Saturday, May 7, 2011


Will the end of Spring semester always kick my ass? Probably. Fine. Whatever. Such a thing only sweetens the days of summer, right? This summer I am gunning for the following:

Swimming with my boys, both in our river and in the pool.
Camping. Hopefully with this gal and her boys.
Picking berries.
More camping and more swimming and seeing my family in West Virginia.
A week in Maine on a beautiful lake with lots of time for this girl.
Doing some more plant identification (see below).
Playing more music.
Reading novels again.
Knocking out a few more squares on my stagnated quilt project.

Right, I should probably stop there. This month has been a bit about recognizing and honoring my own capacity. When work chews my head off I quickly find that my own expectations for myself really need to adjust. Like I need to take it down to: sleep, bathe, eat, love on the kid, love on the husband. I am not used to paring things down so there can be some crankiness when it's called for. Growing up now.

With that said, my gorgeous mother was just here and B and I were able to knock out some work in all three of our gardens. Yup, three. We went to our old house and did some cleanup yard work there. The place is absolutely bursting with flowers and rhubarb and strawberries and asparagus and herbs and and and. I said to B that our garden there is acting like a really good haircut - sucker is growing out nicely. Then we visited our community garden plot that is bursting with a huge crop of onions. Soon we will plant squash and basil down there. And then we planted our new garden up on the hill beside us. We put in tomatoes, a funky italian chard, kale, carrots, lettuces, beets, arugula, cilantro, dill, parsley, and bok choy. Mom kept the baby from eating the seed packets and B and I dug and seeded and boy it feels damn good. I was reminded that a good garden really only needs a few huge pushes of work and then you just visit it a lot and do a little weeding and picking and watering and planting. Oscar loves visiting that garden - today he cried when we left because he did not want to let go of that hose. No sir.

In the kid department. The squish is amazing these days. The long arm of the Osh can reach many, many things. Computer mouse? No problem. Things right off the dining room table? Sure thing! After ten months of trying to teach him the sign for milk I am still not sure what he thinks about it. However, this is a kid who pretty much only eats because every few hours I poke my boobs in his face. Make the sign for bath and he'll crawl right into the bathroom and stand expectantly beside the bathtub. The first time he did it was pretty stinking exciting. He is also quite game for a good old fashion tossing of the ball back and forth. And if you leave the ball out somewhere and later holler "Gimme the ball!" (family: you must holler this just like Mikey does when he is quarterback for a game of touch football) the little genius will crawl off and get the ball. We have yet to tire of this.

In the plant identification department. Now that we live in the middle of many hundreds of acres of forest and field, B and I want to know our plants. In college I screeched my bike to a halt in front of a flower that blew my mind with its geometry and color. I wanted to know what it was so I took a botany class. I loved plonking down in the weeds with my id book and counting petals and examining leaves and the flower that nearly made me wreck my bike turned out to be a columbine. When I asked my professor what it meant to be a botanist she told me I would end up outside counting plants a lot. At the time that sounded terrible so I subsequently marked being a botanist off my list. Not only was that a lousy answer, had I asked it about five years later even that answer would have sounded awesome. Hey wait, I am getting off on my we-all-go-to-college-too-soon track. What I meant to say is that we own a wildflower guide and we're putting it through the paces. It is ridiculously fun. Our first specimen turned out to be a Daisy Fleabane. Then a Bulbous Buttercup. Then Multiflora Rose (it's fun to use the guide to id ones you already know). Then Prickly Lettuce. Then Hairy Beardtongue. I mean: the names alone! I can't wait to teach Oscar - I am not even a little boy and how I love saying 'Hairy Beardtongue.' Right.

In the home concoction department. This morning B and I made vermouth. Dry vermouth, to be more specific. We have been getting somewhat adventurous in the cocktail department of late, what with our homemade limoncellos and limecellos and trying various weird boozes. Anyway, I never gave vermouth much thought but as it turns out we both like vermouth quite a lot. If you've only ever had sweet vermouth in a Manhattan or dry vermouth in a Martini, it might seem weird to consider it a base ingredient, but give it a shot (in fact one of our favorite cocktails, The Duplex, is just equal parts sweet and dry vermouth and bitters). We've tried enough different kinds to be able to say that there's a lot of variation between brands and we like a dry vermouth that is pretty herbaceous. So after hunting around for wormwood and quinine and some other weird ingredients, we now have what we've realized is an effing lifetime supply of ingredients used in making both vermouth and bitters (the next project). So like two witches we measured all of our ingredients and simmered and strained and now we're letting it settle in a little bit before giving it the full review. A first sniff and taste was pretty exciting.

And that, people, is probably more than any of you wanted to know. Enjoy the weekends out there, try a Duplex for me.


Ashley K. said...

Where in WV are you going? I am a currently living in WV! It is so fun to see our babies learn new 'tricks.' Our little Etta Mae goes to her bookshelf and pulls down books until she find the one she wants and then holds it above her head when we ask her if she would like to read a book. It makes my heart swell. Just awesome!

Kelly (The Sorry Gardener) said...

From zero to three gardens in as many months and now making your own booze. Awesome!

By the way, what happened to your chickens?

Heather said...

Sadly the ladies could not move with us. We gave them to a really lovely sheep having gal just south of us. Lots of land for our wild hens.

Ashley, my family farm is just outside of Sistersville. Where are you?


queenbeehoney said...

Your family in WV can hardly wait to see that Jolly Man and dunk him in the river! On the novel front, just passed 'Cutting for Stone' along to John. Highly recommend. There are certain scenes that will never leave my mind, I'm sure. Still savoring my visit and trying to figure out how to post a too-long video up on my Flickr page. iMovie is slow going!