Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gardening for squares

Dan just made two raised beds last week, ala Sqaure Foot Gardening. One is 3 by 7 feet, the other is 2 by 4 feet. He's also going to make each of the boys a wee 2x2 foot garden so they can plant things (Ryan wants strawberries and lots of flowers, Arden wants flowers and some "cool" purple sage in his).

I stuck with things that would do well in the Fall or overwinter well, along with lettuce that will get replanted many times. The containers are tucked next to our patio, up against the house, and are shielded from wind from the side of the house but still get good amounts of sun. I'll probably add cold frames once things get colder, but I think being so close to the house will help everything stay warmer as well.

I was amazed at how much stuff I was able to plant! All of this went in:

  • strawberries - two kinds of alpine strawberries and one regular sized everbearing kind
  • red leaf lettuce
  • baby bok choi
  • broccoli (3)
  • purple sage
  • cauliflower (3)
  • spinach
  • cilantro (we'll see if I can get at these before they bolt)
  • oregano
  • garlic (red hardneck)
  • some hummingbird flower mix
  • mesclun mix
  • radishes
  • flatleaf parsley
  • two of kinds thyme - silver and lemon thyme (mmmm!)
  • leeks
  • brussels srouts
  • carrots (Atomic Red and Nantes)
  • Daikon radishes
I've been watering a little each day, since it's been very hot here lately and I wanted the seeds to get a good start. Almost everything has sprouted, aside from the parsley (notorious poor germinators, I hear), carrots, flowers, oregano, and garlic. Every time I look out and see all the wee bits of green peeking out over the top of the soil I get this lovely warm feeling, like I've done something good. Can't wait until everything starts getting bigger and the sprouts start looking more like actual plants. Bit like watching babies grow, though much more quickly and without the sleep deprivation.

I also filled up my new Earth Machine composter today. Got it for free on Craigslist a couple of weeks back. Craigslist rocks. I've bought, sold, given away, and gotten for free more things than I can count. We found our kitten online, too. Great, great resource. Anyway, I filled up my composter, carefully layering green plants, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds as an activator, and brown leaves. Wet everything a bit, then stirred it round. I'll be giving it a stir once a week and making sure everything stays moist for the next few months, then if all goes well shoveling out rich, deep brown soil.

The foot is doing a lot better, though it's awfully weak. I'm wearing the boot half a day now and icing it twice a day to help keep the swelling down. Seems to be healing well, though I can't wait until I can ditch the fancy footwear.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday Sky

This is for you, Ms. Sandy. Below is the view from my back patio, looking over towards my neighbor's back yard. It's cloudy out today, but still pretty bright and warm outside. Perfect for puttering around in the garden. Come to think of it, I should go do that.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Like my new boot?

Basic black, up to the knee...sounds great until you see the sucker in person. Oh, and I'm only wearing one of these lovelies, which sort of spoils the whole ensemble. Though it does look particularly fetching with shorts.

The sprained ankle I had before we moved? Wasn't a sprain, as it turns out. I pulled a tendon, which oddly enough didn't get any better when I treated the injury like a sprain (under the advice of a very decent doctor who is all the way back in California). Walking was getting harder and harder, and hurting in a way that just didn't make any sense at all. I asked some people locally about where to get orthotics (still thinking I just had a weak ankle) and found Dr. Ray McClanahan of Northwest Foot and Ankle. He set me up with this big ol boot (if you find it especially appealing, you can order one here) and told me to rest my foot for two weeks, ice the injury every night, then slowly wean myself off of the boot for another two weeks. Driving a stick shift has been highly entertaining with this thing on, more so because it's my right foot. Climbing stairs is really hard. I sound like Frankenstein as I walk through the house: step, THUMP, step, THUMP! But I can't complain, since it's getting much, much better.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time for some tea

I love tea in all forms, from chamomile to Darjeeling to genmae. One of my most favorite cups of tea is warmed with spices and mellowed with milk and a little bit of sugar. Thought I might try this iced ( where did I get that idea?)

Masala Chai
serves 4
1 small cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
(or 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom)
4 cloves
6 peppercorns
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 heaping teaspoons loose tea or 4 tea bags (orange pekoe)

Place spices and tea leaves (if using) in a tea ball or tie in cheesecloth so you can remove them later. Place water and spices in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, milk and tea leaves or bags, bring to a simmer, turn off heat and cover again. Let mixture sit for 2 - 3 minutes to allow tea to steep. Strain and serve.

It's a wonder that a few twigs, leaves, and flower buds can scent the whole house and bring such flavor to a simple cup of tea.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sock and a bit

Can't believe this yarn was hand painted by me. It's knitting up so nicely, with only a little bit of pooling, and even that blends so well with all the other colors that I hesitate to call it that. These are for Dan, knitted out of the yarn I had leftover after I sent out my Dye O Rama swap. The yarn is Wool2Dye4 Supersock, and I ended up using 2.25 mm size 2 DPNs (not the larger 2.5 mm size, which was far too large) and 6 stitches around to start. These have become my tote along project, though my very favorite time to work on them is curled up on the couch with Dan after the boys have gone to bed. He's already tried on one and loves them so far. Once I'm done with these, I'll start in on the yarn I got from my talented pal Kate. That pair will be for me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Playing in the yard

Can you tell the boys love having a back yard and actual, bona fide plants and trees to play with? They love climbing the tree out in front, and can't wait until it's time to water the lawn so they can play with the hose or the sprinkler.

I've been playing in the yard, too. It's been balmy and sunny and just plain gorgeous here for the past few weeks. I keep wanting to update but getting caught up in weeding and planning my garden and watching the butterflies and hummingbirds. Finally got around to sitting back and enjoying the quieter pace of life here. Bit of a change of pace for me, but I really like it :-)