Life Goals and Stuff

New life goal: live life so the smile lines way outweigh the frown lines. Way easier said than done at times.

New life goal: live so the laugh lines far outweigh the stress lines.

Things to smile about: how much Willem loves watching the wind blow through the trees.
20140708. Watching the wind in the trees.

Chris’ new obsession/love of all things bees and our dreams of alpaca/bee farms in the mountains outside Asheville. Hey, it could happen.
Fat Honey Comb in my Top-Bar Hive - Day 62

First tomatoes:
20140708. State of the garden address.

Mad, mad gardens:
20140708. State of the garden address.

Dear Today, I Love You

Dear Today,

Happy Summer Solstice, Today! How did that happen already? I swear, you get distracted for one minute and suddenly, Today, you pull a solstice out of your hat, and you’re all like, “Surprise!” And, “Shazam!” Maybe even, “Tada!”

You have been good to us so far, Today. And by this, I mean:

  • You convinced my son he should sleep until 7:45 am, and he woke up all happy and adorable and smiley and what-not. This is the latest I have slept since before the little guy was born, so this is nothing to sneeze at.
  • You then somehow convinced my son that he should take a nearly two-hour-long nap, which meant I had time to trellis the tomatoes, weed the garden, and feed the chickens some lovely arugula that went to seed weeks ago. Side note: I love when my hands smell like arugula, but hate when they smell like tomato plants.
  • You gave me an awesome husband who went on Willem-duty so I could mail my nephew’s birthday presents and make a run to the store WITHOUT A BABY. I had an entire cart to fill with stuff AND two free hands! It was amazing. Also, the post office was holding a passport party, which meant all these normally serious postal working ladies were wearing leis and grass skirts and sunglasses inside. And there were cookies. And, like I said – amazing.
  • You inspired me to make chocolate chip banana bread, which means our house smells like magic.
  • You presented me with a cardigan covered in pineapples, which, DUH, of course I had to buy. Because cardigan = yay for breastfeeding, and pineapples = yay for life.

In summation, Today, I think you’re the bomb. I’d totally marry you if I wasn’t already married to awesome dude (see bullet point #3).

XOXO,

Christie

P.S. Check out how wild and wooly the garden is this year. Rather than get all uptight over the OMG WEEDS EVERYWHERE, I’m embracing the crazy greenness. I feel like I shrunk or something, because everything – the apple trees, the perennials across the back of the house, the bee balm and lemon balm and green beans – are suddenly gigantic.

20140619. Wild garden.

Lettuce trying to go to seed, weeds everywhere, tomatoes going nutso, collard and kale out the yin-yang, monarda about to bloom – garden madness, I say.

20140619. Wild garden.

Second year of hops.

20140619. Wild garden.

Wildness from the other direction. Those perennials along the house are taller than me.

20140620. Garden time with Willem.

And my garden buddy. We spend time each morning, checking out the garden, before naptime.

20140619. Wild garden.

When will I learn that we really only need, like, TWO collard green plants, not eight?

Willem has an appreciation for green things, too. Kale, collards, and garlic scapes, coming right up!

Willem was very excited about the kale, collards, and garlic scapes the other night.

My Little Whirlwind of a Life

I seem to have very little time on the computer these days. This is certainly not a complaint, just an observation. I’ve been on my bike, in the sun, learning, talking, doing – and when I am on the computer, it’s to dedicate some time to my day job, which has so graciously and kindly allowed me to have this summer of awesome.

It’s funny how extracurricular internet is the first thing to go when life gets busy-happy (or, like last night, just plain exhausted… OMG SO EXHAUSTED). Nevertheless, it’s high time for a post about all the awesome goings on over here.

VISITORS FROM AFAR
Over Memorial Day weekend, I hosted two of my favorite ladies – good friends from San Francisco and North Carolina who I wish lived much, much closer. We ate ice cream and delicious food stuffs, played with chickens, napped, watched Sherlock and Portlandia and Jenna Marbles videos on YouTube, visited the butterflies and the meerkats at the zoo, and went to the Indianapolis 500 parade. It was a much-needed weekend of girl check-in and resting time.

The ladies, the ladies!
20130525. Sarah, Carrie, and me. Indianapolis Zoo.

Butterfly cocoons, looking like leaves and beads and the rare jewels that they are.
20130525. Butterfly cocoons. Indianapolis Zoo.

The most pensive meerkat.
20130525. The best meerkat. Indianapolis Zoo.

Petting sharks.
20130525. Shark petting. Indianapolis Zoo.

GROWING PLACES INDY URBAN FARM APPRENTICESHIP: It Is ON!

Our first day: Introductions, bicycles, strawberries and garlic and Jerusalem artichokes, downtown Indy, yoga, rows of greens and clover, chickens, markets, more veggies than I probably know what to do with, and some already stellar people.

