everything’s comin’ up veggies

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well, maybe there’s room for a flower or two as well; why not?

what a week for gardening, eh? at the beginning of last week i was stressing just a little because i hadn’t gotten my seeds in over the weekend. so monday morning i got up bright and early, put on my garden clothes and headed outside to dig in the dirt instead of running.

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there was rain in the forecast for late in the day and i wanted to get some seeds in to take advantage of the free water. it actually ended up taking two separate mornings to get everything squared away, but i finally did it. the first day i got my greens planted in the small bed—five or six types of chard, pak choy, zen greens, and beets.

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and the second day i put on all the final touches—seeding in radishes everywhere to help with insect control and planting marigolds to help with the same. we also plan out the garden so that we can take advantage of good companion planting between the foods we harvest. this seems to work a treat where we live and our garden, which used to be a gravel parking lot, can use all the help we can give it.

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temperate, alternating days of brilliant sun and showers combined in a perfect recipe of success—within a couple of days everything ha sprouted and what was already in the ground was going gangbusters by this past weekend.

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i can’t get over how big everything gets in just a week at this time of year!

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the squash plants are already putting our tiny zucchini and yellow squash.

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and the tomatoes won’t be shown up so out came some tiny fruits on those

i had seen some tiny fruits not the pepper plants but was amazed at the size they’d achieved the next time i looked (about two days later)

these beans have been in the ground just seven days—funny thing though, the same type seeds are germinating at one end of the row but not the other, haha. my fingers are crossed that the back end beans will catch up.

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and then this beauty popped aug the other day—fiore di melanzana; how pretty is that.

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i did not get out there to prune the tomatoes over the weekend as i’d planned, darn it. i’ve got it on the calendar for tomorrow because i don’t want the vines to run away with themselves; it will be extremely difficult to prune them later.

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i’m so pleased that everything—even the parsnips and carrots—germinated on the first try. we’ve had issues in the past with certain things. i do think the consistently alternating rain/sun pattern of the last couple weeks has worked like magic; i don’t think we’d have been able to provide that same consistency with watering.

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the other day i was out there snapping some photos, when our bunny friend bounded straight toward me from the backyard and over the strawberry patch.

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he settled in the middle of the grassy area to eat clover and allowed me to come quite near, snapping photos.

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i think i was only about eight feet away when i got this one. i don’t think he minded at all; he seemed mostly uninterested in me. then someone slammed a car door on the street and he hopped away.

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speaking of the strawberry patch, we have had a bumper crop this year. our berry plants are finally producing well; i think i’ve picked three or four quarts in the last week.

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though very pretty, they are not so sweet and not really full-flavored, but the taste is delicate and interesting, with hint of lavender in it. i pick them every other day and wash them up for us to use however we please; david has been eating his with ice cream at night, i think.

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the very first batch i cut up and ate with yogurt (here, paired with key lime, mmm).

but by yesterday we really had quite a lot on hand and they don’t last but a day, so i decided we should have strawberry shortcake at least once. and since i did my long run yesterday morning, i felt i’d earned it, haha.

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david and i heard about this gluten free cookbook on NPR about a month ago and we ordered a copy. america’s test kitchen is one of our favorite shows; we love knowing the science behind the cookery. i figured if anyone had a chance of making a great gluten free cookbook, it would be them.

i’ve only had it a couple of weeks but i am really pleased with this book so far. while there are a few ingredients i needed to buy that i did not have in my pantry, once these were purchased i have been able to use the recipes without finding myself lacking of another exotic ingredient. the book offers a recipe for their flour blend which is recommended for each recipe (and requires a bunch of ingredients you might have to send away for), but they also make recommendations for purchasing gluten free flour, which is what i did. i may invest in making the flour blend at some point, but we don’t bake enough right now to warrant that.

the book focuses on recipes that would normally be made with wheat—lots of baked goods, both sweet and savory, but also any food that requires a starchy component. the main thing is the educational material that allows me to take the same concepts and apply them to familiar recipes that might not be in the book.

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anyway, for strawberry shortcake dessert, we usually like a sweet biscuit to soak up the strawberry juice. i have a couple of good recipes, but not gluten free. so i took a stab at their biscuit recipe.

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as with my regular recipe, it was very simple to make with a short list of ingredients. there were some clever hints included to contribute to the success of the outcome. now, i like to play with recipes, usually giving myself free rein to change things. but even i know that baking is a delicate balance of chemistry and gluten free baking even more so. that being the case, i stuck exactly to what the recipe said. i loved the way the finished dough felt, handled, and tasted; i had a good feeling about the final result.

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and i wasn’t wrong—these biscuits were absolutely scrumptious, maybe even as good as my regular recipe. they were soft and light with crispy outsides and a light, sweet flavor. david is pretty critical of our new baked goods and these passed his palate with flying colors. i am so trying more of these recipes . . .

