This is just a short interruption in the radio silence to share our standard anniversary shoot. Here’s hoping I can carve out some time over Fall Break to update you on the Cottage’s recent transformations!
The professor walked into the room and in big letters, wrote “FEELINGS” on the white board.
I’m logging my bike commute miles and I’m up to 33 over the past week (=indulging in ALL the Reese’s cups, thank you).
Professor gives life story, mentions that a BA in Psychology is about as employable as a BA in English. Forgetting I am no longer in the Humanities and thus no longer surrounded by that tribe, I audibly complain: “HEY!”. Everyone turns and stares. I blush.
Fall semester starts in 11 hours …
The week of summer finals, I found myself dehydrated and ill, laying in the student clinic.
Besides the constant vomiting, what’s going on? asked the kind doctor.
I didn’t comprehend. Wasn’t food poisoning enough? (IT MOST CERTAINLY IS).
No, but what else? What is going on in your life? He insisted.
And as I began to explain my summer schedule, its balancing act, unexpected losses, stresses and floods, I caught his look of girl-is-crazy. Then I realized that, most certainly, I had made two mistakes. One was a frozen dinner, the other was overbooking myself to the point that I could barely sail though the season’s surprise storms – and by the end of July, my body simply wasn’t having it anymore.
California came at the perfect moment, most surely. A week of limited obligations, good food, sunshine, it made me wonder why we live in the Midwest. Of course, then I came home and remembered: good soil, crazy inexpensive cost of living, our people (this is a good little plot of earth, you see). But oh, how enticing it was.
Of all the stories from the west, I’ll share one. There was this homeless guy flying these magnificent kites at this park, and goodness – it was a great show. I ended up buying him lunch. It was my favorite $10 I spent the entire trip.
The ability to take this trip was a small mercy. I remember thinking, at 2 PM the night before I set off, that the timing was wrong. But it wasn’t – not at all.
Summer semester done.
3 weeks to catch my breath.
Let me tell you something, dear Internet. This summer? Been kind of rough. So by the time Pasha got sick and ruined the rugs, only to be followed by our basement flooding, I was well worn out. Lately, life feels too short and too fragile to be so fully occupied by such disasters. So, in a manner unfamiliar to me…
I bought a ticket to California.
(and new rugs).
I leave for a week next month. (J. will stay home to man the homefront, water the garden, care for the pup, and miss me terribly, I presume). Any recommendations for sight seeing in San Diego and LA?
I’m sure, oh so sure, that you have been awaiting news about my garden and summer crop yields and about what critters have returned to terrorize or be terrorized (yes?). It may be long neglected here on the blog, but in real life, the garden still claims a portion of my (ever-shrinking) free time and a larger portion of my should-be-doing-something-else-time (like writing papers!).
So here’s a quick (maybe?) summary of the Cottage’s Farm, although mind you that I wrote this more than a week ago, so things look slightly larger and a bit thirstier these days.
Before the heat wave melted our faces off, I’d spend the 5-6 PM hour weeding + watering + harvesting + hollering at John to look at this insert-something-amazing-here!, which he’d typically ignore, bless him, and then we’d do this:
But it’s been so hot that mostly I’ve been ignoring the dear plants until the sun goes down and then I would water them, usually while wearing my pjs, meaning I developed a charming habit of climbing into bed slightly damp, smelling of tomato plants. I’m lovely.
What are we eating, you’re asking? Well, we’re thigh-high in zucchini season. Despite best efforts, I can never spot my zukes until they are the size of my arm. And, oh my, the banana peppers! Always the over achievers. My green peppers will barely look at me, and here my banana peppers are simply spitting fruit all over the place. If I were in class and my garden were a dysfunctional family unit, I’d label the banana pepper plant the hero child.
Do you want to see the plots?
Home to the strawberries and lettuce (now done, with one plant remaining), my attention is focused on the 8 carrots I managed to grow by seed, 2 zuke plants, leeks, 3 sad tomato plants (also from seed! basement survivors!), marigolds, and pumpkins that are filling in this tiny space. The mulch hasn’t stopped all the weeds, but it has made a difference in the number.
The new flower plot:
(The problem with planting flowers from seed is that you can never quite anticipating spacing …). And truly, this picture is a week old and the plot looks completely different already. The morning glories (the climbing vine you see) are so advantageous that I would not be surprised if they tried to strangle me in my sleep. Also, the zinnias bloomed (although not in this picture)!
The Back Plot
As usual, I’m growing tomatoes (6 plants here, 3 plants in the upper plot), peppers, another zuke, and cucumbers. The newbies are spaghetti squash (4 on the vine so far!) and garden beans. I did peas-from-seed, which were such failures I’m striking them from my memory forever. Someone told me that planting basil amongst your tomatoes increases yield, so I did that too. I’m never going to do the math to see if it works, so let’s just say it does.
And oh, the containers! The babes that could not fit in the ground have become refugees in pots: another tomato plant, 2 peppers, a smattering of herbs and some flowers. With the heat, they have become the biggest burdens (they dry out so quickly!), bless their stupid little stamens.
As for critters, I’ve seen 5 praying mantises this year, which is 5 more than I’ve seen since I was 13 and my science teacher gave us extra credit to bring them into the classroom to become class pets. A family of bunnies made the mistake of moving into my herb garden, and were terrorized by Constable Pasha on a daily basis until they moved away. Squash bugs have returned (and war is being waged, don’tyouworry).
So that’s that, Dear Internet.
Not to sound too book snobby, but I requested this book from the library long before Oprah picked it for her book club. Cheryl is Dear Sugar, which you know I love. And the book? Well, I finished it in three days, in the shadow of a looming paper and 4 chapters of required reading and a full time job that’s reduced my sleeping to 5 hours a night, and it was definitely worth it.
And oh my goodness, THESE KIDDOS: