Rain Day

Last weekend was super rainy, so I stayed home and made pickles!  My cucumber plants didn’t have quite enough to make pickles by themselves, so I supplemented with some from the farmer’s market in town.  It is even easier to make pickles than it is to make jam.  I literally put the baby down for a nap and made 9 jars of pickles while he was sleeping.  Fingers crossed that I like the seasonings I used.  And I made a few spicy jars for DH, so I don’t know if they’ll be the right spice level for him.  It’s certainly a learning year, but so far I think pickling will be added to my summer schedule from now on.

I do green beans every year, but this year was a little rough and not as many plants as I had hoped made it through harvest.  I still have a lot of beans, and froze a gallon bag full last night.  We’ve been eating them for several weeks too, so the crop won’t be horrible this year even with the slow start.

My strawberries are teeny!  I was a bit over-hopeful on them.  They are definitely plants that take at least a year to get started and do much, much better in later years.  We went and picked berries like always, and when Red was down visiting we made 55 jars of jelly!!

I also have tomatoes and green peppers.  I plucked the early blooms from the pepper plant, and the peppers I’m getting are robust and gorgeous.  I did the same for the tomato plant, and I’m getting small, golf ball tomatoes.  Clearly it’s not a fool proof strategy, but I am actually getting tomatoes this year so I consider that a plus.

My potato bucked that I got from Wal-Mart worked!  I got potatoes that we roasted for supper one day.  I absolutely going to plant more, but I don’t think I’ll pay for Wallly’s bucket again.  I can either reuse the one I have or I heard of a way to grow potatoes in those reusable fabric shopping bags that sounds easy.

I have my seeds to start germinating them inside here one of these days soon so they’ll be ready for my raised garden!  I’m so freaking excited.

Random Episode #111

What has everyone been up to?  It seems like we’ve all been too exhausted to blog much lately.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m blaming mine on this huge belly I’ve been lugging around.  I’m down to about 7 weeks left, which is great because my belly is outgrowing my maternity work shirts at an astonishing rate.  Other baby planning is going well.  I’ve picked up lots of stuff at local thrift stores.  There are so many great finds there with tags still on them.  We’re missing a crib and a car seat/stroller, so that’s kinda important.  I’m going to try and hit some stationary stores in town looking for fantastic paper for birth announcements this Saturday.  I’ve been on meds now for a few weeks, and I’m feeling alright.  I’m almost even getting excited.  I’m hoping to keep up the momentum so my nerves don’t get the better of me as the day creeps closer.

DH is out training, so I’ve been lounging around home getting lonely.

I got some of my veggies started for the spring.  I have cucumbers for pickling, green beans, and potatoes started.  I want to get a tomato plant, a pepper plant, and strawberries maybe this weekend.  It’s going to be fantastic!!  There’s a tater tub thing at Walmart that I’m trying this season.  It comes with everything for like $12ish and grows fingerling size potatoes all in this black bucket with a lift out insert to check on the potatoes as they grow.  I’m super excited to see if it works out.  Oh, and I’m sure I’ll pick up some flowers sometime too, but I want to maximize my veggie growing season before it gets too hot down here.

I’ve been reading a ton of great books, but I want to give those their own space.  So…just wait longer.

My parents came and visited about two weeks ago or so just for the weekend.  We had a great time, although we didn’t really do much.  We went and saw Riverdance, and I was a bit bummed because I’ve seen it once before and this time it seemed like a slimmed down version.  It wasn’t a grand feeling like it was last time I saw it.  Anyway, we did a lot of non-baby things and some baby things, so it was a nice mix.  Short but sweet.

Ugh, taxes are here again.  My W-2s got all screwed up, so I’ve been waiting on those to get corrected before I can start.  And for some reason two of my interest bearing accounts didn’t send me 1099-INT forms this year.  Seriously??  Is the universe trying to stress me to the max right before this baby gets here?  I hate tax season…

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  With DH out on a suck-fest right now, maybe I’ll get reacquainted with the blog world.

Sticky Weekend

I apologize for everyone who is still rejoicing at the mere sight of grass.  I was once one of you…but now I have moved on.

Three weeks ago (mid-April!) a friend and I went and picked strawberries.  They were delicioso!  Here’s before:

And here’s after:

Yay for jam!  I think we made three batches and ended up with close to 20 jars.  We sorta got carried away with the picking stage of this process and had to do something with all the berries.  Oops.

