Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early Spring Garden Update

Or ESGU. If Rachael Ray can make annoying acronyms, why can't I? ;)

The weather 'round here is relatively springish, and about 50% of what I want to have in the garden and yard for this year is already out. So far, I've put in -

*Sugar Snap Peas (Cascade & Oregon varieties)
*Redbor Kale
*Strawberries (Hood & Rainier varieties) - These are in addition to last year's returning strawberries.
*Horseradish Root
*Stevia (Giving this a try. It is apparently an annual in these parts, so we'll see how it goes.)
*Cylindrical Beets
*Carrots (Cosmic Purple, Red-corded Chantenay and "Little Fingers", a stump-rooted variety)
*Potatoes (Yellow Finn, Russett & Yukon Gold)

Still to go -
*Cocozelle Squash (zucchini)
*Cucumbers (Homemade Pickles variety)
*Delicata Squash
*Burgess Buttercup Squash
*Cinderella Pumpkins
*Mammoth Dill
*Lettuces, Chard, Arugula (still under the grow lights)

The farmers market had tomato plants for sale today, but I'm once bitten, twice shy about putting 'maters out this soon. The weather has been highly unpredictable and I'd hate to waste my time and money, and that poor little plant's life on a foolish gamble against Mother Nature. However long it takes for our first tomato to be ripe, is how long it'll take. I've found that delayed gratification usually results in a better experience in most cases, especially in the case of a backyard tomato.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"A clean house...

is a sign of a wasted life."

It pains me to admit this, but once upon a time, as a newbie housewife, I was a devoted follower of Martha Stewart. There - I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back.

In those wacky, child-free days, I had the time AND the energy to clean my bathroom grout with a toothbrush, bleach my coffee cups and steam-clean my carpet, just because. (As in, not because a dog/child/turtle puked/peed/pooped on it.) Well those days are gone, baby, gone.

Now that we are considering selling this house and buying another, I've been slapped back to reality by the real estate pics of immaculately clean, flawlessly painted, IKEA-filled houses that just ooze comfort and charm. I love my house, but now that I really look at it, I see what a sloppy mess it has become in the nearly 8 years that we've been here. All of the paint needs re-touching, the hardwood re-sealed and the yard.. uhg. It's so overwhelming to think of all of the jobs, big and small, that await my attention, and yet...

Do I regret neglecting the weed whacking in favor of going fishing with Bill & the girls? Not for a second. I've technically had a million opportunities to show my home and yard the love that it deserves by doing bits of preventative maintenance here and there, but more often than not, I blow it off and lay in my hammock and read a book, take the kids the the Y or just grab a nap. Martha is dead to me, as I, no doubt, am to her.

So now instead of manic fits of getting my bathroom microscopically clean, I bribe the kids to clean it when I can. When I can't, it's me and my magic eraser and whatever we can manage to accomplish before I get distracted or interrupted. There is always a glob of toothpaste in my sink, the laundry is never done, and the weeds are winning the battle out back. And right now I don't care because the sun is out and my cherry trees are blooming and dropping their "pink snow" all over my lawn. Everyone that I love is happy and healthy and well-fed, and I don't think that Martha and her sparkling house can say the same.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunshine Wine

The dandelion wine is in progress, at last, at last! Bill and I moved it from the primary into a 3-gallon carboy last night. I normally taste the wine at this stage, but since I'm in the middle of the head cold from hell and can't smell or taste anything, I didn't bother. Bill, on the other hand, did, and said that it tastes similar to the rose hip wine - light, floral, sweet and a bit fruity. It is still fermenting like crazy, so the sweetness should lessen substantially over the next few weeks. Hopefully my cold will do the same so that I can finally taste this much-anticipated brew.

The "must" on day 5, just before racking.

And into the jug it goes. :)

Once I've sorted this wine out and can vouch for the recipe, I'll write it up here for anyone who might be interested in giving it a go. By the way - if you think you'll be making this wine, get your flowers now while the getting is good. You can always freeze (or probably even dehydrate) the petals for later use. The next wine up for us will be either be rhubarb or hawthorn blossom, depending on which of the two I can lay my hands on sufficient quantities of first.

By the way - does anyone know of a way to send wine through the mail? I'd love to offer some in a giveaway one of these days.