This And That


meet Dorilla - she's one of my favorites!

Hello friends!  We can officially say that summer has arrived.  

I know many of you reading this have felt like summer arrived weeks ago with your ongoing high temps and/or humidity.  Although we've had a few days of high heat and humidity in the past month or so, it's primarily been relatively mild and this past Saturday was actually, dare I say, cold!  We've also been blessed with some rain this month which has made the garden very happy.  Today as I write it's in the 60's for a high and humid.

My peonies are just about finished blooming, the lilacs are only a memory, the elderberries and roses are just beginning, and all of the wild birds and their offspring have vacated the free housing we offer them each year.  

It is strawberry season!  While we pulled out all of our strawberry plants about 4 years ago (the chipmunks were eating every single one), we ended up with 2 flower beds full of strawberry plants this year.  I decided to pull them out, but it reminded me that I want to build a box with a screened and hinged top to replant them in the future.  Let me clarify (in case my husband reads this).  When I say, "I want to build a box" read as "I want Jay to build a box that I design".  😉

I've planted summer squash and beets in the asparagus bed

Not too much coming out of the garden yet.  I was a bit late (again) with some of the plantings so my crops will unfortunately be slightly delayed.  Asparagus season is about over.  We're just getting the random spear or two.  The greens are doing great, and I've only had 2 lettuce bolt so far.  All of the remaining are enjoying the milder weather.  I just planted more lettuce that does better with higher heat/bolt resistant so that when the heads I've currently got growing need to come out, the newer ones should be producing.  The broccoli is producing but the heads are still quite small.

Our potatoes are looking amazing!  Hopefully the crop we receive will be as impressive as the plants currently are.  I planted most in the ground but tried a couple in buckets.  I'm excited to see how the buckets do.  The same with the sweet potatoes.  I planted all but 4 in the ground.  We'll see how the 4 in buckets do.

Our pear trees did not all flower at the same times which will result in a reduction of fruit.  Our newest Asian pear tree developed quite a bit of fruit but I've pulled it all off as it's only been in the ground a year and we need it to fully establish before putting energy into fruit.  We have tomatoes and peppers!  They are small and green and have some time to go before they are ready but it's exciting to see.

One of our neighbors suffered the tragedy of a house fire a couple of weeks ago.  Thankfully they and their pets got out safely.  Unfortunately, it appears they lost pretty much everything to either fire or smoke damage.  I mention this because it provided us a few great reminders that I thought I would share with you.  

- While I don't know what the actual cause was, the firefighters did drag the dryer out of the house once they got inside.  A great reminder to ensure your dryer vent is cleaned regularly.  Did you know that 2,900 clothes dryer fires are reported annually?

- If you haven't already made a list, you should make a list of account numbers, passwords, phone numbers, etc for things such as your insurance companies, bank/financial accounts, copy of license, pet info, etc.  If you have made a list, it's a great reminder to give it a review for any needed updates.  Keep your list in a fireproof and waterproof container along with a back-up either kept digitally or at another safe location.

- Make sure your smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detector batteries are changed regularly.

-And lastly, it provided an instant reminder to be grateful for our home and the comfort it provides.  I can't even imagine the devastation of dealing with such a loss.

It's been a slower year for our business.  We kind of expected it.  This isn't entirely a bad thing.  Although financially, it can be slightly scary, it has actually offered us more time to do things.  Every couple of years, it seems, we are able to find more time in our schedule to spend on things we enjoy doing.  I realized the other day that our schedule has changed at the pace that has been perfect for us.  When we both left our careers to work for ourselves, we were incredibly busy.  We juggled making everything, packaging everything, selling, & packing and shipping everything.  We were selling at 3 farmers markets per week, wholesale, online, and at a craft show or other event a few times a month.  We were so busy we had no time to do anything "fun".  But the pace was perfect at that time.  Coming from working in fields where there were never enough hours in a day we needed to keep a high pace to adjust.  

