I’ve been receiving messages that Brioche readers are as interested in photos as in my cuisine. Here are a few things I was up to during my long absence. Thank you, Kathy, by the way! I was, indeed, so sick. With the tail end of my cold still in effect during our Hawaii trip. But the rose hip tea was key to my turnaround, without a doubt.

So I have been cooking, but primarily working on the garden. The plants give me so much joy. I have always loved the scent of dirt and I love watching the bugs that take up residence in the garden. Mine is seriously loaded with ladybugs — they are awesome helpers. They make their ways over the plants (really seem to love the lemon verbena and lavender) like tiny red tanks and devour the aphids. Very, very cool to watch.

Mark built amazing raised beds that cover the entire side of the yard that gets sun. So far I’ve planted yellow squash, snap peas, an ENTIRE bed of strawberries, and about 8 tomato plants. I am barely dealing with heirlooms this year. Last year’s were a completely failed story. One here, one there. Who’s got the time? I have one heirloom this year, an italian plum shaped or such. The rest are celebrity, champion, better boys and early girls. Hurray for hybrid technology!

Mark built these raised beds so I can grow root veggies