Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sun Breaks

Sun breaks. That is what we say in Western Washington if we expect that the day will not be Rain with showers at times. Yesterday there were sun breaks. I hurried out to putz without a hood. Now my back hurts. I think my mornings are going to start with prayer, meditation and crunches.

Meanwhile, out in the toy box (that is what my garden looks like after looking at pictures of Constance's French Intensive garden in Texas with her 4' x 60' rows) I need to find a way to keep my seeds from drowning. After Church I am going to cut a square of clear plastic to drape over the top of the cage. I have some picnic table-cloth weights that attach with alligator clips. I am hoping that will keep them on for me. I don't want a cloche or greenhouse so I am not going to bring the plastic to ground level. I just want to keep it from getting muddy. Pictures and a success % later.

The picture is the result of a raccoon getting into the box. I guess he didn't like that tag. Ray bought hardware to secure the cage to the box.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The 2010 Garden: Post 1 February 25

Rain was expected today. Blue sky kept asserting her majesty. The whole family went to Lowe's with me to purchase the items to finish the garden. For the moment, my project is complete. Now I wait; for sprouts, for the next planting day and and the weather reports.

Peas went in this afternoon, five square feet, 36 to a square. The sweet peas are only 16 to a square. Now that they are all tucked into the loam, I wonder if I should have got at least one climbing type instead of all short vines. I'll plant more peas in mid March. Maybe then I will put in my favorite variety, Maestro. It is a short vine, only about four feet tall, but still needs support. I am so annoyed with myself for not reading the label closer on the shell peas I chose. The company is in Oregon but the packet clearly says that the seed is from China. How did I miss that? I would rather support American farmers then an agro business in a country whose organic practices I am not sure of. Live and learn.

Just in case the weather does not take a snow day in March, I took a chance and planted one square of bok choi and one of spinach. The first week of March I want to plant more squares; two of lettuce, more bok choi, a chard, a Brussels sprout and a couple of broccoli.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Port Susan Weekend

A choir of tiny birds filled the forest with melody. I only saw one of them clearly enough to identify; a busy Oregon Junco. The rest will be there for another day.

Port Susan is pleasant even on a rainy Valentine's Day. Fragrant with cedar, carpeted by the leaves of Alder and Maple long past their prime, walking is enchanting to someone like me, too long in the city. The evidence of humanity is abundant. Small graveled clear cuts allow us to claim a space of our own. Connie invited us to her place for the long weekend. Now we are asking Y'shua to grant us an open door for our own graveled lot in the wild. Only native plants can be used for landscape. When we still lived in Robe Valley, I started learning about natives and am dreaming about my own wild culture.

The weekend was a good shake down, just what we wanted. The trailer had not been as pillaged as I had thought. My kitchen tools were all accounted for with the exception of a muffin tin. The camp oven is smaller than the standard oven in the house. So a sponge-cake pan is renamed "cookie sheet" and only six muffins can be baked instead of the usual dozen because the smaller tin fits the little oven. Since I did not make muffins it was just a note on the list. I had my stainless, thermal French press and had bought some delicious dark roast coffee for our morning cuppa joe. . .last August. Like most little stores, the Port Susan store only had Folgers regular. It was better than what I brought, but it was not what I wanted. I did not scare everyone with a grumpy caffeine withdrawal, so it was all good.

We had our meals together. Group meals are an element I have missed when Ray and I camp alone. We three shared food, laughter, heartfelt prayer. I learned a new table game, Rummycube (or something like that). It was, after all, wet outside. If there was any downside to the weekend, it would be that Connie is VERY allergic to dogs, and Rudy Valentine has become my constant companion. She is ok with him walking outside, but inside of my little trailer where Rudy has been our travel buddy this last year, was misery for her. I had to be careful going inside her space, making sure that I had on clean clothes. One time Ray was distracted with camp chores. He came in for dinner wearing a jacket that he had tucked Rudy into when they were cold. Connie did not say anything, but I could see her eyes swell and her face start to itch. I wish that was not an issue for us.

