Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beautiful spring day

It's the end of our fiscal year and one can only carry over so many vacation hours.  I did not plan well this year because I had about 2 weeks worth of vacation to take in April.  Emma and I went to Savannah for one week and I'm now taking the rest of the time off, a day here, a day there.  That's Brian you hear in the background playing his tiny violin!

I spent the morning in the vegetable garden.  I sifted several wheelbarrows full of compost and added it all to a couple of planting beds.  The potatoes are late arriving this year but the email just came from Territorial Seeds that they have been shipped.  So the bed for the potatoes is now loosened and compost worked in.  I also prepared the bed for the asian long beans and edaname.  Those were planted today along with more carrots, onions, purple beans, cilantro.  Rocks keep appearing so I spent too much time picking them out of the beds.

The first real harvest!

Mint.  Brian has been asked for minty limeade. 

Mustard Greens.  These wintered over and are about done.  I think I will saute in bacon grease.  Add a splash of vinegar.  Yum

Lettuce that wintered over.  The new seeded lettuce is coming up strong. 

Leeks!  These are beautiful.  Not sure what to make.  Either leek and potato soup or a tart of some kind.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What is in Bloom in April in Washington DC.

Sean and I took the day off on Friday and drove up to the Brandywine Valley area of PA/DE.  We had an ambitious 2-day plan but ended up only seeing a couple of places.  The first stop was Winterthur Museum and Garden.    This is the estate of Henry Francis DuPont - amazing gardens and the house has 175 rooms!  How could one possible live in a house with that many rooms.  We spent several hours there and had no time to see anything else on Friday.  On Saturday, we went to Longwood Gardens - the former estate of Pierre S. DuPont.  (I assume these men were cousins).  The Gardens are only two hours north of DC but are behind in what is blooming there.  Daffodils just coming out while the daffodils are pretty much over in my yard.  We ended up spending the morning and early afternoon at Longwood as there was so much to see so we were not able to get to the Brandywine River Museum, home of the works of NC, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.

It's chilly in DC this morning but my yard is in full bloom.

Korean Spice Viburnum 

Creeping Jenny and Hakonechloa grass.  This area is going to get more sun this year since the neighbor cut down the Mulberry tree that was shading it.

Flowering Solomon Seal.  I wasn't sure this was going to make it so I'm very happy to see this.

 Coral Bells, Creeping Jenny, Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

Lilacs!  I cut out lots of old branches from this last fall and my intention was to dig it up and replace it with something else.  The lilac bush must have know my idea because this is the best it's bloomed in years.   It's really too hot for lilacs in DC but this one has revived.


 Lettuce that wintered over in the cold frame.  Salad tonight!

 Sweet Woodruff, under the Kousa Dogwood

Hostas emerging 

 Pansies from the winter

 Sorrel.  I planted it last year but didn't use it.  This year, I will cook with it.


Oklahoma Redbud. I love this tree

Friday, April 12, 2013

More Children's books

(Garden project update:  Sean said last night "you made me sound like I was building an irrigation system in your garden"  Irrigation system?!  Now you're talking.  That's one project I would give him the green light on)

Have I said how much I love working in a library?  Access to so many books.  Right now, I am working my way through all the books I have checked out and vow to not order anymore until I clean out what I have - so I am staking the Washington Post book reviews next to my desk, ready to go.

I've really been enjoying looking at books by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire.  Everyone is familiar with the their mythology books .  Between our collection and Catholic University's collection, we have many of their books.  Ola

is the story of a Norwegian boy, Ola, and his many experiences exploring the people and countryside near his home. Some of his adventures included getting caught in a tree, visiting a traditional Norwegian wedding, and an encounter with a dragon.  The illustrations are wonderful - for some reason, I have a fascination with Scandinavian culture which usually manifests itself by reading Swedish psychological mysteries (I have branched out to Norwegian and Icelandic mysteries!  See Jo Nesbo and Yrsa Sigurdardottir).  Maybe it stems from my roommate Chris when I was a senior in college.  He was Norwegian and his grandfather, Jackrabbit Johannsen introduced Cross-Country Skiing to Canada.

The next d'Aulaire book I have read is Children of the Northlights.  This chronicles the life of the Sami people.  It was written in 1935 and I wonder how much life has changed.

Here is a site that has lovely pictures .   The d'Aulaires (presumably relatives) have a Facebook page that also posts

The next Caldecott Medal winners are 1945: Prayer For a Child by Rachel Field and illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones.

This is a prayer that Ford wrote for her own daughter and published posthumously because Ford died in 1942.  I think this book is definitely one of its time.  Right at the end of World War II and people need a little sentimentality in their life.  I don't think this is the type of book that would even be considered today for the medal which is not criticizing the book but just a comment on how picture books have changed so much over the years.

In 1946 the winner was The Rooster Crows by Maud and Miska Petersham.

This is a book of Rhymes and Jingles that we all grew up saying.  A part of a clapping game I did in grade school is in here - who remembers Miss Mary Mack?  Included in here is Ring around a Rosies; One Potato Two Potatoes; Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple; Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Bear.  I thought everyone was born knowing these rhymes!  I certainly don't remember reading them anywhere.  Do kids these days even know these?

In 1947 the winner was The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard.  

yes, the author of the beloved Good Night Moon.    When I first read this, I assumed this little island was somewhere in Maine (seals and kingfishers abound) and reading a little about her life, she did have a house on Vinalhaven Maine.    The illustrations remind me of Robert McCloskey's.  Leonard Weisgard also had an Honor book that year, Rain Drop Splash.  I'll have to take a look at that one. I know we have all the Caldecott winners in our collection but not sure about the Honor Winners.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Garden Projects

"why do all my projects make you stressed?"

Those are the words that Sean asked me last week, while we were at the community garden workday.

His projects make me stressed because I am a simple woman with simple needs.  Sean is a complicated man with big ideas.  So when I asked him to fix my garden gate, that translated into a visit to Community Forklift for inspiration.  We bought a huge, thick piece of wood along with a screen door and some grandiose plan to build an architectural marvel in my garden.  When he mentioned renting an auger, I said enough is enough, I AM A SIMPLE WOMAN, NO AUGER.

So, last Saturday, while I was helping to weed around the blackberry bushes, Sean was installing a new door.  He used a shovel to dig the hole for the post (Danny, my garden neighbor asked if he used cement at the bottom of the hole - every one tries to help out in the garden!)

 Thank you honey, you did good.

Since last fall, I have been collecting wine bottles.  I have a cadre of friends saving them for me and finally, I have pictures to show what I am doing.  Not sure how it's going to work out but as I told Penni, the garden manager, it's an experiment.  If it doesn't work, I will pull out all the bottles and try something else.  I am planting the bottles to create borders around the garden beds.

That boxy trellis you see?  Another one of Sean's grand ideas.  I said, build me a trellis for my long beans and I got a box!