I planted my little back-yard garden just a bit over a month ago now, around April 24. Now, at the end of May, things are looking green, fat, and happy, if a bit slug-munched [contented sigh.]
My garden, for the most part, is a little square outside the back door, under the kitchen window. There's a pink climbing rose called 'Eden' that's in bloom now, above the door. It graces the corner of the square, and has been there for six or seven years now. I think it's one of the sweetest, most adorable roses, and grows with very little fuss.
In the garden, I have peas, garlic, a bean, leeks, broccoli, cabbages, lettuce, spinach, and an onion. This weekend I got a pumpkin start (not a great pumpkin [remember that?], just a regular-type pumpkin) and a butternut squash, to replace the spinach, which is about done. Around the border, I've planted about a dozen lily-pad-leafed nasturtiums, and their floaty stems spill out onto the sidewalk. The blossoms top a salad with pure sunshine.
The bluish-green of the broccoli is the prettiest color in the world. Near that cabbage-green and against the dark soil, the color is deep and cool. The stems sturdily make their ways up, up. I can hardly wait for the bouquet of tiny florets. Its a miracle. You feel that way, watching things try.
The cabbage moths are making eyelet of my Napa cabbage. I think I was supposed to put a collar around the little cabbages, but I didn't. I'll learn. The hard way, but oh well.
This is an organic garden, with soil sweetened by compost, fed with a bit of organic fertilizer before planting. I watered in some beneficial nematodes that my mom got for me, but otherwise, nothing. It is what it is, at least this year, as I learn how to grow things.
Well, hallo kitters. You've come to keep me company. Thank you.
I took the little patch of hay-mulch out very soon after it went in. It quickly turned into a a really gross mat of scuz [wistful sigh].
I still wish I had the hay. And a sprightly dapple-gray Connemara pony named Musette [wistful double-sigh].
But a little spot of country green'll do.
So that's the willow-edged garden.
Over toward the back, there are the containers, in the sun.
Here we have all the ubiquitous herbs, along with a lot of basil, a few tomatoes, a bit more lettuce, four potatoes, and two pots of strawberries.
Here is a potato!!!!!
This is a cape mallow called 'Very Cranberry.' I LOVE THIS THING.
Jeesh. They're pretty.
Oh. It's another kitters. Sleeping beauty.
So, if you've read any single post of this blog over the past almost four years, you'll know about me and square patches. About how I love them. Okay, maybe not any post.
No, any post. It's there. You just have to be able to read my secret messages. Like, when I'm saying, "I love my dog!" I'm really saying, "I love my dog and square patches!" Or, "Look! Dinner!" There I'm really saying, "Look! Dinner! I love square patches!" Most of you probably already know this. The others of you, chop chop: Gotta keep up!
I learned a new technique to put together square patches. It is the awesomest. You can stitch together a pillow cover in mere minutes. Supposing you are into that, which I'm betting you are. Because you're cool like that!
I will tell you more about it but I have got to run because my in-laws are coming tomorrow and the house is in shambles. Much like this shelf:
Hellity hell, Shelf!!!!!!!!!!!
Spring's turning to summer. I'll put my green raincoat away now*. So happy to be outside. Clover's rolling around on the lawn. Listening to Mason Jennings for the past several days and it's aligning perfectly with my mood. Weather report = wonderful all weekend. Nasturtiums and morning glories are blooming, and the cape mallow. Napa cabbage looking very chomped. Making a future plan to go camping for the first time in a long time. Made a coconut cream pie, chicken roll-up things, and spinach yesterday, and messed every single thing up. Had a Dove bar. Got my five summer-reading books** — picked quickly, almost randomly — hoping they're good. Cut hundreds of two-inch squares out of pretty, pretty, pretty fabrics. Yummy. Andy's parents come to visit this week and I can barely wait. Gentle dog waits to be walked. Sweet Maytime.
What's your day looking like?
*Dirty laundry only looks nice on the day you wash all the vintage sheets and pillowcases.
*Will post a list soon — they're all upstairs but I'll round them up.
In college, my friend Pam and I went through a phase where we were obsessed with the color combination of turquoise and mustard yellow together. Isn't that weird? That we would actually talk about this? It didn't seem weird. I had a silver ring with an oval piece of amber, clear as honey. She has strawberry blond, almost-red hair. We sat alone together in the art department, painting batiks or weaving samplers for hours. We wore beaded anklets and smoked and listened alternately to the Pixies and Joni Mitchell. I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling. Time seemed different, then. There were hours and hours to spend, somehow. As summer approached, the shabby little streets around campus would start to burst with weeds and alley flowers, ancient lilacs and phlox. We walked almost everywhere. There were one or two cars among ten or eleven of us friends, and every once in a while we'd go somewhere, across the river, to Iowa, beyond the bounds of our usual routes between the tiny, hill-ensconced school and our little, falling-down wooden rental houses, with peeling lead paint and sofas on porches and gardens of dandelions. A few blocks away from the house where I lived on 8 1/2-th Avenue were the crumbling, overgrown remains of an old house's foundation. They sat, undisturbed and forgotten, slightly unreal, like a stage set meant to look like a ruin. One night, walking past the spot, I was carrying a ceramic pot that Seth had made for me, and I accidentally whacked it into the side of a telephone pole, and thought I'd busted it. (It was fine, but what was I thinking about?) Andy and John had old motorcycles. Pam, in a floaty Bellini-colored babydoll dress and Birkenstocks, burned her calf on the exhaust pipe one night on a drunken jaunt with John. For weeks the big oval wound oozed and wept, but she'd probably thought it was worth it. You don't do stuff like that twice.
