Saige and her new big girl bike (big 3 year old!)

soccer practice and soccer games – Doug is coaching this year too ūüôā

painting the bean bag toss game for the birthday party

Snuck away from the party planning to go to Power to the Peaceful to see our boyfriend Michael Franti¬†ūüėȬ† Yes, Saige¬†and I are quite infatuated (as well as Doug and Ryder¬†).¬† What’s not to like about the man!¬† Saige was bummed we were so far back we couldn’t see him – too cute!

Figs are coming in

and so are the tomatoes!¬† Yippee!¬† I am thrilled.¬† Not sure if you remember my previous post about my tomatoes not being so big or great, well we got a nice little heat wave and BAM¬† they all turned red and were decent sized and I’ve been hauling in 8lb + baskets of tomatoes weekly – I’m loving it!

So with that said I’ve been doing a lot of sauce making and storing.

something else we’ve been making a lot of …. hula hoops – 30 to be exact.¬† These were the “reward” for solving the mystery at the kids party (Scooby Mystery party).

our big 6 year old¬†(yes that’s right 6!) got his first skateboard for his birthday.¬† He got to go to the local skateshop and had his board built and got to tour the shop and learned the “skater” hand shake – the red carpet treatment.¬† He was so stoked!

Shaggy and Daphne before the party.¬† Mama had a late night – I had some costume adjustments to make.¬† It was going to be 95+ degrees that day and I had to make a new dress for Saige (or I should say Daphne) one that was sleeveless.¬† Doug was Fred (unfortunately we did not get a picture of him) and I was Velma (yes, the smart one ūüėȬ† ).

picked some berries in the morning for a raspberry/strawberry curd for the filing of the cake.¬† I tried my hand at a red velvet cake and was thrilled with the outcome. I usually try out new cakes on my friends and they don’t usually turn out good (I am not the best baker) but this one turned out good ūüôā

In the haste of frosting the cake (15 minutes) before the party I forgot to cross the “T” in birthday.¬† And no that isn’t a spelling mistake – it is supposed to say Rappy¬†Rithday¬†(in the words of Scooby).

The hoops were a success and Velma really liked them too ūüėȬ† yes that is me under the wig and glasses – it was way too hot to rock the turtleneck!

So after this all this, I woke up and it suddenly was October!  Ugh!

And during this time Ryder started kindergarten, I (and a few others) are trying to get the schools garden built, I started doing a daycare co-op with a friend and her two kids and Saige is back in tap and Ryder is taking hip hop Рphew! 

September always seems to sneak up and fly by.¬† The good thing is the “gang” has their costumes ready for Halloween – no costume sewing for Mama.¬† Now back to my quilt (and the other 50 projects I have half finished).

I can catch my breath now

This year I was determined to plant my entire garden from seed.¬† Most everything was a success, minus the few that met their demise with the slugs, but otherwise fairly successful – except for my tomatoes!¬† Of course, another crappy year for The Calhoun’s and their tomatoes.¬† For those of you who know me, you know that I do not eat tomatoes during the off season and that I LIVE for that first fresh farm grown tomato from either my garden or the farmers market (usually the farmer’s market is where I get my first).¬† And from that moment, until the end of the season, I live on tomatoes.¬† Tomato sandwiches everyday, sliced tomato with sea salt or olive oil or just as is, panzanella salad (my two loves – tomatoes and bread¬†– seriously is there anything better!?), pesto pasta with fresh tomatoes, faux bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, fresh tomato sauce, the list goes on.¬† I’m surprised I don’t have sores all over my mouth from the acid!

But going back to our tomatoes, I used Renee’s garden heirloom tomato seeds – I usually like Renee’s garden¬†– so I’m not sure if it’s the weather we’ve had in Northern Cali (unusually cool and foggy) or if it was a bunk batch – but whatever it is – the plants looked lovely but the tomatoes not so much.¬† Small, small, small¬† – not big enough to slice for a sandwich.¬† So when all the tiny green tomatoes finally started to turn red I started making salsa, sauces, salads, etc.¬† They taste fine – just not that uber juicy giant beauty I like to sink my teeth into.

