Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pulling Up Stakes

Get it? GET IT?

Actually, I put IN stakes today, but what I'm trying to get around to is that I'm going to put all of my gardenly, craftly, housely stuff over at I'm Not Hannah. I actually am going to move the whole shebang at some point in time over to Wordpress and get a new domain. Because I'm nuts. It'll be fun. Really.


There are already a few garden/yard posts up at I'm Not Hannah, and I'd love to see y'all there. So...yeah.

See ya.

Friday, May 29, 2009


(For those of you who don't go to I'm Not Hannah, this is a verbatim post from over there. I'm thinking about moving everything here over there somehow. Or keeping this as a holder blog. Or something. If you ARE an I'm Not Hannah reader, there is nothing new here for you to see. Bless your sweet heart.)

I think I've written about this before. The main fault with my labeling system is that it has a lot of vague, cute designations that offer very little in the way of search-aid. This particular post needs a label like, "contemplating the fate of my blogging universe" or "is having more than one blog a sign of schizophrenia?"

I have, over the course of my blogging life, had three blogs. The first is this one. I like this one. I'm bored with the template and know that I need some linkage overhaul, but I like it. I've made friends through it and it is a great way for me to keep track of my momentous occasions. I still love to go back and read about River's birth, because it was such a profound experience and it's hard for me to remember every moment of it when she's doing what she's doing right now, which is being curled up in a ball on the other side of the baby gate moaning because she can't get through, but won't ask for help, preferring instead to be as dramatic as possible. (For real, she's saying, "Oooh, nooooo. Oh, nooooooo. I will nebbuh see my mommy agiiiiiiiiin." As she stares at me.)

The second is NotHannah's Greenspace. I started it because I realized that not everybody gets all crazy-excited about the fact that my muscadine vines have overcome the idiocy of me dragging them out of my azaleas. Also, I often write with an eye to the funny and it's sometimes hard to write "and then I made the week's worth of pancakes" in a humorous way. I mean, it's pancakes, yo. They just kinda...sit there. I like having NHGS because it's a good way for me to (River is now accusing Frodo of being whiny. She is gonna make a hell of a psychological study one day.) chart weather and planting and what not. I could put it down on paper, I guess, and be one of those people whose kids have to deal with stacks and stacks of journals with entries like "March 22, 2010. Planted onions. It rained. I had a pimento cheese sandwich" when I die. Blogging seems easier and less likely to make my children break the Southern commandment to not speak ill of the dead.

The third was a now-defunct, never mentioned in the world of Not Hannah blog in which I discussed my spirituality. It's not that I'm ashamed of my spirituality, but the simple truth is that as I try to hammer out my own personal dogma, it's a lot easier to not talk about it with most folks. The personal religious freedom I value all Americans having is awesome, but I don't always need folks exercising it all up in my face, know what I mean? HOWEVER, it was nice for the few weeks that I wrote in it to be able to get some feedback from other folks walking the same(ish) path that I was and nice to have my musings down

Here's the problem, then. I have somehow convinced myself that it is stressful having more than one blog. It probably ISN'T stressful, but the two of them feel like one (two more?) more thing (things?) that I can't get to in the course of a busy day, and I think the pressure I have (idiotically) put on myself is feeding into the dangerous and ridiculous "there's so much to do ACK I can't do it all ACK maybe I should just play eighteen games of Bejeweled Blitz instead" procrastination cycle of doom and despair that I like to plunge myself into.

I am in an organizational phase right now, brought on by the fact that Will will be on vacation soon and will want to transfer his managerial skills from school to home and thus make me feel oppressed and anxious. (Bless his sweet heart for living with me. He deserves a medal and a Xanax.) So I'm all like, "Gotta plant the garden. Gotta wash the clothes. Gotta get rid of stuff. Gotta scrub and put away and FOR THE LOVE OF THE FILING CABINET PUT IT TO ORDER!!!!"

The blog is just a tee-ninecy, often neglected bit of my life and so restructuring it should probably be last on my list of priorities, behind "scrubbing the baseboards" and "finally cleaning out the flatware drawer." But I can't help but think that if I started streamlined, it would be better. After all, planting limas is just as much a part of me as battling snot monsters. Deciding whether making instant oatmeal from regular oatmeal is worth it from a time/cost perspective is as immediately concerning to me as the idiocy of people like Tom Tancredo (Note to his idiotic self: Hey, buddy. If it doesn't have hoods and nooses, it isn't the KKK, you massive, ignorant wanker.)

