Ahhh, nature...

Gardening tip of the day: If you smell something strange, check under your zucchini leaves for dead skunks. 
(Possibly the only thing that could make me shiver in this heat.)


Inspiration and sugar snap peas

Sorry for the long break between posts. I've been away at the HOW Design Conference in Chicago, getting inspired. It was a long weekend filled with fantastic speakers, great food, the beautiful lakeshore, and the company of good friends. It was a nice break from the usual, but I'm very happy to be home with my boys. I'm still getting back into the swing of things here, so I've got just a quick snapshot to share today – a "garden picnic snack" of sugar snap peas. He ate so many he couldn't eat his dinner. Not really a bad thing...
Sugar snap boy


First harvests

Garden, June 19
Garden greens
First strawberry harvest
Strawberry snack
We have successfully grown food! We are finally at a point where there is more green than brown in the garden. Peas and beans are climbing. The zucchini and cucumbers have already started crowding out their neighbors. I have a steady supply of salad greens for my lunches and Walter has had a few strawberry snacks. He quickly figured out how to tell which berries were ripe for picking. He's become very interested in where things come from and how things are made. One of his favorite questions about food is, "Does this grow?" I think he might be planning future crops.



The boys celebrated Father's Day with a squirt gun fight. I was (sort of) safe from their aim while I was holding my camera. But once I put the camera down, I became the main target.
Squirt guns
Squirt guns
When Daddy says "Get Mama!" Walter obeys.
Squirt guns
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!


Making music

The latest installment on Walter's playhouse: a banging wall!
Banging wall
I've loved the idea ever since I saw this post from SouleMama. It wasn't really very practical for our old neighborhood, but it's perfect out here! Now Walter can grab a stick or a wooden spoon and make all the noise he wants, and we don't have to worry too much about annoying the neighbors. 
Banging wall
Banging wall
Thanks, Grampa! We love it!


Three years!

Our little boy turned three today! He's growing up so fast. He's smart and funny and downright adorable. His obsession with trains continues – he has decided he's going to be a conductor when he grows up. As I type this I can hear him in his room yelling, "Choo-choo!" Um, Walter? It's supposed to be quiet time...
Walter's third birthday
Walter's third birthday
Walter's third birthday
Walter's third birthday
Happy birthday, sweet boy!
There are a few more party photos on Flickr.


Hometown Days

Well, we survived last night's storm. Walter and I spent some time in our dark basement due to a tornado warning and power outage. Thank goodness I brought my phone and some books to keep us busy. There was some concern about monsters, you see. But all is well. Amazingly, we had no damage, even with all these trees around us. Not everyone was so lucky – lots of trees and branches down. The town was buzzing with the sound of chainsaws all day.
Even with the storm last night, the Verona Hometown Days carnival was set up and ready to go. Grampa and Gramma took us and Walter's cousins, Emma and Ginny, over for rides and dinner. The kids had a great time. The rides were "Awesome!" Thanks, Gramma and Grampa!
Hometown Days
Hometown Days
Hometown Days
Hometown Days
See more photos on Flickr.


Garden report

Things seem to be moving right along in the garden. Nature is doing it's thing out there. Strawberries are starting to appear. The peas will be needing some support this week. Swiss chard thinnings became a little afternoon snack today. I even spotted a tiny tomato already! We planted two types of corn. One is doing well. The other, not so much. Unfortunately, I can't remember which was which. I should have written these things down! Maybe I'll be better organized next year. The flower beds around the house are still surprising us with new things, too. Walter likes to smell the flowers and then pretends to sneeze. Speaking of things growing up right before our eyes, can you believe he's about to turn three? 
Swiss chard thinnings
Smelling the flowers


Today's workout

What a beautiful day! Perfect bike-riding weather, so that's just what I did. I finally figured out a good route from the new house to work and made my commute by bike. It's about 14 miles and it took a little over an hour. There are a LOT more hills between here and there than I was expecting. Maybe by the end of summer I'll be able to tackle those hills with ease. Maybe...