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reserved for fickle bloggers, I know.

back garden

I have been completely and totally away from the internet for months. It has been fine, but I am ready to be back.

I have a camera again, after selling my hot shit Canon SLR to Mark who takes some really good photos.

I will take up where I left off:

Yesterday I went out to Mark’s, ie, the country house, and did some gardening. He has reworked the boundaries of the garden and I can’t tell you what a good thing that is. Sometimes it is difficult for me to delineate clear boundaries. I finally got the daylilies in the ground, planted to naturalize on the orchard hillside.
daylilies

They are edible, you know! My goal is to plant edible beauties that will thrive without a lot of my attention. Come to think of it, that is my parenting goal as well. Minus the edibility part…

The girls, the girls. I came driving down the street last night, home from my day in the country, and I passed them sitting in a neighbor’s yard, getting ready to film a short movie. Alice payed the villain, Opal the victim. (Of course.) The villainy involved most of the contents of a bottle of organic ketchup, and they dragged in around 10, Opal soaked and smelly. It reminds me of when I was 9 and played the part of Astyanax (Hector’s son) in Sartre’s Trojan Women. The first night of performance it was decided that ketchup should equal blood, and when I got home my mother was royally pissed off at the mess. So I had to chuckle last night…. Of course I wasn’t mad at all, but it was hard to get Opal out of bed this morning.

Goal for today: update sidebars.

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and some thrift scores.

new cup

new dishes

new plate

How I love my eclectic assortment of dishes.
I have the most casual collection of restaurant china. There are certain patterns that are recurring in my life, but none that I specifically seek out. Of course, if you were to run across any of this:
palm leaf
I wouldn’t mind if you sent it me!

Here is a thought provoking post from Cosy. It gave me pause, and during the pause, I remembered a wee manifesto I had written a couple years ago. So I went ahead and moved it over to this blog.
I have been slow in moving over the archives from my live journal but they are all over there if you really must know.

Did I not mention dirt? well, here it is:
dirt

When I moved to this house I had dreams of gardening, but I quickly realized that there was no soil to speak of in the backyard, the place where my garden must be. The people who put this trailer in 30 years ago had scraped off all the topsoil to make a space, and the only dirt that wasn’t strange sandy clay was all contained in the thin layer of sod. I set about to make dirt where there was none, a task that requires patience and taxes loving but more orderly partners.
Cardboard, manure, straw, rags, sand, layers and layers of these elements put down when I had them, no science involved.
This is the first year I am really feeling like my garden is worthy of that name.
A chaotic approach pays off!

One more thing to play catch up over the last few days.
I snuck in a project for myself; I was attempting to make the most unique head scarf with a pieced border (as my hair is getting long and I have to accept it) but the darn thing was too thick at the corners and wouldn’t tie.
small tablecloth
So now it is called a small tablecloth and for sale. What else am I going to with it? It is pretty enough though.

It’s my sabbath, and I have been in the moment all day. On my sabbath, I take a break from Time, not from work…
I thought I would offer up this up for today’s entry.

This is one of my favorite passages in any book. (Let it be known, I really don’t read fiction. I pretty much read my same old reference books over and over.) In this case, the book is Carla Emery‘s Encyclopedia of Country Living.
This bit is about food and growing it, but one could be creative and apply these thoughts to other areas of life perhaps.

“The wonderful magic at the heart of a food-growing household is the magic that turns your home-produced turnips and cream, apples and meat into your meals. The moment of triumph is when you say to the family, “Here’s what we worked so hard to grow, and isn’t it good!” I think you cook most happily, freely, and independently when you make good things out of what Providence is giving you!
Lane Morgan, author of the Winter Harvest Cookbook (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1990), says, ‘I agree entirely that cooks are spending too much money at the supermarket and at the gourmet supply store. But I think we would profit by spending more time looking at cuisines of other cultures, to help us better use what our particular gardens can grow. Country people around here will eat canned green beans and carrots all winter, which are considerable work to put up, because that’s good Amereican garden food. Meanwhile they could be eating fresh kale and leeks and Japanese mustards from that same garden, which would be tastier, more nutritious, and easier all around, but they don’t because that’s foreign stuff and they don’t know the Greek or Indian or Japanese techniques to make them wonderful. They’ll make clam dip from a package, but they wouldn’t consider an Indian chutney made of garden mint and chutney, served with garden spinach and potatoes. Too strange.’
Making menus out of what you can grow is the way that Great-Grandmother did it. Each week she looked in the larder and the cellar and took a walk through the garden to see what she had to work with. Then she made menus. When she had eggs and milk aplenty, a little honey and some stale bread, the family had a bread pudding. In May she served rhubarb in it, in June strawberries over it, and in September peaches — because that’s the way they grew.
To have 365 days of independent eating, you’ve got to learn to eat what you can grow, and you’ve got to learn to grow what you want to eat. At first it will be hard, but stick to it. If you don’t like what you have, eat it anyway and use the energy of your distaste to figure how to get what you’ll like better. If your only meat is elk, eat elk until you can raise something else. If you miss bacon, get four little pigs. In six months, they’ll be 200-pounders. and you’ll have a year’s supply of bacon plus a sow to breed and keep the bacon coming. If you’re still living in the city and you don’t have anything but dreams, try for fun buying only what you imagine you could grow — in a natural, unprocessed state — like whole grains, and see if you can learn to live off it.
When lettuce is in season, have a salad every day — you can’t preserve it. If you miss it in the off-season, contrive a way to raise winter lettuce in the house. If you miss sweets, learn beekeeping. If you have barley and corn, make your bread, pancakes, and pie crust out of barley floour, cornmeal crust, and a bear-meat filling. If you have some tough old hens past their laying time, 3 extra male goats, and 100 rabbits, then learn good ways to cook tough old hens, goat meat, and rabbit.”

for the record, I don’t like turnips, I have eaten bear meat (and it is good), and I am so not there yet.

I have this small thing done.
frenchknots
Actually the endless hours aren’t so endless, and I have a large portion of the next section finished as well. Too bad that I had the camera pointed off in some weird direction for this photo, but I need to get this posted and a better picture will come later.
This is for a swap I am doing, but I am seriously considering taking this technique farther, as it is as close to being able to paint with yarn as I have found thus far. I have long admired hooked rugs, but after a few square inches of hooking with a crochet needle, I decided I had had enough.

I have been neglecting the garden. These daylilies have been patiently waiting to be planted.
daylilies

I picked a basket of nettle tops yesterday, bare-handed as usual. I find that the deep sting has become a part of my spring, and I am certain that nettle helps with arthritis, which is becoming a minor problem in my right pointer finger. And I a stitcher!
I love to cook the nettles in more or less this fashion. I dry them too, for use as tea and a nettle powder that is a good addition to many foods. Eep, I had better check the nettles I have in the dryer. Normally they are air dried but this year, I through a bunch over lights and they are probably crispy by now.

Another thing done this weekend was this hat
new hat
with which I was testing a pattern for an as-yet-unnamed crafter who is putting together a book. It came out large on me; a bit of felting fixed that. The first hat I started (without checking for gauge, tsk tsk) came out way too big. But it reminded me of cake, and before I ripped it, I took a photo, which you can see here if you so choose.