We planted these strawberries last year, and they are doing well so far. They were a mix of June-bearing and Ever-bearing. We have been picking a handful a day. I hope they start producing more, but it looks like I will definitely have to buy some this year instead of relying on my patch. Maybe next year though :).
I started many of my plants from seed, and they did so/so. My tomatoes did great, and I planted 12 of them. The broccoli and cabbage also did great. My peppers and celery did really bad, as did my herbs. Next year I am just going to buy them. We found a guy who grows his own heirloom veggies, and he has a small greenhouse. I bought my celery and pepper plants there, and last year I bought tomatoes from him. They are always super healthy plants, and so much easier than trying to get mine to grow. I would love to have a greenhouse, but we don't have the room or the money. In the garden, along with my tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and broccoli, there are carrots, turnips, beets, peas (they are the ones near the middle growing up the fence), cucumbers and celery. We are doing a lot of things vertically this year. In the back yard, I went a little squash crazy. I planted 4 different kinds, all are going to be grown vertically. Here is a picture of my big garden.
Jeff is talking about making a root cellar to store our veggies for winter, so I won't have to can or freeze everything. I am also learning about how the pioneers used to preserve things, before canning. They did what was called lacto-fermentation. The lacto doesn't refer to dairy, but refers to the lactic acid that results from the fermentation process. The pioneers didn't have pressure canners or regular canners, so they fermented a lot of foods. It actually is really easy and very healthy. I fermented pickles and sauerkraut last year (I did a few jars), and kept them in my fridge. They can be stored in a root cellar too (most root cellars stay at around 50 degrees). They are supposed to be loaded with probiotics, and the salt in them preserves them. I was amazed at how crisp and fresh they tasted, even after 8 months!
We have had lots of fun animals and critters around. Our Orioles came back and made another nest in our Sycamore tree. I keep trying to take a picture of them at our Oriole feeder, but haven't been able to get one :(. Both the male and female have come to the feeder at the same time, and they are so beautiful! Our ducks are also back, but haven't been swimming in our pond as of yet. The tree frogs are everywhere, and we can hear them chirping. They love hanging out under the cover of our hot tub. Evie found this one :)....
Evie started soccer, and is having so much fun. They did soccer pictures a week ago, and we were able to take some great pictures instead with our camera. I didn't want to spend $30 for 6 wallets and a 5x7, which is what the package prices were. I thought this picture turned out great. There were several other really good ones.
My birthday was on the 9th. It was the big 4-0. It feels strange just typing that. When I was a kid, 40 seemed so old and decripit. Now here I am! Not that I am old and decripit :). I actually had a wonderful birthday. I didn't want a party. Jeff took the day off of work, and he and Evie showered me with lots of love. The night before, they made me go to my room and relax (oooohhhh the torture!) while they secretly decorated the house and made me a cake. I figured out what they were doing when Evie came in to ask me how I was doing, and her face was covered with chocolate :). lol! They decorated with purple balloons and streamers. Purple is my favorite color :). On my birthday, I opened my presents. Jeff got me a really sweet book with pictures of our family. I cried when I saw it because it was so sweet. It was an actually book he had printed out. He also got me this.....
I LOVE my swing! I am out there several times a day, swinging whenever I can. It folds out into a bed too, but I haven't done that yet. It is so relaxing, and a wonderful place to go out and read. Evie and I have homeschooled out on it too, which is great.
We are making changes to the backyard. Jeff privacy fenced in a larger section of the yard. It looks so nice, and really makes our back yard look bigger! We have a chain link fence across the other side of the back yard, and we want to fence that in with a privacy fence too. Then it will seem like our own little oasis back there. Jeff said he was completely fine with me getting a few chickens (Yay!), so I can do that once we fence in the rest of the back yard with privacy fence.
Okay, this blog post is ginormous. I will end it with a picture of my beautiful irises. Oh how I wish they lasted longer, and that I could bottle their scent. The scent of them reminds me of fresh grapes cut from the vine. During iris season, I definitely take time to stop and smell the irises!