Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bossy Boss Boss

Ahem, I mean manager. Anyhoo, she had surgery last week, so I made her a glasses case. Periwinkle and purple are her fave colors, so that's what I went with. Note to self: tight stitches to begin with = less shrinkage and felting = bad. Also, next time I refrain from any kind of monogram. My skills are less than lacking.


I have peas, people! Teeny tiny peapods are out, and I couldn't help but munch the first one I saw, hoping it was of the edible-pod variety rather than the English shelling peas. Of course, I'd have chomped down on a tough pod and swallowed it just as happily.

Turnips are surprisingly good raw. I had no idea how to cook them, so I just chopped a couple up and snacked. Radish-like. Yum.

It's also time to start hauling some of the lettuce heads out. My goodness they'll be yummy.

I really love this time of year.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pictures of Ronnie 1

Now, if only I knew who Ronnie was. Whoever emailed me these pictures must have really wanted me to see that's he's all grown up!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blossom of the almond trees, April's gift to April's Bees. --Edwin Arnold

Containing, besides the large number of Astronomical Calculations and the Farmer's Calendar for ever month in the year; a variety of New, Useful, and Entertaining Matter.

This morning I plopped myself down outside, sweating in the typical places after mowing a too-wet lawn and caging my tomatoes, to read The Old Farmer's Almanac 2008, Southern Edition.

How many people still read these, I wonder? This one is No. CCXVI, and somehow still is authored by its founder from 1792, Robert B. Thompsom, according to the cover. He's even gone all internet savvy, this guy.

Today's sunrise was at 6:55 a.m., and sunset is to be at 8:17 p.m., he says. There's a sweet though bizarre verse that goes down the side of the table that lists dates, feasts, fasts, aspects and tide heights.

Friday, April 25: St. Mark• United Negro College Fund incorporated 1944•{5.8




Sunday, April 20, 2008

O Happy Day!

It's starting to rain, and I just heard thunder in the distance. The skies to the southwest are ominously dark, and I have the feeling we're about to get a good soaking.

I drove 200 miles this weekend, mostly while taking part in the CFSA Piedmont Farm Tour. It seems kind of wrong to be driving that much during Earth Day weekend, but the price-per-car made for a lot of carpooling. At least there's that.

Yesterday I volunteered at Braeburn/Cane Creek farm(s).

Ooooh. Wait. It just got really dark and windy. Maybe this is the first thunderstorm! Oh, my, it's battering the maple tree something fierce, and the wind gusts are making the huge drops fall at about a 60ยบ angle. Yup. Thunder.

Ok, back to the story at hand (but it's soooooo awesome to


Wow. The hail is pea-sized and my unplanted tomatoes are flying across the deck. Hm. Maybe I'd better bring in at least the Cherokee Purple seedling (!!!) I picked up at one of the farms today (only $2.50!). Hail seems to be over.

Sorry about that tangent. Anyhoo.... It's great to see some rain, and I'm glad I decided to come home this afternoon after only visiting four farms.

Yesterday, volunteering. Today, touring. Fab weekend, seriously.

Oops the hail is back!! Hang on while I watch it.

FUCK that was close. Jesus. Big thunder.

The hail is now just lemon-seed sized.

Damn, I can't seem to get my attention off of the rain. Maybe I'll write more about this weekend and how great it was after the storm is over.

EDIT: The temperature dropped 10 degrees outside in 2 minutes.
EDIT #2: According to weather underground, the temp actually dropped over 20 degrees in a nearby neighborhood. It was in the mid 70s, but now feels like it's about 50. Of course I don't have a thermometer or anything, so it's hard to tell.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stinkin' bloodsuckers

Oy. First mosquito.

I spent this morning getting some of the summer garden in, pre- rainy weekend. One thing I hadn't considered was that last year I had no spring garden. Now that I do, three of the containers I use for overflow tomatoes are taken up with carrots, beets, and (Thank you, Trace) turnips.

So this morning I managed 5 tomatoes, seven pepper plants, and three eggplants. Planning this year will be hodgepodge, but I'm still psyched. On Maria's advice, I'll plant once I harvest. That means I'll have beans in the containers I used for tomatoes last year. Good rotation.

For the record:
Tomatoes-- Sungold, German Beauty Queen, Better Boy, Pink Beefsteak, Brandywine.
Peppers-- Yellow Bell (x 3), and 4 mystery peppers that could be green, red, yellow or purple.
Eggplants-- Black Beauty x 3

I have a new bed that I'm not sure what to do with, and I've identified another portion along the south side of the house that, though skinny, would make a perfect place for more tomatoes. I think I need to go get some more rubbermaid tubs and cut or drill some holes in them to put along the house there. In the new bed I'm thinking that we'll see some cantaloupes and other squash-like sprawlers.

