A look back at 2013…

A week ago I woke up thinking it would be fun to go back through a year’s worth of photos and remind myself of my favorite moments of 2013. What a trip! It’s incredible how much happens in 12 months. I went through my photo stash and picked some of my favorite pics. At the risk of boring everyone to tears (with the possible exception of our parents), this is how 2013 went down for me and Jon, according to my photo album:

We kicked off the year off with fish tacos at Aquario, our favorite taco spot in San Jose del Cabo

Jon eating fish tacos at Aquario, San Jose del Cabo

then came home and ordered a big delivery of firewood for our woodstove because it does get cold in San Diego. Really. Jon discovered a weird looking fox in the woodpile.

Fox in the woodpile!

After scaring off the intruder I cooked one of my favorite healthy meals, Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and Caramelized Onions.

Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts

Lasagna was also made and devoured (this happened repeatedly using variations of this recipe from CHOW.com – we make two at a time, use low-fat ricotta and add lots of veggies).

Lasagne
We ran out of patience with the giant Wall Of White in our kitchen

kitchen_cabinets_n_before
so we put brushed nickel handles on four of the doors and then we removed the center doors! Yeah, you heard me. We were like animals in there.

We gathered our prettiest dishes and artfully crammed them in there where they can be easily seen, used and enjoyed.

kitchen_cab_n_after

The kitchen “remodel” got Jon all fired up, so he built us a beautiful steel banister.

custom steel banister by scraphound studio
I made my first “winged pelican,” Augustus, and took him to the beach for a photo shoot before sending him off to live in chilly upstate New York

augustus_panorama
and then, because we just can’t stop the romance, Jon made me the best ‘meet-a-versary’ present ever… another banister! (Anyone who questions the awesomeness of this gift has obviously never been given a handcrafted banister).

Steel banister by scraphound studio
We visited Hector the Iguana in his new home

Steel iguana sculpture by Sheri Fox
and Naked Ladies starting popping up all over the yard.

naked ladies aka amaryllis by sherifox

Then things got a bit hectic but it did bring together a lovely group of friends to help convert my sister’s backyard weed lot into a lovely, relaxing oasis. I wish I had a before picture and apparently don’t have an after picture either. Oh well, these ‘during’ pics will have to do:

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By the time May rolled around I really needed a haircut!

sherineedshaircut
The garden started to produce lettuce like crazy so we made tons of salads,

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and baby artichokes started growing!

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My friend Michelle developed a questionable but sweet relationship with my penguin Milo, showering him with flowers and kisses.

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We installed Wally the Wader at San Diego Botanic Garden for the annual Art in the Garden exhibit.

Wally the Wading Bird installed at San Diego Botanic Garden
I tried some new recipes, including these Quinoa Patties which I made using this recipe from Epicurious.

Quinoa Cakes
They were so good that I immediately made another batch ‘caprese-style’ – topped with thick slices of organic tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil and served atop pile of sauteed kale and a little balsamic glaze.

quinoacakestacks
Finally the garden kicked into high gear! The rainbow swiss chard, Russian red kale, Japanese eggplant and cucumbers were all thriving.

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And my garden harvests were finally picture-worthy! (and I guess I must have started using Instagram again after a long hiatus).

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And then we started grilling! We grilled lemon-garlic artichokes…

grilled artichokes
…and pizza.

making homemade pizza
and more pizza…

grilling pizza
and even more pizza! Can you tell we LOVE grilling pizza?

grilled pizza
Bet you didn’t know Jon used to work at a pizza parlour, did you? Look at that form!

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Susan and Elizabeth took a trip back in time with these cool View-Masters we got from Jon’s mom.

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When I wasn’t grilling I spent most evenings as most girls my age do… hunting for slugs. Wearing a headlamp and armed with a bamboo skewer creating a slug-kabob as I went. It was really gross, so I tried experiments to keep the slugs off my seedlings, like this little penny fence around my baby eggplant (it didn’t work):

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I continued to harvest gorgeous piles of fresh organic greens from the garden and the first tomatoes and cucumbers ripened.

homegrown organic greens
basket of goodness from the garden
I couldn’t resist picking some blossoms off the zucchini plants to make fried squash blossoms

fried squash blossoms
and since I was on a roll and it was hotter than Hades outside I made homemade sorbet. Mixed berries and ginger I think.

homemade sorbet
The cherry tomato plants were going crazy so I needed some recipes to use them up. I found a really simple salsa recipe online and whipped up bowl after bowl of fresh salsa.

cherry tomato salsa
I joined a group on facebook called The Great American Seed Swap, thus beginning a downward tumble into the addiction that is Seed Swapping. I had no idea there were people all over the country swapping non-GMO, heirloom vegetable and flower seeds! By August I was mildy obsessed with seed collecting and headed out to my own garden to see what I could find to offer up in trades. My Red Garden Amaranth did not disappoint.

collecting seeds from red garnet amaranth
And then we grilled some more…

grilling shishito peppers
Then we hung pretty lights on the back porch and celebrated my birthday!

