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

Comments (19)

  1. wolfteaparty

    I want to start a garden now that I have a little backyard, but I’m not sure whether the sun hits it enough for that.

    Also, I think nearly every person has embarrassing naked early childhood pictures. 😛

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Hey, even if the sun only hits it a little you could still do a bunch of cooler weather stuff- lots of salads in your future…


      DO IT!

  2. pithy_epigrams

    You look beautiful. You have the right mentality, keep it.

    1. Gracie (Post author)


  3. purerandomness

    Your changing body IS a beautiful thing! You’re almost halfway through- wow.
    I missed all the butterfly movements with Ben because I was SO SURE that it was nothing, just gas movement or whatever. I wish I had paid more attention to it at the time and really enjoyed it. It’s all so fleeting.

    I have such envy for your garden. 16 raised beds! We have 1. 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Hey you- I keep meaning to figure out which day works… and then I keep not figuring it out. Haha. Why don’t we go with Monday morning the 8th? Maybe Beezy’s is good for the kiddos- they can play with the toys there (now that Ben is crawling and stuff! That happened fast!). You pick the time. 🙂

      1. purerandomness

        Sorry I’ve been delayed writing back! I had to double and triple check the appointment schedules. The 8th is fine, should we say mid-morning? Ben never has a set nap schedule and he can still fit on my lap to sleep if necessary. When does Vera nap?
        Beezy’s sounds good and I’m glad Ben can play there this time!

        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Sounds good. Vera naps around 1/1:30, but I would have to leave around 12:15 to go watch my niece on that day. Anytime during that morning is fine by me- we’re up by 7:30/8 usually, so whenever you guys can make it. 🙂

          1. purerandomness

            Yay! I’m so excited! Ben usually wakes around 7 (or at least he did this morning). We could probably meet you between 945 and 10 and then we’d have lots of time to chat before you had to leave!

            Also, I was cleaning out my cupboards recently and I have a bunch of RRL tea (well, RRL and alfalfa, nettle leaf, mint, and rosehips). Would you like it? I’m afraid it will go bad before I need to use it again and I’m not drinking very much tea lately. Let me know, I can bring it along on Monday!

  4. poppleshatesyou

    Your garden is going to be amazing!!

    Awesome about the doula clients! and I loovvve all the pictures!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Did you ever do that doula training? You totally should do it if you haven’t yet.

      1. poppleshatesyou

        No i didn’t, but i really should!! I got wrapped up in having jobs, and then losing jobs and now searching for more jobs. Hopefully, i’ll get a nanny job soon and be financially able to look into doula training again!! I have not lost my interest, just maybe a little of my enthusiasm.

  5. pagangoat

    Ambitious garden plan! That’s awesome:)
    I loved my pregnant body…just not so fond of the post-baby edition ;p
    Yummy looking food. Love that it’s mostly homegrown/homemade!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      It’s a tough transition all around for some women. I remember just watching the stretch marks appear and being totally preoccupied with it. Now, I doubt I’ll care much. 🙂

      1. pagangoat

        I had some stretch marks already, but not many, and not on my belly. I didn’t get any there until the very last bit, and then…wow. Not so nice, but Eilidh is worth the scars:)

  6. ladyfaith3

    Yes you have a pooch!! that’s my fav part of the whole post, closely followed by vera LOL! Too cute! Your garden is going to be so nice, i love the plans! I am planning a very small vegetable garden (hopefully) a container garden I need some experience! I figure I will grow a very small amount of green beans, tomatos, cucumbers, and want to try spinach…just to see what it’s like and how it goes in NY 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yay! We can enjoy each other’s bellies.

      How cool- I hope that you post pictures! I think NY is really similar to MI, so we’ll probably be planting/harvesting around the same times.

  7. unicorntapestry

    I love you and I love Vera and I can’t wait to see your new improved garden!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      LOVE LOVE!


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