Bits and Pieces

So many things are happening in our lives. It feels like a whirlwind some days. I was able to slow down a bit this week and get back to the basics of what makes me feel whole. I have been spending a lot of time with my family, time in garden, and time with friends.

We have really been enjoying our flower patch this year. They are all so vibrant and have provided an abundance of pollinators for our vegetable garden.

image (14) The zinnias never disappoint!

 

 

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image (12)We didn’t get as much Calendula as I would’ve liked, but there is just enough to make something nice for myself!

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image (8) Our morning glory’s are trellising up our sunflowers, an absolutely gorgeous sight!

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If you neglect your garden, even for a second, this happens. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike  LOATHE squash bugs?! We pulled up the plants yesterday and hand squished as many of the bugs as we could.

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The lone spaghetti squash. We have had an abundance of many different types of squash this year, but only one spaghetti. Weird, huh?

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We are excited about our super chilies!! We want to ferment them and make a hot sauce. Anyone have a good recipe?

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And have I mentioned this guy lately?! He’s finally home and improving greatly everyday! Just look at him sitting up and kicking so much tail! Thank you all so much for sending love and healing thoughts to my dad and the rest of our little family. (Way to go dad, I still think you hung the moon!).

Peace,

Nicole

Preserving the Harvest with No Time to Can

I haven’t had a lot of time for canning this year. A wonderful friend of mine has done some canning for us, but I haven’t canned the first thing. I have, however, done quite a bit of freezing, dehydrating, and I started making tinctures over the weekend. I love kitchen remedies! This week we started our lemon balm, Echinacea, and mint tinctures.

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The recipe we use is quite simple. We use the folk method, so there are no real measurements involved. We start by sanitizing our jars. Clean jars are important in any food preservation. We then chop clean herbs and fill the jars about 3/4 of the way with the herb of your choice. Next, fill the jar with 80-100 proof vodka making sure the herbs are completely covered. Let sit in a cool dark place for the next 6 weeks. Whenever you walk by, tell them hello and give them a little shake. At the end of the 6 weeks, line a funnel with cheese cloth and squeeze all the liquid from the herbs. Store in well labeled, amber glass bottles with droppers. That’s it! So simple!

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If you have any leftover herbs, you can hang them to dry to use for tea later. We really like to do this with lemon balm and mint.

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We had an abundance of cherry tomatoes this weekend.

image (9)All these beauties inspired me to make some tomato/herb sauce to put in the freezer. We roasted tomatoes, garlic, and shallots in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. After the tomatoes cooled a bit, we put them in the food processor with a handful and herbs and blended till smooth. We then put the mixture in sterilized, freezer safe jars, and popped them right in the freezer.

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Our flowers have been so beautiful this year thanks to all the lovely pollinators out there!

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We have been bringing lots of beautiful flowers in to our table every week. We are able to preserve the harvest with these as well! We hang them upside down to dry with a paper bag over them to catch the seeds for next year. These are on our table now.

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How do you preserve the harvest when you are short on time?

Peace,

Nicole

Gratitude List

I am baaaaack! I haven’t given myself the time to sit down write lately, and I know that Monday’s Motivation posts get a little old when there is nothing else to read. In and effort to get back in the swing of things, and since I haven’t done it in a while, I thought I would share today’s gratitude list with you all. Life has been a little rough on me lately, but that doesn’t mean that I am not filled with gratitude daily. My life is abundant even in the darkest times. 

1. The bond my family shares; strong as steel and unbreakable.

2. My generous and supportive husband.

3. Friends, new and old. I haven’t spent enough time with them lately, but I know they are always here for me.

4. My dogs who greet me with wet noses and snuggles at the end of a long day. 

5. My garden, still providing for me, even when I am not able to provide for it. 

6. Watching my friends live out their dreams; opening new stores, taking great leaps of faith, and pouring life into what they love. 

7. Able hands and body.

8. My grey hair, each one marking a new journey.

9. My community, ever growing. 

10. Rainy days, good books, and hot tea. 

 

What are you grateful for? Take a few minutes each day to remind yourself of the wonder and abundance each day brings. Please share your own gratitude list in the comments section below!

Peace,

Nicole