Friday, March 25, 2011

She's waving at you...

Where ornamentals and edibles live harmoniously
...are you waving back at the rhubarb? She's there, growing every day, surrounded by grape hyacinths. You have grape hyacinths in your garden, right? No? Oh you should. They're so simple and clean and strong, easy multipliers, and if you don't like where they are, just dig them up and move them around. They fill in bare spots lovely, and do their thing early in the spring, only to settle back and quietly disappear into summer.

The jumble of edibles and ornamentals lives together harmoniously in our front garden. I like the shocking red stock color of the rhubarb with the hyacinths bright purple. I hope to have enough rhubarb this year to finally harvest some. Yeah! Oh for the combination of strawberry and rhubarb, comingling in a cobbler. Yum, oh super yum. In the meantime, I'm enjoying her color, immensely. Everyone wave at the rhubarb!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What to do, what to do: 20 Things to Do With Chives

Hello chives. I knew you would visit again.

I've got chives. Ooh girl, have I got chives. They're like that crazy aunt who just pops by: I'm delighted to see her but never quite know what to do with them all.

I'm beginning a list.
  1. Eat them on a baked potato.
  2. Snip them into a salad.
  3. Top a potato soup with them.
  4. Put a bird on them.
  5. Add their flowers to a salad.
  6. Arrange them uniformly in a vase.
  7. Make chive butter.
  8. Try a chive vinaigrette.
  9. Preserve them in an infused vinegar.
  10. Consider stir-frying them.
  11. Coconut rice with chives. Lovely.
  12. Uh, mouthwatering has commenced. Scones.
  13. Tuck them into omelets along with goat cheese.
  14. Make Jamie's broccoli salad.
  15. Say schnittlauchsauce three times fast.
  16. Add them to roasted root vegetables.
  17. Make a roasted beet salad with tangerines and chives.
  18. I'm pretty sure I'll make this: Farro salad.
  19. Swoon over chive chips.
  20. Enjoy them in all of their simplicity and just add them to everything I can while they are in season.
Phew. What's your favorite thing to do with chives?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rhubarb waits for no one

Rhubarb waits for no one
I love seeing the rhubarb emerge from the ground. It's not gentle or sneaky or delicate. Its bright red knobs push themselves up through the soggy mud, and if I don't keep my eye on it consistently, can just show up seemingly overnight.

Rhubarb waits for no one, and it won't wait for me. Ah, an ode to the Rolling Stones:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Searching for peace in times of chaos

The green, green road
I'm having a hard time. Are you having a hard time? And then with every complaint or whine I utter I silently hear "first world problems" at the end of each. The tragedies unfolding around us on this spinning globe are massive.

Where do you go for solace? Where do you pull it together? Behind closed doors while staring in a mirror? Pounding your feet, one in front of the other, along a cement path? Kristina wrote a lovely piece on her blog about baking a pie, and finding some humor in a story, despite the chaos surrounding us. I appreciated her humor. It felt needed. Margaret at Away to Garden said today, "Japan news is so big as to be incomprehensible. For me, gardening (raking, digging, sowing) is prayer, I guess. Time for prayer."

moss in the trees

Here in Oregon I go to the moss. To the green. To the nature of this place. Open my eyes to see the daily beauty in front of us. It is there, everywhere, and in this moss, it is green growing upon layers of green, even coating itself as if hanging green shawls from the trees. The moss grows ferns, and lichen chimes in as well. It's alive, this forest of green, and for now, we are too. And I am grateful.

Sending you peace.

Friday, March 11, 2011

You know it's getting to be spring...

...when all of the gardening crap shows up in the stores. See my little friend here?

He's such a copy cat:
Me and my little friend

Part Two:
I recently saw bareroot hybrid tea roses and a peach tree for sale in a local bargain store. May the force be with the poor soul who tries to grow those here in Portland without using chemicals. Ugh. That's a set-up for failure for a new gardener.

That's my rant for the week. Have a great weekend! I hope to finally prune my heirloom roses. And keep up with that dreaded popweed, also known as bittercress, also known as Imma-gonna-eat-it-in-a-salad this weekend and report back!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

There are signals: how a gardener marks the change of seasons

First day of Spring 2008

A tweet from yesterday: It's almost 6pm: it's still light out. The darkness is lifting, crocus is blooming, daphne is in the air. And all is right with the world.

