the garden in early August

the garden on August 5

there's an empty bed there

The garden is keeping on, and we didn't miss too much when we were away. The tomatoes are loving the crazy heat, but the beans and cucumbers aren't too sure about it. We harvested garlic, and some of them are record-breakers! (for me at least; I have no concept of what is actually record-breaking garlic at, you know, the state fair or whatever). We're also picking as many boxes of fancy cherry tomato blends as ever we could want... that's what this gardening thing is about!

a pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes

like five dollars' worth


some more colors


moments from the week

Zion and Elijah shucking corn on the back deck

aw, shucks

Shirtless moments from the past hot week.

Zion kneeling in the spray at a spray park

spray weather

shirtless Elijah in the doorway of the stone boathouse at Fairhaven Bay

low water at the boathouse

the boys in the Walden Pond in the morning

morning at Walden


moments from the week

Harvey dancing in the rain in front of our house

singing in the (rare) rain

A few moments from the past week.

Elijah sitting on the pole on top of a swingset

pole climber

Zion playing Quest for Eldorado at a board game night at church

board game night


the garden in mid August

the garden on August 16

everything still mostly alive

It finally got a little bit cooler... or a lot cooler! Puts me into fall mode, though I suppose there's still some summer left. Certainly lots of tomatoes to eat! Sadly the cucumbers have pretty much all succumbed to bacterial wilt and drought, and the beans turned gross and woody. And worst of all some of the peppers are rotting as they ripen! So frustrating. But the winter squashes are ripening up, and there's always the tomatoes. Also I sowed some more kale in the bed where the garlic was, and it's coming up beautifully!

a row of tomato plants with lots of ripe tomatoes

how will we ever eat them all?!

kale seedlings mulched with salt marsh hay

the next generation


moments from the week

the boys and a friend on the shore of the Concord River

a visit to the the low river

Moments from the past week.

Harvey and Zion prying up porch boards

demoing the porch

the boys swimming under dark clouds at Freeman Lake

always swimming weather

Leah and kids organizing and staining new porch decking in the driveway

putting the porch back together again

Elijah and a friend looking up through the joists in the un-decked porch

currently a play area


catching up

We've had a summer! And I've had trouble documenting it in a timely fashion. Since mid-July it's been mostly really hot and mostly not rained. We went on two vacation trips, and in between we did Backyard Farm Club every Monday and Park Day every Wednesday. Our oven stopped working and needed to be replaced, as did our dryer, and for one exciting afternoon we had no water to the house (in trying to shut off the water next door they shut off ours too, and didn't realize til we called the police to help us). Lately we've been organizing, and then starting, some big home improvement projects. Right now we're in the midst of rebuilding our front porch, which is taking some considerable time and energy. As of today we're at 729 hours outside for the year, an average of 3.09 hours per day. Things have been pretty busy and crazy; I'm really looking forward to having a school schedule again in September.

fairly stressed

Maybe a month ago we were vaguely excited by the idea of the county fair at the end of August. The Middlesex County 4H Fair, to be exact, which we're now allowed—expected!—to show at, as members of a county 4H club. So we looked through the premium book and each kid picked out some things that they thought they'd like to show off. Then suddenly it was this week, and all those things need to be delivered to the fairground by 5:00 tomorrow evening. So as you can imagine there is some stress around our house, and I was perhaps not as kind as I could have been once or twice over the course of the day today. But things are coming together, and there weren't any actual tears, so I do believe it'll all feel like a positive experience in the end. Like with Christmas, we've made many promises over the last couple days that next year we'll start everything so early and have it all done in plenty of time. We'll see about that. At least we're saying "next year" instead of "never again", so you know it can't be completely horrible!

all's fair

We haven't been able to think about much else besides the Middlesex County 4H Fair for a little bit now. After seven or eight Monday evenings of fairground cleanup to set the mood, we've spent a solid week prepping all the boys' projects they're going to show—and then an hour or two each of the past two evenings to drop things off and set up the poultry barn. With the opening day of the fair today the end is in sight, but we're not out of fair mode yet. Over eight hours of fun and work today (it would have been more but afternoon thunderstorms closed things down early), and even more tomorrow and Sunday: we aim to get there tomorrow not much after 7:00 am. Good thing we're enjoying it!

moments from the week

Zion looking at baked goods at the fair

he made some of those baked goods this year

Moments from the past week.

kids pressing grapes in the rain

grape pressing

Zion and Elijah making jam at the kitchen table

jam factory

Scout looking at the camera

Scout face (by Harvey)

the boys and other kids standing around a birthday-decorated picnic table at the park

another park day birthday!

pancakes on the griddle: blueberry, chocolate chip, banana, and plain

special orders don't upset us

Harvey posing in a chicken costume, Elijah holding a stuffed chicken



giving up on keeping cool

Back in July and early August when it was really hot I was doing all kinds of things to keep the house as cool as possible. Turning fans on at night, closing windows and blinds during the day—and of course minimizing baking and boiling. I didn't even like to run the vacuum during the day, it made so much heat! And then we had a beautiful stretch of mild days with cool nights, and even a few days that you might call chilly... and I almost started to think that winter was on its way. Well, it's hot again now. But since I've already transitioned to winter mode I don't care, and it's all cooking all the time. Last week it there were all the baked goods and jam the boys made for the fair, and since then we've kept right on going the same way. I made bread and biscuits over the weekend and Leah made cookies; this morning Harvey baked some dog treats (since the fair he's gotten interested in dog training) and I made sourdough bread and enchiladas for dinner. Sure it's horribly hot, but on the plus side it makes the breeze from outside feel downright pleasant! And of course we get to enjoy all the baked goods. Tomorrow I hope to make jelly from the grapes we pressed at Backyard Farm Club last week, which will add humidity as well as heat. Oh well, it's almost September... surely it'll be getting cool again soon!