Leave town for 9 days and the garden exploded. All the lettuces need to be pulled. A gallon baggie of snap peas harvested. Chards and Spinach bolted with the heat. And the scarlet runner beans climbed to the top of the trellis.
It's my 3rd year with the P-Patch and I decided to step up my game this year. First of all, I took on a leadership role in the garden creating a blog-site for the Magnuson P-Patch. It's starting to weave a community for our gardeners and has been well received. One of the reasons I'm so sporatic on this site.
And secondly, I decided to invest in raised beds for my site this year. Our ground is such heavy clay that I wanted to create more friendly growing environment. Not to mention save my back a bit. 200 sq feet is ALOT for one person to garden. I've had lots of help with this endeavor for which I'm eternally grateful:
Constance, for helping me in the rain to clear 75% of the patch. Singing and laughing in the cold April rain!
Parker, for his hard work and elbow grease in creating the raised bed. Lots of wheelbarrows of wood and screws. You Rock!
Mom & Dad, for countless wheelbarrow trips to move 2 yards of veggie soil mix from Cedar Grove. Yah for bulk delivery cost, UGH for hauling. Wonderful afternoon's work to move the earth! Thank you!
Rawa, for more weeding/clearing help. You have the cleanest patch on site.
Lots of sweat and a few tears in this year's garden. The border is filling in nicely with herbs, foxgloves, lupine, dahlias and lavendars. Lovely. And despite the cold, raining spring my plants are thriving. Artichokes reaching for the sky. Tomato plants shooting up over the water walls, Lettuce full headed. Spinach and strawberries thriving. Abundance of snap peas shoots just starting to bloom and scarlet runner beans are running. The first hints of zucchini and patti pan blossoms are taking hold. Thriving is an understatement.
Harvests have included:
Bags of spinach.
Handfuls of strawberries.
Lots of lettuce
Arm loads of swiss chard and kale.
Bouquets of sage and chives.
It's been a labor of love and a joy. The work is never done. More to weed, more to plant, more to nuture. But what a gorgeous dance of give and take. And the benefits for my mind, body and spirit are too plentiful to count.
Hello Everyone! Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. Especially my favorites - my Dad & Brother-in-law Mike.
Been remiss again on this space. Started a blog for my P-Patch that has been taking up most of my home computer time. Alas, I will get there a little bit at a time. For those of you in the know (via me and facebook), you know this has been a challenging week after the assault on my car. Finally, my body seems to have relaxed and calmed down. Only took a mental health day off work, massage and chiropractic appointment, garden work and making pie.
Love, love, love to bake. Something about all the prep, smells and hand work makes my heart sing. This week at the Book Larder I took a gluten-free pie making class from the Gluten-Free Girl herself. It was delightful and eye opening. Wheat is not my friend and I really need to kick it to the curb. Who knew that gluten-free baking can be easier and potentially turn out a better product. Bonus, I now have permission to let go of trying to make the perfect looking pie and concentrate on flavor. Sign me up!
Today in honor of my BIL's father's day dinner, I lovingly made two gluten-free pies - Apple and Cherry. My condo smells of fresh baked yumminess. Cooling away as I type.
For the cherry pie I pitted 2.5 pounds of cherries. My deck table and hands look like a crime scene. The cherry pitter is my new favorite tool. If you are baking or cooking with cherries it's a must have.
Beautiful, WA State Bings!
Hazards of the trade.
Once the cherries were all prepped I doused them with a splash of Amaretto, 1/2 cup of vanilla scented sugar, flour and the zest & juice of one lime. Don't they look lovely.
After a swift swirl it was time to marinate for an hour and tackle the apples. Nothing marries quick as well with apples as cinnamon and lemon juice. Add some vanilla sugar and flour, a quick whirl and join in on the marinating fun.
My gluten-free pie crusts were messier to handle. Alot more piecing together and patching. They definitely got more man-handled than a wheat floured dough. A little frustrating of a process, but it'll just take some more practice.
After about 75 minutes in the oven I've produced two lovely pies.
Decided last weekend to spend the beautiful spring days sprucing up my deck and my friend Sara's backyard instead of getting the P-Patch setup. We both needed a little boost and our relaxation spaces refreshed. Plus, my P-Patch plot is getting a makeover this year with raised beds. I'm so excited! Another weekend's project.
Overwintering your deck? Who has the time! So, three lawn bags of dirt and dried out plants later, I was able to see the possibilities. My little deck will turn into a shady oasis as the oaks start filling in this month. Concentrated on the tried and true ferns, hostas and bleeding hearts. Decided to accent with my fav's blue pansies and violas. And added lovely burst of hot pink with a full bloom azalea.
My little herb garden is filled with the staples - thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage and a whole box of mint. Love my spearmint! And a larger rosemary plant, of course. Joy is running my hand through an herb on my deck and scenting the air. To round out the herbs, I found a lovely spanish lavendar with purple nubs and white flags. A small note of tribute to Chuck.
Tug on the heart strings to not have Ross around to enjoy the catmint I picked up for him last month. It'll be nurtured for a future furball. Maybe I'll be ready for the pitter patter of little cat paws later this summer.
