Harvests in September

These last days of summer have been busy with harvesting, gardening, pruning, house projects, canning, and baking. It wasn’t until my 5 and 3/4 month old son started crawling (um excuse me, WHAT?) that I had a moment of refection and awe over the last six months. In the last six months, I have become a mom. I remember so vividly, crying the last night of Dayna’s six week maternity leave. She asked if I wanted her to extend her leave. I shook my head “no”. I’d have to face it eventually. Just me and Lucas. Alone together. All day. With no breaks. What do you even do with an infant? They don’t play and I still had no idea what I was doing (still pretty much winging it). But we survived and now I love our days. We have a loose routine of wake and snuggle, breakfast of milk and some of whatever I’m having (usually fruit or oatmeal), play time, a morning stroll, then down for the first nap. I won’t go on and on because I have a feeling that not everyone is so interested in the details of our day. All this to say, it has been a FULL almost six months, with days where every nap went right on schedule and every feed was a success, with smiles and laughter to boot. Also days where I FaceTime Dayna so she can give HER son a talk about why naps are so important, days where she comes home early because I broke down on the phone, days where she marches up the stairs to find me in the nursery with a baby gasping from hysteria paired with big mama tears from frustration. It has been the hardest and simultaneously the most rewarding thing of my life.

Lucas is going to be the only child that comes from my body. With this in mind, I have wanted to be present and feel every part of every moment. Just like his birth, I want to go through parenthood, not around it. I don’t want shortcuts, halfway, or anything short of my all. This was supposed to be a post about my garden bounty, but sometimes my thoughts flow differently once I’m sitting at the keyboard. Nevertheless, here is what my kitchen looks like in September.

Herbs and sunflowers fill my countertops. They are great for quick access while cooking, and easy on the eyes. 

These two. They drive me nuts, but I love ’em. Note the cilantro that has gone to seed hanging on my pantry door. Once the seeds are dry, I store some for planting next season and some for grinding and using as a spice in soups and curries. 

My trusty rusty clippers. I keep them at the back door for quick access. Perfect for when I need to run out back to the garden for some parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, chives, or what have you when cooking. Also pictured is a packet of spinach seeds that I keep handy throughout the summer. I am constantly reseeding spinach.

My countertop is littered with bowls of fruit. Our plum tree is a great producer. Last year, my friend Liz and I canned no less than two dozen pints of jam and filled my freezer to the brim with bags of quartered plums, which I used for smoothies and as an addition to oatmeal. I ran out right on time at the beginning of summer.

I am really trying to like Asian pears seeing as we have about 4,568,320. Maybe poached? I keep sending Dayna to work with boxes of them.  Also pictured is a loaf of French bread, the recipe to which I am refining.  

This year I planted two varieties of garlic, both native to the PNW: Nookta Rose and Silver Rose. Now if only I could remember which was which…

When you have an infant, you take what you can get in the way of “lighting”. As in, if you only have an hour window to shoot, and that hour is at noon, you just embrace the harsh lighting and go with it. I hear over exposure is in?

I want to master just one good dinner bread recipe. This one for a crusty French loaf may be the one. 

A full view of my tiny kitchen. This kitchen is small but mighty. I make do and love creating in this space. It might be my favorite room in the house (possibly tied with Lucas’s Harry Potter Nursery) and a direct reflection what’s going on inside my heart and mind (I feel so strongly about this, that there is a whole blog post about it). When I am in a peaceful state, you can bet that my kitchen is spotless. Any anxiety can be seen just by glancing at this room. If I feel out of control or overwhelmed, I take to my kitchen refuge and begin to clean. Alas, it is perpetually in shambles because I happen to cook and bake every single day. I read once that the recipe to a clean kitchen is to never use it. You see my dilemma. I start and end my day in this room. That stool is where I journal, have coffee and breakfast, work on my Etsy shop, and edit photos. Those countertops have been the beginning to countless meals, desserts, and parties. That sink has washed the same pots and pans over and over again. My kitchen is the heart and soul of our home. 

Summer is for canning. I keep my pantry stocked with favorites like pickles, relish, ketchup, dilled beans, and various jams.

I love these vintage labels from my grandma. I think they are just so special. 

Every gardener that I know has more lavender than they know what to do with. I love hanging it around the house in bundles. Once dry, I harvest it and use it as an addition to bubble baths. The warm water coaxes the oils out of the flowers and put me in a very zen self-care mode. 

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