I made Ina's curry chicken salad in my new blue bowl the other day, and was reminded.
Yesterday was one of those days when I just could not get it together. I tried to clean my studio; no go. I tried to finish the bags; no. I tried to make something new; nuh-uh. I call these my "low-mo" days. I wander around trying to figure out what in the world I am trying to accomplish, and when I look back on the day, I see that nothing has been. It was raining and cold all day. I ate toast. The dishwasher didn't even get unloaded. This is when I know I am just tired. I try to respect that. I don't know why it's so hard to just go with it. It doesn't happen very often, but I never, ever enjoy it as much as I think I should. I don't know if the guilt a Tuesday-of-slothing engenders is the result of being a lapsed Catholic, or a lapsed Midwesterner.
Pets sleep constantly. I swear mine sleep almost all day long. If Clover is awake all day (meaning, Andy and I are both home all day hanging out in the yard or having people over, or anything like that that is way too exciting to actually sleep through the way she sleeps through days of me making market bags, for instance), by 9:00 p.m. she is absolutely begging us to come upstairs and get in bed. We'll be sitting at the table, relaxing by candlelight, talking with friends, whatever. She'll go into the house and stare at us from the doorway: "Please."
When we come in she'll make an immediate bee-line for the bed. We'll take her off and she'll collapse gratefully into her crate and sleep for eight hours without a peep. The next day she'll get out lay on the bed, all tangled in the covers, like the princess who slept on the pea — exhausted. A hardy partying crew we are not.
This is the couch, yesterday afternoon. I'm on here too, in case you were wondering if one couch fits three. It does. Sorta.
"I love you, but do I have to sleep with your big nose in my ear?"
"Or my eye."
(I used the "Seventies" Photoshop action from the incomparable and amazing Pioneer Woman on these. [Mac users, hold down the alt/option key when clicking her actions-download link.] Love that mellow glow.)
The weather was amazing all weekend, actually. The garden finally perked up after the last three weeks of cold and rain and wind. My potatoes have sprouted! This is very exciting. All four pots have big green leaves emerging. I'll take photos this week. I am trying to ween myself off of my tripod because I am so lazy. It's so much easier to take pictures without it in some ways (though harder in others). On top of that, ever since I got my new iMac last fall I have been Photoshopping my photos on it and they look so different when I upload them to the PC or the blog. I can't seem to get the color profiles to match between the two computers to my satisfaction, at least. Getting better, but still not great. Oh well. Maybe someday I'll get there. I shoot everything in RAW now and I'm still getting used to it. So much to learn.
I am going through all of my old Everyday Food magazines and clipping stuff that looks good, and have ordered a little 6" x 9" binder to put everything in. I found a recipe there for Banana Chiffon Cake and made that and it was gorgeous, I have to say.
Things have been a bit hit-or-miss with me and that magazine. I must say, however, that Banana Chiffon Cake was a keeper. Pretty pretty, too.
We made vanilla Italian sodas* with fresh orange-mint. I love vanilla Italian soda. See that big pot in the bottom right corner? That has a potato in it!
Aimee is the display designer at Cargo. She always brings me such beautiful little presents. This is a diminutive pincushion from Japan, about the size of a golf ball. Isn't that darling?
The rigatoni was delish. You should make this. Use fresh mozzarella and really good imported Italian tomatoes, like Tyler says to. Costs a bit more, but so worth it here.
Aimee soundly whomped both Andy and me, but mostly me (who was a vowel magnet — at one time, out of seven letters, I had four Is, two Os and an E to work with, and when I finally did get a consonant it would be a Q, or a K, or an X. It actually got to be funny. I couldn't have picked more poorly, every single time, if I had tried, and this after Andy throughout dinner kept insisting how good I was at Scrabble, much to my eventual chagrin. Aimee, however, couldn't spell a word that didn't rack up at least twenty points, every single time.
Summer nights. So very sweet.
*To make an Italian soda, you just add a big glub-glub (that's, to use a Tyler-ism, a two-count) of some kind of flavored syrup like Torani (or you can make your own flavored simple syrup, but I don't) to a glass of very icy soda water. Then throw in some fresh mint, or a little cream (though sometimes, and I don't know why it's only sometimes, this separates and looks very disgusting) and stir. Yum yum.
Firstly, all members of this family who want to get in a hammock must be able to get into a hammock by themselves. Because if a human is already in a hammock reading (Three Men in a Boat — thanks again, Anna :-) a human does not want to risk falling out of a hammock by picking up a puppers and putting a puppers also on a hammock. More importantly, a human does not want to have to move once it gets comfortable, since that human rarely, if ever, actually sits down.
So all pupperses much learn how to "jump up!" on a hammock, supervised but otherwise all by themselves.
Secondly, once on a hammock, one must stay lazily on a hammock for at least one hour to achieve maximum benefit.
Thirdly, one must look redonkulously adorable while on a hammock.
Just sayin. Without rules, it would be chaos.
I think you get it.
My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com
Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.