2 hours of hard work and $200 later, my little patio retreat is rejuvenated.
This week has been jammed packed with activity. Entertainment galore. Updates forthcoming.
Last night, Ree Drummond aka the Pioneer Woman was in town promoting her new cookbook. Promise she is as charming, gracious and funny in person. Very sweet and lovely after signing books for nearly 3 hours.
My friend Catherine & I braved standing in line 2 hours to get 7 books signs (bless her heart!). Plenty of great time to catch up. We made a few women's day by upgrading their group ticket from "H" to "E" as we had 2 extra tickets due to no shows. Mercy, we left at 10:15 and they were just starting signing group F. My feet finally recovered after a good ol' epson bath soak and few zzzs.
The condo is too quiet. No signs of life beyond my own rustlings. Fluxuating between relief that Ross's suffering is past and abundant sadness. Missing them all, my loving and blessed little family. Left behind by husband and kitties. Clinging to the belief that more love, happiness and lavish joy is around the next corner. Overdue.
Spent most of this gorgeous day puttering in the condo. In the midst of turning over winter to spring and dusting the cobwebs away (figuratively). By dinner time I was ready to relax and take in a few rays. After trekking to half priced books to secure my tickets for the Pioneer Woman book signing next week, I indulged in take out from my neighborhood BBQ joint, Raining Ribs. I ♥ 'em!
Spread out a blanket at Matthew Beach and enjoyed the view. And tried to ignore the tribe of kids having screaming contests. We are all just trying to shake the grey out of our hearts and minds. Ribs, hush puppies, root-beer and diving into a new cookbook acquistion Joy the Baker turned out to be a grand ending to the weekend. Maybe this will be a new spring/summer tradition...
Reminded myself yesterday why I love day trips so. Magical crossings on the ferry watching the waves and seaguls dance in the sunbeams. NPR Sat morning chuckles. Belting out old and new favs at the top of my lungs. Landscape changing with every turn.
Rare for me to travel so far alone. And I had the bonus of meeting friends at that other end. But ah, the luxurious freedom of it. Reclaiming of a joy I once so loved. Enough distance past that the echos of T & C journeys are faint. Time to rediscover anew, solo or with a player to be named later.
The title of the post was inspired by the scene in Jerry Maquire where Jerry is on the road happily singing Tom Petty's Free-falling. The smile on his face sums it up beautifully.
And life changes in a flash. Came home Wednesday night to find Ross in a crumbled heap with his back legs immobile and scared out of his wits. The time had come. Miraculously, I had the presence of mind to get us both to the ER Vet and my BIL to meet us there.
I marvel at the words that flow in this moment. We both had been preparing and rehearsing our speeches. Secret little kitty purrs straight into my ear and o'dark thirty awakening to sneak in more snuggles. Many snuggle sessions ending with me in tears telling him how loved he is, how grateful I am that he spent his life with me and how I don't know how I will start and end my days with out his sweet presence. All of that goes out the window when the time is at hand. Tears flow endlessly, but the words dripping throughout like a mantra are all of reassurance...peace is coming, Chandler & Chuck are waiting, you've been the best kitty ever. And the most urgently needed one for us both to hear - I will be ok. I promise.
My life has been so blessed with 16.5 years entwined with a beautiful, devoted, loving, funny, stubborn and sweet, sweet little cat named Ross. A true gift of unconditional love that saved my life time and time again. I love you so pumpkin.
Postcards of my little Ross
last pictures - silly boy
Favorite spot to snuggle
Love this one
How I picture him now...snuggled up with his brother, my little one Chandler.
Life always gives us the opportunity for growth. "Growth" is short hand for queue up the tears and angst. My elderly fur ball Ross is the current source for all my worries and sleepless nights. How to find the balance between doing what is right for him and me in the spectrum of throwing in the towel too soon all the way through do everything remotely possible until the kitty's natural last breath.
No one can make this decision for anyone else. And usually our opinions fall into one side of the scale over the other. Trying to find the right balance point, the point that I can live with myself afterwards. And I'm shell shocked from years of Chuck's illness, grief and having Chandler's illness progress to the end point under my oblivious, grief stricken eye.
The opportunity is presenting itself for me to handle things differently. Hoping this week's tests illuminate the road ahead. And give me some solid ground to operate from.
After the vet visit, my snuggle bug and I couch napped in the sun. The pic below is what I awoke to - a cat hat.
My lovely nieces and I took in the Woodland Park Zoo a few weekends ago. Loved soaking up the Aunt time and sunshine. We had a blast. What a joy to see how their engagement with the animals and zoo paraphernalia morphs with their age.
I treasure these years where I joyously play the part of the fun and adoring aunt in their lives. As time marches on this too will shift and evolve into a different view. Will I be the treasured confidant? An old fav that lost it's glitter? A spiritual guide? A trusted friend? Or someone who just doesn't understand? Likely, the answer is all of thee above. So for now, I'll be present and cherish these moments. And enjoy my rockstar status in their lives.
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