Luckily the farms in the area have provided me with my fix, as well as Doug’s co-worker and our friend who works at a local farm (we get lots of the leftover tomatoes – perfect for sauces).¬†

So I got my first batch of leftovers and other stragglers that had not been grubbed and made some sauce to freeze.¬† Oh, did it feel good to be in the kitchen, over the stove, smelling the slowly simmering sumptuous sauce – all made with veggies from our yard, our friends yards and a local farm (which the property is shared with our friends’ so essentially our friends property too).¬†

I will look forward to that cold rainy winter day when I pull out a bag to use for our dinner.¬† The smell will bring me right back to the beautiful summer day when this was simmering all day – as kids run barefoot through the house squealing with joy.¬† Ahhhh a moment in time ūüôā

I just stumbled upon this draft of a post I wrote in April.¬† I was just about to write a post about our garden so I’m going to start with my draft that never made it “live” and then I’ll continue with the status of the garden as of this past week.

April Post……

Yummy french breakfast radishes. 

I have been busily working away in the garden, every day off, every non raining day, that’s where you can find me – it’s been my therapy.¬†¬†There is nothing better than being outside, alternating working in the garden and playing with the kids.¬† Their new fave thing is to draw on the driveway, race their bikes up and down and launch paper airplanes – so it’s perfect to be out front in the garden while they are laughing and playing.¬† The majority of our edibles are in our front yard (gotta work with Mother Nature – this is where we get the most sun) I wouldn’t change it – I love having our edibles up front for our neighbors to see and hopefully be inspired by.¬†

We have been harvesting our young lettuces and arugula which has been heavenly. 

We planted our favas¬†a bit later than we should have, so they are going to be later than I would have liked – but nevertheless, we’ll have favas.¬† I always have good intentions of getting a cover crop going or getting a winter garden going – but when we are in the thick of the rainy season – I just can’t pull it together to get out there and plant.¬† Especially when it’s dark when I get home from work.¬† I vow, one year I’ll get it together and then I’ll probably be so happy about it that it’ll continue year after year.

favas

The kids were excited to see the nasturtiums coming up a few days after planting them – those are totally rewarding plants to plant with kids – plus you can eat them!

We’re so stoked about the plans we have for this years garden, we plan on doing a lot more “intermingling” of our edibles and ornamentals to really utilize every square inch of yard.¬† We’ll keep you posted on that.¬† We are waiting for our seedlings to get bigger and the weather to warm up to transplant our summer veggies.¬† For now they hang in the mini greenhouse.¬†

While browsing the yard I was sad to see we have scale again on our Santa Rosa Plum

Doug used some horticultural¬†oil over the winter – but I think it just got washed off in the heavy rains we had.¬† So he sprayed some more and since then it’s looking better.¬† I also found some peach leaf curl on our peach and nectarine.¬† So I hand picked every leaf and bagged it and trashed it and they are both looking much better.¬† Keeping my fingers crossed.

June update….

Well, remember that little nasturtium sprout above, here is what they are looking like now!  They are (to me) very happy looking plants Рnot quite sure what it is about them, maybe their round scalloped leaves or their beautiful little flowers or that star burst appearance of the veins

but they just make me happy. 

The other plants in this bed are our potatoes (¬†Yukons, purple peruvian, creamers and red).¬† This is my first year with potatoes – I didnt’ realize how big they would get, I must rethink their location for the next crop – I don’t think this is the ideal location or at least I need to move them in this raised area to another side (they are starting to shade some of my other plants.¬† We planted the tomatoes on the other side of the potatoes and ran some fencing across the back so the tomatoes can weave in and out of the fencing (a different method of staking – basically trellising – we did this with an orange tree too and it has worked great).¬† You have to get creative in a small space if you want to grow a lot.

I’m hoping that the potatoes will die back in time for the tomatoes to flourish – it’s all about trial and error around here.

By the way, the raised bed we made out of some rocks our neighbors were getting rid of (backyard remodel).¬† We had been looking for an old stock tank to use but couldn’t find one in time to start planting.¬† I actually like how this came out.¬† Another really rad idea is using straw bales.¬† Our friends over at A Sonoma Garden recently did this and I was over there last week and checked it out – sooooo¬†cool!¬† Great seating and sometimes the non permanency is kind of nice – it gives you the chance to experiment and move things around.

