Thursday, June 30, 2011



{yesterday, same spot}

That stuff there at the top?  Mustards, bolting spinach.  Cut it all to the nubs last tuesday, the solstice.  Let us not forget how quickly things grow at this time of year.  I imagine I will think the same about those little toes, before long.  Yesterday I did not even harvest from there, having filled the fridge with arugula and chard from the east end of that row.  Fourth cutting on the arugula; not quite so delicate these days; wants to be pasta sauce, I think.  More on that luscious chard soon.

The peas - at last - come on apace.  There will never be too many.

The lettuce on the other hand.  Does anyone want a head of lettuce?  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

teeny tiny tuscany

 Jeff thinks that the windows let the person in the kitchen be social with the people on the deck.  I don't think it's true, especially since you have to pull the shade to be in the kitchen when it is deck weather.  On Friday, we had Pete and Marisa over for dinner, and Zander and Otis were around for a while drinking beer and eating popsicles.  Of course, everyone was on the deck, right where they should have been.  If I were my mother and had dinner ready hours earlier, I would have been on the deck, too.  But hours earlier I was holding babies and planting seeds and pushing swings, none of which I was willing to cut short.  So I roasted the potatoes and mixed the romesco, cooked the beans and cleaned the artichokes, during happy hour.  Marisa came in for a while and made art with my messy basket of herbs, and the kids dashed to the door just to run screaming again, pretending I was a witch for forbidding them to bring their dripping strawberry-pulp popsicles inside.  When Jeff came in from a long swing-pushing/beer-drinking session, he commented on my 'slaving' and I think the people in general felt that they had better really talk up the food since I seemed to be working so hard, and missing all the fun.  Even Zelda was especially effusive; with raised eyebrows she repeated that she couldn't understand why Otis didn't like our food.

I know that it is considered more gracious to make it look easy, to keep the mess away from the guests, and laugh off our efforts.  But the truth is, I was having a wonderful time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

the biggest day

The solstice was marvelously hot and bright.  It was a day of physical exuberance.  Coffee, bike, yoga, bike, eat, plant, cut, water, sex, plant, tie, defend, harvest, wash, dig, shower, dress, bulgogi dinner in the driveway with H&P&AB and Mary and Tam.  We rode home without layering up, weaving along Alameda, bodies full of the fullness of the year, warmed by the nearness of the sun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

look closely

I admit, I hide out a bit around here.  Jeff and I joke that we moved to the city so we could take advantage of all the variety and stimulation available to us by turning our little lot into our whole world.  It's funny.  I do like to ride over the Broadway Bridge and gaze out at the shiny water and us like ants swarming the source with our many bridges and boats and buildings.  I do love the sense of choice that surrounds me, though I use it little.  There was a time when I was used to big views.  The lay of a whole valley falling from sun into shade, or the reach of a wide avenue, swarming with souls.  These days, I mostly look closely.  I can spend a half hour staring out the window at my wild little plot of half-mulched herb garden, or an hour staring into a similarly tangled and promising corner of my mind.  I imagine that, eventually, the wide angle view will come back.  For now, though, I like how things look right here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

status update

Sell chicken coop.  Check.  (Jeff)
Fill in corn.  Check.
Flower seeds everywhere!
Kentucky wonder beans in the hole where the hollyhocks were.  Checkedy.
Sunburned skin still attached.  
South yard chaos but coming along.
Four kids ripping through the house all afternoon and I still got everything watered, worm bin emptied, recycling out, lettuce harvested. 

If it didn't hurt, I'd give myself a pat on the back.

Friday, June 10, 2011

next thing

I guess it was the 24th that I planted the corn.  Or else the 26th.  Planted corn, pole beans, bush beans, cucumbers, squash.  As Holly said, a tangle.  Planted in fresh compost, let it pour down on it for the weekend, and then got the cover up and tight.  And it worked.  Glory be, it worked.  The sun came out the next weekend and brought the whole thing up to temp (85 sometimes on the soil thermometer) and it worked.  The corn seed was years old and I had only enough for one in each hole, so inevitably there are holes in my grid.  Wondering now whether I should seed the holes or take a chance on starts.  Probably seed the holes.  There's time.  Could get quicky seed from Territorial if it didn't cost 8 dollars to get a quarter oz from Cottage Grove to here.  Anyway and regardless, it worked.  Worrked!  Corn seeded in the month of May in a spring that was dragging its ass.

Yesterday, June 9, I ran around the yard all day moving things.  Strawberries out of the bucket to the North of Zelda's little house (so much darker on that side; such sad strawberries) and into the ground around the South side, with the Spanish lavender from the pots.  Lovage in North pot.  Herbs from driveway pots almost all moved to South side yard, peppers into driveway pots.  Favas pulled (and used for path mulch until we have a better place).  ***Banner cover crop favas=super awesome.  Go in easy; grow when nothing else does, and taller than me; look amazing; pull out like a dream.  What!? ***  Tomato starts, that Black-eyed susan vine, red and orange cosmos, delicata seed, some weird pumpkin starts, yellow zucchini seed . . . in boxes.  Rusty hollyhocks pulled from box #3 - space for ?

Oh yeah, and Jeff built us a deck.


what we hold dear

I had, recently, a reminder to set priorities, keep goals in mind - the days are long but life is short kind of thing.  So I gave it a think.  But I couldn't dig up any anxious resolutions or dramatic dreams.

For better or worse - and mostly under duress - I have set my tiller toward just enough, toward daily maintenance, and daily love.  I always thought the best possible future was one I could not imagine.  I hoped and prayed to feel god's hand; I wanted to be a bottle - or better yet, the message - sent to sea.

But here I am, looking at my small place in this world, knowing myself to be original only in the way we all are, and essential only to this handful of hearts nearest mine.  I am just beginning to understand what it takes - the daily discipline and long hours and deep love it takes to see the beauty in this wandering world, and make a little more.  I am just beginning to earn my place here, by my husband's side, in the eyes of these girls, under these soft skies.  

I am learning, one hopeful morning, one worn down night at a time, to shut up and pay attention, to put a seed down when I harvest, to take joy in the smallest things, to get behind the mule.  And when I think of the future, I wish, hopefully and humbly, for more of the same.