Garden Journal #3

Garden update for May! I don’t imagine anyone is really interested, but if nothing else, it’s nice to keep a record for myself. Somewhere around May 5, I moved my seedlings outside into a makeshift cold frame where I leaned a couple of old windows against a shed and taped clear trash bags to cover up the openings on the sides.

Cold Frame

This whole “starting seeds” thing did not work out too well for me. I’m not sure what to blame because there are so many variables, but I did notice that the plants that did the best were the ones that didn’t use the biodegradable containers, maybe just because the spaces were too small for the roots to spread out, or because they were too quick to mold in the humidity. I weeded the garden again and planted everything in the ground on May 19, which basically took all day. I have a whole bunch of tomato plants of various types and sizes from different places, several sunflowers, a pepper plant, Romaine lettuce, soy beans, and an eggplant. I also planted some seeds directly in the garden: more sunflowers, green beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, cucumbers, morning glories, and onions. The beans are doing well. The cucumbers came up this week and something immediately ate them, so I bought some seedlings from the farmer’s market and will hope they survive better. (There are a lot of birds and squirrels around; I’m not sure which is the culprit.) There are strawberries growing in my little strawberry patch, and I threw a laundry net over the plants to try to keep them from getting eaten by critters this year—I kind of doubt that will be effective, but it’s worth a try.

In other garden news, I joined a cooperative urban farm on the east side and I’ve been going there to work for about a month. I’ve come back with fresh eggs, radishes, tiny garlic, cloves, thyme, parsley, and TONS of lettuce in varieties I’ve never seen at the grocery store. Also, they’re fixing up an old house with a caved-in ceiling. Also, they call themselves pirates. It’s pretty exciting. Can you tell? I’ll try to take pictures eventually.

P.S.  What do you think of the new blog theme?  I liked the old one but thought a change might be nice.

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Things that are making my life right now

Life may be generally kind of a letdown, but I wanted to share with you today some of the things that are helping to assuage the ennui.

1.  Biking.  It’s free to do, it doesn’t hurt the environment, it’s good exercise, you get to be outside, and it’s faster than walking but slower than driving, so you can travel around and see what there is to see without speeding right past it or moving like a snail. Hooray for biking!

2.  Today is the day when ALL OF THE TREES ARE IN BLOOM.  The whole world smells like flowers and it is amazing.

3.  Being caught in a sudden downpour makes instant friends of everyone who’s out there getting drenched and reminds me of my favorite scene in Forrest Gump with Lieutenant Dan on the boat in the storm.

4.  Good books!  I think I’ve picked out my three favorites that I’ve read in the past year: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby, and I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black (especially “Good in a Crisis” and “Mollusk Makes a Comeback”)—two novels and a short story collection.  They’re all more female-oriented—my apologies to those who prefer manlier literature.  But they are awesome.

5.  “Our Man of Perpetual Sorrow” — a talk/story by Dan Savage on This American Life.  A couple of weeks ago I got fed up with all my music and everything on the radio (which, let’s face it, only comprises about 200 songs anyway) and started listening to NPR like a huge nerd.  So I was pulling into the Wegmans parking lot when this segment came on and Dan Savage was talking about leaving the Catholic church, and I thought, yeah, yeah, it’s going to be one of those things where people just bash religion, but I kept it on because he was an engaging speaker and I wondered if it would piss me off.  Instead it turned out to be the single most amazing thing I’ve ever heard on the radio, and I sat raptly in the parking lot for a good 20 minutes listening to him.  (Apparently this is actually a thing, called a “Driveway Moment.”  Go figure.)  I felt like it really spoke to me.

6.  Whenever the angst starts to encroach, I’ve been listening to Ryan Adams and Adam Duritz.  Duritz is the lead singer of Counting Crows, and Adams is a ridiculously prolific songwriter—I like his songs from Whiskeytown the best.  They’re both way more sad and fucked-up than I am, and they sing about it so nicely too.  (In particular, I would recommend “A Murder of One” by Counting Crows, which I have been seriously digging for the past few weeks, and “The Rescue Blues” by Ryan Adams…  I would describe those as a delicious combination of angst and hope.)  I’m thinking of making a playlist called “Songs for an Existential Crisis.”

I think those are all my recommendations for today.  Hope you enjoy!