Tag Archives: summer

weekending

How is it that project task lists multiply? We started with a two-step plan when our oven stopped working.

Step one: get a gas line installed
Step two: buy a new gas range

And then we decided that before our new stove is delivered, we might as well re-do the kitchen floors since you can’t just unplug a gas oven and move it out of the kitchen. And by some miracle, we pulled off installation of a new floor before the range was delivered and installed, although we still had to polish it.

Eventually we managed to get all 7 layers of polish. Seven! But since all the furniture and kitchen gadgets are out of the kitchen (and as you can imagine, I have A LOT of kitchen gadgets), we might as well paint the walls, right?

You would if your kitchen came with stenciled vines and beige and green walls. It seems worth it, but it is hard to squeeze all these projects in between late-spring/early-summer activities and busy work weeks. And I haven’t even mentioned that the painting led to replacing the cheap trim and also removing and replacing filthy caulk. And every single one of these tasks takes way longer and way more trips to the hardware store than you could anticipate. Our house has been chaotic for weeks as a result.


US, Sweden, and Washington flags all at half-mast on Memorial Day

We are SO close to being finished. And we celebrated “almost finished” with a trip to IKEA where we failed to find new window treatments.

Of course, a trip to IKEA means we have to squeeze in some Seattle food, right? Jess found us an incredible food experience in Katsu Burger. The burgers are different kinds of meat or tofu breaded in panko and fried, served on a giant sesame bun and topped with amazing sauces, pickles, or in some cases wasabi coleslaw.

They were the most gigantic burgers I have ever been served. Veggie burgers aren’t typically gigantic. Levi had a curry pork cutlet.

And then there were the fries. Oh my god. We shared an order of nori fries and curry fries with dipping sauces like wasabi mayo and a spicy mayo made with sriracha and magic.

And to complete the meal – milkshakes! Green tea pineapple and kinako cup (kinako, chocolate, and black sesame). Wow.

The perfect weekend is a careful balance of hard work accomplished and some fun. Sunshine and junk food help. And a bonus chicken Instagram (create your own caption, it’s fun):

My weekend still has one last day. Back to painting, caulking (say “caulk” a dozen times in front of a teenage boy and try not to laugh), and mitering for me.

Leave a comment

Filed under family, food, goals, home

watermelon chips: preserving the taste of summer

We finally got a dehydrator. It goes without saying that we love our new dehydrator. Exhibit A: dehydrated watermelon.

It’s as simple as thinly slicing watermelon (1/4″) and lining the trays of your dehydrator with them. It took about 36-48 hours on the fruit setting (135 degrees) to get them nice and crispy. They taste like watermelon, but different. They taste like crunchy, sweet summer.

My hope is that we can make these last until, say, February when we are dying for spring to begin and dreaming about summer.

Levi decided to experiment with re-hydrating the dehydrated watermelon. The result? Okay, that was kind of gross.

14 Comments

Filed under food

soaking up the last drops of sunshine

We were ready to embrace fall after a few days of grey and rain, but apparently we’re getting some more summer.

A list:

one of us has a whole lot of homework
one of us is trying to become a morning person again (not going well, yet)
one of us had a mishap with the immersion blender
luckily, everyone still has 10 fingers
even if it is sunny, soup season has officially begun
we’re still anxiously awaiting our first egg
no loud noises have been reported from our rooster, yet
homemade hot sauce is fermenting on the counter
the kitchen is still full of tomatoes
so many plans, so little time

7 Comments

Filed under summer

Adventures in Vertical Potatoes

In 2009, we grew poatoes in stacked tires on a lark. That was fun. The potatoes were delicious and we were converted to enthusiastic potato growers. Occasionally, I come across something about how important potatoes are for self-reliance gardening and I think that we really need to grow more of them.

In 2010, Krista built wooden stacking potato boxes. I wrote about why we switched from tires to wooden stacks here. We also grew potatoes in burlap bags from local coffee roasters, although apparently I have never blogged about that. I found burlap bags to be an unsatisfactory way to grow potatoes. The burlap bags were free though, and I composted them afterwards. No harm, no foul.

