Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It ain't pretty, but it's home

I love spring! Now, if only spring weather loved me. Can you believe there is a wintry mix in the forecast for tomorrow?!? Nevertheless, some early spring can't wait for me to be having a comfy 'jeans and t-shirt weather' day. They need to go in now if we want to enjoy later. So, already planted last fall were 2 varieties of garlic. Nom, nom, nom, not only tasty, but protects us from vampires and people who invade our personal bubble. I also transplanted a few dozen strawberry plants into a new bed. It was time. The asparagus bed is well established. I was so very excited when it started sending up a few tender shoots last week. I even steamed a few. Spring weather being what it is though, we've had some frosts that have halted those messengers of spring for another week or two, so my little asparagus feast was premature.

This spring, I've got more beds to work with thanks to some very hard work on the part of the youth missions team doing a work-study project and to a few intensive weekends of work for Tim and I. Last week I started the early spring planting by putting in a few different types of lettuces and seeding Swiss Chard. This past Saturday, when we had a surprisingly nice day, I hurried to spend a little time planting kale, cauliflour, broccoli, shallots, spinach, onions and spring peas.

We have an inquisitively nosy neighbor who pointed out that we were supposed to get snow that night and all of my plants would probably die. I was also warned that both spinach and kale contain chemicals that inhibit the absorption of calcium. I planted anyway; sure the babies would survive since they'd been hardening off on the front porch through a few frosts anyway and don't worry about kale or spinach. You'd have to eat a bucketload at a time to worry about calcium absorption and cooking them even briefly deactivates the calcium hindering chemical.

I let him boss me around a bit and send him off with fresh eggs (but not before he tells me how I should grow flax to feed to the chickens raising their Omega-3 levels) before he goes on his way. :)
All of the plants don't look so hot right now because until they are a bit larger, we have to protect them from Peter Cottontail and his voraciously hungry family members. It's so disheartening to put in several hours planting a garden, anticipating the harvest, going to sleep feeling you've done a good turn for the earth and your local food system only to wake up and discover your freshly planted garden has been mowed down by killer bunnies. It's ain't pretty, but the coffee cans and old pots work as a barrier.

But, there are signs of a beautiful spring...in new baby chicks...and old stands of sunny daffodils.
Speaking of spring crops, if you garden, this year consider planting extra to donate to your local food bank. In the mid-90s, a group of gardeners founded Plant a Row for the Hungry to do just that. Some news sources say a recovery is well under way, but in my area, local food banks have seen a large increase of families in need of assistance. What better way to help out than with homegrown produce?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

That 70's Chair

After a wonderfully amazing weekend at a youth worker's conference in Chicago with 3000 other crazy people, tim and I decided we really need a night of pure, unabashed retail therapy...at Goodwill.

Yes, the Goodwill you donate your old toasters and ugly Christmas sweaters to. :)

We went to the store nearest our home where there was nothin' good to be seen...until we went over to the furniture side. There I saw, sat and briefly noted a chair and then dismissed the idea of it. I couldn't find the price tag and since I was pretty sure that didn't mean the chair was free (always a faint hope, right?), I passed and we went on to the next store.

Tim was incredibly upset to find the most deliciously soft, supple Italian leather shoe.
One shoe.
Either someone donated only one or perhaps a one legged man bought the other shoe. He moped about for a few minutes until I found a milk glass coffee mug for $.48 and his faith in a good bargain was restored.

While we're leaving the store, I suddenly blurt out that we've got to go back to the first store for that chair.

Tim does a double take because he doesn't remember any chair at all, but he dutifully drives us back to the first store while I'm trying to describe the exact color of this chair, how comfortable it is and that I have the perfect place for it.

We get to store where I excitedly lead him to the chair.

"Oh" he says. Not "Oh!" as in cool. Not "Oh" as in wicked awesome. But "Oh" as in "Didn't the 70's do enough damage to our young, impressionable psyches?"
I tell him to sit in it.

"Oh" he says. as in "Oh, thank you Lord for creating an instantly amazing place to snooze, read a novel or watch a game." And in the wink of an eye, we were loading this much too large chair into his much too small trunk and driving home with flashing lights all the way. (when I get really happy, I either chatter away or fall completely silent. this was totally a chatter away ride home. Tim probably wanted to put me in the trunk and let the chair ride up front.)
It does have great lines. And I like the green, just so you know. I think I'll paint the feet black, but for now, I think I'll take a snooze in my new 70's chair. :)