Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Righteous Beans and Rice

1 c brown basmati rice, cooked in 2 c water
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 med onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (frozen) corn kernels
5 really large good or 9 lesser green olives, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1 tsp canola oil
3/4 c cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the rice in water.  In a cast iron skillet or other pan, heat the oil, saute the onion, pepper, and garlic for a minute or two (a little bite to the peppers is nice), add spices and a generous shake of salt, saute for another couple minutes, add corn, beans and olives, saute and stir until seasoned through.  Add tomatoes to rice, combine and add veggie mixture, mix thoroughly and stir in grated cheese.  You shouldn't need anything else at this point, but makes a good side to fajitas.  So good, really.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Like a Walk in the Rain

Shuddering dark storms rolled over this evening, pouring heavy warm rains of the sort that make it hard not to want to shed one's clothes and get drenched right through... Two hours earlier it was almost too hot to sit outside, with the thick sun beating on my back, while earlier in the day I was caressed by a few gentle drops as I listened to the chimes of the clock tower playing--for no comprehensible reason, just after one--a few of what I thought were rather peculiar selections: Climb Every Mountain, naturally followed by The Sound of Music (at which I'll admit I welled up for just a second, even with the risk of no context), and then Unchained Melody (admitting nothing.)... One of those summer days.

So it's Friday night, and I'm walking with my umbrella, getting my pants all wet, wearing my running shoes today for the first time in a while (as if I'm going anywhere fast these days), puddles gushing in and over my toes, and I'm pretty content with all that but it crosses my mind that it's the sort of night that it might be nice to share a sip of something sweet with a good friend, perhaps have a bite, and let time wend its way...  But, having passed up the opportunity, or worked past it possibly, to enjoy food and fire with family and friends, I'm here tonight with a homemade pizza, my giant sink full of dishes (it's a mystery, how a single person can go through so many spoons) the hum of the refrigerator and a quiet peace.  Rains have come to smooth my paths and flatten my phlox, and with everything gleaming green in the cool evening air, I can hardly wish to be elsewhere.

I've not been much for words lately--written, spoken or otherwise.  Perhaps it's the change in season, but whatever the reason, I have instead turned some part of my attention toward a succession of self-portraits, a sort of paint by number (10...seconds) if you will--of which you will see nothing here, by the way--by which I hope to learn a little something about how to photograph persons, with the aim of being able, in some modest way, to paint those who are dear to me, as I know them, and also so that I might learn at long last to take that old song to heart.  You know, the one that goes, love the one you're with.  It's a sweet night, hope you're enjoying it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Really too tired for words, but I wanted to post these before they got away from me (having missed a couple this Spring...)   Finally rolled back the tarp last weekend and with my (tireless) sister's help made some progress toward a sort of radiant garden plan... I've got paths coming in, so far leading nowhere, or perhaps just toward somewhere as yet undefined...they feel right, though...

front: strawberries, basil, sage, nasturtiums, winter savory, bitterroot
back, asparagus, peppers, brassicas, marsh mallow, lavender, more to come...

all paths lead toward the center

pretty in purslane (you go this way; I'll go that way)

seeing through (why does this remind me of Yars Revenge?

Pulled a few big patches of what was possibly Joe Pye Weed out front, which opened everything up quite a bit, and put a few new plants in the ground, here and there... things are coming along, bit by bit.  Need more sun, more sleep...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Catching Up

Last few days have been strange and lovely, in ways.

Saturday I spent the evening in the company of my sisters and good friends, at the lovely and amazing birthday celebration of my dear friend JB, who has reached the ripe old age of thirty-five, in spite of all odds, in deference to fate, in sheer strength and unbelievable willingness to show life how to be lived, and loved.  You blow me away, my friend, the ripples over water that your eyes radiate with each smile...

Meanwhile, CM has found, with his new partner, some good acres of gorgeous, rolling, luscious farmland upon which to build a new home and gorgeous, rolling, luscious dreams.  I must admit to feeling some degree of envy, seeing those fields of green... Not long ago I held the hope of finding such a place.  What a joy, to stand with both feet upon the land you will call home, to feel it give beneath you!  I wish you--both--a long and winding path, deep into the weeds, up reaching oaks, under bending sumac, across the flowered valley, beyond... It will be beautiful.  Much love.

