The garden is yielding its bounty. After several harvests, there are twenty-eight quarts of beans in the freezer.
The red beets should have been harvested sooner. Even though they are pretty large, I plan to make some fermented pickled beets with them.
I was going to wait to harvest the carrots, but I decided to pull the ones that were poking up through the wood chips. In the four places we have gardened, I have never grown carrots this long. I am thinking the wood chips really helped to amend the soil.
On July 4, we were invited to a celebration at a fellow church member’s home. After hours of fun including swimming, water sliding, trampoline jumping, music, and socializing, the fireworks show began. It was a fabulous show complete with music, lighted balloons, laser lights, and the longest grande finale I have ever seen.
This time of year, blossoms, both wild and domesticated, can be seen declaring the glory of God. Every week, there seems to be a different type of flower in its peak. In the woods, the wild azaleas are displaying their brilliant orange blooms; and by the lodge, the delicate purple flowers of the hostas have pushed up above the leaves.
I am always struck by the flow of plants through the spring and summer. In the vegetable garden, the peas are nearly finished producing; but this week, the beans and tomatoes began to blossom, promising more produce in the weeks to come.
What is in the box that has captured the attention of these children? It’s a box turtle rescued from the trail. The creature provided wholesome entertainment on a rainy day. The next day, a ring neck snake in a box caused quite a stir among the kids.
One evening, the sun was a bright fire ball slowly sinking behind the mountains. A camera cannot fully capture its beauty.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” -Psalm 19:1
Before our summer season of volunteers begins, we grabbed the chance to have a bit of family vacation. Since we have lived in Kentucky for ten years, we figured we should take in the world heritage site of Mammoth Cave. To quote Stephen Bishop, an early guide, the cave is “grand, gloomy, and peculiar.” The tour guide shared interesting tidbits of information, and it was an adventure squeezing through narrow passages and climbing and descending hundreds of steps.
Being part of the National Park System, there is more to Mammoth Cave than what is underground. There are also trails to hike and beautiful sights to see above ground.
After our time away, we returned home to welcome my husband’s parents for a visit. Our youngest celebrated his ninth birthday with presents, lasagna, and ice cream cake. Since school is out, there has been lots of time for play including match box car races, marble track, and trampoline.
The garden has yielded some beautiful produce. The bountiful rains have filled out the radishes and strawberries and caused the greens and herbs to produce large leaves.
Our last home school group meeting was a field trip to Pine Mountain Settlement School where we toured their agricultural initiatives including gardens, chickens, honey bees, and hoop houses. A gorgeous, sunny day after several rainy days was a welcome treat.
The last few weeks have been full with finishing the school year and preparing for our summer season of volunteers; but it was fun to arrive at camp and find the peas, potatoes, and greens we had planted in April pushed up through the soil. I was able to harvest a few radishes and salad greens, and we have pulled enough strawberries for the six of us to each have a few.
The iris, which is my favorite flower, were in full bloom. I found a wild one blooming at the edge of the woods.
The children and I got the summer vegetables planted: beans, corn, several varieties of summer and winter squashes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Teamwork made the job go quickly. Our oldest pulled back the wood chips with a hoe. Our daughter and I planted the seeds, and our two youngest boys took turns covering them up. At the end of one row, we uncovered a salamander which the kids found to be a fascinating diversion.
Later in the week, after all the vegetables were planted, we were grateful for a lovely, soaking rain.
One morning, the clouds were rolling in over the camp; and I had to stop and thank the Lord for the beauty of the sky.
That same morning, I admired the colors of our breakfast fruit salad.
Our oldest spent quite a bit of time in the shop working on wooden creations. This was his first chiseled piece. Later, he made another and was excited that someone bought it.
Despite feeling weary from weeks of high energy work, there have been snatched moments to pause and notice the beauty of the season.
The red bud blossoms are out in all their glory, and the dogwood are following close behind.
Our daughter is preparing for a dance recital. One night at practice, I caught her mid-leap.
The peas and lettuce have sprouted! The sighting of the first seedlings always brings joy to my heart.
On Saturday, our daughter and I were pleased to be able to attend a ladies’ tea at church. Along with approximately 150 other women from the community, we enjoyed beautifully decorated tables, a delicious brunch, delightful company, and inspiring music and speaker.
After two weeks of hosting volunteer groups with several very cold days, it felt great to get out and work in the soil and soak in the sunshine. The children and I planted both shell and snap peas, carrots, beets, and radishes.
This is our second season of gardening with woodchips. First we pulled back the woodchips to expose the dirt. The soil was improved from last year, darker and richer.
Two of the children discovered an earthworm to observe.
We planted the pea seeds six across each foot-and-a-quarter section.
Then we pulled the woodchips back over the seeds.
Our third child captured our daughter and I planting carrot seeds together.
In the midst of planting, our daughter discovered in the ditch what I think are frog eggs.
November weather has been mild so far this year; but early this morning, we were awakened with the sounds of a heavy downpour and strong winds. The temperture has dropped thirty degrees from yesterday. The front yard is now carpeted with a layer of pine needles, good for the blueberry bushes. We are rejoicing for the rainfall as our region has been plagued with forest fires the last several weeks.
The peak of leaf color was in October, but I also appreciate the color on the mountains in November. The red oak and maple trees retain their leaves long after the yellow, brown, and orange ones have fallen resulting in crimson patches against the gray of the hills.
Our family chores the last few weeks have included spreading manure and woodchips and raking massive piles of leaves over the mountainside. The gardens are bedded down for the winter awaiting another growing season.
The hunters are out scouting the trail for deer. Meanwhile this young buck wandered onto camp outside our classroom window.
We did not get much of a view of the super moon; but the day before, the sunset was a ball of fire and the moon was brilliant.