Happy Monday friends!  I hope you are doing well.  Summer got off to a steamy start here in upstate NY and we are now enjoying a bit cooler temps.  I'm grateful we get a break from the heat.  Wishing we could catch a break from the humidity as well.  The critters are pretty grateful too.

We were blessed with one day of rain during the week which made our lawn and garden quite happy.  We were expecting rain both Saturday and Sunday but we barely had any at all until Sunday night.  Today we're getting a bit more so I expect that the garden will grow by leaps and bounds this week.

 (I trimmed some of the onions - I need to get to the rest!)
(the peas are still doing very well)

In The Garden - our garden has exploded in greenery and fresh veg.  We are blessed with an enormous amount of shade provided by a large number of trees around our property so our garden typically takes a bit longer then most to produce.  But when it does produce we are usually inundated with deliciousness.  Hoping this year will be no different.  I've been watching 5 large green tomatoes, waiting patiently for them to ripen (and praying the chipmunks leave them alone....).

Last year I got a bit carried away with planting tomatoes, and this year I got a bit carried away with planting onions and sweet potatoes.  At least onions and sweet potatoes are both veg that can be stored.  And we eat a ton of each (that's how I've justified it to my husband who questioned the massive amount of sweet potato vines and sea of onion tops....).  And I FINALLY have sunflowers growing again!  The past couple of years I've battled the squirrels and chipmunks who both stole my seeds and, for the seeds they missed, ate my baby sunflower plants.  While I can't get too cocky yet, all of my sunflowers are a few feet tall so I'm hopeful they'll make it.

Backyard Wildlife - We have 4 woodchucks living around our property.  We are living in harmony this year so far.  You know the old saying that fences make good neighbors?  Well, fences also make it possible to live in harmony with wild critters so they don't demolish the garden.  Leaving them fruit and veggie bits make them quite happy as well.

We were actually quite abundant in wildlife this year.  We have birdhouses around the property that were all full of birds raising their babies.  We also had some nest-building.  One Robin built her nest in our lean-to where we store our trash cans.  We would accidentally scare her when we would go to dump trash so we began whistling so she knew we were coming.  She would fly out when we'd whistle and then squawk at us from a tree a few feet away until we left.

One evening, after her young were fully feathered, the chicks decided to try flying when we were both at the trash can and mama bird was in the tree squawking.  Jay had just opened the lid to the trash can when a chick went plummeting into it.  I was able to carefully dig it out and it sat on my hand for a bit before attempting to fly again.  Poor momma began chirping wildly.  She eventually gathered the 3 chicks and all was well.  They have since moved on.  Actually, the last of our bird families just left this past week.

In The Kitchen - many of you have emailed me after trying the Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Cake and have shared that you LOVE it.  I'm so happy to hear that!  Some of you have requested a vegan version and I haven't gotten it completely worked out.  Mostly because I'm trying not to eat much flour these days, but I will give it a go in the next month.

Batch cooking has been a priority so I don't have to heat the house up every night.  I've been enjoying many different themed bowls and Jay sometimes has what I prepare for myself as a side and other times we use the grill's side burner to cook his side.  His meat is cooked on the grill as well so the house stays cool.

Yesterday I cooked up some Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice and Mexican-Style Lentils that I'll pair with a fresh salsa, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and raw greens.  I will probably make a non-dairy "cheese" sauce and roasted potato bites to use as well.  This way I can either have the rice, lentils, salsa, broccoli and greens or the potatoes, lentils, cauliflower, greens and cheese sauce.

I've also been enjoying a summer squash and (oil-free) pesto soup that I concocted one day.  I'm not usually a soup fan in summer but it is simple and delicious.

In The Coop - the poor Coop Girls.  They love the summer but absolutely detest high heat and humidity.  We put their box fan in one of the coop windows to provide some relief hot days.  They get up on the roost that is across from the fan, spread their wings out a bit, and just enjoy the breeze it provides.

We dusted the coop with diatomaceous earth to prevent mites and other pests that the humidity attracts.  For the most part, egg production is good.  When we have stretches of humidity it does drop a bit.  I can't blame them - I'm not a fan of it either.  We are giving them plenty of fruit and grains soaked in water, yogurt, or milk as treats which they are enjoying.

