It’s September. Just like that. This morning I woke up, put on a sweater and wondered if we should start a fire. We went to play group (often called Plague Group around here for all the runny noses it tends to bring into our house) and we are slowing down for the school zone again.
I am so thankful we’re in this year instead of last. September always feels like another beginning and this year I feel hopeful about it. I mean, I have births coming up and there’s nothing more hopeful than an expecting family.
Gabrielle hasn’t had a doctor’s appointment since March (other than immunizations) and she has her next one tomorrow. It’s been a long break and I cannot tell you how nice it feels. We took Ramona Cat to the “doctor” last week for a check up and I’m hoping that it eased Gabrielle’s mind a little so that this doctor’s appointment tomorrow will be a…. pleasure? We say, “Gabrielle, tomorrow we’re going on a ferry boat and going to the doctor.” She says, “Listening heart?” And we say, yes and try to describe it to her. Saying most hearts say “bump bump, bump bump but yours says Bump swish swoosh.” She likes these sounds.
But today I found a play stethoscope at “plague group” and she would not let me near her. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I imagine she will not be quite sure. The appointment is also scheduled right (RIGHT!) before nap time. Ah, well. As she reminds me while we sing in the car, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” So we shall until otherwise.
After resolving to inundate ourselves in Autumn, we went out after Marc was done work to pick apples. Do you remember when we picked more than 300 lbs of apples from the farm? And we processed apples for days? And Marc and Theresa made an apple cider press? Well, perhaps you don’t but I do. We found our apple “cider” from that endeavour yesterday when sorting out the basement and it is definitively in the “vinegar” category of fermentation. Apple cider vinegar, it’s a health craze right now right?
Here is some of what we’ve been up to lately.
Apple Cider Vinegar
First ride on a Gator
Brie's delighted face when the frog hopped away
Last year at this time, we were doing this (above.) We were sailing a lot on our boat, we were living aboard our big boat. And we were enjoying the summer in the best fashion possible. — I have no idea what happened to those sunglasses! They were rockin’.
This summer, we are still having the most fun possible. But with different strokes.
Instead of sailing, we have been gardening. With our ocean-loving feet planted firmly in the soil, we are beginning to harvest in our garden.
Not by any means have we abandoned our boat-loving ways. The little boat is getting a refit right now. We have a new head to install and no bolts to install it. (We need to do a run into town.) We have been sanding and oiling the teak inside. C&C’s are known for their beautiful teak interiors and we want to spiff it up quite a bit. In the Autumn, we will have our cushions recovered by someone local. (We have fantastic material that I’m excited to show you.) And in a couple weeks, we’ll be hauling the boat out for a bottom paint. So we show you not a grungy half-put together boat. Instead we show you beautiful vegetables and our first efforts at canning green beans.
Marc read the instructions carefully. We have a huge pressure cooker that he uses for sterilizing mushroom jars when we were growing our own oyster mushrooms. This pressure cooker works beautifully for preserving our hard-earned veggies we’re growing. We wanted to get the beans beautifully sealed instead of freezing them because it takes more energy to keep something frozen year round than sitting patiently in the pantry.
What amazes me is the difference in activities from one summer to the next. We were feeling alright about not gardening last summer and we enjoyed sailing and not being tied to land. But how we love the land! Honestly I don’t think I could choose between them. When we talk about the advantages of living aboard again (mostly financially) we would sorely miss the growing fresh veggies and the bees, oh the bees. In our ideal life, we would do both. So maybe we shall!
Happy Summering to you.
I once read a book about a farmer on Salt Spring island who swore gardening in the nude was so much more satisfying. Gabrielle seemed to agree. What really distressed her was the lack of shoes. After we solved that, she was quite happy to garden with her bum to the wind.
It doesn’t seem warm enough consistently to have the spinach bolting, but bolting it is. I am tempted to pull it all out and reuse the garden box space but we are saving seed for next year. Plus the bees loving spinach flowers. Those happy bees!
There is a local green that comes up like a weed in shady places that we cultivated and saved seed from. It’s called Miner’s Lettuce. What I like about it is the fresh taste and the fact that you can eat the flowers. Basically I love eating flowers. I think it’s the fairy in me. This is also why there are nasturtiums in my garden.
While watering the plants, Gabrielle exclaims, “Juice Juice!” And tells the plants to drink up! She tells me about the plants eating the ground, drinking their ‘rain-juice’ and then warns the plants very seriously that someday they will become “yunch.”
A famous gardener once told me that plants want to grow. With these chard, I believe him. Perhaps not so much with some of the cabbage we planted. The peas aren’t looking too shabby though.
It took me a while to wrap my head around gardening this year. But after a push in the right direction and a lot of motivation from my hardworking husband who mowed down 9 foot high blackberry bushes to reclaim this space, we are gardening indeed.
We’re starting to plant our garden here and prepare for the next season, SPRING! It’s one of my favourites. (Though I think you’ll catch me saying every season is my favourite for different reasons… except Winter. Ick.)
Theresa made us a couple deck boxes that inspired us so we are going all out.
Marc is clearing this fenced garden area that has not been gardened for years and years. It actually has recently served as some sort of garbage dump. The stuff we’ve been pulling out of the weeds is startling. We seem to have a habit of reclaiming lost gardens…
I love digging in the dirt. It is one of the things I missed the most about being on the boat. And I have quickly found a companion in my digging and getting dirty.
Of course, she is easily distracted.
The Farmer’s Market opened this weekend so we feel like we’re truly in the swing of Spring.
I am ready! Bring on Spring!
PS) I saw this picture and said, Oh man! I’m such a hippy! But somehow, I don’t mind.
I love that in the photo above, Gabrielle insisted on reading to her little cat “M’na.” (All cats are Mona from our dear Ramona, even though Marc is trying to rename this stuffed cat Pedro so as not to confuse the two.) But also, what I love about this photo is that you can see the sun streaming in.
That’s right. Spring is unveiling itself and it is greeted by such an enthusiastic audience. The little striped birds, the cooped-up cat, the little twirling girl who is eager to find flowers and stomp in her new shoes, and her mother who can’t wait to get her hands deep in some dark earth!
My dear friend, Theresa, built me some garden boxes for my deck. We have switched roles. Now I am back in a house (with a sailboat on a mooring buoy, waiting for Spring as well.) and she is living on a boat. So I will be gardening for both of us this year! Marc retrieved our seed box and has started looking longingly at our backyard, envisioning a garden. We are starting to ask each other, what veggies would we like to eat this year? Down the road from us, a farm has just finished their gigantic timber-framed greenhouse and we can see their long beds of sprouts getting ready for the Farmer’s Market.
Gabrielle is getting good with her spoon. She says “Mama Dada Mona Mama Dada Nana” all day long. We love the babbling.
And we’re getting ready to go away for a week. I hope to post more pictures soon of our adventure in Hawaii!! Yes, so excited.
And, I found a fabulous recipe for crackers that I just must share! See you soon.