Yard 2 Dinner Plate

It's only cool to take pictures of your food if you grow it !

Barker-Elston Family Pocatello, Idaho

barker-elston 12.13

This year for Christmas we packed up that car and headed home to Topeka for a few days. While the Time was definitely enjoyable it is never long enough. Even so,  Sam was able to share in the celebration of his 3rd birthday with Family and Grandpa who turned 91 this year.

Sam’s most exciting birthday present was definitely the snowshoes !  The day that we first tried them out is was very cold, only about 10 degrees or so. Regardless , of braving the cold, Sam is definitely developing a huge love for the outdoors as he asked Santa for a fishing pole this year.

elise &sam snow shoe

Summer 2013

Hi, we’re the Barker-Elstons, Elise, Chris, and Sam.

I grew up in Topeka, KS, and Chris grew up in Phoenix, AZ, but we moved to Idaho for Chris’s job in 2007. We have fallen in love with the wild landscape here and spend a lot of our time exploring it — whether it is through gardening, hiking, or just enjoying the views from our own backyard.

Professionally speaking, I am a PhD candidate in English, working on my dissertation on Jane Austen pop culture. But my day to day life looks a lot more like what you would expect of a stay at home mom. I move back and forth between these identities pretty effortlessly because they complement each other so well.

I got interested in gardening when I was pregnant with Sam in 2010. I became obsessed with the idea of feeding my child exclusively with local food products, and ideally things I grew myself. That isn’t a very reasonable goal in Idaho, when the growing season is shorter than many other places in the rest of the country, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing my best.

Notice how we have green tomatoes on one side and brown dead desert sage on the other!

Notice how we have green tomatoes on one side and brown dead desert sage on the other!

And indeed, our garden has been very slow in producing this year. While that isn’t out of the norm for the colder average temperatures we see in Idaho, this year we have had trouble with a leak in our drip system and ended up losing a bunch of lettuce and some tomato plants.

Chris made some beautiful custom wooden window boxes for herbs in our kitchen dining room last year. I love having basil, chives, mint, and thyme to use whenever I want. We’ll be re-starting cilantro, parsley, and cammomile soon.

Our indoor boxes. Only 4/7 in use because of an aphid infestation in the others. Easier just to remove them!

Our indoor boxes. Only 4/7 in use because of an aphid infestation in the others. Easier just to remove them!

The indoor herbs really helped us get through the long winter when we were craving some green this past year!

Enjoying our parsley and cilantro seedlings before the aphids got them.

Enjoying our parsley and cilantro seedlings before the aphids got them.

We have an aromatic garden in our backyard with lavender, rosemary, and sage, along with a bunch of salvias just for the eyes. I use the lavender the most, in teas, water, and cooking experiments. And every year I harvest the rest for sachets.

In the process of cleaning up the sage which I allowed to flower so I could collect seeds.

In the process of cleaning up the sage which I allowed to flower so I could collect seeds.

Sam enjoys watching the bumblebees buzz throught the lavender all day.

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

But to be honest, I haven’t as bothered about the problems in my garden as I would have been last year, when I found it more difficult to get out and about. Now I have a mobile two year old who is full of energy and who can keep up with me on the hiking trail, where my heart truly lies.

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