Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cultivating Green Thumbs

The weather started out hot and humid this week but ended pleasant and mild. As much as possible, we tried to send the kids outdoors to play. The garden is coming along. Would that Mike could say he has a green thumb. Most of what he’s trying to do is just keep the lushness planted by our home’s previous owners down to a low roar. It doesn’t look very pretty with some of the ground cover Mike is using to keep the weeds down, but the plants are starting to flower and we hope to see new fruit of the vine soon. He has just let the raspberries and mint plants grow where they please, and they have gradually moved to parts of the garden where they are easier to harvest. We have already sampled our first sweet raspberries of the season and look forward to a bumper crop this July.

We only recently figured out that our mint plants are something other than peppermint or spearmint. Now that they are just beginning to flower, Mike cut some down to dry and found that while they smell minty right when they are cut, they don’t taste quite so minty. He experimented with a couple of drying techniques, and he was able to get them to keep a fairly strong aroma, but they still did not smell quite like mint. In fact, they smelled like chocolate. So he went to the interwebs to investigate. Sure enough, there is such a thing as a chocolate mint plant! Go figure.
Eliza sampling the chocolate mint-infused mate. Landon, who did not know about the chocolate mint, said, "Dad! This tastes like chocolate!" when he tried it. Apparently he has a discriminating palate. 
While the back yard has mostly been allowed to run wild, we are trying to do some minor landscaping to the front yard with Miles’ help. Now that the roses have bloomed, Mike cut them way back in order to give them a chance to bush out and bloom again later this summer (he hopes). Miles has painted the front yard with orange spray paint to mark out where he is going to dig. Right now it doesn’t look pretty, but we hope he’ll be done by next Tuesday.  

The kids had fun helping Mike in the yard with watering the plants, sampling the berries, and cutting the mint. Landon especially enjoyed getting soaked—er, watering—with Priscilia and (later in the week) with Dad.

Makeshift shelter from Priscilia's onslaught
Trying to gain the upper hand
Apparently water-soaked shorts get heavy. 
Not all our activities this week related to the yard. Grandpa O. sent Landon a National Geographic Outdoor Explorer's pack, complete with magnifying glass, compass, and flashlights that clip on shoes. 
Landon's new favorite toy. He's been asking for a magnifying glass for a while now. Good call, Gramps! 
Eliza and Landon went to story time at the library on Wednesday, and they and Hallie joined the Moms Club for story time at Barnes and Noble on Thursday. On Friday Hallie went to Windsor, Ontario, to stock up on our Canadian staples.

Landon started T-ball Saturday. He plays for the Angels (yay, So Cal namesake!).
Ours is number 4. When asked which number he wanted, he said, "I'm 4!" That was easy.
This dirt looks so much more interesting. 

The coaches were really patient and helpful.

Seriously, check out this dirt! 

Landon has had a hard time going to sleep once he goes to bed lately. On Sunday, this meant that Hallie decided to take him to see the fireworks. Lucky! 

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