Tag Archives: gardening

Tiny Adventures: Making Pickles

The cucumber harvest is plentiful this year. At least, compared to years past. So, I thought I’d try making some pickles. This is a tiny adventure for a few reasons, the biggest of which is I’ve never canned anything before (and never made pickles before, either). Canning is scary because, if done wrong, it can make you pretty sick. So….. I did quite a bit of research before delving in. Finally, after I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the dos and don’ts, I gathered the ingredients, took a deep breath, and went for it.


The finished pickles

Turns out that it was pretty easy. And when I woke up this morning, the jars were all sealed up. Very exciting! I’ll let you know how they taste in 6 weeks.

Tiny Adventures: Hatching Praying Mantises

This is probably the coolest addition to our garden yet.

First off, the garden is looking amazing this year. It’s dense with goodies, and all of the goodies are really happy. Carrots, onions, peppers, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, beans, cabbage…. all sorts of yummy things. We do, however, have a few pesky visitors munching holes in leaves.

Enter, these little guys:

Praying Mantis


Praying Mantis Egg Case

Praying Mantis Egg Case


A few weeks ago, a friend gave us some praying mantis egg cases as a gift for the garden. The instructions said to hang up the egg cases, each of which contains an average of 200 eggs, and wait for them to hatch! The baby mantises thin themselves out (aka, eat each other), until there are just a few left in the garden, eating all of the bad guys.


So, that’s what we did. Yesterday, I stepped out to see this:

Hatched Praying Mantises

Hatched Praying Mantises

Those are a whole bunch of baby praying mantises, hatched from their egg cases, trying to get out. So, we distributed them around the garden, and hung the egg cases in case there were more in there. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, every time I go out to the garden, I’m not only pulling errant weeds and checking for ripe veggies, I’m looking for praying mantis babies. I love them.





Adventures in Gardening: March 2013

And the winner is….. red cabbage!

Red Cabbage SproutThat is the first seed to sprout this year, and it’s a pretty one! A beautiful color of pink right from the start.

I have my little seed starting greenhouse up and running for the year. Planted so far are three varieties of tomatoes, five strains of peppers, red cabbage, and collard greens. Soon to be added to the fun are kale, onions, swiss chard, basil, and more tomatoes. The theme for the garden this year is more of less. We’re going with the basics, and we’re aiming for quantity.

There’s nothing quite like seeing that first sprout emerge from the soil. Despite the snow still on the ground, it is a sure sign that spring is near.

I Did That! A Reverse Bucket List

Last week, Katie of Adventure Inspired wrote up her reverse bucket list, a list that looks back at things she *has* accomplished, instead of only looking forward. I loved the idea so much that I decided to write up one of my own. What a great way to reflect on the awesome things that I’ve done, and create a nice springboard from which to do even *more* awesome stuff! Here’s mine:

  • Climb: When I was a kid I could always be found up in the sycamore tree in our backyard. There was a perfect spot to hang out and read a book, or look out around the neighborhood. Now I’m climbing rock (and plastic) instead. Climbing is fun, it’s challenging, and it keeps me growing as a person. It takes me to beautiful places, both locally and around the country, and I’ve met some great people. Climbing has changed me for the better.

  • Play in a professional orchestra: I studied bassoon seriously for a good portion of my life. I’ve performed with full orchestras, chamber groups, and in solo recitals, and worked freelance on a semi-professional level for several years. One of the high points was playing a few concerts with the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Akron, OH. I got to play some of my favorite repertoire with a fantastic group of musicians. It was magical.
  • Get paid to travel: While playing bassoon, I got paid to play in orchestras in the Cayman Islands and Monterrey, Mexico. All travel expenses included.
  • Move across the country on my own: I moved to Minnesota, leaving friends and family behind, and not knowing a soul in my new home. It was scary, but I did it, and now I feel that I could move anywhere and be ok (although Minnesota is pretty rad, so no immediate plans).
  • IMG_1292Build my own bicycle: With some help, I took my dad’s old steel ten-speed, stripped it down to the frame, repainted it, and rebuilt it as a single speed. I love this bike, and I love it even more knowing that I built it myself. I now can do most repairs on my own when I need to. Fun fact: my bike was recently used in a Columbia Sportswear photo shoot.
  • Take a trapeze lesson: I had a day on my own in L.A. a few years back, and decided to take a flying trapeze lesson on the Santa Monica Pier. Lots of fun.

She flies through the air….

  • Learn to garden: My mom has a green thumb, which I did not inherit. But, the past few years I’ve been experimenting with growing my own vegetables. There have been successes and miserable failures, but each year I learn a little bit more. Last year I started some seeds indoors and grew my own seedlings to plant outside! It’s great fun, and I have big plans, already, for the upcoming season.
  • Climb a mountain: Actually climb, with ropes and equipment. I climbed the Grand Teton with my husband this past summer and it was so very, very cool. Definitely one of my life’s highlights to date.
Nearing the summit of the Grand Teton. Photo: Greg Duncan

Nearing the summit of the Grand Teton. Photo: Greg Duncan

  • _MG_0392

    My hand-knit hiking sweater

    Knit a sweater: I learned to knit about five years ago from a good friend, and before I knew it I was beyond hats and on to knitting socks that I actually wear on my feet. I’ve knit myself a hiking sweater and a vest that I wear constantly, and right now I’m in the midst of knitting a kick-ass sweater for my husband. I’m ridiculously proud to be able to say that I knit things like sweaters.

