Happy things!

Food, garden, baby… BABIES, actually! Whoa. Life is so full these days, even in the dead of winter. I am really grateful for this slow(er) season. It’s really giving me the opportunity to do some things that I wouldn’t be able to justify otherwise. I’m trying to pick up the pace on doula-ing before baby comes. I don’t see much of an opportunity after baby, and then I’ll be in massage school next February for a full year (with some classes that I can’t miss, even for a birth- although I suppose I could think about teaming up with my dear sister as a back up… there’s a thought. Even so, it might be hard with all our kids to find care for then…). So birth work will possibly have to take a backseat for a good year and a half. However, I have 2 clients right now, one due next month and one due in May. I hope to pick up a March and an April client, just to pack in a little more experience. I think I’ll stop then, I’ll have lots to do in June and July before baby. Then after… I’ll just wing it I think.

Anyway, I’m trucking along with my winter goals, although getting as much exercise as I want is a challenge. Vera’s naps have been short and unpredictable, so I’m often interrupted if I try during that time- and that’s really frustrating. What I’m really going to have to do is try to involve her in some way or keep her steadily occupied for a while. It’s tricky. Some is better than none, though, so I’m going to try to not be frustrated when I get interrupted (because it will happen), and just be grateful for whatever I get.

I’m ordering seeds today, and I’m very excited. My sister and I are planning on seed saving this fall, so we aren’t really in need of all the seeds we’ll be getting (I don’t really want to save much because I’d really like to get serious about saving my own seeds, so this will corner me into it!). We figured that we could start most of them, and then have a neighborhood seedling sale in May to try to make back some of our start up costs. It’ll also be a good way to get in touch with some of the other local gardeners. My sister also had a good idea for a "sharing basket" of sorts. It’ll be hung on the outside of our respective fences, and then filled with extras- stuff we can’t eat enough of and won’t be storing. There will be a sign that says folks are welcome to trade or take or leave a note. I think it’s a fantastic idea and it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Here’s our initial garden plan:

This is just the right side of the back yard (the food garden). It’s not totally accurate, measurement wise. There will be some more space between the greenhouse/chicken coop and the raised beds, and there’s also space for the chickens behind the garage too. 

So, to compare it with last year’s garden:

There was one more square 4×4 bed at that tip and then lots of potted herbs and stuff, but yeah. We’re going from eight 4×8 beds (plus the 4×4) to sixteen 4×8 beds. The plan doesn’t include the three 2×2 potato boxes we’ll be building, too, sort of tucked into those empty spaces on the edge. You’ll see at the far edge of the garden is our greenhouse and the little chicken coop on the right. I’m so excited.
As for seeds, we’re getting different varieties of bush beans, tomatoes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuces, greens, onions, peas, peppers, rhubarb, some flowers and herbs, and we even splurged on a couple of fun things like Luffa and some strawberry spinach. We focused mostly on heirloom varieties. We still need to buy some plants like vining summer squash and some herbs and flowers and local shade plants (for my front yard), but mostly that’ll be it. I’m not growing winter squash this year. I liked it, but the yield wasn’t great enough for it to be worth it, at least not this year. I don’t mind supporting local farmers on that one. I’ll still store a bunch, but I just won’t be growing it this year.

I’m loving menu planning and food this winter. I’m especially intrigued by Asian style soups, and I hope to make these a regular thing. Asian (and I mean pretty much all of asia…) food has that beautiful balance of flavors, and I can mostly adapt it to what’s available, ingredient wise. This was my version of hot and sour soup- made with mushrooms, egg, and green onion, and homemade pickled radish (for that crunch). Um. Yum. And seriously fast and easy to make.

Last night’s dinner. Pumpkin with a little butter, salt, and maple syrup, corn and green bean salad (mixed with that tomato skin relish I made), and a black bean burger topped with homemade mayo, green onions, and a side of homemade green salsa. 

Dried beans are a staple these days- I generally soak them and cook a big batch each week to use here and there. Black bean burgers are lovely, but I haven’t been able to find the right balance in texture/flavor/etc… until now! Here’s the recipe for my black bean burger. You’ll have to forgive my lack of precise measurements. 

-black beans, cooked and partially mashed
-brown rice, cooked and seasoned
-dried mushrooms (or fresh would work too, I’m sure), chopped and rehydrated (I cooked mine with the rice)
-onion- diced finely
-seasonings. I used garlic, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, and dried thyme and parsley.
-a sprinkling of bread crumbs

So I probably used equal parts beans to rice, then added enough egg to make it sticky, then enough bread crumbs to make it hold together enough to make into burger shapes. I fried them up in a skillet- about 5 minutes on each side on med-low heat, covered. These were really satisfying, and pretty meaty tasting considering they were 100% veggie. The homemade mayo definitely perfected it. Now I just have to experiment with freezing them and figuring out cooking times. This would be a great item to make big batches of for easy frozen meals.

Vera and I. Lately clothing has been pretty optional for her, especially since she’s so good lately going on her potty. This kid loves her "nakey time"! I don’t know how she does it, though. I’m cold a lot in this house, and yet she’s flinging her socks off while I’m searching for my slippers…

Although, the other day she did put on a hat and some mittens, to finish the ensemble. Ready to go make a snowman! She’s going to hate me for these pictures someday, probably, but I don’t care. Such a cute little bug!

I think I’m starting to round out a bit now. It’s not super noticeable yet, but my sister said yesterday "You have a little pooch!" It’s definitely getting more "poochy". Just over 15 weeks now. I think I’ve been feeling fluttery movement, but it’s so slight I keep doubting it. I’m sure in a couple of weeks it’ll be too strong to doubt. 🙂 Forgive my dirty mirror and totally broken door. All the projects we have to do…

I’m thinking a lot about being really accepting of my changing form- I spent too much of my time with Vera’s pregnancy being… blah. Whatever. This is a beautiful thing, happening here. I’m going to believe that this time. I have my lovely Vera here to prove it!

Quote of the day:
"Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms." -Gloria Steinem


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