Now that the temps are heating up outside, the action in my garden is heating up as well. I'm happy to report there are some hopeful signs of at least a modest harvest. The few almost ripe tomatoes and sweet, tiny baby cukes have already got me thinking about what I might grow next year. I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself, but it certainly is fun to watch things grow, especially a little chubby-legged sweetie who now "helps" me pull weeds.
When we first put the garden in, Cora was just on the brink of crawling. Now, she is using the raised boards to teeter around and check out all the vines, blossoms and leaves. I suspect that she'll be walking on her own well before the growing season is over.
I've let her gnaw on some fresh basil and oregano and she's tried to sneak some tomato leaves and marigolds behind my back. Tomorrow I'll let her see what she thinks of the mint.
Since the herbs have taken off so has the interest level of what appears on the table from the kitchen each night. I've let the garden inspire my cooking for past week and I feel like we've eaten better than we have in a long time. I'd been a little bit of cooking rut. In fact, Rob mused one night that I seem to make stir fry a lot these days. Oops.
Some recent stars on the menu have been fresh pesto, mashed potatoes loaded with chives (rode my bike 8 miles out to a friend's house to dig up the potatoes - so creamy and fresh, also snagged some carrots and peas...I'm sure I looked silly riding back to town with jersey pockets full of potatoes and green sprigs sticking up everywhere), grilled butternut squash pasta seasoned with fresh sage and topped with pecorino, grilled sweet potato quesadillas, orzo and garbanzo beans with oregano and goat cheese, and soon I plan on making some lavender sorbet and maybe having a mojito or two garnished with mint. Cora has eaten all of this! I think the girl has good taste in food and I pray she doesn't turn picky.
In the interest of keeping the temps in the house down, We've been trying to use the oven and stove as little as possible and are realizing that the possibilities with the grill are endless. I think soon we'll even try pizza on the grill...probably with fresh basil and mozzarella.
As I mentioned earlier, I've loved watching Cora grow right alongside the garden. She has really almost completely outgrown baby food and wants to eat what's on our plates. Since I'm not freezing any food for her anymore, her storage containers are free for things like pesto. While I'm sad that she is quickly outgrowing so many "baby" things, I do like not firing up the food processor or hand grinder as often and am joyful when she likes the same foods we do.
Over the winter I think we might build a few more small raised beds for extra space. I would like to use our chain link fence in the back as a built in trellis system, but need to check with my neighbor.