Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Nerve

Front yard, May 2010

Front Yard, late 2007 or early 2008

Ok, this isn't an entirely fair comparison because one of these photos is from May and the other is hard to pinpoint exactly but was taken sometime between November and, uh, February several years ago, and you can see that we had already dug in our first three small beds. B found the older photo through google street maps, and when he pulled it up on our computer we both just sat there quite honestly feeling a little stunned (we don't have any before photos of our own because some meanie stole my laptop while we were off getting married). Yah, we dug up the entire effing yard, cheers. When we moved in there was one tiny bed in front of the porch, and today there are five garden beds, a strawberry bed, an asparagus bed, a raised bed, a flower bed, a shade bed, a cherry tree, a peach tree, two rain barrels, and NO GRASS. You couldn't have sold us that bill of work in one go, no way no how. Just looking at the old photo brings back sod rolling and compost shoveling and wood chip slinging. Really what looking at these photos does is swamp me with an insane amount of love for my husband. This grand patch of dirt is our romance, right there in the front yard. It's where he proposed to me, it's where we realized that we were two people who both really liked to knuckle down and bust ass, it's where we go to clear cluttered heads, it's where we work to turn the visions in two brains into one that honors both minds. We say it all the time: "I would never have pulled this off without you." For real.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May Flowers

My camera in no way captures the blue of this delphinium. Looking at it will give you a brain massage.

Hoo-boy. Hello Tuesday, you're here again already? Fine, be that way.

Things of note: in one week this baby will be Full Term, which is to say 37 weeks cooked. Busy is packing it on in there, I can feel it. The last two times I've gone in for my midwife checkups, I have only gained small fractions of pounds yet my belly measures ever larger. Sometimes when I am hungry at a funny time and B is surprised I say to him "Busy is eating all my food," and I think it's true. People are still telling me that I do not look pregnant from behind, which absolutely kills me dead, but does indeed capture the fact that this baby is riding high and dead ahead.

My mum and uncle came to visit this weekend and it was so much stinkin' fun. We ate lovely things and had a really sweet early birthday party for B and there was chocolate and my mom and uncle did every dish that even just got a dirty look from someone and my uncle taught B and me how to fix a leaky faucet and there was a lot of laughing really hard and complete goofiness involving a tennis racquet and a headband and various imported cabbageworm moths and I made them both pick strawberries for me. We are really lucky lucky lucky to have such people love us, it fills me to the brim.

Speaking of strawberries, we are in it over here. They must be picked daily and we are hauling in over a gallon a day. Let me just say that we did not expect this. I thought we might get some fresh berries for our breakfasts and maybe one batch of jam if we were lucky. Instead, I am hauling my super pregnant body off the couch and out into the front yard every evening and trying not to squish Busy too hard while parting beautiful deep green leaves in search of that ripe red color. So far the birds or bunnies or squirrels or whatever have only thrown down a peck here and there, despite dire warnings from Givers of Unsolicited Advice (otherwise known as the people who walk their dogs around our neighborhood). The plants are very definitely too close together though, as there are minimal signs of gray mold here and there. We need to thin them, but damn, these plants just put out more daughter plants! They cannot be stopped, and if we pick every day we can keep on top of it for now; we'll deal with it LATER. Last night as we were picking B said that strawberries will always remind him of waiting for Busy, just like cherries always remind us of our wedding. We are a family that marks big events with fruit.

Regarding said fruit, are there any strawberry sauce or jam recipes out there that I need to know about? I have been shocked senseless at the ungodly amount of sugar in most recipes. B and I mostly put fruit into plain yogurt or onto pancakes and waffles, so something that comes out pretty sauce-like is preferred. Anyway, hit me with your favorites if you have them. For now we are just freezing the berries until we have some free time...right.

May you be full to the brim.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Up & Down

May bouquet: peonies, coreopsis, batchelor's button, yarrow, dwarf iris

Well goodness, hello Monday. After a week of feeling like a pregnant rockstar, I woke up Saturday feeling a mite bit under the weather. That is really how these last two months have been, kind of up and then a little down. So we slowed it down - naps, a few projects, more naps, some music, miso soup, early to bed, lunch get the idea. We managed to get a lot done and take it very easy. The garden is completely planted and I can't tell you how often we just sit and take it in. In fact, one of the loveliest things being pregnant has made me do is just sit right in the middle of the garden. I can only do so much bending and reaching, so I just plonk right down and do my thing, scooch along, repeat. From down there the garden just surrounds you; garlic waving above your head, stunning red cabbage leaves inches from your fingers. On Friday I grabbed Ben's hand and we just sat in the garden until it started to rain. Good stuff.

May harvest crops: lettuce, arugula, kale, chard, bok choy, broccoli rabe, rhubarb, spring onions, peas, strawberries

Hope the weekends were lovely out there.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Too Tired

A Monday and I am not tired (insert little dance here). I tell you, I am not sure how one could make this happen again, but seriously putting your back out at about week 29, suffering miserably for several weeks, and then feeling put back together again at about week 33 sure does make this current phase of Really Pregnant seem a-ok. I'm just so grateful to be able to move around again, so what if it takes me three minutes and something of a sound show to get up off of the floor? I'm game.

