Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

Gardening as a Family

 

 

 

{Lacey with some garlic ready for replanting and for eating}

 

Our summer has been full. Full of hot sunshine and refreshing rain, early morning sunsets and late nights around campfires. We have not gone many places nor visited a long list of attractions. We have stayed home, mainly, and found our own summer fun within the limits of our property. Once in July, my husband bought firecrackers for Canada’s birthday- the girls just loved that experience as we stayed up late to watch the “big show.” There have been long hot days of bouncing on the trampoline and cooling off in the (cheap) above-ground pool. There’s church on Sunday and chores to catch up on Monday. There have been weeds to pull and gardens to tend, chicks to hatch and  predators to catch (still it evades us!). Sleeping outside on the trampoline and driving the rickety golf cart around the property have been pretty fun, too.

Is this the summer of excitement and wonder? Well, it is and was a pretty simple one. Nothing fancy. I don’t recall doing high end vacations as a child… randomly, we might go to Wonderland but that was only a few times. I didn’t expect more as a young girl. I was happy with playing in our backyard, roaming the country fields, exploring the woods with my siblings and visiting with my one best friend.

 

It seems, like with everything, the expectations of what your child should experience in summer is high. Exciting -and sometimes, costly- day trips, fancy foods and wonder-filled activities… the pressure is definitely there for the parent to deliver a jam-packed summer filled to the brim with incredible happenings. Don’t even bother looking at others facebooks posts or Pinterest tags … it seems we just cannot keep up. When did the idea of a simple summer of just living and enjoying the new season get pushed to the side?

 

My family spent some time harvesting from the garden this weekend.  We waited until the evening when things were cooler as it has been warm lately. Potatoes were dug up and spread out to cure in the back barn under a tarp. Lazarus just loved helping out and tossing the potatoes into the wheelbarrow.

We all sat on the grass and cut off the tops of the garlic, brushed the dirt gently from the skins and told garlic themed jokes.

 

{Did you hear about the dog that couldn’t stop eating garlic? His bark was worse than his bite.}

 

We decided against braiding the garlic, just for time’s sake, and will store in bushel baskets instead. The girls picked some onions and tomatoes, although our tomatoes are JUST ripening now.

 

I sat near the action and cut up tomatoes and peppers to freeze until I have enough to make sauce, salsa, etc. Looking at the Provision Room, I am grateful last year produced a bumper crop of tomatoes. Things are just different this year – we are doing okay with the garden, but I really feel as if last year was better. Perhaps there was too much rain this year – I’m not sure. I know I will only have a fraction of the squash and peppers compared to last year – which is disappointing. {The girls are happy about this as they are not keen on squash!} It is all a learning curve and a guessing game as to how things will go when they are planted in the spring.

I am grateful for the tomatoes that are ripening (it’ll probably be full swing next week or so), the peppers that we did get, the potatoes, garlic, onions, peas and beans, lettuce among other things –  and the carrots (which are still growing). The beets look okay but they are not ready yet. I better get prepared for tomato season as I think it will dual with my energy levels at the tail end of this pregnancy.

My herb garden produce lovely amounts and I am loving the opportunities to dry herbs, make tinctures and be creative with God’s gift of herbs. And not only that, but they are beautiful.  I hope to do a post on some of the little projects I have worked on over the past week. The herb garden is probably my favorite garden to be in, by far.

With summer winding down  – and wait a minute, even the girls say “How is this possible!?” It feels like we JUST planted the garden! The summer is rushing by! – I think we are all happy to not have to weed as much. Dare I say it, it is not our favorite task.

 

 

 

Tomorrow, we have a big day planned out to can 200 cobs of corn, which we will pick up around the corner at a local organic farm at 8:30 a.m.
Perhaps I will end up freezing half – I’m not sure, but I do want to can most of it. It will depend on how long the process takes us. My mother in law has offered to come help cut the corn off the cobs. Last year, my husband was able to help – since it involves a sharp knife cutting all those kernels off – but this year he is not able to be home. I thought it would be wise to have another adult help me instead of having the children work with sharp knives. They can handle all the shucking of the corn and then go play until we need their help.

The girls have been a great help to me and naturally ask “How can I help?” when they see the canning jars being washed and set out on the table. I am grateful for them! Once, I said, while canning, “What would I do without your help, girls?” And Lacey, my eldest piped up, “Well, you would not be needing to DO all this canning if we weren’t here.” And she was so right and so practical in her view point! I’m glad she was not complaining about the labour involved.

 

 

 

 

September 1, 2017 - 3:36 pm

Gigi - Well done, that is a lot of herbs! How lovely!

September 1, 2017 - 6:37 am

maike - I collected mostly yallow, nettles, stinging nettles, st. peter’s wort, blackberry and raspberry leaves, clover, wild carrots, plantain, golden rod, mugwort, I think wormwood but I have to check again, golden buttons, and another very sweet smelling flower which I combined with nettles because I didn’t had enough of the sweet flower. Oh and then elderberries and in the next weeks perhaps rosehips. But I need to check first what to keep in mind when picking rosehips and how to prepare them. By now I can take a walk here and can tell what most of the “weeds” here are used for which is feeling great. It somehow opens your eyes and makes you appreciate and enjoy nature more and more. ^_^

August 28, 2017 - 6:37 am

Gigi - Maike, sadly, I do not know of any families in the U.K. As such described.
What herbs/flowers did you pick to dry? How lovely!
Yes, Lacey out the flowers in her horse’s mane. So pretty!

August 27, 2017 - 8:27 am

maike - Those flowers in the mane of the pony are just beautiful. Did the girls do it? 🙂 I really need to find a family on a little farm who cares about herbs, planting, canning, making own medicine, and having such a loving integrating bond with the children. I was going to ask you about it, but then thought I might have asked you a long time back before and you didn’T really know another such family in the UK. But I would love to learn more about it by not only reading but actually seeing how it’s all done. I collected and dried a lot of herbs this summer to make teas out of them. And it gives me so much inner peace and calm satisfied feeling. No wonder people back in time seemed to feel better than people now with not doing anything on their own anymore. ^_^

August 26, 2017 - 4:03 pm

Gigi - Amy, we had that tool last year , ordered off amazon and it broke within 25 minutes or so of using it! Too bad!

August 25, 2017 - 12:03 pm

Katy - A lovely post! Your summer sounds similar to ours! 🙂 We keep busy with things around home. I didn’t vacation as a child…and we don’t vacation. It’s usually just too expensive and more work than actually relaxation! I enjoy time at home for rest…with those I love most and in my familiar surroundings!

Have a lovely weekend!

Kindly,
Katy

August 24, 2017 - 9:36 pm

Amy - check out this tool that she uses to get the corn off the cobs! no knives…just a bucket and this tool!
http://www.simplycanning.com/canning-corn.html

August 24, 2017 - 11:02 am

Renee - Good morning my dear friend! Love all the updates this summer! Your garden, though not as bountiful in your eyes, looks soooo lovely and lush in mine! Lol we have had an unending drought here and really nothing grew well. On a wonderful note i purchased my first pressure canner and have been making lots of soups!! Give all ur kiddos a big hug from all of us! Xo miss all of you