If you haven’t tried canning and making jam, it’s so easy and super fun.  It’s even better if you have a friend who’s interested too.  Kind of like a sticky girls day in.  I have this site bookmarked and rely on it all the time.  It has absolutely every piece of information you need to find local farmers markets and u-pick farms, recipes, step-by-step guidelines, and even where to buy canning kits and supplies.  It’s not that expensive to start, and most WalMarts have canning sections during the summer and fall.  Every year I try something different.  This year I’m thinking pickles, but I have no idea when cucumber season is down here.

Anywho…we also left the farm with one of these apiece.

I chose a small cabbage too.  We clearly got in over our heads.  But it was ah-mazing with onions and cheese.

Green-ish Thumb

I got out in my garden this weekend and put in my vegetables for the season.  I have tomato plants and pepper plants like last year although I’m trying a different set up.  The tomato plants got a bed to themselves this year.

Hopefully it gives them more room to grow.

The pepper plants did well last year, and since they don’t get very big I put them into individual flower pots.

My beans are shooting up.  Ha!  Evidence that I can in fact make something grow!  Speaking of which, the mum I planted last fall is coming back from the winter cold.  The jury is still out on it’s success though.

I am trying herbs this year for the first time too.  I debated on whether or not to plant them inside, and I had planned on buying established seedlings instead of seeds.  …But I went to Target and they had pots on sale for a dollar and to get to those pots I had to pass the seed packet display.  I can’t pass a seed packet display without getting something.  It’s a curse.  So I got some basil, cilantro or coriander (depending on which side of the Mexican-American border your taste buds are from), and chives.  I’m excited for these guys to get big enough to use in my cooking!  If my tomatoes do well, maybe I can get some salsa out of the deal.

I also took a big risk and got some watermelon seeds because they were there and looked so enticing!  I am ridiculously excited!!  I grew some when I was a kid, and I can’t remember how they turned out, but I’m hoping for the best.  Something has to do well in this Southern weather.  I have two small beds on either side of my back porch stairs, so the watermelon is going in the one not occupied by the tomato plants.

I found some small to medium pots last summer in a second-hand store, so I planted a few snapdragons to decorate the front stoop.  It seems to be the only place not inundated with squirrel activity.  Last year entire pots turned up empty overnight around the tree by the kitchen door.  I will not be fighting that battle again.  I cannot win.

Now that I got the camera back from the pit of despair that was DH’s deployment baggage, I can post visual evidence of my future edible bounty.  Cross your fingers…

A Weekend Thwarted

I was so excited to get in the yard and get gardening this weekend, but the weather turned cold and rainy.  Poo.  I got green beans in over a week ago.  Hopefully I get a longer season in than last year.  I didn’t account for the shift in growing seasons when you move farther south and a lot of my veggies fried in the sun by late July.  I’m going to get a few herbs going inside I think.  I want to try tomatoes again this year.  They never really produced for me last year, but my green peppers did really well albeit a little late.  I joked that I was going to do a couple rows of corn just to send DH over the edge.  He thinks I’m a natural plant killer.  I’ll show him.

I redirected my efforts to an amazing banana bread.  Tucker posted the recipe a few days ago and it got my taste buds working.  I love that it’s made without butter.  I need to find the charger for the camera so I can post pictures.

My lazy weekend is over too soon.  It’s back to work tomorrow.  I’ve been struggling a lot with work lately.  It deserves it’s own post, and I need some time to figure out what I want to say exactly.  I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with where I’m at, but it’s not the job in theory.  I say that, but last Friday I had to sit through someone clipping their toenails on the couch in the magazine area.  Party foul, People!  Anyway, on paper I love this job.  I love my regular patrons.  I love knowing what they like to read, having it ready for them, and our quick conversations once a week.  Sounds great…but so does communism on paper.  Ugh.

You know, what I really need is to win the millions.

A Losing Battle

This is my first residence where a:  it’s single family and I’m not sharing with in-laws, extended family, roommates, or friends and b:  I have a yard and am not stuck in an apartment building.  I’ve made it my mission to garden and plant and enjoy my square of dirt to the fullest this summer.

