Since we picked our first strawberries of the season on April 21, we've been keeping track of how much the garden has been producing. Now, just over 3 months later, we've passed the 100 pint mark for strawberries. Yes, that's 100 pints of strawberries from our tiny backyard and they show no signs of slowing down for the season yet. We pick strawberries almost every evening, but when we're weary of the job we call our neighbors and tell them to come and pick at our "U-pick Farm." We eat them almost every single day. Believe it or not, it is possible to tire of fresh, organic strawberries, so we're traded some for other garden produce from a friend a block away, taken them to every potluck or backyard barbecue we've gone to this summer, and used them frequently as gifts.

Our raspberry crop has been amazing too. In the last 10 weeks we've reaped 55 cups of raspberries, though sadly, they are about done for the season. Our blueberries have been much fewer and farther between. In June, we picked apricots from Paul's parents' three trees. Our plum harvest has just begun (we've picked 46 so far), our apple tree has about 100 apples on it, and our grape vines have some promising bunches fattening as we write this.

What does all this mean? Besides the fact that we don't have to worry about getting enough fiber or vitamin C in our diets, our farmers' market bill has significantly decreased this summer. Our total fruit purchases this season have added up to about a dozen peaches and one cantaloupe.

Madeleine recently turned four after a countdown from 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 to 3-11/12. The lesson in fractions came after she told us one day with a big sigh, "I'm tired of being 3-1/2. I've been 3-1/2 for a long time." she celebrated in our backyard with a few girls from her preschool who enjoyed some arts and crafts and then some water play. The Slip-n-Slide had the girls squealing and shrieking in delight.

Madeleine is in a pleasant, helpful, and delightful stage these days. She cheerfully helps to set and clear the table, and is always excited to help hang up and fold laundry. Lucky for us the laundry line is just about at her level and she can hang an entire load almost by herself. Today she told us we couldn't leave for the downtown street festival yet because she wanted to finish folding Rachel's diapers first. (Yes, we know we're lucky.) Preschool continues to be a hit, she loves to make up songs and sing and dance in our living room, and she and Rachel remain great playmates. She can ride her bike two miles in a day, walk a mile, or get around the neighborhood on the scooter she got for her birthday present without us tiring her out.

For months now she has been entertaining us with some great quotes. Some of the better ones in recent history are:
  • "Mommy, I just noticed that my little toe is smaller than my little finger."
  • After spending a night away from Rachel, Madeleine said "Whenever I'm away from her and it's nighttime, I try to dream about her."
  • "I like strawberries, raspberries, kale, and fava beans from our garden, but I don't like blueberries as much."
  • "I like to ride a bike better than go in a car because then I don't have to smell that stinky gas smell."
  • "Mommy, I just realized Rachel walks like a penguin. She wobbles."
  • As she went out on the back deck for lunch one day, "It's a beautiful day! The bees are a'buzzin' and the plants are growing!"
We look forward to this wondeful stage of hers lasting for the next 17 years, at least....

(And here are some family photos from the last couple months...)