One of my goals in living more sustainably is to learn how to eat food more seasonally and to preserve foods to eat through the year. I’ve checked out cookbooks from the library focusing on root vegetables and other such winter/early spring produce. Eating by the seasons also means that I need to eat more of the produce that is available. When you purchase turnips or beets at a farmer’s market, they come with their beautiful long and absolutely edible greens still attached. Yes, I mean greens. Yes, cooking greens. Yes, eating greens.
Last year, I made the regrettable decision of attempting to use my popcorn variety of corn as a trellis for pole beans. Did we still get green beans? Absolutely. Was I disappointed in the experiment? Absolutely. So, I needed to learn how to trellis green beans differently this year as cheaply as I could. For about $20, my husband and I made trellises for two 4 x 8 foot beds of pole green beans. I’m hoping for a bumper crop this year. This year, we’re growing Cherokee Trail of Tears and Purple Pod pole varieties of green beans.
When my friend asked me if I would be her bridesmaid, I wanted, wanted, wanted to say yes. I wanted to scream yes! I wanted to dance around in the street shouting, “she’s getting married!” because I was that stupidly happy for my friend. She deserves much happiness and much success, so the making-it-official day was definitely something I wanted to help her celebrate. Marriage is about more than the wedding, the ups and downs of a relationship, but the wedding ceremony itself is a time to come together with the people closest to you and celebrate the commitment to those ups and downs with a big hoopla. Except, I have fibromyalgia and a gazillion medical bills, so I couldn’t let the “yes!” escape my lips without considerations. I had to ask questions first. I had to plan for success around my illness; I did not want to let my friend down. I am hopeful that my own preparations and decisions about managing my chronic illness may help someone else think about how to tackle participating in such a significant event in his or her life.
May, much like the preceding months, absolutely has flown by. I loved being able to honor and celebrate my friend’s wedding, and I particularly liked introducing my parents to our foster kiddo. With their distance in South Carolina, she’s the first kiddo that they’ve been able to meet. The garden is coming together nicely, and I can almost imagine how wonderful it will all look in another month when I check in on goal progress again.
I get so much joy from my garden that I call it my happy place. If I need a quick work break, I pop outside and do a quick walk through from my garden to pull a few weeds. When the kiddo asks what we’re going to do any particular evening, we usually say, “oh, we’ll probably work in the garden.” Our garden is so large that I can never get a good photo of its scope. I even climbed up on the roof in the hopes of finally capturing a good photo of the entire garden from a loftier vantage point. No dice.
The central feature of backyard orchard culture is that you manage the size of your fruit trees through zealous pruning. After our fruit trees have spent the last year becoming acquainted with our garden, I’ve been so pleased with their verdant happiness this spring (with the exception of the dead fig trees). Still, I knew I’d have to lop off a bunch of that greenery, and tree butchering day was today. I definitely feel like a butcher.
My food-preservation skills have definitely increased since I first tackled marmalade in January with only the vague suspicion that marmalade had something to do with citrus. Similarly, I wasn’t sure what cold pack preserving was, but I knew it had something to do with preserving food that was… umm… cold? Yes, definitely cold.