Practical projects and crafts

Month: June 2015

Visiting the Sea Shore


We have successfully visited the ocean! That may not sound very big to many people, but for us it’s a major life goal accomplished. And more than that, we had the chance to spend an entire week just being happy.  So it was also a mission accomplished in terms of going on a vacation.  It’s been a long time since we had something work out well (and moreover to do something without anything horrible happening), so I’m still a little bit stunned that everything went so well.

We were at Cape May for a week, so we rented a cottage.  The people we rented from were very nice, and the cottage was awesome.  It had a tiny 1950s kitchen (with original stove!) that I wish I could recreate at home and you could hear the ocean with the windows open.  They even had a tiny pond with koi fish in it.  Patrick figured out how to hook the laptop up to the TV (yay HDMI cables!) and we had our movie back ups with us so we could watch movies in the evening and play board games.  And the cottage was only a few blocks from the ocean so we could walk down whenever we wanted.

It was also only about a mile from the little pedestrian shopping area.  That was fun because the entire town was only about 10 miles in diameter so we were able to walk everywhere.  Next year hopefully we can bring bikes since there are lots of bike paths too.  Most of the houses near the town center are very old, with the gingerbread/Victorian style, so it was fun to just walk around and see all the neat architecture (and pretty flower gardens…).

They also have a lighthouse and several protected beaches for wildlife so we saw lots of interesting ocean birds, and dolphins catching fish only 30 or 40 feet off the beach.

Luckily the garden behaved itself while we were gone.  When I got back the zucchini were still reasonable size and the beans hadn’t gone crazy.  If I’m lucky I will get to pick zucchini this weekend.  I’m also going to be trimming back some of the ‘bush’ beans that are now about 5 ft tall and climbing the tomato trellis.  I need to trim them back to keep them from taking over the poor tomatoes.  Amusingly enough the happiest tomatoes are the volunteers in the compost bin and the cherry tomatoes by the back door…

Still the garden is doing well this year.  I’ve already frozen about a gallon of green and yellow beans and a whole bunch of wax and jalapeno peppers.  We’ve even got three tiny ripe tomatoes.  I’ve also got some lettuce that’s still going despite the heat.  Hopefully there will be zucchini and cucumbers soon.  And hopefully when we pull the garlic this week we’ll have good results!

Welcome to Summer (Almost)


We’ve made it to June, which for me is always the start of summer. Even if it’s not official until the end of the month, the pools are open, it’s hot enough for sun dresses and we’ve gotten the bikes and the grill out. Therefore it’s summer.

May was officially the hottest May we’ve ever had, so my spring vegetables are well and truly bolted. The summer ones seem to be enjoying the experience though. I have tiny tomatoes that are almost egg sized, and the corn is already knee-high (I think it’ll be plenty tall by July 4). I don’t know if we’ll get corn, but I’m enjoying the experiment.

The strawberries also did great this year. I got a year’s supply of jam (which doesn’t take much for us!) and some to freeze too, so I’m happy. I think Patrick’s also happy to escape lots of trips to the pick-your-own place. Maybe I’ll save that for pumpkins or Christmas trees this year… I think I’ll get a few currants and raspberries, but next time I try planting those I think I will do a more careful job with the prep work which should make things easier.

I’m also looking forward to a day where I can put a big (read: deer proof) fence around the yard and have nice spaces between my garden beds, picking the strawberries requires some interesting balancing and while that builds muscles, it doesn’t make for good motivation to go out and take care of the garden properly.

Overall though I’m doing pretty well this year. Having a careful (and rigorously followed) plan has kept things a lot more organized this year. And that’s even with the early swap out of the spring vegetables. This weekend I’m going to finish cleaning things up since I still need to do the cress that’s gone to seed and train the tiny cucumber plants and morning glories so they climb nicely. I’ll put in some more lettuce. So far the second round of cut-and-come-again lettuce looks to be getting to a good size. And the stumps of the lettuce that I cut the whole head from (it was ready to bolt) are actually putting out new leaves. Score one for an internet rumor!

I want to get everything set up real well so it can survive on it’s own for a week. We’re actually going on a vacation, for an entire week at the ocean.  It’ll be the first time we’ve done this, and I’m looking forward to it.  I have finished almost all of my seersucker sewing projects and I’m going to bring along a couple of relaxing knitting projects, so I’m really looking forward to it.


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