Wednesday, June 17, 2015

So...the fucking marigolds.

I planted too many marigolds.

Those are bush beans in there. True story.

The flower that I have always maligned has, like, run a-complete-mok in the garden.

I planted too many marigolds.

I tell myself this every time I go to the garden.

Because this past winter when I was planning my garden, all the while knowing we were totally planning to eventually sell our house and the garden and move to the country (yes, we knew. Don't be all mad.), I made a pact with myself.

Or something like a pact - like, a decision. Or a mandate! No, that sounds weird.

Anyway, my *strategy*,  let's call it since that sounds marginally less Plant Lady Crazy, was that this, quite possibly my last vegetable garden at this house, was going to be AMAZING.


Over the top with fucking awesomeness.

Like, no whammies whatsoever.

I was going to just kill it. In the way that killing it is having it be the best vegetable garden I've grown ever.

So, all I planted were Sure Things.

Like, firstly I took stock of what plants I'd saved seed from. Those were my home team advantage. I already knew they loved it here.

Then, for the Sure Thing ones for which I didn't have saved seed (like they were hybrid varieties) but I knew did REALLY well here, I went into my seed stash and raided whatever I had left to grow out into seedlings.

Then I set out a garden plan for the final round of my crop rotation in the garden in which I have grown vegetables for 10 years and, as extra insurance for the AMAZING HOLY SHIT garden, I also chose and sowed marigold seed that I hoped wouldn't make me sad every time I went to the garden.

Because marigolds are really good in the garden and also terrifically ugly.

They repel pests and attract beneficials while all the while looking like burned up wads of tissue paper that somehow missed the trash can and blew into the yard. But they do all that fruity shit for the garden that is actually quite good and real but for which people think I'm insane and, like, a whimsical moon maiden to believe and I don't care because fuck those guys.

I'll have burned up dark orange tissue wads protecting my last garden in this house because it has to be AMAZING HOLY SHIT or, like, BUST or whatever.

And so I found marigolds that were in a color I could stomach and wouldn't make me think that I had a bunch of blossoms on my vegetables because they were the same yellow color as the majority of my crops' blossoms. Which was the other reason I came to hate marigolds because I have only ever grown the yellow ones and I'd get all, "OOH! The tomatoes have blossomsohnotheydon'tit'sjustastupidmarigoldjerk."

Less jerky

Hate that.

So, I got these. Dark orange. I love orange. You know this.

And then because I hardly ever grow marigolds and have, obviously, very little idea how big they actually get, I planted about 105 of them in and around my vegetable garden that is not even 100 square feet.

So, yeah...the fucking marigolds.

I planted too many.

Are you seeing the burned up wad of tissue paper thing here?

And every time I come out here to check on how the AMAZING HOLY SHIT garden is doing, I think to myself, "WOW! This garden is doing AMAZING. HOLY SHIT!" and then, "I planted a too many marigolds. This is fucking ridiculous."

The "Watermelon" bed. Mmhhmm...

Also, "Wow. Those are way bigger plants than I remember them being. No wonder my work crew thought I was insane for wanting to put 3 plants to a 1 gallon pot at the entrances to my greenhouse. They must think I'm a moron."

Whatever. They're huge and the garden is really AMAZING HOLY SHIT so I'm fine with it.

The "Cucumber" bed

The Tomato bed that was saved the indecency of being overrun by marigolds but instead by nasturtium.

The tomatillo bed - spared the marigolds, but still a little scared.

Though I am having a hard time finding the AMAZING HOLY SHIT vegetables I was so intent on growing.

Beans? Are there beans in there? I think that no.

Because they're pretty much lost forever behind all the muther fucking marigolds yikes.

I'm thinking of pulling a few plants out, but you know how I am and how I hate to throw plants away, especially ones that are doing so well and clearly helping the garden so much.

Though I can't really say how much because I am having a pretty hard time finding the vegetables in there.

But I've found some.

And they've been pretty AMAZING HOLY SHIT so far.

The pole beans (Fortex, Blue Coco) and cucumbers (Lemon, Boothby Blonde) that I've snatched from the grips of marigolds.

The first pink lemon which I'm told tastes like grapefruit.

Kinda looks like grapefruit if you ask me. Which you are, right? That's why you're here? So, yes - grapefruit.

And I've, thanks to the not-yellowness of the marigolds, found lots of tomato blossoms and tomatillo blossoms and no watermelon blossoms yet because their sun may be getting blocked by, but I can see their spotted leaves!

The first lanterns! Not at all obscured by tricky lying ass marigolds.

Some more beans. Because OH MY GOD WITH THE FUCKING BEANS.

That's a cucumber blossom which is OCCUPIED.

Yeah - watermelons. For reals.

Some tomatoes already setting. 

Yes. The blossoms are on the plants, fruit is on some of the plants, we'll probably have our first tomato by 4th of July which is almost 2 months before we move, we've already harvested nearly 10 pounds of beans and another 10 of cucumbers and it's really looking like my post productive garden ever.

Also we have grapes and this artichoke.

This artichoke

These grapes

And, like a billion sweet peas and nasturtium and we did have this volunteer Lemon Queen sunflower that I just hacked down because it was leaning unattractively and shade-blockingly in front of the melons that just grew up out of nowhere without my help or water.

I won't take credit for that one. It was just the annual, "Who's this fucking guy?" sunflower that I have gotten each year for the last, like, five years at least.

Man. I'm going to miss that next spring.

Friday, April 24, 2015

We *may* eat a lot of peaches. If we can get out of here without murdering anyone. I don't think they get a lot of peaches in jail, is what I'm saying.

So, we're kind of in the middle of some more crazy crap in our quest to become the least responsible adults, but instead of diving into that just all right out of the gate, I'm going to talk about plants.

Cheaper than a therapist right here.
Because I'm a plant nerd and also because this crazy crap involves me leaving a garden that I have so literally poured in blood, sweat and tears. And swears and The Money Chicken and bees and a load of seeds and an apple tree that we chose special for Bubba out of a farm stand line up of, like 20 varieties.

To be clear, the bees are coming with us. As is The Money Chicken. 

Plus, also a billion weekends, half a sabbatical, a business, after work cocktail hours and a cat.

Yes. Rocket's back there.

All buried in her old sunning spot (In an urn. Or whatever's inside the little wood box the vet gave me. Not, like, all alarmingly stiff and taxidermy-y wrapped in a blankie or something.) with her middle paw toe just standing at the ready.

So, yeah. Memories and shit.

Oh, and also the front yard meadow. Bye, buddy. You look effing amazing. FINALLY.

We're moving!


But for now - the plants.

I'm having these discussions with each plant sort of non-verbally.

Carpenteria californica, we need to talk...

Like, I look at the bush anenome and in my head I'm, like, "Hey, buddy. Remember the good times we had when I went to that hippie nursery in the woods and picked you out of all those other sorta boring-looking native plants just based on the little picture stuck in your pot and the fact that you didn't need summer water? Yeah? Remember? And then you got awesome. I never watered you after that first winter and BOOM you've gotten bigger and flowered more and when I pruned you properly thanks to all the horticulture classes you got all gorgeous and then I read this thing at a nursery about how come more people don't grow you and I felt proud. Remember? Yeah. You're cool. I'm going to plant you again."

Or whatever.

Each plant is like this. I'm fucking losing it. How will I really drive away and leave behind the grapes that like their fall pruning and making of wreath from their prunings behind? Who will do that now? HUH?

Um, no one. Because most people are normal.

And the citrus trees with their monthly fertilizing?

Um, no one. Because no one fertilizes their citrus trees adequately.

And the everything else with their everything else needs?

By having some shitty ass neighbors, that's how.

Oh - you didn't think this was going to be all about plants without any bitching, did you?


Anyway then, don't misunderstand me, the majority of our neighbors are AWESOME. And by AWESOME, I mean AWESOME. You know this.

