Sunday garden tour - May 31

I've decided to start a weekly garden update every Sunday. Last year I didn't take enough notes on what happened when, so this year I'm going to let my photos keep notes for me. :) This is going to be a photo-heavy post. Sorry... (click on any of the pictures to make it bigger and see more detail)

Welcome to the Farm!

First up is the herb corner on the patio. The bok choy has bolted (those are the yellow flowers in focus). Also shown are chives, onions (with a volunteer head of lettuce growing in the middle of one of the pots), mint, thyme, dill, oregano, parsley and sweet alyssum.

Next is the L-shaped bed, our original veg garden from 2008. Starting at the southeast side, we've got beets and onions interspersed (the beets hadn't sprouted yet when I planted the onions, and I mismarked where I'd sowed the beets....oops!), carrots and cucumbers (under plastic cover)...

...and then baby lettuces - my 2nd planting...

...and then spinach (1st and 2nd planting)...

...and then fava beans (finally starting to bloom!). Not shown: rosemary and teeny tiny melons (jenny lind melon and watermelon).

Nasturtiums have leaves that look like lily pads. I can't wait to see the blooms!

Potato bins growing like crazy. I hope we are doing these right - I'll be pretty annoyed if I fill these suckers up with 4 ft of dirt and then I don't find 4 ft of potatoes in the fall.

The 'covered wagon' bed - lots of onions and leeks, peppers, garlic, tomatoes and marigolds.

The 'cauliflower bed' - more onions, lettuce, monster cauliflower, rainbow chard, ireland creek annie beans (white beans) and some type of flower (marigold, I think).

The 'broccoli bed' - climbing french beans, peppers, broccoli, onions and a few tomatoes (plus a volunteer pea plant, I think).

The 'cabbage bed' - cabbage, tomatoes and basil.

The 'pea bed' - peas (with lots of blossoms!), lettuce, empress green beans and eggplant.

Not shown - the 'winter squash bed' (tomatoes, basil, peppers, butternut squash and hubbard squash), the 'summer squash bed' (tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash and zucchini), the carrot barrel and the strawberry barrel (although we've gotten about 6 ripe strawberries already!), the blueberry bushes and the flower line (struggling sunflowers and bachelor buttons).

So that's this week's garden tour. Happy Sunday!

we now return to regularly scheduled programming

The girls went back home today and life is slowly returning to normal. Sorry for the radio silence this past week! It was a crazy and exhausting animal house around here, plus the weather has been so nice that I haven't felt like coming inside long enough to edit photos and write up blog posts.

But to make up for last week, I've got a goal to post every day for the next 7 days. Here we go!


Thai cooking

My friend Amy, mommy to Chloe and Daphne (who, BTW, are coming to stay with us again tomorrow...for 9 days) is a great cook. Her specialty is Thai food, and she's been trying to teach me to cook a few of her signature dishes. Last weekend she came over to hang out for the day and she brought me a little gift...Thai cooking essentials! Thin soy sauce, black soy sauce, fish sauce, sriracha, hoisin sauce and chili garlic sauce. YUM!

We found a recipe for Thai fried rice on the container of fish sauce, and Amy said that it seemed pretty close to what she does...so we decided to try it out for dinner that night.

And....it looked better than it tasted. Way too much turmeric!

Oh well, at least we tried! And now we have all of the essentials in our pantry, so I feel like we've already won half the battle. I'll keep you posted if I'm able to successfully master any of my Thai favorites. :)

Thanks, Amy!


may the force be with you...

Alternate title: is my face crooked, or are my glasses?

Karl took this picture of me as we grabbed a coffee before seeing Star Trek at the IMAX theater with a bunch of his coworkers. It makes me feel a little paranoid...are my glasses always sitting crookedly on my face?!

Okay, so back to the movie...I teased Karl about his excitement level toward this movie all week, I often mix up Star Wars and Star Trek references (hence, the title of this post) and I didn't get a few of the inside jokes that everyone else was laughing at since I never watched the original series...but the movie totally rocked! Great action, fun actors, wicked special effects...and seeing it in IMAX (uhh, and not having to pay for it thanks to it being a team building thing from Karl's company) made it even better. Totally fun movie, and I'm sure we'll be getting it on DVD as soon as it gets released. :)

And while we were out at the Seattle Center, we happened to browse through the Space Needle gift shop and Karl picked up a fun Space Needle Lego set (Karl is a huge Legos fan). Score!

Live long and prosper. Na-Nu Na-Nu. Peace out. :)


18 and Life

An old Skid Row song is suddenly on my mind, probably due to reading my brother's blog entry today. Honestly I didn't realize the significance of today's date until I read that entry - I guess I hadn't even looked at a calendar all day.

