our Grass Valley home

early July

early July

Moments captured the first week of July, before Ella and I left for Hawaii. The garden looked amazing, our girl just started standing on her own, and I wanted to remember this sweet time with my family before saying goodbye to Jeffery for 8 days. Sure enough, here it is the first week of August, the garden is past its prime and it's too hot and smokey to spend much time outside. But we're enjoying the bounty: pesto, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, salsa. July sure tastes like summer.

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summer babe

summer babe

Last week was hot enough to fill up the steel tub for this water baby, and the joy was palpable. Jeffery has worked tirelessly growing our garden from seed, prepping the soil, laying drip, and almost everything is in, so I wanted to be sure to document it while the babies are still small. Everyone looks forward to evenings in the garden together—kitties included! We're going to be doing a lot more of this all summer long. 

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The End of Summer

Summer is past, but we're still harvesting incredible amounts of tomatoes and squash. Hopefully the forty degree nights don't halt production. I never shared a photo of our 13-foot sunflower, here it is in all its glory (with Ethan in there for scale in early August). We FINALLY finished our fence, installed shelving in the living room (details here), purchased new windows (just waiting for our install date) and we've gotten quotes to begin our kitchen remodel. We have to level the floors and move our water heater before we can take down the kitchen/dining wall. Squirrel continues to grow into the sweetest little girl. She curls up with me on the couch at night and most mornings she sits on our chests and purrs. I think she actually thinks she's a squirrel. She watches them with astute interest and continues to climb higher and higher. So far she hasn't had any trouble coming back down, fingers crossed.

Currently reading: All the Light We Cannot See and LOVING it. This story follows its beautiful characters through France and Germany during WWII. Some are fleeing Paris on foot while bombs are falling, while others are coming of age at a school for boys during the height of Hitler's reign. Both scenarios are utterly terrifying and I have so much compassion for them all, particularly the older generation who is living through hell for the second time. It's incredible how destructive humans can be. And in our current political climate it has me slightly terrified. One more month before we can [hopefully] put all this idiocy behind us. #imwithher

Tomato soup for dinner tonight. I'm going to roast these beauties with onions and garlic, blend with basil, and serve with parmesan sourdough toast.

Welcoming July

June is a blur, and by the looks of it, July is going to fly by. In the past week we:

  • landscaped a new corner of our garden with drought tolerant perennials (echinacea, Mexican sage, salvia, ornamental oregano, Santa Barbara daisy, yarrow, jasmin, ceanothus)
  • went on two dates
  • picked our first beans (purple pod and rattlesnake, the scarlet runners aren't happy in this heat)
  • tasted our first lemon cucumber
  • cooked and gave away countless sunburst squash and zuccini
  • made a beet green/arugula/basil/kale salad with chickpeas, feta, dried figs, and citrus vinaigrette
  • planted more lettuce after the last batch bolted
  • harvested garlic 
  • fell more and more in love with our Squirrely girl

I'm proud of the work we do and I'm grateful for the time, ability, and resources to make so much progress in our garden. We are surrounded by beauty, and I never want to take that for granted.

This weekend we are going backpacking with friends for the first time. Two nights in the mountains. I'm really looking forward to swimming in lakes, cooking over campfires, and sleeping under the stars. This is what summer is made for. Now if only my tomatoes would ripen! 

We got a kitten!

Her name is Squirrel and she'll be twelve weeks on Saturday. She's our little squirrely girl, curious, affectionate, playful, and we love her very much. Batman isn't too sure about her, but we're confident he'll come around.

In other news, our garden is growing (those are tomatillos) and my parents get into town today. Some of our favorite people are coming up to celebrate our housewarming this weekend. Should be a good time. 

