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broodings from the burrow

May 16, 2016

mid-may weekending
posted by soe 11:06 am

This weekend was pleasant, but oh, so short!


On Friday after work, we celebrated the sun by taking our books and beverages up to the park. This park is one of my favorite things about my neighborhood, and I ended up there on Saturday, too, when it was a bit less fair out. But there’s a little caretaker cottage that gets used during the summertime with a generous overhang, so as you can see I didn’t let a little rain stop me.

Saturday Reading in the Park

I’m really pleased with the camera on my new phone and I took a bunch of photos on my walk home”

Buttercup after the Rain

Spider Webs


Saturday also included a visit to a couple embassies for EU Day, when members of the European Union open their D.C. embassies to the public for a few hours. I visited Cypress briefly, where things were winding down, but then moved on to Slovenia, which was far more lively.

Slovenian Musicians at EU Day

In the evening, we had a party for Rudi at our local board game bar. We ate and drank, had cupcakes, and played Trvial Pursuit and Jenga, both of which Rudi won, which seemed only appropriate.

Rudi Plays Jenga

Yesterday, I went to the farmers market and spent three plus hours in the garden. You can see that the violets and the sorrel had been loving the rain:

Spring at the Garden: Before

I yanked violet leaves (although left most of the roots), because they share the plot with my strawberries and had far eclipsed them in height. Now that sun was in the forecast, they needed to be able to start turning red! I also got 20 plants in the ground, most of which were acquired last weekend at Sheep & Wool. It took a while, but I hope this will be my last long day in the garden for a while.

Strawberries in the Garden

Spring at the Garden: After

This morning I was up early to get breakfast for Rudi, since it’s his birthday. After work, we’re going out to dinner at a new-to-us restaurant (a Christmas present from my brother).

How was your weekend?

Weekending along with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

January 13, 2015

composting containers
posted by soe 1:40 am

I think I mentioned earlier this winter that our community garden has gained closed composting bins. I have not composted before, but it’s one of my goals for 2015.

I’d like some advice, though.

My major concern about composting is pest control. Not of the four-legged sort, but of the six-legged variety. I know us and the most frequently we’re going to get down to the garden is twice a week, and that’s probably more likely in the summer than the winter when there’s nothing to water or harvest. So something that seals well is imperative.

Second, I want something smallish. (Not small, mind you. Just not gigantic.) I’d rather not have an in-cabinet option, since once you’ve had pests living in a cabinet, even if they’re long gone, it’s not something you’d like them to make attractive in any way. However, we also have a galley-style kitchen, so space is at a premium.

Finally, weight: It’s roughly 2/3 of a mile to the garden, so something light, but still scent-impervious is preferable. Biobags are only allowed to be composted if we shred them, so I admit I’m not ecstatic about the idea, but am willing to consider it if folks say it’s my best bet.

Do you compost? Do you like the in-house container you use to do so? Suggestions and thoughts are appreciated.

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December 15, 2014

mid-december weekending
posted by soe 2:47 am

As you may have seen, I had an ambitious weekend filled with holiday activities planned for Rudi’s absence.

It didn’t go according to plan.

I mean, I still got things done.

I hit three holiday markets/craft fairs — the DC Women’s Business Center Holiday Bazaar, the Upshur Street Art and Craft Fair, and the GRUMP Market — and did some shopping at each one. I’m not done shopping, but I’m probably in better shape than usual this far out from Christmas (yes, I totally realize I just gave you early planners a heart attack with that statement). I need to finish my online shopping over the next day or two and then hopefully finish the local shopping next weekend.

I rode my bike to take advantage of the mild, dry weather.

I vacuumed, did a load of laundry, and cleaned off my desk. Apparently it had been longer than I’d thought since I’d done the last did that latter item. But I couldn’t work on my Christmas mix or write my Christmas cards without taking care of it. (Yes, I suppose I could write Christmas cards in ink that isn’t red or green, but that’s what I like to do. But I did really need to clear things out of the way to access my cd drive on the computer before I could import some of my new holiday tunes.)

I learned all about the new composting system at my community garden and helped get it set up for us to begin using it.

I read Paul Auster’s holiday piece, “Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story.” It was, as Auster hoped, unsentimental, but also maybe not quite as cheering as I was looking for this weekend. Don’t get me wrong: it’s quite good. Just not an especially good match for my mood. If your mood is more upbeat than mine and you have a spare 10–15 minutes, I’d recommend the book. ISOL’s illustrations are particularly striking and fit with my Sesame Street-inspired impressions of New York City in the 1970s. I have Frank Baum’s and J.R.R. Tolkein’s Christmas books in my drawer at work, so I’m hopeful they’ll be more to my taste.

I ate the spiciest grilled cheese ever (it had habaneros in it) and drank a delightful housemade soda (plum-cinnamon).

I started work on my Christmas mix by eliminating some of the carryover songs from last year and by adding some new ones. I’m a little negligent about locating the tracks I’ve been wanting to include, so need to get moving more solidly on that.

