Backyard July 16 2012

BonBon Break



After a very misty spring… After a lot of complaining about cool temperatures throughout June… After sending my son barking to fend off deer…the real produce is starting to show signs of life.

Spring provided plentiful lettuce, radishes, peas (oh those sweet,delicious peas!), chard and kale to our table. Early Summer welcomed our Seascape Strawberries as a garden treat and the harvesting of 46 heads of pungent garlic. What is next? Ohhh…the veggies have been busy with our warm temperatures this past week. Come and take a peek…

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About Val: Val is the creator of the Food & Garden site Mental Chew and the co-editor of Bonbon Break. She is a former middle school science teacher who put her career on hold to be at home with her two babes.

When Val breaks away from her keyboard, she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, camping, tidepooling, birdwatching, sailing, traveling and potlucks. She gets a kick out of combing the web for recipes and then adapting them for her husband, family and friends to enjoy. Through her love of organic cooking, she became interested in growing her own produce and Mental Chew gave her the chance to combine her love of food and gardening as well as explore her new passion of photography. Follow Val on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.


The moment I launched this website I started down a path towards raw hypocrisy.

I had no idea at the time that this was what I was doing, and it certainly wasn’t my intention.

Nonetheless, looking back over the past year+ of posting, it is clear that hypocrisy was inevitable.

I have these ideals, you see. And, if you are a regular reader, they are ideals you likely share.

Ideals are good, but life is messy. Life has a way of kicking ideals, and people who cling to them with too much rigor, in the balls.

It is a great irony that attempting to gas up and start a life of quiet, slow-ish contemplation and homegrown living is often a more exhausting, overwhelming, noisy and faster-paced task than we might like.

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About Erica: What happens when a professional chef turns into a gardening fanatic? Can ‘homemaker’ be a political statement? How self-sufficiant can a family be on one-third of an acre in suburban Seattle? Where is the right balance between living cheap and living well? Can one ever have too many rutabagas? How much lawn do growing kids really need when there are fruit trees to be planted? Erica blogs about gardening, cooking, urban homesteading and living slow-ish in the Maritime Northwest.

Join the conversation at Northwest Edible Life and at the NW Edible Facebook Page, Twitter and Pinterest.


Slowly but surely I am accepting that I cannot be the architect of my girls’ childhood—I can participate, do what I can to guide them, but they’ll draw their own conclusions, find their own joy and build their own memories. What I can do is give them an incredible backdrop and template for believing in using your strength, smarts and imagination to do whatever you want. It was for all these reasons that last summer we built the girls a club house.

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About Amanda: she is using her Pacific Northwest roots to raise three daughters in the Adirondacks while running an ad agency and a retail shop with her husband. She believes in eating organic, but has an abiding love for all manner of bacon ingestion. She’s been blogging and worshipping her kids since 2004. Follow Amanda on Facebook, Twitter or email.


In hopes of instilling a sense of awe into a 5-year old boy, Darci the STEM mom resorts to using Lego guys as a measurement tool. She describes how she is trying to engage her pre-K son into the topics of seed germination, soil, and corn growth, by taking him into a nearby cornfield and measuring the height of the plants. Armed with the official yellow data collection clipboard, the STEM mom is reminded often she is dealing with a short attention span, and must keep the activity light and exciting.

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About Darci:’s mission is to provide a community where public, private, and homeschooling teachers can connect and share inquiry science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities. Darci’s passion is helping kids of all ages learn about the process of science, rather than the facts. Because she homeschools her young children, teaches high school, and provides professional development for teachers, articles in the same week may vary from the science behind glow-in-the-dark oobleck (geared to preschoolers, but fun for any age)—to sharing a high-school lab where students must remove the “contaminates” from a pseudo marine oil spill. Friend Darci on Facebook or find her on Google+.


We actually sleep in our minivan quite often. Over the past 5 months I’d say we’ve slept in the van at least 6 times. There are occasions when a tent just isn’t practical. Wind storms, unseasonably cold weather, precipitation, sleeping right off the side of the highway, etc. Check it out! Looks cozy, right?

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About Lindsey: Lindsey is an environmental educator, her husband’s a biologist. The outdoors seems to be infused into everything they do! She blogs at, a blog for parents dedicated to taking full advantage of the experiences the natural world has to offer their family. When she’s not blogging (or pregnant), she can be found relaxing at Lake Tahoe, biking the Sierras before dawn or making a serious batch of mud pies with her boys. Follow Lindsey on Twitter & Facebook.