Wednesday, August 17, 2016
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c pine nuts (these are optional and quite expensive)
2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil divided
sal and black pepper to taste
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts (if you're using them) in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 c of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add all of the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. You can either mix in the cheese now or stir it in when you transfer it to a bowl.
I pack it into pint jars and freeze. The recipe says it will last up to 3 months but I can tell you that it won't last that long in this place.
I can only remember a handful of summers in my life when we didn't have a garden. Even when it was just Doug and I, the first summer, we have planted a garden and fed our family with varying degrees of success, from the fruits of our labor. There have been summers of huge pregnancy when the weeding suffered late in the season and so did the volume of produce. I recall one year that some of my children started to plant without me, not a lot that year either. (when you plant the seeds halfway to China you aren't likely to see results in your lifetime)
This year has been no different but more rewarding in a different kind of way. This garden season has been away from the farm and the benefit of all things machinery. The first time we could get onto the ground in the spring MK started to plan and build the raised beds that would be the basis for our gardens. The one above borders on the patio and hot tub and not only houses my fountain but swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, peppers, various herbs and the Sacred Heart to watch over all. From early June until a couple of weeks ago we had fresh lettuces just about every day. The cherry tomatoes are about to overwhelm and the peppers have been steady.
I shouldn't neglect St. Francis who was a late-comer to the garden but he stands between it and any squirrel that tries to invade.
In the back there are three beds of this size. This one still has some beet greens left. I never planned to let them actually fruit but the greens have been a delicious addition to many meals. The pickling cucumbers that lived here are done now and this morning I weeded out the spent plants to be composted.
Next to the beets is another bed that had zucchini in it, spent as well but boy were they good while they lasted. Remaining are MK's winter squash.
Along the back fence we have about 30 feet of raised bed that gave us peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, oregano, evening primroses, and marigolds. I give the tomatoes another week and they will be done too. How thankful I am for the fresh sauce I made last night and the 14 quarts of sauce that I have canned so far. Not bad for a first year in a new spot.
Behind the garage are two more beds. One is full to overflowing with pumpkin vines and I am not sure how much fruit. The other has the slicing cucumbers, just producing as the pickler's finish up, and carrots. This is one bed that is going to need to be amended next year. It was one of the last ones to be built and so the soil is mostly clay from the farm rather than a mixture of rotted horse manure, peat moss, and clay.
I neglected to take a picture of the bed that I am most proud of. It is full of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and until this morning, basil We have been eating from the broccoli most of the season although they slowed down during the heat wave. Today I noticed loads of baby brussels sprouts just waiting for me to harvest and eat them. This morning I harvested the basil and made 4 double batches of pesto to put into the freezer. MK eats the stuff like a spread and I use it instead of sauce on pizzas.
That is some serious basil goodness if I do say so myself.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Outside my window...the sun is shining through a layer of clouds. The light breeze and all the storms over the weekend have managed to break the heat and humidity down to a bearable level. Last I looked it was 72 out and much drier!!!! It is shaping up to be a good day to get caught up on yard and garden work which has been sadly neglected during this hot spell. Of course it is cool enough to catch up on the cleaning of the home which also lapsed due to the heat. Whatever gets done today is determined by tomorrow's forecast.
I am thinking...of the time that is wasted by those who neglect family. Last evening we observed a little boy of about 2 playing in the sand at the beach. Sadly his father was sitting on a bench looking at his phone the whole time. Not only did he waste that irretrievable time with his little boy but he deprived his boy of valuable emotion and spiritual connection that only a father can give.
I am thankful...for this man who not only dedicated his life to myself and our children but continues that dedication to his grandchildren. His patience and wisdom are graces that cannot be replaced or duplicated by another.
Saturday Layn and Christopher spent the morning "helping" their dad break down some wheels and repair flats on some of the equipment. Great activity for a muddy Saturday morning. Christopher's feet were dressed and ready for whatever mud puddle that may come in his path.
Let's not forget the ear protection just in case daddy or papa fire up something that is noisy.
Papa and his two girls being goofy last night. We all met at the beach and had pizza, ice cream and played in the sand. The sunset over the lake was spectacular and finished off the evening perfectly.
I am reading...Animal Farm by George Orwell. I came across a volume in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble and decided it was a story worth re-reading.
From the kitchen...there will be deliciousness and much cooking. Cooler weather always brings out the urge to whip up something nice. Perhaps I will make some zucchini bread for a certain son who has mentioned it a time or two. There is also about half a bushel of tomatoes that beg me to can them before they go bad. I may be biting off more than this day can hold!
Creatively speaking...I have completed all my commissions to date and have gotten out the antique linens in the hopes of doing a little charitable sewing for infants. (that is if I can keep my hands clean enough to work with whites)
A few plans for the rest of the week...oh, you know, stuff. Lately I have tried not to plan too much. Instead going with the flow and responding to promptings has been uppermost on my daily calendar.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you....
My two little mermaids playing in the sand and dipping into the lake. Their squeals of pleasure and surprise were the perfect punctuation for a summer evening.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Outside my window...the sun shines with all its brilliance and it is shaping up to be another hot and humid day. I moved away from South Carolina to get away from this kind of weather! Not complaining though. Central New York is enjoying an unusually warm and humid summer but boy could we use some serious rain.
I am thinking...about adventures. Last week while Kim sent the day with Nate the girls and I had an adventure at the local zoo. I have been resolved, for the past year, to make an effort to view the world and all its wonders through the eyes of the little ones that God has placed in my life. Everything is new and wonderful when it is filtered through a child's wonder.
All that being said...I am thankful for these little people in my world. Each has his own likes and dislikes, personality and way of seeing the world around him.
I am reading...The Life of Padre Pio. Years ago when I had the privilege of venerating a relic of the good saint he has become one of my true friends.
From the kitchen (which has been restocked since this guy's last visit)...there is a very fresh chicken in the crock pot. On the counter waiting some culinary wizardry is a bowl of tomatoes, cucumbers, beet greens, and broccoli.
Creatively speaking...now that MK has effectively sparked my fires again I have a couple of bag orders to fill and some Christmas gift sewing to begin.
A few plans for the rest of the week...I plan on rolling with the punches, going with the flow, and just generally living life as it comes at me.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you....
Creativity is my best and surest form of outlet. Whether it be stress, excitement, or merely having to wait, being able to sit at my sewing machine and create a thing of beauty and usefulness is generally my way of dealing with life. There are times, however when creativity won't come...enter my kindred spirit, Mary-Kate.
Her motto is, "see a need, fill a need." Monday MK recognized the struggle and decided to do something about it. After a trip to the basement she filled my world with color.
Quilts hung on the wall, draped over the jukebox, and tacked to the beams are just what the doctor would order should he know what the problem was.
Colors everywhere and talk of just what is needed to finish these beauties.
Piles and boxes of bright calicos spilling over on the window bench invite touching and speculation about just how to use them.
Patterns taken out and matched to coordinating prints are just what is needed to over come anything and get the creative juices flowing.
Don't forget the notions and a bit of whimsy and I am quickly on my way with fingers itching and colors dancing in my mind.
Yep, MK knows that a well placed and well planned mess is just what her mother needs to get past the mid-summer funk.
Monday, August 1, 2016
Outside my window...the rain is falling gently and the temperature is a cool and comfortable 66°. Thus far we have had an unusually warm and dry summer for Upstate New York so the rain is welcome as well as the very muddy reason why I must continue to neglect the yard work. I lament the fact that the rain will encourage the weeds to grow, as if they really need it, but perhaps with this moisture my cucumbers will be less pointy and sweeter.
I am thinking...about all the things that have occurred over the last three weeks. I think I need a vacation! God is truly good in the midst of all the anxiety, busyness, and life he blesses us with brief moments of joy to sustain.
One such joyful moment is this little boy finally learning to ride his bike. I haven't a picture of it yet but the training wheels are in the shop and he zooms all over the farm now like a pro. The look of complete abandon and freedom that I see on his face is, at least to me, worth all of the falls, cries, and bruised knees.
Byzantine church in PA that I visited with my longtime online friend Meghann Harden. One of the many gifts that I was blessed with.
I am thankful...for the moments. All of the moments that together make up my days are like precious stones strung together like my rosary, slipping through my fingers as I lift my heart up to the giver of such a gift.
Another Byzantine church that my sister and I visited in North Carolina. The prayers said here were those of thanksgiving for my sister's presence in my life and for her friendship.
I am reading...not a thing. Really and truly there has been no time for reading lately.
From the kitchen...there will be food forthcoming. What that will be remains to be seen. I have not cooked for well over a week and have eaten out far more than a person with weight issues should. However today is a new day and a Monday as well which are both good reasons to get off the free-wheeling wagon and back on to the self-control train.
Creatively speaking...I have been making bags and aprons! No pictures to show for all my work though. Everything that I have made lately has flown out of the house as quickly as I have sewn the last stitch.
May I present the pinnacle of the past week's adventures. Nathaniel Seamus Kraeger was born Wednesday, July 27 at approximately 11:42 PM. After driving for 11.5 hours on Tuesday to get home from the south land he decided that all the principals were in place and Wednesday would be a good day to make his entrance.
Born at 6 lbs. 8 ounces, 20 inches long his appearance on the scene was rapid and dramatic!
Of course the price of being three weeks early is an interval spent in the NICU.
A few plans for the rest of the week...taking Kim each day up to Syracuse to hold Nate and bond with him. In between trips I will be learning how to be a wife and mother again. Each new day will dictate its own activities and accomplishments while we wait for that little man to heal, mature, and come home to his loving family
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...