August 18, 2010

Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock

I work! As in, I have a job. Not really news, but did I announce that yet? I'm working a retail job part time now, which is actually pretty great, thus far. I'm still in training, but everyone is quite nice, and I'm meeting new people. Young people! People who aren't in my family or my church!

That is kind of a big deal.

The only (kind of) downside is that I'll probably be working a lot of Saturdays. That's a negative since, for the most part, everyone I know works a job that would give them weekends off; having to work on Saturdays means fewer weekends with my teacher friends. But hey, making money? Worth it.

Anyway, on to other things! I've been listening to some good music lately. For starters, there's the obvious: Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. It's good. I'm no Pitchfork reviewer, but take my word for it and give it a spin. Or a download. Or whatever. And while you're deep in the heart of the iTunes store, you might as well go ahead and pick up Mumford & Sons Sigh No More. It's very Avett Brothers-esque, with lots of traditional folk roots and some great spiritual themes.


And now, an album that I consider to be a well kept secret: Anais Mitchell recently released Hadestown, a folk opera (stay with me) based on the myth of Orpheus. In case that doesn't temp you (I can't imagine why not), I'll sweeten the deal: it features Justin Vernon (Mr. Bon Iver himself), Ani DiFranco, Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem), Greg Brown, and the Haden Triplets. It's beautifully arranged, musically diverse (think soul, rock, folk, traditional American music, and the like), and rife with poverty, romance, fear, betrayal, sacrifice, and speakeasys. Speakeasys, I say! In Mitchell's words, it is "based on the Orpheus myth, and set in a post-apocalyptic American Depression era" Which, for nerds like me...well, what more could you want? And this is the real deal: they stage it and perform it as a show, not just a concept album. It's really quite gorgeous. Do yourself a favor and listen to it. For more info, you can check out the website.

Finally, one last bit of news! My aunt and uncle just gave me my graduation gift: a beautifully restored antique washstand.


It's chestnut. And gorgeous.


It looks a bit out of place in my Ikea furniture filled room, but when I have a place of my own someday, it will have a home that's a bit more fitting, I'm sure. In the meantime, I'm thinking about making a blanket or something to hang on it. Maybe I'll finally put those little granny squares to good use! ...Maybe.

August 6, 2010

Green Gardens!


Plants. We got 'em. I wouldn't call myself much of a gardener, per se. I mean, I've done my fair share of planting, weeding, irrigating, and picking, what with growing up on my grandparents' farm, but if you asked me to list my passions and interests, I don't think "Gardening" would make the top 10.

That being said, I enjoy fresh picked produce just as much as the next gal, and let me tell ya, there will be plenty of picking to do soon.

My parents planted a lot of stuff in the garden that rests atop a retaining wall running beside the sidewalk. That's where our little strawberry patch resides, and it's also home to a veritable jungle of plum tomato plants now.


I mean, seriously. We're talking about lots of tomatoes. May I remind you that my parents live two counties over now? My house has two people living in it: my brother and me. In two weeks time, I could literally bathe in tomatoes...if, you know, bathing in tomatoes was a thing. Instead, I'll be eating them. And once I've had my fill, I'll be dumping them into our Squeezo (it's like magic, seriously), making gallons of tomato sauce, and canning it.

Other than plum tomatoes, I gave into the awesome trend of planting some heirlooms. The variety we went with are pineapple tomatoes, and they look beautiful. They're yellow and red striped. I've been baby sitting this one for the last couple of days waiting for it to get ripe:


I'm giving it until the end of today, and then it's MINE. I don't know why I'm so impatient. I'll be getting a lot from the harvest in just a little while.


And to conclude tomato fest 2010, we have one cherry tomato plant that is going nuts. I love cherry tomatoes, so I'm down with this development.


We might get a few. You know, one or two.


We're also in the pepper buisness too! We have plenty of red & yellow bell peppers:


...and a veritable bumper crop of cayenne (which I string up to dry for later use) :


We have zucchini:


And cucumbers!


I'm sorry, did I say cucumbers? I meant The Tiniest Cucumbers Ever. Let me add my finger to the photo for the sake of scale.


Also featured in the garden (but not pictured): broccoli, which has mostly run its course (and is now happily living in my freezer), a cilantro plant that's bolted, allowing me to harvest fresh coriander seeds (some of which I've reseeded to grow more cilantro), a basil bush (not exaggerating), and a flippin' viciously invasive mint plant. I hate that thing.

But hey, what's a garden without the pretty?? People love flowers. Obviously this garden should be no exception. And since we Walkers don't do things half way, take a gander at these flowers:

In the lower garden, marigolds and petunias.


A morning glory plant that seems to be fixated on eating my mailbox:


And sunflowers! Glorious, enormous, sunflowers! They line the garden leading to library next door (and yes, I live next to a library. Now do you understand why I'm a nerd?).


There are also some marigolds in that garden, too.


And this year, the sunflowers yielded some really beautiful varieties beyond the usual yellow ones:


Even the honey bees appreciate them.


So there! That's our garden! And the best part of it all? It's pretty low-maintenance, believe it or not. For one thing, the fact that the gardens are between the sidewalk and the retaining wall means that we don't get any pests (bunnies, deer, etc.) munching on our stuff. Furthermore, since my dad is pretty brilliant, we have a drip irrigation system on a programed timer. There's a pump under the porch that keeps all the gardens watered from water we collect in our underground cistern. It's pretty money, frankly.

And now that I've uploaded a million pictures of my produce, I think I'm going to go eat some. And if you want any tomatoes, you know who to call.