...yesterday was a long one. But a very fun, thoroughly enjoyable one. I had a fantastic time.
Thursdays are the days that a few friends from the military co-op and I gather at one of their houses and learn all kinds of new (to us) and interesting gardening techniques. I love this class. C, the gardener, is amazingly zen and patient with all of us, and she is a veritable fountain of gardening knowledge. I am so impressed by her. Over the past several weeks, we have released butterflies into the garden...
...learned all about composting,...
... discussed the various bugs and other creatures that can be found in a garden and which are beneficial (or not), before going out on a hunt for as many different bugs as we could find in C's garden,...
... had lessons on subjects from the importance of bees to gardening and the health of the planet as a whole, to square-foot and container gardening as it relates to "density," and so much more. C is an awesome teacher, and I'm so thankful we decided to join her in this endeavor.
We've learned about using egg shells and coffee grounds on plants, and rose hips, and acid-loving plants, and gosh, so much more than I can remember right now. Yesterday, we were taught about drip lines and sprinkling Espom salts there for roses, tomatoes, and other veggies, to help them grow bigger. I'd never have thought salt could be good for plants! Shows what I know.
Sophia enjoying one of C's bran muffins, before going out hunting for sticks, so we could make swings for drying sprigs of herbs and what-have-you.
This is my amazing, incredible, awesome friend Jen, and young S., who is not her son but someone else's there, being so proud of the corn that she planted weeks earlier. It grew the tallest!
Would you like a not-quite-ripe blueberry? I think I did eat this one, and it was still fine.
Here, C was helping us make mason bee habitats, to attract these important critters to our own home gardens. So far, no one has gotten a mason bee to join their garden yet. Fingers are crossed!
After Gardening 101 is over for the day, we all get in C's beautiful pool for a swim, and at some point have a picnic lunch alongside the water before going in for a final dip. Sometimes the moms swim, and sometimes we just let the kids go in while we sit out to watch, chit-chat, and do our knitting.
It's been a beautiful experience, really. I'm loving it.
Normally, that's it, and then we all go home. But yesterday, there was so much more. Jen's son, G, was turning five, so we had his Cars birthday party. I made the cake the night before at Jen's house, and he was SOOOOO excited. It was very cute. (Some parts got a little messy because G couldn't resist touching his cake. Hehe.)
I made him some cupcakes, too, which turned out to be great because so many people were there, the cake wouldn't have been enough. But don't look too closely at them, because they got a little oopsy during transport to C's house!
After that, Rob joined us, along with my friend T from Bunco, for a super-long canning session. I was picked as a host for a Ball House Party, and C agreed to hold it at her house for me. That was a HUGE gift.
We all had SO much fun, and tons of laughs, while making our strawberry and blueberry preserves, raspberry jam, peach preserves, and cherry syrup - 31 jars in all. A productive night, in many more ways than one.
I'm so blessed to be part of such a wonderful group, and I'm lucky they'll have me!
And of course, now I'm all gung-ho about canning and want to buy cases and cases of jars, hit the Farmer's Market for produce, and fill up our pantry. I can't wait to get started!