When Hugh and I are strolling about town, me hoisting his increasingly heavy frame in a front facing carrier, we’re frequently greeted by those we walk past.
Hugh is 7 and a half months old and my garden is ripe within the heyday of summer.
Instead, Justin often proudly remarks that it’s the most productive and healthy garden I’ve (we’ve) ever grown.
Daily life is frequently driven by our imaginings of present bliss and future success.
I have a son.
A garden can lift you up or break you down, and this year, our garden has succeeded at doing both.
The garden really comes into its own by early July.
I water, examine, assess, and enjoy my garden daily, and yet it wasn’t until I started editing these photos snapped two weeks ago that I realized how much had changed in a short amount of time.
I walked into the house this morning and casually mentioned to Justin that everything in the garden was “looking good...so far”.
The summer garden is in its final days.
I know that my garden is a living, breathing entity, a “creature” that will blossom, thrive (or not), and eventually die.
Given the heat of 2015, our yard and garden is rapidly approaching end of July appearances, for better and for worse.
When people ask me what I’ve done in 2015, my answers might sound less than adventurous to you (running and gardening), but the details in each of those “tasks” are greater, and more complicated, than those two words.
The calendar says early April, but garden activity has felt three weeks ahead of the actual date for all of 2015.
In my two-ish seasons of planting last year, I never found a balance between the whimsical and poetic dreams of my aspirational garden, and the realities of planning and structure.
I edited and uploaded the images for this post almost four weeks ago.
It’s bizarre how we wrap tasks in an artificial scaffolding of lists and timelines, knowing that, inevitably, a surprising gust of wind will blow through, crumbling your weak scaffolding as you scramble to rearrange timelines and to-dos.
In the summer, the words “Oregon” and “berry” are practically synonymous.
When I hustle down the basement stairs to grab another jar of jam, what stops me from reaching for the cherry?
June in the garden: a time when anxious planning transforms into fleeting optimism.
We moved in February, leaving behind two years of garden experimentation at our rental house.
Two summers ago, this tomato jam recipe transformed me from a canning dabbler into a canning convert.
It’s happened again.
There were a few food trade-offs I was prepared to make when I moved to Portland.
The past few days aside, May and early June felt like summer in the Pacific Northwest.
After a long winter hiatus, when I first picked up the little green notebook in which I record gardening notes, I flipped to see when the last entry was.
When salsify showed up in our CSA share a few months ago, I tucked a whiskery bunch of the vegetable into our bag with curiosity.
I didn’t reveal this in my previous post on beet brownies, but the reason I had a a few extra beets – the perfect quantity for those brownies – was because I’d over-purchased beets for my pickling project.
Portland is currently the capital of the independent craftsman (as Crafty Wonderland's recent massive, convention-hall-sized-spread of Etsy sellers clearly illustrated).
As July turned to August, I didn't share a garden update because much remained the same.
On Sunday, our neighbors invited us over to pick plums from their Italian plum tree.
The Saturday before we traveled to England, I found myself easily able to predict what fruit we'd find at the farmers' market, and planned accordingly.
If you and I closed our eyes and simultaneously thought of summer foods, I bet we'd come up with similar lists: tomatoes, corn, peppers, watermelon, beans.
Cherry season was finicky in New York.
You can barely walk a block in SE Portland without hearing a soft 'cluck cluck' or an insistent 'bok bok' from a back or side yard.
I first started canning last year; because it was my first year, I kept things fairly straightforward.
Sugar snap peas, snow peas, shelling peas, and fava beans.
I know I should have posted a "Fresh from the Market" on rhubarb before I shared the last two rhubarb recipes, but when thinking about baking versus writing, espeically with fresh rhubarb in the fridge, I had no choice but to bake first, and write later.
I'm clearly on a rhubarb streak, as the last recipe I wrote about also features the stalky vegetable.
The last time I wrote about gardening and general backyard maintenance, I was still cleaning things up and progress inched along.
To me, one of the most exciting parts of home rentership, aside from doing laundry whenever I want and not hearing the neighbor's conversations, is having a yard.
I've taken to eating radishes as the French do: whole, served with one ramekin of whipped butter and another of chunky sea salt.
I knew I wanted to tackle one more canning and preserving project this Winter before we move.
After my previous disastrous canning attempt, I needed a victory in the preserving department.
In my mind, the reason "Brussels sprouts" is capitalized is because they're some of the best vegetables around.
It was bound to happen.
Canning and preserving tomatoes felt unsettlingly like participating in a high school biology class experiment.
In May, I shared that I was gathering items to start my own fire escape garden.
We enjoyed an apricot filled weekend, making and eating a delicious apricot crumb cake and enjoying Kevin West’s smooth apricot jam on our toast.
I’m so hot right now that I’m tempted to write: yum peaches.
Zucchini can be so much more than a bland addition to the side salad you’re planning on pushing around with your fork.
I’ve eaten favas before this summer, but I’d never cooked with them-- meaning that I’d never had the pleasure of uncovering the vibrant green bean pod, layer by layer.
The Fresh from the Market posts have gone by the wayside for awhile--but not without awareness on this end!
I fear I may be too late on this post...but I'll share this recipe anyways, in case you spot some rhubarb at the market this weekend.
Several Saturdays ago, we brought a cardboard box up the farmers market.
Ramps, nettles, fiddleheads.
Last year, I grew several herbs from seed.
Asparagus is here!
"If you've never made jelly before, this a great place to start.
I love parsnips, especially when paired with carrots.
Terrariums recently captured my attention.
As previously mentioned, I've spent a few chilly Winter days researching the intricacies of canning and preserving, with the goal of capitalizing on the glut of strawberries, tomatoes, and more that will soon overtake the farmers' markets.
This Winter, I've slowly gathered books on canning and preserving.
It distresses me that too many children (and adults) first associate carrots with those baby carrots with ranch dip, served alongside celery: the stereotypical crudite platter.
I have to be honest: I find acorn squash to be beautiful on the outside and lackluster on the inside.
I admit to knowing very little about the differences between pear varieties.