Since becoming a parent, the summers pass by even quicker. This year, I've been teaching a a summer class two nights a week, along with working at the house museum every other Saturday and doing their marketing from home. Two or three days working a week may not seem like much, but everything is intensified with a 4-year-old and a baby! Plus, the summer classes are 8 weeks instead of 16, which means I have half the amount of time to grade papers. It feels like all I've done is grade papers: during nap time, when Bruce gets home from work, any free moment on the weekends. Tonight, however, is the last day of school! One more weekend of grading and then I have three weeks off before the Fall term.
We've still managed to have plenty of fun this summer. We've been to a ton of festivals around the suburbs and in the city. We've hung out with our friends. We went as a family to a Cubs game - Hannah's first one!
One of my biggest triumphs is our garden this year. Every morning, the girls and I go outside and inspect the growth in our yard. Since becoming a homeowner, I've developed a real love of gardening. My passion for flowers and herbs and greenery has truly blossomed. (Pun intended - I could keep that up all day, but I won't!)
In May, we started a kitchen garden. I say kitchen because some of the plants don't technically bear vegetables. I think "kitchen garden" sounds quaint and rustic, but to Bruce it's cloying. We built an ultra-basic raised bed, right off the patio and next to where the herbs grow.
We had no idea what we were doing. For instance, we bought way too many plants! We bought three tomato plants, two zucchini, two cucumber, two jalapeno, and four strawberry for a 4' x 8' plot. We ended up returning one each of the tomato, zucchini, and cucumber, after I realized how large they'd grow.
Even still, we soon saw our little bed turn into a jungle! Within a few weeks, the tomato plants were a couple feet high and needed support. The zucchini plant was taking over the Thai basil, and the cucumber vines were spreading out onto the lawn.
It's been a learning experience and a real treat to grow food for the first time. I've had herbs for a couple years, and I've enjoyed picking mint or oregano for dinner, or snipping chives for eggs at breakfast time. But to watch as a plant produces flowers, then fruit, and then root for it to grow bigger (I couldn't help that one), and then cut it off and eat it is like a little victory each time. What they say is true - nothing beats eating food you've grown yourself!
Tonight, we're having salad for dinner with our own cherry tomatoes - Emmie picked ten today! Then I'll go to class the last time this semester. After that, everything will be ripe for the picking.