mrs greenjeans

I had Compacty weekend, but I had it all on Sunday since I spent Saturday with my dear funny friend Lisa M and my parents.

We shoveled mulch and wheelbarrowed it around, and got through about half the giant pile. This was free mulch from when our neighbors shredded all their trees a few weeks ago. Free, delivered to our side yard, and it smells good. My favorite things! We definitely miss the trees, as it’s much brighter, louder and exposed than it used to be here, facing the Estuary. Free mulch = very good.

We weeded a lot and added dirt from recently delivered batch, and got a number of seeds planted in 4-inch pots that I owned already (a good job for the Boy– got him to fill them with dirt, poke holes, plant seeds, and label each with a Sharpie). He also planted a fence plot for beans — twice the amount of beans we had last year, and they won’t pull down the trellis or corn or anything growing nearby, since they can grow up the fence. He planted yellow wax beans and green beans mixed together. Just because. Made it exciting for an 11 yr old. He’ll have some ownership about the veggies since he planted them.

We moved a bunch of the raised beds around for better sunlight and put a nice layer of our own compost in, on top of dead leaves that mulched for the winter, then more new dirt on top. Last year’s dirt had compacted down to about 4 inches deep, so we’re back at 1 foot or deeper in the various beds. It was a dirty, dirty job. Very. There are lots of new wriggling worms that came in with the fresh compost. Wormy!

The cats, however, think this is the grooviest thing since Meow Mix. Thus, I have laid an assortment of screens, tomato cages and other odds and ends around the backyard, junkyard fashion, to keep cats out of the fresh clean dirt. They are plotting something, and I think I know what. Fresh dirt = too good not to poop in.

I had to harvest all our mustard greens, broccoli and lettuce to make way for the new dirt, so we have an abundance of all just now. I’ve gifted several friends with greens, we’re eating the rest; it was nice not to have to buy lettuce this week. My basil sprouted, in the pot in the sunny patio area. I’m feeling even more hopeful, as I’ve never gotten basil to even sprout before.

Mr. Husband, while driving around the Island, found a stack of green plastic garden chairs and a bunch of tiki lights. FREE.

I got my first mild sunburn, despite protection, big hat, etc. I know some of y’all have snow and rain. I’m wishing you warm thoughts and sprouting seedlings and gentle rains instead of Nor’easters.

Happy Baseball Season opener last night; our team, Oakland A’s, did not win, but oh well. Mr. Husband is very very very happy to see baseball on TV again. And baseball stadium dinner (hot dogs, nachos, Cracker Jack, sodas and beer, Drumstix, peanuts, popcorn) were de-lish.

Planned for the garden (planted in 4-inch pots):
pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, butternut squash, acorn squash, yellow longneck squash, loofah gourds, birdhouse gourds, red tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, French breakfast radishes, cilantro, feverfew, several types of peppers, and I think that’s it. Plus the beans along the fence.

We have five fruit trees now: orange, lemon, lime, plum and apricot. Two grapevines leafing out. Two raspberry bushes and a blueberry bush, just planted. A strawberry patch. Four artichokes plants. Sunflowers and hollyhocks mixed in with the strawberries. Carrots, chard and arugula still growing. Peas maybe coming up but they are very slow and stubborn. An onion patch, with garlic nearby. Mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm and parsley.

There are wild blackberries out here on the base, and in the Beltline (old railroad tracks). My neighbors have an apple tree. If we get the chickens, we should be just about set. As in, semi-sustainable for feeding the crew.

I like it.

Me. Reading.

Note the snappy attire. Note Bionic Boots, recently fixed with Super Glue.

Note snappy artwork on the walls. Note ‘tweens on the couch being inspired by the spoken word. Good time had by all. (See next post below for more pix).

Thank you, family and fiends, for being there.

my boring life

Seems like all my posts have become a bulletin board for my to-do lists [YAWN], so how about something more interesting? [tap dancing across the desktop]

Yeah, it’s my birthday month — my favorite month of the year, except for hot summer and Christmas. But February — woo hoo, my fave.

Valentine’s Day, Austin’s birthday, violets are blooming, plum trees are trying to bloom their gorgeous magenta blossoms, then it’s an anniversary with Mr Husband from one of our earliest dates (our walk on the beach), and of our first romantic date, and when we got engaged, and also…yes. My birthday. And Mia’s birthday. And my sister-in-law Amanda’s birthday. Heck, it’s also Black History Month, Lincoln’s bicentennial and Washington’s birthday.

This year I’ve been ripped off from my usual three-day birthday weekend, since Presidents’ Day is earlier. Bummer. Oh well, I’ll just make it a longer birthday week.

Plans for birthday? A romantic dinner. I think the kids are cooking my birthday meal (ack, as long as I don’t have to clean up after them). I asked Patrick to make me a CD compilation. And I might ask for dirt. Yes, dirt for my garden. A truckload. Or a pallet of dirtbags. The dirt gets so compressed over the year that it needs some fluffing up. Raised beds have that problem. I’m hoping to expand the vegetables a bit this year so new dirt is in order.

A dirty birthday present, that’s what I want.

And maybe a (used/borrowed) copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. That would be nice to read. Anyone have a spare? I’ll give it back.

Looks like rain. That’s good news for the state. Shed a little water on us all, Lord. Verily, amen.

No rest for the weary

In other words, I worked today. I am taking a couple of hours off tomorrow a.m. to watch the ceremony on TV but otherwise, the news waits for no one. Or else they’d call it “olds.”

Anyhoo, the weekend:
The dried cilantro went all gross on me. So did the dill. It’s just not warm enough to dry herbs outside these days, and the air is too moist, I think. I could have used the dehydrator, but electricity and all that. I will try the ice cube trick or a baggie in the freezer method next time around. These three bunches of herbs ended up in the compost pile.

