Garden Jungle

green apples

Our garden is a jungle of beautiful, edible goodness.  Morning dew settles on flowering tomato plants.  Spiders weave webs among ripening raspberries.  Spiky, green cucumbers hide under sprawling vines, trailing beyond the straw mulch into the surrounding meadow.  Peas hang amidst delicate tendrils, reaching for a holding place.  Chamomile has taken over edges here and there — even sprouting and thriving in the chicken run.  More calendula blooms each day, making flowers faster than I can pick for bouquets and salve.

chamomile

what are these

zuc

dasies in front

Daisies thrive in front of our house and along the fence line.  Onions do their thing.  Garlic swells under the earth, the edges of its leaves tinged brown among dozens of volunteer borage plants.  Bees swarm the fuzzy borage flowers.

borage

peas

Carrots grow — slow and steady — only the very tips of orange peeking out of the soil.  Parsley is abundant in all stages — young and lush, mature and flowering.  Marigolds smell slightly skunky as I kneel down among the vegetation to get a bug’s eye view.  Kale keeps giving and giving.  Celery loves its companion dill.

cuc

pink zinnias

layers

I soak in the abundance.  I let it wash over me.  This garden, this little place on earth, is so good to us.  We give a little and we are rewarded one-hundred fold.  It is overwhelmingly wonderful in July — wandering through and eating out of this jungle of a garden.

picking together

milkweed

 

Preparing :: Summer Artists Market

mouse and bear

little books

Inspired by this Wee Mouse Tin House pattern and her success last summer selling tiny polymer clay food, Amabel has been getting ready for the summer Artists Market.

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I say Amabel is getting ready, but let’s be honest . . . I’m having as much fun as she is!  Amabel delegates a lot of tasks to me and also to Ellen who generally likes putting cinnamon on top of waffles and stuffing tiny mice.  But Amabel is the director around here.  And sometimes the slave driver!

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She is so good with little details: tiny stitches, tiny food, tiny books.  It’s hard to say no when she has a vision for a project.  On Monday it was hamburgers and french fries.  On Tuesday it was chips and salsa plates.

hamburgers

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Tiny food is pretty straightforward (she had a lot of practice and watched a lot of youtube videos last year), but making these little Altoids Box mice is much more invovled.  Expert seamstress Grandmommy even came over last week to sew with us.  We have been using freezer paper for the first time to help with cutting and stitching tiny pieces of fabric.  Ellen’s favorite part is stuffing the little pillows.

whitey

in the box bed

twins copy

There has been a lot of discussion about how much money to charge?  And which items will be the most popular?  Also, should the mice be sold seperately from all the accessories?  Or should we package each mouse complete with purse, book, and meal?  After watching Amabel go through the anticipation of the market last year, I’m enjoying the process of preparation much more this summer — and especially the conversation that happens during the making and working together.  I’m glad for the motivation and the deadline of the market, but the preparation just might be my favorite part.

Tiny Purses

Ultrasuede Mouse

 

 

Curls

curls

For a long time she has wanted curls.  But it is only recently — over the past couple of months — that have I noticed her hair changing from decidedly straight to a just a little wavy. Maybe it is the summer humidity? Maybe it is morning bed head? Or maybe her wish is finally coming true?

I remember after her eight birthday she asked me how long it would take a birthday wish to come true. Without exaclty telling me what she’d wished for, she hinted about curly hair. Will it take a month? A year? Two years? Now my girl is almost ten and her hair is almost curly.

Weekend Projects

yarrow

Yarrow Salve inspired by Taproot Magazine.  I’m using Yarrow and Lemon Balm — the chopped herbs will soak in olive oil for two weeks.

cutting the scapes

Fermented garlic scales and garlic scape relish.  Amabel is in training with the fermentation master. . .

garlic scape ferment

The jars are already sizzling with bubbles.

tiny necklaces

Tiny terrarium necklaces for the Artists Market.  More details about our preparations coming soon!

 

I’m Working

ellen

Two months ago I stopped working at an office.  Surprisingly, it is taking me much longer to let go of that part of my identity, my routine, my focus . . . and reclaim my own mental space and home schedule again.  Over the past decade I’ve always “worked” in some form or another, but something took ahold of me while I was working in an office for a couple of years and becoming part of an organizational culture — something that I didn’t quite recognize until I’d left it.  It was so easy to point to my well-respected, local land conservancy and say, “I work there.”  It was so official.  Legitimate. I liked that.

picnic

Now I squirm a bit when asked, “Where do you work?” My answer is much more complex.  I get to say, “I do this,” instead of “I work there,” which is not always an easy thing to explain.

what's in there?

The how and why I got here is a long story, but after a bit of mental turmoil I’m ready to admit the simple truth: I am so happy to be home again. I love to work at home. I say this with joy and also with a little guilt — because whether or not my current work will materialize into income is still an unknown. So, can I still call it work? Also, now that it is summer, my days are very likely to include a spontaneous picnic or two . . . and what would the boss say?

wild flowers