Port Susan has an elegant chapel. The Spirit of the Lord moves there. I came in a little guarded not sure what I would find. Silly me. Pastor did not speak of Valentines or dead Presidents but of children of God being a whole package, redeemed by the blood of the Son of God. We who by faith believe, recognize that there is no good deed we can do to earn heaven. Occasionally I forget that there is no sin that makes me worthy of rejection by God. Once we enter into a covenant relationship with Y'shua, we become new, a whole package. All of who I am, my finest works and my sin must be presented to God, not in trade for the hope of heaven because Y'shua/Jesus is my only hope of heaven. Nothing needs to be hidden. Everything on the path has shaped us into the people we are. God redeems the whole person to a new creation no longer anchored to the shame or the pride of my past. The message was the conversation on our walks and at our meals. "There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First Camping Trip of 2010

It feels like Christmas morning. Ray and I are gearing up for our first camping trip of 2010. We are not going far, just to Port Susan to stay with a dear friend. It looks to be a good trip for late winter birding.

Our first trip of the year is our shake-down trip. We are eager to get out and breathe the air that rests under the cedars. We want to get our boots muddy. But we pillaged the trailer over the winter and need to replace blankets that went to the guest room, herb tins that came to dinner, the lemon zester I saw in my kitchen tool drawer, towels washed after a trip and never put back. I know I saw the travel Yatizee and Scrabble games on a dresser. We like to know what we need before longer trips.

If we are going on a long trip I am more dogmatic about making a menu and worry there will not be enough real food, way too many snacks if I try to shoot from the hip. We will not need roadside lunch because Port Susan is only two hours from our house. I know what I'm doing for Valentines dinner. The first asparagus of the year, fat and perfect the way Costco likes them, will be grilled and wrapped in thin layers of soul, baked and set on a bed of multicolored rice or maybe whole grain corkscrew pasta. Connie said she was making a salad. For dessert, because you need a dessert on Valentine's, I have already been seduced at Trader Joe's by a dark chocolate cake all shiny with filling, glazed with rich chocolate and the first huge strawberries of the year (thank you California!).

It looks to be a rainy night, but like Eddie Rabbit (do you remember Eddie Rabbit?), "I love a rainy night". There isn't a more romantic sound to me than the song of rain on a metal roof. Rainy mornings? You can keep your wet mornings, but at night they are welcome.

I grin like the Cheshire cat when I think about days gone by. Everything had to survive a stuff sac in my pack. Weight was a big deal. A memorable treat might have been chocolate sauce to disguise the poor strawberries that were carefully packed to survive the trip. Rain at night sounded pleasant but sure did not make me feel cozy. I never thought I could enjoy camping in a trailer. I love this gypsy life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Campster Valentine

My guy knows me so well! I do not own gemstones or gold. My wardrobe will survive river crossings and fire tending. The kinds of "necklaces" I get tend to have a vinyl strap with a powerful pair of binoculars or colored cord holing a high-tech compass. Wrapping paper could be a vintage Green Trails map. Once my gift came in a Mountain Smith lumbar pack. The gift that year was a white gas hiking stove that had a simmer setting instead of being just a blow torch on a stand. I still have both of those even though sleeping on the ground is no longer an option for me. Is it just me or do most outdoors women prefer these kinds of gifts?

A couple of years ago he gave me a cute picnic back pack well before Valentine's Day. I filled it up with classic romance on the road-food. We caught a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula and spent the day at Point no Point birding, finding colorful rocks and wondering how some of the stuff from high tide got there. There were a surprising number of hard hats among the drift wood. Dinner from the tailgate of our truck while sitting on a thrum-a-rest, watching the Mergansers flirt on the edge of the rip, enjoying treats from the backpack.

What will I do this year? He and the boys are deep into Geo caching. I do not know much about their hobby. I know just enough to realize that they have all the do-dah's that they need. Same with fishing gear and birding extras. There is a large pile of hats in the office. So besides foods that he loves what do I get this year? He likes the book, "Fat of the Land" by Langdon Cook (Adventures of a 21st Century Forager) Perhaps a trip to the Washington Coast with a brand new clam gun will be sexy enough for Valentine's day. Perhaps a trip to Cabela's or REI will give me some ideas. Better yet, browsing the aisles of Camping world with their jacks and grills will be more to his liking.

Not long ago we talked about learning to jig for rock fish from a two person sit-on-top kayak. That seems a too cold and involves too much work for a romantic evening back on shore. I'm open to ideas.