A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: canning

Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still […]

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Hello spring! I am very excited for the garden this year. I have been out in it every day checking things out and seeing what is coming up. One of the beautiful things that has come out of our gardening over the past few years is the joy the kids and I have for finding the first signs of spring and delighting in the timing of new things popping up throughout the season. Every year we watch the asparagus bed like a hawk until the first few spears start coming up and it has become a right of passage into the end of the school year.

 

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Tulips
Tulips are coming up.

Last fall I ordered all the things and have a very ambitious planting season ahead of me. One of the main items I ordered were five new gigantic garden beds along with this hardware cloth to put in the bottom. We live next to the woods and rodents are tunneling in all of my other garden beds so for the new ones I am going to try and keep them out. I also ordered these beds from Epic Gardening (no affiliation) and although they are very expensive they are super long lasting and excellent quality. Last year I put one of the smaller ones up and I was super happy with it. This time around I bought the tall ones in the hopes that they will help keep the rabbits out. I also bought this cloth tunnel hoping to deter the cabbage butterflies this year.

Kale
Kale plants.

All of the kale and collards I planted last year did great over the winter despite being squashed by all the snow we had. We are still harvesting a little bit off of them even though they are starting to flower. I planted a bunch more of the winter greens mix I have in a few different areas throughout the garden. I did this last year and the slugs got most of them so this year I was a little bit more generous with my seeds. I will also do another sowing in a few weeks and twice more nearer to the end of summer. I got about a dozen nice plants from my efforts last year which is more than enough for our needs.

Garlic
Garlic planted last fall.

My garlic continues to do well although it is probably time to fertilize them. I did sneak some beets, fennel and parsnips in amongst the rows and I honestly can’t tell if they sprouted or not. Most of the seeds were planted last week so I will give it another week before planting more. I planted over a hundred cloves of garlic last fall and it looks like we will have a bumper crop this year. One of the reasons I had to buy more beds is there is not enough room in my current beds to plant what I have before the garlic gets harvested. I am hoping to take out some grass for next year so I will have more room.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb

My rhubarb still seems small and I am not sure why. I planted this last spring and it immediately died from something, I think maybe a dog or a rabbit or something, I can’t remember. I was surprised when it came back over the summer. I will probably fertilize this as well and make sure it gets enough water this year. Hopefully it will continue to grow and maybe next year I will be able to harvest it. We haven’t grown rhubarb before so if you have any tricks let me know.

Rosemary
Rosemary bush.

Both of my rosemary bushes are doing poorly this year and I think it is due to the large amount of snow followed by the deep freeze we had over the winter. The brown areas are still pliable and may recover but I am concerned about how they will do next year if we have another year of massive snow. We got about a foot over the course of a week this winter which is highly unusual for our area. I will try fertilizing these as well and keep them well watered. We have had a very damp winter and spring so far so I have not been watering them since our soil is very saturated this year but I will keep an eye out for when things start to dry up.

Peas
Baby Peas

Some of my baby pea plants are coming up as well. I am going to put covers on these in the hopes that the slugs will leave them alone and plant more this week. I bought some trellising for my pea, cucumber and squash plants this year and hopefully I will be able to extend my harvest with some strategic shade.

New planting area.
New planting area.

I know it doesn’t look like much but the kids and I are working on clearing out a large area down the south side of the house to put all of our large garden beds in. I am going to cover this whole area with either cardboard or landscape cloth and mulch anew to keep the weeds down. This area is weedy every year and this year I am determined to keep them to a dull roar. We will be taking down some trees as well which will allow much more light into the back yard. This will also allow for some natural succession with the native “weeds” such as the stinky bob pictured here.  New vegetables we are trying this year are sweet potatoes, horseradish, and tons of flowers. So far I have some seeds started and I direct sowed peas, spinach, corn (I know it is a long shot), and my winter greens mix.

chocolate mint
Chocolate mint peeping up through the soil.

Our gardening goals this year are pretty ambitious but I find such joy in it that I don’t mind. What do you have planned for your garden this year?

