Category Archives: our garden

13, 12, 11, 10, 9: Lots of Other Things

It’s May. My 30th birthday is on Friday. Wow. I’d be more excited if I wasn’t so tired. I’ve gotten a little behind on the countdown. We’ve spent the past couple weekends at the farm, and in between I’ve opted to go to bed in lieu of staying up to write a bit (see aforementioned sentence referencing my current fatigue). In fact I almost opted to postpone this post for another day, but then I might miss my birthday all together! I’ll keep it short and sweet because A#1) I’m too tired to write much and B#2) I’m sure you’re too tired of my ramblings to read much.

13: Health

Nothing will make you cherish your health more than illness. The list of friend and family battling various and sundry illnesses and injuries never seems to abate. Both recent sad news and today’s glowing report from Leila’s two-month well-baby make me extra grateful for my health and the health of our little family.

12: Good Food

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ” (Hippocrates)

I got a little lazy about food the month after Leila was born. Amazingly generous friends and family brought us lovely dinners. However, for the first time in my life sleep trumped food and I sometimes forgot to eat. Then I satisfied my hunger with not-so-nutrient-dense-food such as cake and ice cream. Not the best lunch choice, and I think I’ve been paying for it. For the past month Leila and I have battled an annoying case of thrush. Last Friday I started an anti-Candida diet. I miss sugar so very much, but I am acutely aware of my gratitude for delicious whole seasonal foods.

11: Our Garden

Well, the last time I gave it any attention was last June, but in spite of my neglect our resilient garden is springing up tons of volunteer veggies. Bell peppers, green onions, itty tomatoes, lettuce, kale, basil, sage, oregano, fennel and rosemary are blooming. I am still quite far from being able to claim a green thumb, but I am grateful to feel a little empowered that we can grow our own food in spite of ourselves.

10: Running

I may no longer run but I am quite grateful for the time I did. For years running was a therapeutic escape. I love those memories, and I love the accomplishment of training for and completing a marathon.

9: The Jobs That Didn’t Work

I could probably ramble about this for quite some time. I’ve already shared about Pappasito’s. Suffice it to say that though I look forward to finding one that sticks, I am appreciative of where the many jobs that have not worked out have led me.

I’ll continue tomorrow…

For now I must give my bed some attention.

Small Successes

Sorry for the blog silence. I’m sure you have not minded three plus weeks without my ramblings, but I don’t like going this long without forcing myself to record some sort of thoughts in this virtual space. We’ve been busy chipping away at stuff over here, and I guess none of it seemed significant enough to warrant an entire post. As Ben likes to remind me, I will never ever get absolutely everything completely finished and experience what I imagine is some form of there-is-nothing-left-to-do-but-relax nirvana. Though I reserve some pathetic hope that someday I will prove him wrong, perhaps I should quit waiting around for a complete overhaul of fill-in-the-blank and embrace the simple accomplishments.

Today I will take a moment celebrate some small successes.

1.  I made a trip to the grocery store and purchased more than just a bag of tortillas to get us through our next meal. After a monumental (failed) effort to menu plan for the entire month of December, I have not felt much desire to plan, shop or cook these past two months. Being at the end of the pregnancy is not helping alleviate my culinary lethargy much either. Thankfully my weekly volunteering at the co-op forces me to at least gather some produce, meat and eggs on a weekly basis. And in spite of myself, our fridge, freezer and pantry are currently full of staples of all kinds – produce all washed and ready to go, meats frozen for future dinners, pastas, enough milk to get us through at least one more week, not to mention toilet paper and toothpaste and other essentials I’m sure neither one of us will feel up to running out for when baby finally arrives.

2. I cooked an impromptu quick, delicious, frugal meal last night that included a bell pepper from our very own garden. It was a beef and cabbage stir-fry that I definitely recommend you try, and there was plenty enough for us to enjoy it for lunch today. A home cooked meal other than grilled cheese and boxed tomato soup may be less common these days, but last night proved that I’m capable of whipping up a tasty last-minute dish amongst the decent array of staples we now have on hand. I’d love to get better at the menu-planning thing, but this will suffice for now.

