A monthly list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Oh my goodness, welcome to September! It's looking a bit different for a lot of us, but at least we can rely on some beautiful fall weather and leaves changing, right?
I'm in a harvesting season right now - probably making too much addictive tomato chutney because I ran out a few months ago and I don't want that to happen next year - or ever, lol.
We're also trying to get more done on the farmhouse, though things like tiling are taking WAY longer than we expected. You can follow me on Instagram where I'll try to keep up with our progress in stories (and highlights if you miss the stories).
Here are the good things this month - feel free to share your good things in the comments, too!
I spent most of August like I'm sure most of us did, just trying to enjoy the simple things. One of which for me is the warm weather!
I tried to read out on the garden patio at least once or twice a week so I could enjoy the strawberry sunflowers and the honey bees on the white marigolds.
I also harvested a lot this month, including beans, beans, and more beans - plus zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and hot peppers. You can see some of them in the vegetables above that are ready for grilling (coated in olive oil and yummy all-purpose spice rub).
And when the first tomatoes ripened around the 20th? Happy garden dance!
How did you enjoy the last full month of summer?
Planting Fall Garlic
While garlic can be planted in the spring in long season areas, you'll get the largest growth by planting it in late summer and fall (wherever 4-6 weeks before your first frost puts you on the calendar).
For us in the valley of the PNW, that's the first couple weeks of September with an October 15 frost date.
I went to order bulbs last week and saw they're already selling out, even though most don't start shipping until September!
So if you haven't gotten your garlic bulbs yet, here are some of my favorite online places you can order from (or try a local nursery):
Pinetree Garden Seeds
Johnny's Selected Seeds - Note: Johnny's is already sold out of it's stock! I found this page for other winter harvest recommendations, though, which is informative.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Nichol's Garden Nursery
What about planting garlic from the store?
You totally can - I have in the past with good results. But garden nurseries offer different varieties to try, especially hardneck which is harder to find in stores.
It's also certified and grown for stock, so is often hardier and fit to a specific climate. This makes it typically grow larger heads, in my experience.
Goji Berries For Eye Health
A year or so ago I got a baseline eye exam because I have some macular degeneration in my family history. I asked about the vitamins for eyes you can buy and the optometrist said I didn't need them yet (my eyes were healthy).
However, he suggested eating healthy (yep...) and adding dried Goji Berries to my diet. I was surprised, though I went home and ordered some. I add about a tablespoon to my granola in the morning, so it's been easy to incorporate into my diet.
When I researched, I found that the berries have scientific evidence for helping not only eye health, but also (source):
- Provides immune system support.
- Protects against cancer.
- Promotes healthy skin.
- Stabilizes blood sugar.
- Improves depression, anxiety, and sleep.
- Prevents liver damage.
Those are some impressive berries! Do you eat goji berries?
Dollar Tree Online Ordering
You know how you go to the dollar store to get things for a gift idea and you need a number of the same thing? But then you can only find 4 of the 10 you need?
That totally happened to me when I was looking for small baskets.
Then I discovered you can order from Dollar Tree online and get just what you need for just $1.80 handling fee and then pick it up at the store.
Such a time saver! Who knew?
Two of the books this month are audiobooks we listened to as a family while driving to, through, and from Yellowstone. It made the trip go that much faster - we all enjoyed them!
Sleeping Giants, Sylvian Nuevel. This was a book Brian and I listened to together in the car - we always try to have a good audiobook and have found some favorites this way. This one is a sci-fi book with an interesting premise - a girl falls into a hole and is discovered in the palm of a giant metal hand. Years later she is a part of a group trying to find all the other pieces of this alien-type robot throughout the world and see if they can put it together.
It's told only in military dispatches, journal entries, and interviews with a nameless person (a "man in black?"). This format can be interesting, but for both Brian and I, we felt it hard to connect with the characters here. There were some surprising things and it was a fun read, but we don't really have enough interest to read the other two books in the trilogy.
Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier. We chose this book as a family after reading that it was the top of a list of the best books of the 20th century. I knew what it was about, and remembered vaguely watching the Hitchcock movie of it, but that's it.
It's the story of a shy, orphaned girl who's the companion of an obnoxious American vacationing in Monte Carlo in the 1930s. She's befriended by an older wealthy widowed Englishman, and in a whirlwind romance (that's not very romantic, actually) finds herself married to him and going to live at his large estate. There she realizes that his dead wife, Rebecca, hovers over everything.
