• What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • This guy right here? While he might be growing bigger every day, the truth is that becoming a mother has helped me to grow. To be more present. To be more patient. To be more empathic. As I tell all my soon-to-be-mama friends, parenthood is the toughest work you'll ever do, with by far the biggest payoff. The lovin', and the learning, are so, so good. Happy Monday, friends.
  • Today was a good day. This view, from the top of our road, certainly helped make it so.
  • I think the 48-hour flu I've been fighting has finally succumbed to my assault of grapefruit seed extract, osha root, propolis, elderberry syrup, Oscillococinum, apple cider vinegar, rose hips, hibiscus, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, and neti pot with goldenseal tincture. I don't take getting sick sitting down. And now, a winter storm, possibly. Bring it, I say. Happy weekending, friends!!!
  • This guy.
  • I've been waiting, for a book like this, to come into my life. Whoa. Picked this up a few weeks ago at @screendoorasheville as a New Year's gift to @glennbenglish. Just started reading it myself and it couldn't possibly be more of what I need to see, right now. Completely on point, wholly attuned to what I'm presently sensing and curious about and inspired by, and infinitely humbling.
  • Warm enough today to play soccer down in our lower field, do a bit of weeding in the garden, and push a nearly-too-big 4 year-old in his
  • New year, new moons, new calendars. Right on, right on.
  • @shelterprotectsyou has been posting images of the wedding she and @sheltercollective had here in September all week. They built this altar for the ceremony, and it's still here, just past the house, on the way to the chicken coop. We pass it every day. Some days, I casually note its beauty and the way it feels like an outdoor church here in our forested cove. Other days I barely register it as I scurry about, doing this and that around the property. Today, though, in the stark, grey, drizzly setting, it was quietly regal. Happy to have had her visuals prompt me to stop, look, and listen to this physical testament to love.
  • The chickens told me they much prefer the rain this week to last week's frigid weather, thank you very much. I couldn't agree more.
  • These potatoes @tableasheville changed my culinary life. They called them hash browns, but they were unlike any I'd had before. Par-baked perhaps, smashed into halves I'm guessing, and then roasted and maybe finished with a quick fry in the skillet and scattered with large sea salt granules? Whatever the method, the result was a creamy, yellow center and a crispy, salty exterior. Quite possibly the best hash browns I've ever had.
  • This caramelized cinnamon citrus
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Dirty Work

These days of mid-spring, they are so very magical, aren’t they? Everything is out of the ground, growing up so quickly and giving so much sensory stimulation. We’ve been out moving and digging and building and watering and planting and so. much. more in the garden, each and every day. I thought I’d show you a bit of what we’ve been up to.

1) The pea trellis (first and second photos) is going like gang busters. I adore peas, so here’s hoping we have a massive crop to eat fresh and freeze for later use.
2) Hubs built these risers to keep the tiny Englishman off of the pots, as he was sort of leap-frogging from one to the next across the garden. These 12 contain our sweet peppers (there are a mess of hot peppers planted in the raised beds; since Hubs would put hot sauce on top of a jalapeno, we can never have too many hot peppers for making hot sauce).
3) We added on to the pea trellis, making a long bed for trellising pickling cucumbers beside it. There’s 15 cukes planted there, and another 6 in a raised bed. In a few months, I plan to be swimming in cucumbers, and up to my elbows in vinegar and pickling spices.
4) The raised lettuce beds we made by appropriating plastic bins left by the previous owners (our property used to house an organic flower and herb farm when Hubs purchased it back in 2005, two years before we met). We drilled some extra drainage holes in them so that water wouldn’t pool inside when we have serious drenching storms. Having them raised also keeps both slugs and the tiny Englishan from easy access (see #2).
5) We’re excited about this sorrel bed. We figured we’d give it it’s own space, for perennial purposes. Can’t wait to make some sorrel and potato soup and enjoy all that lemony-flavored, nutrient-dense green goodness.

