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I Wanted to Write Some Posts This Weekend…

July 22, 2014

… but it was hot. The hottest weekend of the summer yet, I think. So I did this instead:

 
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My aunt and uncle own a small bit of property near a lake (and “small” means it’s about the size of my living room) so anyone who could spent the entire weekend there.

And I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lake look so beautiful – the first two pictures don’t really do it justice, it was a stunning turquoise. Every time I went swimming, I kept babbling about how beautiful it was. I even entirely forgot those horror stories about giant fish that have been making me a little nervous every time I went swimming since the last time I met Tad Williams and those wonderful friends I made on his message board. (Which is something else I’ve wanted to write about for weeks, and should really do soon.) But for now, it’s time for bed.

Seven Years Ago…

July 21, 2014

I was just reminded that it’s been seven years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. Seven years since the seventh book. This deserves a quick post before I fall into bed, I guess.

Seven years since I was Professor Dumbledore for the day, seven years since translating the book out loud for a gaggle of kids….

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Seven years since reading through that night, seven years since all those tears, seven years since it ended, seven years since I had to leave that world and those characters behind at last.

To everyone who’s wished Harry Potter would go on forever, I’ve always said I’m glad it ended, I’m glad Rowling had an end in mind from the start, and I still stand by that. But that doesn’t mean I’m not sad that it ended.

But what I miss isn’t so much the story going on, it’s that sense of easy community it brought, finding people who knew and loved the same thing everywhere, always having something to talk about. And maybe I also miss being that young and enthusiastic and loving something without reservations, which isn’t that easy any more…

 

 

Harvest Monday – July 21st, 2014

July 21, 2014

Every week I think, “This will be the week I do better about blogging.” (And about so many other things. Writing stories. Reading. Writing e-mails. Taking care of my balcony garden. Cleaning.) And every week… it just isn’t. I still just don’t feel like doing anything. (And it makes me so angry at myself, but I still don’t know how to stop being so lazy.) I barely even have the energy to keep up with eating/weighing/photographing my harvest. But at least I’m still doing this much.

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Aaaand – I have the first tomatoes!

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As always, make sure to check out the less lazy garden bloggers over at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July 2014

July 15, 2014

I find taking pictures of my plants incredibly frustrating lately, because I spend so much time trying to wring decent pictures from my camera, and then they’re still not as good as I would like. I hate replacing things while they’re still sort of working, but I think it really is time for a new one. (I will say this about fifteen times more before I finally buy one…)

Today was not the best of days, so once again, just pictures and no words…

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Harvest Monday – July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Look! I’m actually posting this on time for once!

But I’m also tired, for no particularly good reason, so I’ll go the lazy “pictures and few words” route again. (I feel like such a bad blogger this year.)

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From the community garden – actually, I harvested another zucchini, kohlrabi and iceberg lettuce that I didn’t take a picture of. One of those harvests went to my mother and the other to my best friend, since I just can’t keep up right now. (Although I still helped eat the lettuce, since I was invited to lunch in both cases.)

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The flowers in the background sadly were not homegrown – I brought them from work as birthday presents for the Clown Brother and my best friend’s mother (and then used the picture as festive decoration to celebrate the wedding of two of my mostly-online friends). I generally hate anything to do with cutflowers, but cheerful little bouquets like that are fun.

Happy wedding, Aan and xavie!

And now, to bed. Maybe tomorrow I will actually remember about Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Harvest Monday Tuesday – July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

It seems to be turning into a habit, being a day late for Harvest Monday. This time, I can’t even claim harvest-related distractions like last week. (I was just up late last night booking flights. So I’m officially going to be in the US this November.)

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Strawberries for breakfast…

 

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Kohlrabi for lunch…

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Peas for dinner…

(‘Golden Sweet’ and ‘Blauwschokker’ have reached the end of their lifespan now. I’m not impressed with them this year – lots of powdery mildew and not much of a harvest. ‘Ambrosia’ has been doing much better, and now that the weather is a little cooler again, they seem to be getting a second wind.)

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But most importantly, a bucket full of sour cherries from an older woman who lives a few houses down from the Teeny Tiny Village Nursery. It’s kind of sad that there are all these gardens, in all these villages, full of old fruit trees, belonging to old people who can no longer harvest and use all the fruit, and who do either not have children and grandchildren, or who have a family who’s just not interested in helping with harvesting and preserving and eating…

But sometimes it leads to a conversation over the garden fence, and an invitation to come on over and pick as much as I want, and to filling a bucket with cherries while an overexcited westie licks every part of me that he can reach. (He is the second friendliest dog I know – but absolutely no competition to my boss’s dog, who is just the sweetest.)

