, all!

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