Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Spoke Too Soon

It seems this was leaking for a long time. Explains why our water bill is so high. It's fixed now. (I hope.) Did I mention that we're on vacation? Working in the yard, hauling ass let me tell you, and calling it vacation. It's a good thing we love working around the house.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Work in Progress

This is how our front yard looked at the end of the first day of work. The lawn was torn out and later hauled away.

A couple days later the messy trees were gone, the walls built, and extra soil was ready to spread.

And then this happened.

And this.

This morning my husband repaired the last (we hope) of the broken pipes and found all the buried (!!!) sprinkler heads. Then we planted chamomile, creeping thyme, lavender, and Russian sage. There's lots still to do; more plants to plant, tons of bark to spread, trellises to build. It's good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In & Out of the Garden

Once again, I have no pictures to post today. What I do have is fourteen jars of plum jam cooling on the kitchen counter. It’s the last of our plums supplemented with store bought and gift plums from a friend. It’s a little tarter (is that a word?) than usual, but I like it. A lot. It’s going to be delicious with peanut butter.

In landscaping news, our front yard is ready for planting. Now we get to do the fun part – picking out plants, laying out the garden, digging in the dirt. I’m thinking lavender, salvia, butterfly bush, yarrow. That should get us started.

There will be pictures this weekend. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It’s been a hive of activity here at Wild Plum Cottage during the past few weeks. We’ve been painting, watching the garden grow (although the only thing I’ve harvested so far is six green beans – yeah, six), and working on the front yard.

We realized, after three back-breaking weekends, that there’s no way we can re-landscape the front yard by ourselves. So we hired someone to do it for us. What luxury. We’ve had a crew of three guys tearing out lawns, shrubbery, and small trees for two days. Tomorrow they’ll start working on terracing and laying bricks. After that they’ll lay out the drip system. Then we’ll pay them and do the planting ourselves. It’s going to be beautiful. There’ll be before, during, and after pictures when we’re done.

In the midst of all this busy-ness I’ve been canning like a fiend. The chocolate cherry wine sauce turned out amazingly delicious, but I’m not sure it’s safe to can. I put three jars through the water bath, admired them for about a day, got the willies, popped the seals, and refrigerated them. Botulism is a bad thing, and I don’t know enough about acidity to trust my own made-up canning recipe. But if I find out it’s a canning-safe recipe I’ll be slamming it into jars as fast as possible, because, honestly, it’s the best damn thing I’ve ever cooked. (And you, Miss Amber, will be first on my list of recipients.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ahhh, A Holiday

This is what we’ve been busy with for the past few weeks:

  • Painting the downstairs ceilings – a huge project.
  • Choosing a color for the kitchen walls.
  • Deep cleaning one room at a time.
  • Picking almost 12 pounds of cherry-sized plums.

Making and canning the following crazy delicious things:
  • Cherries in Wine
  • Brandied Cherries
  • Plum Jam (51 jars!)
  • Blackberry Jam
  •  Trying to figure out if a reduction of zinfandel, cherries, cocoa powder and a few other ingredients is safe for canning, because, omigod, if it is, everyone on my Christmas list is going to looove me.

  • Harvesting basil, making and freezing pesto.
  • Harvesting lavender and hanging it to dry.
  • Oh, and working full time.

Today we’re hanging out at home, resting, catching our breath, letting life slow down for a while. And remembering why I love living in this amazing, frustrating, busy, beautiful country of ours.

Happy Fourth!