In the Garden, the Kitchen, and the Sewing Room

With a few days of warming weather and lots of rain, things are starting to happen in the garden. Oliver now has a buddy, or maybe a mate, who knows? They are coming by together to get their tidbits, Oliver is on the retaining wall on the left, while his buddy (paramour?) is on the driveway lower right. No, I am not sure at all that it isn’t Olivia, LOL!

Up close on the bulb bed covered with the green mesh shows the daffodils are coming up.

Oliver enjoys the scenery while he nibbles.

In the front flowerbed, I did some clean up this week and noticed the crocuses are starting to bloom.

There are purple and white ones coming up and showing happy spring faces. I still need to rake the leaves out.

Inside, I got my seeds started. My Sweet Babboo hooked up my timer for the grow light. I used a lot of the plastic knives I saved from last year’s garden, and had to add a few more. I write the name of the plant on the handle with a sharpie. I planted several varieties of tomatoes and squashes, several pots of basil and flat leaf parsley, and a few flowers.

On a Sunday chat post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to make this butternut squash recipe from my Cookish cookbook from Milk Street.

I did try this recipe, and it was a new and interesting flavor. First was to cut up the butternut squash, then roast until it was nicely browned.

Toss with the hoisin sauce ingredients and serve, yep just that easy. I didn’t have any actual hoisin, so I used the substitute I’ve used before of equal parts peanut butter and molasses. It made a nicely nutty, slightly sweet squash dish. If you’d like this recipe, I’ve linked the Milk Street pdf for it – Roasted Butternut Squash with Hoisin and Chives. Find more interesting flavors with easy to cook recipes in Cookish.

On the quilt frame, I started quilting a charity quilt for a youth center. This one is a twin size, and I’ll share more about it later.

I’m making a lot of progress in the clean out. Now, after two more months of taking four crates at a time to the library’s used bookstore, the shelves are starting to look like real progress is being made. It has taken 15 years to read all the books I had stuffed on those shelves, as I moved here with boxes of unread books. I have donated the fiction novels I have read, and only have a few left that I haven’t read. A few are keepers, as you cannot have bookshelves with no books at all. I kept the best of the reference books on depression glass, costume jewelry, gardening and souvenir books like my books on Epcot and Maui. Five more boxes of books are set to go this coming week. My stuffed shelves are starting to look a lot less crowded as previously there was virtually no empty space. I need to decide which, if any, of my collections of Anne McCaffrey, Barbara Michaels, and Mary Stewart books can go.

I need to decide on donating a set of cookbooks, which set to keep and which to give away – the Taste of Home series or the Cooking Light series? I don’t use either one a lot, so one needs to go. I use the Southern Living series more than either of those.

Somehow having a year at home, with very little interaction and no guests has made me want to just to clear out and get rid of things I’m not using anymore. The basement bookshelves will be next on the agenda, and I’ll be selling a lot of quilting books soon. Blog readers will get first dibs on those, and I’ll post the first lot on our Facebook group this morning. Lots of kitchen cookware and bakeware is leaving this week, along with the lemon dessert plates, and the snowflake plates. Some more dishes and chargers may be next. I need to look carefully at what I will likely actually use going forward. I think the days of giving dinner parties is over, and that was really the case before lockdown began a year ago. I’m giving my turkey roaster to my neighbors, the sweet newlywed couple that we haven’t been able to spend time with much. I haven’t used that roasting pan in over 10 years, as we don’t have big gatherings anymore that need a 24-pound turkey done. They moved in right before lockdown, but we have had a couple of driveway visits back when the weather was warmer. They’ll get a couple of my really nice cookbooks, too.

What is going on in your garden and kitchen this week?

30 thoughts on “In the Garden, the Kitchen, and the Sewing Room

  1. Julie

    As I returned from grocery shopping Friday morning I noticed daffodil sprouts in the terraces. The snow there had just disappeared a day or so beforehand so it unexpected. Soon I’ll see where the chipmunks have relocated my crocuses. Every year it’s a fresh surprise.