As I type, they're out there dropping off treats, voluntarily taking Jada to their houses when agents have to come show our house to clients, hosting dinner at their houses so that we can get in our hanging out time before moving, texting us with well wishes, offering to help us pack and all kinds of nice awesome things. You know - awesomey stuff that awesome neighbors do when they find out you're moving and want to help/show that they'll miss you/be awesome some more.

But those aren't the neighbors I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the shitty neighbors and the only purpose that they're serving right now is the one that will make it possible to leave all the plants, our sweet house and everything else behind.

Because of fuck those guys.

THANKS SO MUCH TO THEM for providing the crucial "How do we get our asses to the country?" puzzle piece.


Because yesterday, after eight (!) years of saying nothing about the fence that we installed (on our own dime mind you because they refused to pay a cent - you remember) they want it changed.

Before we move.

So that they can reclaim a 10 ft2 space next to their house in the name of "We need access to clean our windows."

Access which they'd have if they'd open the gate.

Which apparently they're unable to do because of they're retarded and want to fuck with us.

And they want it done NOW so that they don't have to go through this with The New Neighbors.

Because, you know, we're all just so close already that it's easier to do with us than unknown new people.

Or maybe because they know that, aside from my oft-referenced aluminum bat, we're unarmed and, with The New Neighbors - who knows, right?

Whatever. These neighbors are asshats.


Thankfully, we have the grooviest, savviest, and also very AWESOME realtor who smoothed everything out with these chuckleheads and coached me on how to smooth everything out with them without using the bat as encouragement.

Poor bat - barely gets any skull time.

So, yeah, we're moving y'all.

99% of our neighbors are awesome and we'll be sad to leave them. 1% of our neighbors are complete assholes and will be lucky if I don't take a farewell swing at them with Cracky the Bat.

But either way we'll be leaving the suburbs of Silicon Valley behind and going to farm country.

Prepare yourself, countryside, for full time facecuddling.

Because that's what you do when you are two kids in adult bodies and are left unsupervised to make life choices.

I'll facecuddle you too, Hawk Carrying Freshly Killed Mouse.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The garden has become self-aware

Remember how that one time I went away on vacation or something and came back to find that the garden had done just fine in my absence?

Like how it almost didn't need me poking around in it and doing things to it and whatever to get it to grow and do what I wanted?

Yeah. That was a fun realization actually. Like, YAY! I don't have to be always doing things in order to have the garden be all productive and happy! I can slack off and be lazy and still the garden will do its thing just fine! Woo!

Let's start cocktail hour right now!

Except that what I wasn't realizing, probably because I was suddenly really excited about full time cocktail hour, was that it wasn't just that the garden didn't need me, it was that the garden didn't want me around while it hatched its plan to take over the universe.

Starting with Bubba's chair and the potted Clementine.
Yes, friends - the garden has become self-aware.

I take.
Because while I was off growing plants at work all the live long day and leaving my plants at home to mostly their own devices, they apparently got together and decided that the time was right for a land grab.


And lest you think it's just the nasturtium that's getting all I CLAIM THIS LAND IN THE NAME OF THE KING and that perhaps I've lost it just a little bit more than usual, let me assure you that the plants are in on this together. 

So, we'll just be having the front porch then. 
And we feel like the walkway is pretty much ours already.

Meanwhile, what's up here? That's probably ours for the taking, too.

This cable is merely a highway by which we may more easily commandeer the outskirts of the yard.

Poppies are the friendliest of all occupiers.

We obviously need a table to go with our chair and potted citrus. I mean, where are we supposed to put our cocktails and light reading otherwise?

They've been taking notes.
So, yeah - the garden is really in full swing and I don't need to tell you that it has very little to do with me and really a lot more to do with the force of thousands of plants being left unsupervised to do just exactly what they wish while I go running off to tend for thousands of other plants that I like to think need me SO MUCH OTHERWISE DEATH.

And I'll continue to believe that because it's what my boss believes and that is what I like to call job security. Which, in farming, is a rare and also very nice thing.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oh, just a whole bunch of random shit. And photos.

