The five little things that made my week…
1. Collecting calendula seeds and fresh eggs from the garden. One of the new hens has started laying those beautiful brown eggs, but as I haven’t caught her in the act yet, I don’t know who it is!
Thinning your seedlings is a necessary evil.
On the one hand, thinning helps produce greater yields in the garden, since overcrowded seedlings compete for sun, nutrients, and moisture. When they lack adequate space to develop roots, they can become stunted and unproductive. They’re also more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases if there’s not enough air circulation between plants.
On the other hand, thinning can be tedious work if (like me) you tend to sprinkle your seeds pretty liberally in the soil and are faced with hundreds of seedlings to thin every season.
Have you ever noticed that, unlike the smooth-textured surfaces of seeds such as spinach, radish, cucumber, and squash, the seeds of beets (and their cousins, Swiss chard) are rough and crinkled, almost like someone just jammed a bunch of seeds together?
That’s because beet and chard seeds are a bunch of seeds jammed into one seed.
Perhaps the sweetest moment of an author’s life (aside from the second we hit “send” upon completion of our manuscript) is the day the very first copy of our book arrives. And that day, my friends, has come.
Though The New Camp Cookbook officially releases on July 1, 2017, we (the publisher and I) have received our initial copies to read through, hold tight, and squeal over. (The latter being mostly me, that is.) It’s surreal to see a project of this magnitude come to life in the form of a neatly bound 224-page hardcover, and while I had visions of how the book might turn out, I’m blown away by how utterly good it is now that I have it in my hands!
The printer, editors, and design team did a killer job, and the images that Will captured on our road trips all over the American West are incredible. The square shape and smooth, matte pages give the book a modern, artistic feel that I’m really loving. I am so excited for you to see it, and I hope you’ll preorder a copy (via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, or your favorite independent bookseller) so you’ll have it in time for your summer camping trips!
I’m often asked by my readers, “Are preorders really that important?” or “Doesn’t your publisher do all the work of promoting the book?” And my responses to those questions are, “Yes! Yes!” and “To a certain extent.”
What a month. What. a. month!
It went something like this: Week one, traipse through the snow in Tahoe. (Have you seen the video of my baby snowboarding in Tahoe Donner? Twelve months old and already riding like she’s too cool for school.) Week two, brave an 8,000-mile flight to Vietnam with a baby and sweat buckets in the tropics. Week three, watch my crawling baby turn into a walking toddler while visiting pagodas in Myanmar. Week four, take aforementioned toddler for her first swim in the South China Sea. Week five, come home to the first egg from the new flock (it’s blue!) and a wildly weedy garden.
In early spring, before my basil has grown big enough to harvest, I usually buy them as “living herbs” in the supermarket. You’ve seen them in the produce aisle: the fresh herbs in little pots with their roots still attached.
The logic behind these living herbs is that they stay fresher longer than the cut sprigs sold in clamshells. I’ll sometimes keep mine on the windowsill for up to three weeks, pinching off a stem here and there while I’m cooking. For most people, however, the herbs have already keeled over by this point. Living herbs are produced with the ordinary consumer in mind, so they aren’t meant to last more than a week or two.
I’ve been gardening, blogging, and living here for the last seven years, yet this is the first time I’ve ever done a garden tour. Needless to say, it’s been long overdue!
I think I’ve always held back because there were often other things I wanted to do first to get the garden “camera ready.” Things like blowing the leaves, raking the paths, rebuilding the beds, waiting for plants to grow bigger and better or putting in new plants and waiting for those to grow bigger and better. A working garden is neverending, right?