There’s also been some tomato trellising going on, which I’ll share with you soon. And, currently in the works (as in, right this very minute, as he’s out there with drill and wood screws and wood planks in hand), Hubs is putting a raised platform and pergola beside Huxley’s sandbox. The plan is to put our wrought-iron cafe table and chairs there and grow some native vine-ing edible something or other up the posts, creating an edible shade on top. If you’ve got any suggestions for something  that grows fast, produces prolifically, looks good, and tastes delicious, I welcome your feedback. And I’ll post some images as soon as it’s photo-worthy.

So much work. So much fun. Soon the dog days of summer will be upon us and we’ll be ready to just sit out there, watch the chickens peck, the dogs pant, the baby play, and the plants grow. It’ll all be worth the dirty work incurred to get it to that place.

19 Responses to Dirty Work

  • Meesh says:

    Nice work! Looks like good times. Pergola suggestion: hops! Then make your own home brew… yum!

  • Oh my–so beautiful!

  • So beautiful! I have a teeny tiny version of your container garden on my teeny tiny inner city lot, but it's still early spring here.

    What about pole beans on your trellis? I grow scarlet runners, Kentucky Blue Lake and a purple Italian one. Lots of busy bees, hummingbirds if you're lucky…

  • aubree says:

    how about runner beans–so many different varieties (we're growing sunset and painted lady runners this year) with such sweet little flowers and yummy harvest to boot!

  • Casey says:

    So beautiful!

    Just picked up Home Dairy from our library and feeling incredibly inspired.

  • Anonymous says:

    Such nice garden design ideas, and so tidily executed! You have a gift.

  • Indio says:

    Hops are indeed fast growers, if you keep the caterpillars off of them. I just put in kiwi vine. I'm not sure if it's fast growing, but it should be tasty. I'm thinking of adding goji berry and pawpaw to the food producing yard.

  • Kira says:

    Hops! Make beer!

  • Ruth Dixon says:

    Beautiful pictures. I love container and raised bed gardens…

  • ecogrrl says:

    your very own 'salad bar'…diggin' it…hope your mom is doing okay….

  • Kim Peck says:

    wow…your garden is so gorgeous!!! oh i just love it!!!

  • spike says:

    How about Passion Flower vine? I don't have any myself but a neighbor grows them. They grow very fast, have BEAUTIFUL flowers, smell like passion and the small fruits are yummy! I can't even imagine all of the wonderful things you would cook up with them.

  • Anonymous says:

    hardy kiwi vine for the pergola! you need to make sure to get a male and female plant for fruit production.

  • Apseed says:

    So much inspiration! And those raised lettuce beds look simply beautiful and genius.

  • Courtney says:

    OOooh it's already been said, but I was going to suggest hops. My husband is rather obsessed with the idea of growing them (apparently there's some kind of 'hops shortage' in the world right now?).

  • BlackStar says:

    Love your garden pics! (I made my way over here from Wayward Spark.)
    I can't think of any native vining plants,so I think you should plant pole Lima beans. They grow like crazy and will make a lot of shade during the summer. I didn't know that I liked them until I grew them one year. Now, they're a staple. There are so many varieties to choose from. And maybe throw in a Moonflower seed or two.
    Looking forward to watching your gardens grow.

  • amanda says:

    no helpful suggestion here regarding a wonderful vining something-or-other…. but I'd love to know what your favorite pea varieties are~ I try new ones each year and haven't settled on one yet.

  • amanda-the peas shown in the photos above are “mammoth melting sugar peas” from local seed supplier sow true. i love them!

  • Sarah says:

    I'm impressed with your setup…. I've only got a few dug raised beds going. Your cove seems to get more sun than my little corner (2 acres not quite in Fairview).
    What do you do about rabbits & deer? While I love living back up against 200 acres of woods, and having bear swim in our pond, a few moments of deer browsing demolishes 2 months of lettuce planning. Pie tins? Getting husband to 'mark' the garden after homebrew? Or do I have to fence?