But how bittersweet it can be, a taste of wild lettuce on the boulevard... (just reading about Latuca scariola, found some eager volunteers in li'l sis's garden....Eminently edible, I'd say...)

Sunday, after a night much too late for old persons, I had the pleasure of spending a relaxing day in the company of the twins, my bro-in-law and a friend, letting a long grey day pass slowly and easily, with conversation and documentary, and delicious desserts, and comfort foods, and plain old time.  Ahh, leisure.  I'd forgotten about you.

Not much happening in the yard these days, although I may have neglected to post anything about the ten-hour Sunday effort during part of which I got the patio herb garden in and moved my (entire) shady corner into it's proper place.  Hell of a lot of work but it's starting to look like something, now... If it ever clear up again I've got plans for that vacated spot, and a few more around here....

News from up north is that all the plants are planted and all the seeds are seeded, and I'm excited to see what's growing on up there, soon.  Steady rains this season have slowed things down just a little, but the new fruit trees and shrubs and all the others we planted last year have to be loving it, and I'd gladly eschew a few tomato sandwiches for the promise of plums... An orchard, now that's something I can look forward to.  Oh, yeah, and my peach tree has made itself right at home, almost looks like it's been here all the while.  I'll be surprised if there aren't a couple of peaches on it next year.

Sweet dreams, all of you, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Implement

This is not some namby-pamby little pronged garden trowel, made for scraping the surface.  Neither is it a stand-up farmer's sort of agrarian long-handled device, meant for working at length, distance.  It's more of a get-down-on-your-hand-and-knees and hack it out kind of thing, my new tool.  It's got teeth, it's got fangs.  

I wasn't sure about this one, mainly because of the cost, and also because I couldn't find anyone online who had one, probably because of the cost.  But something about this thing told me I had to have it.

I brought it along to my folks' last weekend, in anticipation of getting the beds dug in.  Turned out, between the weather (bloody hot on Saturday) and the distractions (many), we only got as far as turning the front garden turned over with the broadforks and roughing out paths, and didn't get around to actual bed preparation, although the few weeds there were are mostly gone now, and a few things got planted (datura, nicotiana, artichoke) and transplanted (chervil, borage, strays of various sorts...).  Thanks to all for pitching in, by the way.  Anyway, at one point Mom caught a glimpse of it, lying around somewhere, and said what's that?  It's my indulgent new thing.  That looks like an awesome tool, she said.

And it is.  I found this out working the beds around my patio, breaking up compacted clods of soil and mixing in the fresh sift from the sod, along with some compost.  It took a good while--not least because of all the iridescent coral glass cabachons that emerged from the dirt with each turn (such a simple pleasure, to uncover these strange jewels...)--but it didn't take me long to understand that the tool in my hands was the real deal, worth the price.  It's got groove, it's got meaning... I mean the tines on this thing are five inches long, and pointed, and the angle on the fine wood handle is such that when you swing it, it can't help but find a hold...like wielding an ice-axe, almost.  It means business.  Sure, it takes a little--shall we say?--aggression to use it well, but for the task of clod-busting that's probably a good thing.  And once the dirt's all nice and soft, it cuts through just like butta... 

I believe, in the realm of the body of tools I shall have known throughout my lifetime, this one might outlast me.

Anyhoo... in other news, I finally got my peach tree planted, over the holiday, and must say it pleased me more than a little to wake the next morning and see it peeking in at me through the kitchen window.  I found a spot for my currant, made some progress on the fencerows, and stumbled onto a plan for the garden-to-be under the tarp (which I was hoping to take off this weekend, should the weather cooperate) while doodling plans at my sister's, where we ended up with a drawing of a variation on a keyhole design that looked something like a smiling antlered creature and female reproductive system, not that anyone was trying... So I'm aiming to put in some kind of heart-shaped ram's-horn yoni-type thing back there under the cover, maybe with a bee watering hole at the center.  It'll be fun to start working the interior rather than securing the perimeter, if I ever make it that far... We shall see.  More in the days to come.

(Oh, yeah.  It's a hand tiller, Eliot Coleman design, if you must know.)


Thursday, June 3, 2010

gratitude 2

buried treasure

trust in plants

courageous parents

Spring rains

new hoodies