1. I get the best assortment of questions sent my way almost every day about everything I love, including but not limited to: cooking, baking, gardening, canning, appliances, natural cleaning, soapmaking, chickens, bees, painting, essential oils, plant identification, renovations, antiques, natural remedies, herbal remedies, organizing, home decor, photography, and eggs. I LOVE IT. I really, really love it. And it turns out that the past 15 years of reading and learning everything I can about all of these things has made a few things stick - I really do know quite a lot of practical things! And there's nothing I enjoy more than spreading that around. Want to know what I would do with that cabbage? Sauerkraut! Easy-peasy, and I can direct you to the simplest, most delicious recipe. How to wash eggs? Book recommendations for preschoolers? What colour to paint your house? How you should beautifully store that collection? How to use essential oils in your house? (Nope, I don't sell them!) How to make lotion? I get such satisfaction from making daily life and its routines meaningful and enjoyable, and if I can pass that along to someone else even in the smallest way, I am glad to.
2. I haven't been posting terribly frequently to the blog over the past while, for a variety of reasons. I have plenty of ideas, but sometimes it feels like I'm just chattering away into the ether, so I'm not terribly motivated. Over the past few weeks, though, several people have told me how much they enjoy my posts, and *that* is what I find motivating and fun - connecting with people. Also, I love organizing my thoughts into posts and sharing photos - it's good for my brain and heart.
3. So: I just put 1 and 2 together and... if you have a question about any of the things on the list above, leave a comment or send me an e-mail! I would LOVE to answer. I'm hopeful that it will answer questions you might have, inspire someone else through the answers, and keep me motivated to post!
Late summer really is all about the food. Despite the almost complete lack of rain this summer, the garden somehow managed to produce. Our well has been dry since June, which makes me appreciate water so very much more. (We're planning on drilling a new well. Ooof, it's pricey, but needs to be done and will be well worth it. (Pun intended. Heh heh.)) The potatoes did very well, tomatoes not so much, the kale has been decimated by slugs (maybe we need some ducks...) but the garlic and peas produced a lot. The onions didn't get very large, and neither did the carrots, but we did get a few massive radishes. I found three cherry tomatoes from one of several volunteer plants we had amongst the peas. I'm letting the pea vines dry again this year so we have seeds to plant next year; it worked perfectly this past year and I was pretty pumped. And I discovered that our back field is full of blueberries! Slow picking, but delicious.
Although these tomatoes weren't from our garden, I did get some canning done, and I have a bit more planned. I hadn't done much the past two summers; two years ago we were moving, and last summer I just didn't get into it. The one thing I did can last summer was a batch of dill pickles, and they tasted awful. They were inedible. That's never happened to me before, but it also happened to a friend of mine, also last summer. Strange. Hopefully this summer's endeavours will be more successful. I made several batches of salsa, I canned some whole tomatoes (which we use a lot through the fall and winter), made some refrigerator dills, and strawberry and raspberry jams. I have a few more things I might whip up if the mood strikes (peach lavender jam, blueberry rhubarb jam) and one more absolute-must (a new-to-me 1970's spicy pepper relish which is incredibly delicious with cream cheese) but on the whole, I'm pretty satisfied with what I've put up so far.
We go back to school and work this week. I had the boys look at some cookbooks and lunchbox ideas books from the library and make lists of things they would like to find in their lunchboxes, which is nice to have posted when it's just hard to think of what to buy that they will enjoy. (Fruit, cottage cheese, pitas and hummus, leftover chili, and egg salad sandwiches are on the boys' lists.)
I have my new Moleskine planner and set of Sharpie pens at the ready. The boys' supplies are packed and ready. As they do every summer, they've just recently settled into a routine of waking up one hour after they'll need to be up for school.
I hope that you're enjoying the long weekend and these beautiful late summer days. It's definitely one of my favourite times of the year. And don't forget to send along your questions!