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Rain, Sweet Rain

September 2nd, 2014

A smell of rain came on streaks of coolness through the hot wind.

“Oh, maybe it will get to us, Ma! Maybe it will!” Laura said. Inside themselves they were all saying, “Please, please, please!”

The wind blew cooler. slowly, slowly, the cloud shadow grew larger. Now the cloud spread wide in the sky. Suddenly a shadow rushed across the flat land and up the knoll, and fast after it came the marching rain. It came up the knoll like millions of tiny trampling feet, and rain poured down on the house and on Ma and Mary and Laura and Carrie.

…Just before sunset the rain went away. Down across Plum reek and away across the prairie to the east it went, leaving only a few sparkling drops falling in the sunshine. Then the cloud turned purple and red and curled gold edges against the clear sky. The sun sank and the starts came out. The air was cool and the earth was damp and grateful.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (On the Banks of Plum Creek)

rainy days 2
It’s been dry here, for quite a while. Thankfully the weather has been cooler, but things were starting to get a little too dry in the garden. This summer our rain has come in big amounts, very quickly. We have had 5 inches overnight on several occasions. The result is that a lot runs off and not much soaks in.
I’ve had to water my newly planted shrubs quite often and I frequently find myself lugging watering cans around making sure potted plants are watered and prize plants have the water they need.
Last night we had a glorious soaking rain, it was perfect. Not too hard, not too soft, just right. I was worried with the hot days we’ve been having and a long trip on the horizon. Thankfully this rain will keep things in shape until I return, I can now travel without worry of trying to explain which plants might need a long drink while I am away.

How has the rainfall been in your garden this summer?

Homegrown Tomatoes – Guy Clark

August 31st, 2014

Ain’t nothin’ in the world that I like better
Than bacon & lettuce & homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin’ out in the garden

Get you a ripe one don’t get a hard one
Plant `em in the spring eat `em in the summer
All winter with out `em’s a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin’ & diggin’
Every time I go out & pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What’d life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love & homegrown tomatoes

Guy Clark

Yesterday I harvested my first ‘Brandywine’ tomato, it was large, perfectly pinky red, soft to the touch and OH-SO-DELICIOUS!!!
BLT with heirloom tomatoes 1
We enjoyed it for breakfast yesterday paired with our own home raised and home cured bacon. There was lettuce from the farmers market and sourdough bread from a local shop. We put an egg ours making them more BELTs than BLTs.
BLT with heirloom tomatoes 2
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes in the summer, perhaps only topped by eating them with a little salt. The window for ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes is so small I’ll be eating them for every meal until frost.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy the first juicy beefsteak tomato of the season?

Seaweed Snacks

August 30th, 2014

I must admit, I love anything that tastes like the sea and seaweed no exception.  If there is a seaweed salad on the menu, I will always order it.  Lucky for me, here in Maine we have a few small companies that specialize in sustainably harvested, local seaweed. I put pieces of some varieties in my tea and soups, other varieties I use as a flavor enhancer, kind of like salt.
toasted nori
One of my favorites is nori, which I simply toast lightly in a cast iron skillet and eat like chips. It has a salty, mineral taste with a hint of the ocean as well. It’s FANTASTIC, pretty much one of my favorite snacks.

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Friday Favorite: Eyelet Fabric

August 29th, 2014

Eyelet fabric has been one of my favorite things ever since I was a little girl. I don’t know what it is about it, perhaps the texture, perhaps the intricacy, maybe it’s the subtleness of the pattern. Whatever it is, I find myself gravitating towards eyelet whenever I see it on a piece of clothing. Five or six years ago I purchased this fantastic eyelet skirt. It has a few different eyelet patterns, from the simple to the intricate.
eyelet skirt 1
The skirt is white, which is rather unfortunate, but thanks to oxygen bleach it’s as white now as it was the first day I purchased it. This skirt is perfect in summer, it’s light, it’s cool, I can dress it up, I can dress it down. I find myself wearing it with tank tops and flip flops all summer long. I wish I had purchased this skirt in the other colors that it was available in, black and brown.  But alas, I only have the white.  That’s OK I suppose, it’s more special since I only have one.
eyelet skirt 2
Unfortunately eyelet clothing is difficult to find, which makes it all the more special. Perhaps someday I’ll find a beautiful mix of eyelets and make myself another skirt just like this. It wouldn’t be difficult, I have the sewing skills to do it, I just need to find the fabric.

What’s your favorite type of fabric?

Planting Winter Herbs

August 28th, 2014

I love fresh Italian parsley and like to have it around all year if possible.  That means I grow it in the garden throughout the spring/summer/fall and in containers in the house during the winter.  Parsley seeds are notorious for taking a LONG time to germinate and get going.  After a few years of starting seed in October and have them reach maturity too many months later, I decided to start them in late summer.
winter herbs
A few days ago I started a container of Italian parsley and one of seasoning celery. In a month I’ll start a few containers of cilantro, which is another herb I like to have fresh all year long if possible. I have found that all these herbs do well in containers in a sunny windowsill. I can certainly save a lot of money growing a few containers of herbs in the winter, fresh organic herbs can cost $3-$4 a bunch. These augment my other potted perennial herbs that live outside in the summer and inside during the winter. I have a few different varieties of thyme and a bay laurel tree as well. Hopefully these containers will be lush enough to harvest when the snow starts to fly outside.

Do you grow any potted herbs indoors during the off season?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.