Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BLT'S Anyone ? I'll bring the tomatoes!!!

After returning to VA after our long drive home, it has become very clear to me how short sighted I was to neglect staking up my tomatoe plants before leaving home!!!! After some serious bushwhacking, I surfaced with all of these glorious tomatoes. DH had taken care of the watering while I was gone and the heat and humidity served to propell the plants to great heights of productivity!!! Unfortunately the weeds kept pace!
I planted one plant of Brandywine, one Mortgage Lifter and several cherry and grape varieties. I am not sure of the name of the yellow but it like the Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter are all Heirloom varieities. The enormous fruit at the top of the page is a Mortgage lifter, I believe. Before Eating it, I weighed the fruit and found it to be 3.4 pounds!! It looked more like a small melon than a tomato!!!! It is not the right color for the Brandywine, which is supposed to be more of a purple color. I have at least thirty more fruit ripening in the patch and many Brandywine that have not started to color up yet.
All are absolutely scrumptious!!! I think that I am going to look for a recipe to oven roast the little grape 'maters as there are hundreds of them!!! Anyone have a good recipe??????

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back From the Beach

All fabulous trips must come to an end, and our journey to the Cape was no exception! We never seem to have enough time to do all of the things nor see all of the people who we wish to see, but we always have a wonderful time!
As the saying goes, "If one is lucky enough to be at the beach, one is lucky enough!!" We certainly feel that way!

Becca spent her usual ridiculous number of hours in the surf in very cold waters, having a wonderful time boogie Boarding and then treasure hunting amoung the flotsam.

Becca's amazing stamina even managed to convince Uncle Peter and cousin Kate to join her - for a few moments of fun and shivers!!! This cold water is not for the timid- it hurts!!!!!

It was so wonderful to get some beach time with our family! We also managed to fit in a sunset at Rock Harbor on the bayside, before brother and neice had to start the long trek home to Tanzania.

We also spent some great beach time on the bayside. The beaches on the bay have a great tidal change, warmer water and great critter watching opportunities.

It was such fun to see the minnows gathering around her hand when she placed it int he water and was very still!! She spent quite a few happy moments watching and collecting. Note: NO minnows were harmed in any way during these observations!!!!!

Becca got a few Skim Boarding lessons from our friend Bryce, but contented herself with watching after a few attempts. Bryce has been working on his technique for a few years and is very good!!

On another day at the bay, on an incoming tide Becca and Laurel had some nice chat time while floating about. Life was definately low key and relaxing!

We also had a wonderful time visiting my parents and their crazy dog , Roo the rescued greyhound.
Time is always too short when we visit, but at least we are able to visit! Hopefully next summer it will not be quite so hot!! My mother's gardens always give me lots of inspiration and some great photo opps, now if we can just do something a bout the bunnies nipping off the brown eyed susans, midstem...........

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We'll be at the beach.........

for the next fortnight. We are off on the "All Girls Road Trip" tomorrow. I am not going to take my computer. We will be spending as much time as possible on this very beach- Nauset Beach in Orleans. We will be staying with wonderful friends, visiting family and getting plenty of cold water ocean therapy!! I will check in as soon as I get back and I'll be sure to get around to visit everyone' blog on my return!!!
Stay Cool and Happy Summer!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Family Visits and Fabric Books

One of the best parts of our summer experience involves visits from family members who live far afield. The past several days were spent catching up with my wonderful brother Peter, his youngest daughter Kate and fabulous wife Elise. This is truely a family in transition, even more so than they usually are. For the past 5 years they have all been living in Dar-es Saalam Tanzania, where my Sister in Law has worked for USAID and my brother has been training Peace Corps Volunteers and developing an amazing system of Permagardening for agriculture on an individual family scale. My neices Kate,13 and Mali, 18 have been flourishing in their schooling and enjoying an amazingly diverse and exciting international lifestyle.
This year big changes are afoot however.!!! Elise is off to a year in Kabul, Afganistan, where she will serve as the Deputy Director in Charge of Women's Health and Women's Education. She will leave at the end of the week and is excited to be participating in a theatre where she hopes that she can really make a difference. Ther is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she will make a big impact.
(my daughter Becca with Buddy, cousin Kate, Peter, Elise, Son Matthew)

My brother Peter and neice Kate will be returning to Dar , where Peter will continue to grow his individual agricultural permagardening, with training programs all over the continent and Kate will happily settle in to a wonderful 8th grade year with her school friends. During August, Peter will return to the US with Mali, my eldest neice, to settle her into her Freshman year at Colgate University. I am incredibly proud of my amazing brother and his wonderful family and I am looking forward to doing whatever I can, albeit remotely, to help them all navigate this next year!!!
We consider ourselves wonderfully honored to be squeezed into their very hectic schedule before the grand scatter begins!!! In thinking about the long periods of separation to come for this very close family, I decided to create some simple fabric books with very recent family pictures, for Peter and Elise to carry along on their travels. I do plan to make two more similar books for the girls to have as well.

Peter had just posted a series of family photos taken a few weeks ago in Dar-Es-Saalam, on his FaceBook page. I modified the black and white shots a bit to allow for compact printing on fabric and then created small fabric collaged pages around the images, to be bound into very simple books. Here you see Elise's book in red, embellished with beads and trinkets, and Peter's green book embellished with decorative free motion stitch work. I used bits of my hand painted fabrics as well as of bits of sari silk ribbons and trims to jazz things up a bit. I am looking forward to creating two more books for the girls, once I replenish my stock of printable fabric.

I basically made two double sides pages and then stitched them together down the middle to form the simple four paged books.

Of couse having beautiful photos to work with, made this project an extra treat for me. Above you see brother Peter with his beloved dog Nala, having a Moment of Mind Meld. Each morning they enjoy a marvelous walk and along the sea cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean before Peter begins his day of composting and peramagardening training. Quite a nice life full of very hard work full of the knowledge that he is making a huge difference in the lives of so many people who have seen their home garden yeilds grow by 800 % using several very simple gardening practices. Hard to beat the impact of his work!!!

My children are especially proud of their Uncle Peter and these visits are always a high point of our family experiences. He has a great sense of humor, is a wonderful story teller, and has a wonderful ability to reach out and communicate with just about anyone he meets. My dogs are also thrilled to see Peter, as they know that they will get lots of attention and at least several morning massages as He enjoys his morning coffee on our deck.!!

Becca and cousin Kate will be able to enjoy some beach time at the end of the week, when we travel up to the Cape, before Peter and Kate return to Dar-Es-Saalam. We are all so very lucky to have these wonderful times together!!
Happy Fourth to all of you here in the States, be safe !! To those of you in other parts of the world , I hope that you are enjoying this wonderful day, whatever your pusuits may be!!!!


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