Raking While the Leaves Fall

Fall

It feels like we're constantly raking leaves these past few weeks.  I actually like seeing them out on the lawn, but our grass has, for once, managed to survive the summer, so we're trying to baby it along by giving it room to breathe.  It feels silly to be raking with so many leaves still left to fall, but the Kid thinks it's a hoot, so that's worth something.

And besides, the leaves make nice compost.  

I'm also trying them in the outdoor part of the chicken run this year.  I've heard that they can get matted down and mucky, but I have to experiment with everything at least once.  They're free to try, and if water absorption gets to be too much of a problem, I'll just go buy some straw, like I usually do.

A few shots of our morning of yard work, from top left to right....

1. "Good morning, chickens!"

2. The last dregs of green beans.

3. "Helping" dada rake.  

4. The leaves still in the trees.

5. The ladies think the leaf bedding is a wonderful place to scratch.

6. But Ms. Taylor does not like that they're covering her food scraps in the compost bins.

Whether you'll be raking leaves or just enjoying them as they fall, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

[Oh--and a few other fun tidbits for your Friday!  I had a few guests posts up this week.  First, check out my Tipsy Paperwhites project on Mud Puddles to Meteors.  Second, I curated a little list of repurposed and upcycled holiday gift ideas over at Sew Mama Sew!  Last, but not least, some "soul-soothing noodles" over on Sparkle Stories!]

Lost Potatoes Found

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I planted a few seed potatoes in the big pots on our front porch this spring.  (Remember, the potato dance on St. Pat's day?)  Sometime in early summer I remember noting that they were doing pretty well, but then they died back--as potatoes do--and I forgot they were there.

Until last weekend.  With the help of Sweet Husband (actually helpful) and the Kid (cute with his shovel, but not-so-helpful yet) I planted a bunch of bulbs in the front yard, where our dead tree used to be.  I had a handful leftover, so I decided to plant them in my pots on a gamble that they might survive.

I found the first potato when I sliced it in half with my trowel.  Working more carefully after that, Sweet Husband and I started combing through the pots with our hands.  

We didn't find enough to last us the winter--and they were all still pretty small--but we did get one nice pot of mashed potatoes out of the find.

Gardening people--have you ever forgotten that you planted something and then found it later?

Date #1: Friday Night Pesto and Romance

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Friday evening.  Discussing a friend's Facebook comment about guys hitting on girls at gyms, while washing and putting up basil and sage from the garden:

Sweet Husband: I think some guys think that's sexy, being all sweaty and muscle-y.

Me: Hm.  Yeah, I don't get it.  But then, maybe I'm not the target audience.

Sweet Husband: I don't think you probably are.

Me: I mean...my idea of sexy right now is a man helping me separate sage leaves and make pesto at 8:30 on a Friday night.

Sweet Husband (head shaking and smiling): Definitely not the target.

Sexy or not, I've had much worse dates.  As we sipped on a glass of wine (me) and a bottle of beer (him), the basil leaves were zipped through the food processor and frozen in olive oil.  The sage was tied together and hung to dry.  And a handful of peppers and a few tomatoes were sliced up to spend the night in the dehydrator.  

Provided the herb garden can keep up, we may have to have just such another date soon.

The Blessings of a Morning Thunderstorm

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The dark belied the late hour, but the flashes of lightening let me know that there was no need to get up and pull on my running clothes.  Sweet Husband looked at me over the top of the small blonde head between us, "You first?  Or me?"

"You please, I want to snuddle more."

He obligingly headed for the shower, as I spooned myself around the Kid, resting my cheek on his fuzzy, buzz cut hair.  He spread out snow-angel style, sleeping so hard that I wondered how long it would last if I didn't eventually tickle his feet.

After several minutes, his dada came back.  

"Hey buddy, do you want some applesauce and oatmeal for breakfast?"

He sat bolt upright, climbed out of bed, and exclaimed, "Yes, I do!"

***

With the Kid dropped at school, we parked half a block from the coffee shop.  The rain was pouring off the store awnings, and I yelped when a particularly cold drop slid down the back of my sweater.  

Once safely inside, we ordered hot drinks and two pastries.  With 10 minutes to kill, we grabbed a table and the newspaper.  The front door was propped open to let in the breeze.  I skimmed an article about pre-schools, while Sweet Husband thumbed through the sports.

***

Mentally noting that I needed to tuck a big scarf in the car to use as head covering, I picked my way through the mud puddles to let out the chickens.  I gently pulled the injured one off her perch in the shed before letting the others out of their coop in a mob.  

They rushed for the shelter of the lean-to shed roof.  I spread their food on the only dry spot of ground, and headed back into the wet to do a quick survey of the garden.

Happy for the water, the basil glistened up at me.  Three drops of rain dangled in perfect symmetrical suspension from a three-beaned pod of purple hyacinth beans.  The rain barrel gurgled full.

***

With blue-striped, wool socks on my feet, I took the remainder of my coffee upstairs, along with the work of the day--a ball of yarn and a pile of transcripts.  Surrounded by tasks I love, I turned on a bedside lamp and settled in for a cozy day.

Sponsor Saturday: Cubit's Organic Seeds

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I've been up with the sun running most days lately, but--blessedly--he sleeps in just a little more every day.  In addition to the tardy sunrise, the mornings are getting chilly.  The Kid, who happily rides in our jogging stroller in a diaper and t-shirt in July, has had to don pants and long sleeves this past week.

The garden is coming to that time of year too.  I'm harvesting and drying fistfuls of sage in anticipation of the winter holidays.  My roses are making plump, orange hips.  My beloved cosmos are keeping me busy, pulling off their seed heads and depositing them into my recycled take-out container for planting next spring.

And, of course, I'm trying to squeeze in one last round of veggies.  I emailed Cubit's Laura a few weeks ago (yes, that's what I call her in my head!), desperately seeking broccolini.  It's one of our favorites, and I can't seem to find the seeds locally.  She happily agreed to provide.

Of course, I couldn't leave it at that, so I had to get a few other favorites, as well.  I ended up choosing....

Once I had made my selections, Nice Cubit's Laura suggested, "Hey, why don't we give that same set away to one of your readers too?"  I thought that was a splendid idea, so here you go!

This week's giveaway is one set of the seed packets listed above.  Winning them is easy as growing broccolini. Just go "like" the Cubit's Facebook page, then leave a comment telling me you've done so.  

I'll pick a winner next Saturday.  In the event you can't wait that long or need more seeds than that, Laura is also offering a coupon code.  Put in "MYBIT" at your Cubit's checkout and you'll get 15% off your seed order.  The code is good until December 31st, so you can also enjoy it for Christmas and (if you're on the ball) next spring's seed orders!

[P.S.  I've only had two entries in the Kidecals giveaway last week--me thinks many of you may have been distracted with the holiday--so I'm going to keep it open just one more week.  It's a really awesome one, so go put your name in the hat!]