Distractions

Since I’ve been a sullen, miserable human being in this space the last few days, I thought I’d share some snippets of daily life that help make all of this stress bearable.

1) My Garden

Everything is growing so beautifully.  Our carrots are small, but they are lovely. 

carrots

I walked out to the back yard on Sunday evening and pulled all of this together.  Heirloom tomatoes, miniature red sweet peppers, kale, jalapenos, green onion, lemon cucumbers, chives, basil and thyme.  I made a salad dressing with the herbs, green onion and a jalapeno, and then made the kale, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and the carrots above into a salad for my lunch at work.

veggies

2) Friends

bowl

On Saturday night, we went to the Hollywood Bowl with one of our best friends and my mom.  Jack Black was hosting Dreamworks’ 20th Anniversary, and the show was as fantastic as the company.  We packed a wonderful picnic and had such a great time.  It was a reminder that we need to do things like that more often.

3) My hound babies

roly

They don’t know why my emotions have been so freaking insane, but they sure recognize that something’s not quite right.  On Monday after the clinic confirmed our BFN and Catch had to leave for her softball game, this little guy sat with me outside like this for ages.  He was so sweet just lying on the grass with his chin resting on my lounge chair.  He didn’t know what was wrong, but he let me know that he was there and that he loves me. 

He was rewarded with chin scratches–his all time favorite.

chin_scratches

My uterus may be empty, but my life is full and I am grateful for every moment of it. 

 

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In the Garden

One of my most beloved distractions while we TTC has been my garden.

Carrots in a half wine barrel

Carrots in a half wine barrel

We don’t have a ton of planter space in our back yard, but we do have a paved, uncovered patio at the end of the yard that we don’t really use because we have another patio that’s covered and is much more practical. Every spring, that area becomes the space for my container garden.

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Lemon Cucumber

This year, I’m growing carrots, 8 varieties of tomato, kale, jalapenos plus two other types of heirloom peppers, green onion, lemon cucumber, and some herbs—oregano, thyme, basil, lemon basil and chives.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Kale

Kale

Jalapenos

Jalapenos

It’s a total hodgepodge of pots and wire tomato cages back there. Maybe it’s not the most attractive looking thing, but I love it so much.

Photo May 16, 6 38 19 PM

The Hodgepodge

There’s something about the quiet time I get to spend out there watering. I water in the evening just before dusk when the hummingbirds are still flitting about. It’s very Zen, and I always feel so much more calm when I’m finished.

More tomatoes (and a hound hiding in the background)

More tomatoes (and a hound hiding in the background)

I’m looking forward to some time out there tomorrow morning. Everything needs to be fed, which means hands in the dirt—even better!

6 more days of this impossible waiting.  Part of me wishes it would last forever because I’d rather have this hope to hold onto.

Not Again…

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that after my trip to
Texas—which involved hundreds of people in a confined space on a plane and in
conference rooms and also involved me treating my body like a wasteland—I am
sick.

It started to hit me yesterday, but I convinced myself that
it’s allergies.  It is the beginning of
spring, after all—when I walked out to my car yesterday, it was covered in a
fine green layer of pollen.  Definitely
allergies.

The fact that I feel as if I was hit by a bus and that my
sinuses actually hurt today means much less potential for denial.  It’s not allergies—I’m sick.  Sick on the weekend that I’ve been looking
forward to for over a month.

Tomatomania!

Tonight’s “date night” involves a trip to our local hardware
store/garden center to replenish my supply of potting mix and rocks.  We do 90% of our vegetable garden in
containers, and I like to line the bottom of each container with a layer of
garden rocks to help improve drainage.

Tomorrow morning—Tomatomania.  I have a nice long list of what I’m looking
for—at least, I hope I do.  It occurs to
me that I haven’t seen my list since before Texas—hmm. I even have the app downloaded and ready to go. (My teenage self is wondering how I ever turned into this 30-something person with a tomato app on her iPad and a fertility charting app on her iPhone. )

I can’t wait! 
Spring!  Veggies!  Garden!

I can’t be sick.  I
just can’t. 

Side note:  Check out
the flowers my amazing Catch sent me yesterday. Not a day goes by that I don’t
wonder how I got so freaking lucky.

Photo

Kicking Winter to the Curb

I am so excited for Spring, it’s ridiculous.  Despite what I said about February not being
so bad, I am CRAZY looking forward to getting our back yard back in shape (oh,
the winter neglect it has seen) and to getting my vegetable garden rolling
again.

Yesterday, I got confirmation that the city is coming today
for a bulky item trash pickup and we PURGED. 
We got new living room furniture in January, and the old (awful) Ikea
stuff has been sitting out back waiting for me to call the city. It’s been
warped by rain and was becoming a nesting spot for spiders and god knows
what.  Good riddance!  Also gone are our rusted out fire pit, the
kiddie pool that the dogs swam in last summer, and a myriad of other random
things that don’t belong in a back yard. 
Seriously—it’s embarrassing.

On Sunday, I emptied soil from as many of last year’s
vegetable pots as I could—I can only full the green bin so full if I have any
hope of getting it to the curb.  I
trimmed the crazy rosemary bush.  I
pulled down the curtains hanging on our covered patio for a good washing.  I trimmed back some of the geraniums.  I fixed the leaky spigot (plumber’s tape is
my favorite thing—it makes me feel so kickass around the house.) 

