Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In No Apparent Order

I owe y'all pictures of the garden. So! First there was this:

which led to this,

pun completely intended. We ripped out poison garden, and my industrious husband built these:

(Two more to be added next year.) It was July by now, so we threw in seeds for beets, arugula, lettuces, carrots, and beans. At the nursery we found a couple herbs and peppers and a really raggedy tomato plant, all looking withered and on deep discount. We threw them in too.

It's not quite the harvest we wanted or intended but hey, I'm an aim-low kinda gal now. At least we know we can actually grow things to next year should be fun.

My big conundrum now is what to do in the bed adjoining the garden (see behind Bella's shoulder in the cucumber picture? The round bank of windows with a basement window underneath? That one); it had been over-ridden by some vine weed and mint (people, don't put mint in the ground. Grow it in a container, or if you must put it in the ground, plant the whole effin' container in the ground. I learned this valuable life lesson when I was about six from my mother, and am mystified to find people who don't realize what a pervasive weed it can be). The original plan was to put in blueberry bushes, but now with the lead we are not so crazy with this idea. Someone (I'm going out on a limb here and assuming not the people who planted the mint) planted peonies, which I really liked, but were overtaken and smothered. I'm toying with more of those and something tall in the corner next to the door (butterfly bush?). I welcome suggestions.


Because we've been busy with getting rid of houseguests and school and whatnot, the fishtank was cleaned and refilled (and forgotten pretty much, but) and has now been "established" for at least a month. We now have an ammonia sensor, not to mention a couple bottles of stuff to regulate water chemicals. The filter is clean and running. In total, I've probably spent $70 on fish-tank related accouterments. And yesterday, we went and bought two tiny feeder goldfish -- that bill was 28 cents. I told my mom this was apparently about guilt.


We're now wading knee deep in Fall and in addition to the pile of minutia I need to deal with, I've added to my docket . . . .coaching. No, for real. I am now head coach of Bella's soccer team after a fair amount of arm twisting and then using the arm to beat my husband over the head with. It's nerveracking, it wears me out, it's hilarious. After more than 20 years of playing the game, coaching the first time really puts things in perspective and has forced me to return to the essential, the raw, the root: Don't touch the ball with your hands. Followed closely by, Don't take the ball away from your teammate. The point is to score a goal. (A point quickly retracted when my wee scrimmage team goes up 3-zip in about two minutes, and I then tell them I'm not counting any more goals until I see them use today's skill of pulling the ball backwards on the way to the ball going in the net.) For me, it's a valuable lesson in not swearing for an hour, not laughing (out loud), realizing that running around with eleven 5-7 year-olds wears me the hell out. Aging is not a pretty thing.

It's also served to remind me that I haven't completely turned into some bitter, pariah freak of nature that really shouldn't be around innocent lovelies, even if I do know a thing or two about how to effectively bend a corner kick. It's reminded me I used to love soccer. Apparently, I still do.


It's my first fall with my new kitchen. Last year I wistfully looked at the recipes for baked apple whatevertheheck, and this year I'm itching for an excuse to make pumpkin cake. (Does one need an excuse?) We've ushered in the season of hot breakfasts, and afternoon cups of tea. It almost feels like my first settled fall -- the first one where I wasn't in fear about the spooky pregnancy, or tied in emotional knots, or running my house out of a makeshift kitchen while contractors took up residence in my downstairs. The first fall where I can now sit with my tea and pumpkin cookie and look at my favorite tree in the yard, and watch the yellow and red start to erupt behind it.

I wonder if life will be like this, always a series of firsts as Time that uneven bitch makes it way beneath my feet.

I'm sure there's more, but seriously, I'm still catching up on my August Tivo. Not to mention my blogroll. Which I feel like a real asshole about. I'll come say hi, I promise. PROMISE. In the meantime, what are your Fall plans if any? (I know this is loaded, any season is a ton of crap for some, so I'm really sorry. Feel free to tell me about those plans, too. Really.) Also, have any of you ever considered letting your parents live with you? Because when we moved here, we honestly thought this was in the realm of possibility. After August, we're both thinking we were fucking mental to have ever entertained that thought, and we've forbidden each other from speaking of It ever again.


Beruriah said...

Confession: I wasn't looking at your garden, I was looking at your windows. So beautiful.

But I am jealous of your beets as well.

My plans for the fall: not make too big a fool of myself in front of students and colleagues and get used to a work/life routine.

k@lakly said...

