Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time to Plant

Last year, I sowed lettuce seeds on March 21. Nothing happened. For a while. Finally, in earliest May - germination. Humph. Within weeks, though, I had beds full of lettuce. By the end of June: peas, spinach, carrot tops.

Let's not talk about those carrots.

But that was 2011. This is 2012 - everything's different.

Today Iain and I drove down to Millcreek Gardens (still waking up from winter - you can tell they're anticipating a spring rush in a couple of weeks). Six bags of soil, five four-packs of pansies and about ten seed packs later - time to garden.

We filled the beds with fresh soil (These are beds 3/4 full from last year. They contain a mixture of leaves, grass, dirt, and kitchen stuff from our compost pile. My compost never breaks down, though. Dunno what's up with that. I mean, never. It's been back there for a year but everything's completely intact. I'm considering making a vermiculture tub and letting the worms tackle it.).

Then we planted sugar-snap peas along the south parts of 3 beds. Lots of peas, I know, but last year I planted sugar-snap and snow. That was silly. I got about ten pieces at a time. It was never quite enough to feel like a "harvest." This year, more seeds of one variety = a more reasonable quantity.

Then we planted a packet of carrots in the northern portion of the purple bed. Sprinkled lettuce seeds in the other two completed the veggie plan.

We made a little gift for Grandma (pansies in a terracotta pot), then popped the remaining flowers into the herb bed (the green one, if you've been following the links above). Herbs, chard, and other plants won't go in until May - we shop the Wasatch Community Gardens sale at Rowland Hall. For the moment, though, I'm just happy to have flowers and to fantasize about lettuce.

Did I mention that the blackberries and peonies are coming back? Yep. Photos to come. I promise.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What a Peach!

Above, the most recent photo of Iain's cousin, Audrey. Isn't she grand? Iain says he wants to play with her.

I've just returned from Kansas City, Missouri, where I attended the National Council on History Education conference with a colleague and a trio of students. Whew! It was a great time, complete with great restaurants and outings and three perfectly awful sessions before our own.

While there, we visited the World War I museum (twice). A ticket buys you two days of visiting. The first day we arrived not long before closing, in the pouring (streaming) (dousing) (pounding) rain. Patrons for the tower (where you can look out over KC) included our group of five and a family with four or five sons. They went up first, but not before their youngest looked up at one of our students and burst into frantic humming. Yes, humming. Weird? That was nothing.

They returned to the base - I guess standing on the uncovered observation deck in the rain wasn't so much fun - and we entered the elevator. We agreed about the observation deck, so pretty quickly we found ourselves back on the ground, running through the drops toward Memory Hall. Our humming friends were there, too.

So we walked around, enjoying the propaganda posters and objects from soldiers, nurses and civilians. One of the teenaged sons of the Humming Family stood at a kiosk, staring intently at a computer screen. He was there for a while - perhaps five minutes. Finally, he walked away and we stepped up.

To find...hmmm...the computer showed one of the murals on the walls above us, see? And it allowed you to move a magnifier over any part you wanted to see in greater detail. One mural showed a classical figure. Clad in draped fabric. Or...unclad, depending on where you looked.

You guessed it, right? We walk up to the kiosk and that young man had been enlarging, staring at, generally enjoying the physical assets of Lady Victory. We walked up to find: BOOBIES!

Cue giggling.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Butte Gardens - Spring Approaches

Iain has a special kind of school this week. It's spring break but I have a pile of grading not unlike the pile of straw Rumpelstiltskin spun into gold every night. It's big.

So every morning Iain goes off to play with a select band of kids who are in school during spring break. In the afternoon, I pick him up and we have outings.

Yesterday, we visited Red Butte Gardens to check on spring. It's coming, for sure. We basked in 65 degree weather, intense sunshine, and the complete emptiness of the garden. It was we two plus a family of four. That's it.

And look! Snowdrops! They're always the first to pop. I've seen at least ten daffodils around town, though, and the purple heads of tulip leaves are emerging swiftly, too.

Any minute: warm air, brilliant sunshine, and the downward slide into summer. Iain's ready for camp and I'd be dreaming of sleeping in had I not already (!) scheduled pretty much every single day of June. Oh well. There's always July.

Today was the Natural History Museum (Dinosaurs!), tomorrow perhaps the zoo. Or the never know.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Apres Ski

Iain had Ski Lesson #2 today. It was fine. Except for two vomiting episodes. But fine, really.

When he got home, he wanted applesauce and a Nutri-Grain bar. Then he wanted scrambled eggs and toast. Then strawberries. Then ice water.

And then...

The Dad reached for the blender. Time for a milkshake. And by "milkshake" we mean: a pound of ice cream plus half a cup of milk. Don't want to overwork the blender, right?

Iain thinks it's "ok."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal


Anyway, spring is coming. Not quickly, of course, but it's coming nonetheless. Monday the temps promise to reach 60, with full sun. So it's time for a little planning.

We like a restaurant here called Kyoto. It's a neighborhood spot, nothing fancy, but you can get crispy tempura and big, sloppy udon and if you want to remove your shoes and sit in a Japanese booth that's available.

Outside, they have a gorgeous display of bamboo. Yes, bamboo. The plant that hates me but which I love with a stalkerish delight that makes me happy vegetation can't get restraining orders.

The shortest of Kyoto's specimens is this:

Sasa veitchii (click here for a link to White Flower Farm - you could buy one, too!)

It grows 3-5 feet tall, thrives in the cold, and has that pretty white edging. So I'll plant it and hopefully it won't die. Like every other bamboo.

Fargesia murielae (click here for a link, also to WFF)

Second, I got one of these. It grows 6-12 feet tall (unless it dies) and should anchor the corner where last year's specimen...died.

Last year Boris peed on the bamboo all summer. We think that might have had something to do with its demise. This year Boris has his own little side yard (poop yard) so his pee is isolated. If we're lucky, very lucky, these two will survive.

Friday, March 02, 2012


Today is my birthday. My students decided to celebrate with a balloon explosion. See above.


They also decorated the room with little GI Joes (complete with little parachutes), sharks, and rubber duckies.

Don't worry. You read that last sentence correctly. Sharks, soldiers, and ducks.

No, I have no idea why that particular combination seemed logical. But in the plants, on the shelves, on my desk, on the conference table - everywhere there are toys.