  2. Pat Semeraro

    I have a few Southern Living cookbooks that were my mother’s and some contain our favorite meal recipes. I write a comment and the date when I like something so I can find it again.

  3. Sue Hoover

    Love little Oliver & friend photos. So cute although I know lots of people consider them pests. I noticed a couple of days ago that my crocuses were poking leaves out of the ground, along with daffodils, hyacinths, irises, and (best of all in my opinion) my surprise lilies! I too need to do some garden cleanup before long but first I want to get my rain barrels set up in the next couple of days. We’re expecting rain the latter part of this week and I want the barrels filled up. First I’ll have to see if the cinder blocks they sit on need to be leveled this year. That may put the barrel set-up off a bit unfortunately. Have a great week as next weekend we’ll be losing an hour with Spring Forward!

  4. My three Taste of Home annual cookbooks are by far my favorite cookbooks, the ones I turn to first. Rarely is there a dud recipe. I could never let them go!
    I agree that this forced nesting has made me want to clear out old unused things, too. I’m working my way through my fabric stash bit by bit!

  5. Honestly, I think I’d opt for keeping Taste of Home and let go of Cooking Light. Both have many recipes available online, although I think Cooking Light wants you to subscribe, where Taste of Home is free access? Anyway, that might be worth thinking about. While I prefer a cookbook in hand, online is helpful (and I can always print it)..

  6. Cathie J

    I have started the purging process too. I needed to make room in the pantry for a new toaster that is shaped differently from my old one. It feels good to get rid of items. I have many, many Taste of Home Magazines. I use them frequently. My ears perked up when you said you were selling some quilt books, but then I realized that would defeat my own purging process. That charity quilt is so pretty. Good luck with the seedlings. I have never tried to start my veggies from seeds.

  7. Rita C.

    We had a flooding start to our week on Monday, but things calmed down by Wednesday (thank goodness! there were a couple of close calls with family). Crocus, hellebore, and first daffodils were seen in the neighborhood. Buds are on the forsythia and lilacs, and Bradford pears. Canada geese are pairing off……all signs of spring, my favorite season! Have a good week, Carole.

  8. Keysha

    It is good to see all you are doing in your garden and home. I have been making donations of things I’m not using, too. I may follow you and see which books can be donated next. Most likely
    I will have to reuse the planters from last year for my patio garden for tomatoes, but can’t start until after our last frost. Other than that, this week I shall be working on the last half of the baby keepsake embroidery blankets I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

  9. Carole, you have been busy. It is always wonderful to see the signs of spring. I admire your book purge, I so desperately need to do the same. The butternut squash looks like a wonderful side dish. Have a lovely day!

  10. Linda B

    Some purging decisions are easier than others aren’t they! Got rid of our big roasting pan a few years ago too…I only want to buy at most a 10-12 pound bird come the holidays…about all I can lift in and out of the oven or frig safely! But Mary Stewart books…that would be very hard. And although I am enjoying reading Library ebooks right now because of ease of checking out and returning, not sure I will always feel that way. And some of these favorite books/authors are not available any longer at the library. In the garden winter aconite was first up, and now the snow drops are opening and other green shoots are peaking out of the leaves. I had fun at the garden center getting a Lenten rose and some pansies and alyssum. Hope they don’t get wiped out with a late hard freeze…should have waited, but could not!

  11. Sharon

    Spring is springing here too with the crocus and daffies everywhere. Heavenly! This was certainly the year for purging and creating. Your creativity is always inspiring, outside and in the kitchen. Enjoy a wonderful coming week 🙂

  12. lynn bourgeois

    No spring here yet Carole. We are still in the grip of winter, but it has not been a hard one, so no complaints. That doesn’t mean that i don’t love seeing spring signs in other places, because I do. This morning my very small cactus(not sure of the variety name) surprised us with a large beautiful deep salmon coloured blossom, much to our delight. It reminds me that there is beauty everywhere. I get a similar feeling when I flick the light switch, or turn the water tap on. I’m so grateful that we are fortunate to have all of these things..
    What is the green mesh in the bed for Carole? I’m not the experienced gardener that some folks are.
    Oh yes, and the selectively getting rid of extras. I’m applauding you, and hoping some of that rubs off on me.

