catch of the day
To celebrate summer solstice, I’m slaying fierce vegetal beasts and eating their heads raw.
Col’s celebrating by going on a complete drawing bender, churning out stacks of fanciful illustrations, which quickly become the papery carpet of our living room floor. And I’m like, ack the trees! but also, praise the creativity!
He made this sign to warn himself as he was cleaning up spills from his previous watercoloring project.
Rose has fallen in love with Leo, this bunny we’re babysitting. This morning I woke up to find Rose slicing a carrot with a sharp knife! “Leo was hungry,” she told me as fierce as any new mom charged with keeping her baby alive.
(Note to my Dad: the knife situation is under control: carrot sticks pre-sliced in fridge for early morning bunny breakfast)
We’re also babysitting 2 rats, for whom Col spent 2 hours yesterday building various mazes and houses. Col, in his devotion-to-all-animals, has been breaking pieces off of our pricey organic cheese and sneaking them to the rats. Egads!
This morning I found a note Dan left before leaving for work: put (stinky) bunny and rats in sunroom? Dan is not such a fan of caged, freeloading animals. However, bunny poop is the bomb in the garden!
Pt II: the garden.
The blue larkspur (whose seeds I pilfered from Carrie Byrd’s garden 12 years ago before I knew her!)
The garden is at a gawky adolescent stage. The lettuce and spinach are gangling up lanky and seedy and rough-edged. The broccoli leaves are growing as fast as a 15-year old’s feet. The beets are a bunch of pre-teen girls, all clumped together, wishing for more curves.
It’s like junior high in the garden, everyone trying to figure out where they belong. The lettuces that were once stars of the popular crowd are turning bitter from the heat. I’m yanking the tall, seeding arugula to create sun for the incoming class of winter squash, which are still so painfully small and exposed. I remember feeling like that.
Young squash upstart bowing to Elder Grasshopper lettuce.
Gratuitous salad pix:
Add ins: lamb’s quarters, red clover blossoms, dill, cilantro, green onions and mint.
These lettuces remind me of something you’d find in Rose’s dress up box.
Col and Rose are like hungry magpies, plucking each strawberry, pea pod or cherry tomato about 3 seconds after they’re officially ripe, which is exactly what I hoped they would do.
Rose: “I wonder if bunnies like strawberries?” Me: “cough, sputter, ack!”
Pt III: Garden advice
Friends have been lamenting to me how slowly their garden is growing and I’ve been remembering how June is like that here in the Southwest. All hot wilty dry during the day and then 10 degrees above freezing at night. Here’s a few tips for the early season garden:
* Water deeply. If you water deeply every 2-3 days, this encourages plants to develop deep roots which can draw on deeper reservoirs of water, helping them thrive when the soil surface dries out.
* Shade your transplants. It’s a shock to go from a protected greenhouse into the outside world. We cover our transplants with plastic gallon jugs with the bottoms cut out for 3-5 days.
* Mulch the soil (with straw, leaves, newspaper, cardboard) to help the soil retain moisture.
* Plant cool weather-loving greens in the shade of taller plants (sunflowers, tomatoes, broccoli, cosmos, peas, beans).
* Fertilize. Cover your ears if you’re squeamish. We’re experimenting with fertilizing with urine. Human urine contains a similar balance of NPK (nitrogen = for green growth, phosphorus = for roots, potassium = for blooms) as commercial fertilizers. It leaves the body virtually sterile and it’s so much more convenient than going to the store to pick up fertilizer. We’re diluting it with water about 1: 8 and not using it on anything whose leaves we’re going to eat. For some more street cred, here’s what Scientific American has to say about it.
Pea tendrils: proof that plants are sentient beings?
And were you wondering about what Dan’s been up to? Yesterday as I was raising the temperature of our house atomically by cooking dinner, while managing my 2 kids, their 2 friends, an escaped rat, and the bunny pooping under our clothes drying rack, I thought about Dan, 6 feet deep in his cool hole engaged in the straight-forward, singular task of digging a shovel deep into the earth, alone to ruminate on his own thoughts and further develop the hardrock landscape of his biceps. (Can you say: Man Cave?) Lets not feel too sorry for Mr. 200 Wheelbarrow Loads.
Pt III: Mamalode
I’ve got a piece on Mamalode today, sharing the story of how Col and I ended up in the ER last Saturday night, and how seeing his small body in the large hospital bed brought back crazy NICU memories and also how being captive in a hospital room with your child can end up counting as quality one-on-one time. (And, if you remember, Mamalode is that site where you get paid based on number of unique views, so share on your Facebook page or your twitter chain-letter or with your homies down at the park, or however you like to get the word out).
Also, (locals) have you seen the summer issue of Edible yet?
Found at DNF, Steamworks, Natures O, Library, Steaming Bean, Durango Joes, Vitamin Cottage, Native Roots, my house, and more!
You guys are the best; it’s a pleasure to write for you.