Friday, February 18, 2022

Good Morning From My Flower Farm

Good morning, friends. It's Friday. It's sunny, again, but still chilly in the mornings, and after the sun sets. Yesterday I invited the chickens out of their run, and they made bee lines for the best sunbathing spots. Sun, and dustbathing, were the pleasure of their day. I sat with them, and then Thistle hopped onto my arm. The trust of an animal, having a pet come to me, or follow me around, may be in the top ten of things that can turn a day around. Sweet Thistle. I am so glad to have all of these hens, and goats, and cats.
It's official. I am a Calendula Farmer. Sweet alyssum and spoon tomatoes, too, pop up volunatarily, so with very little participation from me, I have plenty, everywhere! And the oregano grows like a hedge, so if you could use any, just say so. I am crossing fingers for the chamomile to stick around, like the calendula, so that I can rely on it to show up every year. That would be lovely. If the tiny tomatoes do as well as they have in the past, I can look forward to inviting Spencer, Bex, and Simon over to harvest and feast on them. I pick them for some dishes, but they are so prolific and tiny, that the best thing is watching the young ones go wild for spoon tomatoes hot off the vine!

Maria texted from school about Open Mic, for the Creative Writing Club, something that she was thinking of attending, but snuck up on her. Her focus has been heavily on robotics, incuding screenprinting the shirts. I encouraged her to go to Open Mic, to read, even if it was a work from last semester. She came home, after doing outreach work for robotics, to have some dinner, and I braided her hair, pinned it back. I thought it would be an audience and stage kind of event, and I happily agreed to tag along, because I cherish each chance to observe every bit of this last high school season. It turned out to be a more intimate experience, and I feel so privilleged to have been welcome. We sat in a circle, the lights were dimmed, and each participant, in turn, read some of their works. They give each other feedback, not criticism, but support, affirmations. It's not for grades, nor evaluation, and I felt such a deep, admiring appreciation for the trust and empathy, the space they hold with one another. They engage, face to face, with tremendous grace and mindful kindness, and I am in awe of the dignity, integrity, of what they hold, and share. It is sacred. It is a comfort, an honor, to be among young people, and to feel, once again, the hope they instill in me.

Bird House News: Mike finished painting our *healthroom!* This marks the end of my suffering over paint chips and tile samples... mmm, no, maybe not. There is the question of the backsplash and my urge to make my own mosaic there, instead of using the blue trim going in the shower. Okay, but I promise to refrain from agonizing over the decision, and either do it, or move on. Honest. Also, the paint choices we went with are such a big departure from what we had, that the room truly feels like a whole new space... and we are loving it! I can't wait to see it all completed. February 16, 2022

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

While My Tea Steeps, I Getaway

There is chard and calendula in the garden, and eggs, too... depending on where the chickens are laying. Between the surplus eggs, and the return of cold weather, quiche popped into my thougts when I was at the market. I grabbed the pie crust at Trader Joe's, and some of their shredded cheddar, and leeks. I love leeks! I don't have a recipe, but the consistency is what I go by. 8 eggs, sauteed leeks, and chard, and the small tub of cream cheese leftover from a bagel weekend. Salt. Pepper. Dill. The rest of the shredded cheese mix from the fridge bin, and a splash of heavy cream. And calendula petals! I don't really taste those... they aren't peppery, like nasturtium. The calendual taste a bit like a redleaf lettuce, maybe slightly like cucumber? Anyway, I know they are beneficial, so in they go, for heart, body, and soul! Then I got fanciful and made quiche flowers, which I dabbed with some watered down yolk, hoping it would keep them from shriveling up. I like the results! And it reminds me that I want to make one of those focaccia that looks like a painting... pepper petals, and leek stems, tomato flowers, just all kinds of veg to create an edible painting atop the bread. Have you seen those? Just type "focaccia art" into your search engine... Google shows me an entire garden of focaccia art! Amazing. They are beautiful! Oh yes, oh yes, I want to play with my food!
The beloved daffodil, Valentine's Day up to this morning. Yesterday, it rained, and I can see the slight silver streaks of rain in picture 6, and sprinkles on the petals in the seventh image. Ever the greedy gardener... it seemed like so many when I was digging holes, and dropping in the bulbs, but of course now I can imagine twice as many, or four times more! There's room. And they'll spread. Right? I wonder if I should just leave them in the ground, and let them figure it all for themselves? Otherwise, I worry that the task of digging them up, storing them properly, then remembering to plant again, next fall, will be my undoing! I can't pretend anymore that I could get any better at even easy jobs. In the meantime, I am taking lots of pictures, and whenever I think of it, I dash over and see the progress. I should find seeds of flowers that can fill in, so we have a succession of blooms.
When I pull back the camera, you can see I have plenty of blank canvas. This is an area that was very recently created, when we moved our stash of construction leftovers, cut into the bank and shored it up with the blocks. It's not always this "charming," because often times we stash the rubbish bins along the wall, or have something parked there. You can't imagine all of the shuffling, loading, packing, and removing we have going on! It is, at best, organized chaos, and I regularly inhale slowly, mindfully, and repeat to myself that we will survive our ambitious plans, and the upheaval that coincides, and in no time (3 years) everything will be orderly, serene, and basically awesome. Amen.
When hammering, drilling, sawing, is incessant, when I can't find my way through the sequence of operations... the paperwork, material orders, plans, blueprints, appointments, design meetings, and shuffling, I take another mindful breath, and stare at my grape hyacinth, update this blog, or make quiche flowers from calendula petals. Sitting at the dining table this morning, waiting for my chamomile tea to steep, I gazed into the forest of muscari stems, and imagined being small. Small enough to trek between the bulbs, and hike my way up and down the papery trunks, to a comfortable niche between the towering growth, and looking up, I would sigh happily, tie a hammock, and relish the getaway.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Blooms & Wishes