  13. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Good progress, Carole! It’s so good to see little Oliver! He always makes me smile! Our daffodils have been out over a week now and the “tulip” trees are blooming. I don’t have any daffodils and I don’t know why as they are one of my favorite flowers! I need to get some bulbs and build a planting spot for them. It’s hard to grow things in our clay soil. I do have one plant that returns every year. When I planted it, it was just a stick that was supposed to be a peony, but what came up is definitely NOT! LOL But hey, it volunteers every year, so that makes me happy! That squash recipe sounds good. I may have to try that. Happy Sunday!

  14. arlunde

    Hi. I enjoyed your post. Spring is already here in AZ. Everything is beginning to bloom.
    What is the quilt block pattern that you have on your quilting machine?

  15. Good job clearing stuff out. I had a “off week” and didn’t do much of anything. I seem to go to the internet anymore when I need help with a recipe. My cookbook storage requires a step stool, and it is just easier to go online. Your squash recipe sounds delicious. I decided this was the year to not renew magazine subscriptions. They are collecting in stacks and I hardly look through them anymore. Waiting on the warm up here!

  16. Becky Turner

    I Printed off the squash recipe . I think that sauce would work great on fresh green beans also! Have the book on hold now from the library

  17. Patricia Evans

    The quilt pattern is called Bento Boxes. I have one done in batiks on my bed.
    Good for you for making such progress on decluttering. I had good intentions, but since I wasn’t going anywhere and had not way to donate the discards or anywhere to store it, I fell down on the job. I guess once I get my second shot, I’ll have to find a new excuse or else get busy. But then it will be gardening season. Well, you know how it goes.

  18. It’s always fun to watch the squirrels, although we’re noticing some little holes being dug in our landscaping near the bird feeders and wonder if it’s our neighborhood squirrels. I have a small flower garden with a few crocus showing up, plus daffodil and tulip shoots coming up. So glad to be getting to this time of year! Good for you doing all that purging! I’ve done some in the last few years – the biggest was letting my children’s book collection from my 5th grade classroom.

  19. Jo Anne Seccurra

    I’m excited to see so many signs of spring in your blog! Spotted some snow drop foliage pushing through the snow here! We’ve tapped the maple trees but today it’s so cold the sap is not running. The “real feel” temperature is 12 degrees.

    Was inspired by your book donation. I’m sure your donations will help the library and those who end up enjoying your books! I’m going to follow your lead!

    Looking forward to hearing more on the Bento Box quilt.

  20. Joan Sheppard

    So much information! Love the pics of the garden and Oliver and Co. The twin quilt looks like stained glass or a floor from a castle! Really lovely. Had Thai chicken for dinner and didn’t know the about the peanut butter/molasses! Is that avacado? Cabbage?
    Also cleaning – this time is my music boxes and doll collection. Neither bring me joy anymore so POOF off they go! Thanks!

  21. Donna T

    Do you have a Half Price Books close? They buy used books. You don’t get a lot but I sell the books I read and buy new used ones. We have moved so much over the last 10 years that I have become a minimalist. Every minimalist is different so my house isn’t bare by any means but I only keep what I love and use.

  22. There are plenty of signs of Spring here in the south of the UK too. We are keen to get gardening but the ground is still very heavy – it’s difficult to shake the soil off the roots of the weeds. I’ll try to weed around the raspberry canes and give them a mulch of farmyard manure before the next Atlantic storm sweeps across us on Wednesday!
    All of our charity shops are closed in lockdown so there’s not much incentive to sort cupboards and the like as there’s no where to take the unwanted possessions. We are waiting….

  23. Rosalind Martz

    The chipmunks are coming out of their deep sleep and are starting to show up under the birdfeeders. Next will come the red squirrels.

Comments are closed.