The favas have flowers, and so do the peas! Whee!

Time to go feed the worms. I'm going to try to get them to migrate over to the side of the bin without castings so that I can harvest soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I have to admit that I filed my toenails at work today.


At this moment, I am the employee in the office with the most seniority. And there's a patient that's acutely homicidal. Awesome. I'm not in danger, I swear. It's very interesting, that's for sure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Grown up Mac and Cheese

Wow. I have this morning off because of a late meeting tonight, so I had time to make brunch. Sometimes the simplest fare is the best.

Asparagus from Maria, pasta, butter, romano and pepper. Yowsa.

(Yes, that's a paper plate. Drought not over as far as I'm concerned. I shall, however, try to get some decomposable plates rather than these plastic-coated ones. Then I can compost them.)

(Also, someone's going to have stinky pee today)

I'm glad I didn't plant this weekend. It's looking like we might be risking a freeze over the next few nights, and I'd hate to kill even more plants than I have already. Thankfully, I can haul in my potted fig tree, as well as my potted hydrangea. All of the seedlings are still potted as well, but I'm going to be wading through pots until this weekend.

Excuse me for a bit while I go lug everything in.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bird Crazy

So, migration is getting into the swing, and I haven't been birding in ages and ages. Yesterday I went to Maria's to pitch in on some weeding and mulching. Got sunburned a little where I missed a spot on my left shoulder. Oh man, I'm rambling. Ah well, it's OK because I haven't had any coffee yet (argh!), and I'll eventually get to the point.

I brought my binocs to Maria's just in case. She's a birder pal, as well as a garden pal, a public health pal, a spanish-speaking pal, and just an all around fantastic pal. While we were hoeing, scraping, mulching, and picking out henbit galore, we heard the loud teacher teacher teacher of the ovenbirds.

So yeah, migration.

We tried to see the yellow-throated warbler, but his sweetie sweetie sweetie belied his location (can I use belie that way?). Despite our neck craning and patience, we didn't see him.

I suppose this taste of spring migration is what led to my dream last night. I discovered what I thought was a nest inside my house. I saw a male American Redstart in molt sitting on a low shelf, and cautiously approached. I held out my finger, hoping he'd perch on it, but he just pecked at it. It hurt, but in quite a delightful way. I got him some seed and lay it near him. He ate it immediately, and as I watched I saw that there were more birds, baby birds, behind a basket on the same shelf.

Time lapse. I went to get a camera. None of them worked.

So I returned to just observe. Between going to get the camera and returning, my parents' housekeeper of over 20 years, Ruth, had been to visit. She had cleaned off the shelf, leaving just the basket. I picked up the basket, and inside I realized things had changed since I'd last checked in.

Instead of baby birds and a lone molting Redstart, there was now a mix of warblers. Some I knew, and others I didn't. There were two Blackpoll Warblers that I first mistook for Black and White Warblers. (Actually, in the dream I thought they were Blackburnian Warblers, but I meant Blackpoll and just confused the name. Now, looking at the pictures, they actually were Black and White Warblers, because they had stripy heads).

There were about 5-6 birds in that basket, and there was one that I seriously had no idea about. It was a warbler, but it was no warbler I'd ever heard of. The most distinguishing mark was the thin yellow X across its throat.

Yesterday I was remembering the time I had an avian visitor in the house. I bet that's another reason for my dream last night.

I need to get out there. I suppose I'll head out tomorrow morning before I let migration pass me by.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Just for the record, I have finished my 2007 taxes. One of the beautiful things about a) working for the man and b) having essentially no assets is that it took me just about 30 minutes from start to finish, using software that cost ~$30. Now I just need to print everything out and mail it. WOOT!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Come into my garden...

Spring is officially here, as far as I'm concerned!

Sunday is the average last frost day here. My seedlings are hardened off* and I just did the following:

1) mowed the front lawn,
2) turned the kitchen compost,
3) shoveled the good kitchen compost into a container for later use,
4) turned my sunniest bed (incorporating the rye that had grown there over the winter,
5) hauled some very heavy bags of topsoil over to near where I want them to end up, and
6) began the first grass and leaf compost pile.

I also went berserk at Wrong Aid, of all places, buying even more seeds.

Looks like summer planting starts this weekend....whew.

Meanwhile, take a gander at the Spring garden and how it's progressing.

*I was unable to get the ground cherries to germinate past the itsy two-leaf stage. Also, I (weep, sniffle) killed my poor Cherokee Purple seedlings by sunburning them. The horror.


Last year I didn't even get one berry. Maria gave me some this fall, which I promptly put into this container. Here's hoping!

Grape Hyacinth
This just popped up in the middle of the yard between my neighbor's house and mine. I wonder who planted it and when?

