Vegetable Garden Tour

This is a tour of my vegetable garden. This was a difficult year due to the bad spring weather and our trip to Europe. Our trip fell right smack in the middle of the best time to plant. So I took a risk and planted early not sure if the plant would survive the very cold spring nights. So far, the risk is paying off.

A few years back I planted 4 strawberry plants. I've never had much success with strawberries but for some reason these 4 plants went crazy. I had to build a rock border to hold them back. The plant were growing so wildly that I had to dig some of the up and replant them within their new boundary. They are coming in beautifully. I think the compost helped.

I decided to cut back a lot on plantings in the garden this year. So I purchased bean and pea plants instead of growing them from seed. In years past I was overwhelmed at harvest time so I think less plants will mean less stress later this year.

 My husband loves kohlrabi so we always have those planted. I wish they would take a little longer to be ready for harvest. I think I could pick a few already and I just planted them a few weeks ago! The cabbage is starting to form heads already too. I just love cabbage and look forward to making spring rolls at the end of summer.

 I've always planted 10-12 tomato plants in the past. This year I only planted 5. I hope that's enough plants to keep my family in homemade salsa-we shall see. In place of tomatoes, I chose to add a tomatillo plant this year. I look forward to fresh Mexican dishes later this year.

I planted 2 cucumber plants. One is a burpless and the other is a mini cucumber plant. My granddaughter cannot get enough of the mini cucumbers. I think she will enjoy picking them when she wants to eat some. 

I always plant a variety of peppers. I have 2 bell pepper plants growing. One is a red and the other green. I also plant a poblano and jalapeno pepper plant. It is so fun to cook by just heading out to the yard to pick my ingredients. There are already jalapenos forming on this plant.

Since I am trying to cut down on the work of managing a large garden, I planted less vegetables and added more flower pots to fill in the empty spaces. We do a lot of composting - we have 2 compost bins so the garden gets lots of nutrients. I also have a soaker hose connected to a rain barrel so watering in a breeze, especially on very hot days.

So that's my tour for now. I can't wait to take some July and August photos later in the year to see the progress. It's hard work but totally worth it.


My Little Free Library

The girl next door's mother did some summer cleaning right after school let out for the semester. The result was that I got a nice donation for my little free library. It is so generous of her to supply all these books. The neighbor is my best library steward.

My little free library gets lots of visitors who are children so I am always in need of books for young people. Sometimes I swap some of the books I get with other little free libraries in order to keep up with the demand for kids' books.

It is a fun hobby that I really love.


Our Trip to Europe

Our 40th wedding anniversary was June 2. To celebrate this milestone we took a river cruise through Europe on the Rhine River. It was magical. I will never forget the wonderful memories we made and the incredible sites we saw during this trip.

Day 1: Basel Switzerland
We took a leisurely walk through the streets of Basel. Basel is modern and history-rich. The buildings reflect the splendor of the Gothic, Renaissance and baroque traditions and the city blends the traditions of Switzerland, Germany and France since it sits on the Rhine River where these three countries meet.

Day 2: Breisach, Germany
Breisach dates back to the 11th century and has been devastated twice; once during the French Revolutionary War and again during World War II. Some old buildings still remain the rest were rebuilt to resemble the medieval structures that survived.

The Black Forest
The region is associated with the Grimm Brothers fairy tales since their inspiration came from this area. The area has romantic castles, farmhouses unchanged for centuries, and dark mist-filled woods associated with Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White. The Black Forest is also associated with cuckoo clocks and Black Forest cake. We enjoyed watching a demo from a chef making the delicious cake.

Colmar, France
Colmar is in the Alsace region of France. The city was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940 and then returned to France after the battle of the Colmar Pocket in 1945. This is where the war hero Audie Murphy single-handedly held off the Nazi forces until help arrived. There is a movie about it called "To Hell and Back".  After a solemn tour of the area once devastated by the Nazis, a tour of the gorgeous region shows a town rebuilt. The region is known for great wines and picturesque buildings that date back to the 13th century.

Day 3: Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg blends German and French influences in its charming architecture. There's an amazing cathedral with a magnificent astronomical clock that has a mechanism that dates back to 1842. The city has many amazing shops and restaurants as well as museums.

We stopped at a French bakery and picked up some sweets before heading over to the Strasbourg Modern Art Museum.

At the Modern Art Museum we were thrilled to see masterpieces from Kandinsky, Renoir, Picasso and there was an original writing from Edgar Allan Poe.

Day 4: Heidelberg and Rudesheim, Germany