May 2011

Our niece, Erica, had been tweeting with me about making cookies. So, put money where your mouth is kid, get your tushie over here, let’s bake it up! The Morning of the Cookie was to begin at 10 this morning. So, while enjoying our ice cream from Lago’s last night (seriously, the best ice cream stand, no arguments), we sat at the breakfast bar and perused the many cook books and, of course, The Repertoire. In the end, all we needed was The Repertoire, because we found a sheet I had ripped out of a magazine showing different ways to use sugar cookies and immediately agreed on what we would bake. Visions of sugar plums danced in our heads overnight (probably not, but you gotta give me that one).

If it were nice out, I would have wanted to garden, but alas, no sun. Cool, gray and spitty (you know, not raining, but not drizzle, just rain that sort of spits – spitty). Perfect weather to bake. We hit the grocery store first thing and came back with ingredients for breakfast as well as the cookies. Keith made Monte Cristos, which he and Erica seemed to like better with a bit of DaisyPatch maple syrup (well, truthfully, what ISN’T made better by a bit of DaisyPatch maple syrup, I ask you?)

We started with my famous chocolate chip cookies. One batch made only 18, that’s how big these guys are. So good. Just the right amount of salt to bring out the chocolate of the milk chocolate chips. Then we had fun. Gel food coloring and colored sugar. I found myself lamenting about the lack of glitter in my childhood. Shouldn’t all little girls have glitter? Erica’s response, “Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.” I about choked up a cookie I was taste-testing (which reminds me of a story…someone I know who probably doesn’t read this blog, but, if he does would be embarrassed if I mentioned his name, once, a long time ago, choked on a chocolate chip cookie as a child and it, well, went up the back and got stuck at the very top of his nose. You know, inside. We (the others shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) just about passed out from laughing while watching the poor lad, almost in tears, hold his finger to the other side of his nose to hold it shut, suck in huge gulps of air until his cheeks were puffy. He’d then PUSH the air out the other nostril, trying to BLOW the cookie chunk out of his nose. It took several attempts, but finally we could hear the chunk sort of “thwick” out his nose and land in the kitchen sink. It has probably been 30 years and I can still hear that noise. Ah, memories.)

We had no such mishaps today. We did, however, find out that we’re both a bit OCD. (Ok, more than a bit.) The cookies had to be just so. The colored sugar needed to be Exactly. Like. This. Erica said, “Who cares? They look FABULOUS!” So much fun. We filled glittery cookies with Nutella. We filled others with jam (including DaisyPatch Farm Husk Cherry Lemon spread, which, honestly, was a bit too watery and didn’t hold up real well. The red raspberry jam was the best.)

BEHOLD! The Morning of the Cookie.

My potato haiku…ahem…

I love potatoes

Mashed, Roasted or as Salad

Ideal comfort food

On January 2, I ordered the Rare Potato Mix through Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  They arrived 2 weeks ago and smiled at me through their pretty, colorful bags. The potatoes were from Wood Prarie Farm in Bridgewater, ME.

2.5 pounds of Cranberry Red, 2.5 pounds of Carola, 1 pound of Russian Banana Fingerling and 1 pound of Rose Finn Apple Fingerling – all ready to take their place in the DaisyPatch. Then it rained. All weekend. I know, I know, what’s a little rain? I didn’t feel like dealing with it in the rain.

So they waited. This was the weekend of the potato. A few years ago, we made “bins” of chicken wire and filled them with soil, using them as planters for the potatoes. We got potatoes and a lot of slugs who made their way through the chicken wire. Last year, we tried 5 gallon buckets with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. We got potatoes, but not very many. The containers were just too small. So, finally, I got to it this past weekend.

Step 1. Move plants and weed.

Step 2. Lay down landscape fabric.

Step 3. Bring out the chicken wire fencing and grab the wire cutters.

Step 4. Make bins. Step 5. Fill with compost.

Step 6. Plant seed potatoes. Cover with more compost. Label.

I didn’t count the steps where I went inside to get bandaids because the chicken wire snagged my leg. Or the 4 bandaids – one for each blister on my right hand from the wire cutters.  Those are extra steps I hope to skip next year.
Now, we water, watch, “hill” by adding more compost as the greens emerge. And wait. Mmm. They came with a recipe for Buttermilk Potato Soup. Doesn’t that just sound delish?

My “Yay it’s Spring” haiku… Ahem…

Yay. It is Springtime.
The sun warms up the garden
And I play in dirt

It rained one day last weekend. It was chilly the weekend before. This was the first weekend since our gardens woke up that we have been able to be outside both days. And we were. Outside. Both days. All day.

Being the weekend warriors that we are, we had a lot on the agenda. First, finish weeding all the front gardens and the kitchen garden. I got a lot done on the one sunny day last weekend, while Keith edged the beds, but I didn’t finish.

Next, spreading the bark mulch. All 10 yards of it. There was a lot. A whole lot. The size of a car, lot. It took up Keith’s parking space, that’s how lot.

Next, pretty. We wanted to add more color.

We got it all done this weekend. Edging, check. Weeding, check. Bark mulch, wow, but check. Pretty, yup, check. We bought blue pansies and yellow pansies and a heather plant (pink) and planted them in key spots that needed a splash. We even picked up after ourselves and put the equipment away (which is the last thing you want to do when you just want to go in and take a shower).

Ah, that feeling of satisfaction. That stand back, fold your arms and survey what you’ve accomplished kind of feeling. That, holy crap, I haven’t moved my muscles like this since last Fall, I can’t move, can you? feeling. (We are a little sore to say the least.)

But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Different folks need different things. (“Whatchyou talkin’ ’bout, Willis?) Some need the adrenaline rush of putting the pedal to the metal and going top speed (and if you’re one of the folks who feels the need to hit the North Road hill off Route 1 at Mach 20 in order to get maximum speed on the straight-away, nearly killing me as I plant pansies by my mailbox, I swear I will throw my trowel through your front windshield next time I hear you picking up speed on the way down the hill, comprende?)

Others need to get in a plane and travel to an island, just to sit on a beach chair with an umbrella drink and not move for 6 nights, 7 days (although that REALLY sounds good right now, except I would be under the hut because I got a teensy sunburn today). (“Hey Mon. Everyting IRE? Two No Problems and a Rum and Coke please.)

Me, I just need dirt. I love the smell of it. I love that my kitchen and yard scraps make more of it. I love that it has POSSIBILITIES. I can plant tomatoes in it that I later squish to make sauce for pasta. I love that it feeds the maple tree that gave us sap to make syrup (mmm pancakes!) I love that I can plant a little speck of a seed, and dirt with some water will yield me a fragrant and tasty basil plant, or a large butternut squash that Keith can make into the most delicious soup, or a painted daisy that make me smile with it’s cheery pinkness.

Now, if you want to give me a fast car or a vacation, I surely won’t say, “Nay,” but I have everything I need to make me happy; the man I love working right next to me, a goofy dog and three cats waiting for me inside, and a little patch of dirt where I can putter. And make things grow.