Tag Archives: carrots

It’s 5:31 p.m. and as dark as midnight

I haven’t posted much since early spring. But I have been writing every day.  As I go about my chores, sit and stare out the window, hang out with friends, I’m composing at a furious rate.

I’ve written about my “a-HA!” garden moment, when I realized that all of the things I’ve been doing to be a “good organic gardener” have gotten in the way of being a sane organic gardener…and therefore, kept me from being a particularly good one.

I’ve written about my excitement over growing more than 19 carrots (10 pounds!).

I’ve written about the presidential primaries, and the candidates on display for our amusement entertainment education.

I’ve written about my frustration, sadness, and impatience with the fact that Larry’s company won’t let him work from the farm, though it’s fully possible.

I’ve written about the abundance of flowers that grow around the house and land, and how they make every day better.

I’ve written about being overwhelmed by peppers and spaghetti squash, and finding recipes to help use them. (Jalapeno-Bacon Poppers with an Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Cheddar filling.  Trust me.)

I’ve written about working as a personal chef, and having it go well while being absolutely exhausting, and figuring out how I want it to look so that I enjoy it.  (Cooking in other people’s houses for them, and putting it on their tables family-style, and hearing the hum of conversation and laughter.)

I’ve written about the hesitation I feel about becoming “an official business.”

I’ve written about missing-not missing the classroom and teaching. Wow, do I miss talking to kids about good books.

I’ve written about the amazing (mostly) books that I’ve read.

I haven’t written any of it down, though, because I have really felt that the world is so very loud and full of words already.  It seems like we are all so busy trying to be heard that no one is listening anymore.  I’ve enjoyed (mostly) just listening.

But now it’s 5:31 p.m. and as dark as midnight, and I’m going to need to fill the dark with something, because the garden is almost done and winter will be long.  So it’s possible that I’ll be here a little more often.  At least until spring, when the light is back and there are seeds to plant.

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Carrots! And teen pregnancy and Sarah McLachlan.

Grow:
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After a strong spring-planting showing, life got a little crazy around here, and I didn’t plant a lot of other things until late(r) in the season. Carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes…they all got a later-than-I would-have-liked start. But the hot weather is here, and the plants are psyched. The winter squash are starting to run, the summer squash are producing a million little baby squash, the tomatoes are taking over their area, and the eggplant has doubled in height and width the last week and a half. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’m pulling carrots for the first time this week, and they’re uh-maze-ing. I’ve never grown them before, so this is very exciting for me! The only carrots I’d eaten for the last seven years were from our CSA shares, and when I had to buy grocery store carrots to bridge the gap between our last CSA stragglers in the veggie bin and the ones from the garden, I was very sad. If you have only ever had a grocery store carrot, even an organic one from Whole Foods, I beg you, PLEASE find your nearest farmer’s market and buy some of their carrots. You will be astonished. And if they’re pretty freshly pulled, all you have to do is scrub them really well; no peeling required.

Cook:
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The spring lettuces are bolting in the recent heat spike, so I pulled a head of Romaine yesterday, along with radishes, some four to six inch zucchini, green onions, basil, mint, and parsley. I–well, my niece, Maddie, who is staying with me right now and a huge help in the kitchen–diced the zucchini and the radishes, slivered up the herbs and green onions, and then we tossed them with a can of drained tuna, some olive oil, cannellini beans, salt and pepper. Maddie pronounced, “More pepper,” so we made it happen and then served it over a bed of Romaine. It was the perfect light lunch for a hot day. (Today, we had ice cream.)

