28 julio 2014

This week's harvest

Delicious cucumbers, and so many potatoes!  And this isn't even the tip of the tuber-berg.  My Irish-Ukrainian heart is so happy every time I unearth potatoes.
How many ways can we eat zucchini?  I am so happy to have the chance to find out!  These made a delicious smashy sauce, along with the thyme, garlic and crispy shallots, for some pasta.
These baby cucumbers went straight into Pickleland.  And I learned, while freeing these poppy seeds, exactly which pods were ready and which should dry a bit more.
Some more very dry poppy pods, rhubarb, zucchini, a mixture of Dragon's Tongue and Purple Podded Pole beans and some wrinkly carrots that the children begged me to pull.
Whoa, potatoes!  Just one row of potatoes, this is la Ratte, filled half of this large bucket.  This photo definitely doesn't show how many there really are.  I have two more rows of this potato and another two of a larger German Butterball yet to harvest.  There are more zucchini, which are now coming from the dacha too, parsley, a few more baby cucumbers for pickles and a few onions that I picked out of necessity for tonight's dinner.  The rest will stay in to size up.
Fun with veggies!  This is my very early morning, pre-market message to my children.
Garden love.
Others' inspiring harvests are found at Daphne's Dandelions.

27 julio 2014

Curly beauty

This is my kind of multi-tasking: I do one disagreeable-to-Mita thing and Mita does another distracting thing.  Perfect.
Kinky-curly silly face
Curly beauty!

24 julio 2014


Well, Mita is finally aboard the chore-train.  Choo choo!  And she is thrilled about it, thank God.

She also went on another Daddy Date recently.  When Rob called to invite her, her entire little person began shaking with excitement.

I do like crunchy granola, though.

I vaguely remember being addressed as "Granola" once in life.  I don't remember by whom or when; however, I do remember thinking, "What?!" with a crinkled brow, and that I didn't like being labelled.

Well, yesterday, someone that I just met said, "So... you're crunchy."  "Uh..." was my oh-so-elegant reply.

I guess that, compared to I-don't-know-whom, I might be a bit... ... ...  See?  I don't want to succumb to a label.  Yes, I wear Birkenstocks, I shower... much less than most, I have rain barrels and back yarden hens, I air-dry our clothes and I don't eat meat, to admit a portion of my choices.  But, each of those actions just seems like a good idea to me for one reason or another and that's why I do what I do.  I guess being labelled makes me feel like my good reasons have been taken away.

So, hi.  My name is Amy.  I like a lot of things and I dislike the rest.  И всё.

21 julio 2014

This week's harvest

What a week!  I love going out to the yarden each morning to see what is big enough to pick.  And the kids are enjoying having more than greens to snack on as they roam through the glorious verdure.  What a gift!
This is the rest of the garlic.  My favorite vegetable!
Lots of little Ronde de Nice zucchini, 2 Sunshine peppers, the first cucumber!, our first Dragon's Tongue beans (So delicious!) and the saddest little stem of broccoli ever
Grape leaves, which I am fermenting, to then use for dolmades
Another strong salad: chard, beet reds, marjoram, parsley, basil, mint, lemon balm, chrysanthemum greens, mizuna, dill and carrot tops
And wahoo!  A much larger stem of broccoli, a few peas that had been hiding, beautiful carrots, Ronde de Nice zucchini and our first, long-awaited Cousa, more Holland's White cucumbers and another handful of Dragon's Tongue beans
We also had about 14 eggs this week: I think that Ilka's broodiness is affecting the others.  Production is down.

And we had another several handsful of raspberries, which never made it close to the camera for record's sake... Straight down the hatch!

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

"Ah, this is the life!" says Jacinto.

Pastries and coffee al fresco

19 julio 2014

So long, Queequeg, Daggoo and Tashtego!

This line from Moby Dick sums it up for me: "But why pester one with all this reasoning on the subject?  Speak out!"  And you can be sure that as I read that, I did speak out, "Melville, seriously?!  You have a good story here and a great lesson!  Snap to it, man!"

"Ay, yay, yay," say I, shaking my head and then exhaling a cleansing sigh.

Now I am off to Uncle Tom's Cabin.  See you later.

14 julio 2014

Harvest Monday

Our diverse salad: bok choi flowers, rat-tail radishes, mint, lemon balm, purslane, oregano, parsley, borage flowers, an onion, chrysanthemum leaves, marjoram, dill, chard, thyme and its flowers, mizuna and beet greens (or, reds).  We enjoyed this beauty at the dacha!

