Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bubble and Squeak*

I'm having a bit of trouble containing myself today. I'm just a teensy bit excited. Tomorrow 6am......I'm flying off to LONDON! This will be my fourth adventure to Europe, but my first in the United Kingdom. My traveling companions include mom, sister, and husband. We've rented an awesome flat on the River Thames (this flat, in fact!) and put together an itinerary so jam-packed with delight, it might just kill us dead. I can't even begin to think what I'm most looking forward to; whenever I look over the list of things we are going to do and see, I get woozy. : )

We'll be in London for about 10 days, coming back home about a week before the Royal Wedding. With Wills and Kate's upcoming nuptials on everyone's mind, I expect the atmosphere in London will be pretty celebratory.

I'll post updates as it goes.

*Bubble and Squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. Yum!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Garden Party

I don’t think of it much these days, but as a little girl, I did a LOT of gardening. Far more than most people I know, anyway. We lived on a small farm, the primary focus of which was raising beef cattle. We always had a large vegetable garden (one at our place and another at Grandma’s, a mile away) where we grew potatoes, peas, carrots, salad greens, raspberries, onions, cabbage, and beans. We’d eat fresh vegetables all summer and fall, then eat canned and frozen produce all winter and spring. It was so delicious! Since moving away from home, however, I haven’t had much opportunity to eat fresh-from-the-garden produce. In the summers, Gordon and I make bi-weekly trips to the local farmers market, and Mom & Grandma always send us home with fresh or canned garden items (not to mention COOKIES) after we visit, but we haven’t ever attempted to have a garden of our own.

The apartment where Captain Awesome and I have lived for the past 8 years is an adorable living space in the top floor of a house on Spokane’s scenic South Hill. Our door is at the back of the house (bad feng shui, but it does keep the door-to-door religious kooks and hyper-committed politicos at bay) and we have a cute square of lawn out back as well. About four years ago we put in a little garden where I planted some bulbs, but other than that, we’ve never made any attempt to improve the space or use it for gardening. This year, however, Gordon has decided to add to his already-extensive list of hobbies by including growing his own vegetables. We’ve put in two more gardens in the rented space and Gordon built a sun box, as well. In addition, along with our friends from the Fancy Paper Plate Club we’ve started a community garden in another friend’s backyard. We spent this last weekend building and improving raised beds, turning the soil, and generally getting the space ready for some serious veggie action. It looks great out there; I can’t wait until its warm enough to start planting!

Meanwhile, Gordon and I have started a number of plants inside the house, some of which we will transplant outside when the time is right. We planted a bunch of herbs first (parsley, oregano, sage, cilantro, rosemary, chives, dill, and basil) then started the vegetables.
So far we are trying green beans, spinach, butter crunch lettuce, broccoli, scallions, zucchini squash, cucumber, roma tomatoes, bell peppers, poblano peppers, and jalapenos. Nearly everything has sprouted and is looking good! It’s fun to check the plants each morning for new growth. Gordon also built some window boxes which we installed outside our second-story living-room windows (and painted a summery light blue). We plan to keep a fresh rotation of herbs and salad greens in the window boxes throughout the growing season. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.