Archive for the 'garden' Category

a quiet week of spring

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I ate my first salad from the garden — arugula, spinach, lettuce, wintered-over parsley, and tiny kale thinnings. So good that I had salad for lunch and dinner.

I finally planted the asparagus starts that have been stored for weeks in the basement, waiting. I dug deep, spread the octopus roots over mounds of composted cow manure, and covered them up. An investment for the future.

The cats were too busy to help — monitoring the birds outside the bathroom window,

and killing the duster,

when they weren’t occupied with sleeping.

The last of the late tulips have faded,

but the perennials along the porch have been growing fast, with new blooms appearing daily.

On Sunday evening M went to the ice cream stand and got us milkshakes, and we sat on the porch and looked at the flowers and talked about nothing, while the children across the street rode their bikes, and someone in a white pickup waved as they drove by.


Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I dug up these carrots while clearing the garden beds for peas.

I planted them in late summer hoping for a fall and winter harvest, but the greens were munched by slugs and I didn’t think there would be any root growth at all. Funny what surprises lie under ground.

Sadly they tasted like old sticks.


Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I was standing by the sink, getting a glass of water, when I looked up and there, under the bird feeder, was an opossum!

The opossum. The one living under the barn. The one whose little hand prints I’ve seen in the snow and on the barn wall. My opossum!!

I yelled “Opossum!!” and scrambled for the camera, the cats scrambling in tow.

Meanwhile Possie calmly munched on sunflower shells. Then headed back home in an ambling way, following the path left by my footsteps to and from the feeder,

and sniffing the air.

When s/he disappeared out of view near the house I lost track, I think because s/he was skirting the walls, but when I ran over to the other side of the building there was Possie,

heading to that gap in the barn siding where we always suspected s/he lived.

big snow

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

The raised beds have been reduced to little bumps, practically invisible.

week of giving thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This morning I said goodbye to the last member of my holiday visiting family and drove home from the train station in the rain, feeling suitably glum and wintery.

Some houses still have pumpkins on their stoops, but this was obviously the weekend for getting out holiday decorations – lots of glowing icicles hanging from eaves, and May-pole shaped ‘trees’ made of Christmas lights strands. Some blow-up snowman snow globes of which I will not speak another word.

My decorations are on my radar but not up yet. And the idea of getting a tree was collectively nixed the minute the word “kitten” was mentioned. I need some time to come up with a solution to that energetic, furry problem.

On Thanksgiving day we went up to Sam’s Point and walked in the fog,

and were given the gift of blue sky when we reached the lake at the top of the ridge.

There was fog dew on everything.

We came home and ate turkey and then leftovers, leftovers, leftovers for days.

On Saturday we visited the fairytale Mohonk Mountain House for lunch (and a menu change).

We got lost, briefly, in the garden maze but managed to find our way home.

It was a real vacation. We watched movies, played with cats large and small, and talked and laughed a ton. So good. It felt both long and short – how the best days always feel. I am grateful.

universal layout

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Since moving upstate I’ve been using my library a ton. The catalog is online and inter-library loan means I can request books from throughout the region and then walk a block to pick them up. No months of waiting followed by hours of heavy schlepping on the subway. I am liking the country life.

I’ve been devouring my way through unabridged recorded books (secret sanity-preservers for those of us who work with our hands) as well as glossy, gorgeous books on home improvement, knitting, baking, and of course gardening.

I was a little disappointed with Designing the New Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Bartley. I think she shot most of her pictures on overcast days and they are not quite as yummy as I’d like.

Then I turned the page and saw this.

Look familiar?!

I’ve never seen the book before; I designed my layout over the winter, doodling variations on graph paper.

My raised beds and the ones in the book are the same shape, the same width and length. The only differences are that my layout allows more room at the entrances and between the outer and inner beds so you can get a wheelbarrow through easily, and I have a path around the perimeter.

Jung’s theory of the universal unconscious is looking good to me. Patterns seem to be out there, waiting for us to reach out and find them.

catch up

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Beware what you wish for – I have so much jewelry to make that I feel like I’m in a tightly choreographed dance, moving from beads to chores to paperwork and back. I am not complaining; it’s the good kind of busy, plus there’s cat play and coffee breaks, and excursions to the village board meeting and pilates class (variety is the spice).

In the middle of this twirling we’re going to Scotland and England to visit my family. A welcome break from the daily busy. Or at least it will be welcome once it’s here. I can’t wait for the moment when there’s nothing more I can do to prepare. Too bad if I’ve forgotten something; they sell toothbrushes in the UK. For this glorious “it’s too late” moment I have purchased yarn, and I plan to knit as many of these as I can. Mindless pleasure perfect for airport/airplane/visiting with relatives.

Since posting has been slim, despite my camera being full, before I leave I give you a little catch up of the past weeks here:

I made jam for the first time.

And it was good.

The kittens learned the value of a perfectly-sized box,

the importance of packing toys as well as yourself,

and the usefulness of recycled materials in lieu of those pesky packing peanuts.

The blight took out my solo tomato and all my potato plants.

My harvest was a few pounds of Dark Red Norland spuds,

and five green tomatoes which were respectfully chopped up and cooked into a chutney. (I’m hooked on canning.)

There were wonderful moments of feline détente between the young and the old.

Even, miraculously, between Miss Hissy and Maxie. (Actually I’m not sure that she knew he was there.)

And just in the last few days the leaves from the maples along the drive have taken flight.

As we’re about to do.

she’s back

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

She is back. Every day. Usually in the morning when I’m making coffee, but sometimes mid-afternoon. For a second snack.

And she’s bringing her daughter. Who loves to play hide and seek in the forsythia bush and I suspect is the person responsible for sampling my “deer-resistant” perennials and the 2 magnolias I planted. Bless her rotten little polka-dotted soul.

My dreams of the perfect fence continue.

some soil

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

This summer is turning out weird. There was a foot of rain in June; four times the average. Crops are soggy and there are warnings about late blight. Needless to say that between the deluge and jewelry production there has been very little activity in the raised garden. But there has been some and I give you a picture of progress – soil in four beds.

I’m finding that heavy shoveling is a good balancing activity to teeny tiny beadwork.

In the last couple of days potatoes and calypso beans have started poking their heads above ground. I want to go out and pet them and do a little “I’m so happy you’re here” dance. It seems crazy-magical that I poked some dry beans and wrinkled potatoes into the dirt and now there are leaves sprouting. I can’t imagine that miracle ever gets boring.


Thursday, June 18th, 2009

We’ve had so much rain the last two weeks that I’ve yet to get the soil (a.k.a. mud) into my raised beds. These little peas were grown in a pot on the patio and are an absolute treat; fresh and tasty of themselves, and heralds of future food production.

Plus their shape is perfect – I’m sure there’s a jewelry design in there if I could just figure out how to make that structure out of beads…