Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flowers in the Rain

Rainy Day Flower Harvest Basket

Today is a blissfully peaceful, rainy, cloudy, sort of cool but humid day here at Mountain Harvest Basket.

My phone has not rung even once today. I can hardly believe that. I pick up the receiver occasionally to make sure the dial tone is still working.

Even my incoming emails have been less than usual. Certainly my outgoing ones are less on the weekends lately.

I love that today is a slow, stay-around-home-and-do-what-I feel-like-doing day. That is such a rarity in my life. Usually I am going in several directions at once with many partially finished tasks all at the same time and juggling phone calls, emails, people, activities, outings and events. I can do that. I am even pretty good at all that coordination stuff, but it sure wears me out to a frazzle sometimes.

Why do I feel like I always have to give 110% of my energy to each project, event or person? Why can't just part of me, my energy or my attention be "good enough"?

Because it isn't. That's why.

I am sure you all can relate to this. Then since it is impossible to give so much of myself to every single thing that I pile up on my massive To-Do lists, I get frustrated with myself and then I feel like I have failed. I freeze and proscrastinate starting projects because I know I won't be able to do them perfectly as well as I would like to. I also sometimes feel like I have let myself or others down in the process.

Sometimes I am just so stressed out that I want to run away, far away, and hide for awhile. I fantasize about jumping into my car and just driving away somewhere. Somewhere peaceful and beautiful. Somewhere where nobody knows me and nobody expects anything from me. It would be peaceful.......for awhile. Crazy thing to fantasize about, huh? Yeah, probably.

I am really not the hermit type in general though. And I can't really jump in my car and just drive away from here in search for peace, beauty and anonymity. I have responsibilities here.

So instead of running away today, I stayed here at my home and listened to it softly rain. Felt the breezes on my skin and the let the big raindrops wet my hair as I weeded my vegetable garden and picked myself a bouquet of lovely Spring flowers to brighten my day and my heart.

I picked a bunch of sweet smelling multi-colored Sweet Williams that grow down in my lower garden near the herbs and berries. While down there I discovered that I had a slightly over-ripe artichoke (also a flower) so I brought it in to eat later as a snack. On my way back to the house I snipped a few bundles of French Lavender that grows in my herb garden right below my bedroom window. Lovely, all of them.

Flowers, especially the softly scented ones, make me happy. Flowers also remind me of my Mom, and sometimes this little girl needs to feel her Mom close to her, especially on a peaceful, rainy, cloudy day sandwiched in between weeks of frenetic chaotic activity. Sometimes I need to remember that I can't do it all or be everything to everybody all the time. Sometimes it helps to imagine my Mom telling me that everything will be OK, and then to see her smile and hear her wonderful laugh...even if it is only in my memory.

Thanks Mom. These flowers are for you too. I know how much you love them.

I can feel you with me in the garden telling the flowers to grow.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Salad Days

Big Beautiful Ice Queen Lettuce

Remember those big "volunteer" heads of lettuce I pointed out in my last post? This big head shown in the photo above weighed in at 1 pound and provided me with enough crispy cool lettuce for many salads and sandwiches. These big heads started from seeds that last year's plants sowed all by themselves. I also have some Ice Queen babies starting to show themselves in the newly planted section of my garden along with the other Spring greens.

Even with gifting a big head of lettuce each to Jack and Bob, I still have several left out in my garden. I must go out there and harvest them soon though. With this warmer weather we are having, those cool weather greens are starting to bolt. They have already sent tall spikes of leaves upward toward the sun. Next will come flowers and seeds, both making the lettuce leaves taste bitter. I will pluck the remaining heads and store them in the spare fridge. They will keep for a week or two.

I predict lots of salads on my menu for the next few weeks.

Another early season harvest item is show in the photo below and fits right in with the Spring salad theme.

French Breakfast Radishes

These are the first few radishes of many. I have already enjoyed them in a few salads. I noticed that there are many many more waiting to be plucked from my garden soil. Their round red shoulders are showing above the soil line asking for attention.

I really need to make the time to get out there and tend my garden this week. My tomato seedlings are big enough to be planted out there now. I will do it as soon as I remove the new layer of weeds that have established themselves after our rainy and now hot & humid weather.

Maybe if I get up tomorrow morning and just don't answer the phone or turn on my computer, I can sneak outside and play in the dirt for awhile. You think?

Happy Spring weather everyone.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wet Weather in May

Seedlings ~ Rainy Day Window

Rainy, grey and cold weather here again today. Unseasonably so.

My tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings, all warm weather crops, are taking forever to sprout their "true" leaves this year. They are growing long and spindly, looking for some warm sunlight. Some have keeled over and died. Usually by now, even though I started them late, they are thriving and almost ready to plant in the garden. It will be a few weeks yet before I can set these seedlings outside.

The photo above was taken this morning. Those are my recycled yogurt container seedling pots sitting up high (out of kitty reach) in my half moon window. This window faces east and usually has hot morning sun, but not today. It is cold and foggy out there even now.

This next photo was taken a couple of days ago when it was a bit sunnier. That's my main raised bed garden partially planted with cold weather crops.

Raised Bed Garden

You can see the garlic growing toward the back. Several kinds of greens are planted in between the rows of garlic. They are still very small and hard to see in the photo. I have found that planting my tender greens in between the garlic plants helps to keep the bugs off of my greens. It's not foolproof. The slugs still get in there as do the pill bugs, but the other pests seem to be repelled by the garlic sentinels. This year I planted spinach, mesclun, bok choy, Swiss chard and two kinds of lettuces. There is also some broccoli on the other side of the garlic patch in the shade when this photo was taken in the late afternoon. It is doing quite well as broccoli likes this cold damp weather we are having.

A big bunch of curly leaf parsley grows to the left of the garlic. That bush was planted there last summer and has thrived all winter providing me with wonderful fresh parsley for my salads, soups, stir fries etc. I did cover it with a milk crate and plastic sheeting to protect it when we had snow and freezing weather during the coldest parts of winter. It did beautifully and continues to thrive there. Unfortunately, the parsley is planted right in the middle of the space where I planned to grow my root veggies this Spring, so I had to plant my beet seeds all around the big parsley bush. Hopefully the beets will get enough sun there. I love hearty beet greens and pickled beets.

Between the parsley/beets and the side wall of the raised bed I planted radishes and carrots and a long row of snow peas. All have sprouted, but are still so small that you can barely see them in this photo.

The foreground of the garden bed is full of many little weeds that will be pulled or tilled under when I get ready to plant that area later in the month.

The big bushy lettuce to the right and in front of the garlic "volunteered" itself from plants that went to seed last summer. That variety of lettuce is Reine des Glaces (means Queen of the Ices) and is a cold hardy loose leaf crisphead. It is one of my favorites to grow. See a better picture of it below:

"Queen of the Ices" Lettuce ~ I call it simply "Ice Queen"

It is one of the lettuce varieties that I planted this year in between the garlic rows. I plant it every year.

Since I had my camera in hand this morning snapping photos of seedlings and the weather, my sweet kitties just had to get in on the photo action. Below is my best friend Jessie looking half asleep as she poses for me in the morning window light.

My Sweet Jessie

And then of course, Frieda had to ham it up for the camera. She posed demurely and waited for me to take this photo of her. All before their breakfast was served, too. Such patience was displayed.

Furry Frieda Poses for the Camera

Well, that's today's garden and weather report from Mountain Harvest Basket. Too wet to be outside today. Back to my other rainy day activities like laundry and baking.

© Copyright 2009 Mountain Harvest Basket