So. Would anybody here (all, like, 17 or so of you) be mortally offended if I mixed the gardening/thrifty/crafty part of me with the mommy/political/writery part? I mean, I don't want to bore anybody silly with posts about hills versus ditches for corn-planting. Additionally, I don't want to freak out anybody coming here looking for a discussion on biscuits and finding, instead, a discussion about nether regions. Personal nether regions. Or maybe spiritual nether regions. I mean, Hell is a fascinating concept and I'm pretty sure that my mailbox area is a Hellmouth, so it might come up.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yet Another Smorgasbord of Blogicity

PEASSSSSS!!!! Actual, live, eat 'em right off the vine sweet peas. I eat the smaller pods, I open the older ones and lick out the peas in an ecstasy of gardening goodness. The ones above will be eaten for dinner tonight. (The ones left after River got to them, that is.)

So much has been going on in our "inside lives" that we haven't spent a lot of time doing anything outside. The garden is woefully underplanted, and I'm going to have to go ahead and get some plants from the store, as much as I hate it. You do what you can, right?

A couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to a local strawberry farm to pick our own berries. I've done berries here, and they'd be fine for a novelty for the kids, but I don't have enough space for a big patch. We wound up with an enormous mass of the lovely red fruits (including Jeffrey's "magic"--i.e. "unripe" ones)

and so later that afternoon, I set to preserving them. I made one big wad of them into strawberry jam. This was my third attempt at jam--the first resulted in a thick brownish sludge, the second resulted in a thin, goopy mess and the third:

I kinda wish I had a "TA DAAAAHHHH!" sound bite right now. Or, like, angel trumpets. The jam set beautifully and I made eight half pints of it! Huzzah!!

The rest of the berries I culled and sliced for freezing. They were so pretty on the tray that I took a picture of them. After they froze on the trays, I popped them off and slipped them into some Ziploc Vacuum Freezer bags. I'd been thinking about one of those vacuum storage systems for a while, because I make ahead and freeze pancakes, muffins, cookies, biscuits, etc. and wanted to be able to preserve them for a bit longer if possible. And I hate it when my blocks of cheese go bad fast. But the price of the systems kept me from buying them, along with the fact that reusing the bags for anything is impossible. I had heard about a Reynolds product that worked on a battery and the last time I went to HellMart, I headed to the freezer bag aisle, where I found the Ziploc system. Four bucks got me some bags and a little handpump. At face, this is pretty low-tech: a handpump goes over a hole in the bag and you, um, pump the air out. But the storage potential made me go nuts. I would prefer to can our produce, but Jeffrey hates what he calls "olive green" green beans and peas that are canned. And the kids LOVE frozen berries. So the idea that I can freeze stuff without the frantic "suck-with-a-straw-hurry-to-seal-curse-the-invention-of-air" deal is awesome. The pump removes every bit of air in the bag and you can reseal them after cutting off a wodge of cheese or grabbing a few berries.

The package and website cautions against reusing the bags, although to be honest, I'll probably reuse the ones I keep fruit and breads in--at the very least, these would make great "keepers" for wet socks and clothes that the kids mess up while on the road. No more icky soured clothes!!! You can check them out here: Oh, by the way, I got five quart bags of frozen berries. I'd like to have more, but I'm going to fill out our fruit stash for the winter with blueberries (maybe even a few from our new rabbit eye bushes below),

peaches, and blackberries from the farm in Cowtown.

Let's see...I've given up hilling the potatoes...they grew all the way up to the top of the potato bin and I couldn't see using any more soil or straw. I'm hoping all the growth will mean lots of potatoes, but you know my skepticism with this concept. I was pretty surprised to see how close the blossoms of the potato are to eggplant blossoms and interested to find out after some research that they belong to the same family: edible Nightshade. Cool.

I decided to dig a corn trough this year instead of put them in a raised bed. Corn requires a lot of water and gets so tall that a raised bed made it difficult to deal with. The trough is roughly six feet by six feet, and I was able to get thirty-six kernals planted. I put mini pumpkins in each corner. The corn is starting to come up now, so tomorrow I'll put in some Henderson limas. YUM!! The corn trough picture is bad, I know. I think I'm going to call it: Large Lopsided Square of Dirt. You might be able to pick out the corn if you squint and say an incantation.

I dug out a BUNCH of the chocolate mint when I discovered it was started to invade the raised beds. Um. No. I transplanted some of it to a different spot, but was going to dry the rest until I decided to try doing some mint jelly with it. It has such a nice flavor that I thought it might do. The only pectin I have is powdered, though, so I have to make a HellMart run for some liquid stuff. Hope I can find it...

In other, horribly disgusting news, I have stinkwort mushrooms in one of my beds. I'm not sure what sin I committed to deserve the variety I have. They're nicknamed "Dead Man's Fingers" (charming) and emit an odor that is so gross and profound that you can smell it when you walk out the back door. Topping off the nastiness is a brown slimy wad of ook that apparently draws flies, which adds to the general grodiness. (Click on the pic to get a gander at the mushroom loogy. Shudder.) A Googling of the mushroom revealed that you can actually cook with these, which makes me want to yark. I I'll have to dig them out soon, once I gather the courage to do so.

Tomorrow is a planting day! Woohoo!