ETA: ooops!! speaking of baking, i forgot to announce the winner of the pies and tarts book giveaway yesterday, darn it. the winner is . . . cherie w. congratulations cherie!

and thank you again to our friend nathalie for both the review copy and the giveaway copy; i love this book.

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in other news, our new shades of stone soup are beginning to arrive from the mill—we love the boxes that they arrived in; you couldn’t say it better, haha.

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our darkest shade, which we are naming river rock. and holy cow is this batch sooooffft! we’re also expecting a new brown, which hopefully will be the start of a second line of shades. as soon as david has these loaded in the shop, we’ll let you know.

i’ve mostly been knitting on a secret project i have going but guess what?

in my little bit of spare knitting time just before bed, i have apparently been getting lots done because suddenly, my comfy pedal pusher cardigan is almost done!

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i’m working on the collar and after that i have to add button bands and sew up the underarm seams. then i have to knit a couple of pockets. hopefully not more than a week of work left (i only work on this piece late at night while watching TV).

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this knit up in no time using our confection worsted in the dark chocolate shade (david picked it out for me). i knit the 40-ish inch chest and it will most likely be done with just under five skeins of yarn. of course it isn’t blocked yet or anything but i just love the way it’s turned out. it’s comfy, but not baggy; that’s really important to me. the fabric feels smooth and velvety; it’s going to be a winter favorite for me; i can tell. i’m going to knit it again in a dyed yarn, in fact.

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speaking of confection, look what anne C and sarah knit for a friend’s recent wedding—is that not gorgeous?? just two skeins of each shade for all that yumminess. wow.

this is a pattern we will publish near the end of the summer or early fall. we got some knockout photos of it the other day with our favorite kids modeling.

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yeah, kids and handknits just go together like strawberries and shortcake.

12 Responses to “everything’s comin’ up veggies”

  1. Ellen says:

    Love the garden and projects. I have had the ATK gluten free book for about 2 months. Everything I’ve made so far has been delicious. The breads are great for toast, and we had grilled cheese that was super. Try making your own mix and weigh the ingredients. I’ve found it really makes a difference.

  2. Lanafactrix says:

    I was in Italy last month and got to eat fried squash blossoms for the first time–yum! It made me wish I had access to my parents’ garden . . . they don’t need all that squash anyway.

  3. alhbooks says:

    It’s so lovely to see your garden photos this time of year. Thanks for sharing! And hooray! Todat the postman brought my BNK June club yarn AND my special Cabecou Brilliant…so exciting!

  4. Kat Jorgensen says:

    America’s Test Kitchen was a must watch for Jorgie and me! Such a great show. Glad you and David enjoy it too.

    Your garden is lovely, Anne. I really missed it last year.

    The new sweater is looking good, too!

    And that blanket!!! WoW!

    Got my buttons for my Ivar today along with the new yarn. It is even prettier in person.

  5. Katharine says:

    Drooling. Seriously, you are killing me. That stone soup new color is delish. The confection sweater & throw, stop! And then that salivating little number just below this post, the new cabécou. Put a fork in me. I’m done!

  6. Your garden is growing to beat the band! It’s wonderful when we get the right combination of heat and water.

    I was waiting for Stone Soup in Slate and now there are new colors to consider? Oh my. Tough choices, this new one is delicious!

  7. Crafteamama says:

    Love the pictures of your garden. And the new stone soup color is perfect for dh! I also have that cookbook and it is great. The blueberry buckle recipe was delish!

  8. Hattie says:

    Lovely garden, I wish I could have one! Annnnnd now I need to go out and get some yogurt and fruit. My fave breakfast in the summer… And love that blanket of course!

  9. Cherie says:

    Oh my goodness– how exciting! Great garden/baking post, beautiful blanket, and A NEW COOKBOOK! Thank you!

  10. josiekitten says:

    So many things to write about, I find myself totally distracted by the beautiful blanket and the Stone Soup yarn, not to mention the new sweater………… I need more knitting time. It is so good to see your garden being so productive once again too.

  11. susan says:

    I love the pedal pusher sweater and will definitely be knitting that one for sure. It is the perfect raglan sleeve cardigan pattern I have been looking for. There is something about raglan sleeves that I prefer. thank you for a most wonderful design. And the blanket is also lovely. What a lot of knitting. Such a wonderful present. I never had energetic friends like that!!!!when I got married. The garden pictures make me so envious. We are a month behind here in Northwestern Ontario Canada at the top of Lake Superior. Just planting our gardens now.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the cookbook suggestion. I like the other one I have from ATK, so I will keep this one as a gift suggestion to tell my MIL! (sjn821 on Rav)