We added to this new bed some hot peppers (annaheims, jalapenos, serranos¬†and pasilla), some broccoli (the kids can’t get enough of this), rainbow chard and basil.¬†

The kids and I harvested our first bunch of french babettes. 

These were so delicious!¬† I’m working on my succession planting so there should be some more ready soon.

We continue to harvest head’s of lettuce -our lettuce love continues.

The guava’s are in bloom ūüôā

You may have noticed my generous use of straw, it’s my attempt at my urban farm – Doug isn’t on board to packing it up and buying a farm in Wisconsin – he’ll come to his senses soon.¬† But until then, I have created my own mini farm.¬† It’s actually been great – it really helps keep the soil moist and is cost effective and has helped with weeds (and I get to pretend I live on a farm)

I was just told there are strawberries ready for picking tomorrow – yippee!

Here are just a few more pics of the goings on in the garden.¬† It’s been keeping us all busy – I LOVE it!

Happy Gardening to you.

The tomatoes have arrived! 

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¬†I was walking through the Friday Farmer’s Market and chatting with my friend, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of beautiful red and orange plump balls.¬† Could it be?¬† I yelled out TOMATOES!¬† My friend looked, and hidden behind a crowd of people were the first tomatoes of the season, California, field grown and vine ripened – organic tomatoes.¬† My friend could not believe I had spotted them.¬† I have a sixth sense for those juicy, plump lovelies.¬† I have not eaten/purchased¬†a tomato since last season.¬† A fellow market gower overheard me say that to my friend and she couldn’t believe her ears, “you haven’t bought or eaten a tomato since last season?”¬† My reply was “nope, why bother.”¬† I have found I have been disappointed in the past when I have purchased a tomato “out of season”, they are mealy, tasteless and just plain ole’ yucky.¬† Why waste my money on that.

So for lunch today I was so excited to eat my first tomato and cheese sandwich with Mayo (my staple during tomato season).  Oh, the juice running down my chin and hands РLOVE IT!

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I can’t wait to get home and slice some and drizzle a little olive oil on them or just a dash of salt – I’m making my mouth water right now thinking about it.¬†

What have you found at your farmer’s market that you are stoked about?

We have been enjoying our Santa Rosa plums this year.  Last year we had some but this year is better.  So far they have been the perfect size to just pop in your mouth (well maybe my mouth- which is bigger than average) and eat down to the pit (without getting a finger dirty).  The kids have been enjoying the as well. 

The fig tree has about 15¬†little figs popping out.¬† Not much- but I’m stoked just to have those- Doug isn’t a huge fig fan so these are mainly my little goodies.¬†

The zucchini is still flourishing.¬† I have to check daily b/c if I don’t I end up with those giant suckers.¬† Which is fine- they work good for making zucchini choc. chip cookies.¬† Ryder and I made a huge batch the other day (we tripled the recipe) so we could bring some to his school and Doug’s work and for the neighbors.¬†

 We harvested some basil- it was about to flower- so we made some yummy pesto. 

Not sure what’s happening with the cauliflower- I may have to just pull it and call it a loss- the plants are huge but there is no head forming?¬† I keep saying I’m going to pull it- but then I give it another chance.¬† If I don’t see any sign of a head I’m pulling it next week and putting in carrots.¬†

We are on our second batch of lettuce- oh how I love fresh picked lettuce for our salads.  Right now my kick is fig and Gorgonzola salads with homemade balsamic vinaigrette- I can eat that for every meal. 

A happy surprise to find in the garden were 2 rogue tomatillo plants that popped up (obviously from last years crop).  I love tomatillo salsa.

And everyday I check my tomato plants thinking there will be a miracle and I’ll wake to find all the plants with ripened tomatoes (even though the day before there were none even remotely ready!) I can dream can’t I.¬† I keep reminding myself before I know it I’ll be up to my eyeballs in tomatoes and overwhelmed!

The strawberries keep coming too, not in gross numbers- just a nice steady pace.

So that’s the skinny on the garden right now.

I just had to share…. I had my first farmer’s market tomato on a sandwich just a minute ago and am in heaven!¬† The day has finally arrived to enjoy my favorite summer lunch, tomato sandwiches!¬† Yippee!!!!!!

No tomatoes ready yet on our vines, but for now I will enjoy the fruits of others labors.