3. We are staying within our food budget. This is pretty big, but it’s not taking a big effort. I don’t know how it’s happening to be honest. I thought surely my aforementioned apathy would send us over. Now I just don’t want to mess up a good thing.

4. We celebrated a romantic (almost free) Valentine’s Day. Our first Valentine’s Day together was pretty epic. Since then we have enjoyed more understated celebrations. This year we managed to have a great evening and still only dip $12 into our budget. We took a family walk around Rice Village, then used our “fun money” (i.e. the money we are gifted for birthdays and holidays) to have some amazing pizza and ice cream at two local eateries. The next day I bought a discounted bouquet of flowers and brought home three pints of some insanely delicious local strawberries. It was sweet and special – all the things a Valentine’s Day should be.

5. Our abandoned garden is producing food. I planted four pepper plants last June. Two of them fruited a whole lot of nothing, and by the time the other two managed to cough up two puny jalapeños and a bell pepper I was so deep in nausea that no part of me wanted to even bother pulling them off the vine. They were left in the ground where three of them withered along with the tomato, basil and cilantro plants. One lone pepper continued to somehow thrive and now has five plus peppers growing. The kale plant is making lots more edible leaves and even a few lettuces have popped up around the bed. I may have taken a leave from gardening, but our garden is volunteering a pretty decent crop in spite of my negligence.

6. The yard looks…better. Ben, his friend and my brother all helped mulch around the three large trees in our front yard, which not only looks nicer but also should help them fare a lot better. Then last night we got after our raggedy side yard. It now looks like it has only been abandoned for a month or two, instead of years. Ben wondered if going after the yard was my way of nesting. I wondered the same thing, but it probably is just the fact that I have eyes and could not bear the horrendous state another minute.

7. I finished two whole photo books. I aspired to finish four, but considering the first book I ever attempted took me months, I will savor my efficiency in completing two in a matter of four weeks.

8. We are over halfway through writing our thank you notes. Granted Ben did half of those, but I get a bit consumed with writing perfect literary works of gratitude so this is a major dent, for me.

9. We are as ready as you can be for baby. Okay, this is a collection of lots of small successes that took most of our January nights and weekends. We registered at the hospital, finished our birthing classes, hired a doula, found a pediatrician, the bassinet is set up in our room, the car seat is installed in our car, we have enough of a stash of cloth diapers to get us through the first few months (at least) and even the nursery is all cute and ready. The hospital bag is only 2/3 packed, but I need to have something to do still.

Rogue (Indoor) Gardening Advice

Let me begin by saying, as with most things, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. However, per request, I am going to share how I have kept this one houseplant alive since the end of August. I remember when I bought it because we planted our garden three weeks later and felt slightly empowered by the confidence gleaned from this first feeble attempt at keeping something green alive. Almost one year later, after more than once hearing Ben say, “I think your plant is dying” and very nearly giving it a heat stroke, I am happy to report this houseplant is still relatively green.

All I do is open the blinds and water it with about two cups from the tap every Friday. That’s it. No talking, no plant food, no special distilled water. I didn’t repot it. I didn’t even know that was something you were maybe supposed to do until the cashier at Whole Foods mentioned that she was too intimidated to buy a plant because of the repotting thing. This probably sounds like a pretty random conversation to have with a cashier unless you are also the type of person that occasionally adds a bag of compost or a houseplant to your cart of groceries, which I am.

Other than water and sun, I should add that I never gave up on my plant, even when things look dire. I went right back to watering it even when I forgot the week before. I moved it around from a cute place in the living room to the place where it could get some more sunshine. I decided it would need to really prove its terminal state before I chucked it. Perhaps it also helped to know that it only cost $15, the same as a bouquet of flowers. I figured if I could get at least a month of growth from it, it would have far surpassed the fleeting lifespan of tulips. It took the pressure off. I’m not sure whether plants play mental games, but I sure as heck am not going to lose if they do.

It’s not much in the way of advice, but it’s worked so far for me.


Note for people living in places that experience eight moths of summer: As you know, keeping the blinds open in the summer months does a number to one’s electrical bill. As I recently learned, the answer is not to keep the blinds closed all week and then take your houseplants outside for a mini camping trip. My houseplant is still recovering from the trauma from the heat. Hopefully my new plan to do a half open thing with the blinds works.