 

Helpful links:

Gardening Update 11.07.21

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

 

Epic Gardening

 

Territorial Seed

 

Products (click image):

 

March 2022 Spending

March 2022 Spending

For 2022 we are focusing on our grocery spending and trying to find ways to reduce it despite all of the price increases. In January we completed a pantry cleanout challenge and in February I focused on eating through the odds and ends in our […]

Gardening Update 11.07.21

Gardening Update 11.07.21

A lot happened in the garden since my last post in July which can be found here. We had a large crop of green tomatoes, lots of greens, successfully grew two nice sized pumpkins and many other vegetables. We continued to battle pests throughout the […]

Covid – 10 Months and Counting

Covid – 10 Months and Counting

We are about 10 months into dealing with Covid and things don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. I was looking back over pictures from the year today and I was struck by how sudden everything was last Feb/March when everything shut down. I have pictures from my office from mid-February and then by the second week of March everyone in our house was home and we were adjusting to the chaos. This virus took us by storm and the last year has been extremely difficult all around.

 

Early local purchase of split peas and lentils.

 

The first few months of Covid for us were all about adjusting to spending LOTS of time together and figuring out how to do work and school at home in a relatively small space. We were all crammed into our living room which is decent sized but with four people on computers in meetings all day it got really loud and difficult to concentrate. We also just happened to be at a natural low point with our groceries towards the end of February and were slightly scrambling to find some much needed items. We tend to eat down our pantry every February and were out of everything, including staples such as soap, TP, paper towels, laundry detergent, rice, flour and beans. We ended up waiting until large bags of our favorite local legumes went on sale and did without for some of the fresher items like tofu for a while. We are mostly vegetarian in our house so the meat shortages didn’t really affect us much.

 

Walking on local trails.

 

The hardest part for me was adjusting to working with two loud children at home every day and our oldest moving back home at the same time. My kids are loud and the youngest is still pretty high needs as far as attention goes but he did get way better about playing by himself last spring. We have saved  ton of money on daycare costs this year and had almost no summer camps lined up so I made the executive decision to spend a little bit of that savings every month on activities to keep the kids busy. I bought a lot of lego sets, art supplies, coloring books, dig kits and other items to keep them busy on their own. We also tried Outschool this summer with mixed success. I used it mostly for social interaction so that the kids were used to taking instruction from other people and focusing similarly to the classroom.

 

Bouncy castle.

 

Staying active while at home has been a challenge for us. We don’t have a back yard that is great for the kids to be out on their own in and our street is pretty busy so they aren’t allowed out there by themselves either. We have been walking our trails nearly every day and bike riding has become a thing in our house with one child learning this summer. Luckily our oldest daughter has time a couple of days a week to take the kids on longer bike rides and that has helped tremendously. Mr. Oscoey and I do not own bikes which I know is probably unheard of in the personal finance realm but neither of us been super into it although I am seeing a need for us to get at least one so that we can go on long rides with the kids. We also splurged and bought a bouncy house which has been a lifesaver! It takes five minutes to set up and about 10-15 to take down (which is mostly time waiting for it to deflate) and wears out the kids fabulously. I bought a bouncy house just small enough to fit in our living room so we have even had lots of opportunities to bounce as the weather has gotten colder. It is pretty loud but I am able to work with it running and since it is pretty contained I could sit inside and work with an eye outside to the kids while they were bouncing this summer which was helpful.

 

Shadow Lake Bog

 

We have tried over the past year to find Covid safe activities in our area but honestly we are pretty cautious and it has been hard. We went to Shadow Lake Bog which was nice but the hike was way shorter than we thought and it ended up being too easy for the kids. We did learn a lot about the bog and saw some amazing things but it was not the rigorous hike I was hoping for. The way they had it set up was you could reserve one of two parts of the bog and then hike it for an hour. We reserved the smaller side and it was about a mile round trip which is how far we walk most days in our neighborhood so for our kids it was not very challenging. The drive out there was almost not worth the hour we had the bog reserved for. I would recommend it for smaller kids or for people that live closer and aren’t spending 45 minutes in the car to get there. I would however love to go back when they have opened up their nature center and we would be able to see both sides of the bog on the same day. There was tons of nature that we don’t see every day and it was really cool to see.

 

Tea time.

 

Now that the weather is colder we have been trying to find indoor activities to keep our minds busy. The kids have been doing lots of art, Legos, pretend play, book writing and robot making on their own so I decided to try doing a cooking activity with the kids on the weekend. The first few weeks we baked brownies and made desserts but those don’t take up a lot of time and the weekends were starting to get long so a few weeks ago we tried out making a formal tea for lunch. It was a massive amount of fun! We didn’t dress up but we did get out the good china and practiced our manners at the table and the kids loved it. Everyone helped make fancy veggie bowls, fruit, sandwiches, salami “UFOs” and dessert. We cut our sandwiches into shapes and came up with interesting combinations which most of us tried.

