Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life in the not so Garden of Eden

I wrote about my gardening plans last Sunday and I am picking up from where I left off at that point.  My not so "Garden of Eden" is progressing nicely, albeit not as lush in greenery as the first ever garden was reported to be.  My little garden is still very much in a start up phase with more seedlings sprouting and showing signs of life.  Of course, I am still planting even more seeds in hopes of bumper crops of flora and fauna that will amaze not only myself, but some of my skeptical neighbours.

Admittedly, three types of basil, at least two of parsley, savory, rosemary, dill and a few other herbs will most certainly provide not only myself, but a few carefully chosen friends.  The little crop of tomatoes will be frozen for use through the fall and winter months if my plants decide to go wild and send out bounteous blooms that all lead to my much desired fruit crop.  Cherry tomatoes are so wonderful in salads, but I enjoy just a few cut into chunks with basil, a goodly amount of black pepper and just a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar.  I can actually smell the scent of the ripened tomatoes as I type this post.  More likely the scent comes from the tomatoes on the counter top waiting to be sliced for the evening meal rather than my very much over active imagination.

All the seedlings that I planted about ten days ago have sprouted with the exception of a few.  My little green house contraption has done its job well and the seedlings continue in their development and will be planted up later this week into their starter pots.  The starter geraniums that I purchased have also gone through an amazing transformation and now look like proper healthy plants with one plant even in bloom today.  I was out and about one day this past week and found some more scraggly geraniums hiding under a shelf in a shoppe and got them for a decent price.  So, six more little plants have been potted up into two pots and whilst they still look pretty gnarly, I expect with a little TLC that they will turn around and be splendid within a week or two.

I must tell you this, I have more seeds on their way this week from a splendid greenhouse operation that offers all things related to growing herbs, the plants themselves, seeds, dried herbs as well as essential oils.  I am truly excited at the prospect of the seeds arriving this week and cannot wait to plant said seeds.  My line of thinking is to compare the run of the mill seeds I purchased locally to the very much touted high quality seeds from the catalog of goodies of all things pertaining to gardeners.  I will let you know whether or not it is worth the investment to buy the higher quality seeds.  Truthfully, the cost of the greenhouse seeds was very similar to the ones I purchased already.  It will be interesting to compare the basil genevose from each purveyor to see if the plants differ in quality, the abundance of leaves and the ever important taste test.   I am making notes as the days go along so that I can review them in length before the garden of 2013 is planned and planted.

Looking through seed catalogs is rather like looking through clothing catalogs.  You try to envision how the plants will look growing on the balcony in different pots.  You wonder what combination of herbs will best serve you in terms of usefulness.  This leads to research as to the recipes you favour and the herbs used in each as well as searching out what variety of that particular herb is best used in said recipe.  This gardening is not as simple as it sounds and involves as much mentally as it does physically.  Research seems to be involved in every aspect of my daily routine lately, but I will go into that at another time.

So, as I mentioned, most of the herbs and flower seeds have sprouted little seedlings that still need to develop a bit more before being potted up.  I have brought home numerous pots for this part of the gardening cycle as well as two huge bags of potting soil meant especially for what I am doing.  Once the plants have grown a bit more and been potted up to the next size pot, I will put them out on the balcony for a few hours each day to harden them off and get them used to being outside in all that wonderful light.  My luck, it will rain when I am planning to do this or just be dark and gloomy.  Not to despair, I will still put the little plants out and hope that they get used to being off of my inner window sill and kitchen table.  Molly Cat is getting anxious that her window perch has been taken over by greenery that she is not allowed to nibble on.  My lovely yellow kalanchoe is showing evidence of Molly's quest for fresh nibbles with little yellow remains of blooms being left on the rug.  Sighhhhh!
Keeping Molly from plants is like trying to keep a brownie addict from inhaling the freshly baked pan cooling on the counter.  It just cannot be done to any satisfying degree of proficiency. 

