For the Record: Beets, Carrots, and Radishes

This weekend and today: broke up the soil in the garden beds and shoveled the most beautiful compost I’ve ever seen come out of our bins into the beds most in need of a little pick-me-up.

20150316. My own personal Zen garden.

Seriously, look at this stuff. My own version of a Zen garden right here.

Also today: direct seeded a whole lotta beets, radishes, and carrots. Because beets, radishes, and carrots need to be in our bellies.

Oh yeah, and this guy has been helping me. Baby garden initiation 2015 begins!

20150316. My new garden pal.

We have a few new tools in the garden this year.

Our newest garden tools.

20150316. My new garden pal.

Willem’s new favorite toys are an old timer I have in the shape of an apple and leaves. Sounds about right.

Next up? Onions and greens! 

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Resolutions: Confessions of the Garden and Eating Variety

So this is kind of embarrassing to admit, considering I love my garden and all growing green things so much AND considering I work for an urban micro-farming/health and wellness/general “get awesome with your bad self” non-profit… but wow, have we ever fallen off the healthy eating wagon as of late.

My biggest intention for 2015? Get back into whole, healthy, organic eating. Period. As much as possible.

20141231. Good intentions for 2015.

It started when Willem was born. I had no energy to make much in the way of healthy food, and I was starving ALL THE TIME, breastfeeding Willem, so getting calories of any kind was more important than trying to piece together healthy meals. 

Add to that the fact that the garden itself was rather sad last summer (I was a little too preoccupied with general functioning and raising a wee babe), and so even during prime eating season, we weren’t eating super great. Then… in saunters winter. And everything falls to shit.

Willem eats wonderfully. He is very much interested in food, and at 10.5 months, he still has never had a jar of store-bought baby food. The problem? Willem eats better than us. By a lot.

Which brings us to my goal of getting more healthy, whole, organic foods back into our lives. We’ll be looking into a meat CSA again for the early winter/spring and going organic (and hopefully local) for our vegetables. It’ll get easier once our SUPER-AWESOME GARDEN OF 2015 starts producing this spring, but the next few months will be a good testing ground.

20140104. Garden planning, v.2015.

Also? I just got this amazing book from my in-laws for Christmas. So excited to curl up with this, a wee glass of whiskey, and watch the snow fly outside.
Day 71. Wonderful Christmas gift from my in-laws and SNOW and football. Ahhh, Sunday. #100happydays

Garden 2014: Oh, It Is SO ON!

The barren garden beds have been screaming at me through our back windows for weeks now. The seedlings that did actually flourish in spite of almost total lack of care desperately need to get in the ground, and I have so many seeds that need planting.

Like… RADISHES. I want radishes – lots of them. Radishes are the best. In order to get radishes, I must plant seeds. In order to plant seeds, I need someone to watch Willem.

Fast forward to this morning. Willem was in a great mood (probably because he slept all afternoon yesterday and was ready to party from about 5 AM on today). Chris was happy keeping an eye on him. And the kid decided I could put him down in his bouncey seat for an hour. The end result? I got to dig in the dirt for an hour, leaving me feeling more like myself than I have in quite a long while.

Even this morning, though, prioritization was required. It’s amazing how good I am at prioritizing these days. I prioritize EVERYTHING because I never know when Willem is going to need to be picked up. Like, after my shower each morning, I prioritize how I get ready. Deodorant, clothes, and brushed teeth are non-negotiable. Next up is hair combing. If Willem is still doing well? I might even get a chance to pluck an eyebrow hair or two and put on a little mascara.

Same goes for getting things ready in the morning before Willem needs breakfast. Water must be filled, food must be eaten, and pills must be taken. If the kid is still all right, coffee is poured (can you believe coffee isn’t priority numero uno? Who am I?). Usually that’s about as far as we get, but if he’s STILL happy, I might even get a load of laundry in and some music on the stereo before I get the sleeping beauty.

Same goes for my garden planting this year. First priority: getting all the early seedlings – a TON of greens – in the ground. Tatsoi, Forellenschluss, Mizuna, Arugula, various lettuces, and Kale. YUM.

And… that’s as far as I got. Still, though, I’m feeling pretty pleased! Maybe the seeds can get planted this afternoon. Hey, a girl can dream.

The garden always looks terribly unimpressive in the beginning:
20140406. Inauspicious beginnings to Garden 2014.

My garlic army:
20140406. An army of garlic.

GREENS:
20140406. Greens!

I think this is the mizuna (Asian spicy greens)… but I couldn’t be troubled to look at my seedling planting “map.” Low priority, knowing what I’m planting where!
Greens! In the ground! Against all odds, Garden 2014 is ON.

Selfie with my gardening buddy:
20140406. Selfie with my garden sidekick.

This Year’s Hobo Garden Plans

I planted a bunch of seeds at the beginning of February, about two weeks before Willem’s due date. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of them germinated and grew – and by the time I realized they were looking pretty pitiful, I had a tiny creature that was occupying all of my time, energy, and brain space.

In other words, the seedling trays are completely haphazard this year, which means the garden is going to be completely haphazard. Hobo garden. Ghetto fabulous. I’m okay with this. I HAVE to be okay with this, since I have no time or energy to do much about it.

We do have signs of life out there, though, which makes me very happy. The bee balm and other perennials are coming back, and the garlic is shooting up through the hay. At least we’ll have garlic!

