It’s spring, and as the season changes, so do our wardrobes. I love the simple habits that I’ve adopted since Roman was born. Throughout the season, when a piece of clothing no longer fits, I put it in a basket. At the end of each season, I take all of those pieces to a consignment shop. With the credit that I earn, I purchase the new pieces that each child will need for the coming season. I don’t always have enough credit to purchase everything that we need, but consignment shop prices are so reasonable that I always spend a minimal amount. Whatever clothing of ours that the shop doesn’t accept — my favorite shop happens to be very selective — I place in a bag and drop into a donation bin on the ride home.
It’s a simple process and it brings me so much joy. I love the cycle of reusing and recycling. If we stop and think about how many resources go into the creation of one single piece of clothing, it’s truly astonishing. Purchasing gently-used, new-to-us clothing, and selling or donating our own outgrown clothing, are good ways to care for the earth, for people, and for pocketbook.
All of the pieces that Marina is wearing in these shots were purchased second-hand or gifted to us. In the coming weeks, I am planning to do a gigantic purge in several areas of my home, including my wardrobe, the kids toy bins, and the kitchen. I’m also seriously considering beginning a Nothing New project. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I hope that your spring is off to the loveliest start, friends. xo
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
There’s something so intense about these last few days of spring. School is getting out. The wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Daylight seems to stretch on forever and the possibility for magic seems endless. It has always taken my breath away. These luminous moments when anything seems possible. We’re just on the cusp of summer and there is everything to look forward to — campfires, beach trips, fireflies.
The past few days, the weather has been just perfect. Sunshine and blue skies and a little bit of a breeze. I’ve tried to spend as much time outside as possible. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, then you may have seen me buzzing all over the place lately, squeezing in as many day trips as I can. Last month, I started working on a little project with Ford, test driving their C-Max Energi hybrid. So of course, I’ve been taking advantage of having a shiny, new — incredibly efficient — vehicle to cart us around on our adventures. We’ve been all over from the city to the beach to the countryside, and I’ve been thrilled by just how little I’ve had to fill up the gas tank.
It’s been a pleasure driving around in the C-Max for the past month. I love the idea of plug-in hybrid vehicles and the benefits that they offer. Things like reduced dependence on petroleum fuels, reduced environmental impact through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and consumer savings on energy and fuel costs are all win/wins. Good for the environment and good for our pocketbooks. Even though it will probably be a ways off, I will definitely be looking at hybrids when I start shopping for my next vehicle.
Learn more about Ford hybrids and the #drivingonenergi program here and on Facebook, too.
I hope that you’ve been squeezing in some fun yourself and enjoying these last, magical days of spring. Here’s to summer being right around the corner.
Late July brings bounty & beauty to our garden. These are my favorite photographs from the garden yet. I could just sit and stare at them all day. They capture the plant life out there so beautifully. What I didn’t capture is the animal life! It’s constantly buzzing back there. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds (eating insects) are a constant presence. We deliberately cultivated the garden to be fauna-friendly, including plants that are especially attractive to our beautiful pollinators. Hooray for bees & butterflies!
When we returned from vacation over the weekend, there was so much deliciousness to be harvested. We are thrilled that our hopes for a bountiful season have panned out. It’s truly wonderful to eat these fresh, organic vegetables that we grew ourselves from seed!
At the moment, the flowers that are in bloom are zinnias, bee balm, black-eyed Susans, lavender, anise, hostas, and yarrow. We have some flowers that we hope will bloom soon, including one giant one that is seven-feet-tall!
The vegetables that we are currently harvesting are cherry tomatoes (red & gold), salad tomatoes, yellow zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and red cabbage. We’re bringing in lots of thyme & basil for cooking and there’s spearmint for garnishing drinks. We just harvested all of our carrots. Our sugar snap peas are finished for the season. We’ve got two big bags of them in the freezer. We have a crop of fall vegetables coming in strong, too; including pumpkins, broccoli, onions, beets, kale, Brussels sprouts, and winter squash. We’ll be seeding spinach shortly, as well.
We are very pleased with our garden. It’s been an incredible journey from seed to harvest. It means a lot to us that Roman has had a big role in the process. He helps with all of the watering and harvesting. We love being able to expose him to the labor & miracle of growing food.
Here are the previous phases of our garden this year:
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us. Also, you have no idea how excited we are that we are going to have our own little pumpkin patch this autumn. It’s a dream come true for this Halloween-obsessed lady right here! xo
It’s been nearly a month since my last garden post, so it’s time for an update and some progress shots.