Garlic!!!!!  This is maybe 2/3 of it.  Again, as usual, it probably won't last till October, when I re-plant.  Just call me Sancho... well, maybe Sanchita.

Several handsful of raspberries, most of which we eat like a mama and baby bears, in the thick of the canes, each using our two paws to pick and savor and swallow, pick and savor and swallow, pick and savor... and reluctantly swallow.

And, from the dacha, I harvested a few potatoes, just to check on the progress.  I will be leaving them in for at least another two weeks or so; but we'll happily eat these, boiled and buttered with salt and herbs. Mmmm!

There were about 20 eggs this week.  Ilka is seriously broody: not laying and fiercely protecting any of the other eggs she can collect.  Until she lets up, Rob has taken over the egg collection.  G and I are intimidated by that little white fluff ball!

Finally, although we didn't harvest these flowers, as they are much better enjoyed in situ, they are too beautiful not to recognize here.

Check out other harvests at Daphne's Dandelions!

13 julio 2014


Future Yacht Club Member, for sure!

Whenever we are outdoors, the boys give me flowers: picking them secretively and then walking quickly to me, with one hand behind the back and a perfect smile illuminating our world.  My boys.

Ty's turn

"MamA, and I would like to bring this."
The final cut
The trial-run
Hasta luego!

12 julio 2014

The great leviathan

So, next on my reading list is Moby Dick.  Ugh.  Now, I have read it before; however, strict as I am, I want to read everything on the plan, whether I have before or not.

Now, I remember this book to be... not pleasant.  I have Peace Corps to thank for my completion of it, for sure.  Had I not had two years of a LOT of time, a lonely Stalinka, and a serious sensitivity to the cold, I wouldn't have finished it.

But, I am a different person now, for better and for worse, ten years later, and already I connect with something that I have read, so... maybe, just maybe, it won't be so torturous this time around.

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp and drizzly November in my soul... and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

Nodding my head, I think, "I hear that."

09 julio 2014

The wee ones

Kale chips and kombucha... yum!

"Just like Tato Dru!"

The importance of creating good habits is something I consider and work at everyday with the kids.  So far, Ty makes his bed, quite well, every morning upon waking, and he, upon turning four, has just begun to measure out the oatmeal every morning.  Mita... well, she has been skipped so far in the chore world.  As she has the top bunk, she can't make her own bed.  And I had planned for her to be the Table-Washer, since G graduated to Chicken Wrangler; however, I just haven't gotten around to giving her the lesson.  Girumy makes his bed and collects the eggs every morning.  The latter activity has become quite difficult lately as Ilka has gone broody.  She attacks us if we try to steal the eggs that she is so desperately trying to hatch.  Poor Ilka.

Apart from the above, G has been busy impressing me with his writing.  I frequently find him on a kitchen stool, writing in his handy-dandy notebook, covering his message with his free hand until its completion.  This morning he wrote out all five of his names, with just two mistakes!  And so many people told me that I was going to confuse my children with all of their beautiful, important and meaningful names.  Nope!

And, the other day, Mita and Ty were crouched down on the living room floor and groaning, "Ow.  Ouch!" over and over.  When I asked them what was happening, they both said that they were laying eggs.  Ha!  You see, the hens make quite a racket when laying and I have explained that it is because maybe it hurts them a little.  The eggs are rather big, and I am assuming that whence they come is not.  Ay!

04 julio 2014

Summer doings

The backyard has turned into a luscious jungle!  Would anyone like some kale?  Mita wants me to give some away.
Our morning reading pile grows and grows.  Since I have left off formal schooling for the twins for the summer (I still have G practice his handwriting, drawing and reading daily.), I have extended our morning reading time.
Picnics at the dacha: I am so thankful for this place.
Oh, and G is learning to drive... stick!  I mean, I started to teach my baby sister to drive at ___ years old (The blank is for legal reasons.  Use your imagination!), so why not continue with G.  Right?

01 julio 2014

Cherries, continued

Under the veil there is such bounty!
Ping.  Drop.  Plop.
Ping.  Drop.  Plop.
OK, one for the Golda or Orpa or Rhoda.  Ilka never has a chance.

Intrusive thugs send me to the light show in back.
Grab, place, click!
Left, right.
Grab, place, click!
Left, right.
The juice tarts my newest garden wounds.
Grab, place, click!
Left, right.
Grab, place, click!
Left, right.
Drop, drop, drop, drop.
My Women of the World work must continue another night.