Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a few items

Things feel so hopeful this evening. I thought I would give you a few items (what qualifies as news around here):

~ Our third rhubarb plant has pulled through a very rough transplanting indeed. After two weeks of flopping around in the mud, its stalks are finally perking up.

~ After intending to do so since our first year of university, when Tim took a course and brought home an intriguing textbook, I've been making my way through an introduction to mathematical proof-writing.

~ My friend Laura is coming over on Sunday, and we are going to sew harem pants like the ones all the women I saw in European airports last summer were wearing. And I can honestly say that I don't remember the last time I was so excited.  I need to buy some cotton print.

~ I bought peonies and a hydrangea for our empty front flower bed. Those huge, bobbing heads of flowers are hardly real. And I found sorrel at the same greenhouse. Sorrel! The herb that tastes like sour apples; I used to eat it out of my Mum's garden when I was six. She had an amazing garden that year, the first and the last for a long time. Now I'll plant it myself, beside the covered patio, and harvest handfuls for potato soup.

~ (We finally planted the potatoes. We were so late. I hope they come up.)

~ For the past ten days or so, I've been utterly drained, stripped to my nerves, emptied of all physical and emotional reserves. Eight-hour shifts have turned into tests of endurance. I've fallen off my bike once, and I spent all day yesterday in bed. Tim and I put our heads together, squinted at my inner eyelids, and diagnosed anemia due to iron deficiency. I don't think I've ever purchased red meat, since moving out of my parents' house, but the time has come.

~ Tim built our first fire in the backyard tonight. The flames ate around the rings in the wood.

~ I'm in the middle of purging and organizing the files and programs on my laptop. I've never done it before, and it's strange, to learn my way around this little machine that I've used every day for five years.

Garneau again

I have such affection for these, and for their artists who make sure that neo-nazi slogans are crossed out in neon pink within twelve hours. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the revelator

Another small revelation on the subject of eating:

Though I often tell myself I'm eating what my body wants, I feel sick approximately 75% of the time. Either hungry/weak/nauseous, or heavy/full/nauseous. I put off doing things I want to be doing (writing, making things, exercising), because I feel sick, almost every single night. I cannot concentrate.

This is really no way to go about things, and I am curious about what the changes will look like (for they must be discovered and made).

Monday, June 11, 2012

rhubarb, dandelions

The dandelion situation is becoming nightmarish. When I consider adulthood and all of its horrors and responsibilities, I do not generally consider weed warfare. Alas, we have had to literally dig ourselves in. Tim spent hours today with a propane torch, combusting seed heads. Tomorrow I have to attempt to break up a patch of lawn for the potatoes. Imagine a writhing nest of vegetal snakes, glued into the soil with grassroots. I'm terrified that the act of hacking them up with a sharp spade will only serve to multiply them. 

(Tim, reading over my shoulder, starts being a broom from the Fantasia Sorcerer's Apprentice.)

Today I avoided the backyard like the plague, only going outside to plant four more tomatoes in a half-barrel Opa brought over. Instead of yanking at fat, morbid tap roots, I made rhubarb jam. 

It was my first attempt at real canning. To my surprise, all nine jars sealed, and remain unexploded on the window sill. Each successive small batch is darker and less sweet than the one before, so that there is a progression from bright clear red jelly to dark amber rhubarb butter. I'm out of jam jars, but there is still at least ten cups of chopped rhubarb in a mixing bowl on the counter, so I think that rhubarb syrup, and a rhubarb pie (with poppy seeds in the crust) are still on the agenda.

Friday, June 8, 2012


To Do:

- clean bathroom
- bike 15 km
- write
- make lemon curd
- clean inside of fridge
- turn soil for potatoes
- plant potatoes
- practice violin
- paint toenails
- make rhubarb jam
- make rhubarb pie
- dumbbells

As I announced last night, Tim and I have basically undertaken urban farming. On our way home from my Opa's acreage yesterday, we decided to dig over most of the weedy back lawn, and turn it into a field of potatoes (and spinach). We stopped at Canadian Tire, and I bought two boxes of gruesome-looking seed potatoes, a pair of work gloves, and three more sprightly tomato plants. There is a lot to be done today, because tomorrow and Sunday I'm wearing a black skirt and lace sweater, serving coffee and pastries here

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's raining

and since our windows don't open, I've opened the doors. This morning, scuttling around outside, inspecting the garden and taking out trash, I also took some images: 

Here we have the rhubarb patch. My Opa split a couple of his plants for me last week, and we put them in beside the back gate. 

And these are the wax beans! 

A ghostly emergence.

I could not be happier to be hanging laundry to dry under the patio shelter's roof, roasting pygmy-sized eggplants for curry, writing, reading, drinking strong black tea. I feel snug enough to welcome the elements.

Monday, June 4, 2012

in the windowsill

This is the chainstitching I wrote about. A long time ago, my Mum sewed our initials onto our velvet Christmas stockings with chain stitch, and I've been enamored by it as long as I can remember. A first attempt.

(Another tiny glimpse of our shadowy hobbit hole. This is the window in my study.)

from The Maytrees by Annie Dillard

"After their first year or so, Lou's beauty no longer surprised him. He never stopped looking, because her face was his eyes' home. No, what so endeared her now and forever was her easy and helpless laughter. He felt like the world's great wit. She worked, walked, stood, or sat like a mannequin, shoulders down and neck erect, and his least mot slayed her. Her body pleated. Her rusty-axle laugh sustained itself voicelessly and without air. At table, if she was still chewing when the laugh came rolling on her backward like a loose cart, she put a napkin on her head. Otherwise she dropped on the table. If it slayed her yet more, she knocked the table with her head in even beats. Or her long torso folded and her orbits fell on vertical fists on her knees. Unstrung with hilarity, she lost her footing and rolled down a dune. More than once--anywhere--she dropped backward and straight-legged like a kid in diapers.

He fell in love with Lou again and again. Walking, he held her hand. She seemed, then and now, to roll or float over the world evenly, acting and giving and taking, never accelerating, never slowing, wearing a slip of red or blue scarf. Her mental energy and endurance matched his. She neither competed nor rebelled. Her freedom strengthened him, as did her immeasurable reserve. Often she seemed the elder. She opened their house to everyone. Actively, she accepted what came to her, like a well-sailed sloop with sea room. Her face was an organ of silence. That he did not possess her childhood drove him wild. Who was this impostor she sang with in college--how dare he?"