Summer Gathering

Last week found our home filled with family from Minnesota, Denver and California. All here for our nieces wedding. We shared 3 event filled days leading up to the finale - the Sunday wedding. Monday evening everyone gathered in our home for a dinner gathering before they began heading back to their homes. We began out in our backyard with tables and blankets spread out on the grass where groups gathered in small clusters to eat and share this last evening together. As the warmth of the day was replaced by the already arriving cooler evenings everyone moved back into our house. What I love about large family gatherings is that all these magical clusters take place without any planning or intention. At one point my niece from Minnesota came over to me and said, "I love the coziness of the evening". One aunt was reading stories to two nieces in the library area, a group was in the living room playing a game, another nephew was playing his guitar, others were in the kitchen just hanging out and another niece was reading a book and called me over to discuss it with her. I think this is the best that life can offer. We have this amazing painted chair in our kitchen. It was a chair from my parents kitchen. A couple of years ago while our ten year old niece was visiting from Minnesota on a rainy summer day we needed a rainy day project. And on that day the painted chair was born. Our rule is you have to eat or cook in our kitchen to be able to sign the chair. So as our evening came to a close the chair became the center of attention and the painting began and went on into the night.

If this chair could speak. . .

Every summer our guest room hosts family and friends from around the United States. In July I picked up my niece from California at the airport. We came home and spent the rest of the day in the kitchen cooking and baking together. I had found a recipe in one of my Italian cookbooks for Italian Pizza. Which in reality had nothing to do with pizza as I knew it. It was a sweet bread/cake? I showed the recipe to my niece and she decided that was her project for the afternoon. It was pretty labor intensive. Much kneading and rising and kneading some more. But the end result was worth the effort. As I made cream puffs she would call me over to smell the yeast in the bread (one of my favorite smells) or to check out how nicely it was rising and I would counter with, do you smell the cream puffs baking?
We ended our day with fresh salmon baking and potatoes roasting in the oven and later that night as we curled up to watch a movie we ate strawberry shortcake with our Italian sweet bread.

Pea Patch Garden

A year and a half ago we had all the huge trees cut down in our back yard which
opened it up to a whole new world of sunshine. I quickly started looking for the
perfect place to plant a garden. We spent the first part of this year getting rid of
the wood and designing garden spaces. We found the perfect spot for a "Pea
Patch Garden". It's about 5 feet by 40 feet. The middle of May we filled it with
tomato plants, cabbage, kale, potatoes, green beans, cucumbers, chives, parsley,
squash and peppers. My first stop every morning is to check out my garden and
see how much it has grown.

You see, it doesn't take much to excite this girl. Give me a little dirt, a shovel
and some seeds and I'm happy.

The spot where we planted the garden had been home to several pine trees so
we knew the soil was pretty acidic. But we were leaving on vacation the middle
of May and I wanted my garden in before we left so we put vegetable soil in each
hole as we planted knowing the soil wasn't going to produce the greatest crops
this year, but I wanted to try. This fall we will till the soil and add lime and
fertilizer and next year it should be more plant friendly.

Summer 2009 at the Goosehouse

Summer 2009 at the Goosehouse

I love the spring and early summer when everything in the yard is brilliant green
and looks like a Better Homes & Garden picture. A Goosehouse garden tour.