Saturday, May 28, 2011

End of May Gardening

At last, at last a sunny day that is not already booked to the gills! I’ve been saying for far too long that my tomatoes must get transplanted. This is the latest they’ve gone out, too. None too soon – although they weren’t root bound, they would have been very shortly. But the beds they were going into needed more dirt/compost shoveled before tomatoes could go in, and Nigel has been swamped with end of term papers while The Patriarch has projects he’s been working on of his own.

Today, though, it was all hands on deck. Sophia kept the inside of the house under control; making meals, directing traffic, and taking care of Araminta and Lucinda who are sick again. The Patriarch, Nigel, Gareth, and I worked outside all day. Nigel moved wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt while The Patriarch cut back the jungle of weeds that had appeared overnight, it seems. He also, between weeding, dug trenches for me to put the tomatoes in. Because I always wait too late to plant tomatoes like a normal person, I trench them, essentially setting the rootball horizontally and burying a good deal of the stem and leaves. Tomatoes actually don’t mind this, and will send out extra roots along the buried stem. Some of the plants were 4 feet tall! I was delighted to notice three or four flowers.

We also took out the second bed that we needed to move this year, and Clara transplanted the rosemary from Territorial. I think she’ll miss it living in the kitchen where she was just taking a snip now and then!

This means the only plants inside are some spinach starts I have starting in our Aerogarden, and it also means we get our living room back from the grow lights!

Now for the garden tour from this evening:

042 Bok choi looking good. Should’ve planted more (I always say this)


045 Snap and snow peas coming up, and these lettuces growing much better than those in the official lettuce bed



The herb bed is flavoring our meals routinely at this point. Thyme, two types, in the foreground. Chives in the cement blocks. Two freshly transplanted rosemary plants in the center. Oregano top left, sage top right, and some struggling parsley in front of the sage.


049 Look! Wee broccoli in the center of the plant!


051 Lots of strawberry blossoms. This is their third year, and I need to move them, so plan is to wait for harvest, then move the new starts somewhere else. Our whole walkway is lined with these, but it’s just too close to the slugs to work well.


054 Leek bed growing right along


055 No clue why this lettuce bed looks like it does the day it was planted. I’ve never even used this bed, so it wasn’t depleted of nutrients, and it gets both sun and rain. A mystery.


056 Crazy kale! It is several feet higher than I am. We use it every day in some way or another



Tomatoes transplanted, looking kind of droopy. There are five beds of tomatoes for a theoretical (because I always miscount) total of 75 tomato plants . . .


058 . . . all tucked in.

It was so wonderful working near the lilac you see in the left background. Mmmmm, LOVE that scent.

I also got a coat of primer on the new parts of the loft bed project this morning, so a couple of coats of paint and poly and I’ll be able to show that here, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother’s Day

I had a lovely Mother’s Day! All three of the little ones with hyper IgE had succumbed yet again to coughs, asthma, etc, so I didn’t get to go to church, but they all played quietly together so I was able to get done my yearly reviews for CVA.

Then Sophia cooked me a lovely gluten free alfredo with mushrooms, and The Patriarch cooked a lobster claw beside it:


Mmmmmm. The children all wrote me lovely notes. Nigel loves to create handmade gifts, and he made me some witty bookmarks. The Patriarch and I spent the afternoon online selecting my Mother’s Day gift to order. And Clara spent all day working on my dessert, which she finally completed at 9:30 pm. Unfortunately, it needed to chill for at least four hours, so we had it Monday.

Behold “Black and White Chocolate Dacquiose” from Marcel Desaulniers:


A dacquiose is a disc of baked meringue with rings of buttercream and meringue, or filling and meringue. But this specific dacquiose is a baked disc of meringue and on top of that are alternating rings of dark and white chocolate buttercream, topped with another disc of baked meringue, topped by another layer of alternating chocolate buttercream rings, and then yet another baked disc of meringue, and then the whole thing covered with a layer of dark chocolate buttercream, then chocolate ganache on top of that, and then decorated with ribbons of dark and white chocolate buttercream. And yes, each small slice did contain about 8,964 calories! (Just kidding – I actually don’t want to know)

Pictures sliced, although I’m sad that I’m not a good food photographer (Clara said, looking over my shoulder, “ewwwww it looks disgusting like mashed potatoes or risotto or something”):049


Impossible to describe the taste. The intense richness of the chocolates (white, 85% dark, 60% semi) were wildly contrasted by the airy crunch of the meringue. Her ganache, buttercream, meringue . . . all flawless. And the most amazing part: gluten free.

I’m such a blessed mama.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

If You Give a Girl a Sunny Day . . .

She’s going to want a lopper to go with it. She’ll head out to the overgrown, unused part of the yard




chop it all down! When she’s done chopping, she’ll probably ask you for a handsaw. Then she’ll look at that low limb on the cherry tree


and she’ll chop that down, too. It will make an awful mess to clean up,


but the other mess is still there, too.


So she’ll want a rake to clean it up, and she’ll drag it all to a big pile in the front yard.


She’ll remember the ugliest rhododendron of them all in the back,


So she’ll cut that down, too.


When she’s done, she’ll want a cookie.


But that’s too bad; that’s a different book.


The End.


PS: Please send epsom salts.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3rd Garden Tasks and Tour

I didn’t have gardening on today’s agenda, other than hopefully getting some spinach seeds started indoors, because rain was forecast. But sometimes plants and weather have other plans for my time! I noticed the tomato starts, still inside under lights, were all leaning over. Oops. New agenda: Stake tomato plants. Then I noticed that Gareth had completed topping up the bed where the bok choi will live with tomatoes, combined with a sun break, so I dashed outside to plant the bok choi starts and get some photos.

Bok choi ready to plant (just a few, as I lost many starts – think I’ll try direct seeding some more):


All of those white things are cherry blossoms. I’d be delighted by this if they were edible cherries, but they’re “decorative” cherry trees and the source of most of my garden woes!

Herb bed looks good. Thyme in the foreground, chives and garlic chives, and my lovely sage bush beyond. I was delighted that the oregano came back! Parsley is there, too, and doing OK, just visible in this picture at the feet of the sage:




Broccoli (the good bed):


Sad cabbages and chard (something keeps digging in that bed – neighbor’s cats or a raccoon/opossum/who knows):



Snap Peas or Snow Peas (for the second year, I forgot to note which I planted where!):




Lettuce hasn’t really grown any since I transplanted it out – not sure what’s up with that:


And the outrageous kale monsters:


The kale is crazy delicious right now. We’re eating it in pasta, salads, smoothies, whatever.

So that’s a little garden tour. Time to plant those spinach seeds!