Oh my. Somehow it has been over two whole weeks since my last post! Sorry, dear readers, for giving you the short end of the stick. My excuses would be "wedding cake" and "garden".
Friends of ours were married last weekend, and needed a custom wedding cake (completely lactose free). I had made the wedding cakes for both of the groom's sisters, so even though I had "vowed and declared" I wasn't making any more wedding cakes, I didn't feel right turning this couple down (not to mention we love the groom's parents!).
I made and froze each cake (6 total) ahead of time, working here and there as I had a chunk of time. Then the weekend of I had to transport everything 2 1/2 hours away to assemble and decorate. My sister lives about 5 minutes from where the wedding was being held, and graciously allowed me to invade her kitchen and dining room for a couple days. I don't know if it was just experience or that this frosting had no butter in it, but the cake iced and decorated easily and beautifully.
The actual decorations on the cake were simple - (real) ribbon around the bottom of each tier with a bead border on the top and bottom. The white hydrangeas and roses with their green leaves finished it off. I think this is my favorite finished product yet. Simple yet so elegant. Even though I cut and put the flowers on the cake RIGHT before the wedding, they still wilted to about 1/2 their size by the time the reception started. The flowers originally FILLED the space between each tier. If I work with real hydrangeas again, I will get some of those little stem vases, I think, so they will hold their full look longer.
The weeks leading up to the wedding I had to let go of everything but the bare minimum in the garden. Weeds have grown into jungles that I still haven't gotten around to taming. The green beans were getting going good right before I left. Ugh, it was hard to need to pick and process green beans AND need to get everything packed and ready to go all in the same 24 hour period. I ended up not being able to do anything with the tomatoes, even though there were several ripe and ready. I picked them hurriedly right before I left and shoved them in the refrigerator. I did get a picture of a couple of them - they are gorgeous :)
If I remember right, these are the Big Beef variety. I grew them just because I found the seed packet marked down to $.25 and figured "why not". But I LOVE these tomatoes! They have a beautiful, round shape, they are nice in size (see that almost 4" tomato?!) and relatively meaty inside. I like a big tomato for sandwiches, but many of the "big" varieties are very juicy and end up all bulbous and weird shaped. I think this is a variety I will grow again. So far I have canned 5 pints of plain, diced tomato (peeled and seeded).
My first green bean picking after the wedding weekend yielded about 5 gallons of beans! It took me an entire morning to pick - and of course that included breaks for meeting Susannah's needs. I wasn't sure how I was going to get all of those beans done, and then my MIL offered to snap them for me Wednesday evening while we were at church! I was so very grateful for her help. Since then I've picked about 1 1/2 gal, the beans are winding down pretty quickly. If history repeats itself, though, they should produce a second round if I leave them in the ground. I would like to get more beans, so I'm hoping this will happen.
Susannah just woke up so I need to go get some breakfast for her. Hopefully I will post again before 2 weeks go past again.