...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.



Loving life (and the birthday pinata my husband bought per my wish.)
It's been an interesting summer so far.  Not exactly what I thought it would be, but full of fun and adventure nonetheless.  I was gone for nearly half of the days in July, right when my garden decided to take off.  The string beans and cherries and gooseberries waited for no one so it's felt a bit stressful to keep everything picked and pruned.  Only a few days have been slow-paced like we expected, but we'll take any that we can get.  I've hardly done any preserving for myself since I've had a private preserving gig with a client a couple of counties north.  And I've only been to a handful of local farmers' markets let alone our own neighborhood market just 1 1/2 blocks away.

BUT I've been perfectly happy this summer despite our days going a little more wildly or quickly than planned. I've spent a good amount of time with close friends, I got to see my parents and spend time with Ben's extended family, V and I have shared so many adventures and learned new things (violin, ballet), and I have had a decent amount of personal time.

Today is my 35th birthday. It's somewhat significant to me because it's the youngest age I remember my parents being. According to my doctor "now you're finally an adult!" I've been celebrating "birthday month" since mid-July instead of just consolidating the fun to one day. And I'm already thinking of all the adventures I want in my next year.

I've been reflecting lately on the last decade or so, at least--the time I've been in Milwaukee. And thinking about all my self-discoveries. Most recently--like within the last week when my husband and I got some "us time" and since I read this little tidbit--I have finally realized and am beginning to understand/accept that I am truly an introvert. This revelation is probably something  my closest friends and family have known for years, but it's taken me longer to recognize it. And now that I have, so much makes sense in my life. It's like someone handed me a shining platter and said "THIS!" as if the meaning of life was written all over it. I could take this new information and do one of two things:

1) Use it as an excuse to crawl further into the little hole that I sometimes retreat to
2) Keep doing what I'm doing, but stop feeling guilty when I can't cultivate every new friendship, follow through on every "yeah, let's get together sometime" that is uttered, and attend every social event to which I'm invited.

I think I'll choose option 2. It'll continue to be just as challenging for me to get out into the community--especially to participate in all the community-building and urban homesteading activities to which I subscribe. But I have to do it at my pace and without creating a lot of extra anxiety for myself.

On that note, I'm considering how I want this blog to continue.  As I've previously noted, it's been a challenge this summer to balance living life and writing about living life.  Perhaps I need to narrow my focus here so I don't feel pressure to choose between the two.  I hope to keep all of my loyal followers, but perhaps you will allow me a grace period so I can regroup.

Thanks and Happy Birthday to me.


Batteries Recharged

Back from the longest vacation we've taken in years, feeling fully recharged.  And, with the help of many, we're up and running at about 90% by now while still enjoying the effects of our break.

We went to Boston and Cape Cod as we try to do every couple of years to visit Ben's extended family.  It was V's first time exploring one of my favorite cities and we found a great balance of adult/kid-friendly activities, touristy/off-the-beaten path tours and sites.  Here's the very tip of the iceberg in photo summary:

Our guest house on the border of Boston's Back
Bay and South End
V at the "Make Way For Ducklings" bronze
Swan Boats
Gorgeous windowboxes on Beacon St.
Beautiful Beacon Hill brownstones
The Carousel at the Frog Pond in Boston Common.  V caught the last ride
and was filled with pure joy.
Dipping our toes at Copley Square
Historic brownstones in our neighborhood
Community garden plots everywhere
Super cool idea for a cuke trellis.
My favorite community garden (Part 1)
Community Garden (Part 2)
Cambridge bookstore
Taza Chocolate factory tour in Somerville
I highly recommend this $5 tour.
Making organic stone-ground chocolate in the traditional Mexican way
Dosa Factory for lunch and shopping
Downtown Crossing old and new architecture
Jellies at the New England Aquarium 
Already planning our next trip 
A North End classic, now with gluten-free options
Paul Revere and the North Church
Public Transit
Greenway over the Big Dig, our first time enjoying it
Lavender and Sedum
Amazing Church of Christ Scientist 
With just two days to show V the city, this was the way to go
And something for Ben to enjoy as well

On to the Cape and the Wellfleet Mass Audubon
Salt Marsh Exploration at Wellfleet Mass
Audubon, V found a horseshoe crab on her
first try
Girl in a puddle
Razor clam shell
Natural art on the beach
Skate egg case
Beautiful shells
Beautiful beach day at Corn Hill (bay side), Truro
Sitting in the surf
Wine Tasting
Gorgeous beach at dusk
Beautiful sunsets
Our oyster shucker in the 4th of July
parade handing out fresh Wellfleets
Free-for-all fireworks on the 4th
Provincelands Dune Tour
Fresh Stripah (the guys caught about 12 lbs. of Striped Bass to fill
the freezer for a while)
Horesehead and Harbor Seals at Monomoy Island
Cockle shells on the beach
Lawbstah, Steamahs, and fried clam strips
Longnook Beach (oceanside), Ben's favorite
One last beautiful sunset with Provincetown and Pilgrim Monument in
the distance.

I've found some time to reflect lately and am thinking about where my blog is going.  It's been a challenge finding time to enjoy life while documenting it here.  Stay tuned, but I may be posting slightly less this summer (I know, just when peak local food time begins.)