*cough* *cough* Oof, so much dust! *tap* *tap* Is thing on?

Well hello. It’s been awhile. I did not intend to take a break, but goodness, things have been a bit overwhelming. I am well and James is well. We have neither of us caught COVID. But there was so much that something had to give. There is still so much, but it does not appear that it will be changing anytime soon, so perhaps I might be able to wiggle in a blog post now and then.

Mrs. Dashwood enjoying some wood sorrel

When the blogging stopped I actually dusted off my journal and started journaling regularly again. I have kept a journal since I was eleven and when I started blogging so many years ago the journal kind of got let go. Sure, I’d write in it now and then but for the most part months would go by. Now I’m writing once or twice a week and it feels really good to be doing that again. I am determined not to let it slip away.

As you can imagine, I have been busy in the garden. Since James was furloughed and I was working from home in the spring, there was so much more time and nothing was rushed. It was the most sedate spring in the garden I have ever had. The weather even cooperated for the most part to allow us to get everything planted in a timely fashion. It was truly glorious. And for the last two months we’ve been reaping the benefits.

I’ve been getting better about saving seeds year-to-year, especially shelling peas. A couple years ago I had one pea plant that was more prolific than all the others for longer than all the others. I didn’t eat a single pea off that plant, but saved every one to re-plant the following year. And then from that batch I saved the ones that did the best, and so on. This year all the careful saving really showed. We had lots of great big peas that did well even in an early heatwave. And, of course, again, I let the peas that did the best go to seed to save for next year. It is so hard to not eat the biggest, plumpest peas!

Marianne heading into the coop to lay an egg



Now it’s green bean time and I am doing the same with the green beans. I have bush beans that have already gone through their first big production and I left beans on several strong plants to go to seed. The pole beans are starting in now and the same goes for them. This year I also intend to save zucchini seeds. That will be easier since I can eat the zucchini! The lettuce has bolted too and I will be saving seeds there as well.

It was a banner year for rhubarb and raspberries. The freezer is packed full. The black currants were not greatly prolific, but they did get big and fat this year and ended up in my oatmeal a few mornings. The red currants did wonderfully and James just made two pints of jam over the weekend. The elderberry is enormous and so heavy everything sagged down onto the ground. We’ve propped it up as best we can but it still isn’t great. Those won’t be ripe for another few weeks yet, but oh, I can hardly wait! I am also keeping my eye on the rose hips, determined to pick them this year and give them a try as a jam.

Crabapples

The crabapple has also done really well this year and the little apples are beginning to get ripe. We’ve picked some of them but there are a lot more on the tree we will have to fight the squirrels for. Hoping we are able to rescue enough for ourselves to make jam. Can you tell we like jam at my house? Actually, it has taken me so long to write this that I picked all the crabapples this morning and James is cooking them down in the crockpot as I type. Next time I manage to post I will have a jam photo.

The potatoes–Irish cobbler–have been dug too. We like growing them but we are not sure that it is worth the effort for the amount we actually get. So James and I will be having a discussion come November about whether it is worthwhile ordering some for planting next spring or whether we want to try something else instead.

The Dashwoods loved me and James being home for so long in the spring and early

The spreading elderberry

summer. They got to be out in their garden all day everyday. They love that the elderberry is so wide and spreading. It gives them great shade and protection. They like to wallow down in the dirt beneath it to stay cool on hot and humid days. It’s so thick with low leaves and branches that you would never know they were there. When I would walk out to check on them I’d called, Dashwoods! And they’d come streaming out from beneath it with hopeful looks on their faces, treats! The pandemic means nothing to them. Sometimes I think it would be lovely to be so blissfully unaware.

Irish cobbler potatoes



Waldo liked us being home too. He would pretty much sleep on the corner of my desk all day while I worked. He also enjoyed Zoom bombing meetings I was in. Thankfully, other people had pets who liked to join meetings too. I think the animals provided a wonderful lightheartedness to everything because it gave everyone something to talk about other than work and the pandemic.

I have been back at the library every day since early July and James has been back at work since the end of June. It’s nice to see and talk with people who are not on my computer screen and also a little anxiety producing in some situations. Aside from work we pretty much go nowhere but the grocery store, the farmers market and the bike shop–essential services!

So much more has been happening but if I keep going on this post will be a book that doesn’t get published until next year. This will do for now. More again soon. Really!