Ugh. I just hate going so long without talking to you guys.

I get all, "Oh, I'm sure I'll come up with something meaningful by the weekend and then I'll write it up full of scrumptious swears and it will be like nothing happened."

Like I never all the way mixed up my life and routine and then went on acting like I was going to be able to keep all non-work related aspects of my life unchanged.

Well, we all know I'm a delusional ass, so let's not act so surprised.

But yes, I have been delinquent in my posting.

Happens, I guess.

So, the good news is that I am making this shit happen right now, but the bad news is that I have no direction, so that is when we go to the photos on instant upload to see what the fuck I've been up to that I want to tell you guys all about.

Usually this involves food or food, so let's just start with food and see where that takes us:

We resurrected one of Bubba's smoked tri-tips from Chesty and almost blew our brains out with deliciousness last night.

I pulled the first spring onions yesterday when I was pruning back the dill and discovering lots of oddly shaped radishes. Asses.

I brought some of my basil over to a friend's house the other night and she proceeded to make me a drink fit for a fancy person. Which I am most certainly not.

I had a hair appointment on Valentine's Day, so obviously I brought my hairdresser a Valentine of vegetables. Because I'm, like, 80 kinds of weird. Just not the harmful type of weird. That's an important distinction.

I made those annoyingly awesome chocolate ganache cupcakes for Bubba and it got sort of colorful in my kitchen for a hot second.

Mostly because of my new crazy ass silicone cupcake cups.

I ate so much of this frosting while I was making the cupcakes. Seriously. I didn't end up making dinner because I was so full from frosting. Way to go, me.

I redeemed myself with this badass salad. It's not particularly photogenic, so I'm not sure why I took a picture of it. Or why I'm showing you. 

Made a little Best Sauce Ever. Yep. with my cuddle-worthy wooden spatula

Ooh! I forgot about this, but I totally made the pumpkin mascarpone soup again and WHOA is it still just as good as I remembered. 
So, food is done. Mostly. I mean, depending on whether you count the garden as food.

Which we do. In the future beans will be here. For now, only my neighbor's gorgeous tree and a tipi.

Future beans having a day outside. They were into it.

This is my first full season with my pink lemon and it is looking pretty promising. Also, there's a big ole lemon on there, so it's going to really go into a cocktail here at some point. That's how I'll know it's a success anyway.

To sow spring seed, one must wear one's coveralls even if it's just mostly for the pockets and so that I don't tear up the running clothes I'm wearing underneath because I'm too impatient to change clothes between running and gardening. 

I liked having monster beans hatching on my grow rack so much, that I may always start my beans indoors first. It's just too hilarious. RAWWWWWWWWWWWWR! Sorry. That could not be helped.

Hi, Tallest Monster Beans. I'm sorry that I didn't lower the light right on top of you like I know I should have. That's why you're freakishly tall now and no one will want to be your friend at school. 

Sort of hard to tell from this crap phone photo and the mounds of dry leaves, but the front yard meadow is sort of looking decent right now. And it's about to look way better. And then it'll look sort of blah for a while, then haggard, then ugly and then HEY! It looks kinda good again! And we'll have gone full circle. 
I didn't even know how to hold it is how odd this radish was.

This has been a rather radishy winter. Kinda nice, actually.

I mean, how fun does that look?

Too bad I'm just eating this and thinking about how hot our summer's going to be if the garden is this warm all winter.

Especially since I'll be working in the greenhouse that today -  IN FEBRUARY MIND YOU - was 111 degrees.





Ugh. I shall perish.

First though - ship a shitload of hydroponic basil.

First actual shipment. Very goofbally selfie. Favorite hat

OK - I'm done.

That was a lot of random photo barfing. Good job hanging in there. Sorry that my posts have gotten all spastic, but I'm allowing myself room to veer ever so slightly off my long trod path of strict discipline because if I don't, I'm 100% sure that my I will melt the fuck down in the brains.

But for sure YAY SPRING!