This year we are taking the stocking business seriously. With my mother’s encouragement and Sara’s sewing skills our goal is offer over 160 heirloom stockings. The mix is wonderful as far as elegant, modern, rustic and whimsical combinations. Lots of gift options for the newlywed and for a baby’s first Christmas, especially to celebrate a not so traditional holiday season!
The perfect pair of Christmas stockings for the new couple. One is silk, the other velvet! Destined to be heirlooms. Use coupon code PERFECTPAIR to save $6.00 on a pair!
Rob is more of a fussier eater than he usually admits. Although I can usually sneak some vegetables in, there are few he really likes. Peas is one that makes the cut, but only peas still in the pod. So this year we doubled our production and have frozen 18 pounds, or just under a bushel, of sugar snap and snow peas. This does not count the two pounds in my favorite bowl that slipped out of my hand and flew across the floor.
The steps are easy. Pick, sort, trim, blanch (don’t forget the ice bath!), dry and bag. We use them primarily in stir fry or to blister in sesame oil and ginger. This is a big part of making summer flavors last through March.
When Em visited last, she wanted to make sushi. At the look of panic on my face, my husband helpfully suggested summer roles instead. Now we are obsessed with rolling everything into rice wraps. Kind of like putting out the pretty pitcher of water with lemon or cucumber slices in it to trick us into drinking more water, the rolls help me gobble down salad.
There are so many options out there. This recipe was my guide. Today’s special is lettuce, cucumber, radish and carrot with a sesame ginger dipping sauce. How simple is that!
We finally pulled the free dehydrator out of the basement. It intimidated me. I will admit that. The chives, oregano and sage all loved the rain so much even the weeds did not stand a chance. Yesterday I clipped the masses and found my tarragon and thyme again.
I started with the sage. Half dried over night. The rest is finishing off now. The kitchen smells like Thanksgiving! AndI’m officially hooked. Let’s dry everything!
The steps were simple. Cut in the morning, pick off the good leaves, rinse and dry and in the salad spinner, lay on the shelves and let it go over night. Two tips I have are to preheat the dehydrator and to rotate the shelves a few hours in. This is the best resource I found to take the mystery out of this process!
This week is my favorite when it comes to gardening. The soil is fresh, perennials are emerging and the worst weeds are crab grass and dandelions. For the first time in years, the spinach and peas are both in the ground and sprouting. Inside tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs, zinnias are showing their second leaves and beginning to look like real plants. Anything is possible and my head is full of big ideas!
The challenges are coming. Along with the hosta, the weeds are beginning to pop out. The three spearmint nursed through the winter need a home sequestered from anyone else but safe from the weedeater. Luna has already helped by digging in the compost and spreading it across the lawn. Rob demonstrated the new power trimmer turning our front bushes into stick sculptures.
Finally a day that felt like spring. Got me out into the garden a bit to mark some of the bulbs that are coming up in the dog corral to be moved to safer parts of the yard. Some of the efforts from last year, moving, killing and ignoring several of the bushes, is finally paying off. The dogs take up much of the prime planting real estate, but have carved out some beds for perennials, herbs and veggies. Still going to be dependent on pots for tomatoes and peppers along with the some of the annual herbs like basil and cilantro. Here are some before shots of what we have to work with along with some of my large dreams for the various zones.
When we started, the house was surrounded by overgrown bushes and a silly tulip tree in the front yard. Rob’s one requirement was that we could see Route 20 from the porch. Once he started the chainsaw, he kind of didn’t stop.
Since the dogs took over the logical place for an herb garden, I had to rethink and reclaim this area right off the kitchen. The bushes have been cut back. Still digging up the “decorative” grass and trying to tell the Japanese iris that they don’t need as much space.Here is the last spot to be made over this year and probably the hardest to tame. It needs to serve many purposes. So far, I have added a compost pile, dug out overgrown flagstones and planted five varieties of hosta. The lilacs are a nice backdrop, but need to be cut back. The neighbors plan to build a fence, so that will allow me to gain some space and rethink what we can do here.