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Maddie Died and Went to Strawberry Heaven

May 21, 2010

I may have mentioned before that Maddie is a wee bit fond of strawberries. She likes them diced in small pieces which she can easily pick up. She can eat a whole quart by herself during the course of the day as long as the bite-sized pieces keep coming. It can be hard to keep her supplied in berries when the farmers market sells them for 4 dollars a half quart.

So the other day Maddie and I headed up north to a farm out in the beautiful country. I called first and made sure they were open, then we preceded out the door and down the road. This farm is about an hour north of us, but the journey was gorgeous. Clear skies and low humidity made the drive through the countryside so relaxing. All too soon, we passed the farm’s U-Pick sign, and we knew we were on the right track.

We arrived, collected our basket, and headed for the fields. The smell of ripe strawberries as we made walked through was simply intoxicating in the warm air. Maddie asked to carry the basket, so I obliged. She loves to carry shopping baskets when we’re yarn hunting, so I knew she could handle it. I knelt down, picked a couple ruby red fruits, then plopped them into the basket. Maddie quickly swooped one up and into her mouth. By the time I had another small handful, she had polished off the berries she was carrying.

At that point I knew I was alone in my picking. I took the basket back and picked up the pace–I wanted to fill up the whole basket before we both got sunburned. At first I was leery that Maddie would be a handful with little to do–after all, her favorite thing to do outside is walk away from me. She was fine however. She quickly figured out what was going on and was soon picking berries for herself. I’m not sure how many she ate, but by the end of the trip she was a brilliant shade of red and quite sticky. Alas, I got no pictures.

We paid for our basket (and purchased a few more as well) for jam and for freezing. Maddie was quite content to snuggle back in her carseat for the long trek home.

All in all, we purchased 3 gallons for $28, which I estimate to be about 15 pounds. So not bad for 30 minutes of work. The berries are amazingly sweet and so full of flavor. Anything in the grocery store just doesn’t even compare. I’m hoping to use these for smoothies and muffins, but I’m not sure how long they will last us with my little berry fiend.

I’m so glad that I have the resources to be able to take Maddie out and see the countryside, and learn where her food comes from. I can’t wait until she can understand the importance of locally grown food. I feel that it’s so important for kids to realize that food comes from farms, not the grocery store. Food that is freshly picked is far healthier and tastes so much better–plus, the experience of picking your own food is so much fun. I also love that I am able to support a local farmer.

Now that summer is swiftly approaching, I’m hoping to go peach or blackberry picking when their seasons come. Maddie loves peaches too, so I bet she can’t wait!

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Summer Squash and Spring Onion Egg Scramble

May 18, 2010

I’m not a huge fan of summer squash, but since it’s become abundant here the past week or two, I’ve been trying to find ways to use it up. Both Maddie and I enjoyed this dish, and since it comes together quickly, it would be great for a fast breakfast or lunch. Feel free to substitute with other veggies you may have on hand.

Summer Squash and Spring Onion Egg Scramble

Serves 1 adult and 1 toddler

1 medium crookneck yellow squash, sliced and quartered

3 small spring onions, chopped

1 Tbls butter

3 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup colby cheese

sea salt to taste

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Add veggies and scramble for 3-5 minutes, until soft. Add eggs. Cook and stir until desired consistency. Top with colby cheese and season with salt. Serve and enjoy.