It's a bit noir in that much of the tension is in her head, but there is a housekeeper who works to keep Rebecca's spirit alive. We were interested to note that we never learn the heroine's name - it's Rebecca we are inundated with. Probably a lot like how she feels.
We all really enjoyed it, though we wondered about it being the best of the 20th century. And we came home and watched the Hitchcock movie and realized he didn't really capture the book and it really hasn't held up to time.
Code of the Woosters, PG Woodhouse. After Rebecca, we wanted something light and fun for the rest of the Yellowstone road trip. Our daughter's friend came with us and she hadn't read anything by PG Woodhouse, so we wanted to introduce her to one of our favorites.
If you haven't read Woodhouse, Code of the Woosters is a good place to start. It introduces one of his most beloved characters, Bertie Wooster and his indomitable valet, Jeeves. Not to mention the family and friends who come in and out of his life.
I read this first in college (I think it was the first book to make me laugh out loud), and again to our kids, and of course watched the PBS versions with Huge Laurie. And honestly, it never gets old. Hearing it read is a treat, too.
Conjure Women, Afia Atakora. This was a fascinating book that will probably make my best of list! It's time frame goes back and forth between before the civil war and after on a remote plantation and tells the story of a healing woman, her daughter who grows up to be a healer, too, and the plantation owner's daughter who befriends the "conjure woman's" daughter.
While it doesn't downplay the slavery era, it's not only about all the horrible things that happen (like I found The Kitchen House to be). You get to see how the slaves survive after the war because of their remoteness, how they adapted and lived. I felt like I was transported to their world with the author's writing (and this is her first book).
Romans 8-16 For You, Timothy Keller. This was the second book in the series to finish out the book of Romans in the Bible. I appreciate Timothy Keller's real-life delivery of the text and how to apply it to our right-now lives.
Close Enough to Touch, Colleen Oakley. This is such an interesting concept - a woman who learned as a child that she had an allergy to being touched by people and so becomes a recluse in her 20s. Various reasons make her work to overcome her fear and she meets other people who like and befriend her.
She also meets someone she falls in love with who pushes her to try new therapies for her allergy.
There are interesting characters, believable plot points (well, except for the way she overcame 9 years of being a recluse in one day, but it is fiction...) and I became pretty invested in the characters and couldn't wait to see how it would end.
Darn that ending! Which actually was a non-ending. And after 7 years of no contact with the love interest.
Endings can really make or break a book for me and I'm just not on board with the whole "let the reader figure out what they want" type of endings. Sigh. It bothered me for a few days if you can believe it!
A fun book, but you've been warned, lol.
Endeavor Season 7, PBS. We've loved most of the Endeavor seasons and this was good with all the mysteries and backstories of the characters we've come to expect. There was even a twist we didn't see coming in episode 2 for Endeavor.
But...it was our least favorite season. While it was cool that they wrote and put on their own opera, it made the series arc a little overwrought for us, especially at the end.
Umbrella Academy, Netflix. Our kids are watching this series, so we saw the first episode, which we thought was good with a different concept of X-Men type abilities. Not sure if we will watch anymore, though!
Radioactive, Amazon. I had read Radium Girls and also an Audible Original of Marie Curie's life, so I was super interested in this new movie with Rosamund Pike as Madam Curie. It was good, though not totally what I expected, and I recommend it.
Troop Zero, Amazon. We watched this on a whim one night when we wanted something light and fun. It reminded me a lot of Because of Winn Dixie, which I loved. It's a pre-teen girl who is a little lost without her mother and how she finds friends and a place for herself as a misfit. Heartwarming, even though there's one scene towards the end that was off-putting (not violent or sexual or anything, just weird).
Project Power, Netflix. We watched this with our daughter. It's about a drug that a company is "testing" by making it available for free to kids on the street that gives the user a power for 5 minutes. It's different for different people but may involve them being turned into a firestorm, having incredible strength, invisibility, energy bursts, repelling gunshots, and more. You can probably guess it's pretty violent. I thought that Jamie Foxx did a fantastic job in this.
The Aeronauts, Amazon. This was a beautifully shot movie with a somewhat slower storyline than what we're used to, but it kept my interest the whole way (Brian is another story...). I looked it up and found that the main male character, James Glaisher, was a real person who pioneered many of the meteorological methods used today.
And the main female character was based on a real balloon pilot who lost her husband off a flight similar to the character. There were some things changed (like they didn't fly together - Glaisher actually broke the height record with a male pilot), but I enjoy a historical movie (or book) that has some basis in reality.
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List!
If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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