Read:
I read two books last week: One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva and Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles. I picked up One Man Guy because I so, so, so loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sanchez. Lately, I’ve enjoyed reading about romance written from the guy’s perspective, by guys. One Man Guy was funny, and Alek’s best friend Becky was an hilarious character. All of the characters were enjoyable, actually, even when they were doing things you didn’t want them to do. It isn’t as beautifully written as Sanchez’s book, but it isn’t by Sanchez, so…

Living with Jackie Chan is a sequel to Jumping Off Swings, though I’d say you don’t have to read the first one to enjoy the second. It’s another one from the guy’s perspective, and is about Josh, who has moved to a new school district for his Senior year of high school, to get away from the daily reminder that he casually impregnated a girl in a one-night stand. Josh is having a hard time dealing with what happened, and the book is a look at his story the year after the baby is born and given up for adoption. I enjoyed it, and think both genders probably would. If students were doing a genre study, they could use this with Hanging onto Max by Bechard, and The First Part Last by Johnson to look at the male perspective of teen pregnancy.

Write:
Larry and I saw Sarah McLachlan in concert this past weekend! She was amazing! I never wanted the show to end!

I experienced a first at the concert. This past year, I and the students chose song lyrics that were meaningful to us, and we annotated them with an explanation of why. I chose “Fear” by McLachlan. Though it’s primarily about a relationship, the chorus of, “And I fear, I have nothing to give, I have so much to lose here in this lonely place…” hit me hard each time I heard it. Leaving teaching had me wondering all year, “What else do I have to give?” She performed the song on Saturday, and in the middle of it I just started sobbing. I still don’t know the answer, and it is frustrating. I’m trying to be patient with myself, but…well…not always my strong suit!

I still don’t know the answer, but McLachlan’s music is again helping me think. Her latest album, “Shine On,” has a number of songs about being strong(er) and positive, and the song, “In Your Shoes,” is where I want to be right now. Here’s a link: http://www.sarahmclachlan.com/lyric-lounge/in-your-shoes/

Meanwhile, the weeds grew as fast (faster?) than the eggplant, there’s kale, spinach, and other greens and root veggies to be sown, and there’s a lot of summer left to enjoy. Tomorrow: more ice cream. And some carrots.
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Saucy carrots and ordinary evenings

We have 13 days of school left. I’m trying not to think about it too much, particularly since I’m split down the middle as to how I’m feeling. One minute I’m so excited I could weep, and the next minute, I’m so sad, I could weep. My classroom is mostly ready for my exit, except for the disaster area space behind my desk, and a week ago, two students helped me box and neatly label the books that I’m keeping. (Our dining room is a bit crowded these days.)

While at work I’m still so busy I can’t see straight, (final Isearch papers turned in today!)I seem to be just drifting through my afternoons and evenings. If I had to account for my time, I’d be in trouble, because I can’t tell you what I’ve been doing.

Let’s see: I read a really good book the other night, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews (I was snorting uncontrollably with laughter by page 150). I made some lemon blueberry cornmeal muffins last weekend, and I’m going to tinker with the recipe; more honey, I think. We went out to dinner at a restaurant new to us, M.C. Spiedo (good, though everyone was dressed like they were going to Walmart–Target, at best–and on their damned cell phones…neither being the restaurant’s fault, of course). We went to the SoWa Open Market on Sunday. I went to a student’s house, because they have chickens and were lovely enough to invite me to tea, and to see their set-up. Actually, I had a great afternoon there, and it’s probably the most memorable of my recent activities.

I won’t be winning any thrill-seeking awards, will I?

That’s okay.

Tonight, dinner was a happy somewhat-orchestrated-accident. Remember those lamb ribs, and the sauce I said I was going to de-fat and do something with? Tonight, I added some more dried fruit, about a cup of chicken broth, and some oil-cured Moroccan olives and simmered it until it was a loose sauce. I served it over bulgur wheat, with small cubes of lightly smoked goat cheese (that we got at SoWa) and slivered almonds (next time, I’d add thinly sliced scallions, and on mine, some cilantro). On the side, we had sliced carrots that I sauteed with some onions. Then I added a half cup of water, a heaping teaspoon of honey, and a heaping teaspoon of harissa, and cooked the water away until the carrots were tender and the harissa and honey glazed the carrots. When the water was almost gone, I added a tsp of butter, to make them glossy.

The contrast of the sweet and occasionally smoky and/or briny sauced bulgur with the spicy-sweet carrots was a good one, and we were glad we ate at home.

Sometimes, being a homebody is delicious.