We had a big spinach harvest two weeks ago and a big romaine harvest last week. Both were delicious. It’s quickly become obvious that if we ever intend to be “food” self-sufficient, even just for a couple of months out of the year, it’s going to take a lot of work and space. Although our gardens are decently sized, leafy greens (which we eat a lot of) take up space. We plan to experiment with staggered growing, (i.e. starting a crop of seeds, then another a week later, and one more a week later, on a continuing basis) to ensure an ongoing supply of fresh, leafy greens.
At present, things are starting to pop out in the gardens. The eggplants have blossoms. The sugar snap peas are covered in blossoms and the pea pods are coming in. We have baby squash, bell peppers, and cayenne all getting bigger each day. The tomato blossoms have given way to lots of tomatoes and we eagerly await them ripening. The onion, carrot, and beet greens continue to grow — signaling that something wonderful is happening beneath the soil.
The salvia has bloomed, making it the first of this year’s flower seedlings to blossom. It drew a beautiful hummingbird in yesterday. One of our hostas has bloomed and the others are displaying rich green leaves. The mountain laurel, which grow wild and bountiful here, are starting to pop, as well.
We have experienced some challenges along the way. Pests have been an issue for us in the past, and continue to pester this year. The caterpillar boom has led to some chewed up leaves. We’ve also had some pesky beetles, worms, and potentially aphids. We purchased some organic pesticide, but later decided against using it. One, we worry about harming beneficial insects (like bees and butterflies); and two, the bottle has some warnings which are red flags. We’ve been inspecting each plant and manually removing pests and/or spraying them off with the hose. Roman is a great help with searching for “the bad buggies.” I’ve also got a few all-natural, homemade pest deterrents to try out… when I get around to that.
We’ve had a few other issues pop up along the way — temperature issues, placement issues, etc. — and we’re taking lots of notes so that we can improve next year.
As you can see, things are coming along nicely. It won’t be long now until the harvest is plentiful. If all goes well I will have some fresh-from-the-garden recipes to share with you soon. xo
We have a love/hate relationship with our home. I could go on and on about the things that we dislike (the fact that it’s too small, the dirt basement, the fact that we’re on a main road, etc.), but I’ll save that for another time. Today I want to share one of the things that we love the most about this place — our yard & gardens.
Matthew has spent the past seven years completely re-designing the yard. It’s amazing how far we have come. Unfortunately I can’t find a good “before” picture at the moment, but believe me when I tell you, it was a wreck before. It’s our beautiful oasis now and we couldn’t be happier with it.
We’ve had gardens in the past, but they were usually haphazard. This year I finally got to install the larger gardens that I’ve been dreaming of. Throughout the yard I have planted evergreens, flowering bushes, vegetables, herbs, perennials and annuals. Earlier this week, I had a perfectly overcast day to take some photographs of what is blooming & growing this month.
There is so much going on out there right now, so I’m going to split this post up into two parts. In this first part, I’m sharing our flowering bushes and a peek at the yard & exterior of the house.
This is our rhododendron bush, located in one of the beds in the front of the house. I just love the deep, crimson reds in this one. The bush is presently full of blooms that are in various stages of opening. Within the next week, it should be in full bloom.
This is my favourite of our flowering bushes. To be honest, I’m not sure what it is called! It is one of the only original bushes that are still here from before we moved in. It’s a stunning bush that blooms every year in May and is covered with tiny, fragrant white blossoms. From a distance, it looks like the bush is covered in freshly fallen snow. It takes my breath away. There are actually two bushes and we keep our wood pile for our wood-burning stove between the two of them.
This is the view of the front of our house as seen from our driveway. The two decks (front & side) are new replacements that we put on several years back. Both of the decks were designed & built by M.
These are our azalea bushes. We have a few of them. These two are situated in the front of the house just in front of our deck. They have magenta blossoms. We also have another bush in the back, not pictured, that has soft pink blossoms.
Finally, here is a shot of our backyard and a little peek at one of our vegetable gardens. A few years back, the entire yard was excavated into sections and we had the stunning rock wall installed. M. laid out the plans so that the beautiful Japanese Maple tree would be saved. It is now a focal point of the backyard.
I’ll be getting into a lot more detail about the backyard and the gardens back there in part 2, coming soon. I especially can’t wait to share all of the vegetables & herbs that we’ve started from seed this year. It’s going to be an amazing harvest. I get hungry just thinking about it!
What about you? Are you into gardening? Do you have anything in bloom now?