March is bringing spring, and the change in the weather is becoming palpable. I stepped out onto the back steps early this week, and the sound of birds singing filled the air. Singing back and forth to each other, echoing off garages and heralding the change that is becoming so apparent.

Yesterday afternoon I walked with a friend, and as I came home, it approached 6pm and the sky was still light. Earlier we had come upon the mesmerizing scent of daphne in bloom—I had smelled it before I had seen it—and its recognition made for an instant smile across my face.

The earliest of blooms are showing, forsythia and crocus, and daffodils are lined up ready to go. The winter's violets are fading and the hyacinths are pushing through the soil, readying to sing their lead song. A rogue tree in bloom at the park startled me—could spring really be here? And indeed, it is making its debut.

All herald the changing of the seasons.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I waited two months to tell you: my word for the year

The promise of a blue sky

Here it is the first of March and I still have not revealed my word of the year. It's not that I've been keeping it from you on purpose, holding it back like a gift not given or a whispered secret told out of earshot. It's more that I've been growing into it, turning it back and forth in my hands, sleeping on it, and getting to know what it means, truly. Not just as a trite theme to spout off on January 1st and quickly forget by the second week, but as a word to guide me through 2011. Life is busy and things can be crazy. Decisions need to be made and this theme word is what I come to when I need clarity.

This year's word is Intention.

And after playing with it for two months, I've gotten to know it better. It's become my friend and a close ally. A confidant and the angel/devil sitting on my shoulders. It's the one I write to every morning, and who I speak with when I am frantically chasing deadlines.

Intention is a coming back to oneself. Connecting not to outside pressures, trends or craziness, but truly listening to your inner self. It's asking the questions of do my activities match with who I truly am? Am I living my true self? And in the busy-ness of a full life, am I doing the best that I can? How can I ensure my actions fit my intentions? By listening to myself. Allowing my self to feel the emotions I do, to reflect and sit with them and let them be. To be mindful in my choices and decisions. To prioritize, cut, and hold dear my activities and the people I surround myself with. To be present.

A lot of this has taken me away from my online self, and I've found clarity from turning the news off, turning off the incessant pinging of Tweetdeck, and dialing down my blogging. To step down from volunteer commitments, to take on clients only whom I can do the best of work with. To limit side projects.

And with all of this, my true intention is to be the best person I can be: to my clients, to my family, to my partner, to my friends—busy busy-ness of a hectic life doesn't always support that. In the quietness of removing myself from some of these, I'm able to focus on the intentions of my true self, and that is to be healthy, happy, successful and wise. To have fun, create, relax and be joyful. To do good work and to learn how to play. I'm learning some of these things for the first time, others I'm rediscovering of elements of my past. And some I have yet to figure out.

So what will this blog become? I will continue to embrace being a bad ass of the domestic arts, and my gardening and love of cooking endures. But it also includes embracing these things in moderation, and learning new things, like how I've been learning to cook whole grains, greens, and fish. To be a bad ass requires strength, and I have to admit to you, I've been going to the gym every single day. I've discovered a love of exercise and being in my body, creating goals and becoming a stronger woman. I'm doing some work. Some hard work, and it feels pretty good.

The garden has always been a place of solace and creativity for me, and my intentions are to live in that garden every day this season (note I said season, not day, because today, March 1st, there's snow in my garden). Alas you may no longer find cupcake and pie recipes here, except for on special occasions. But if you're interested in learning how to cook farro, or bulgar, or the best way to make the most delicious sauted kale ever, I might divulge a few secrets. And I've learned how to make fish!

Being a domestic bad-ass, for me, comes within the balance of being a busy modern woman running her own consultancy, and having a life filled of giving back to the community of which I live. This thing called balance is a tough one, but my intentions are to find it this year. See how I did that? Intention. It all starts right there. In-ten-tion. Welcome to my 2011.

Snapshots of a new life:
Beauty in ones bodyTrying on clothes is a current favorite past timewearing things i haven't worn in 5 years43 minutes on the elliptical for my 43rd birthdaycelebrationjapanese nom nomtomato jam makes a healthy lunchi will never buy salad dressing againfor the love of greenshi there!