Friday, April 18, 2014

Into it


Everything in the year starts to be good when the peas begin coming up. I checked at 4pm yesterday and had one; two hours later when I took Patrick over to boast, I had two! 

I also have cress seedlings-- never grown cress before, but a close-out packet of seeds last year tempted me-- and beets! I had planted carrots and beets maybe two weeks ago, and covered the bed with plastic row covers, thinking it might warm the soil the speed germination. And it sure did. It's so nice when an experiment works out. I'll be doing that again.


Crocus! So many of 'em got snowed on the other night, and collapsed, but more are pushing through now. Crocus renewal.


Cold frame arugula. I also have kale, lettuce, and spinach.


Lawn Delmer. The grass is really starting to grow.


Aforementioned cress.


My first Frog Pond trip of the year was Wednesday, and I bought the year's broccoli, seed potatoes, onion sets, and even some garlic to plant (it was showing green tops, so I assume I can plant it.) When all was said and done last fall, I only had about 100 cloves to plant-- not enough for winter storage and year's seed-- so more was called for.

It feels so good to have things begun out there. 

This weekend Patrick has two gigs-- things have been a little quiet on the gig-front lately, so this is a good thing-- and I am anticipating getting back to my regular long evenings on the "fahm," out working and enjoying the quiet. And spring. Good spring.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crazytown.


It is both dazzling and daunting to see a room tore-up from the floor-up. As I was telling my mother-in-law, dramatic, visible progress is a good thing. Sometimes, the dramatic progress leads to polished surfaces. Sometimes the dramatic progress leads to CHAOS. But it's always good to get the progress, no matter the type. My FIL came last Friday AM and we tore everything out. The most stressful part for me was emptying all the cabinets (my precious! spices! implements! favorite pans! where will you live NOW?) but once that was accomplished (not so bad, really) things started ticking along. Tom came back Saturday, and Monday, and now we are ready for one more day of floor-leveling cement application... oh man, that floorrrr... and then that will cure and we will be ready for backer board and thinset and TILE!! Whoo hoo! TILE!


Soon. The weather has been, I must say, MARVELOUS, and this is exactly the time when we could really use some marvelous weather. Not just because it's been a long winter, but because our downstairs is sort of uninhabitable right now. You just-- or, correction, I just-- can't relax in a room that contains a fireplace and a Victorian couch and built-in bookcases and a marooned DISHWASHER. Y'know? So, we've been patio-ing it up. There have been lawn beers.


And today it is going to snow, for the LAST time, and that will be swell. And in the meantime, the dining room is actually proving quite satisfactory as an interim kitchen. Kind of novel. 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Sun critters






Do you see him?





We are delivered. Yesterday was 65 and sunny and it was glorious. The finished compost was half-thawed, so I dug and spread that around the garden. Morning, I had one kale seedling in the cold frame, but by late afternoon, I had seventeen. I love the immediacy of this time of year-- you go from sensory poverty to crazy abundance in just a few short weeks. Suddenly, there are things to smell (mud, tree flowers, rain), hear (robins, red wing blackbirds, white-throated sparrows, PEEPERS) and feel (sunlight!). Soon there will be things to taste. Soon there will be asparagus coming up, and raspberry leaves breaking forth, and peas twining the trellis. 

We took Del to the river and let him off leash-- something that, we've decided, should be a regular thing-- and he had a ball. He splashed in the river water and got stuck down a really steep bank and had to be pulled out and got to waller in a stinkhole. Aw, dogs. Doggy rites of spring. It's amazing to think just a year ago we were meeting him for the first time, and falling in love, and being dragged back and forth over are we gonna get him? And then we got him. Sweet dog. Best dog.


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

That's better


Monday was 45 and sunny, and the snow vanished. I watched, cackling periodically from my office, knowing, feeling, that Tuesday morning would be warm, and I would dig. 

And I did.

I started out buzzing through some fallen branches from the yard, waiting for the ground to thaw. I put another coat of primer on a glider I just started refinishing. By 11 o'clock, I was ready to go. 


I raked. I fluffed up and turned over the ground. I marveled at all the earthworms, and at that wonderful dark, crumbly top layer-- the broken-down organic matter I've been working in, year after year-- proof that I'm moving in the right direction. Proof that I'm gaining. I set up trellising. I planted peas.

I cracked open the cold frame to find my August planting of spinach-- hello there!-- regrowing itself after being nearly, but not quite killed, by the winter cold. Like, whoa. Fresh spinach in April? I will be repeating that trick. I forked two dozen of the biggest ones out and plunked them down in one of the salad beds in the brick area. Then I moved the cold frame to its designated spot (according to Garden Plan 2014) and planted it in lettuce. 


