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a low-key celebration

shovel soil

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Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had the most excellent of weekends. Craig had a rare full weekend off, so we made sure to make the most of it.

The weather was calling for off-and-on rain all day Saturday, but we decided to chance it and just head outside early in the morning and get to working before the rain started. We slammed a couple of smoothies for breakfast, slapped on our work clothes and were out in the garden before 9 am. I met up with Mr. Shovel, who is very quickly becoming one of my most frequent companions. I don’t think I’ve shoveled nearly as much in my entire life as I have in the past few weeks.

shovel soil

Our first goal was to fill in some of our raised beds with topsoil, which meant, you guessed it, shoveling. Lots of shoveling. Puppyface supervised.

raised beds puppyface

Once the raised beds were filled up, I took to taming our wild grapevines with the pruning shears.

shears pruning

The vines produce super well each year, and this year, we’d really love to put the grapes to good use. I had to keep reminding myself of all the delicious jams and jellies and (maybe even) wines we’d be consuming, because man, trimming grapevines is one annoying, tedious job. There be lots of vines in these here grapevines.

grapevines

While I was tackling the grapes, Craig was spending some time working with our cold frame. I’d filled it up with top soil (more shoveling) and planted some seeds in it on Friday, but we had some cold weather coming in and we still had to figure out the covering to keep the plants all warm and toasty. After some stapling, nailing and rolling, Craig had fashioned a nice little cover to help our cold-weather crops start producing early.

cold frame

If all goes well, in the next few weeks, we should be eating salads with fresh lettuce and spinach from the cold frame. Woohoo! I can’t wait!

seeds

Craig headed inside and grabbed us some lunch (reheated pizza, plus some veggies and dates), and we ate our meal right by the garden.

lunch plow

After lunch, we went to tackle some dead grasses around the pool, which meant I spent a lot of time behind our little garden tractor, towing trailer after trailer full of brush to the compost pile.

tractor

The grasses ended up taking longer than expected, so we had to break in the middle of them and head inside for some very important mid-Saturday TV. IU basketball, son!

basketball tv

Unfortunately, the Hoosiers ended up losing (boo!), but we couldn’t wallow too long because we still had a lot of daylight to use and a lot of work to do. So we headed back outside. This time in sunglasses and a tanktop because it became very sunny and very warm while we were inside. Rain? What rain?

me outside

We hacked on the grasses for a little while longer until we were finally finished. And then it was time for pretty much my least favorite task in the whole wide world—sap collection.

maple sap buckets

We already have plans in the works for how to streamline this process next year, but this year, we didn’t want to buy more equipment than necessary (especially since we didn’t know if sugaring would work out for us), so we’ve been using things we have kicking around the house for sap collecting. Which means these giant, glass, heavy-as-hell containers are our sap buckets. When full, they’re about 30 pounds each. And the walk back up to the house is about a 1/4 mile of straight uphill pain.

feet sap

Two trips later, and I was done for. We were planning on starting to work on finishing up our garden fence, but the clouds were starting to roll in and the temperature was dropping, so we decided to call it a day and relax with some drinks and fishing on the lake. Once the temperature got too cold to handle (you know, dropping 20° in an hour, hello, weird Indiana weather) we headed in for some dinner and TV to end out the day.

lake drink

Sunday was a big day for us! Not only was it St. Patrick’s Day, but it was also our 6th anniversary! For our previous five anniversaries, we have absolutely beautiful weather. Sunny, warm, perfect for outdoor adventures. We’d pretty much banked on the nice weather and had planned on going on a hike and picnic, but those plans were squashed when we woke up on Sunday to this.

snow

Yup, sun and 72° on Saturday. Snow and 30° on Sunday. We also had thunderstorms on Sunday night. Go home Indiana weather, you’re drunk.

snow

So, instead of heading out in the weather, we decided to clear off our to-do lists and just have a chill day. It turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise that the weather wasn’t cooperating. If it had been nice and sunny, chances are, we would have felt guilty about spending the day on a hike instead of working in the garden. The yucky weather gave us no choice but to just spend a day enjoying our anniversary.

Craig lit us a fire and, for most of the morning, we just laid on the couch in front of the flames drinking tea, listening to NPR and watching the snow fall. I even managed to get some reading in. This may have been one of our last fires for the season, so it was nice to enjoy it together on a lazy Sunday morning.

fireplace

Around lunchtime, I finally pulled myself off the couch and started to pull together our picnic. Just because the weather was yucky didn’t mean we were skipping our picnic! Craig cleared off the coffee table, and we put out a picnic blanket and our spread—meats, cheese, crackers, fruits and wine and champagne. We nibbled and talked and enjoyed the fire. And we were warm and cozy inside. I’d say it was a pretty successful picnic!

picnic fireplace

Once our bellies were full, I did a little more reading and Craig did a little video-gaming before we both ended up dozing off into a nap. I hardly ever nap anymore, and dude, I forgot how much I love it. Once we woke up, I did have a little bit of work to do, so I headed to the kitchen. First up, I made maple sugar using our maple syrup. It’s so crazy! You heat it to a certain temperature, and then stir it like crazy (I used my mixer) and that makes it all crystallize and the water evaporate. In the end, you’ve got granulated maple sugar. Science!

