Happy Earth Day!

and it is, too :) It’s a beautiful sunny spring day outside, that’s pretty much perfect where I live. The trees are that light green budded out color, and some – the apples and cherries and dogwoods are flowering. Our native dogwood is one of my favorites. Most people don’t know that we have a beautiful native cherry as well, that is much taller (more like a forest tree) than the ornamental garden variety. Baby blue eyes, Lily of the Valley, Solomon’s Seal, azaleas and camellias, and (almost) lilacs are blooming. The fluffy white clouds and patches of blue sky make a pretty backdrop to the not-quite-leafed out trees.

The day started off not so auspiciously with a dentist’s appointment, but even though he had a cavity to fill, it went quickly, without any pain and suffering. At home, I made my lunch bento, made up a big batch of cole slaw, and made plans for Asian Cornish game hen to marinade overnight. Then, I glance out at my raised beds, which have been busily sprouting weeds, including the ubiquitous and hard-to-remove geranium that grows wild here. Time to really do my Earth Day chores!

So, out I went into the lovely afternoon to rid my beds of weeds and prepare them for planting, noting the green onions, rosemary, and sage that had prolifically survived the winter. Once the beds were prepared, I added the chives, chard, tarragon, and cilantro starts I picked up at the farmer’s market. In a couple of weeks there should be more of the summer herbs and veggies available, like peppers and basil. I’m not sure what else I’ll experiment with this year – maybe plant some garlic and shallots and summer squash. Last year the eggplant didn’t do anything, but neither did anyone else’s (due to the weather), sooo … maybe I’ll try it again. I do like eggplant.

They don’t look like much right now, I know. But they will!!

More bento pics, for those who aren’t bored of them:
Bento #1 – Yogurt and fresh fruit in the small section, rice with smoked salmon and green onions in the larger section
Bento #2 – Tomato, goat cheese, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette in the small section; rice, sushi soy sauce, and nori furikake (seaweed, sesame seeds, garlic, and sea salt) in the larger section

A perfect summer day

All summer, the weather has been strange – cold start, then blazingly hot, followed by torrential rains in August, you name it. From cold to hot in an instant and back again. But today was perfect, as perfect as a summer day can be. I thought I’d capture it…

The cushions were all aired out from the rains after 2 days in the sun, and I brushed off all the patio furniture and put it all together – clean and dry. The temperature was perfect on my skin – so close to just right that there was no noticeable hot or cold. I climbed into my green garden hammock and snoozed, the cat climbing up and joining me there.

In the garden, tomatoes ripening on the vine and squash plants climbing all over, getting ready to set their fruit. In the background, the amazing deep cornflower blue hydrangeas, like none I’ve ever seen, and the honeysuckle arbor with visiting, twittering hummingbirds flitting overhead.

A dragonfly passes high above, the green trees all around. Wind ruffles the trees and sends a breeze to lull us in our hammock. The sky blue, with wispy clouds drifting across it. The sky and trees seeming crystalline and far away, unreal.

Taking out cold salmon, sour cream and dill sauce and cucumber salad and enjoying my dinner outside, savoring the ability to have dinner outdoors and enjoy the early evening. A good day… looking forward to many more in September!

Finding the rhythms of the neighborhood

I’m learning the rhythms of this neighborhood -where the sun falls in the garden at different times of day, when the mail comes, when people come and go on my street… Friday mornings are a bit challenging due to the garbage trucks that rumble in at what for me is an early hour, and then the neighbors who get out and rumble their cans back from the street just as I’m getting back to sleep :)

And then there’s the house itself – getting used to the sound of the furnace, which sounds like distant thunder, finding the places where the floorboards creak, knowing when a car is pulling up to my house or my neighbor’s house, which shares a driveway, figuring out where the cat is meowing from and where she has found as her newest hiding place.

Today, I spent a lot of time in the garden. This morning we looked for the right sunny spots to put the raised beds that came yesterday, which entailed some moving around of patio furniture and rearranging of pathways. Now there are places to sit out of the sun, which is a good thing. Sophie favors the chair under the honeysuckle arbor, or hiding under the couch near the tall grass.

We had our first hot day, so I made use of that same chair, which is the coolest shady spot in the garden. Later I enjoyed the slightly cooler temperatures in the evening, and while I was sitting outside, had a new delivery – my composter. Between the vegetable garden (which doesn’t yet quite exist) and the composting, this should be an interesting year of garden adventures for me – hopefully small enough to be manageable, with more of my food coming from home and less leaving it!