Archive for the 'Come Set A Spell' category

How Soon Can I Go Back???

Whole lotta everything going on in the past few weeks.  Past coupla months.  Okay, the whole dang year.  It's not been one of my better blogging years.  But I've been spending time with people who matter to me, and that is something I treasure.

Last week, though, last week was just for me and Mr. Z.  We took our annual vacation to a warm sunny beachy sandy place.  We don't buy each other gifts or cards or flowers for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. We save money for this vacation and relaxing time alone with each other, away from all the things we deal with in our daily lives.  This year the vacation seemed to stretch on and on; it felt much longer than the one week, and I felt thoroughly relaxed. Yay!  Eventually we had to come home, though, back to cell phones and stacks of mail and things that need doing for the people we care about and the kittehs we love even though they use litter boxes and the yard that looks like someone is trying to let it go back to the wild.

Last night I dreamed I went outside to get the paper and there was a tough old man with leathery sunburnt skin and strongly muscled arms and legs, busily working over one of my garden beds and in the process of turning it into a thing of beauty.  He'd already completed work on one - weeds gone, soil turned over and compost mixed in, some new perennials planted in pleasing arrangements, perfectly edged with natural stone - and was hard at work on the next.  I was bewildered.  Why was he here, where had he come from?  He said he had been sent to ensure that my garden would flourish until I had time to properly care for it again. Well, and then I woke up.

The beachy sandy place was lush with beautiful foliage. I went on a guided nature tour of the area to learn about the flora around me, and the gardens on site that produced many of the vegetables and herbs we found on our dinner plates. Someday, someday, I will be a real gardener.  Meanwhile, here are a few pics of things that enchanted me.

Dragonfly on palm frond


This is quite near the water, and I spent a lot of time here.

Sea grapes growing into beach hut


And here I was just enamored of the color and geometry.

Japanese fanpalm


During our yearly vacation, Mr. Z and I play gardener to each other's soul and spirit.  If we can't completely guarantee a year of flourishing between vacations, it seems we at least prevent complete wilting and withering.  We trade tips and make plans for proper care in the coming year.

For some things it takes a long time to see results but in others you get a bit of reward early on, if you are paying attention.  Last year I planted a tiny ninebark sometime around the end of June.  One year later it had turned into a fine young bushy plant and lo! -this dude showed up.

Ninebark leaves and mantis

I'm pretty sure that's a praying mantis. I can't remember the last time I saw one of those.  Even if my garden looks like crap to me, putting in those native plants is starting to make a bit of a difference.  Lots more bees this year, and other kinds of bugs.  Little things like that can keep you going for a long time.

So, dear Zuskateers: how does your garden grow?  None of us have that gardener of our dreams who will show up and take care of everything till we're able to get back to it ourselves.  How do you refresh?  What small thing in the past year gave you much delight?  Semesters are ending and we're gearing up for holiday madness so it might be good to reflect for a minute upon those things that bring us brief moments of joy, keep us sane, or keep us from going completely nuts.  At least until we can get back to the sandy beachy place once more.

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You Want This Pie - Under The Oak Cafe

Aug 21 2010 Published by under Come Set A Spell, Farm Market Foodapalooza!

Every Saturday I go to my regular farmer's market with more than enough happy anticipation about all the good stuff the farmers will have for me to turn into a week's worth of delicious meals.  When I first started going to this particular market, it had about three farm stalls, and yet I was content.  From them I was able to collect an abundance and variety of fresh produce; I learned about some vegetables I had never eaten before; and the farm market swiftly became part of my weekly routine, a part I am loathe to miss for any but the most urgent of circumstances.

Then came, bit by bit, the addition of luxurious extras.  Jams, pasta sauces, soaps and candles at this stand!  Fresh baked breads and pastries at that stand!  A potter started showing up now and then.  The ag extension folks began dropping by, and raffled off compost bins - I won one!  Yay!  A local entrepreneur, who makes and repairs jewelry and designs her own clothing sets up a stand regularly.  Story hour for the kids!  Musicians dropping by!  Coffee!  Pickles!

Now, it seems like our little farm market is the place to be on Saturday mornings.  You'd best get there bright and early to fight for the good produce and the best fruits before they sell out - one week I set aside a couple of pints of ground cherries with the farmer, went on around the stand to continue my shopping, and came back to find another customer begging the farmer to let her buy my ground cherries.  No way!

Well, this past spring, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when a new vendor appeared at our farm market. Under The Oak Cafe popped up to sell their quiche, scones, pies, and iced tea.

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