Life in Bullet Points

May 16, 2010
  • I’ve rectified the situation I mentioned here. Last week Maddie and I planted the whole bundle of seeds–cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Whew! Maddie has discovered a new love of the garden hose. We have one of those sprayer attachments that she loves to stick her hands in. We can’t even walk past the thing without her asking for a squirt.
  • Reason #314 on why I hate driving:  On my way home from church a few weeks ago, torrential rain started as we were barreling down the highway. I was driving, as Stu was on call. The car in front of us spun out, which was quite scary! At first I was confused as to why the SUV was turning left, but then saw him spin into the wall and do a 360 back into my lane. Praise God that I was far enough behind to brake in time, and that no one was behind me!
  • Reason #315 on why I hate driving:  Our car has been having  issues over the past few weeks, involving several trips to the dealership for repairs. Oh the joys of car-ownership!  At first, the gauge to the water pump was busted, so Maddie and I had to wait an hour and a half for the car to be fixed. A few weeks later, the check engine light came back on, and it turns out that the whole water pump needed to be replaced. At least we had recently purchased a second car–I can’t imagine dealing with car trouble with only one car!
  • I’m enjoying the wonderful produce coming in this spring. We went to the opening weekend of our farmers market last Saturday, and it was busy but so much fun! Lots and lots of gorgeous produce, and most important of all is the ruby-red strawberries. Those things are like baby crack–Maddie could eat a whole pound by herself in one sitting if I let her. We’re enjoying all the fresh summer squash, spring onions, crisp lettuce, and new potatoes now. I made an egg dish with all the bounty, and I hope to post the recipe soon!
  • I’ve been struggling to keep on top of all the chores around the house, so I’m hoping to create a new game plan that will help motivate me to tackle the tasks. My thoughts are still vague at the moment , so I may hash them out here.
  • I’ve been knitting (of course!) and I’ve recently completed a few projects. I may do a comprehensive post to update about the progress.

So hopefully I’ve whet your appetite for more to come!

So How Does My Garden Grow?

May 5, 2010

With empty beds and tools in sheds and little seeds all in their packs.

So the other day I looked up from my knitting needles and realized: It’s May!?! Already? What happened to April? I should have started my seeds a month ago!

The pictures you saw the other week was a gardening day, to be sure, but we only put in 3 tomato plants with their cages. They look lovely, if only a little aphid infested. (I think the recent rain has solved that problem.)

I sometimes think I’m more of gardener in theory rather than practice. I love to sit curled up with a gardening catalog and browse for out of season flowers and produce, but once the season comes around I delay or forget or figure I’ll get to it tomorrow. I’ve got seeds for gorgeous wildflowers, melons, squash, beans, peppers, eggplant–all heirloom varieties. They’re sitting on a shelf idly awaiting the day they get to see the sun.  And the thing is, I know in 2 months I’m going to be so mad at myself when I’m buying armfuls of produce at the farmers market, and wishing I could be pulling it from my own garden.

There is a little hope, though. It’s not too late plant some of them, especially the pumpkins and flowers. Maybe I can get to it someday this week?

Cloth Diapering Dilemna

May 3, 2010

I mentioned in this post that I’m a huge fanatic about cloth diapering. I still am. I’m so used to the ebb and flow of routine that it doesn’t phase me to do the extra steps of washing and folding diapers. I would never reconsider my choice about the matter if it wasn’t for one thing: diaper rash.

I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that she’s never had one this bad before, and I think it’s because of the diapers. I’ve put her in some disposables I already had on hand, and it was getting significantly better. But back in cloth, it got bad again.

I’m not sure what to do at this point. I’ve tried washing and rewashing the diapers with my natural detergent, stripping them with oxygen bleach, and drying in the sun, but nothing seems to help. I think I may switch to disposables for the time being until it clears up entirely, then try the cloth again. I’ve tried some more natural diaper creams, but I may have to go purchase something a little stronger. I hate to see my poor little girl uncomfortable!

Do you have any other suggestions? Should I try a different detergent or something? I’m not ready to give up my diapers just yet, so your thoughts are appreciated!

Eat.Sleep.Knit

April 30, 2010

One thing that most knitters love about their craft is the shopping and collecting of yarn.  It seems that many of the die-hard knitters have baskets and baskets of beautiful skeins just waiting to be used. I’ve always been interested in yarn, but more for the feel of it through my fingers rather than using it for a project. Once I picked up knitting, though, I can’t stop browsing for yarn! There are so many gorgeous yarns on the market now, and my favorites are the beautiful handpainted ones that use different tones of the same color. I’ve been planning several projects ahead of myself now, and if I purchase the yarns I would like it would get quite expensive!

So anyway, I found this adorable little online yarn shop through my searches in Ravelry. This little shop carries tons of gorgeous hand-painted yarns in so many beautiful colors. Not only that, but their selection is outstanding–the carry a large variety of colors for every brand.

I’ve put a referral button on my sidebar for those of you who would love to check the website out! Plus, I get bonus points added to my account for every click through.

Now hopefully I can stop talking about knitting!

Gardening Day!

April 24, 2010

For more cute Maddie pictures, visit our Flickr page.