Our first harvest of the season!

This week and weekend was kind of a lazy one for us.  We made more plans than progress but it is what it is–this week we will pick up the slack.  We really needed a break.  I have been barely surviving with the laundry–“to wash” pile is ridiculous and “to iron pile” takes up the whole couch and it’s sectional, a big one. I did make some progress tonight!!

We did have some excitement this week.  We had our first harvest of strawberries.  A few berries from the bush really makes the girls happy.

IMG_20140526_180156015

I have began harvesting lavender and lemon balm.  I put them in bunches and dry them.  The fragrance of herbs drying in my kitchen makes my heart (and nose) smile.IMG_20140530_210635805IMG_20140530_210652824

Lemon balm grows like a weed in Washington and can be transplanted very easily.  It can be used for foot soaks and relaxing baths and to ward of mosquitoes. But Paul swears there is something that works better for mosquitoes. And some day he will remember what it is.

This year we are down to only one kind of lavender.  We had two varieties but one of plants was so old, we decided to take them out.  We hope to replant more lavender later

Lavandula Intermedia  (what we had)

lavandula_grosso2

Also known as Lavandin or Cottage Garden Lavender

These grow larger than Angustifolia types and are often used at the back of a border to give height and movement. Typical varieties are Grosso and Abrialii. The most widely grown group of lavenders in the world due to their high oil bearing properties used for bulk fragrance applications such as soaps and room fragrances. Their oil contains a more camphorous note. Technically this group are a hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latfolia.

Lavandula Stoechas (what we still have)

LavandulaStoechasMs800

Also known as French or occasionally Spanish Lavender

Completely different in nature to both L.angustifolia and L.intermedia. Has large, fat heads on top of slender stems. Colourful bracts (often compared to rabbit’s ears) protrude from the top of the flower head. This group will keep flowering if ‘dead-headed’ through the flowering period. They do not produce commercial amounts of essential oils and are regarded as an ornamental variety. Some varieties can be frost sensitive.

Last year, we got lavender from our CSA and used it in a few ways.  We infused our tea with it and used it to make sachets to keep moths and other bugs out of our closets.  We plan to do the same this year and maybe save some to add to a nice relaxing bath.

We made a little progress in the garden today.  We allowed our chickens out for a bit while Paul was working on digging the second garden bed.  They had a blast and it really made us inspired to put in their run sooner than later.  We have been fighting time but hopefully next weekend will be dedicated to the run as much as we can. We planted the rest of the starts, including peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini in to pots that  little peppers.  The onions poked through and have been growing like crazy in the last few days of pure sunshine.  In our garden bed, we also have some volunteer kale and endives that popped out everywhere between the tomatoes.

IMG_20140526_183445561 IMG_20140526_183515658IMG_20140526_190056995

As for prepping food, my mom and I spent Sunday evening making pelmeni, Russian dumplings.  We filled ours with ground beef, onion and cilantro.  My mom made the dough (flour, water, salt and egg) and rolled it out and cut it with a circular cookie cutter (size of the cutter depends on how big or small you want the pelmeni to be)  while I was making the dumplings themselves.  We used trays that fit perfectly into the freezer and froze them in batches (enough for one dinner and maybe some to take to work the next day).  I truly enjoy this activity. It is relaxing and allows me to spend needed quality time with my mom.  Once in a while my sisters will join us, but they don’t seem to find pelmeni making as relaxing and zen like my mom and I do.  If anyone is interested in the exact portions and a full recipe, please reply to this post or message me on Facebook.IMG_20140601_201529113IMG_20140601_201533756IMG_20140601_204118271IMG_20140601_203157638

Additional meals I plan to prep for our busy days will include at least three eggplant lasagnas using homemade ricotta, made by yours truly!  We want to try canning stuffed grape leaves.  We figured if you can buy them in the store, why not try to can them at home. Last but not least, we will make some more soups to can.  We ate our reserves of soup and often finding ourselves either eating weird lunches or purchasing lunches at work which is neither pocket book friendly or sustainable and to be quite honest, most of the time not very good.

Stay tuned for more meal prepping ideas and updates on the garden.  We are so close to putting our blueberries into their forever home and putting up the chicken run.  If it all works out the way I see it on my head, our yard should look awesome really soon!

Thanks for reading!

Please like us on Facebook for updates.