  • Drive a Tractor: I was on a farm, there was a tractor, and I ended up driving it. True story
  • Be physically strong: After four years of climbing and two years of consistent kettlebell training, I can say that I am strong. I can snatch a 16kg kettlebell and climbed across the ceiling again last night at the gym. I’ve learned to do pull-ups this year, and am working up to 3000 pull-ups with my husband.  Ladies, if you’ve never done any strength training, I highly recommend it. The feeling of strength is empowering (and you don’t have the testosterone in your body to get bulky).
  • Bike through Yellowstone: Seth and I rented bikes and rode 34 miles round trip to Old Faithful and back to our car. We cautiously passed a herd of buffalo standing at the side of the road, complete with frolicking baby buffalo.


    A cold ride through the plains of Yellowstone.

  • Overcome my fear of flying: I once got to a flight gate, turned around, and went back home, because I couldn’t will myself to get on the airplane. While I still have to use some tricks, I can fly when I need to and not have it completely ruin my day. I love to travel, so it’s something I’m glad I’ve been able to deal with!
  • IMG_1039Learn to Cross-Country Ski: Minnesota has taught me that when the winters are long and cold, it’s best not to stay locked indoors. When I get out and enjoy the snow, my sanity remains intact.
  • Write on the interwebs: This blog is small, and it has a only a modest amount of readers, but I know that some of my posts have had positive effects on people. Whether it’s inspiration, or just creating stoke for their own adventures, I love to be able to connect with people, even if in a small way. Here are some of my favorite posts.
  • 2012_11_06_02324Find a fairy tale relationship: A little sap to throw in here…. I got married in my 30s, so I went through enough relationships that didn’t quite work to realize what a gem I have now (turns out love is *not* all you need. Sorry, Beatles). My husband is the kind of man I’ve always dreamed of having in my life, and I am thankful for him every day. Not only do I have a great man in my life, but together we make a great team. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Learn to play in the outdoors: I have *always* wanted to go camping and hiking and frolic in the great outdoors. But, for some reason, it just never quite happened. I blame the many hours a day chained to a practice room in my former life, but the truth is I just never made it happen. In the past few years, I’ve camped and hiked more than I had probably in my entire life before that, and I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

That was a fun exercise! Thanks to Katie for the idea. What’s on *your* reverse bucket list?


Garden Update: July 2012

A little garden update for you. As usually happens this time of the year, I’m not out there paying as much attention to it as I should, but everything seems to be growing on its own, despite my lack of constant hovering.

I have some tomatoes, started from seed in my living room last March. Can’t wait for these guys to ripen!

I’m also pretty excited that there’s little broccoli florets on my broccoli plants! Last year, the plants got huge, but no broccoli formed until the first frost.

The carrots are going nuts. The onions were looking really good but now the tops are starting to bend over, so I don’t know what that means.

And, of course, the swiss chard, kale, and collard greens are pretty happy. I’ll be growing more summer greens next year for sure. Select garden photos are below. :) Continue reading

Garden Update – June 2012

I know you’ve all been wondering how my garden is doing. To ease your minds, here are a few pictures of the most recent developments. We had a big rainstorm the other night, so the plants are a bit muddy.

First things first, the tomatoes.

I started these guys from seed, they’re about three months old. They’ve grown so much since their days under lights in my living room. I’m quite proud of them.

We picked up some nice red tomato cages to spice up the garden a bit. I think they’ll help the plants feel more lively and produce even more fruit. Tomato plants see color, right?
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Plant Toddlers and Funny Hats

I have lots of stuff I want to write about, but they’re still forming in the brain. So, in the meantime, I will share a bunch of randomness. Here are some things that occupy my time when I’m not musing about climbing, kettlebells, bicycles, life, etc.

My plant babies have definitely been updated to ‘toddler’ status. They are growing every day and getting rather big, and it makes me very happy.

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Seedling Update: Yogurt Cup Planters

It’s a beautiful day outside, but before I head out to enjoy it, I want to share the progress that I’m making with my little plant babies!

I am starting some plants indoors from seeds this year, which is something I’ve never done successfully in the past (I tried once a few years ago and ended up with very moldy tomato seedlings. It wasn’t pretty).

I started here: Tiny Adventures: Starting Seeds Indoors, and when that didn’t work, I made a second run at it: Seed Starting, Part Deux.

I’m happy to report that I’m having some success! Laurel suggested that yogurt cups would make great little pots, so I started collecting. When my seedlings were ready to be put into soil, the yogurt cups were the perfect size!

Tomatoes and collard greens in their yogurt cup homes

I  poked some holes in the bottoms of the yogurt cups to let water get through (I’ve been bottom-watering mostly, so the holes are important for that, as well), put some soil in, and planted my little seedlings. Easy, peasy! Continue reading

Tiny Adventures: Starting Seeds Indoors

Just a quick post here. I decided to attempt starting some seeds indoors this year for some of my garden veggies. Usually I buy seedlings from the local garden store in May, but I chose a few plants to start myself this year. The lucky winners are: collard greens, tomatoes, and onions!

I’ve added to the challenge by constructing a little greenhouse out of materials I already had at home, instead of going out and buying stuff.  Since I really have no idea what I’m doing and I’m experimenting as I go, it feels quite adventurous and fun. Therefore, I am counting this as a tiny adventure.

Here’s what I have so far:

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