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I gave you all a quick rundown of our summer here.  Now that it’s October, I figured it would be the perfect time to share even more summer highlights.  ‘Cause I’m an organized, consistent blogger that way.

Monhegan Island, Maine, July 4th weekend

Hydrangea and rose front yard explosion

Blueberries coming in

Unidentified backyard flower

Friends of the Farmer, Copake

My beautiful cukes!

One of many mushrooms at CLC’s Hand Hollow

Late summer overgrowth

Mt. Greylock (more pics to come)

Delicious birthday panna cotta

The truth is I wasn’t just being lazy by not sharing these earlier.  We (okay, me) misplaced our camera for about a month, so every photo from July and August that wasn’t on an iphone was thought to be lost.  I’m glad they weren’t.

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Spent the weekend in the garden getting the veggies in: cukes, yellow squash, cilantro, swiss chard, bush beans, habanero peppers, basil.  This will be our second year with a vegetable garden, and while last year was an encouraging start (no deer or rabbits!), we didn’t eat everything we grew which wasn’t entirely surprisingly but disappointing nonetheless.  I definitely need to work on my planning: we had so much romaine we could’ve opened a farm stand but I’m afraid we wouldn’t have had any repeat customers.  The stuff just wasn’t good.  Was it the type of romaine?  Was soil not the right ph?  Is romaine just a bad idea in Columbia County?  I’ll never know.

But I’m back again, not so much a glutton for punishment as a perfectionist determined to get this gardening thing right.  I tend to be a hands-on learner.  Sure, I’ve got my gardening books and magazines piled up all over the house, but until I’m out there digging and planting, it doesn’t fully register.  I was afraid I’d hate gardening because I figured I wouldn’t be any good at it, but no one is bad at weeding, and as it turns out, I like weeding.  I put in a good three hours on Sunday.  Same with last weekend.  Granted, we have a lot of ground to cover, but I wasn’t grumpy about it and the time flew by.  Today however, I’m grumpy, as I’ve been branded with a painful, ridiculous-looking sunburn on my lower back / upper butt where my t-shirt crept up.  Is that why longtime gardeners wear the sunhats and lightweight long sleeve button-down shirts?

What else….

  • Anuj and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary Friday night at Swoon in Hudson.  Drinks = delish.  Food = fresh and tasty.  Service = strangely lacking considering it was only about half-full.
  • The weekend before, we hit the Berkshire International Film Festival and saw a great doc about the NYTimes called Page One.
  • The peonies bloomed about two weeks ago – I cut as many as I could before leaving the rest to keel over onto the lawn.
  • I started my new job at Time Inc.  A totally different industry for me but I’m enjoying it so far.
  • We took a quick trip to Madrid before I started – it was my first trip to Spain and I took to the lifestyle quite nicely.

first things first:  Jim is home.

He arrived safely in Boston on May 20 (that’s his Mom and nephew greeting him).  May 20 is also Anuj’s birthday.  May 20 is also the day I accepted a new job (remember I warned of etsy taking over our Brooklyn office space?  well they did.  but not before my company folded.  everything has turned out fine, though, as I got said new job pretty quickly).  But those are just icing on the JIM IS HOME cake.  We’re all so relieved.  Now he can begin to heal and process the horrible 43-day detainment in Libya.

Before I move on, let me just say that people have been unbelievable in this process.  Jim’s friends are truly some of the most resourceful, supportive, team-working people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  And the strangers who signed our petition and Facebook page?  They held us up the whole way through.

Next: it’s spring.

The lilacs are in bloom. Peonies are working at it.  The grass is electric green.  I’m gearing up to get back into the garden.

Finally: Susan with chickens.

I love Susan.  If you don’t know her or her writing, then get a taste on twitter @susanorlean.  She lives not too far from us, and has completely charmed me with her writer-professor-farmer lifestyle.

We’re welcoming the pops of color that are ‘springing up’ around the yard.  But we’re also dreading the amount of work there is to do in the yard.

If I showed you pictures of our gardens the first summer we had the house alongside pictures of the gardens now, three years later, you’d gasp.

But I’ll spare you the gasping and just share some color.  In the meantime, we’re looking for affordable garden help.  Stat.

Someone’s been eating my broccoli leaves.

image

Any ideas who?

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Oh and yes, that would be my little garden.  Growing.  (!!)

We’re already sick of the romaine.  I went overboard there.  But the bibb lettuce is delish. 

Just cut some swiss chard and not sure if we’ll freeze it (doesn’t seem enough to freeze), or eat it this week.

Two months and no deer or rabbits got by our short little fence.  Just a lot of weeds and some mystery leaf-eating bugs.

A few weeks ago we got the raised beds filled with soil.

Then, with the help of this book, I came up with a plan for which vegetables we’d try in our First Garden.

  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Lettuce
  • Hot pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley

It’s actually a bit more ambitious than I originally intended, but the book made it sound easy.  When I showed up at the farm stand to make my purchase, it was all I could do not to add a dozen other veggies into the mix.  The plants looked so pretty and hopeful (is anyone but me still buying veggies this late in the season?), but I talked myself out of it, and stuck with the original plan.

Some of the veggies like the romaine came almost full grown.  That might be cheating.  But if we’re taking it from the garden and bringing it to our plates, it will be a success in my book.

The chard, on the other hand, will be a while before we’re eating it.   If it makes it.  I’m still not convinced I won’t kill the plants somewhere along the way – if the deer don’t get to them first.

Not sure if my planting skills are all that great.  I pretty much guessed on the spacing.  I realized only after buying 12 broccoli plants that you need two feet between each, so we only kept 6.  I ended up doing two rows of three; they got about a foot between them so hopefully they won’t push each other out.

(the hot pepper plant in the pot was only there temporarily – it got its own home in a different bed closer to the house)

I’m sort of amazed at how I’ve thrown myself into the garden.  I really thought I’d get bored or overwhelmed by the work.  Granted, it’s still early.  But the hardest work is behind me, and I think by setting small goals with no specific deadlines, it’s kept the stress away.  I’ve basically been cultivating the garden on my time line, and each task I complete has really been rewarding.  Even weeding.  I like it. Keeping it small (just 2 4×4 beds) was the best decision we made.  And now that everything’s planted, I just have to maintain it.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Right?

What’s Doing in Columbia/Berkshire County

Find out what's going on in Columbia and Berkshire county:

Columbia county: CoCo To Do

Berkshire county: Rogovoy Report

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