Life is moving along at top speed, I have entered wedding season (three down, twelve more to go!) and the next four months are going to be full. It's hard to believe we've been in Grass Valley for almost ten months, but looking around at the progress we've made makes it a little more believable. Patience is becoming a daily lesson around here. Everything takes longer than you think it will (or want it to), and I'm learning to accept it. Time to go scrub my bathroom. xo

In the Garden

Over the past few weeks we have been powering through on our yard, and we plan to get a lot more done between now and June (my parents booked their flights!). Yesterday we finished installing a vent in the ceiling of our greenhouse (that we converted from a wood shed) and we said goodbye to our lovely cover crop: we gave it a good weedeating and then our very kind neighbor came over and rototilled. Just like that, our garden is ready for planting.

One thing I have pieced together in recent months is that homeownership highlights strengths and weaknesses. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm not much of a self-starter when it comes to house and yard tasks. I often shut down (and would rather go find something to eat) when faced with a challenge. Give me any menial task (weeding, laundry, dishes) that doesn't require much thought, has visible signs of progress being made, and can be completed in a set amount of time, and I'll do it until it's done. But if a project requires critical thinking, problem solving, or if it's something I've never done before, I get intimidated. Fortunately, my husband excels in all of the areas I am weakest. This is why I married him.

On Saturday we got excited about a kitty up for adoption, but when we met him he wasn't excited about us. We're going to wait until the right one comes along. I am a strong believer in the "we don't choose pets, pets choose us" philosophy, and I have a pretty terrific track record to back it up. :)

In other news, TOMORROW MORNING I FLY TO CHICAGO!!! It'll be my first time in the windy city, and this trip is equal parts business and pleasure. But because I love my work so much it's really all pleasure. I am so excited!

On Trying to Conceive

This rain has me not wanting to get exercise or figure out what to make for dinner. It has me curled up in bed with my kitties, groggy from the nap I just took and wanting to take another. It has me choosing hot cereal with nuts and maple syrup over eggs and veggies in the morning, and dreaming about long walks and sunnier days. Or maybe I’m just blaming the rain and what I really want is a baby in my belly and a full workload. After nine months of obsessing over my fertility, I recently joined a Facebook group for women who are actively trying to conceive. It’s nice having a place where I can speak openly, because not talking about it isn’t helping anyone. I don’t know what I was afraid of before. Maybe I felt like we hadn’t been trying long enough. Maybe I was embarrassed, because I thought it would happen easily. Maybe I was scared and I didn’t want to jinx it.

On a warm day in December, I was hanging sheets to dry on the clothesline. Sheets I bought with you in mind—your dark hair and milky skin, sleeping soundly amongst the violets. I could envision you playing between them as they dried, laughing—mouth wide, cheeks rosy. I felt a hollowness in my stomach, empty and raw. The sheets hung there, cold and wet in the weak winter sun. I didn’t expect this wanting—this longing—to be so visceral. My arms ache for the weight of you.

It’s March, and we are planning our garden. I picked a vase full of daffodils and they made me so happy. It’s definitely a nice distraction, nurturing our green things along, excited by new growth and blossom. And then sometimes I just have to let myself be sad. Sad because I’ve wanted this for so long, and I have to keep waiting. I feel like my whole life has been a lesson in patience, and I’m still not very good at it.

Living Room Sneak Peek!

After months of not having use of our living room, we finally moved in this week. I love it so much, I can't believe it's ours. We haven't gotten any art up on the walls yet, but the curtains are hung, our rug has a home, and the kitties and Jeffery and I couldn't be happier. The rug is an ebay find that I scored a few weeks after we moved in. I gave it a good beating on the clothesline, but until now we haven't had a space large enough to roll it out in. I rescued a bird of paradise and a philodendron from Ikea, and they should do well. This room gets the most incredible light, and it feels so serene. It also has amazing acoustics.

When we moved the couches in we got our dining room back, which we had been using as a living room. Our dining table was purchased for our Tenderloin apartment, so it's a bit small for the space. Eventually we plan on building a new table. 

The most gratifying part is that we did everything ourselves (with the help of friends and family). Six months ago, when we got the keys and started tearing wood paneling off the walls, I could envision what it would look like when we were done. It's not completely finished, but it's even better than I imagined. To enjoy a space that we worked so hard on is the ultimate reward. (To see before photos and some of the renovations, click here. To follow along you can search #ourgrassvalleyhome on instagram.)