I think of my sister nearly every day, I remember her life with fondness (mostly...she was my older sister, after all, and she wasn't always all sweetness and light!) and I mourn the fact that she was taken from this world far too soon. I wish she was still alive, I wish she'd met the many family members we've added to our brood since she's been gone, I wish I wouldn't have had to grow up so fast at such a young age. But at the same time, I love my life and I don't know how things would have been different if Carrie hadn't gone to Chillicothe that night...she wasn't a big fan of Missouri and she would have actively campaigned against me going to MU, and if I wouldn't have gone to MU then I might not have met my good friend Laura and she might not have introduced me to her brother...who just happens to be my loving husband.

So my point in all of this rambling is...I don't like dwelling on the bad memories or dates, but I prefer to reflect fondly on the good memories. Otherwise it's too easy for me to fall into the 'what if' trap. But everyone is different...some say Missourah, some say Missouri. :)

On a totally unrelated, and much lighter, note...should I be embarrassed to have admitted to knowing a Skid Row song?? And does anyone know what flowers/shrubs I have pictured here? We were walking around the Seattle Center a week or so ago, and the foliage was so pretty that I just had to take some pics for my inspiration folder...


Happy Mother's Day!

Unfortunately Karl and I can't physically be with any of our mothers or grandmothers today, so we are sending you all lots of love from the Pac NW today! We love you!

No Mother's Day-ish photos to share today, just one of this crazy bird. It doesn't get scared of people or animals...I took this shot with a fixed-length lens (meaning I was literally as close to the bird as it looks in the picture). It's so crazy!


that's how he rolls

And he wonders why we give him so many baths!


breakfast of champions

My friend Amy loves to have fried rice with an egg on top for breakfast, so when we had some fried rice left over from dinner I decided to give it a go for breakfast. So good!

(taken with my birthday gift from Karl...I love it!)


Garden Update - May 3

Yesterday (Saturday) was 'put everything in the ground' day! I should have taken photos of the jungle (i.e., our spare bedroom/seedling room), but I didn't...so suffice it to say that my tomato seedlings were about a foot tall. Woohoo! The grow light situation that Karl set up for me worked so well - thanks, honey!

So to start the day out we went to the Seattle Tilth Plant Sale in Wallingford (one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods, BTW). It was ridiculously crowded, and we got soaked in the rain. But we did pick up lots of herbs, a few extra tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and some pretty sweet allysum. All of the plants at this sale are known winners in our Pac NW climate, so I think of these plants as a way to hedge my bets just in case the seedlings I started don't work out. :) The plant sale was super cool - so fun to see so many people excited about gardening!

Once we got back from the Tilth sale (and dried off), I checked my master garden plan and started setting out the seedlings in their appropriate beds to check for proper spacing. A few observations - more tomatoes and significantly more peppers survived than I anticipated! A few adjustments here and there and it was time to start digging.

Luckily Karl woke up from his nap right about then and he started to help me, otherwise I would have gotten stuck in a big thunderstorm and I wouldn't have finished!

At the end of the day we got all of my (non-flower) seedlings planted as well as the tomatoes and peppers that I purchased from the Tilth sale. Then on Sunday we finished planting the rest of the herbs, weeded some more, set up my tomato experiments (more on that in a moment), re-built the covered wagon, moved our bird feeders from the eaves of the house to their new hook (much to the delight of bird-hunting, squirrel-catching Henry...but we thwarted his attempts by putting up a fence to protect the birdies) and set up our new bird bath. What a great weekend!

So about my tomato experiments...I figure that since I've got so many tomato plants growing I can afford to play around with different techniques to see what results in the most production. I've got some tomatoes under the covered wagon (i.e., our hoop house covered in heavy-duty plastic), some under the lower insect netting hoops, some surrounded by these nifty water-filled tomato teepees and then my control plants are just out in the open. I'll let you know what works the best!

Now for the tally....drum roll please! As of May 3, we've got the following in the ground and growing in the garden:

* 4 bok choy (some pest is enjoying these right now...one of the pitfalls of organic gardening)
* approx 140 onions/leeks
* lots of carrots
* 28 tomato plants
* 18 pepper plants (hot, sweet and bell)
* 4 basil
* 1 tomatillo
* 6 cabbage
* 6 broccoli
* 4 eggplant
* 4 heads of lettuce
* 30 peas
* 13 fava beans
* 7 spinach
* 2 cucumbers
* 30 beets
* 3 potato bins
* 4 cauliflower
* 11 chard
* 10 garlic
* 2 thyme
* 2 dill
* 1 apple mint
* 2 Italian parsley
* chives
* oregano
* 2 rosemary

WHEW!! I'm so excited about all of this, I can't even find the right words to adequately describe how happy it makes me. :) Still to go in the ground are lots of beans and squash, and 2nd plantings of some other things (beets, lettuce, spinach, carrots, etc).

(Note: click on any of the photos to make them bigger and see more detail, or check out my garden Flickr set here)

Happy Gardening!


Happy May Day!

Our annual May Day bouquet, given to us by the nice neighbor kid...3 years running now, and this was the first year that he actually talked to me when he dropped off the flowers!

I think it's so sweet...the mason jar, the rocks, the collection of flowers...too cute. :)