September already…

I love autumn. I really do. It was a bit strange, though, to wear a sweater on my birthday. I don’t know that I’ve ever done that. Anyway, the wave of cooler weather has been welcome around here (and will continue to be unless there is an unexpected frost- my veggies are not finished!). My birthday was beautiful and I felt really loved and supported. What more could a girl ask for? It’s good to be 20-something and in love and happily mama-ed and content. I lead a very fulfilling life, all told. That day I was bursting with gratitude for all the love around me, and I spent a lot of time reflecting on it. Not a bad way to spend a day, eh?

I picked some flowers out of the garden and put them on the table to make the day a little more festive. Next year I hope to have lots of flowers planted so I can do this more.

We were out at this little hole-in-the-wall Korean place that I love. Kimchi… mmmmm. That night my dad and Vera were playing a strange chopstick game… They are so cute together.

She’s getting so big, isn’t she? On Monday she got her bangs trimmed for the very first time! She had never had a hair cut before. She’s also been asking for a "pony" and when I put her hair up it almost all fits into the band (and is psychotically adorable)! It’s just crazy, is all. She’s still my baby, but I see those little baby days just slipping right by me and here we are with this joyful and feisty kid. I’m loving it all.

I’m also loving this picture that my dad took of her the other day. It just slays me.

The day after my birthday Jeff treated me to a day of rest with just our family. It was exactly what I needed. We slept in together, ate our meals slowly and talked, and we took a long walk down to this old graveyard near our house that I think is just one of the most peaceful and beautiful places around. The pictures don’t do it justice at all.

I love this one, despite its blurriness, because you can see Vera mid-fall. I’m sure Jeff and I said "Ka boom!" right after I snapped it.

I find that each year that goes by I’m attracted to simpler things. Things are complicated enough as it is! This is definitely true when it comes to my food. I’m learning to keep things easy and fresh. I’m learning more and more about what is healthful and nourishing, and it leads me in a direction that takes time in other ways. Rather than slaving over the stove for one meal, I’m making a simple meal and storing much of it for later by either freezing it, drying it, or canning it. I have to think ahead now and soak my flour or oats or beans overnight. Soon I’m going to begin making our own yogurt and tortillas and sourdough bread, and also learning how to grow sprouts throughout the winter. It takes a little bit of extra work now, eating the way that we do, so when things can stay simple I tend to keep them that way. Thankfully, this only enhances my ability to be creative, and I find that when I focus my energies on using what’s available I end up with recipes that I love and will make again and again.

This was a very satisfying lunch- green beans and tomatoes and tarragon out of the garden, tossed with Israeli couscous in some lemon and butter and parmesan, and a little Celtic sea salt. Yum.

The garden is booming, despite the battle I’ve been having with powdery mildew (it’s been a wet season and most people I know are dealing with a lot of it. I have been mixing water and milk and spraying it on the leaves and it’s actually improving things! Yay natural alternatives!). This is an average harvest size lately. Lots of tomatoes, hot peppers galore, the last of the broccoli, herbs and green beans and swiss chard… and we’re still eating salads! I’m already excited for next year and what we could do on this little piece of land…

It’s starting! I’m not complaining, but didn’t this summer just fly by? I suppose it’s not technically over, but it just was so busy for us that I feel a little sad that it’s close to over already… I actually really enjoyed the heat and sun this year, and I’m usually not that into it. Anyway, I’m sure the pregnant mamas I know are feeling differently, so I’ll just zip it right there. πŸ˜‰

Oh, in other news- Dill (our other rat) died. We knew it was coming because he was old and Walter died a few months ago. I watched him go, and it really got to me that day. We buried him next to Walt, and it was okay. The strange thing, though, was that the minute he was gone Vera came over to the cage and said "Buh bye!" and then promptly asked me for milk. It was almost like she knew.

Quote of the day:
"Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life." -Bertolt Brecht

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (15)

  1. pagangoat

    Happy (belated) Birthday! I really love looking at your picture posts, all that yummy produce(and yummy couscous!) inspires me…I’m going to go make a healthy lunch, and dream about next year’s garden:)

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you! Oh good, I’m glad someone can get excited over the veggie pictures! Haha. I hope your lunch was delicious!

