No, I’m not dead. I’m also not in the basement watching and re-watching episodes of Glee although, let me tell you, some of the days this past month I wish I could have been.
So, what have I been up to? Let’s start with the garden.
Sometime during the May long weekend (that’s around the 23rd, or about a month later than most people, ahem) I finally got around to sorting my beds out, digging in some fresh cow poo (or, well, it wasn’t technically fresh, since it was nicely decomposed, but you get my meaning) and planting out my seedlings which — thanks to The Boy’s greenhouse — were both bigger/stronger than my seedlings of years past, but also more bug-eaten. I also planted my beans and peas, and a bunch of other veggies from seed. (I’ve tried transplanting started beans in the past and the results were so poor that this year I decided to just give up and start them in the beds.)
We had about a week and a half of blisteringly hot, waterless days. Very grateful for the rain barrel (warm water!), I diligently kept the beds moist and presumably the heat did some good: way before I was expecting them to, my little seeds started poking up their heads and my seedlings, having survived their first scorching week, seemed to have made the transition nicely.
Then we got a warm, damp week. Whoa. Check out the difference 3 days can make:
(Yes, I know, June 4th needed watering. But it rained that night, alright? I pay attention to the weather reports. Don’t judge me. Sheesh.)
Even my cilantro (bottom squares), which stubbornly refuses to sprout in less than 14 days, and then tends to just keel over and die when it’s about 3 inches tall, has been coaxed out of the earth early thanks to this weather. Does this mean I’ll actually get to eat some? Time will tell (but I wouldn’t bet on it).
Although I am stoked about everything growing as a whole, I’m most excited about the peas (above). I’m second-most-excited about my “choi sum” * — I could scarcely believe it when I found the seeds at the grocery store, and the fact that I have an entire square (not pictured) sprouting up with them fills my heart with happiness. Sometime soon, I plan on planting another square (uh, or 3) since, as my mom said, “16? You only planted 16?! That’s not even enough for one meal!” I know, Mom.
The truth of the matter is that after last year’s constant gnawing action by the chipmunks et. al., I’ve kind of gotten into the mindset of assuming that although my hopes are high, I won’t actually get to eat anything in the garden. After all, between the bugs, the birds, the rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels… is there likely to be anything left for me? Well… I barely want to put the words down in case I jinx it, but… this year… there hasn’t been any rodent nibblage. Yet.
There. I said it. I’m going to credit Chewie’s presence for that, or possibly I got started so late they just stopped looking in my yard for food. It’s possible when things get a bit bigger the local Vermin will take interest again. For now though, my plantlings seem to be flying under the radar, and for that I am very grateful.
* – Although the packet says “choi sum”, the picture is of gai lan (which is fine, since I prefer it). I guess I’ll find out when they’re bigger, although so far, they’re definitely leaning towards a gai lan structure.
I want to put in a note here that it’s not all sunshine and mad plant growth out here though. After all, Chewie is still a puppy (just under 5 months) and there is definitely still a fair amount of this:
We took him for his first grooming session the same weekend I was doing all the garden work and I have to tell you: when I went to pick him up, I barely recognized him. He was glowing white, and fluffy and clean. And it lasted exactly 8 minutes after we got home until he started digging in my (brand new, sniff) herb bed and rolling in grass clippings.
In general, he’s actually been pretty good about my plants although I will say my potted flowers (intended for the front porch) no longer look like this:
The marigolds (left) are almost entirely squished because apparently that particular pot seemed like a good spot for a choice rawhide. Thanks Chewie. (Happily my nasturtium is, thus far, doing alright. Looking forward to eating the flowers. You know, unless the chipmunks get them first.)
Every time I get in a grumpy mood about him though, it’s not that hard to stop and remember the happily-wagging tail and warm breath, and generally good-hearted personality of the dog. For all the digging and mud and trying to get into the cat food, there’s also more than a fair share of this: