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Baby Bells

September 18th, 2014

This year I grew baby bell peppers from seed thinking they’d ripen before the big one, I was correct in my line of thought. When I checked on the garden after being away for 10 days, there were beautiful red baby bell peppers.
mini bells
Look how cute they are, I’m thinking I might use them to make stuffed peppers because I always though big green peppers were way to big when stuffed. I have to admit, I didn’t used to be a pepper fan. The problem is more peppers from the store, I think it’s actually the preservative they put on them. When I eat store bought peppers I get indigestion, not so with homegrown ones. Now we eat them in the fall when they’re in season.

Did you like pepper?


September 17th, 2014

Whenever I travel to try to buy a patch for my travel patch quilt, but that’s about a kitchy as I get when it comes to souvenirs. Typically I prefer to purchase a useful item that I can either display or something useful that I can use daily. Last time I was in Seattle I purchase a lovely hand carved spatula. It’s made of bird’s eye maple and it’s quite stunning, I use it almost daily and it brings back memories of that trip. This time I purchase a small sign for my garden.
garden sign 1
I spotted it at Bloedel Reserve and knew it would be the perfect item since we spent the majority of our time touring gardens.
garden sign 2
The script font and the tiny bird are lovely, the rusty finish is also fetching. No worries about it rusting or leaving it in the garden.
garden sign 3
garden sign 4
I’m not sure where I’m going to put it right now, perhaps in my small entry by the front door. When I get a fence and gate on the main garden in back I’d like to put it there, perhaps I’ll cut a special rectangle in the gate and showcase this inside.

What kinds of items do you purchase to remember your travels?

The Inevitable

September 16th, 2014

Well it looks like we may have frost on Thursday night. The gardens here are south facing and we are on top of a hill, so we get frost much later in the fall than many of the gardens in the area. I have a few melons and butternut squashes that I will cover just in case, but most everything else will be allowed to live or die depending on what happens that night.
Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.31.40 AM
I used to cover tomatoes and peppers, trying to eek out a few more ripe fruits, but realized quickly that my efforts were in vain. Now I will only cover things like squash that will continue to ripen for winter storage.
frost 1
In some ways frost in welcome this time of year, particularly right now. It’s been a busy summer for us and I welcome the sense of finality that frost brings to the garden year. There’s still a lot to do to get the garden ready for winter, mulching and seeding cover crops are two big chores that will take a lot of time. It is nice to see the finish line up ahead, I’m really looking forward to a little rest this coming winter!

When is your first frost, does it seem early/late this year?

Hello Houses

September 15th, 2014

I meant to do this as a Friday Favorite and completely forgot.  When my mom and I were in Seattle last week we rented a small bungalow in Alki Beach instead of staying at a hotel.  For many years now, we’ve been renting homes/apartments through Home Away instead of staying at hotels. Not only are they more comfortable, I like avoiding funding large corporations even when traveling. In case you’re headed to Seattle and are looking for a great little house, here’s the listing for this place.
alki beach bungalow 1
Another bonus is that they’re often much cheaper than a hotel and much more comfortable. I like having the option to prepare some of my own food on vacation, especially breakfast.
alki beach bungalow 2
Another great thing about staying in homes is that you get out into the neighborhoods and get to know the places you visit a little more intimately. Every evening we walked through different parts of the neighborhood and looked at gardens. We ate at local restaurants and shopped at local grocery stores.
neighborhood gardens 1
neighborhood gardens 2
neighborhood gardens 3
The gardens in the neighborhoods were especially lovely, we walked for an hour or two every evening down along the beach and zig zagging through the streets looking at plants, peeking in courtyards and enjoying the plants that dominate real gardens in the Seattle area.
neighborhood gardens
neighborhood gardens 1 (1)
neighborhood gardens 2 (1)
Nothing makes you feel like you know a place better than staying in a home and being immersed in non tourist dominated things. This was my second time staying in a home in the West Seattle area and I know my way around the streets and I even have a favorite coffee shop.

Have you ever rented a home when on vacation instead of staying in a hotel?

Quote of the Day: Prentice Bloedel

September 14th, 2014

“Nature can live without man, but man cannot live without nature.”

-Prentice Bloedel

bloedel reserve
Last Tuesday we visited Bloedel Reserve right after our visit to Heronswood. One of the things I like about this garden is that there are so many large naturalized areas. There are meadows, sheep barns, woods, large sweeping borders, ponds, marshes and so much more.
bloedel reserve 2
bloedel reserve 3
bloedel reserve 1
bloedel reserve 4
The line between cultivated and wild blends blends beautifully in a way that most gardens cannot achieve. In much of the garden nature is allowed to progress as it should, trees fall and are allowed to decompose where they are, no tidying up as you so often see in other gardens.
bloedel reserve 5
bloedel reserve (1)
Bloedel Reserve 9
I like this garden because it’s grand, and yet it’s very simple. The most cultivated area is the Japanese garden, the rest consists of large sweeping borders filled with shrubs. While it was clearly a very expensive garden, the ideas used would be very feasible for the average gardener with a larger lot. This garden is very inspirational for someone like me who now has a very large parcel of land.

Is there a public garden you have found particularly inspiration for your current garden space?

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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.