Well hello again. It feels a bit conspicuous to be back after the longest absence since I started this blog back in 2009—but there’s been a lot going on over the past 6 months that made being present here difficult, even though I deeply missed the creative freedom to write + share recipes with you in my cozy little corner of the internet. I’m going to share a bit about what’s been going on, so if you are only interested in the recipe (and I take no offense to that), you can skip down here. Otherwise, pull up a seat and a cup of coffee because this will take a minute.
The last time I shared here was in December, which ended up being a really hard month for me. I shared a bit about this last summer, but in July I had a miscarriage, and we’ve been trying to get pregnant again ever since then. In December, when I found out I wasn’t pregnant (again), it hit me incredibly hard. It felt like I miscarried all over again. I don’t know if it was just me finally truly processing what had happened (I threw myself into work over the fall so I wouldn’t have to think about it as much), or all the short dark cold days getting to me, or the family and child-oriented holiday stuff everywhere, or seemingly everyone I knew getting pregnant left and right, but I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying. It physically felt like I was carrying a heavy iron weight inside my chest all the time. It’s hard to describe, but I guess the simplest way to say it was that I just didn’t feel like myself. Like my personality + spirit was completely suffocated in a gulping wave of depression.
With encouragement from family + friends, I started seeing a therapist in January, which has helped a lot. I also made an appointment at an infertility clinic, and started going there in March for treatments, which has been really helpful. Forewarning, I’m going to be open about my infertility here, so if this is a trigger or you’re uncomfortable with that, this is the place to stop reading. You also might be wondering, “why are you even talking about this on your food blog?” And my answer to that is that there is no ‘good’ place to talk about infertility. Sure I could post about it on message boards dedicated to it, but the only people reading about it are folks dealing with the same issue in that moment. And I think it’s helpful for everyone to be a bit more informed about it, because it’s absolutely THE most isolating experience I have ever been through. And I wish I had heard more about it before it happened to me, so I didn’t feel so deeply alone + broken. I can count on multiple hands the number of friends that have gotten pregnant on accident or immediately after actively trying to conceive within the past 2 years, and when that’s all you’re surrounded by, you feel like a total failure. Luckily (for me, not her), I have one very close friend who dealt with infertility several years ago, and she has been a rock for me through this. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have made it through the past year without her. So I guess I’m sharing this here so folks everywhere can be a bit more sensitive to + understanding of those around them who are going through miscarriage and infertility. And why the heck not talk about it on a food blog (google tells me we’re mostly women here on this site, so I know that many of you have gone through the same thing).
After seeing the doctor, I learned I have much fewer eggs than the average woman my age, which is why it’s been so difficult to get pregnant over the past 2+ years. So we did a round of IUI in April, and we’ll do two more rounds over the next couple months, and then we’ll move on to IVF later this summer if the IUI’s don’t work. Another reason why I couldn’t keep up with posting is because with infertility treatments, there’s also a LOT of doctor appointments + moving parts to keep track of. So during my first IUI round, for example, I was seeing my acupuncturist 1x week, my fertility doctor 1x a week, calling to make said appointments since many of them depend on your cycle days, taking herbal supplements for fertility, taking prenatal vitamins, taking fertility medication on specific days of my cycle to get me to ovulate more, testing for ovulation at the same time on specific days of my cycle, making sure to exercise, getting good sleep, eating really healthy, no alcohol (obviously), and doing guided fertility meditations everyday. So basically, every day during treatment is almost completely centered around the treatment, everything from what I’m planning to eat that day or the next day, or trying not to get stressed about work, ties into a deeper reasoning of why I have to be extra careful and about literally everything. The mental load of undergoing fertility treatment is enormous, and it’s really hard to have the bandwidth to focus on much else aside from the day-to-day essentials.
In addition to all the infertility things going on, there was also a lot of stress related to the homestead. The plan was to have the house design locked in and submit the plan to the local governing board for approval around Thanksgiving, so that way with the roughly 4 to 6 month turnaround on plan approvals, we’d ideally be approved by May and be able to break ground laying the foundation in spring, and have the house be water-tight by fall when the rainy season starts. The house design process took longer than we anticipated, the initial design was beautiful but over budget, so it took about 4 weeks to get the new in-budget design locked in, and we sent the plan to the county at the very end of December. We immediately heard back that the house site needed to be moved to a lower-elevation part of the land, and that the building was too tall, which was a bit gut-wrenching at first.