It took me ages, but I picked up some flower pots and my local thrift store and now have flowers on both my front and side stoops.  I have hanging flowers on hooks near my mailbox.  I have small pots of greenery on my fireplace mantle and on my stair landing.  I have onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes in plots off the back porch, and green beans going crazy in the front yard where it’s shadier.  In the next week or so I’m planning on putting bushes and maybe flowers around a tree off the corner of the house.  On paper it sounds like I’ve got it all together.

Between the squirrels, dog, weeds, and freakish vines, I’m barely hanging in there.  It’s vicious out there!

I have harvested green beans already.

They’re delicious!  I sort of anticipated it, but I’m going to have way more veggies than I can eat very, very soon.  My first crop of beans is about a week’s worth of portions if I ate them every night.  Would it be polite to send my neighbors notices that they are soon going to be inundated with home-grown veggies now or should I just assume it will be a pleasant surprise?

Playing Catch Up

I would like to be able to say that I’ve been busy, but mostly I’ve been feeling crummy and unmotivated.  I hate that the majority of my posts lately have been food related, so since it’s raining today and I don’t feel like venturing out into the world I’m going to fix that.

Red come down and visited two weeks ago, and we had the best time.  We got tattoos for each other on a whim.  Both our names start with the same letter, so it’s this tribal/swirly pattern with out initial worked into the center.  Mine’s highlighted in green because it’s her favorite color and her’s with blue.  We got them on our lower calf.  It was so fun.  DH and I invited her down to help me with him leaving, but her postpartum depression has really gotten out of hand.  It turned out to be a vacation for us both.

She has gotten suicidal, and I’m really struggling with how to help her.  I’ve offered for her to come back down here, even if DH and I have to help out with the ticket, but I’m afraid she’d only come for a couple days again.  It’s going to take a lot longer for her to get rested up enough to go back and be able to handle life again.  It makes me feel so horrible that I can’t help her more.  I feel like because I have been suicidal in the past and felt those feelings and even attempted it myself I should be able to prevent it from happening to her.  It hurts so much.  I don’t wish it on anyone ever.  I don’t even know what to do or say to help her.  I remember wanting help so badly, but I never heard what I needed from anyone so I don’t know what it is I need to say.  Knowing that she needs that, knowing what it feels like to so desperately want it, but not being able to give it hurts me so much.  I feel like a failure.  It puts me back there so quickly and makes me hurt.  I wish DH and I had talked about my struggles with suicide.  Even the idea of suicide got him so angry that we’ve just let it fade away.  Maybe if we had talked about it I would know what it is I was missing and what I need to give her.  It bothers me so much that I let this happen to someone I love.

I’m still trying to get better from the bronchitis.  It stinks and is taking forever to go away.  It’s kept me out of the gym too, and I think my mental state, not to mention my body, is suffering.  I bought some new running shoes yesterday, so I’m really anxious to get back to it.

I also bought garlic and onions to plant in the backyard one of these weekends!  I’m so excited.  We have a back patio with neglected flower beds around the base.  I’m going to tear out all the overgrown vines, dead flowers, and accumulated leaves and put some vegetables and flowers in.  I’m not the best gardener, but I don’t care.  I’ve waited so long to have an outside space of my own to plant things.  It’s just not spring without new flowers and potting soil.  I’m hoping I have better luck with vegetables, and I’m so excited to be able to cook with stuff I grew.  I also want to pick up some green beans, green peppers, or tomatoes.  I’m thinking I might can spaghetti sauce in the fall.  I wish DH were here for it.  He’s not big on helping with yard work, but I know he’d be so excited to watch the progress and harvest veggies.  I’m planning to getting out the video camera to show him all my hard work, but it’s just not the same.  There’s always next year I suppose.

I’ve also been starting my hospital rounds.  I have a couple serious medical issues that require specialists.  Every time we move I have to start the referral process to get reestablished with someone new.  Somehow TriCare (military insurance) got my information screwed up.  I’m classified under my retired father instead of my active duty husband.  I’m doomed.  I should just give up because this will never be straightened out.  I’m never going to get my referrals either since they’re never find me in the system.  Ugh.  The madness.

I’m still pretty tired even though I’m getting better.  Life is moving forward I guess.  We have one less month in this deployment, so that’s always good.  It’s just breathe, breathe, breathe as my grandma would say.