Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gathering in July

July, one of my least favorite months, has seemed to fly by this year.  I think I've been saying that about most months lately.  Seems to be a trend for people as they get older, to make statements like that.  But the end of July snuck up on me with nary a thought of Cheryl's Gathering so I am throwing this post together at the last minute.  I know Cheryl will forgive the slap-dash efforts because she knows that it is no reflection on how I feel about this monthly post.  She's a gracious host with a generous heart. 

Usually the summer months run together as one hot and sticky blob, but our July has been quite mild in comparison to summers past.  I typically avoid the out-of-doors in summer but when your husband decides that this is the year for a garden you sorta hafta go outside.  And then when a friend says "let's swim laps in my pool for exercise" you sorta hafta go outside.  And if you sorta hafta you might as well go all in.  It is only for a season, after all! 

So gardening and swimming got me out of the house to do things that are a-typical for me.  Not grand or unusual, but different.  For me.  And that is my goal... to find contentment and joy in everyday living.  Which is more of a struggle than you might assume.

Let's get going with some pictures, shall we?  Don't worry.  It is highly, HIGHLY unlikely that you will ever see a picture of me in a swimsuit.  My muscles may be toned, but they are way down deep and that's just not something that needs to be witnessed by the masses!

Here is a picture taken from our deck of our garden area.  The plan is to do this thing little by little.  Even with that in mind, we did more than we had originally intended.  Just to give you some sort of scale, the grape arbor is about 7 feet tall and each section of fence is about 8 feet long.

A bit of a closer look...

Our zucchini and yellow squash were much more prolific than we'd anticipated but we aren't complaining!  I think one of my favorite parts of gardening is having stuff to share!  We've given and we've received. 

Our compost pile has even become a source of enjoyment.  A Seminole squash has volunteered to grow here (bringing their total number of plants to 3) along with some other squash-vine thing that isn't producing any fruit.  They do such a good job of making an eyesore less offensive.

Our neighbors have even gotten into the act.  Their children bring compostables over just about every day.  I have a separate bin for eggshells sitting on the deck. Their youngest just can't wait to be big enough to climb the steps all by himself to bring us eggshells.  So cute!   They had a city relative visiting a couple weeks ago who wanted to know absolutely everything that we were doing in the garden.  I guess even when you are a novice and know so very little about what you are doing, there is always someone who can be inspired by it.

I bought 20 pounds of green beans from a local natural farm and processed them for the freezer.  I don't have the equipment needed for canning {did my Yoder family just gasp?} but my seal-a-meal thingy came in handy for this project. 

A few little garden critters...
We took the twins swimming at the neighbor's pool.  Levi didn't hesitate for a second.  Liam was a bit more skeptical.  Here they are waving at each other...
I've been eating a lot of overnight oats this summer.  Stir uncooked rolled oats into yogurt, add some almond butter and other healthy ingredients (I came up with a pretty decent carrot cake-inspired version), cover and refrigerate overnight, throw some fresh fruit on in the morning.  I love this stuff!

You may be wondering why I am using a meat thermometer to pit cherries.  Because I couldn't find my chopsticks!  Duh!  Seriously though, several tutorials on Youtube suggested using chopsticks to push the pits into a bottle.  I really couldn't find my chopsticks so I improvised with a meat thermometer.  It didn't work as quickly as I had anticipated.  The search continues...

Have you done anything this month that may not be unusual, but unusual for YOU?

Thinking About Home


  1. Oh my goodness, Joanne...I am not seeing slap-dash here at all! And I am inspired. You have that effect on me! Look at that beautiful garden! A novice, huh? Then you're a quick learner! I love that the neighborhood children are adding to your compost pile...and I love that the volunteer squash are beautifying it! :D I must say that in getting a glimpse of the future possibilities for expanding said garden...I would be in a purple panic, but that's me. ;)

    I totally agree with you about this merciful July weather! The really hot days have been so few, that they seem doable. Who would have thought that you and I would be enjoying July?!

    So cute...the tentative Liam and Levi the Brave waving at one another through the rail! Melts a grandmother-heart, doesn't it?

    Thanks for "gathering" with me!!

    1. I think we are optimistic about the garden because it has been so incredibly mild this summer. Maybe we are growing in our ability to look forward to ALL the seasons. Nah. Probably not. ;-)

      Liam did eventually get into the pool. Those little guys sure do tug at the heart-strings!

      Thanks for hosting! It is a blessing!

  2. No. Everything I do is usual for me, which is why I am thinking that you're on to something doing the swimming every day. You made me laugh with your toned muscles buried deep comment. Must remember that line! If you say so about the oatmeal...cold? May that lovely garden keep right on producing. You're going to have loads of squash!

    1. My muscles aren't as deep down as they once were, but they've got a long way to go to rise to the top. And would require a surgeon's help ;-)

  3. Good for you to do new things … especially the swimming. I bet that squash is a healthy one, growing up out of the compost!

    1. It is the healthiest looking one, for sure! Thanks for stopping by :-)

  4. I want to hear more about your oatmeal. I've been experimenting with overnight oats and had hit and miss results. I usually use milk and often add flax seed and natural peanut butter. I tried once with plain homemade yogurt, but it was too tangy for my taste. I can eat the yogurt plain on its own with no sweetener, but in the oatmeal I didn't like the flavor.

    1. Sure thing, Kristin! I was thinking of writing a separate post about overnight oats. Your comment and Vee's have helped me decide to go for it! I love the stuff and have been eating it every morning this summer.

  5. Oh great Joanne - I've never heard of 'over-night oats' so I will look forward to your post devoted to that!

    You've had a great July - my muscles have disappeared out of sight ttally now - needless to say out of mind too!
    Good for you getting out there and doing laps - life's for living and one of the delights of summer is swiming. I love the sea and the salt water helps buoyancy too ha ha!!

    Such a sweet photo of your cherished grandies waving - that's the memory I will hold from you July!
    May August bring many memorable moments too Joanne.

    1. Thanks, Shane! Don't you just love that Cheryl has us looking back over the month and seeing all the goodness that it held? Like your grandie girl and the butterfly wings... precious! My overnight oats post is in the works. Beware! It is quite wordy :-)