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I got exactly what I wished for – the building permit for our new shop! After months of waiting we finally broke ground.

workshop_breakingground
And we grilled some more…

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We climbed up to the roof to enjoy some epic sunsets (yes, we really say that in Southern California). Like this one:

sunset
and this one!

sunset
I discovered new beneficial insects in my garden, like this Green Lynx Spider…

Green Lynx Spider
who eats my nemeses, the Cabbage White Butterflies! Blech.

Green Lynx Spider eating a cabbage moth

The shop kept growing (thankfully I was there to help).

workshop_sherihelps
I became totally obsessed with Black Swallowtail Caterpillars, like this guy who was showing off his osmeterium (okay, I call them horns)

black swallowtail caterpillar angry horns
and this guy, who was heading off to find a place to build his chrysalis where he’ll spend the winter magically transforming into a beautiful butterfly!

black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar pic by Sheri Fox caterpillar, Sher
I built a pallet box garden and stuffed it full of greens and beets.

pallet box garden
The shop made amazing progress and we finally were able to stain the concrete floors,

workshop_sheristainingfloor
and hang the doors that Jon made almost entirely (except the rollers) from recycled materials. The solid wood doors came from a neighbor’s 1920’s beach cottage and the handles were rescued from a dumpster. And they are AWESOME.

workshop_jondoors2
Finally we started moving OUT of the old shop

Moving out of the old shop
and IN to the new shop!

newshop
We celebrated ‘Movember’ by wearing mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Jon wins the prize for average growth per day but I think we both deserve a prize for enthusiasm!

movember
The sky was gorgeous and the weather clear for Thanksgiving. Big thanks to Salli and Stacy for inviting us to join them for a really fun and relaxing day!

Thanksgiving 2013
I stopped by San Diego Botanic Garden to visit my bird sculpture Wally and was blessed with this wonderful monarch butterfly and Mexican sunflower photo op:

monarch on sunflower pic by Sheri Fox
I collected lettuce seeds from my very own garden for the first time ever

collecting black seeded simpson lettuce seeds
and stole Protea seeds from a friend’s house.

vanilla ice protea seeds
And then we got to sneak away for a quick vacation, starting with chocolate-banana shakes at Ruby’s Shake Shack overlooking Crystal Cove State Beach.

Crystal Cove State Beach
We came home to find our sugar snap pea plants full of the sweetest little flowers!

sugar snap pea shoots
Refreshed from our adventure, we continued our moving and cleaning efforts by converting the old shop into my new garden room. A fresh coat of drywall mud, plenty of paint and sweat equity and voila! Now I have a place to store and grow all my newly collected seeds.

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Totally exhausted, we decided to celebrate the end of a crazy year with a big pot of veggie chili

homemade veggie chili by Sheri Fox
and one last dance party with friends to welcome the new year!

newyears2013
Here’s wishing everyone (especially those who made it all the way through this post) a wonderfully happy and healthy 2014!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Robbie says:

    I LOVE your entire story and pictures! What a great year and wonderful fun, creative pictures:-) Your garden + food + metal art are “pefecto”. Love your purple railing! I also am amazed at your metal art, it is some of the best I’ve seen and enjoy the fact you visit it-lol….you are a very talented:-) What a great creative life you live and I hope all your dreams continue into 2014:-) Great post, really enjoyed the tour of 2013:-)

    Like

    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thank you so much Robbie! To be honest it felt a bit weird to write a big post about ME ME ME but I enjoy sharing the fun and creative aspects of our life. It’s nice to get your positive feedback! I wish for you a very healthy, happy 2014 full of gardening and all good things. I look forward to seeing what happens in your potager garden this year 🙂 sheri

      Like

      1. Robbie says:

        I did not feel it was a “me me me” type of post. You did it very modestly while sharing all the COOL stuff going on/went on-lol- in your life in 2013:-)

        Like

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