Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Garden & Kitchen

Butterfly Bush...Buddleja.

Brown onion, flowering... Allium.

I think the recipe for Dutch Oven Bread may be the most versatile in the world. Or, it's that Dutch Oven/No-Knead is the only recipe I am familiar with and I have no clue that most bread recipes are versatile. I've baked this bread in a stoneware pan, on a cookie sheet, round, loaf, baguette, in multiple mini rounds, and as a flat bread. The current favorite is the flat bread with crushed garlic, Italian seasonings, salt, and olive oil. It's ridiculously delicious. How does that happen, from flour and salt, a scant bit of yeast, and time, to something that brings seven people to the kitchen, where we eat lunch standing next to the oven? Bread is miraculous. Kitchens are essential, and gardens... gardens are a whole wide world of wonder, and possibility.

Penelope, 7 weeks old Ameraucana.

Flowering cilantro... Coriander.

Neo Cairo Nepenthes and RP Feynman

A special guest to the garden! Mr Wright came to meet the goats, and see what we've done to shelter Ada and Tasha. We shared tips and suggestions for caring for the pair of wethers they'll be adopting. We are so excited for this family and the fun they will be having, when a pair of kids come to their wonderful home. Mr Wright is one of the great teachers at the high school... Suki had him, Alex knows him, Bambi is still in touch with him, Max was a tech-wheel student, and he's Maria's art teacher now. In fact, I should say he's my art teacher, too, because it's thanks to him that I am making mosaics. He even brought me a box of art supplies, and great, practical advice for the next step ahead: Grouting. Which reminds me, I need to get my hands on some charcoal gray grout.

Imagine coming downstairs, and walking into the kitchen to this! Not only was Bambi cleaning the counters, and watching pasta dough rise, but she'd already baked a peach cobbler, as well. After one bite, I added "jarred peaches" to our grocery list. Bambi reminded me, "We still have two jars in the pantry, though." I know! That's not enough!

Here is the set up for the Chiclets as they grow accustomed to life in the big run. They have their familiar and cozy cage to retreat to, and at night I can secure it and cover them. Besides assuring they have places to take cover, and their own chick starter to eat, we haven't had to make any other accommodations. They are wary of the big hens, and there's room for the two flocks, young and old, to separate. But some of the little ones are already choosing to roost with the big Chicas. Integration continues to go as well as I could have hoped... it's a relief.

I planted these gold flowers last year, and I cannot remember what they are called, nor the pink ones. Do you see the tiny lavender spikes? I thought that plant perished. If I dared to go to the nursery, I would bring home the strawflowers they keep sharing on IG. And more blueberry bushes, squash, sage, thyme...

Look! Look! Treasure from Mr Wright's stash. This was such a generous and eagerly anticipated offer. The bin is chock full of great odds and ends. I keep turning it over, and pulling out the best bits, and then another, and another. I'm going to grout the first wall before I reward myself with the next project. And also, I need to find the right spot. It might be a table top. More than ever, I am glad to enjoy anticipation.

From the start of quarantine, social isolation, social distancing... whatever we want to call this, I had my intentions, and ideals and they were good and lofty, ambitious, noble. Two months later, and I am coming to terms with some truths, and self-knowledge. Simply put... The world is changed, but I am the same person. I keep things, I am scattered, I am a starter. I am older, slower, injured, recovering, coping with anxiety and leftover bits of post-collision trauma. I struggle to maintain order, and have little experience with staying in one place for long. It's almost 11 years we are here, happily, and by the patterns I am familiar and practiced with, we should have moved twice by now. Moving is a good opportunity to start again, purge, a do-over, fresh start. When the roof leaks, or a room succumbs to entropy, my instincts kick in and I think ah, well, time to pack and head out! No one is packing or heading out these days, not even for a road trip, or to the movies. Daily, I am face to face with Me. Me and my messes, me and my fears, me and my absolute failure with routine, or disciplined habits.

Fortunately, I have advantages... my humor, for one. Fortunately, there is more to Me than shortcomings, and I shouldn't discount that there is more than me, here at the Bird House. Am I a hoarder? Or have I simply come into quarantine prepared, well supplied? Am I messy, disorganized, or have I a highly developed coping mechanism for living with chaos? When home is doubling as a manufacturing center for the production of Personal Protective Equipment, a tolerance for disorder, other order, is good, even necessary. My decorating skills, are euphemistically "ecclectic," which fits nicely with having a dining table covered in medical face shields, and hosting twice-weekly Dungeons and Dragons events, remotely, from three separate rooms. It's hectic, here. Lots going on. The seven of us are keeping this together, more harmoniously than not. I see where I am going with this... two months ago, I had a vision for what needed to be done, and how it could be done, and it included high ideals and good intentions, and now it's time to adjust my sails. And why would it be any different than it's ever been? The world is different, and we are, paradoxically, the same and different, too. Fine. We keep moving forward. And yes, I have a lot of random stuff, but it's coming in oh so handy... I thought I was erring, but it turns out I was preparing.

Grandmother's flowers... Geranium... Pelargonium.

The red ones are Eunice's flowers. And the little blue, would-be- usurpers? Can anyone tell me what they are? They're pretty, but I cannot will not let anything take over my Grandmother's flowers.

Yes, I see... my gardening is as haphazard as my housekeeping. Yet, it provides... joy, comfort, sustenance, something to share, plenty to engage, amusement.

And in the kitchen... lunch is being prepared. It smells so good!

All day, I go between the kitchen and garden, to check on the chickens, to sit with the goats. I take pictures. I am looking for beauty, for comfort. I am communicating with my ideals, with my hopes. All day long I try to make sense of the new way we are in the world. I cannot always make sense of it, and I am struggling to feel comfortable... yet, there is beauty, we have what is essential, and our sense of wonder.

Bambi is joined by Alex and Maria, to cook, and for lunch we are being served okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style, with layered ingredients. The ramen is perfection, and I love the grilled cabbage, the fruit sauce topping.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Are your mystery golden yellow flowers possibly a type of calendula? They look very familiar! I live in a large puddle of shade here in Virginia, mostly oaks (and I do so wish that oak pollen season was over!)

No idea on the blue ones, though they are ringing a very faint dim recollection (my dad was big on knowing, or identifying plants, birds, etc. during summer camping trips...and once he knew it, it stuck in his brain to an almost scary degree - but mostly eastern US based, NC up through NY).

-- Jean Marie