maple sugar

Then I started to work on a recipe you’ll see tomorrow! We had some very important TV viewing that was going to happen that evening, and I wanted to make sure we had a good dinner to go along with it.

camera burgers

Dinner was ready about 30 seconds before the big, exciting TV event came on—Selection Sunday!

selection show tv

If you’re a basketball fan, you know this is one of the biggest days of the year. If you aren’t, Selection Sunday is where the brackets get announced for the NCAA tournament. You find out when you’re playing, where you’re playing, and who you’re playing. My beloved Hoosiers are a #1 seed, y’all! And we ended up getting a pretty good regional draw. Overall, I’m really happy with how our Selection Sunday went. As tradition, Craig and I both went up to the office right after the show was over (and dinner was eaten) to fill out our brackets. Of course, I have Indiana taking it all, but it’s not going to be an easy road. Not. At. All.

bracket

We worked on our brackets for a few hours (and may or may not have filled out a bracket on behalf of Puppy and Kittyface—they pick the teams with the animal mascots), and then it was time for bed. Craig had to get up early in the morning for work, and I had to get up early to catch up on all the dishes that I neglected over the weekend.

Overall, maybe it wasn’t the most exciting way to celebrate our sixth year of marriage (and definitely not like last year’s celebration), but it was still so perfectly us and full of so much love.

flower stock

If the weather ends up holding out, this week is going to be super busy for us. In the Spring (and maybe all Summer long) there is a seemingly never-ending list of outside tasks that need to be finished. It’s crazy how much time is devoted to just baseline upkeep and maintenance of 10 acres, and, when you add onto that all the projects we want to accomplish, it’s a lot of work. Good thing we are young, naive and able-bodied, right?

I gotta go shovel something.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? How’d the weather treat you in your neck of the woods?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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12 Responses
  1. Your weekend looks pretty wonderful to me! And Happy Anniversary! 🙂
    Greg and I have been together for 6 years, but married for just one! (and a half)
    Our weather has been RIDICULOUS too. It was cold all weekend, then snowy yesterday and now the sun is out and it’s getting into the 50s.It keeps going back and forth- I wish it would just get warm and stay warm. I want my flip flops.
    That is SO COOL that you made your own maple sugar (like, REALLY your own!). I llooooooove that stuff. I put it in everything.

  2. Becky

    Your weekend sounds really nice. I just love a picnic, does not matter if it is in the living room or sea side. Picnic’s are just fun.

    We always do low key anniversaries, just spending time together out of rat race is so nice.
    We had a low key weekend ourselves. Which was nice considering we are getting 16 inches of snow tomorrow!!

  3. I was really excited because ALL three of the big Kansas schools got in top 10! I hope they last for a while, at least.
    And I love seeing posts where you’re working around your land. I live in an apartment right now and it’s so fun to see what you’re doing while both wishing I could do it and kinda glad I don’t have to, haha!

  4. Michelle

    Oooh that picture of snow makes me shiver! I directed a friend’s wedding Friday night. I was so nervous- outdoors, at 5:30 in March. I fully expected for everyone to freeze! But it warmed up and we had 4 days of brilliantly warm and sunny weather. Now it’s back to rainy and cold while they’re basking in the sun in Jamaica!

    It was so warm Sunday I wanted to plant out all my herbs on my apartment patio but I know we’d have at least one more cold snap. It’s so hard to be patient!!!

    1. Cassie

      Our wedding was in March (obviously), too, and it was SO COLD on our wedding day! We were inside city hall, but I remember waiting outside for the Justice of the Peace to unlock the doors and freezing in my dress.

      I’m so glad their wedding warmed up and turned out awesome!

  5. Sarah

    sounds like you had a lovely weekend! we’re having some crazy weather here in Ireland too. I went to the Paddy’s day parade in Dublin city centre and it alternated between rain, sleet, hail and snow the entire morning! It was still great craic though 🙂

  6. Krystina

    Your weekend actually sounds really lovely. I enjoy simple things like working around the house and yard, running errands and having some quality time with loved ones. An indoor picnic with a roaring fire sounds incredibly romantic.

    This weekend was simple but nice – I went grocery shopping on Saturday (a favorite form of “me” time), laid by the pool, went for a run in the park with a beautiful view of sail boats and treated myself to some fun new nail polish.

    1. Cassie

      I actually really like grocery shopping, too. It’s kinda nice to spend an hour or so just browsing the aisles by myself.

  7. I like your life posts just as much as your recipes 🙂 You are a gem. Can we be friends? LOL. What a perfect day! I’m excited about the cold frame. Will instructions or at least where you got the idea from be on the Broken Plow?! I have a tiny one that is wood with a window on top but yours is HUGE. I really like it.

    1. Cassie

      Hahah, we already are friends, my dear! 🙂

      We hadn’t planned on posting the cold frame because it was kinda bandaged together, but I can ask Craig if he thinks he remembers enough about it to post.

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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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