Another wonderful specimen I didn't plant. This year they've been gorgeous. There are two bushes flanking the front porch. The south bush (pictured below) is huge. The north one, not so much. They've both faded at this point, but are still beautiful.

No, not the heinous vinyl siding, nor (what I presume is) the dryer vent or hot water pips. No, look a little closer at that foilage. What's....that....LUMP? Can you guess? (I know already. This is a test. And a bit of overwhelming excitement)

Rutabagas? Turnips?
I can't remember what these are, to tell you the truth. They're quite nice looking, don't you think? I tossed some cilantro in there as well, but you probably can't see it. If you look very closely, you can see that there's some volunteer lettuce. :-)


OK, so sue me. It's extremely difficult to frame a shot when it's sunny out and the computer screen is like a mirror. With all of these shots I essentially pointed and hoped I had any of the intended subject lined up. These took ages to germinate, and though I planted them in gorgeous patterns, now I have no idea which varieties will be which.

Peas, Romaine, Buttercrunch
Two styles of peas--sugar snap and english shelling peas. Yum. Favas to the left of the Buttercrunch, casting a shadow. Also casting a shadow is the aforementioned laptop. See what I go through for you?

Look what finally deigned to come play! This is again one of those "who the hell knows what all's in there" situations. Some of them are Atomic Red (Thanks, Laurie!), and others are normal.

What you can't see here is the copious amounts of dirt crusted all over my body. I have it on my hands, my face, my chest. I love it. Feels good...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Market bag

It's passed already. Just needed to get out of bed, step in the shower, put on some clothes and hightail it over to my coffee shop.

Yesterday I finished this hot pink market bag I'd put on the back burner for a while. It took just an extremely boring medical interpreter training to motivate me!! Filling in vocab sheets when the trainer a) can't train to save her life and b) is wrong three times a minute and c) takes forever and rambles serves to really get that hook flying.

So here it is in all its dubitable* glory.

I'll call the kids shortly, now that the moment of woe has passed.

*I love making words from other words.

Loose ends

I can't figure out what to do with my time. There are things I should be doing (ahem, taxes), but it's the weekend, and well, yuck.

So I'm in bed, awake for the past 4 hours, but I haven't done anything other than cruise along on the internet. I want coffee, but seem to be too lazy to make it. I suppose the plan was to get up and go to a coffee shop, but I couldn't find the motivation. I didn't know where to go, and I didn't know what I'd do when I got there. I suppose I'm just feeling like I'm at loose ends.

There's a little bit of a bummer-drag feeling inside of me today, also. I got a text message from someone who I have no respect for, but who is inextricably linked to my three favorite boys. They're apparently in Nashville currently, and The Father (who I really dislike interacting with) wanted to see if he could call me "since it's a favorite place of yours" or some such. Well, I haven't been to Nashville in 15 years. What's really bumming me out/pissing me off about this is that The Father was a friend of mine way before he was The Brother In Law and then The Father and then the Asshole. And in that role of friend, he came to visit me in Nashville. So the text message makes me just that much more bitter and sad and pissed off, remembering those nice memories and how tainted they are now.

I'm crying a little bit now for that lost friendship. And for knowing that right now I *can't* call them because he still makes me so angry, even four years later. And that makes me feel guilty, because a big part of me wants to let bygones be bygones for the sake of my dear sweet boys. Why shouldn't they talk to their aunt when they're in a town that she lived in? It's my inability to deal that's upsetting me. I don't want to be that person who stops talking to other people. It messes with kids. I mean, if it were just some random person who fucked me over I would have no problem with just cutting them out of my life. But this isn't comparable.

I also feel guilty, of course, because I'm not the one who was most wronged in this situation. My anger is mostly by proxy, but also directly. He lied to everyone. I trusted him and he fucked up royally, and for a very long time, and very badly.

So kids, if you have friends who become relatives, a word to the wise. Don't be an untrustworthy asshole who hurts those around them, who trusted you and loved you and welcomed you with open arms. Don't lie and disrespect and screw over your friends' loved ones, their family, their friendship.

Just don't. It leads to days like this.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

just this

I'm really, really sick of blogging. I don't know why, but maybe it's from so many daily posts for so long. Nothing seems interesting enough to put up here, as evidenced by the extreme list of food.

That said, I was considering an entry about ripping off Big Pharma by attending an entirely unnecessary 4 course meal with 5 different wines, a pashmina shawl proffered "in case there's a draft," a tour through the kitchen and wine cellar to reach the dining room, and a waiter who didn't know what the wines were that they were offering up. Tenderloin, lobster, chocolate lava cake, green salad, blue cheese mashed potatoes, asparagus, red pepper bisque. Big Pharma paid over $125 for me to listen to an MD shilling their medicine, using (only) Big Pharma's own data. The food was good, the company mediocre (except for one co-worker), and the schmooze oozed.

Oops. More food listing.