he and i

While the littlest of us was sleeping this afternoon, Phillip and I played a game of Battleship. That is the face of a boy deep in thought. We have some difficult days, P and I. He knows exactly which buttons to push and I am not always the calm, lighthearted, easygoing Mama I would like to be. After sleeping for almost 12 hours last night, though, he was in the most pleasant mood for most of the day, and we had a great time together. (Which was especially nice because it was a dark, rainy day.) Some days it's hard to believe that he was that sweet, squishy little baby.

Hope you have a lovely week!



Adam found this abandoned nest in the yard the other day, and Thomas was thrilled to bring it inside. He plopped it right in this beautiful bowl (which I found last year at Handworks in Saint John, incidentally) and I've been marvelling at it since. Throughout the year as we humans go about our daily lives, nature is working away, for the most part unobserved. A current humming in the air, soil, and water, surrounding us with layers of life and beauty. Earthworms working away in the soil, birds building nests, trees leafing out, spiders hatching and building webs, flowers blossoming and fading to seeds - the magnitude of it all is incomprehensible, really.

Adam and I went out to the camp for a fire a few nights ago, and I was delighted to stumble across some other beautiful things on our walk, too.

This beauty (do you see the sassy lady with the beehive, awesome flared collar, and hands on her hips?) was in the (since mown) field with several others. I had never seen one like this before - apparently it's an argiope. There are so many things for me to learn!

 There's a hollow heart stump by the camp (with an old rag in it that I need to remove).

 The only way to improve on an already-great beard.

And I'm just tucking this one in for good measure - this was the sunrise on Sunday morning when I was out for a little run. It was absolutely worth stopping for!


spicy oven-roasted chickpeas

I know it's hotter in some places than it is here, so you may not be too keen on turning the oven on, but when it's finally cool enough, these are a perfect snack to make. They're great for packing along on a trip to the beach, and all of the kids I tested them on loved them. You can add 1/2 tsp cayenne if you like them hot! (The original recipe is here.)

Spicy Oven-roasted Chickpeas

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (spin them dry in a salad spinner if you're really keen)
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas, oil, and other ingredients in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, stir well, and roast for another 10-20 minutes, until crisp. (I know that's a big variation, but ovens seem to vary significantly and the size and dryness of the chickpeas will make a difference, too.) Store in an airtight container, and enjoy!


in the garden

The garden is in full swing, and although several things that were planted didn't come up (apparently many others had the same issues, possibly because we had several crazy rain storms right in the middle of planting) there's still lots going on.

I must say, though, that my heart is really focused on next year's garden, and the many future gardens to come, on our new property. We're making plans. It's so exciting! We bought a few fruit trees this week (half price!) to plant - three plums and a cherry (the cherry was Phillip's request). They say that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, and the second best is now, so we're on the right track.

And Ruth Stout and her no-work gardening system is how we're planning to go. I highly recommend watching this video, which I think is from the early 60's. She is quite a character, and I love her method! We've got access to spoiled hay, and can get things going this fall in preparation for next year. I love learning new things, and this is fascinating.
In the meantime, though, we've been working away (well, mostly Adam has) on our current house, taking care of little things that needed doing. Not long after I took the picture above, along came Thomas and took a bite out of that little cucumber, still on the vine. That boy would subsist on raw vegetables if we let him, and happily.
The peas are done now; this was one last straggler that hung on until the end. I could live on peas. They're absolutely my number one favourite fresh vegetable, hands down.

I've never managed to take a great picture of one of the things I love in this yard. It's a rambling rose that climbs a cedar tree, and is inconspicuous until the end of July when bam! all of the roses open and it's just lovely.

Well, the boys are still asleep after a busy day yesterday, and I think I'll sneak out for a little run before they wake up. Happy Sunday - hope you have a great weekend!


in the kitchen

This past week or so, I've been coming up with some delicious things in the kitchen, sometimes with the help seen above. I've made this cake twice within the past four days - the first time because I was hungry for cake, and the second as a little thank-you to our neighbours for letting us borrow their hedge trimmer. I had to take it over immediately after I glazed it so it would survive.
The recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which I highly recommend. She has a very similar recipe posted here; you could just sub in any citrus. The second one I made was lemon, actually, since I'd used our last grapefruit in the first one!
I made another recipe from the book yesterday, for the Buttered Popcorn Cookies, and they are delicious. They're similar to Subway's white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies in texture, but better in flavour (yay, butter!), less of that unpleasant grease, and with popcorn! Joy the Baker's version, with chocolate chips, is here. I took a few along with me to visit a friend yesterday, and they were a hit. (I highly recommend taking cookies when and whereever you visit.) I managed to snap a quick picture of them on her plate before they were devoured.

One of the many lovely things about summer in Nova Scotia is that it seldom gets too hot to turn on the oven. On with the baking!

Happy Tuesday! I hope you enjoy something delicious today.