Great Saturday!! We drove to Mt. Mitchell. We stopped along the way and had lunch in downtown Burnsville. What a cute town. It reminded me of Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls). Along the way we stopped to pet horses, pick wild flowers and check out a new campground. Mt. Mitchell was beautiful but foggy so some of the views were limited. My kind of day!
I sewed and embroidered a bread/muffin cloth. I loved how it came out and used only thrifted materials to make it. It's great to use during dinner to keep things warm and toasty. I used one that I bought at a thrift store for a pattern. It was super duper easy and only took about half an hour to complete.
Yes folks, yesterday I made strawberry jam. This time it gelled and tasted great. I finally got to make a little fabric top and label my jar. It's like a bucket list relief!! That may sound dramatic but I have ALWAYS wanted to do this...whew!
Ok, so my canning experience was a bit of a flop. For one, I thought I was going strawberry picking, and I didn't know that there wasn't any until late next month. Instead, we went to the farmers market and got some there. That day, we had to run a bunch of errands, so I didn't get home till around 5pm. I was still determined, but at this point I was kind of wiped out (not a good time to take on something new). I had expectations of this wonderful day calmly canning with the kids. It ended up with me stressed and frustrated the whole time. I did can some strawberry jam but it looks runny. Madison loves it so at least it won't all go to waste. I will not give up though. I'm just going to have to try again...yes I can!!!
The whole weekend was not a flop though.
We planted two more raspberry bushes and one blackberry bush.
My lettuce box is really sprouting.
Tyler and I had a blast doing this seed project for school.
I'm enjoying the yearly blessing of birds building nests in our ferns.
The other day, at Tyler's baseball game, I was talking to one of the grandmothers there who introduced me to straw bale gardening. I had never heard of this method, but it is so simple and easy that I figured I would give it a shot. The straw bales are really cheap. The idea is, you water them for ten days and then you can plant veggies in them. I bought two bales at Ace Hardware for like 3 bucks each. This is an especially awesome method for people who don't want to mess with soil,tilling, weeding and all that. I'm excited to see if I can get this to work.
Today I put up some supports for my growing garden. I bought a raspberry plant yesterday, which I brought home and planted immediately. A wonderfully, helpful lady at the nursery told me that needed to get some supports for it. I am going to be patient this year and pull off all the flowers so I can have an abundant little crop next year.
I decided that it would be silly to buy support sticks when, well, sticks are free and everywhere!
I used these,
to make this:
I also used a piece of fencing that I inherited under my porch to support my cucumbers and cantaloupe. Well its not really supporting anything yet, but in a few months....
My gardens are really coming along and bringing me such joy! Have I said that before??
I've been up to a few other things today. I used this recipeand made some whole wheat bread. I want to strawberry pick this weekend and can (for the first time), some strawberry jam...but more on that later. Oh, strawberry jam with homemade bread will just be perfect on Sunday morning!!!
Also, I tried out a little method I learned on my new favorite show, The Edible Garden. You hammer flowers and leaves onto a natural white material, let it dry, and then cut it up for little cloth covers to put on top of your home canned goods. Now, I did this on the fly, but it worked. I definitely want to use a bit more patience and artistic ability to improve the result.
Recently, I went to a consignment store and found a cookie press. It was a pampered chef cookie press. I usually love stuff from this company. I have a garlic press from them which is phenomenal! Unfortunately, the cookie press did not work. I went on-line and found that is has terrible reviews. At this point though, I had a batch of dough and a strong desire to make these cookies. I went and bought a Wilton cookie press ultra II. This one worked perfectly!! The kids enjoyed trying it too. I went to get my camera, to take pics and when I came back, there was Tyler, using it in his own special way. Yes, it is not only a cookie press but a shooting machine, ugh!! I have never been in to buying him anything that resembles a gun but, boys will be boys...I guess.
In other news, my garden is doing well. I am planting and growing all these veggies yet, I am in denial that I will actually grow real food. Maybe its because its my first time. I just use patience, patience, patience. I can't stop checking on my guys to see if anything new is happening.
I have been looking for small magical touches to add in my yard. I was so excited the other day when I came across this dude at Goodwill. Isn't he just perfect?
I am desperately awaiting the second week of May so I can plant these guys. I have never had much luck with seed starting before, but this year I was super determined. I found that using bigger seed trays works better. Another tip I got from a friend is to turn the seedings everyday so that they wont get all leggy and bendy. I'm especially proud of my tomato plants! In this tray, I am currently growing cherry tomatoes, martian giant tomatoes, basil, watermelon, jalapenos, and green peppers.