This weekend, the plan is to have Chris on baby watch for a couple of hours at some point so I can plant the many greens that are flourishing under the basement lights, as well as all the direct sow seeds: beets, turnips, collards, radishes, sunflowers, and other goodies. At the very least, we’ll have greens, garlic, some root veggies, and strawberries this year!

I also think I might break down and actually buy some seedlings this year. We NEED fennel, peppers, rosemary, basil, and tomatoes. NEED. And next year? Well, hopefully the seeds that didn’t grow this year will do a bit better next year when I have a bit more of an attention span.

 

20131227. Not that it's a problem, but I might have a bit of a seed problem.

Last year’s garden insanity:
20130629. First garlic harvest = 50 bulbs.

And speaking of the little guy, Willem gets cuter and cuter every day. His happy times are my favorite – he coos and squeals and is generally the most adorable guy in the world. Not that I’m biased or anything.
Afternoon naps.

The Day Has Finally Arrived*

*No, I am not in labor.

Nope, folks, the day has finally arrived when:

  • None of my maternity shirts actually cover my stomach anymore, and I have resigned myself to a wardrobe of dresses and leggings or my own frightful incarnation of the bare midriff style (just imagine your average American Apparel model, then add 30 pounds to the belly region and 20 years).
  • Looking in the mirror in the morning is more to get a good laugh than to actually make myself look presentable or, dare I even try, CUTE.
  • Not leaving the house for three days in a row does not seem shocking; leaving the house, on the other hand, sounds like waaaaay too much work.
  • My idea of a party down, no holds barred weekend is planting seeds for the summer garden, making a giant vat of black beans to freeze, knitting a sweater, and making fun of the commercials playing during the Olympics (Fritos on a sub? I can’t think of a food that would be a better antonym to “eating fresh.” Also, are we really going to liken some fat slob biting into one of his 20-for-$5 chicken McFrankenNuggets to an Olympian biting his/her gold medal? REALLY?! And don’t even get me started on the health benefits of drinking an ice cold CocaCola. I’m sure Olympians the world over are chugging that shit down).

I guess all of that is just to say we’re still here, and we’re still waiting. Here are some recent scenes from the current waiting game:

39 weeks:
20140208. 39 weeks.

Me and Birdie, taking selfies to distract ourselves from the hideousness that is ice dancing (no offense if that’s the kind of thing that rings your bell):
Me and Birdie watch the Olympics.

Super sweet, unexpected (and maybe handmade?) gifts from super sweet neighbors. I guess they noticed me living on my bike last summer!
20140209. Sweet baby gift from our sweet neighbors.

Chris’ superhero outfit (err, I mean, protection for insulating our attic. Did I forget to mention he went on a house insulating kick a few weeks ago? He really needs to figure out some sort of amazing Halloween costume with this getup):
20140209. Chris in his attic insulating superhero costume.

And the part I’m most excited about: the beginnings of our 2014 garden! I am loving the stories behind our seeds this year, many of which are heirloom varieties purchased from Seed Savers Exchange. I think I’ll be doing a dreamy regular feature this summer on each of their stories. Because I get into that sort of thing. I also love how our no-frill, inauspicious setup will produce the most amazing garden and food all summer long.
20140209. The seeds are planted! Our no frills growing setup.

“P” Is for Pictures, Pheasants, and Pickled Eggs

How about a lazy Saturday post? Anyone? Anyone?

First up: pictures. One of the neat things about starting our own garden a few years back was getting to know what plants look like when they are seedlings all the way up through adults. I mean, I knew what tomato plants looked like. But okra babies? Kale? Cauliflower? It’s a really fun surprise to see those seedlings push their ways up through the dirt, to get to know the different types by sight, and (eventually) be able to, at a glance, identify what you’ve got growing where.

Or, if you’re like me, you will NEVER be able to tell the difference between your cauliflowers and your cabbages. But whatever – that’s what ridiculous seedling map after map are for.

20130309. Green, green, green - lettuces waiting to go outside.

I’m waiting on some row cover fabric from Gardeners so I can move the peas, lettuce, and spinach outside – and make room under the grow lights for squash and other summer-loving seedlings. Come on, Gardeners!

20130309. Cacophony of green - cauliflower.

For now, though, the overwhelming green under the grow lights in the basement is making me very happy. These cauliflower seem pretty happy, too.

Next up: in other breaking news, Birdie destroys a new toy! What, you don’t think that’s news? All right, fair enough.

20130309. Birdie destroys her new pheasant.

Order of destruction: the wings didn’t last a half-hour. Then the rope legs got chewed off. Then the pheasant was decapitated. Finally, this morning, destruction was complete with the evisceration of what was left of the body. Mommy’s little chewer!

And finally, I took my first stab at pickling eggs. Note that I had never before eaten a pickled egg; the thought of a giant jar of pickled eggs, just sitting behind the counter of some dive bar, always grossed me out too much.

I followed Food Republic’s pickled egg recipe, and they turned out quite lovely! They are actually far more mild in flavor than I thought they would be, and I’m eager to try other recipes to see if I can actually get a more pickled-tasting egg.

While they may be understated in flavor, the color… OH, THE COLOR! I’m in love with them for their color alone. I’ve been slicing them up and scarfing them down on a bed of spinach with sliced strawberries and smoked almonds. Dressing not required. YUM.

20130303. Pickled eggs.