Wow. It has been so long since I have posted. I shot this beautiful wedding with Scott Laske several weeks ago and have wanted to post some pictures from it. It was a fun couple and a beautiful setting. Congratulations Jenny and Jeff!
What better surprise could come in the mail for a little girl than a pink tutu dress? Lisi was so excited to receive this package from her Grandma in Alabama. Totally out of the blue and totally wonderful. She had to put it on right away, so I thought it would be a great photo opportunity.
Just want to post a few pictures from a wedding I shot a couple of weekends ago with Scott Laske at Coles Garden. Had a lot of fun with this nice couple and their families. Congratulations Courtney and Chris!
Elise is now helping to collect the eggs. It doesn't matter if a broody hen is sitting on the eggs, she will push that chicken right off of her nest. Nothing deters her from her goal of collecting all the eggs. She has agreed to let me "help" her collect the eggs which prevents most of them from getting cracked before we make it back into the house. She hands them to me one at a time to put safely in the wire egg basket that I picked up at an antique store here in our little town. Then she gets to carry the basket all the way back to the house.
Not only are our eggs delicious and nutritious, but they are also aesthetically pleasing. Our youngest chickens are now laying eggs so we have a dark brown variety of egg shell to add to our light brown and tiffany blue egg shell colors. Its pretty cool when a chore such as collecting and washing eggs can be interesting and beautiful.
It is horribly, horribly hot here. We are working hard to keep our young plants and garden alive. Most of the plants in our backyard were planted this year, so they are pretty vulnerable in this heat. We will be lucky if we keep most everything alive. Although the weather is a downer, we are really happy with the way our backyard turned out. When we moved in it was a disaster. Random overgrown weeds everywhere. We spent a long time pulling out weeds....and then we got a little smarter. We began to move the chicken coop around the yard to allow the chickens to scratch and eat up all the weeds. It took a few months, but by the time they were done the ground was bare. Chris then borrowed our neighbors rototiller and prepared the yard for fescue grass seed. We left some areas un planted for flowerbeds.
The transformation of our backyard took a while, but we are happy with the result. Putting our chickens to work on the weeds was a lot safer than using toxic chemicals and our yard got the added benefit of chicken poop fertilizer. Plus, we didn't have to do any of the work!
Here is a pic of our yard after the chickens finished eating up all the weeds:
Another highlight of this summer so far is our recent trip to New York City. This was my first time back since we moved away about 2 years ago. It was kind of like we never left: bagels at Astoria Bagel, schlepping on busses, trains, cabs, dinners at our favorite restaurants, cannolis at La Guili and hanging out with wonderful friends. I only wish our trip was a little bit longer so we could have seen all of our friends, but my hope is that we will be back more often in the coming years!
Chris and I outside our favorite Greek restaurant in Astoria.
One of my all time best friends for life, Jill. So blessed to have her in my life!
Jill and Judah in Astoria Park.
My sweet friend Tara, outside of Martha's Bakery in Astoria.
Chris with our delightful friend Kris. We met Kris at World Hunger Relief in Waco Texas and now he lives in NYC! I think Kris might be the coolest guy we know. He is one of 4 people who own an F150 truck in NYC.
Kris and I on Ditmars Blvd, Astoria.
Here is Jill outside a place the four of us mistakenly had dinner one night. After a very strange and uncomfortable evening, we came to the conclusion that this place might be operated by the mob.
Whoops! Sorry Kris... Anthony is the coolest guy we know. But you come in a very close second. If there was ever a doubt, check out Anthony's blue flower cupcake.
It's been a great (albeit insanely hot) summer so far. One recent highlight was Elise turning two. She has grown so much and has developed quite the personality. She was not very interested in posing for pictures unless she could be photographed with her chicken. So, here it is - Lisi and the chicken:
And here are a couple I managed to snap without the chicken:
Above: My gardening companion and beets from our square foot garden.
The garden is really getting going now. We have delicious spinach, arugula, cilantro, lettuce, carrots, peas.....and beets! We pulled the first beets of the season out of the ground today. And tomorrow I anticipate making an arugula, roasted beet and hard boiled egg salad with all the ingredients furnished from our small suburban yard. Nice!
My beautiful little girl is a real helper when it comes to gardening. She enjoys munching on fresh peas right off the vine, throwing our compost rich amended soil out of the raised beds and onto the ground and running through our bed of tender bush bean seedlings.... I try not be a control freak about my garden. I try to remember that it's more important that Elise have the space to test out her curiosities and hopefully develop a love for the outdoors, nature and just hanging together in the garden. She really does love to try to help. When I pull up weeds, she gathers them up and takes them to the chickens to eat. When I go out to cut lettuce, she hold the bowl and carries the greens inside to the kitchen. Although it can be a challenge to get anything done with a not yet two year old running around, it really is very cute how hard she tries to help sometimes and I'm really glad to have Elise as my gardening companion.
Above: It's hard to keep Elise out of the strawberry patch.
If you don't have any patience, take up gardening.
Last year we dug out a huge portion of our front yard and planted three varieties of strawberry plants. About 75 plants in all. Trading in bermuda grass for a strawberry patch isn't the most common practice in suburban USA, but none the less, we watered and weeded and eagerly anticipated the arrival of our completely organic berries. When it came time to harvest we were a little taken a back by the size of our strawberries...and the quantity. The berries were about the size of my thumbnail and there weren't very many of them. Honestly, most of them didn't even make it into the house. We would pick and eat right there in the front yard. Although small, the strawberries had amazing flavor. But despite the incredible deliciousness, there were too few to justify the amount of space they were taking up and all the work we had put in.
And then came harvest time this year.
We have picked hundreds of huge, juicy delicious berries. We have to go out at least every other day to harvest strawberries. We've eaten them right in the patch. We've given them away to family, friends and neighbors. We've frozen several gallon sized baggies full. We've even dipped them in melted chocolate for a decadent treat!
Maybe gardening is a good hobby for me because it teaches patience. Almost all endeavors in the garden involve vision, work and waiting. During the waiting one must have patience as well as faith that at some point there will be beauty, productivity....and deliciousness.