What else is going on in the life of the artist in training you might ask?  Well, I am trying to capture hand poses using my lovely wooden mannequin.  I am keeping the poses politically correct so as not to upset anyone who happens to open my sketch book.  My cleaning lady was here this past Friday and I very prudently put the mannequin in my studio out of her line of sight.  Poor Judy was terribly concerned when she first saw the mannequin and backed away from it as if it were some evil talisman of impending doom.  Really, it was in a very natural pose and not anything that should have alarmed anyone.  But, my Judy is a very skittish lady and becomes terribly agitated over things like books I use for research, some of my dark sketches and so on.  I have found it wise to do a decluttering process prior to her arrival and put away any materials that might spook her.  I smile as I type this as I realize that I left out a book on the significance of different candles and the rituals in which they are used.  Ooopsy!  Note to self:  take note of books I leave on the bedside table and put away any of them that are not main stream fiction.

I did finish reading Danny Price's "How to Make a Journal of Your Life."  It took me a little longer to get through it than I had anticipated due to my concentration not being what it normally would be.  This in no way reflects the content of the book.  Whilst I did enjoy the book and found it did give some interesting perspectives on how to put together a journal that truly reflects yourself, it did get just a tad overdone and rambled a bit.  I like a book that gets to the point, gives some relevant examples and keeps moving at a good pace.  Price's book gets points for offering up essential materials to have on hand, how to find a journal that you can work with along with some interesting stories and observations along the way.  But, it just gets a little too wordy and could have tightened up a bit in each chapter.  I do not need to be told when I can have a cookie and unfortunately, Price's reward for making your way through a chapter and following his directives, is to tell you that you can have a cookie.  He even provides you with his daughter's recipe for chocolate chip cookies in the event that you do not have a recipe to follow or a jar of store bought biscuits.  I would give this book four stars for its originality and ease of reading.  I was never bored, but then I was never so involved that I could not put it down to do something else.  I think you get my drift.

I did finish Bird by Bird.  I cannot recall if I mentioned that in an earlier post.  And so I am now on to a business type of book.  "Persuasion, A New Approach to Changing Minds" by Arlene Dickinson is my book of choice at the moment.  Ms Dickinson is CEO and the owner of one of Canada's top independent marketing firms Venture Communications and has a lot to say about how persuasion works into business modules as well as into daily life for everyone.  You do not need to be a business person to relate to what she writes, only someone who enjoys and respects another who is open and honest in their dealings both in the boardroom and out in their daily encounters with day to day activities of family life.  I sat for two hours Saturday evening reading this book and did not want to put it down even to fill my coffee cup once again.  I expect that I will be reading and finishing this book over the next few days and able to report to you next Sunday on how it progressed and whether I found it to be a worthy read.  At this point, I am thoroughly enjoying the common sense and pace of the book, leaving me to feel that Ms Dickinson does have something to say that will benefit everyone from the no nonsense business person right on to the parent being badgered to help out with yet another bake sale, charity benefit or chaperone duty on a school trip to yet another museum.  Yep, this is one smart lady and I have learned a lot already in the time spent reading her book.

I hope your week was as fun as mine turned out to be!  There is something about getting your hands dirty and planting a garden that is good for the soul.  To see results, the lovely little seedlings showing their tiny leaves and growing with each passing day that reinforces your determination to make this garden the best you can possibly achieve.  Add to that some noteworthy books that have captured your attention and you have the makings of a wonderful week that makes you feel that your time was well spent.  At least, I feel that my time was well spent despite the kitchen table being taken over by seedlings waiting for their moment in the sun.

Have a wonderful week and I would love to hear about your gardens, what you have planted, your hopes for the plants, and of course what you are reading at the moment.  You know, a journey is very personal.  Everyone goes at their own pace and follows the beat of the drum that they happen to hear.  You do not have to move quickly, in fact moving slowly and savouring each step is really the best way to approach this journey.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac


Rachel said...

Lovely to see the garden is coming along! Love the visuals of the tomato salad too. I love reading about your week!

Rutheemac said...

Thank you, Rachel! I love writing
about my journey. :) Keep reading
for updates of how many types of
basil I end up with. Cheers!