I’m telling you—I am READY for this shit.

I started sketching out plans for our first ever raised
planter beds.  I’m using a combination of
the principals of Square Foot Gardening and my own common sense.  Our beds will be 4×4, but I think they’re
going to be 16.5” high instead of the 6” SFG calls for.  I don’t trust that tomatoes can really grow
in a 6” planter.  I know there are photos
galore, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. 
I am considering doing one deep bed and one 6” bed for testing
purposes.  I can always make the 6” bed
deeper next Spring.  We’ll see.

I spent half of my lunch hour researching tomato varietals
on the Tomatomania app, and now have a healthy list of possibilities, along
with an equally healthy list of non-tomato veggies.  (I just realized I forgot the tomatillos!)

I look forward to our yard looking like this again, instead
of a wintery wasteland.

Photo

Stubby Carrots

This is what happens when you thin your carrots too late.  They look like giant thumbs!  (But they still taste wonderfully sweet!)  I am looking forward to planting our next crop in August–and getting it right this time!

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I'm still proud of my little guys, though… after all, they started out like this:

Carrot sprouts

I think I'm going to go back to the mixed carrots in the Fall–I like plain old orange just fine, but I love the surprise of the mix! (These were last Spring's carrots.)

Lastyearcarrots

Garden Love

I have been waiting and waiting for this particular tomato to start ripening.  Looks like we've finally had enough warm weather!

Giant Tomato

Our carrots are getting bigger by the day and they are so sweet.  Last night, Rolo sat in front of the barrel they're in and whined and whined.  He LOVES carrots.

carrots

I've been collecting recipes for stuffed poblano peppers on my dinner recipes board on Pinterest and I can't wait to try some of them.  Our Poblanos are coming along beautifully.

Poblanos

It's been a long week, so it was nice to sit outside with a bottle of wine (from Palumbo Family Vineyards in Temecula–we're wine club members–LOVE them) and relax for a while.  

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If only we could fast forward to the weekend–I am ready for some R & R!

Garden Fresh

Is there anything better than summer produce?  

Last night, I made a caramelized onion pizza with fresh tomatoes (not from our garden just yet–a few more weeks and we'll be swimming in them!) and basil from our garden.  We cooked it on a pizza stone outside on the grill.  One word: YUM.

I also chopped up a couple of our lemon cucumbers, sprinkled them with crushed red pepper flakes and a bit of thinly sliced red onion and then doused it in seasoned rice vinegar.  It will be perfectly marinated by the time my lunch hour rolls around today.  Can't wait!

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Lemon Cucumber

A few years ago, one of the ladies I work with showed up with a few of the strangest looking little vegetables I'd seen.  She told me they were lemon cucumbers from her garden and she gave me a few.  Ever since then, I've wanted to grow them myself, but for whatever reason I always seem to forget–until this year.  Now, I finally have a beautiful, thriving lemon cucumber plant of my own.  (3 of them, actually.)

I love them for their uniqueness.  They taste just like a regular cucumber, but they grow in a lemon shape and have yellow skin.  Unlike regular cucumbers, you most definitely want to peel these before you eat them.  Sometimes, the seeds can be overwhelming, so I will occasionally scrape them out.

Cucumber

Fresh Air

I had a dream last night that one of my coworkers came into my bedroom while I was asleep and used my deodorant.  I’m not sure what that means, exactly.  I’m not sure that I really want to know what it means, either.

FireOn Monday night, we were both in need of some r & r—or at least the illusion of r & R.  We lit our new tiki torches out back, got a fire going in our fire pit and spent the evening outside enjoying how much the fire made everything feel like camping.  I think the only noise in the neighborhood was the two of us sitting back there talking and laughing at our ridiculous hounds.  Twix climbed the footrest for the patio furniture and tried to curl up on it to be close to us, even though she is twice the size of the thing, and Rolo gave up on the cold and headed straight for the couch the minute the stars came out.   

Now through July are my absolute favorite months of the year.  It feels like the weight of the winter is slowly lifting and it's finally time to emerge from hibernation.

 

Carrots in the Garden

One of the first things I do when I get home from work is to take a trip out to the garden to check on things.  It's definitely one of the better parts of my day–I love our garden.

Today, as usual, there were lazy hounds draped about the yard hoping for belly rubs as I pass by. (Pardon the lousy images–these are from my cell phone since I let Catch take my good camera on a trip with her this week.)

Lazy_hound

There are red lightening tomatoes ripening just in time to take some to my mom's house tomorrow.

Red_lightning

There are carrots ready to be harvested whenever we want them. There is nothing quite like having carrots ready to be plucked from the ground anytime I need one. 

Carrots_picked

The mix I planted is supposed to be a combination of red, white, yellow and orange, but I only have red and white for some reason.  Not sure what happened there.  

The red carrots are my favorite–peel them, and they are shockingly orange on the inside.  I really did expect them to be red.  I've never planted carrots before, so this is a learning experience.  I can't wait to get round 2 in the ground!

Peeled_carrot

Chopped_carrots