Monday, May 26, 2008

Garden Update

We are now about six weeks post-planting and my enthusiasm for gardening has faded. It turns out that you have to actually WORK at it! Do things! TEND it! Mother Nature outsources, the lazy broad.

First -- the good news. For those of you who were worried that we were permanently out of thyme, rest assured that we got some back. $2.50 at the Farmer's Market -- who knew buying thyme would be that easy? Of course, we still have this little problem...

... but we've become more careful with our thyme. Protecting what little thyme we have left.

Unfortunately, the only reason we're saving thyme is that Jack has turned his attention elsewhere -- i.e., my vegetable garden.

Here's a brief inventory:

Corn: Still hanging in there, but not exactly thriving. (I swear it wasn't shady when I planted them. Damn leafy trees.)

Zucchini plant: Zucchini ROCKS! This plant may restore my faith in Mother Nature's resilience.

Crookneck Squash: Never had a chance. Jack scattered them when they were just little sprouts. They may yet turn up in the yard somewhere.

Four kinds of peppers: Doomed. I don't think Jack actually ate them -- at least not more than once -- but he does like to bite them off.

Asparagus: Hanging in there in spite of the similar beating its been taking.

Hibiscus: Also doomed. This one hurt. I had high hopes for this bush. It's gone.Anything else in the picture that's green: Weeds. I understand that pulling them up is part of the "tending" I'm supposed to be doing.

But did I mention the zucchini?? I haven't done a thing to it and it's huge! With blossoms!

THIS is the kind of gardening I signed on for.

The kind where you put a plant in the ground, visit it occasionally -- maybe water it a bit if you happen to be out there with a hose.

After a few weeks of sipping mint juleps on the veranda, you harvest bushels of fresh, unblemished vegetables to present to friends and family with an air of smug satisfaction and a pamphlet that preaches about carbon footprints.

So yes, I'm shocked and bitter that it's not turning out so well. I was misled...

... by this:

I've never done anything to nurture this rose bush. In fact, I've accidentally run over it a few times with the lawn mower. And I know it's taken some abuse from neighborhood critters. But every year, it comes back with even more blooms than the year before.

This year, it hooked up with a rogue honeysuckle bush, which ALSO thrives without any attention from me.

If THEY can do it, why not my hibiscus???

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Joy of Parenting - Canine Edition

I used to scoff at the people who said that having a dog was a lot like having a toddler. "Oh, please," I'd say with disdain. "I've raised a toddler. There is so much more to raising a child than there is to taking care of a dog."

Now that we have a dog, I know better.

Regular feeding? Check.
Bathing, ear cleaning, nail trimming? Check.
Cleaning up poop? Check.
Constant worry over his health and well-being? Check
Interrupted sleep? Check.
Finding the right daycare? Check.

Total disregard for my authority? Check.

The parenting crisis we are now visiting with Jack is the need to find overnight care for him. This was actually easier to manage with the Golden Child, since Grandma's Boarding and Grooming was usually open.

We recently were planning an event that necessitated finding care for Jack, but it was scheduled to end after our usual doggie day camp closed. I asked the camp owner if there was another day care nearby that was open later.

"I don't know," he snorted, clearly offended. (He knew; he just wasn't about to tell me.)

I explained that we needed to pick him up at about 6:00, two hours after their scheduled closing time.

"Well," he said, suddenly courteous again. "How about if you left him overnight and picked him up the next day?"

In the space of about 1.3 seconds, I went from feeling horrified at the thought of Jack spending the night away -- to feeling overjoyed about the idea of Jack spending the night away -- to feeling guilty about being overjoyed at the idea of Jack spending the night away. The joy eventually won out.

Dog Camp Guy was waiting for an answer. I sputtered a bit, then finally said, "It will be the first puppy-free evening we've had since Jack came to live with us."

He winked at me and gave me a nudge with is elbow. "While the puppy's away, the parents will play, youknowhatImean?"

"I sure do!" I rubbed my hands together with glee. "I'll get to sleep past 6:30!"

Yep. Just like having a toddler.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Signs of Spring, Part II

After a long winter of lettuce, rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes -- berries have finally returned to the CSA Basket.

Don't get me wrong -- I love me some sweet potatoes. But winter is a long, lean time when you're trying to eat locally and seasonally. (I admit it -- I've walked into Kroger in the dead of night to purchase Chilean berries. I'm not proud.)

The April basket included the season's first strawberries. They were plump and sweet, with deep red flesh and sweet juice. We ate most of them straight from the rinse with a splash of cream -- but they also contributed to the season's first ice cream.

I'm told the ice cream was very good. The entire batch was consumed while I was out of town. (Note the deliberate use of the passive voice, which seems less antagonistic than saying, "My &^%$# husband ate it all when I wasn't around." I'm all about marital harmony.)

Other items in the April:
  • Smoked bacon
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Milk, butter, cream, and custard from Seven Doves Creamery
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Organic short-grain brown rice
  • Spring mix (lettuce, etc.)
  • Raw milk cheese - regular cheddar and jalapeno chedder
  • Sweet potatoes
  • A small round of 8-grain bread from Boulevard Bread
The May basket is just a week and a half away. My fingers are crossed for blackberries.