What is it about neatly spaced thriving green things that stirs my soul? 


It's true I'm not really rabid for spring this year-- or rather, I'm not rabid for the endless work I know spring brings with it-- but damnit, it's irresistible all the same. Especially after a long winter without the tough, beautiful, satisfying work of growing things. It's so easy for me to forget that, simply, I'm a different person when I can spend part of my day-- and myself-- in the garden every day. A happier person. 

Today it is also going to be warm and partly sunny, and right now I'm playing that same waiting game-- is it thawed yet? And later I will rake and turn and plant more things. Ahhh. Life is good.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

And then


And then, the night before pea planting eve, it snowed. 

On his evening walk, Del cavorted and frolicked on the end of the leash. His humans were less than thrilled. 

There are few things in my life as keen as the heartbreak of late March snow. Tomorrow it's supposed to be near sixty, finally, and all this white crap better be GONE by then, so I can freaking plant. That is my sworn statement. The romance and quiet and seclusion of winter is gone. Spring is what the people need.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting through


Exactly one month ago, I started on a quilt. I need to make this a regular wintertime occurrence. It helps so much. Each little patient seam and square and stitch, one little bit closer to spring. I had fun putting this one together, definitely slap-dash and a little wonky, but full of life and pattern. And I love the colors. I mean, I have to, right? But I mean I really, really love the colors. They're so... March. Ice blue and gray and more gray and brown and white and the littlest, specialest slivers of bright yellow.


Hope.


This quilt was my bus companion to Philly-- I worked on the quilting sitting by my window listening to Jason Isbell on P's iPod over and over and over with it fluffed on my knees. Sunday, coming home, I used it as a pillow-- my 7am bus was wayyy too early for me to be industrious on the ride.

I still have binding to do, of course-- and I'm thinking deep navy blue-- but that's convenient, because I still have winter, too. Though Monday it's supposed to be 57 and mostly sunny, so we'll see. Yesterday I did some outside-work. Today it is raining and I am getting over this cold, and finishing the last of the quilting. So good. So ready for spring.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Twenty four hours in Philly


I fled Gilbertsville. I spent eleven hours on various buses for the exquisite privilege of spending two nights in a house that wasn't filled with plaster dust. For vintage shopping and afternoon glasses of Chardonnay and walking around without a jacket on Saturday. 

It was awesome.

I was ostensibly in town to see Tumbleweed Highway (P's band) play nearby-- and he and the guys can believe that, if it makes them happy-- but really, I was in town to see Meghann. To see Meghann and have girl time. So when we caravanned into the city Saturday morning-- five big hairy guys in a van, plus Brent (Meghann's husband) plus us girls... well, we made short work of ditching them. 

Meg and I headed west. All I wanted, really, was people-watching and chitchat and cool buildings to ogle. The experience of being someplace unfamiliar and interesting to look at. But, lo and behold, we found a vintage consignment shop. We couldn't pass that up, could we? Well, no.


I had the heartbreaking experience of trying on a gorgeous dress that didn't fit. Which is probably a smaller heartbreak than the experience of having it look amazing and not being able to afford it. One item in the store was priced-- $450-- so, um, yeah.

We moved on to lunch.  


And cheese shopping.


And white wine in tumblers in a bar that seemed, we agreed, part slaughterhouse, part S&M dungeon. 


Brent picked us up and we headed back to home. We strolled to buy provisions for the night's dinner and game night. One of us might have been a little drunk. I remember talking passionately about the downsides of women's lib in the cracker aisle. 

Then, we got cookin. Two women, one kitchen, two pans of lasagna, salad, bruschetta, garlic bread... Jason Isbell on Spotify... 


...one sweet dog, spring sunshine... oh, it was pretty excellent.


And later, there were new people to meet, and dinner, and games. Cards Against Humanity and lots of red wine.


Agh, I had so much fun! 

I have decided it should be an annual event, at least. Nice to launch myself into springtime from a place of relaxation and culture, a place of being centered. Because lord knows, when the garden is in high gear, it is hard for me to be centered.

This week is bringing us three more days of highs in the 20s-- ENOUGH, ALREADY!-- and then, finally, finally, it will begin creeping up towards 60. As much as I'm eager, I know it will be the end of long, idle afternoons and weekends away that don't make me scramble to catch up. But that's okay. I'm ready. I'm ready, and it's time.
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