Oliver - he's doing very well.  We've been eating dinner out on the deck since we realized we could put up an outdoor canopy/tent with screened walls to allow us a bug-free dining space.  Oliver has been bummed because our outdoor table and chairs are tall so he can't feel like he's a part of it.  So, feeling bad for him, Jay made him his very own stool of sorts.  It's kind of like a toddler tower but fits one of his smaller beds.  He LOVES it!  He sits right next to me and adores that he can see us as well as what's going on around the property from a different viewpoint.  Slightly spoiled?  Yes, I know.

Jack - poor Jackson.  People have been shooting off fireworks on random nights between 9:30 and 10 and he goes into a full-on panic.  He detests loud noises and there's just no calming him down.  I've started giving him Bach's Remedy on the nights when they start up.  I think it's helping a bit.  Other then that he's doing well.

Around The House - home projects have slowed a bit but I plan to paint the dining room this week (hooray!) and hopefully get to the living room in a couple of weeks.  I would like to get to the stairwell and painting the radiators on the main floor as well, but not sure if there will be time.  We'll see.  Jay worked on trimming the vines that were killing the trees both on our property and just outside of it.  As you know, we adore our shade so he's been working on them for the last few years.  I think he's finally got it!

He's been working on installing gutters on our outbuildings and I believe he's going to work on painting the exterior of our home next. (same color, just needs to be scraped and painted)  We determined that if he paints 2 sides instead of all 4 then it's much easier to fit into the summer schedule.  So, he'll do 2 this year and 2 next year and then it will be awhile before it's needed again.

We're hoping to be able to find the time to replace one of our front porches this year as well.  It needs a bit of rebuilding because there is some rot, and then we'll be putting trex decking down.  If we get one done then we plan to get the second porch completed next year.

The Business - Our farmer's market has definitely slowed since we don't have the amount of out-of-towners that we usually have, but we certainly can't complain. Our locals have been incredibly supportive and our online store continues to do well too. We are in full production of product right now. Some of our craft shows have cancelled their shows for this year and we anticipate the remainder will eventually cancel as well. We have no idea what will happen in fall and winter this year so we're just taking it a day at a time. That seems to be everyone's theme for the year.
Hoping you had a lovely weekend as well! 

Do tell - did you do anything fun or productive?  Cook anything delicious?  Read a good book?

Little Bit Of Link Love:
Do you love garlic scapes?  How about dilly beans?  Ever thought of putting them together?  Me neither!  Our VERY favorite museum shares the recipe and I think I'll be trying it this year.  (shelburne museum)

Summer is when local fruit is perfectly ripened and widely available but it's also a time when it's too hot to want to do any canning.  Marisa shares a post/guide for making jam from frozen fruit.  A perfect compromise!  (food in jars)

Speaking of canning, this raspberry-peach-ginger jam that is sweetened with honey is speaking to me.  I'm loving ginger these days!  (rachel wolf)

(affiliate link) My FAVORITE non-stick alternative pans.  I've struggled to find a pan that works for delicate things like eggs and crepes and I have finally found a pan that works great! I love them so much I bought all 3 sizes with lids in Lava Black. (amazon)


Kathy said...

Sounds like you have been very busy and the little bird story nesting above your trash cans with one falling in made me laugh, luckily the little bird was able to be rescued. Yes 2020 certainly is a year of uncertainty. In Australia most of our Interstate borders are shut however Victoria has had a spike with a community outbreak which they are trying to get on top of with just a little over 200 cases in the last week. Victoria is the only State that has cases. Queensland had 1 new case in the last 9 days from a returning international traveller. Most of the cases here have been from returning overseas visitors with the exception of this Victoria outbreak. Stay cool in your heat. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

daisy g said...

Your veg looks luscious! Did you know you can eat sweet potato leaves? They are a great addition to salads, or you can cook them as you would spinach.

Good to know about the de for chickens. I will be diving into chicken keeping, as a friend has to rehome her birds. I may be asking you for some advice down the road.

We really need to see Oliver's stool. Really. ;0D

I've heard the Trex boards last forever. I've seen folks build their raised beds out of them as well. It feels good getting some of those things crossed off the list, doesn't it?

Love, love, love your hair! I wish I knew how to braid that way. It looks gorgeous. Just think of all the time and money you are saving by keeping it natural!

So good catching up with you. Continued blessings...