There are really specific limitations for building in this particular area, like housing color, number of windows, etc, so we went into it knowing that some things would very likely have to change, but moving the site of the house was hard emotionally since I’d become so attached to the idea of having the house on a little hill where we’d be able to see almost all of the land from the home, which would be a great vantage point to keep an eye on potential little ones. But, it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s fine, honestly. So we had to do some major redesigning to take the garage out of the basement (which would lower the technical height of the home) and move the house to a lower-elevation area of the land. So after all the redesigns, we ended up submitting the plan to the county in late March, which means we’ll hear back in late summer, which will be too late to start building. So we have to wait until next spring to break ground (if the design is approved, which I really really *really* hope it is.)
And also during that time, we were going through the construction loan application process. We’d gotten all our documents in (and if you’ve ever applied for a loan, you know how many documents you need to get sorted), gotten our rate lock for 90 days, and then found out we wouldn’t be able to build until next year, so we’ll pretty much have to do the whole loan process again next year with our new updated financial documents from this year. This was a huge blow, because with the economy going crazy, it’s going to be much more expensive since the interest rates have gone up a lot and the cost of absolutely everything construction-related is surging because of shipping + gas prices. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to afford it, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the numbers pan out from work this year and what the interest rates end up being.
And lastly, in January I started a podcast all about home + garden design with my friend Sam called Feels Like Home. We’ve had a blast doing it, and it’s been really nice to focus on garden + design-related topics and interview interesting people, and also just chat with each other about house stuff we’re nerdy about 😀 We just wrapped up season 1 last month, and we’ll be back with season 2 later this summer, so you can go ahead and play catch up in the meantime 🙂
So yes. In short, it’s been an absolutely *insane* past 6 months. But, I’m feeling a lot better now and am genuinely excited about the future + what’s in store. From the homestead to the fertility treatments, I’m feeling really optimistic about things. And really grateful for the opportunities and the options that exist today for folks like me. Focusing on the positive feels so, so much better than dwelling on what went wrong or what could possibly go wrong in the future. So I’m staying optimistic, guys.
And because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, I wanted to share a little something sweet and sour for the late spring with you all. I made this lemonade with rosemary blossoms, but if you don’t have any handy you can use any kind of edible flower, like lilac, rose, lavender, or elderflower instead. Feel free to get creative and make a little floral lemonade with whatever edible flowers are available to you right now (just, you know, make sure they’re food safe. Many flowers from commercial florists are chemically treated, and there’s TONS of toxic flower varieties out there so only use ones that are edible. Basically, use common sense!)
Everyone has different tartness preferences, so if you want your rosemary blossom lemonade a little more on the sour side, feel free to add a touch more lemon juice. Or vice versa if you want yours super mild. The choice is yours, my friend. And with that, I’ll leave you to it. Thank you for reading through my torrent of words and for still being here. I appreciate you guys more than you know. And I hope to be back much sooner next time with more “normal” stories + recipes to share. Talk soon + enjoy the last bit of spring!
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade Recipe
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup water (for the blossom syrup)
- 1 cup fresh rosemary blossoms (or other edible flower)
- 1 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 2 1/2 cups cold water (for diluting)
Rosemary Blossom Syrup
Bring the honey and 1 cup of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Allow the syrup to boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Place the rosemary blossoms in a small heat-proof pot. Pour the syrup over the blossoms, then stir to make sure they're covered in syrup. Place the lid on the pot and let the mixture infuse for 2 to 3 hours. (I'd be cautious about letting them infuse for too much longer, as the sugar in the syrup combined with the heat can speed-start the decomposition process of the flowers, and the delicate aroma and flavor of the rosemary blossoms can turn into the smell and taste of an old vase of flowers, unfortunately.)
Place a fine mesh sieve or mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the syrup and blossom mixture into it, straining out the blossoms. Compost the blossoms in your yard or bin. Pour the syrup into a clean glass and allow to cool to room temperature.
Rosemary Blossom Lemonade
In a pitcher, stir together the syrup, lemon juice, and water. Add ice to make it extra cold and refreshing, and serve.