Lessee. This weekend was lovely and windy. Windy is one of my least favorite weather conditions. I can't say why, I just do not like it. We had gusts up to 35 mph, so we are not talking about a breeze here. Anyway, we worked in the garden while hanging onto our hats. All of the starts have been planted except for the picky peppers (it's been chilly here at night), hopefully next weekend for them. The cuke trellises received some additional tinkering from B, the last of the potatoes went into their pots, and I spent the better part of an afternoon thinning the peach tree:

Ok, this photo has lousy depth of field, you'll have to believe me when I tell you that there are hundreds of peaches in there. Good grief. Thinning that tree was an exercise in focus; one branch at a time, no matter whether the branch just to your left is dripping with fruit, finish the one you're on, girl. I think fruit farming could break your heart. It's a lot of work and until you pack your glittering haul away there are about a billion things that could render your work for naught.

B got me a Mother's Day present even though I am not quite yet a mum. I got a nutmeg grater and some whole nutmegs - the man knows me so well. I love nutmeg. I have to be careful about refraining from putting it in everything. We had a sniff test between the freshly grated and the spice jar stuff and there was just no contest. Now I might really be dangerous. I think the nuts are so lovely:

OH! I can't believe I forgot: on Friday morning there was a rabbit digging trenches in our garden. I freaked out, chased the bunny around while growling, set some traps, went to work, did some reading, and now our yard has little cotton balls doused with fox urine hidden here and there. No sighting of Peter Rabbit since. May he be far from your garden too...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thin It

Hoo-boy. I did some reading about peach trees yesterday, and was informed in no uncertain terms that we needed to thin about 90% of the fruit on our little go getter. Yah, that is nine-zero percent. After it shocked my pants off, I could really see why - the tree is still quite petite but damn if each branch isn't just COVERED with baby peaches. I mean covered. If left alone we would not only get small hard peaches but I bet just about every branch would snap off by the time August rolled around. B and I took a look last night and did some preliminary thinning before realizing that it will likely take us a significant chunk of time to do the whole tree, and since we were having a date night we abandoned the tree to far less traumatic activities. Because seriously, tearing off these little fuzzy baby peaches is really hard. Hell, I already suck at thinning far less charming things - just look at these little guys. Soft as a rabbit's foot.

We will do it though, in the name of big fat juicy peaches, we will.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's Not Tomorrow

Shit howdy, I am beginning to think that we need a baby in order to learn how to laze around and relax. B and I repeatedly promised ourselves a do-nothing weekend, and instead we got more done than I can even really remember, from backyard haircuts to cucumber trellises to helping friends move. I'd like to pass it off as pre-Busy nesting, but I know better. Anyway. Let's just say that by Sunday night we were both so tired that I know for a fact that we went to bed before the four-year-old next door.

One of the last things on the weekend agenda was getting our cukes and beans in, and I am durn glad that we did because we got a beautiful deep rain early this morning. Perfect. These are the last things that we will direct seed, unless we throw some more beets or carrots into spots here and there. Two kinds of pole beans, pickling cukes, and japanese cukes. Yum. Last year we did not put our beans in until June 14th, or so says the garden journal. WTF? I think we were waiting for the real estate vacated by the peas. Anyway, the notation for last year's planting is followed a few weeks later by a scrawled "BEANS WAY TOO LATE." Got it. Other tidbits from last year: "Cukes planted way too close together" and something snide about building ourselves a cucumber trellis. We do great with cucumbers, but for the past two summers they have definitely not been given the climbing structure of their dreams, which meant that they beat up on each other and also that sometimes you'd think you'd just picked all the cucumbers and then you'd blink and there'd be 40 more that actually would have preferred to have been picked about a week ago. Until now! B is in charge of structural garden projects, and lemme just tell you that we now have some extremely awesome *reusable* pea and cucumber trellises, just plonk them in and plant your seeds. He also built a much smarter bean setup situation; last year our tripods were annoying as hell. Anyway. We'll put in our tomato, basil, squash, tomatillo, and eggplant starts this weekend, then pepper starts the next, and then: DONE. Everything in, just weed it, feed it, water it, eat it. Sometimes I wonder if we'll run out of the oomph to do this every year. On the other hand, I know that we do projects every year that are supposed to make the next year less work (for example this is the first season since we moved in that we have not dug out new beds). Also, I will probably not be pregnant every spring, which I am sure has contributed generously to the complicated calculation regarding how much durn work it is to put in and keep up with a not-even-huge fruit and veggie garden.

But speaking of huge:

Yo, the rhubarb is still frightening the small children. We are having Brown Betty again tonight, and then I'm gonna pick enough to freeze for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and then we'll let it go nuts for the summer. Attention neighbors: do not let your pets roam unsupervised near the rhubarb.

Also, I started a new book. So far I like it a lot, although the whole first section will definitely not cheer you up. Also, because I still suffer extreme moments of Buffy withdrawal, we are going here. The morality of this world is very interesting and satisfyingly ambiguous, but so far I think the acting is very, very bad. We're definitely in at this point, although let me just use this bully pulpit to say that two episodes per disc is very, very stingy. So there.

Also, I am still spending some quality time with the fiddle. It is the most comfortable instrument for me to play at this point - try playing a guitar sitting a foot away from your gut and you'll get an idea of the potential back pain involved (although I still do it). D tunes have been harder going than A tunes, but I am a determined pain in the ass and I practice.

Also, I need a new bra. I have not bought a bra in about 8 years, and I am in denial about it so I wear my old bras and they are so uncomfortable that I frequently tear them off in a mad fit right in the middle of my office. It's been at the bottom of my to-do list for months now. I need my BFF to come hold my hand - she has real assets, as we call them, and knows how these things are supposed to work. Until then, I will complain and deal with people staring at my nipples. Rad.