I watched the Garfield Christmas special from the ’80s, the “Blizzard” episode of Fame (which did not take place at Christmas, as I’d misremembered it doing), and the first episode of the new TNT show, The Librarians. (I never saw any of the movies, but Amazon offers them for streaming. I guess I’ll have to decide if my boycott of them extends to their non-physical products…) The CW is airing the episodes a week later than the cable premieres and it’s online, so I’d recommend watching. It’s Indiana Jones meets nerds.

I’m still hoping to paint my nails, do the handwashing, and put away my summer clothes (not in that order) tomorrow morning, but as of right now, those are untackled, as is the baking (I got as far as planning what I was going to make, but not actually to getting off the couch). No cards got written, but I’ve pulled everything out that’s needed to get started on them, so perhaps that will happen tomorrow night after Rudi and I get home from the airport. I didn’t do as much knitting as I would have liked, but it required too much effort to open the knitting bag sitting next to me. And while I dozed on the sofa quite a bit (the one good thing about Rudi being away is that I had options for where to lounge), I wouldn’t really say I got enough sleep, and I felt it.

Speaking of which, I’m going to toddle off to bed now in hopes of getting up early enough in the morning to do those things before work.

Weekending along with Pumpkin Sunrise.

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August 6, 2014

posted by soe 3:09 am

Tomatoes and four peppers from the garden:

Tomatoes and Four Peppers from the Garden

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August 3, 2014

garden report: early august
posted by soe 2:03 am

I spent several hours at the garden this morning weeding the pathways and filling water barrels, so I thought I’d share thoughts about how the plot is going this summer.

Moving my herbs to the back of the plot was my best garden idea ever. We’d moved some herbs to that otherwise wasted, shady space last year, but my gigantic rosemary, the inherited sage plant, and two other larger, spreading herbs were still taking up valuable space in the main section of the plot. When the winter reduced the rosemary to kindling and killed back much of the sage, I took that as a sign it was time to make a move. The herbs are thriving back there. In addition to the sage and a new, smaller rosemary, I’ve also got a bay, lemon verbena, mint, thyme, savory, and oregano. My cilantro and dill have gone to seed already, so I’m hoping to get a second half of the season out of them. The only herbs I wish I’d planted, but didn’t are tarragon and lemon grass.

In addition to the herbs, the back section of the garden also houses a thus-far flowerless volunteer tomato, garlic, leeks, and what I’m pretty sure are shallots (I can’t quite recall and I’m too lazy to go check the garden bag for the packets). Oh, and a nest of ground wasps who moved into an abandoned vole/field mouse hole.

Potato Patch and Herb Garden

The side section of the garden is where most of my violets grow in the spring and where my strawberry plants are. The back of it (next to the herbs) is my potato patch, which are thriving. I’ve got regular potatoes and at least one sweet potato, since I noticed the lengthening vine this morning. I chucked all my seed potatoes and then anything that didn’t get cooked before it started growing over the winter. Because I don’t want to disturb their growth, I admit I don’t usually do a mid-season harvest, but I’m a little curious what would happen if I stuck a spade in there in the next week or two…

Two weeks ago, when Rudi and I were last down filling water barrels and killing time, he dug up some of the strawberries and violets and weeds to give me a little extra space between the two crops. I’d already put a purple bean in and wanted to add a few more beans to the mix. We also wanted to get some onion bulbs in the ground we’d forgotten about before they died. The beans are now about six inches tall and the onions are two.

I also have a tomato plant at the front of that section, since it gets some of the best light. I’ve harvested a couple tomatoes off it thus far, including one that was a crucial part of tonight’s vBLT dinner.

The Side and Main Sections of Our Garden

Speaking of tomatoes, in the main section of my garden I have five plants. Four are bearing fruit, and the fifth is blooming. I also have five pepper plants and four types of basil on six plants (they need more sun than the herb garden can offer). We harvest basil every weekend for our Sunday night Capreses, to which we can now start adding our tomatoes.

In the main section (the soil of which I supplemented and put a lot of work into after I dug out the herbs), we have spinach that grew this spring from seeds I planted too late last fall, a single chard plant that is a volunteer, and a humungous cabbage that I think Rudi doesn’t quite know what to do with, so it’s still in the plot. I also have a single broccoli, that doesn’t seem to have grown since I bought the seedling in May.

I got my peas in too late and only got three pods out of what I planted, which was a shame but unexpected. I also had thee lettuce plants that finally shot up and went to seed and a handful of pak choi that went to seed right after I planted the six pack of seedlings I bought. I dumped all the seeds from all those greens back into the front patch of the garden and added some other lettuce-type seeds two weekends ago. I’m hoping something comes of some of it. The only thing I wish I’d planted in that section of the garden are tomatillos. I’m not sure how they got left off my seedling list this year.

And that’s it. Except for the ground wasps, I’m pretty happy with what’s going on in my garden.

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November 23, 2013

posted by soe 2:58 am

Dinner tonight — a night in late November, mind you — included tomatoes and greens from my garden. (Admittedly, both were picked a couple weeks back, but still…) And this was not the final supper of the year that will include garden produce.

To this New England-born girl, that is just crazy.

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