Tag Archives: gardening

Nice girls grow zucchini.

I can’t bake. I have horrible handwriting. I can do no sport which calls for hand-eye coordination or the use of a bat, racket, or paddle. I am, at best, a fair driver. Some would even say I am unsafe behind the wheel. 

But I just did this:

This zucchini is so big it borders on the obscene – I felt almost dirty picking it. (As I yanked the thing out of the ground, I heard myself whispering, really, I’m not that kind of girl…)

But pick it, I did. And tonight – we feast.  

All those other things that I’m bad at, all those many many things, the driving, the baking, the dancing (yup), heck, even the parenting… They can all suck it because I just went and grew part of dinner.

P.S. Fuck. I just burnt the chicken.


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Meatless May, Again. 

It’s that time of year. At least twice a week I get this sort of email: Dear Parent, please send in pictures of your child doing something she loves, something she hates, and something while speaking French and standing on one foot. OR this: Dear Parent, please come in to school for a two hour long presentation/party/celebration on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and please make sure your child senses NONE of your resentment. And finally,  my favorite: Dear Parent, please purchase 200 pieces of poster board for the endless projects you and your child will fight about over the next five weeks. 

Luckily for me, it’s also Meatless May! And while it’s more of a Mostly Meatless May (meat can happen on weekends if need be), I actually feel like mostly is a pretty good bar, as in – I am mostly a decent mother, I am mostly a good wife, I am mostly a productive writer. 

Everybody gets on board with the meatlessness. My eldest loves it the most because he complains about the lack of variety come dinner time, which is actually how Meatless May was born. Last week he said, “Wow, you really turn into Guy Fieri in May.” I have no idea who that is, but I’ll take it. 

I rescued the veggie Pad Thai after the tofu turned into a gelatinous mush when I followed the recipe and tossed it in cornstarch (never again.) 

Even though know the chickpea omelette looks and sounds pretty revolting, it’s actually a big hit here. You have to ignore the fact that the batter looks like inedible gunge.

Everybody gamely tried the cilantro and basil pesto, even my youngest who believes that if it’s not covered in Nutella, it’s not actually a food.

The herbs are all made possible by M., who built these rockstar vegetable beds for Mother’s Day. 

(Never mind that I told him to build them in a spot which is under the shade of a giant tree and nothing will really grow except for the herbs. Never mind that instead of making me feel like an idiot, he offered to build me something somewhere sunny in the garden.)

I guess I can safely say that I am mostly capable.

Happy Meatless May, peeps.

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  I couldn’t be any more excited about this. I almost want to sleep outside to protect it.

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Our gardener up and moved back to his country of origin a few months ago. What he lacked in expertise he made up in exuberance and emotional intelligence (and I’ll leave it at that). Now he is gone, rather than look for a new gardener, I think I may put M up to the task. Frankly, given how potty people are for their gardens here, I’m surprised how hard it is to find anyone to properly tend to mine. I suppose if I were willing to pay a tony landscaping company to come and really whip this garden into shape I’d be alright, but given that I was chastised by the men in the house for planting flowers in what was apparently an end zone, I know better than to invest too much in the project. I’m just looking for some basic maintenance. How is that so hard to find? I did find one rather hunky guy to do the garden for about 6 months. He was quite dreamy in a clean scrubbed kind of way, but when I found out he was 20 years younger than me, I felt dirty. (He drove a Jeep Cherokee that was a late ’80’s early ’90’s model. I told him that vintage was all the rage while I was in high school and he looked at me like I was Martha Washington, raving about the horse and buggies of my youth.) Soon, he left for… well, greener pastures.

Frankly, I think many Seattleites do their own yard work. Partly because they like to do things themselves rather than phone out for help (in stark contrast to Los Angelenos, who pick up the phone when a light bulb burns out), and partly because they want to have an excuse to walk around town in their grubby gardening gear. You always know spring is coming in Seattle when the de rigueur down vest is replaced by its fluffy fleece cousin, and is soon joined by a pair of Hunter boots (forest green, of course) and mucky cargo pants with pockets that actually have lots of little things in them. Ah, the Pacific NW.

So, M is our gardener of the moment, and he’s a rather capable one at that. Yesterday he and Bennett mowed the lawn. After Bennett apprenticed for about 45 minutes, M let him mow on his own. (Yes, given the boy’s history, this was rather shocking.) But the weeds still need to be whacked, and they’re particularly tufty round the corners of the jungle gym.

I found M looking for some weed whackers on Amazon and I pointed to the cutest one on the page — bright green and shiny with a lovely looping handle. Apparently cuteness is not a factor when choosing a weed whacker. Shows you what I know.

When we first moved to Seattle I planted with reckless abandon (as I had in LA), but not much grew. The ground never got warm enough for tomatoes, and with the exception of some herbs, the garden was sad and barren. Plus there are these nasty, invasive bluebell weeds that look pretty but ravage all my work every year, no matter how hard I try. People are mad for raised beds here, but that’s another level of gardening entirely as far as I’m concerned. Any time carpentry enters in an equation I know I’m outclassed. I’ve had better luck planting some things in pots, but the boys seem to think that any pot is a piss-pot, so you can imagine how wary I am of my summer veggies. Bennett does like to grab a huge hunk of parsley on his way into the house and eat it. Given that he or Efram probably peed on the same bunch the day before, I’m not very fond of this habit, but I pick my battles. Pee-soaked parsley is the least of my problems. Say that fast five times.


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