the dining room is painted!
the temporary garden fence (permanent will be wooden framed with wood posts)

How are you?  I'm hoping the answer for each of you is "well" or even "great"!  Considering the changes we've all endured, we are faring very well around here.  Honestly, we are enjoying a bit slower pace.  Not that we want this to be a permanent thing but slowing down is good for our soul.  Rather then working 6-7 days a week we are pretty much sticking to 4 days.  And we know how lucky we are that our small business is even able to survive.

It's been a hot one in this part of the world.  Hot and humid.  We do get a day or two reprieve weekly with a slight dip in temps or humidity so that's always welcomed.  Thank goodness for ceiling fans!  Ours go non-stop from June through September to keep that air circulating.

Jay has enjoyed spending his extra time with his boat (and creating secret projects as a surprise for me like the harvest basket in the first photo).  He has a small 16 foot boat that he enjoys taking out fishing.  He's also been able to spend quite a bit of time fussing over it and making some improvements he's dreamed about.

As you can imagine, the garden is benefiting from my extra attention.  As I wrote last week, we built what looks like a miniature prisoner fence.  Not to hold the inmates in but to keep them out.  With woodchucks being the inmates, just to clear that up.  It's temporary and will be made permanent either this fall or next spring complete with wooden posts and a proper gate.  We have a TON of green tomatoes on the vines that I'm sure will all ripen at once.  That's ok, we are prepared!  We'll be oven roasting (with garlic & fresh basil) those we don't eat fresh to create a delicious simple sauce for freezing.  That has been our favorite sauce we've made to preserve so that's the only one we'll be preparing.

We are planning on starting our food preservation this week.  My sister-in-law makes the BEST relish.  Thanks to the current pandemic we won't be traveling to visit with them this summer so she generously shared the recipe with us.  We'll be making and canning that and we have quite a few jalapeno's ready in the garden so we'll be canning pickled jalapeno rings as well.  We tend use them on everything so I'm looking forward to canning quite a few jars.  And my green beans are exploding - I am growing 3 varieties.  So freezing those weekly will be on the agenda for the next month or so.

The next garden project on my to-do is that I'm planning to work on improving my soil.  I know that our 2 weaknesses in the garden are soil health and shade.  I feel pretty confident that I've figured out how to both work with the shade as well as make the shade work for me, so the soil is next on the list.

A slower pace means I get to accomplish some things that I've put on the backburner.  For fun, I'm just starting an embroidery project that I've been wanting to work on and I took a few hours this past week to tidy up the blog.  The pages on blogger (i.e. recipes, etc.) can be difficult to set-up.  The photos don't always line-up and then sometimes when you add text, like the recipe name, it won't let it stay with the photo.  Ugh....  So, I messed around with it this week and decided to give in.  Instead, I figured out how to attach a drop down to my menu and decided I would work with creating multiple categories instead.

You'll notice that when you're searching for a recipe, for example, you can click on the category and get to what you're looking for a bit easier.  I also broke up the "homesteading" category into our journey, helpful tips, making money on the homestead, chicken keeping, gardening, homemade home, and frugal living.  Again, trying to make it a bit easier for you to find the past posts you are searching for.  I also added a list of blogs that I visit regularly to the bottom right side.  These are blogs that remain traditional blogs and are very enjoyable to me.  I hope you find something new!

I painted the dining room a few weeks ago.  Yes!  That was successfully checked off of my to-do list.  The living room is next.  I've also added a few houseplants throughout the main living spaces.  In years past I haven't been so good with any greenery in the house.  I tend to forget about them....  Well, I almost lost one yesterday but was able to revive it.  Yup, I forgot about it.  With the air conditioning and fans going they dry out a bit quicker and I forgot to check on them this week.  A wilted sad plant caught my eye last night and I rushed it, and the others, to the sink for a much needed drink.  Today I'm happy to report that they are all looking happy and healthy.

I've been making very simple meals these days and it's been wonderful.  Large amounts of raw or steamed veggies, legumes (or grilled meat for Jay), simple grains and a sauce makes a quick and delicious meal.

I've also been coming up with new stuffed zucchini recipes since we are harvesting them daily.  Our favorite stuffing right now is sautéed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and corn mixed with chopped basil or cilantro, a teaspoon (or so) of the Mrs. Dash italian seasoning, 1/2 cup of veggie broth and either rice or millet.  Then I add some parmesan to Jay's and throw them in the scooped out zucchini that I've grilled to soften (you could also boil it or bake it).  I bake them for about 30 minutes, covered, and a few minutes uncovered and they are ready to go.  Jay also really likes one that is a mixture of onion, mushroom, tomato sauce, sausage, rice and mozzarella.  I add a bit of fresh basil from the herb boxes on the deck for a finishing touch.

Lots of goodness happening around these parts.  I'm hoping you had a wonderful weekend as well!  Have you read anything good?  Started any new projects?  Done something for fun?

Recipe Link Love:

  • My husband used to eat a TON of hamburger helper (in his bachelor days).  I decided to make this homemade version for him a couple of weeks ago and he LOVES it!  I substituted chicken broth for the beef broth and I've made it with ground beef as well as with ground turkey.  Both versions were a huge thumbs up!
  • I think if you have a collection of really good sauces you can make a ton of different great meals.  Lindsay's collection of 19 has some real winners!  We use her Peanut Sauce quite a bit - it's sooooo delicious.  My husband loves her Honey Mustard and I've recently used the Chipotle Tahini Sauce (minus the oil - I used some blended cashews instead) and it's another winner.  I can also recommend her Chipotle Cashew Queso.  I haven't tried it but it's incredibly similar to the one I make and love, so I'm sure it's delicious.
  • If you have an air fryer and have Fried Mozzarella Stick fans in your household, this is a recipe that is super simple and my husband adores!  (I had to reduce the cooking time almost in half)


"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Thanks for the updates! I've been thinking of making stuffed zucchini too and will definitely have to get some the next time I'm at the farmer's market.

Kathy said...

Your garden looks like it's thriving I would love to have a veggie garden that big. Your little farm and surroundings look wonderful. Have a good week. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Cathy - yes, stuffed zucchini is delicious! Definitely add it to your market list. :) We also like to slice it and grill it a few minutes on each side. Soooooo good!

Kathy - thank you. It will be even bigger with the permanent fence plus we'll grow around the perimeter - things that woodchucks and bunnies don't like of course. :) Wishing you a wonderful week as well!

daisy g said...

So many silver linings!
The dining room looks beautiful. I love the peek into your house.

You’ve done a great job on tidying up the blog. I wish I had the patience. Thank you for including me on your list. We share many favorites.

Glad to hear that you are doing well. I’m at a dog sitting job this week and it’s like a vacation. I needed that.
Continued blessings to you and yours.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Daisy - silver linings indeed. You're very welcome - I LOVE your blog so of course it would be included. :) What a wonderful way to look at your dog sitting job, especially amidst the huge garden move you've got going on.