I am JEALOUS! There I said it. I have house envy, garden envy and season envy. It's supposed to be over 100 degrees here today...bleh. And I so love Fall, even if I only ever get to see it in pictures.
We took up residence with my folks for a spell, luckily we all survived it and even came out the better on the other side. BUT, it had some really awful moments too. I'd do it for them,if they needed it(them being my units) as for the huisbands side, I'd sooner live on the street before I'd ever cohabit with the likes of them...let's all say it together now,

Can I come have a cup of tea and anything made with pumpkin? I make a killer pumpkin fudge:)

after iris said...

How about a climbing honeysuckle in the corner? They smell yummy, but they can get a bit out of control.

Plans for fall: open a cheese shop... if the landlord pulls his finger out. And start training for a spring half marathon.

loribeth said...

Your post made me smile, Tash. You sound happy! Can I join you for tea?

Fall is the busiest time of year for me at work. :p Nevertheless, dh & I are hoping to take a week off around Canadian Thanksgiving/Columbus Day, maybe take a drive up north to see the gorgeous fall colours. Just waiting for the boss to approve my vacation request.

As for parents living with us -- ummm, no. I made it quite clear to dh when we first got married that while I adore my parents & his dad, they would NOT be living with us. FIL lives a 15-minute drive away; my parents live 1,500-2,000 miles. My sister lives an hour's drive from them. She keeps threatening to run away to Africa to raise baby elephants so that then *I* will be the closest daughter & they will be MY problem as they age. Thanks, sis...

Sue said...

That all sounds really lovely. Congrats on your moment of peace. I hope it continues for you.

I'm also fall envious. Love the season but we don't get it here. I was just startled by my calendar telling me it is the equinox and will be 100 degrees+ today. My fall plan is to find peace as I finsh breaking up with family building, in the face of IF and a bunch of other stupid factors.

niobe said...

I have no plans. And no plans to make plans.

Michele said...

Your garden looks great to me. We have been planning one for two years and nada... Maybe next... I'd like to think that.

And no, you never need an excuse for anything pumpkin!

My dad lived with us for 2 years when he was down on his luck and ill. It was a very very rough 2 years. He is now on his own and doing much better, but it was a hard time. If you are thinking temporary, it can be done but it will take a lot out of you (and give a lot back to you- my dad and I did grow closer in some ways). Long term, while it is something we've always talked about and planned if our parents need it, it is also something that requires a lot of patience.

Anonymous said...

Tash, you sound content. I have never commented before but have been reading for a long time. I submitted my dissertation proposal today, it is going to be about families like yours & how we (midwives) can do a better job when a family is facing hell. I hope that's okay. Lizzie.

Tash said...

Lizzie, CONGRATULATIONS! What an accomplishment -- having handed in a dissertation proposal myself, I know the anguish and relief. I hope it's accepted because to me, it sounds great. It's more than ok. I'd love to read the final version when you're done, if you're up for it. (Understand I may be waiting a while, and will not hold my breath.) Best to you. Thanks for writing.

Hennifer said...

my plans for fall involve taking an online class, looking forward to soccer and then basketball for my son, hopefully rearranging my apartment and if I can find the *insert word here* I'll finally file divorce paperwork.

I too am jealous of your garden and hope someone with more knowledge comes up with a splendid idea for area in question.

Hope's Mama said...

And Hi right back to you. We missed you. Well, no Fall plans for me, given on the flipside of the planet, it is Spring. But you know, it will mostly be around growing things. In my garden and in my belly. That's about it, really.
And I'm totally looking to your garden for inspiration. I'm with K@lakly, I have garden envy!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I am so jealous of your garden and your ability to keep plants alive. My garden withered...withered...is gone.

I would be happy to have my parents live with me, but I don't know if they'd be happy moving in. But I did move close to home because I do intend to there for them if they need me in the future.

Lisa b said...

I love that you are coaching soccer. I went to watch the highschool team I used to coach last week and the ball came towards the little, former NICU baby and I HIT IT WITH MY HAND and almost died of embarrassment. I hope Bella's teammates are better at following that rule.

your house is gorgeous.

charmedgirl said...

some idiot planted mint in a raised bed before we moved here. i have to rip out the whole bed to get that fucker out. seriously. HORRIBLE.

i decided to grow sugar pumpkins this year, and they're about the only thing that did really well. the weather was so strange. when we first moved here, we were dirt poor and spoiled-brat marc used our grocery money to buy pumpkins for the porch. OMG i freaked out every day looking at those friggin things. one day i decided i would roast them and cook them up. we had pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta...and so now we do it every year. PUMPKIN IS AWESOME.

