My quilting and family life journal

Summers always seem to be our busiest times of the year. This summer especially since we needed to build a new hen house and expand the raised bed section of our garden.

new hen house

The new hen house is now complete and the young chicks are installed, we have three of the new raised beds done and 5 more to build. The existing vegetable gardens have been so productive that we have seasonal veggie dishes every night for dinner, green smoothies have become a morning staple and the dehydrator, pressure cooker, and canning pots have been working overtime. It has been an enjoyable yet exhausting season so far.

One of our favorite smoothies is a carrot cake one that allows me to use some great veggies and the mixed greens power that I make from some of the garden bounty.

Carrot cake smoothy

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp mixed greens powder*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • Hand full of raw walnuts
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Mixed green power is made by taking the greens from vegetables plans like turnips, beets, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and some kale and other greens that you have growing in the garden and dehydrating and then grinding the dried leaves into powder.

The fourth of July weekend we split a few cords of wood for the winter and then rewarded ourselves the following weekend with some kayaking on the Connecticut River. This past weekend we finished our chores up early enough that we were able to take the dog out to the river for a bit of swimming.

ginger in the water

Life is good…

This summer is moving by all to quickly. It is hard to believe that it is July already and we are starting to prepare for the fall an winter already.

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Perennial garden on the side of the house

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Native iris

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Love these bushes, they get prettier each year

 

The spring perennials have played themselves out and the summer ones and veggie gardens are starting to show us what they are made of…

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8 week old chicks in their new home

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Camomile and a few of the tomato plants in one of the raised beds

Last week we were blessed with such wonderful weather that we were able to get the new chicks moved into their new home, harvest camomile, asparagus, kale, spinach, green beans , turnip greens and early turnips.

 

Small fennel, beets and squashes of all kinds have formed and cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant are flowering. Chard, carrots, beets, parsnips and corn are growing strong.  Mother Nature even give us a hand this past week by providing days in the 80s and providing rain late in the evenings to water the gardens.

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First pot of green beans and potatoes of the season. Yummy.

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First harvest of kale and turnip greens…prepared and put in the dehydrator

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Summer herb pots and summer flowers starting to show their stuff

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First patch of day lilies sharing their color

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Even the hosta are starting to show off — better enjoy them before the deer get to them

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Potted tomatoes and eggplant doing well

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Basil doing wonderful this season. Have been harvesting from these containers and others for the past few weeks.

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One of the four colors of astilbe in the gardens

The winter was so harsh that none of the apple and many of pear trees did not bloom this season, but the cherry, Asian pear and plum trees, as well as the raspberry bushes are outdoing themselves with fruit this summer.

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Hope you had a wonderful 4th….

Summer Quilting Project

This summer I decided to to work on a quilt-as-you-go project on rainy and really hot days. I also decided to challenge myself by using only solid Kona cottons and developing a king sized quilt.

quiltAsYouGo

4 1/2 of the 35 blocks I will be making this summer. Each block design will be different but all all will will use a black background fabric

Designing and piecing quilts is a real joy for me, whereas quilting has always been a chore. Hopefully, the quilt-as-you-go process will help to improve my machine quilting skills while making the process much easer….

 

First Day of June

I love this time of year. Each day provides new surprises in the yard.

The bleeding heart in the shade garden next to the deck is doing well

The bleeding heart in the shade garden next to the deck is doing well

Even the flowering bushes are starting to show their stuff

Even the flowering bushes are starting to show their stuff

Tiger lilies will be showing off their oranges and reds soon

Tiger lilies will be showing off their oranges and reds soon

Rhododendron  are flowering, unfortunately we have to fence them to keep the deer for making meals of the leaves

Rhododendron are flowering, unfortunately we have to fence them to keep the deer for making meals of the leaves

Smaller irises are starting to bloom Soon there will will be a carpet of purple on the side of the house

Smaller irises are starting to bloom Soon there will will be a carpet of purple on the side of the house

Kale and chard bed coming along nicely

Kale and chard bed coming along nicely

Squash bed is starting to flower

Squash bed is starting to flower

Finished painting the new hen house. Next week we will build the run.

Finished painting the new hen house. Next week we will build the run.

Another one of my quilts made it out of the UFO pile this week. After 4 years and a move across the country I finally finished Chugach Sunset. This inspiration for this piece was the Chugach mountain range that we had the pleasure of viewing from the back of our house when we lived in Alaska. Towards the end of the summer season when the stars became visible again we were treated to some of the most colorful sunsets with the mountains as a backdrop.

Chugach sunset 2014The french braid pattern on this 90X120 inch quilt are designed to represent the mountains and the colors that can be found at the different altitudes. I love the colors  and the stained glass feel of the finished top…. No more big tops until the winter.

I love this time of the year, the colors are starting to pop in the yard.

Deep purple iris looks almost black at times

Deep purple iris looks almost black at times

Iris showing some lovely pastels

Iris showing some lovely pastels

Flocks carpet displaying lovely pinks

Flocks carpet displaying lovely pinks

Side prenatal garden forming buds and cherry tree forming fruit

Side prenatal garden forming buds and cherry tree forming fruit

Chickens are 4 weeks old today and showing signs of the awkward teens. Most of their down is gone and not all the feathers have come in so they have bald spots here and there. They have also started testing their wings. When we open the cage for cleaning they run out and practice flying to different heights on the porch. At the end of this week we can turn off the heat lamp and in another three weeks they can move out to the hen house. I love the chicks but will b happy to get the porch back…
IMG_1880We finished building the hen house this past weekend. Next week it needs to be insulated for the New England winters and the run built. We should be done with that little building project right around the time they should be moving into to their home.
ChickenCoopConstruction

 

Our Spring Gardens

All of the vegetable gardens are now planted. New fruit tress are in the ground and flower beds are awake and growing. This weekend we gave the lawn its first haircut and stated preparing for the new chicken coop. Next weekend a friend of ours will be coming down to help build the new coop.

Lawn received first cut of the season and the ornamental garden is starting to wake... even the tree that the deer feasted on over the winter is coming back.

Lawn received first cut of the season and the ornamental garden is starting to wake… even the tree that the deer feasted on over the winter is coming back.

 

Peonies caged and growing quickly

Peonies caged and growing quickly

kale, chard and spinach planted and growing in their bed

kale, chard and spinach planted and growing in their bed

Young pear trees are starting to bloom -- attracting some big bumblebees at the moment

Young pear trees are starting to bloom — attracting some big bumblebees at the moment

Root vegetable in raised beds, potato towers and ground veggies doing well. We have already had two pickings of asparagus. The flowering trees behind the fenced garden are the new plum trees we added this year.

Root vegetable in raised beds, potato towers and ground veggies doing well. We have already had two pickings of asparagus. The flowering trees behind the fenced garden are the new plum trees we added this year.

Area where we will be placing the new chicken coop -- working on leveling the area for the build next week

Area where we will be placing the new chicken coop — working on leveling the area for the build next week

Grapes are starting to wake. Blueberries and raspberries should be to far behind

Grapes are starting to wake. Blueberries and raspberries should be to far behind

Hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend.

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