Without further delay, the give-away winner is lucky #3, Mimi! Congratulations!
(Please contact me, Mimi, so that I can send your prize!)
As for the rest of you, if you've EVER commented on my blog, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really enjoy blogging, both writing and sharing my own personal projects, as well as reading and being inspired by so many of you.
Now, what have I been doing since August 18th? I really had no intention of not posting for so long, but I just wasn't in the mood. It started out with having too much going on, and then I added a terrible rash which got so itchy I could hardly sleep. Then, we had back-to-school stuff going on. I also shot a wedding, a birthday party, and some portraits, and have over 700 pictures to go through! On top of it all, I knew I needed to pick a winner and I hadn't gotten to that yet. So, you know, life stuff.
I was going to bore you with all the details of the rash but Short Story Long is not really a place for misery. Instead, let me just say that although the second doctor took five viles of blood and had no answers, fortunately, I have friends who prescribe to Occam's razor. Apparently I had poison oak.
I have been knitting, doing tons of laundry, canning, and getting ready for the first day of school, among other things. I have not enjoyed this summer like my boys deserve, so I am working on eliminating some of the clutter in my life. It's time for some wider margins. I have several frivolous items I can cut before I get to knitting, laundry and canning, so don't worry, we won't be showing up in dirty clothes!
One of the fun things we've done that I have not posted about is picking strawberries. We waited all summer to go pick berries at Berry Patch Farms, but kept getting their email updates saying their crops weren't ready. Finally, BFJ had a day off just before school started, and we decided to try our luck. The five of us went and picked strawberries from this local farm. It is not cheap but it was a pretty good price considering it is certified organic. They did not yet have a big crop of raspberries but we picked a few and everyone got to try a gold raspberry! (Just as yummy as the red ones.) After that, I spent a day canning strawberry preserves. I really enjoy canning, knowing my family is getting home-goodness, but I don't enjoy the urgency of fruit that's about to spoil if you don't serve it up immediately. I guess that is the price to pay for not eating the preservatives of non-organic food.
L to R: dill pickles, peach preserves x2, strawberry preserves, plum conserve
Besides the strawberries,
~we've had plenty of cucumbers in our own garden to make lots of pickles.
~We went to my folks' in August and picked chokecherries and I helped my mom make chokecherry jelly.
~A friend discovered this year that she has a plum tree and gave me two bags of plums, so I made some plum conserve.
~This past weekend, we visited my in-laws. As you may recall, they recently moved out of town, and one of the gems of their new yard is a peach tree! Before we headed home, we picked two bags of peaches. Unfortunately, by the time we got home, most of the peaches were very bruised and the bags were dripping. I stayed up late last night making peach preserves, and I think it rivals my apple butter from last year. I bought cute little 4 oz. jars so maybe some of those will find their way out as Christmas gifts this year. (Yes, Anna, the C word is busting out!) I adapted this recipe.
~Whenever I have excess zucchini, I shred it up and freeze it in two-cup protions, so all winter long I can make zucchini bread with my own, homegrown zucchini!
I can't believe my good fortune, all this organic produce just falling into my lap. We've been very blessed. I keep passing some of my garden goodies over the fence because I want the blessings to keep coming! Life is good. I hope you are all enjoying these long last days of summer.