      Reply
  2. ladyfaith3

    happy birthday! I love the pic your dad took of your little one her eyes are so pretty!! I love your recipe idea, and simple is definitely satisfying! have a great day!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you! I hope you have a great day as well. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. cknk

    I like that phrase “happily mama-ed.”

    How much freezer space do you have? Do you freeze many meals ahead of time? I’m just starting to think about trying to freeze some extra meals, but I’m a little worried about freezer space. We have lots now, but in October we’re going to get our meat and that will take up most or all. We’re talking a bit about getting a second freezer but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that idea. What do you do? How does your freezer get used?

    Do you do heat based canning, lacto-fermenting or both?

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      We bought a chest freezer. I think it’s like 12 cubic feet or something. I’m going to have to be crafty about how/where to store things in the coming years, now that we’re trying to entirely localize our food sources. This year will definitely be a learning experience. Obviously the meat gets the freezer space first, so we’ll see how much gets exiled (if any) when that comes. I generally like to make big batches of soups and things in the summer/early fall whenever I have the gumption, and then freeze/can some of it so we can have a variety through the winter when I’m not feeling very creative.

      I’m doing both heat based canning and lacto-fermenting. I’m focusing mostly on heat based, because I don’t have great access to sufficient cold storage. I have been making cucumber pickles that way, and I will also do sauerkraut and some chutneys, and hopefully some kimchi. I plan to serve some of that stuff every day to help supplement our diets when we’re eating lots of canned stuff. I try to freeze veggies as much as I can, but, for example, I’m not going to freeze 5 dozen ears of corn (I just put up 20 pints this weekend). I suppose we could get a second freezer for all that food (it would certainly save some nutrients), but I’m not comfortable with sucking that much energy for food storage when I have a good, lower energy option at my fingertips. I’m really hoping to learn more about using dried foods! Mostly I’m trying to learn these skills and get an idea of what our family needs to do in order to be as self-sufficient as possible.

      What do you do? What are your plans for food storage this year?

      Reply
  4. purerandomness

    Your garden harvest looks so yummy! I want to eat it all!!

    We had a lot of success initially (lots of spinach and lettuce) but then Ben was born and we slacked off in the harvesting department. We missed most of our peas and the pumpkins got eaten by deer. Our tomatoes caught some sort of blight and rotted on the vine. πŸ™

    We did have some amazing broccoli that we harvested last weekend and lots of carrots and green onions left! It was definitely a learning year and we’ll see how things turn out next summer.

    Reply
  5. purerandomness

    And I missed your birthday. It was on my LJ reminder for about a month and I still missed it! So happy belated birthday πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Aw, thanks! And you should post pictures of your garden! I’d love to see what other people are doing. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. pearlstreetdiva

    im finding that as i get older i am more sensitive. i dont like strong smells, or loud music/noises. most recently i dont like spices! i prefer to taste the veggie and the grain when i eat maybe with a little sea salt! just saying i totally understand the simple recipes they really are the most delicious!

    and im sooo envious that you’re still eating salad! remember to get your canning jars ready cause we are bringing a load of tomatoes for ya’ll to can. well and our pressure canner to do so if you’re up for it since we’re planning on doing it at your house….uh did i ask you already? cant wait to see you on saturday!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Of course I’m up for it! Although, I think we’re supposed to do it at our friend Annie’s house… I’m easy though. I’ll be sure my kitchen is cleared out (cuz it never is this time of year!) just in case. When can I expect you guys Saturday? What’s your schedule like?

      Reply
  7. prophetsong

    Happy belated birthday. Lovely photos as ever πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. pithy_epigrams

    Happy belated! I had an awesome time hanging out with you and Vera. She’s amazing. And the other little guy, so adorable. Talking with you made me wish I was closer, you are such an awesome person.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      You’re so sweet! I wish you were closer, too. I can see coffee/tea dates and plots to save the world… Maybe someday soon. πŸ™‚

      I hope your trip home was good, and that everything there feels peaceful.

      Reply

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