I buy our seed potatoes at a local nursery. I wrote about the varieties we planned to grow here if you are interested. We planted them in our faithful wooden stacks again this year, but we have been more attentive about mounding the plants regularly. Hopefully our diligence will be rewarded with a better yield. We haven’t harvested yet, but the plants are much taller and heartier than we have ever grown before.

The neighborhood deer have been voracious this summer, causing serious damage to the potatoes a few weeks ago. We covered the stacks with deer netting and as you can see, the plants grew back with a vengeance. The wooden stacks work well with deer netting because you can tuck it all around the edges.

This is a sort of experimental method, so we’ll report back when the plants die back. We planted late this year so we have weeks to go before harvest. And then? Potato salad, potato tacos, potato soup, roasted potatoes and colcannon for us, and maybe some of our hard-earned tips for growing vertical potatoes for you.

xoxo,
Jess

2 Comments

Filed under garden, summer, urban farming

forage

Tonight we will dine on chanterelle pizza thanks to my little family of foragers. Our friend Anna has been sharing her mushrooming spots around town. Don’t worry moms, they take a field guide.

Even Levi, the notorious mushroom hater, has been getting in on the hunt. This child has disliked mushrooms since he was tiny. Back in the day, he would actually vomit if he tried them. I think our adventurous eater is now slowly starting to try a mushroom here and there.

I hope to join in on the fun next time. While you do have to be very careful with fungi, I am inspired lately to become more of a forager. Why pay $5 for a tiny container of blackberries or $15 a pound for chanterelles when these grow wild right around us? Conversations about foraging lately have caused me to take notice of the fear of food that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic in neat little rows at the grocery store. Thankfully this only inspires me to get more in touch with where my food comes from.

Now I just have to learn how to clean and cook these behemoths. I am ashamed to admit that the last time Jess brought home a lobster mushroom we let it go bad. And boy was that ever gross (not to mention baffling) to have our vegetarian fridge smell like rotting fish. Lobster mushroom recipe suggestions welcome, people!

9 Comments

Filed under family

from our cupboards

I don’t think I’m going to get to the trio of watermelon canning projects I had hoped for this week, but we’ve got to figure out some good storage solutions for our canned food anyway. Every year I end up crafting some labels for our jars. It’s a little too time intensive for big batches, but we like to have some on hand that you can just slap a ribbon on and give as a proper gift or trade when needed. Really I just do it because it’s fun. It must be the same kid in me who keeps eyeballing the giant, pristine box of crayons at the store (you know, with the built in sharpener).


black pepper cherry jam


cherries in light syrup


Raspberry jam made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. We’ve been using this a lot since you don’t have to use so much sugar.

Little known fact: if we didn’t name our chickens after characters from Cry-Baby, naming them after characters from The Outsiders was high on the list. Tell me Sodapop, Ponyboy, and Cherry Valance aren’t excellent chicken names? For now we will settle for a reference via golden raspberry jam.

18 Comments

Filed under canning

Chicken TV

Before we got our chickens, Jess used to talk about how we would spend so much time in our backyard watching “chicken TV.” I was more excited about getting the chickens for backyard breakfast production, and I couldn’t quite picture what she was talking about. As soon as our tiny little chicks arrived in the mail, I got it. We would pull up a chair to their brooder and watch. And these days if you’re having a bad day, the cure is often to go outside and let the chickens out to explore the yard. It always seems to cheer us up. They’re just that funny.

Here’s Cry-Baby and Pepper, hunkered down in the dirt next to some rhubarb, making themselves at home.

This blur of feathers is about what it looks like when they dust bathe. Sometimes they flop down in the dirt and roll around and you can’t see a head or tail – just a big ball of feathers. But you don’t have to imagine it, today we have video!

Be sure to watch if you want an update on Hatchet-Face, the little runt we thought wasn’t going to survive in the early days. She makes her presence known at about the 1:20 mark. Ramona also makes a couple cameo appearances.

And that hum of traffic you hear is Interstate 5. We don’t even really notice it when we’re back there.

12 Comments

Filed under chickens