the cool of the evening

June 22, 2012

It’s been very busy in the garden, so much that we have got behind blogging. On Tuesday I was working in the garden for 5 hours in the morning and another hour or so in the evening. I’d just finished fertilizing, and the fireflies were flicking on and off as the fairy lights began to come on, and I was overwhelmed with the garden-ness of everything.

And for a minute I felt I could see the place through M’s eyes, and I thought how proud he would be of the garden and how far it has come, and of me for all the work I’ve done and all the things I’ve done that I didn’t know how to do. None of the garden would be there if he hadn’t begun it and seen in it what it could be, before I could see anything, when I thought nothing would grow.

M died a few weeks after he’d planted the grape vine and the 2008 tomato seedlings. It’s a miracle that I picked up the gardening at all; it was so grievous to go out there, to his space. I have my father to thank for spurring me to do it that first summer. Just before he left town after the funeral weeks, he turned to me in that advice-giving-father way and told me to keep the garden. Gardening was good for the soul, he said. I don’t believe my father has ever gardened in his life, but he knew this was true and he impressed it on me. He was right. Thanks, Dad.

The garden wouldn’t be what it is without the help of friends, for example the gurus at Crest–who make getting and trying new things so easy, who dispense advice on tap, who love their plants and yet are relaxed and realistic about endeavors, whose constant creative experiments cheer me up and give me new ideas, who build me up by enjoying the successes in my garden, and who are wonderful friends over the wall all year round.

The garden also thanks John and Mary, my friends from England, who have a spectacular English garden of their own that I can only dream about. They built the grape arbor one winter, and they did all the heavy work on the renovation of the center perennial garden two Septembers ago. There have been so many helpers, weeders, diggers when my elbow was fractured, waterers, harvesters, advice givers, appreciators–I can’t name them all here, but thank you.

In the cool of the evening, watering done, fireflies and fairy lights popping on, I always think of God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve, that ancient and only time we walked freely with him before everything went wrong.

cute little pockets

September 6, 2011

How much do I love my mom? Impossible to say cuz is so much! Last week I sent her the link (h/t Regina @ Crest) to this couple who were “plant bombing” their neighborhood (San Francisco, I think?). She knits, he deals with plants. Sunday, I get up to the country (Mom’s place in Duchess County) and up in my bedroom, what do I find?


Can you believe it? The plants here are in little pots, and since we’re not sure whether they are hardy, I’ve decided to keep them inside. I took them home and put them up in the bathroom, where my aloe and Christmas cactus have been thriving for years. Here they are in their new homes.







I think that pipe is a steam pipe, though, so I’m probably going to have to move those guys. Mom whipped up a couple more pockets for me to fill with dirt and try outside, so tomorrow (if the rain stops) I’m going to appropriate some hearty succulents from my plantings.

In other news, there was another batch of figs, so I tried some fig cookies that were like fig newtons but with fresh figs. Yes, yes, yes.

cooking with figs

August 27, 2011

We are doing our best to batten down the hatches here in the path of Irene. Our block is Zone B, so it is not evacuated. Hoping the storm drains won’t back up? We’ve taken down the hanging plants, put some pots on the ground, brought in the ladder, and tucked the furniture away in the corner under the pergola. We are feeling pessimistic about the tomato harvest.

People are freaking out. If you go to the grocery store, people are almost panicking. But here we are making hurricane cookies with figs from the tree out back. This tree has been pumping out figs like crazy. It isn’t even mine; I’ve just collected figs that overhung into my yard and were falling off. The other day, there was tart (pic before glazing):

And some cibbatta pizza with fig, proscutto, and ricotta. The picture really doesn’t do it justice.


Today, we have hurricane cookies with fresh figs. Before:

Don’t you love that Kikuichi blade? These people made Samurai swords back in the day. When Japan opened up and the samurai quit, they turned to cutlery. Gotta love clearance sales at Brooklyn Kitchen. But back to cookies:

There is even a fresh fig “eye” lolz:

Let’s hope we get the last laugh on this one. If the homestead gets damaged, we are finished. St. Christopher, pray for us.


July 28, 2011

How much do I love the internet? Not only did it bring me my husband all those many years ago, but now it has brought me a video on how to braid garlic:

I love this lady, and she explained it so’s even I could follow. So, this morning I roused the dogs from their post-breakfast, conjoined-at-the-rear nap:

Got down my ignorant, tiny garlic and trimmed it:

Then I braided it up. I even found a couple of baby garlic bits in the greens, like she did. Mine looks pretty lame next to hers, but it’s a start.

Once you put it with the skillets and the Peruvian mask thing, you sort of forget about its shortcomings.