Sunday, July 27, 2014

Glad



I'm so glad I have my yard and plants to look after. I've always got something to do--and that is the key to happiness, I think.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crazy for Caladiums



Every summer it's the same thing: I'm just delighted by my caladiums. I'm constantly admiring them and taking pictures of them and thinking about them, making lists of the ones I have and the ones I want to get: Candyland, White Queen, Rose Bud . . . I become a little obsessed.

I've only been growing caladiums for a few years, but I've been fascinated by them for a long time. When I was studying horticulture in Atlanta, long ago, we students were required to keep binders full of information on the various plants we covered in class. We collected pictures and typed up our notes on growing requirements, etc. Well, I remember I had pages and pages on caladiums. I just could not stop adding pictures of the new cultivars I was discovering, and I'd often look through my binder and dream about the garden I'd someday have, filled with caladiums in all different colors and patterns.

My dream garden kept me entertained through lots of hard times, but real caladiums are better than dream ones. They brighten up shady spots. They shelter toads. They haven't disappointed me. Not at all.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Eggplant Effusions



This has been a great summer for eggplant. Rob and I have globe-shaped eggplant and cucumber-shaped eggplant in three colors: solid purple, solid white, and purple-and-white striped. The fruits are so bright and cheerful they look like balloons festooning the plants, and every day it seems as if the garden is decorated for a birthday party. Even if you couldn't eat eggplant, I think I'd grow it just because it's pretty.

But luckily you can eat it--and it's good for you too. It's low in calories and high in fiber, and the skin (of the purple varieties) is rich in disease-fighting phyto-chemicals. For the last couple months Rob and I have been enjoying eggplant all kinds of ways. My favorite way to eat it is in thin slices drizzled with olive oil, rolled in panko, and roasted in the oven.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Carl



Every summer I like to pretend that I enroll my cat Carl in vacation Bible school. You see, in my games and dreams he's my precious little son, forever four years old. Well, I mean, he's a cat, but he wears clothes and talks and walks on two legs like any human child. He's a cat, but he's fully accepted in human society. In fact, when I drop him off at vacation Bible school, all the teachers and the other mothers always tell me how cute he is.

"Oh, your son is so adorable," they say.

"Thank you," I say.

Once Carl's week at vacation Bible school is over, our summer days are less structured. Sometimes I take him to the city pool and he wears his water wings.

On quiet afternoons, we head to the library. I ride my bike, with Carl tucked into a little seat behind me. On the way home he sits in his seat and reads one of the books we've checked out while I pedal. He likes Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

Carl is so sweet--not just in my silly dreams but in real life. He's always looking at me and "talking" to me and following me around with his tail held high. He's my little sunshine.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fresh Awnings



Finally! We got some nice fresh clean awnings hung on the breezeway the other day. The old ones had gotten sooooo dirty. We need to take better care of them this time around and keep them clean. New awnings are expensive!

The inspiration for our awnings came from the Old Capitol in Tallahassee, whose many windows are shaded by canvas awnings in a red and white candy-striped pattern. Our awnings keep the breezeway cool, shady, and dry, and they add a little Old Florida charm.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Path



Two Saturdays ago, Rob and I built a path out of fieldstone between the Barn Garden and the Meadow Garden, replacing the old muddy trail that ran between those two beds. Rob used to call the old mud trail my "nemesis" because it bugged me so much. "Oh, gosh, this looks so terrible," I'd say every time I set foot on it.

He's taken to calling our new stone path "the Old Cobblestone Road" because it's so wide and grand (for a path). We wanted to make it nice and roomy so we can push the wheelbarrow down it and carry big bags of leaves and fertilizer to the vegetable garden.

I like to see Bernie, our stray-cat friend, making use of the new path, strolling between the thick stands of purple coneflowers and wild petunias. We often meet on the path, Bernie and I, headed in opposite directions, which I find comical somehow. Bernie is going about his Bernie business.

Rob and I worked so hard on the path, we finished it all in one day. When we were done, we went out to Decent Pizza to celebrate, even though we were so stiff and sore we could barely walk. I got a pizza with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, and Daiya cheese. I was in vegan heaven.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Copious Carrots

Our spring carrot crop has been stupendous to say the least. We've got carrots coming out of our ears. Rob feels a real obligation to our carrots and is always scheming about how we can put them to good use.

Yesterday he said, "So what should we make to eat tomorrow?"

"Hmm," I said. "How about chili?"

"Okay," Rob said, and I could see the wheels spinning. "Now I bet we could put some carrots in that and none would be the wiser."