Eventually we dropped down to one farmers' market per week, and this started to free up some breathing room.  Our finances dropped, of course, when we made this change, however, we were ready to adjust our spending to allow this to become our new normal.  This was important to us because getting time back for more things other than work was one of our priorities in running our own business. 

Once the pandemic hit we were suddenly down to selling online plus selling at our one farmers' market (it's year-round) and two craft shows for the year.  We realized we kind of liked this pace so we again adjusted our spending to allow this to become our new normal.  Now, online sales have slowed as well as in-person sales, and we've chosen to no longer sell wholesale, so we readjust again.  It's not a huge change (thankfully) but it certainly is a change that allows us to slow production slightly.

Jay goes fishing, I have more time to garden, we have time to do fun things together, and I have time to read, write, and craft.  I've even returned to reading some favorite blogs that I hadn't been visiting regularly as well as finding a few new ones.  Honestly, I can see why retirement is difficult for some.  Just changing from a high pace job to a slower one has taken some adjustment so I can imagine changing from high pace to retirement takes time.

In my ongoing effort to tighten our budget, I'm trying to not step into a grocery store any more frequent than every 2 weeks.  As the garden begins producing more it will make it easier, but so far it's been working out fine.  Although we'd previously tried to ensure we run multiple errands when we go out and about, we're even more cognizant of it now with gas prices so high.  Every little bit helps.

And we are staying on track with our low-spending year.  So far, no purchases other than the tent for the back deck (shown in the last post), food, gas, monthly/annual bills, and pet supplies/medicine/appointments.  I've been working on restocking our pantry in the few areas where we were low.  Just in case there is a disruption in the food supply as the rumors continue to state.

Do you see in the photo above Olivers leg hanging out the back in an awkward way?  He can't feel his back legs anymore and he ends up sitting like this from time-to-time which creeps us out.  His little legs should not bend like this.  So I find myself constantly fixing it for him.  Poor guy.

We are looking at a weekend of temps near or at 90 (Fahrenheit) and high humidity.  Should be a toasty day at our market!

Hoping you have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!


  1. Your soaps are beautiful. Life does have it's changes, doesn't it? I know my work situation has changed multiple times over the years. It's good to be flexible. Someone staying here set his camper on fire last October (unintentionally, but due to many poor choices). It could have been so much worse if my husband hadn't been here to keep our homestead safe until the fire truck arrived. It certainly is a sobering thing. The suggestions you give are excellent. Many wishes for a prosperous market and a lovely weekend!

  2. Thank you so much Laurie! Changes indeed.... I did see your posts about the fire. I'm so happy your husband was there. I'm sure that was an incredibly scary event. Fires can go out of control so easily. Wishing you a wonderful weekend as well!

  3. Your garden is giving you so much food! What a blessing. Those strawberries look absolutely mouth-watering!

    So sorry to hear about your neighbors' home being destroyed. My son, who collects fire alarms, would be sure to tell you that smoke detectors need to be changed out every 10 years and checked monthly. Thankful that no one was hurt.

    Sweet Ollie. So glad that he has wonderful caretakers.

    Where does the name "Dorilla" come from? Very unusual. She's a mighty pretty girl.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Daisy - that's a great reminder about changing out the smoke detectors. Thank you!

    Some of our chickens have been named after friends and family and Dorilla is my husband's paternal grandmother's name. She was the nicest, most grateful and genuine person I think I've ever met in my life along with my own paternal grandmother. Chicken Dorilla is also one of the nicest of the girls. I just love her tail feathers - a very lacy pattern (chicken Dorilla, lol).

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend as well!

  5. Lovely photos Staci and our budgets often need adjusting from time to time and with the price of groceries and fuel that has lead to I think everyone reassessing costs. Most people think being your own boss and having your own business is all about lifestyle however usually people work harder and longer hours and don't switch off. It's great that you are reassessing your business to suit your current life style needs and I think Covid made us all wake up and think about life. Have a great week. Kathy

  6. Kathy - you are soooo right regarding self-employment. If we had become self-employed earlier in our lives, I'm afraid we would've fallen into that trap. Wishing you a wonderful week as well. Thanks for stopping by!


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