20130528. Growing Places Indy.

An overall good motto to live by, right?

We finished our first week, and I can honestly say this is one of the better decisions I have made in my life. It’s on the same level of deciding to go on a solo trip around Europe in my late-20s or transferring schools to Humboldt State in my early-20s. And it’s only the first week! In the past three days, I have harvested mint, oregano, lemon balm, strawberries, chard, kale, radishes, and… a lot more. I have also biked nearly 60 miles in those three days.

Even better, I have eaten some amazing food and have an entire shelf in my fridge dedicated to locally produced or homemade items (some of which was produced in my own kitchen).

My current office.

My current office.

At White River State Park, thinking about a nap under this sign.

The best part of all? My fellow apprentices are pretty fantastic. I’m not surprised at that – I am just so excited about HOW fantastic they really are. I am also super excited that I will get to be the veggie share/CSA coordinator this summer, as well as work on fundraising for next year’s apprentices (a sort of “pay it forward” model) with another of the apprentices. If you have any brilliant fundraising project ideas, let ’em fly!

20130530. What ever could be hiding in that over-stuffed bag?

What ever could be hiding in my ridiculously overstuffed bike bag?

20130530. The sexiest top shelf of a fridge ever - completely local or homemade items.

My first Growing Places Indy CSA share, of course! Our top shelf is nothing but ultra local produce or stuff made by our chickens or me (mmm, apple sauce canned from last fall’s orchard visit).

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN
I would be remiss to not mention the fact that our garden has been off the chain this spring. It has also been a long, cool, wet spring, which means my earlier season plants are rocking my socks off. Let’s just close out this post with a few pretty garden pictures, shall we?

20130529. State of the garden - lettuce.

Some of the lettuce leaves are about a foot long. DINO LETTUCE.

20130529. State of the garden - tomatoes.

Baby cherry tomatoes.

20130529. State of the garden - strawberries and lettuce.

Strawberries and lettuce for last night’s dinner – mint strawberry salad with pea tendrils. Yeah, it didn’t suck.

20130529. State of the garden - tatsoi.

TATSOI!

20130529. State of the garden.

Long view of the garden.

State of the Garden Address, May 9

I established previously that I sucked at growing plants from seeds this year. After much coaxing, teeth gnashing, lying awake at night, and general upset, I made it through to the acceptance stage. Namely, I accepted that I would just have to buy many of my summer garden plants this year.

20120509. The seedlings have sucked this year.

Suspended animation – the magical, non-growing seedlings of 2012!

Single tear. So last weekend, the grow lights were dimmed, the seedlings were moved outside to fend for themselves, and I headed to the Broad Ripple farmer’s market and Habig’s Garden Shop to get my plant fix.

20120509. State of the Garden Address.

First State of the Garden Address of 2012: at least the spring seedlings grew like weeds.

I figured it might be a good thing to document exactly what is planted where at this point. Plus, I love looking back at initial garden photos in, say, August to see how much the baby planties have grown. Oh, the babies!

Bed #1:

20120509. Looking ahead to warmer weather.

Front row: Summer squash, hot Portugal pepper, Genovese basil, Georgia flame pepper, and summer squash. Middle row: Genovese basil, three cayenne peppers, Genovese basil. Back rows: six Roma tomatoes.

Bed #2:

20120509. First attempts at fennel.

The “we’ll see” bed. At this point, it’s got some baby lettuce, an insanely massive fennel, a couple of languishing basil plants, lavender and rosemary, some peas, and a few bee balms.

Does anyone know what kind of caterpillar this is? It loves the fennel, and I love it.

20120509. Fennel-loving caterpillar.

Bed #3:

20120509. Beets and peas and lettuce.

Front row: beets and lettuces. Middle row: three jalapeno plants and some ridiculously healthy peas. Back row (hidden by aforementioned peas): two grape tomatoes, hog heart tomato, mom’s paste tomato, two black krim tomatoes, and a garden peach tomato.

Did I mention how healthy the peas and lettuces are?

20120509. The peas and lettuce are just a little happy with the world right now.

Bed #4:

20120509. Strawberries, cayenne peppers, and cucumbers.

Left side: three cayenne peppers in back, four strawberry plants in the middle, sad little chives in the front. Right side: three pickling cucumbers up front, three slicing cucumbers in back.

And let’s not forget the green beans!
20120509. Green beans.New-to-me this year (so far): beets, lettuce, strawberries, fennel (and definitely quite a few of the heirloom tomatoes and peppers). This weekend, I’m hoping we will get our berry bush supports built and some plants in the ground, too. Raspberries and blueberries and blackberries? Thumbs WAY up.