3 kg of sour cherries all in all, of which 1 kg landed in the freezer, 1 kg was canned (I would have canned more, but I ran out of jars) and the rest eaten fresh – I’m actually eating the last ones as I type this. I really wanted to bake something, but it’s been another very full week – one brother’s birthday, dance practice, medieval fair in Big Town (where we showed off some of our historical dances), catching up with cleaning and then booking those flights… never enough time for baking!

Anyway, hop on over to Daphne’s Dandelions and all the other, presumably less distracted, Harvest Monday participants!

Harvest Monday Tuesday – July 1, 2014

July 2, 2014

Once again a day late, but this time it isn’t because I forgot yesterday, or was too lazy, or got caught up in silly time-wasting things, but because I was too busy preserving last weekend’s harvests.

During the week, it was just ordinary stuff from the balcony and community garden:

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Red oakleaf lettuce (from the community garden, self-seeded from a neighbouring plot – there is an advantage to not weeding all that often (and knowing what lettuce seedlings look like) – I get lots of free lettuce this year!), the first zucchini (also from the community garden) and peas from the balcony (Ambrosia, Golden Sweet and Blauwschokker, and this year I’m very underwhelmed by the latter two. Only Ambrosia is giving me a decent harvest.)

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Small but steady strawberry harvests from the balcony.

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Balcony-grown kohlrabi (oops, blurry picture…)

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Forellenschluss lettuce from the community garden.

Then on Friday, at work, we cut back all the herbs. And I decided it would be a shame to throw away all that I cut off, and brought it home to dry…

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This is just the majoram, which had filled the two plastic bags. The newspaper packets contained oregano, mint, savory and… I think I’m forgetting something.

I stayed up far later than I’d planned sorting through those herbs and trying to find places to spread them out to dry, and then got up very early on Saturday…

I always take the train to work, a little local line that is slow enough that if I’m not napping or reading, I can look out of the window and identify most plants that we pass. And so I’d seen several currant bushes growing in a ditch along the tracks, and spent early Saturday morning wading through the nettles in that ditch to pick red and white currants.

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The currants actually grew on the willow trees that line the ditch, in cracks in the bark and forks of branches – who knew currants were epiphytes? I suppose birds must have spread the seeds there.

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(By the way, I really love these yoghurt containers for berry-picking. They have a nice size, a handle that makes it easy to hold – or hang on a branch – and a tight-fitting lid so I can just drop them in my backpack when they’re full.)

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All in all, over 1 kg of each colour.

They’re all in the freezer for now, because I haven’t yet had time to do more with them – I’m planning to make jelly. My grandmother did that for years, or probably decades, and kept the whole family supplied (we ate a lot of redcurrant jelly), but in the last couple of years, it’s just been too much work for her, and she got rid of her redcurrant bushes. So I’ve been missing homemade currant jelly for a while now.

It took me until yesterday to actually get all the stems off the currants and get them into the freezer. Saturday afternoon, I went to a garden party at the Clown Brother’s new place. (He moved into an assisted living facility for people with disabilities about two months ago, which was a huge change for all of us, but it’s turned out to be a really good one!)

So no time for the currants on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I was up early again, to go to the forest and pick raspberries. Somehow I ended up staying for six hours – it didn’t feel nearly as long.

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About 2.5 kg – I could have picked so much more, but I was out of containers, and also getting quite hungry, for something more substantial than raspberries.

I made a couple of jars of jam, but most of them ended up in the freezer as well, after I spent the rest of Sunday picking larch needles and other dirt from among the berries. And a few were used fresh, in a milkshake and in yoghurt.

And then yesterday, I finally had time to deal with the currants, and after a couple of hours, let me tell you, those white currants start looking freakishly like glass eyes for stuffed animals. I kept feeling like I was staring at a bowl full of teddy bear eyes.

 

Now look at that, now it’s not even Tuesday any more, but early Wednesday morning. But I’m not going to change the post title again.

And as always, click on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what Daphne and the other Harvest Monday participants have harvested. I’m sure none of them posted as late as me (but I can already tell I have far more berries than Daphne.)

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