Every day I fall deeper in love with my muscari. And if anyone is standing nearby, I call them over and point out some of the many virtues and particularly delightful things about these teeny blossoms. This time I was giving the cats a chance to appreciate my happy flowers. I might take it kind of hard, when these flowers begin to fade, then droop, but perhaps not for long! The bulbs I planted are doing well, and I've glimpsed the first signs of new blossoms to come! There will be more muscari, and some daffodils, too.
The tiny star buds of the muscari only just appeared, and I am delighted that there might be quite a few that will bloom. And, daffodils! I didn't count the number of bulbs I planted, and I was feeling sheepish about the whole endeavor, because the bulbs weren't in the best shape, due to my neglect. (I was going to write a long, detailed account of the many days I left them on the garden wall, and how I was busy/distracted/absent-minded about them and so on, but in the end, to be brief: I neglected those bulbs.) I think the thing to focus on is that daffodils are coming, and it was worthwile to give them a chance. I am dashing around to this garden bed to get regular updates on the progress of this flower. I am so cock-a-hoop... just kidding. I wanted a synonym for happy and the Internet offered me cock-a-hoop! I can't. So, I am exultant, elated, rapt about this daffodil blooming!

Also blooming... the apple trees!
Remember the list? The List that I congratulated myself for writing, because I was so determined to shake the fog and be accomplished? I tackled some of the things. But only some. And even some of those were a bit botched, like the post office trip. Ugh... that was a small mess, and ironic, given that I literally had to talk myself into making that errand, and overcome some trepidation. Anyway, one thing on the list was "Valentines" and I was keen to bring out craft supplies, envelopes, pretty things, and be romantic, make heartfelt gestures, and send those out in the world. It only partly came together, I am sorry to say. It's possible I will never be craftily clever and postally adept, or I could cling to the hope that I am like a bulb that needs a chance, that I may yet bloom.

We had a week of summer in California. Hot days, and warm nights. The kitties loved the open doors. I loved sleeping with open windows. And now, finally, there is rain in the forecast! I am taking that as a Valentine treat... sweet, romantic rain. Are you celebrating? I am closing my eyes, and making heartfelt wishes for you... a perfect snowflake, a flower about to bloom, company, or sweet solitude, a happy ending to a good book, a Wordle solution in three steps!

Bird House Notes: When I grow up, I am going to work in a garden room with old, mossy stone floors, and a fireplace, comfy chairs, and excellent wifi. My job will be to name things. I will name paints, and streets, and fabric prints, and chickens, and kittens, houses, parks. My wonderful assistant will manage all of the accounts. I'll keep odd hours, and be much in demand. I chose the paint for the re-newed bathroom. They are: Clear Pond, Dragonfly, Deep Breath. If those colors had any other names, I would have had to rethink everything. February 12, 2022