(how is it that we are getting better? i feel like an asshole...but not so much that i try to drag myself *back there.* sheesh.)

when we first married, we promised each other NO PARENTS...but that may have mostly to do with our particular parents. good luck with that one...i'd stick to not speaking of it if i were you.

CLC said...

I had killer cucumbers this year. My tomato plants died early and didn't produce much. I am not sure if it was the weird weather we got this summer or just me and my laziness and not watering them everyday. I guess I thought we got so much rain, why bother watering them? My pepper plants did nothing.

As for my fall, we are going to Ireland to introduce the wee one to his Irish family. That's about it.

I have total house envy. I love those windows in the background and I love the stone work. I love the houses in your general neighborhood period (don't worry, I don't know exactly where you live so I am not stalking you!). So much character, and I like to think, history. I'd be curious in finding out the history of the house/neighborhood if I lived where you do!

Ya Chun said...

native plants? Like asclepias (milkweed family) which will attract monarchs. Plant some parsley in there each year to attract swallowtails. Keep the peonies!

Fall plans? It's fall already? I think I am in 'one day at a time' mode. I have no plans. Which is just fine.

TOC said...


I'm a longtime reader and first time commenter.

Your garden looks great and Bella is just cute as a bug's ear. Congrats on both.

My plan for the fall is to move out of my mom's house. We're looking for house that would have room for her if she decides to sell her place and downsize.

There have been some trying moments over the past year--mostly refereeing between my mom and my husband who are both self-professed 'difficult people.' On the other hand, it's nice to have a steady babysitter and Millie loves spending time with her Mom-mom (yep, we're Philadelphians).

Kymberli said...

You grew real plants and vegetables that you can actually eat. I am good at growing a various assortment of mold spores. Add me to the list of envious ones.

Fall plans -- none, really. Just trying to keep my head low so that the Universe isn't tempted to throw something at me. I'd really like to get Frank's cookie biz up and running FOR REALZ this time, but thanks to the transmission blowing on our van, our plans for buying the snazzy new oven have to be sidetabled for at least another month. What was that I said about the Universe throwing things at me? Perhaps I need to duck lower.

Parents moving in -- my mother, yes. His mother -- no. My father -- HELLZ no. Jesus Himself would have to come down and tell me that's what He'd do before I even considered it.

samill said...

Being a typical british woman, I love nothing more than pottering about the allotment on a saturday. It's our first year with one, here's a brief synopsis:

Chard - grew too much but it's lasted since spring. easy.

Carrots - also easy and quite satisfying.

Courgettes - grew 4 plants, too many, went away for a week, came back to courgettes as big as a house.

Sweetcorn - quite easy, delicious but short season.

Squash - quite easy, have about 5 off two plants, they spread everywhere.

Leeks - all got leek rust.

Rocket, spinach - bolted in seconds.

Bon said...

i am about to go dig up a recipe for apple cake of some kind, because we picked apples last weekend, my crisp sucked, and there's only so much applesauce one small family can at.

you have a beautiful home, Tash. and loverly garden boxes. we had a modest yield too. and yet it stunned me, that there was any at all.

Val said...

I'm jealous too - I suppose if I stayed home a bit more (& didn't waste what precious little Free Time I have addicted to this 'puter ;-) - I too could manage at least a garden, if not House Beautiful...
But my fall plans include getting my Scout Troop resurrected => a couple of camping trips for my boys & a few more rides for me!

Maggie May said...

I love the garden, the girl AND the windows.

Lani said...

your garden is so pretty! nice job all around. we are actually still producing tons of tomatoes somehow. we also have lots of herbs which i just cut tons of to dry and freeze for winter. but i do want to get some pots to grow some indoors. we'll see how that goes with our kitties around.

my mom was my soccer coach my whole childhood. it was awesome! she was a great coach- i can ask her for some tips for you if you like :)

i'm late to the game but as far as fall plans go- its just find some joy. work a lot. hopefully get pregnant.

i do want to plant some winter crops- like garlic. haven't done that yet. and oh yeah, i planted some mint in the ground. it hasn't taken over yet, but i'm sure it will next season. but i'm ok with it- i did it in a spot where it doesn't matter. but now i've been forewarned (a little to late!)

when we first moved to ct- we entertained the thought of living with chris' parents. i was totally against it. and now, 2 yrs later, chris is SO happy we didn't do it. and we have never spoken of it again!