Thursday, August 31, 2006

...wait, where'd this month, and by extension, the summer go?

Ah well. Shake-ups at work, good and bad, and shake-ups in life, good to middling.

Jelly-making tonight, seeing my Slovak brother over the weekend, some decompression time at my mother's next week, and then Nate's up for my birthday.

Life could be worse, ebbing growing season or no.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

The box elder in my backyard (which is apparently also known as "Manitoba Maple," and is something I could conceivably tap for sap in the winter) is already starting to lose its leaves. Fall is coming, like it or not.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I just realized that I am the middle of two books at the moment:

I am reading Milton's Paradise Lost (easier than I thought to get in to), and I am also reading The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists: A Novel to a friend.

Roughly equivalent, no?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Man, a frustrating day (malfunctioning chainsaws--not enough wood to split) but tonight?

We found a swimming hole about a hundred yards from my mother's house whose existence I had never even suspected in the last two dozen years. It wasn't on our property, but no one was there. It was very cold and very refreshing.

From there? Potato gun firings, tasty kebabs with garden onions and peppers, a brilliant night sky, sugar on some god-damned snow (kept since February in the freezer!( the Milky Way and some shooting stars.

Tomorrow I take home hundreds of lupine seeds, some hay to cover the lawn I'm about to reseed, and a plan to come back up here in three weeks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Beers and a kebab tonight. (Sidenote: we have kebabs in Burlington? A Bosnian on a street cart who lived ten years in Munich? Side-sidenote: I was speaking German tonight?) But tha's beers and kebabs with a guy I've known since September of 1988. We talked about National Geographic and his dinosaur erasers then, I'm told. But it's nice having beers with someone you've known for three-quarters of your life.

Here's to old friends.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Each of the last four days (in addition to two the week before) I have spent at least an hour outside, attempting to stem the tide of six, seven, eight years of neglect in the backyard of my youth. Washing the patio table and chairs (a bit belatedly for a series of yard parties), and setting to work yanking out weeds. First the milkweeds, creeping into the lawn itself, then the more mundane stuff--vast stands of what I dubbed crapweed, a plant with a stainy orange sap and swarms of white fliy/moth things that seemed to be breeding on it.

Then we found a saw, and set to on the various creepy-climbies, the lilac canes, the sadly neglected forsythias, and the spreading trees. Our pile has grown. The trash littering the yard has also abated or been organized--one of the two dilapidated barrel planters ahs been broken down and its soil redistributed, the railroad signs are stacked against the garage, the hose wound, and the birdfeeders hung up as of yet unstocked. And--what is more--there is now division. Six score bricks, some lying around, some already set in odd patterns on the lawn have been extracted and redug into a series of simple, clean lines around the perimeter. The effect a simple brick boundary can have is astonishing.

The are no more tarps covering piles of furniture (oh, last summer--how I do not miss thee) There are no more creepers pulling at said tarps. THere are no longer a half-dozen trees quietly growing in the back forty. The crapweed flies we have seen languishing in a half-dozen spiders' webs. Instead of the biomass-laden slag heap that happened to be behind our house--is a yard.

Is it perfect? Hardly. The fence needs replacing (which is why I've done precious little in the way of actual gradening) and the garage will too at some point. The lawn, now cleaned, mowed, and raked, now seems threadbare, and in places contains more non-grass than grass. But we have grass seed. And the progress is tangible.

Anything, in any event, that redirects my blogging away from the awful day I had at work cannot be lauded too highly.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Garden party!

I ducked out of work about forty-five minutes early, stocked up, and my garden buddy and I held a little garden party down at the Intervale, under the structure near our plot where we had previously hidden from lightning.

We picked some greens and some cucumbers and laid out a spread. Pimm's cups and raspberry-laced champagne were there for the offering, and it was a lovely summer's day. The peppers are coming along nicely, and we're making plans to make a hot pepper jelly in a few weeks.

Friday, August 04, 2006

After a lovely breakfast (maple yogurt with blueberries and more of my mother's raspberry jam) and some local apples(!) (well, from Dummerston) for lunch, I did a lot of cheating today...but much of that cheating was while trying a new activity in the evening--three of us got together and made sixteen jars of blueberry jelly. Sure, the refined sugar is a stretch, but we might try honey with the next batch--and whoa, did it smell and taste good.

Three jars, my allotment (my labor was the only thing I contributed_ are jelling on my counter. One for me, one for my mother, and one for my brother, should he want one when he comes a-visiting from Slovakia.

More salads, wayyyy more blueberries than normal, and a lot of fun experimentation. It's a good month so far. Now, if I can only get my bike re-assembled.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No, I haven't given up coffee, or cumin, or cayenne. But sitting here with a Vermont-brewed beer and a handful of loccal blueberries is nice, too. As was having people over two nights in a row over the weekend for stir-fries, salads, and roasted vegetables, containing not only local things, but some local things that we had grown ourselves.

Vermont-grown food is a good thing to rally around, not to mention tasty as hell. I haven't even defrosted my Québec wheat bread or broken into the Addison county chèvre yet.