My Weekend…

Feeling invigorated today. Well exercised over the weekend (moving dirt will get your blood pumping!), and we managed to get a lot done despite the rain. I feel much better than I did the last time I posted- everything is in better focus. I really appreciated everyone’s encouragement. It really helped. I should definitely cut myself some slack on those days I feel overwhelmed! I’ve got a lot going on.

Anyway, I took pictures of some of our weekend. 

Vera has started to "paint" with her yogurt. I don’t generally feel the need to interfere with this kind of thing that much. I figure, she can have some fun and a sensory experience, and I only deal with the clean up at the end… not the tantrum AND the clean up. Plus, when she’s in good spirits she usually "helps" to clean up, and will listen better to some of the boundaries that I set (like, "no, keep the yogurt at the table please…"). Anyway, here we are painting Mr. Squirrel with "lo-gurt".

And this is some of that "cleaning up".

Also, this hat thing is cracking me up lately. She’s started to have a preference about clothes and shoes and things- but HATS. She must have a hat, especially if we’re going outside. It was starting to get too warm for her regular winter hats, but she would freak if I didn’t get one down for her. We got this hat from my sister-in-law, and since we pulled it out it has been THE hat. She puts it on herself, always backwards and slightly to the side… 

It’s started… the disappearance of the beard. Every year when the weather gets warm, Jeff shaves off his beard… in stages. It usually goes down to some weird chops and goatee, whittling it’s way down to nothing and inspiring comments left and right. He loves this stuff. I say he can do what he likes, as long as he stays away from the dreaded "frenchy" (this is a very thin mustache that just lines the top of his lip. It gives me the creeps and I won’t look at him until it’s GONE. So scary!) Anyway, this time he’s decided to go "backwards". I guess that means the chops go first, and now he’s left with what he calls the "floating beard". Yeah.

Aside from beard news, he’s been absolutely amazing. He works so hard for us! He hauled this dirt (7 cubic yards of it) to fill the last of our raised beds and that huge flower bed we made. He’s been such a help. It was kind of amazing that it only took two days- it was a massive pile of dirt in our driveway. This pictures just the last of it. I just pushed the dirt around with a hoe when it was in the beds already, and that was quite a workout. Now that the garden is set up, it won’t be that much work in the future. Whew!

Food. We had to eat well this weekend.

This is a serious ham sandwich. Ham from our pig share, cheddar and Brie cheese, homemade mayo, sautéed mushrooms and onions, with a side of local spinach.

Banana pancakes. We topped them with peanut butter, maple syrup, homemade yogurt cheese, butter… 

Beets ready to roast. Aren’t they beautiful?

Eggs Benedict. One of my favorite things ever.

In honor of our reinstated date night, we went thrifting for games to play. I really liked Huggermugger!

We also went and got some plants for my new herb/flower garden, and some onion bulbs and seed potatoes.


Planted. Mostly. I planted chives, lavender, calendula, echinacea, yarrow, rosemary, catnip, lemon balm, tarragon, summer savory, parsley (both flat and curly leaf), and several flowers like Jacob’s ladder and bee balm, and all the pansies there. I still have to wait a couple of weeks to plant the rest of my herbs. This bed is going to be fun. Once it’s all planted and the seeds have sprouted I’ll mulch it all and it will stay largely perennial and low maintenance (except for all the weeding of maple tree babies each year!).

We got in some cabbage and lettuce, kohlrabi, and onions. Today I’ll plant more greens and some root veggies. I still have to harden off my brussels sprouts so I can plant them. Just a couple more weeks until I can plant it all!

A neighbor came by (I didn’t get to meet him!) and gave us a dozen of these beautiful speckled romaine plants. He had started too many and said he’d been watching us and hoped we could use them. Isn’t that awesome? People are so great.

Roadside find of the century. Jeff found a barrel composter. So sweet! These things are not cheap. We have a standing composter already, so we ultimately decided to give this to my sister, who was definitely in need of one and couldn’t afford it. It was a really cool find- definitely one to remember. The universe provides!

She likes to get cuddled in this basket sometimes. What can I say? I’m always a sucker for a baby in a basket.

A bunch of volunteer kale from last year that I pulled up. I’m doing something fun with it tonight.


Quote of the day:
"Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there."  ~Thomas Fuller


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Comments (29)

  1. muirichinnahali

    Wow! I’m jealous of your composter find! haha

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Isn’t that crazy?! I’ll send you composter finding energy…

  2. poppleshatesyou

    So much awesome in this post! Except maybe scary facial hairs…I am seriously not a fan of facial hair. Like I totally understand not wanting to shave it, especially in winter, but i hate the feeling of beard on against my face. Ugh.

    Your garden looks like it’s going to be amazing!

    Vera is as cute as ever! and the food looks deeelicious as always.

    Also, yogurt cheese!!!!!! is my new favorite thing! My friends mom made some last week with garlic and chives. YUM!

    Super sweet composting find!!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I love beards! I don’t like scratchy much, plus Jeff looks like he’s 19 when he goes without a beard…

      My next batch of yogurt cheese is totally going to have garlic and chives in it… thanks for the idea! πŸ™‚

      Oh, btw, I’m really excited to get my wet bags!

    2. wolfteaparty

      Oh wow, I don’t like beard against my face either. It also depends on the growth stage… when it is starting to grow out, I call it “cactus-face.” I can understand why keeping up with shaving is a pain, though…

      When I saw the yogurt on the squirrel, my first thought was “Agh, how is that going to get cleaned?” But you can’t always have clean squirrels and sensory experiences at the same time.

      1. Gracie (Post author)

        I just rinsed the squirrel out and then squeezed it and let it dry out. No big deal. Now Vera walks around with it saying “Baby squewuw all dwy”. So cute.

  3. pagangoat

    lovely pictures, your garden is going to be amazing! you must feel so good when you see what all your hard work has day, I hope to have something similar:)

  4. pagangoat

    and wow, I’m totally going to try that yogurt cheese, looks awesome! do you just use cheese cloth over a bowl in the fridge, and does it work well even with the thinner batches of yogurt?

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I just use a thin towel! I do it both for the whey and the cheese. I actually found that I like it better with my homemade yogurt that’s a little thinner. Seems a little more spreadable. Let me know how it goes! I love that you try everything. Seems like yogurt making is going well for you. I actually have some going in the crock right now. πŸ™‚

      1. pagangoat

        It is going well,I only had the one batch that failed so far. I’m excited to try the cheese. It’s funny, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure that my sister used to make exactly the same thing with her goat’s milk, when they lived on their farm. I remember it being really good, she even made a cheese cake from it. And it could only be better, not having the faint goat flavour that I’m not all that fond of…
        I’m curious to learn more about whey. I’d like to do something interesting with it, other than just use it in baking. How do you store it? Does it freeze well?

        1. Gracie (Post author)

          I store it in a jar in the fridge. It will last months! Personally I use it to ferment things slightly- like the ketchup and mayo that I make. I also add a little to all the grains/beans that I soak. I plan to use it more to make lacto-fermented veggies/salsas/etc. As soon as I have a radish harvest, I’ll definitely post about that.

          I’m happy to send you more info on any of this if you’re interested. πŸ™‚

          1. pagangoat

            So, to get the whey, you just let the yogurt drip through a cloth, and that’s it?
            I saw the links that you posted a while back about lacto-fermentation, but my internet connection was so poor at that time, it took me ages to watch just part of one video. I might go back and check more of it out.
            I’m thinking of trying mayo at some point, but I don’t have a blender or food processor right now, so unless I attempt it with just a wire whisk, I’ll have to wait.

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            Yep! You can also take raw milk and leave it on the counter to separate for a few days, then put that in a cloth and let it drip- but you wouldn’t want to do this with pasteurized milk. Although the yogurt is much faster and I like yogurt cheese a lot. Another way that people make it is by heating up milk and then adding an acid to curdle the milk solids and straining. This produces dead whey, however, so I wouldn’t use it for as much (although it’s still high in protein and nutrients).

          3. pagangoat

            The yogurt method seems best for me, I’ve got a batch on right now, and I think I’ll try it when it’s done.
            I don’t know of any raw milk sources around here, although they may exist. I have had raw goat’s milk before when I’ve visited my sister, but not cow. I think that unless I was doing it myself(as in, I had a cow), I’d be a bit paranoid about listeria.

          4. Gracie (Post author)

            They have pretty rigorous testing and much much cleaner conditions than conventional dairies. Plus the cows are actually healthy. I’m actually less worried about getting sick from it than I am from other foods. There’s more of a likelihood of getting sick (like, by a lot) from lunchmeat or chicken or any number of other foods that people don’t worry about. The other thing that people don’t consider is that even if pasteurized milk leaves the dairy “clean”, it is now susceptible to all kinds of contamination because the good bacteria is now dead. Pasteurized milk gets pretty noxious when it spoils, and yet raw milk can be left out on the counter and it will just turn into sour cream/cheesey stuff and whey. The fact that it contains bacteria means that it’s safer, actually. Anyway. πŸ™‚

          5. pagangoat

            I just know of a few bad listeria issues with dairy(mostly unpasteurized cheese)in my area in the last while. And I’m sure what you’re saying is true, about the good bacteria.
            I definitely know that meat in general is potentially dangerous, especially deli meats.

