I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Harvesting Basil | Our Vegetable Garden

Harvesting Basil | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comHello, sweet friends! Music? Yes, let’s. :) (I’ve been singing it around the house lately – so much uncertainty!)

I’m currently nestled in my office in our little house in the country. We should have been in the new house now, but what can I say? Life happens and closing dates get pushed out, but we are now good to go for our new closing date: tomorrow morning! We don’t plan on moving in completely right away. We have a trailer we’re borrowing from a friend and it’s been loaded since Sunday (I’m trying to read the last few chapters of Harry Potter #2 slowly – #3’s packed and there’s no way I can get to it anymore!!) so tomorrow Paul and I will be unloading it at the new house with Rusty in tow – we’ll let him get used to the place while we haul boxes in and begin cleaning. We’re hoping to be in the house completely by the end of the weekend – here’s hoping!

Want to know what I’m really excited about?? We bought a new couch and I am head over heels in love with it!! Typically with my furniture I go for pretty over comfy – I know that’s a weird way to be but, cest la vie. As we were about to leave the furniture store we discovered the gem in the clearance section (hurray!) and although it’s not my style nor my favorite color, I fell in love. It’s technically a 2-piece sectional and it has a Cuddler!! Have you heard of them? I definitely hadn’t and then we looked online a bit – apparently Cuddler is the actual term for a rounded end to a sectional, like a little reading nook! I LOVE it. The color is on the border of beige and gray, so I’m hoping with the right pillows, blankies, and wall color I can bring out the beige and hopefully some browns…:)

Anyways! I’m getting off topic. I wanted to share with you our vegetable garden!! I had told you last year that Paul began tilling the land for it and earlier this year we had even put in the rod-iron fence. So today I wanted to show you the beautiful, overgrown mess that’s hiding underneath the apple tree, and what I’ve been doing with some of the loot I’m getting from it. :)

Finished tilling!! Now to wait until spring…

Along comes spring and Paul put in a beautiful fence around the garden, complete with a swinging gate! I was/am in love!! Also, see the moon up there in the left corner and the lake in the background? I love this photo so much, it might have to be framed in the new house despite my neighbor’s house in the back.

Rod-Iron Fence Vegetable Garden | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And then we planted our goodies: roma tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, broccoli, kale, basil, oregano, chives, and marigolds. :) :)

Rod-Iron Fence Vegetable Garden | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And here was our garden about a month ago. The chives came first, then the basil, oregano, kale, and then the broccoli. The bell peppers and jalapenos have just recently been ready to harvest (and taste delicious, especially with scrambled eggs and cheese…) and the roma tomatoes keep producing new ripe tomatoes every day. :) :)

Rod-Iron Fence Vegetable Garden | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And here’s a close up!! We thought we were keeping a wide enough gap for a walking path, but we clearly underestimated the growth of everything. The tomatoes and peppers are in the top right corner; the basil, oregano, chives, and half of the marigolds and kale are in the left top corner; the other half of kale and marigolds, and half of broccoli is in the bottom left corner; the jalapenos and the other half of broccoli are in the right bottom corner. ‘Tis a full house! (Also, see the random apples in the garden floor?!)

Rod-Iron Fence Vegetable Garden | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And here is our garden now, showing off its beauty for potential buyers. Isn’t it lovely?? Now to decide what to do at the next house…

Rod-Iron Fence Vegetable Garden | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

One of my favorite things about this garden, besides opening the little gate and perusing along the “path” to find new things each day, is harvesting basil. Oh. My. Goodness. The smell alone is intoxicating – I just love everything about basil. I love chopping it when it’s fresh, I love hanging it in batches to dry, I love plucking off a piece fresh from the garden (my Nana plucked one off one day – before then I had no idea I could eat like that! Now when my niece and nephews are over, I surprise them too by plucking off fresh basil – they love it!). Seriously, I have a divine love for basil. And harvesting it is much easier than I thought. All I do is this:

Basil Watercolor - Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com1. Take a pair of scissors to the garden.

2. If the basil is starting to flower, cut the flowers off first.

3. Cut the basil at the appropriate spot (I know I won’t explain it well, so here’s a quick video) – I know I’ve cut at the wrong spot a few times, oh well. :)

4. Rinse it well in the sink – get rid of “bad” basil, bugs, dirt, etc.

Harvesting Basil - Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com5. Combine all the cut basil in a bunch leaving enough room to grab the stems.

6. Using a rubber band, wrap the stems together into one solid bunch.

7. Take a paper clip and pull one of the ends until it’s at about 90 degrees. Tuck that end through the rubber band, and uncurl the other end of the paper clip to create a hook.

8. In a place that stays somewhat dark, hang a line of string or use a curtain rod to hang the hook end of the paper clip.

9. Let it dry for about 3-4 weeks (simple test: if they crunch and break easily, they’re done). Enjoy!!

Harvesting Basil - Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comUnfortunately, I have nowhere dark to hang my basil or lavender or whatever else. So I hang my basil on the curtain rod above the sink window. Yes, sun still can hit it but the tree outside gives it enough shade that so far, it looks like its drying pretty well. The smell is amazing. I have two batches hanging right now and as soon as we move into the new house I’m coming back to our garden to cut another few batches to hang in the new kitchen – I have a walk-in pantry so I finally have a spot to hang it! I cannot wait.

Harvesting Basil | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Alrighty friends, I think it’s time to read some Harry Potter (slowly…), perhaps a bubble bath and wine is in order, and then sweet dreams. Tomorrow shall be the beginning of a very big adventure and one must be ready to face it head on. I hope you enjoyed tonight’s post! :) I can’t wait to show you the new house – follow along on Instagram, I’m sure I’ll be updating it tomorrow…:) Ciao, friends!!

  1. Hey Nikki, I love these marigold flower. You have helped me alot with your tips. You have explained it in such a great manner. Thanks for sharing this blog.