As all gardeners know, sooner or later you are going to lose a plant, several plants, or even a whole crop. Sometimes a pest comes and nibbles them out of existence in the course of a night. Other times a disease or a mildew may take hold. It is always sad and disappointing. It has happened to me many times, but nothing has been as disappointing as what I discovered just a few days ago. Continue reading »
My coffee habit was born sitting on vinyl covered booth seats at one of the handful of Denny’s restaurants my friends and I frequented while in high school. Their coffee is pretty horrible, but back then I didn’t know the difference. We were there all the time, in the wee hours of the morning after clubbing, in the later hours in the morning when we should have been in school, at dawn after those especially adventurous nights, in the afternoon because it was somewhere to hang out that wasn’t home. And no matter the hour, we always drank coffee, several cups.
As high school seniors we started making occasional trips to coffee houses. The Mad Hatter’s sported black and white checkered floors, beat up chairs and board games, but was a considerable trek from our homes. We finally settled on the Bourgeois Pig, which is still nestled away in Hollywood, like a secret. At first we went seeking a cool ambiance, not better coffee. It didn’t take us long to notice the difference.
At this point coffee drinking, while done with much regularity, was very much a social endeavor. As more coffee houses opened up, we traded the drive into “hipper” parts of town for convenience. One of these closer to home coffee houses became like a second living room. During the many hours I spent there I learned to play chess (sort of), made some great friends, studied, fell in love for the first time, journaled….You get the idea.
And, it continued like that for a few more years. I am not sure when I crossed over into the realm of making and drinking coffee in my home every morning. It happened sometime during college. I have this distinct memory of being on a backpacking trip with a couple of friends. When we arrived at our first campsite, after hiking several miles, we discovered we had forgotten the coffee filters. That was bad. One of my friends was seriously considering hiking back to the car to retrieve them. This is when you know coffee has become a necessity. Luckily we were able to make do with some paper towels.
As I became a regular morning coffee drinker I also became aware of the economics and politics of coffee drinking (and growing). While coffee chains started spreading out like wild fire, selling lattes at $4 a pop, many coffee growers were barely surviving. So Fair Trade coffee became and remains a non-negotiable when buying coffee for my home.
Today, I have a completely different relationship with coffee than I did as a teen and early twenty-something. It is something that I do every morning, almost without fail. I did give it up for a few months early in my first pregnancy. Most of the time I drink coffee without any fanfare or thought. Sometimes I don’t get to finish a cup before it gets cold. Or I misplace my mug , spend several minutes looking for it, get distracted and forget all about it until I stumble upon it cold and alone. And, no more late night coffee drinking sessions in hip, converted Craftsman houses. My caffeine cutoff is 3:00 p.m. I still very much enjoy the taste and ritual of coffee, but it has become much more of a practical matter than anything else.
I still have a romantic vision of a cup of coffee well enjoyed. Sometimes I capture it momentarily as I swing in our hammock chair and gaze out over the garden.
Let me start off by saying that there is one way gardening is not like running for me. I started running about six months ago, and if you had asked me my opinion of running before then I would have said something like, “Oh, I can’t stand running, one of my least favorite things to do.” On the contrary, I have never felt that way about gardening, not before I started doing it nor when I was just starting out. But, in many other ways the two are very similar.
While poking around WordPress a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the “Weekly Photo Challenge,” and it peaked my interest. Then, all of a sudden, a few of the bloggers I follow started doing Weekly Photo Challenge posts, and I took it as a sign. I cannot promise that I will do them every week, but I am going to try. I miss writing, and need some inspiration. These posts may be off topic, but I hope you enjoy.
Mountains are my favorite horizon. These are my mountains, the ones I can see from my front porch, as I drive up the road to my home, the ones I get peeks of from my backyard. Continue reading »
With the start of school a few months ago, my daughter in Kindergarten and my son to preschool, I got swept up in a new routine, new communities, new anxieties….The garden waited. I mustered up enough time just to get the essentials done. Pull out the tired summer crops. Start cole crops. Dig in goat manure. Call on the garlic order that had not arrived. Plant peas. Things settled down just in the nick of time for the big push. Turning soil. Planting the garlic. Transplanting the cole crops. Sowing a second round of peas, carrots, and lettuce. Just in time.
This morning was the first time in a long while that I have spent any extended time in the garden. Life has gotten a bit hectic since my oldest started Kindergarten and my youngest started preschool. Just when I thought I would have a few hours to myself a few mornings a week, my oldest was home sick for four days. We had big plans for today, possibly a trip to the beach or an adventure downtown. But, I woke up this morning with that tugging feeling that pulled me toward the garden. I really wanted to plant this weekend. I am hoping for sweet pea blossoms by December. So, instead, I worked in the garden and we will swim at grandma’s house later.
It is that time of year when the garden just sort of hums along, needing only for me to water and do light weeding. The first round of soup beans have been pulled up and the second round planted. The cucumber vines have just about reached their end. The zucchini slowed down, but is now making a come back. The peppers are coming on strong. And the tomatoes, oh the tomatoes. I am in the middle of a sea of tomatoes. And I am in the kitchen. A lot. Continue reading »