  5. the_gersemi

    Looking at the picture of the beets all cut up, I really can’t help but think “Such a shame that I don’t like beets at all”. *g*

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Don’t like beets!? So, so sad… I wonder if you’d like them when you’re pregnant. Maybe your baby wants roasted beets…

  6. littleloveflame

    I think that the freedom (with boundaries) that you give Vera shows great wisdom and a GREAT balance of the two. She looks so happy and into it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    and that is indeed one serious ham sandwich *yum*

    Banana pancakes are a FAVORITE πŸ˜€

    That garden of yours has me seriously impressed. Holy Guacamole batman. What alot of care you put into it!!

    1. ladyfaith3

      Love the beard update πŸ™‚
      My husband always grows facial hair when I am pregnant…don’t know why really but it’s a tradition now lol

      Your yard is going to be so awesome as a garden! I bet some day it’s as big and lush as the urbanhomestead! Do you ever try raw squash in salad? My MIL introduced me to it. I bought green and yellow squash to grate and add to my salads it just adds an interesting zip to it! I love veggies! I really do hope to buy from local farms and stock up for the year this summer.

      1. Gracie (Post author)

        Haha, that’s funny that he grows a beard when you’re pregnant. I wonder what that’s about!

        I haven’t ever tried raw squash- I’ll totally experiment with that. It sounds great. I hope you get your own garden soon!

    2. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks! I love that she experiments and feels free to explore things and get messy. I realize that a lot of my initial objections come from a)not wanting to work and b)wanting to keep up appearances (not getting clothes stained, house staying clean, her being “trained”, etc), and I just don’t think those are good enough reasons to keep her from some harmless fun. Plus, I’ve found it’s more work for me to constantly direct her than to let her be free and clean it up once. It’s working for us so far! And I’d be lying if I said I never got in there with her… πŸ™‚

  7. pithy_epigrams

    Your garden looks like it’s going to be super bad ass.

    And, inspired by you, I joined the South Central Farmers CSA a couple months ago. So, I’m getting most of my produce from them, the rest at the farmers market I go to to pick it up.

    Also, have you seen the documentary The Garden?

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yay! That’s so great- I bet that’s perfect with your new diet. Fresh, local produce all the time. What’s their growing season there? How long does your share last? What kind of things do you get?

      I haven’t seen it, but it’s on Netflix instant play, so I’ll put it on my short list. Thanks for the recommendation!

      1. pithy_epigrams

        I get a weekly box, perfect for me, and I split it with my SIL. It’s only $15 for the whole box! ($7.50 for me!) Right now I’ve been getting a ton of greens, you know, kale, mustard, collard, swiss chard, and the like. Also root veggies like beets and carrots. That’s mostly it lately. In terms of the growing season, I’m pretty ignorant about all that stuff still. Trying to get as educated as I can.

        The South Central Farmers only do vegetables, so I get my fruit from other vendors. Very delicious food these days!

  8. purerandomness

    We were outside weeding yesterday when our neighbor walked up the road and said “I just finished breaking up my hostas and I have about 30 extra pieces. Would you like some?” Heck yes! So I walked down with a little box and filled it up with 8 little hosta plants and we filled in our back flower beds that had been overcome with thistles. Yay!

    Also, I just thought of this: is lavender still not available in the co-op or whole foods stores? When I was getting my postpartum bath together, there was none available because of some blight or something. ANYWAY, if that’s still the case let me know because we have lavender growing really quickly out here and I have lots of little bundles dried and hanging out in a box waiting to be used! πŸ™‚

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      That’s so nice! People sharing plants… what could be better?

      I don’t know about the lavender- but thanks for the heads up! I still have a little, but I might need more for my herbal baths! How weird that they didn’t have it when you needed it! I’ll definitely let you know if I’m in need, that’s so thoughtful. πŸ™‚

  9. see_anotherside

    Haha, the cleaning up picture is awesome. Vera is awesome πŸ™‚

    Wow, your garden is looking good… it sounds like a lot of hard work but so worth it. I hope it turns out well this year. Your food pictures look amazing!

    Oh, I read your previous entry but I didn’t get a chance to reply to it. I’m glad you feel better now. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed and irritable sometimes, but at least you were able to focus on what could be done to improve things. A busy, satisfying weekend always helps too!

  10. haurelia

    Just had to say; TOTALLY on the kid/mess thing. Because of my own training, my first instinct is to stop a mess-making in its tracks. BUT, since I can ignore that, Henry is happy, I’m happy, and it’s so much nicer when everyone is happy and having fun.

    Oh, and that hat? Is priceless. What a gem she is!


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