 

We had a lot of fun with our tea time and I am already thinking of some ideas for the future. We will probably do some more smaller teas but in a couple of weeks I want to do another larger one. The kids and I have been talking about what we will make and thinking about new sandwich combinations. I found some gluten-free digestive biscuits and once they come in the mail we are going to try making the Queen’s favorite dessert which is a chocolate cake made from them. I am sure at some point we will get tired of it but for now, finding something to look forward to and plan for is super important for everyone’s mental health. The days have been blurring together and I realized we were just sitting around all weekend. Doing tea for lunch on Sunday gave the kids purpose for the day and a sense of schedule that we really needed so we will continue to do them every week or two until we tire of them.

 

Mushrooms out at Whidbey.

 

Although we have not been out there nearly enough, we are incredibly lucky to have woods to visit on family property out on Whidbey Island. It is great to go out there and walk around in the woods without having to worry about Covid. For the most part we have been maskless except now that cases are skyrocketing in the Seattle area we are wearing our masks to protect my Dad. We have one kid in person at school and we really don’t want to pass anything on to him. We have been super cautious and barely seen any of our friends and family but for us it is worth it if everyone stays healthy.

 

We spend our time out on Whidbey walking in the woods while my dad shows the kids around. He has found several hiding spots for the kids to play in and has great plans to add cabins to the raw land. Hopefully by next year there will be power and water and we will be able to stay longer than a couple of hours but for now our kids get overtired and antsy after a couple of hours so we head home. Our last trip was about a week ago and it was getting a little bit too cold out to be comfortable so we may not be back for a few months. We saw a bunch of mushrooms this time out which was pretty neat to see.

 

Glow stick dance party!

 

Covid has definitely made the last year way worse than we ever anticipated but I am incredibly grateful that those around us have been staying safe and we have not lost anyone close to us yet. Just in the past couple of weeks we have been hearing of friends who have been in contact with others that have had it but so far nobody in our inner circle has gotten sick. I am certain however that is because we most likely all had it back in January/February when we all got this horrible sickness that fits Covid symptoms before it was even reported in the U.S.. We are continuing to find ways to keep ourselves entertained at home relatively cheaply and I am hoping that by next spring we will have a little bit more freedom.

 

Stay safe everyone.

Gardening Update 09.05.2020

Gardening Update 09.05.2020

As the nights get cooler and the days shorter our summer 2020 garden is winding down for fall. This summer our vegetable garden stepped up a notch and I planted way more than previous years. We also had a huge pest problem with rodents, ants, […]

Gardening Update 6.14.2020

Gardening Update 6.14.2020

This year is the first one in a while I have been excited about my garden. Working from home for the past few months due to the Corona virus has greatly reduced my commute time from 3-4 hours a day to nothing and this means […]

A Not So Brief Hiatus

A Not So Brief Hiatus

About eight months ago I took a break from blogging. There were many reasons, the most pressing being a complete utter lack of time while trying to maintain balance with both Mr. Oscoey and I working full-time with small kids. To say it was difficult to balance everything is an understatement and I am very impressed with everyone who can keep their households running successfully with both parents working full-time! We were only semi-successful at keeping everything running smoothly but lots of corners had to be cut and the blog was one of the activities I had to drop in order to get at least a little bit of sleep every night. I do not function without a full night of sleep so going to bed on time was mandatory!

 

Weedy garden.
Gardening did not happen much this summer.

 

Oscoey was also discovered by some people in my real life through the magic of Instagram suggestions and I squeezed in some time to think about the direction I want to take with the blog and how much I want to reveal about our finances. On one hand I would love to be fully transparent about finances and put it all out there but I know that it would not work for the Oscoey household so I am going to try and reach a healthy medium. I am still not sure about how much we will reveal but look out for more Personal Finance posts in the next few months! I definitely want to follow up on our 2018 Financial Goals and lay out the direction we will head in 2019. Yes, I am already thinking ahead to 2019!

 

Raspberry ;picking
We fit in raspberry picking last minute but did not make jam this year.

 

I hope everyone had a great time this spring, summer and fall! Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! Please look for my post later this week about recently being laid off and in the meantime here are some of Oscoey’s most loved posts!

 

 

Going back to work after being a Stay at Home Mom

 

Easy Dairy-Free Grandma’s Fruit Salad

 

How we Avoid Birthday Present Overgiftingitus

 

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Time   It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year […]


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Never miss a post on our blog! When you subscribe, we'll send our latest posts plus helpful tips related to our blog's topics.

You have Successfully Subscribed!