I did a bunch of kitchen prep, making bread, bagging salads for 3 people’s lunches, using my new Freecycled plastic bag dryer to reuse ziplocks; presoaked beans for tonight’s dinner, made cookies, and cleaned out the fridge of leftover odds and ends.

One of the weekend projects was to make some gardiniera. I have a recipe for pickled carrots, but I modified it — left out the tomato soup that the recipe called for, which sounded unappetizing to me anyway. I had a bunch of radishes, and then added purple cauliflower and some stalk chunks from rainbow chard. The end result is a colorful melange in a half-gallon jar in the back fridge, which will sit for a few weeks, then end up on a relish tray, in lunches or on top of salads. No food waste, made it myself.

I took some time in the garden to prune roses, chop back the wildly overgrown salvia, and finally put all the bulbs into the ground that had already started to sprout. We just had a false spring here last week and it made the garden go crazy. The roses and the fruit trees look like they’re about to burst into new growth. Spring hopes eternally. If I’m going to move the plum tree (just planted it last spring but it’s in the path of the new chicken coop to be built) — I’d better do it soon.

Clean-up of the crap-piles continues — I started emptying an old filing cabinet, and discovered it to be full of crap. That’s right, I have filed my crap for future reference. So out it goes. Do I really need old bills anymore? To houses or cell phone plans I don’t even have anymore? No, no, no. Cleaned the crap-pile behind the bedroom closet door (where the cat likes to sleep because it’s so — soft) — in other words, put my clothes away, finally unpacked my bag from when I went to NY in April, and put everything away. I can see the floor. Really.

Down to the office, where the tornado continues — more paper crap went into recycling or the paper bin to be printed on the other side. You can actually WALK into my office now. In a straight line. From the door to the chair. I swear to G*d.

And….Mr. Husband and I went through all of our bills, paid off a bunch and got up to date on our financials. Mr H and I had a good conversation about saving vs paying off bills vs funding retirement, etc. We have a solid plan now of bill payment (using the pay-the-lowest-first, then go after the larger ones with the extra cash). I’ll also make sure to add to my IRA this year (since I have my own company, we don’t have a lot of the perks like 401Ks, etc — I have to remember to do this now, or boo-hoo later)

Last but not least, we watched a really wonderful movie at home Saturday for Date Night (FREE)! The movie is called “Things We Lost in the Fire” with Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny. Although it is about a well-to-do family, they are struggling with a death in the family and it has a really powerful message about “it’s just stuff” and what is of value to you, and rich vs poor/success vs failure, how the characters each needed something from each other. I found it to be quite moving and, in fact, I highly recommend the movie to anyone, but not for little kids, since it is pretty sad about losing a parent, etc. It doesn’t show any gratuitous boobs, car chases, explosions or even tread down the same old Hollywood path.

Julia gives it 5 stars. Raise your hand if you’ve seen it.

reposting an old post

This is from 2 weeks ago that didn’t post properly. Geez.

We did a lot of baking yesterday. I had a bagful of persimmons (the Fuyu variety, which are firm and can be eaten like an apple) but they were starting to get softer. I also had some apples that were getting a bit wrinkly. I cut up the apples and the firm persimmons and made a crumble, with oatmeal and cinnamon on top. Had some last night with vanilla ice cream on top (Dreyer’s Grand, locally made — AKA Edy’s Grand in other parts of the country).

With the softer persimmons, I pureed them and made a batch of muffins (now in the freezer) — used a banana bread recipe, added raisins and grated some orange peel into the batter — yum. Then I made a cake with the rest of the batter, using a “Prune Spice Cake” recipe from my gma’s old cookbook. I wrapped that and may take it to the fire station tomorrow. Otherwise we’ll just eat it.

I cooked up dried black beans and boiled a bunch of potatoes, cooking ahead for the week (for black bean tostadas, salade nicoise). I also pulled some of our own green beans out of the freezer and rinsed them, tossing them in a vinaigrette with shallots. The potatoes, shallots and garlic were from the farmers’ market, courtesy of Foster Daughter. I’m talking about 3-4 varieties of thin-skinned potatoes — some purple, some yellow, some red, some white, boiled with a couple of cloves of garlic. Smelled so good!

Mr Husband wanted to cook dinner, which generally means slabs of dead animal flesh, and he got a bit fancy on us and whipped up a mango-papaya salsa to go on top of the grilled flank steak. None of that was local or organic but at least I didn’t have to cook it. However, he pooped out on side dishes, so I quickly “smashed” some of the boiled potatoes in a fry pan with some butter, salt, pepper and my dried sage, and put the marinated green beans on the table. That and the crumble dessert fed 7 of us last night. Good stuff. Leftover steak and potatoes made a good breakfast for the rest of the crew this morning.

Daughter #2 made cookies for the week, I hung out laundry, finished my scrap-yarn afghan that I’ve been crocheting (it’s a large granny square and very groovy indeed). Then I went back to work on the bed-socks/booties that Daughter #4 wanted that didn’t get finished before Christmas. These are hideously purple and green, her color picks, and then her sisters and assorted boyfriends chimed in and now everyone wants a pair. I said they could have the yarn choices I already have in the basket or bring me their own yarn/colors. If they bring the yarn, no problem.

I also spent a little time working on the practice sock I’m knitting (w/ tutorial from to learn how to make socks. May I just say, four needle are a lot to handle at any one time. And that’s all I’m sayin. I’m just sayin.

Last of all, Compact-wise, I took a bike ride around the neighborhood and over to the nursery to check out prices of lemon trees and other bare roots — I eschewed the bareroots at Costco, and instead will sell one of my children to pay for a lemon tree at the local nursery.

If I can get that much for a used kid.