Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's been a while since I posted an honest-to-goodness, what's-happening-in-my-life, housey-goals, writing-writing-writing sort of post.  Sometimes, I'm in the mood to write, and to share, and to talk it all out, but lately I've been more in the mood to just look at pretty pictures and repost them.  If you've been reading for a while, you know there's a lot that has been going on lately.

In the last two months, we moved, I quit my job and started a new one, I was the maid of honor at my oldest friend's wedding (no, that's not me in the picture).  And oh jeez, I've written about this before. We had houseguests and plants and a trip to Washington for Will's grandmother's 90th birthday.  I had my first paid freelance writing job (more on that when I'm legally allowed to disclose information - the product hasn't been released yet).  I fell behind on my unpaid freelance writing.  We still haven't finished unpacking.  I went to IKEA and ordered curtains from Cost Plus, and due to some sort of terrible measuring, I have to go return things to IKEA and re-order curtains from Cost Plus.  The fun, it never ends!

Life is as it is, though, right?  The good and the bad and the being fall-asleep bored and the being so busy you don't know what to do with yourself.  It all happens, and it all happens together.

For now, I make lists.  Of things I want to write, and of things I want to do, and of things I want to share.  I have so many recipes stacked up in my mind that if I just quit it all and did nothing but cook and bake every single day I'd have enough recipes to keep me going for at least a year.  I had this whole "when we move, I'll be better at making healthy food" thing going, except then we actually moved, and I was drowning in cardboard, and the last thing I wanted to do was shop and bring MORE into the house (or cook and make a bigger mess), so we've been eating out or ordering in a lot.  Much more frequently than we used to.  Not good for the body, not good for the wallet.  I also said that "once we move, I'll exercise more," except then I got tired from unpacking, and the gym was no longer on my way home, and I came up with all kinds of excuses to go home and sit on the couch.

All this is to say that sometimes we make goals for ourselves that we don't reach, even if they seem totally reasonable and achievable.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, in public, online, that we had things we wanted to do.  Sometimes the goals need specific, attainable, trackable elements to them (ie: "I will exercise 3x per week every week"), but I find those goals to be a little hard in my real life.  If I am too specific, I put too much pressure on myself, and don't cut myself enough slack when life gets in the way.  There's something kind of reassuring about softer goals, goals that you set just to remind yourself of the path you're choosing to walk.  While there are definite benefits to concrete objectives, general lifestyle goals can be helpful too, I think.

Here are mine:

  • Cook more.  Healthier, fresher, with more frequency.  Substitute white spelt flour for A/P flour the next time I buy (thanks, Shanna)
  • Take a ballet class, starting Wednesday of next week (I miss ballet - it's exercise, and it makes me happy)
  • Regularly go to yoga, starting Thursday of next week (good for the body, good for the mind)
  • Share more recipes on the blog
  • Post something about our patio garden and the weird white spots on the squash plant's leaves
  • Knit, even though it's not cold yet (my next project is for charity)
  • Finish unpacking, but don't stress out about it.  But finish soon, because it's time for Fall decorations.
So there you have it.  Some goals, and some brain-dump.  

It's French Week at The Kitchn, and they posted about
French-influenced kitchen design. Beautiful. 
One more pretty French  kitchen from TheKitchn


  1. I want to start working out again too. For your ballet and yoga classes, did you buy a block of classes at local studios or join a gym? I am trying to figure out which route to take...

  2. Lots going on, for sure, but they seem like great changes. I like your goals too!

  3. The white spots may be powdery mildew. Find an anti-fungal spray that is suitable for edible plants, and make sure your soil is well-drained. It may be worth it to poke around in there and see if there's any really wet patches and really dry patches in the pot (soil that doesn't really hold water anymore should be replaced) as water will naturally make little stream-beds that it later follows, missing some areas entirely while causing pooling elsewhere. If in doubt, add more compost. Yuuum compost.

    I've been building up my gardening "first-aid kit" and it really comes down to these elements:

    insecticidal soap
    anti-fungal spray
    high-potash tomato food
    epsom salts and a spray bottle

    I also have a bottle of weed spray that I use around the outside of the house, as there've been some pretty mean weeds tearing out the mortar as they try to climb the bricks. I can't pull them properly because they're too well-wedged in the masonry, but I can't let them rip holes in my house. So evil chemicals it is.

    Squash, eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes all like tomato food, so don't be afraid to share. (or in England, Marrows, aubergines, courgettes, and potatoes) Give potted plants the same concentration as the bottle says, but more frequently than for what it recommends for plants in the ground to compensate for nutrient drainage. But be sure not to get any on the leaves! it may damage them when it dries.

  4. I wouldn't prune the squashes or zucchinis, but they do like their space. If they're getting crowded this is a good time to separate them into their own big pots. They should all have their own 9" pots at least, bigger if you can find/carry/afford them. Make sure you separate the roots before you transplant. If they come out shaped like the pot, cut them with garden shears in vertical lines like a pie. make sure you open up the bottom, too. I know this sounds mean, but root bind is deadly as it makes the plants unstable, prevents some areas of root from getting water, and rots the centre. Snip them and moosh them out by hand until they no longer resemble a pot. When enlarging their homes, take their current soil and mix it in with more dirt and compost in the larger pot. Particularly with squashes, bury the plant in its new soil up to the level where the leaves meet the stem, so that it rests on the ground without flopping over. Give it a good drink and be prepared for it to look a little bedraggled (as my mom puts it, 'confused') for a couple of days before it gets used to its new home.

    I've read that you should pick the flowers often, and when you're getting the fruits started, pick the first few when they're quite small. This convinces the plant that it needs to keep working, otherwise it'll just do one small harvest and be done.

    I think my magical British Herb and Vegetable book's recipe for magnesium foliar feeding was 1 tablespoon of epsom salts to 1 pint of water.

    Just make sure the fertilizer is marked as "high potash." I've noticed, not from intentional science but because I'm lazy, that the plants that get fertilizer more often are remarkably tastier than those that don't. Like, Whoa tastier. Tomatoes especially. There's a few planted in an area that's prone to runoff that are almost flavourless, but the area that is flatter and holds its nutrients better has put out the absolute best tomatoes I've ever tasted. (Pride, I've found, improves flavour.)

  5. Oh how interesting (sorry, didn't see the comment until just now. my coworkers are helping me figure out why). I wish you were here, so you could walk me through the digging up and replanting thing. I'm so afraid to hurt them that I just leave them be...I'll post pictures (hopefully) tonight so you can tell me if they are overcrowded - I'm sure they must be. And really? I'm supposed to pick the flowers before there is a squash growing on it?

    I don't have any big pots right now, but I am thinking of going to this plant exchange thing this weekend...maybe I'll bring some separated zucchini stems and see if someone will trade me for a big pot. If I get the guts to snip snip that is.

    And I'll look for some high potash food at the store - I'm sure they'll have it on the same aisle as the citrus and avocado food. I am very new to the world of plant fertilization. If it looks like we will end up staying in this apartment for a long time, I might build a little raised bed right before planting season, where I can start from scratch with well-fertilized soil, rather than hastily trying to make it work in already-existing pots.

  6. PS - I bought high-potash tomato food tonight (21%!) as well as a 3-in-1, earth-friendly antifungal spray that says it works on all sorts of things, including "powdery mildew" (which sounds exactly what my plants have). And bugs.