Tag Archive | winter

Getting the Garden Going

After such a long, cold winter I’ve been anxious to get going on our garden. It’s as if I can see green then somehow that will force spring along. This method doesn’t seem to be working out for me at all (when I woke up it was 30 degrees and felt like 19… brr!).

On top of the weather not being too interested in our spending time outdoors, with all of the work that happened on our house from November to March, our backyard was pretty much trashed. We weren’t thrilled about the plants that were crushed by construction supplies or the giant mud pit that used to be the grassy side of our yard, but most frustrating was the state of our garden plots. The one closest to the house was in particular trouble as it had gone from wonderful, clean soil (after much hard work by my husband) to being filled with clay as well as bits of insulation, nails, staples, and trash—just what a girl wants to grow her food in the midst of…

As soon as it was warm enough, my hubby was outside cleaning out that plot and during the past two weekends we have been able to plant all of the items we wanted to start from seed. (Due to the construction, we didn’t bother with seedlings this year so we will see how our growing season goes.) We’ve planted almost everything we are hoping to grow this year—with tomatoes and peppers being the exception—including salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, and a variety of flowers. Of course, we managed to do this just in time for the weather to dip more than 50 degrees and provide us with yet another frost last night.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the frost blanketsphoto-2 I already had out to keep the birds from simply eating all of the seeds was enough to keep those little guys alive. We also brought in the strawberry plants and flowers that were in pots of the front porch and redecorated our entry hall. Lovely, isn’t it? I figure this great “spring” weather can’t be any worse than last year when I did grow seedlings only to plant them in late March and have it snow the very next day killing them all (despite the frost blankets) because I was departing for 2 weeks in Turkey and Greece and would not be around the care for them.

Only time will tell what will become of all our little plants (and spring for that matter). Hopefully next week when I pull back the frost blankets to water I’ll start seeing some green!

Mini Monday: Gloomy Weather

Yesterday’s snow flurries started off grand — the fluffy white flakes were falling delicately from the sky, leaving a crisp, clean blanket of snow throughout the city. It was all the more lovely for sharing a tasty brunch with friends and seeing the snow drift past the windows while we were warm inside. But somewhere around midday the precipitation transitioned to tiny balls of sleet and then to icy rain. Ugh. So the pretty dustings of snow were washed away well before we woke up this morning and instead things are crunchy with ice.

I’m guessing that this weather means work on the house will be on hold for the next few days, although on Saturday evening they finished up framing the roof! It’s hard to see in this picture, but I’d have to walk through our icy yard to snap a better shot so for now this will have to do.

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Now I sit in bed listening to it rain and trying to motivate myself to get moving on this grey Monday. At least I have tomorrow’s predicted 2-4 inches of snow to look forward to! I can’t wait to watch the flakes fall outside my office window, while sipping a hot mocha and thinking about the Christmas holiday being right around the corner.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas…

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I love decorating for Christmas and typically do so the day after Thanksgiving, but this year with our California visitors we couldn’t skip ahead to the next holiday as quickly as usual. Last night we finally had the opportunity to get our house holiday ready. Since we spend a large portion of the holidays away from home at Christmas we typically don’t get a tree. This means getting creative with our lights, garlands, and the handful of ornaments we chose to display. I loved the way my husband decorated our grandmothers clock this year!

On top of decorating, we had a surprise visit from Sinterklaas last night. My husband is half Dutch which is apparently enough to make it onto Sinterklaas’ list despite our distance from the Netherlands. We didn’t have wooden shoes to leave out for him, but thankfully he left his own filled with chocolates, oranges and sprigs of greenery. What a delicious way to kick off the Christmas season!

Turkey Day Prep

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We have had two days of nonstop rain and there may be a snow flurry heading our way. While this has not been my favorite forecast the chilly,wet weather is the perfect incentive to stay inside and prep for Thanksgiving. With 9 family members from California in town, we’ll be having Thanksgiving with 13 people. Thankfully my brother-in-law and his wife live just down the street and we are sharing kitchen duties. That means two turkeys — they are going the traditional route and we are deep frying ours — tons of sides, a few pies and a whole lot of wine (thankfully we don’t have to make that).

Along with the turkey we are making our usual stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with shallots, cranberry relish, and dessert. This morning I took care of the pies — we’ve got an apple crumble and good ‘ol pumpkin ready to go. Next up, putting together the stuffing so tomorrow we can just slide it in the oven and be done with it, allowing us to focus on the truly important things like deep fried turkey. And family, of course.

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Mini Monday: We Have Walls!

The renovation to our house is starting to take shape. We have moved from just a drawing on paper and a vision in our mind to four complete walls for our basement level storage room! Despite not being terribly interested one way or the other about incorporating bricks from our original pillars into the new structure during the planning stages, I love the way it breaks up the dull cinder blocks and ties back to the rest of the house.

Today, despite very chilly temps (which I am able to experience thanks to an open main level door… brrr…), the guys are hard at work on building the first floor. I am loving watching everything come together, I just need to find my gloves!

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Thankful Thursday

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Yes, it’s Thankful Thursday on Friday! I swear I started this post yesterday but things just got away from me, so without further ado:

I can’t believe it is only a week until Thanksgiving —  where did 2013 go? As the year winds down and the holiday season swiftly approaches, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the many things I am grateful this year.

The opportunity to sing. On Sunday I will be able to share my voice with others during the Capitol Hill Group Ministries Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This is just one of the unique chances I have had this year to get back to singing. During the summer I connected with a violinist and pianist to perform “To Love You More” at a house concert. It was so much fun to sing was the two of them, as well as a drummer and a cellist.

• Our big, crazy families. While my immediate family is pretty small on both sides, my husband’s family is quite large and this year we are getting an extra does of togetherness as his mom’s side is in the process of descending upon DC for Thanksgiving. We’ll have a week and a half of big (delicious) dinners, our favorite California wines, trips to museums and monuments, chilly winter walks and lots of time for talking (too bad we don’t have a fire place to gather around)! And in just a few weeks we will get to do it all over again (with my family included this time) in California.

The many chances to travel near and far in 2013 — from Turkey to Tampa I have seen beautiful sunsets, had incredible meals, and spent time cultivating relationships new and old. I can’t imagine what life would be like without airplanes that can get me to California in 6 hours or to Istanbul in 10.

• Work that I love. It’s been four years since I went out on a limb and began to work as a freelancer. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I love the projects I get to work on, my handful of colleagues, my clients and my freedom — who else can take a mid-day wake-up shower? Each year I learn more about running my own business, meeting the needs of a wide range of clients and the blessings of being able to grocery shop on Tuesday’s at 10 am.
What are you thankful for in 2013?

Mini Monday: November?!

I cannot believe that it is already November! Where has 2013 gone? After a gorgeous fall weekend full of sunshine and bright blue skies, the weather seems to have decided it is winter today. Just in advance of the cold shift, I managed to harvest a bowl full of cherry tomatoes and seven or eight small green bell peppers from the garden yesterday. There were also a few larger tomatoes, a cucumber, a handful of green beans and some cayenne peppers. We may get a couple more cherry tomatoes in the next few days, but I think that the garden season is pretty much over here in DC.

Front and center on my radar this week is our home renovation project (guessing it will be front and center for quite some time…). We are in the fifth day of active work and our back porches are gone! It has been (mostly) neat to be home while the crew is working so I can take pictures and see the house at all stages of disrepair. Sometimes it has been loud, but so far, I’ve been able to plug away on my own projects while they are tearing the house apart. Here’s the back of our house sans porches — we certainly will not be using those doors for awhile! Also we have never had so much natural light in the dining room — it’s amazing, albeit a bit chilly. It will be wonderful when these windows and the pair in the office above get replaced. They are the final four original windows in the house and single-pane glass from 1937 isn’t exactly the most efficient…

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