Archive for October, 2010

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it’s never too late to bloom

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

October is coming to a close. I am struggling to keep my bearings as I take all this fall-ness in.
NH fall leaves

I cannot quite fathom how quickly my days are passing right now. I am working so hard to BE PRESENT and have the wherewithal to take stock of where I am.

side steps

Where I am is I have leaves that need to be raked!

And that’s just it: it shouldn’t be a struggle in the first place. But there are a bunch of things in my life that are slightly out of balance right now, and so I feel like I am treading water sometimes to keep up. To get by. To thrive. The biggest thing I suppose is that work/life balance. Blah blah blah. I know it is hard for everyone. I salute you if you feel like you have it figured out!!!

But I am having a really hard time with it lately.

I enjoy my work—it is work. It is sustaining. It is engaging. However, I am easily swept up in its all-consuming powers. This is not necessarily a good thing. I can easily get lost in work, and then I lose my sense of self. I take on too much, work too late. I can become a slave to the work tasks, the never-ending work anxiety, the constant push to produce and please.

And that’s just not right. My weeks in October were a hailstorm of work. Work during work. Work after work. Thinking about work. Dreaming about work. This is not what is best for me. I need to brainstorm how to achieve more of an equilibrium so that I don’t get burnt out or bitter. I will take any and all suggestions.

However, in the midst of all this work, work, work—something interesting is happening. I am beginning to understand better all that I have to offer. In new ways, too. I think it is easy for all of us to take for granted what we do each day, how we add value, how we help—especially when there is such a push to simply take on more and produce greater results.

So it is important to take a step back and slowly exhale and evaluate that day-in/day-out. It might just blow your mind.

It’s making me realize that while I am so busy scurrying around trying to get by, I can easily lose sight of the wonder that makes up the plenty. The ephemeral. The precious. The grounding goodness that makes you stop in your tracks and give thanks.

Here was my moment today… I was puttering around the garden checking out the last of my zinnias, when I saw it:
dahlia

The most beautiful, perfect, solitary yellow dahlia. Nestled between my zinnias. Hovering about 5″ from the surface of the soil. I could have easily missed her and nearly did.

The lone dahlia from rows of seeds I planted back in May that did not come to fruition. And, yet, here she is. A survivor. Thriving. Dazzling in the autumn sunlight. A potent, powerful reminder of October’s theme—

It’s never too late to bloom.

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Posted in The Daily Balance, The Growing Season | 4 Comments »

chipmunks: beware!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The last two days have been awesome here in New Hampshire. We’ve had a break from the seasonal, chilly, crisp fall temps and have been treated to balmy, humid, rainy weather that topped 70°F today. Simply wonderful.

I will never get sick of warm weather, even if it wreaks complete havoc on hair. I end up looking like a crazed hippie chick with a tangly, unruly mane of curly locks. Yet I don’t care. Bring it.

The warm weather is interesting because without a warning the mosquitoes return in droves. And in the distance I can hear the faint echo of katydids reminding me that they are still hangin’ tough.

And then there are the chipmunks. Our relentless, never-ending, yard-controlling chipmunks.

Just when I thought they had gone underground for good into their palacial tunnels for the duration, I spotted one again today! Making a run for it from our stone wall, pausing to dart under our grill, and then a free-for-all under the porch.

But I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
cat hunting chipmunks

Our next-door neighbor’s cat was on the prowl! Hurrah!
cat hunting chipmunks

Too funny watching this cat and chipmunk game.
cat hunting chipmunks

Get ’em! Get ’em! Do it!

I know, I know—that’s just wrong. But, man, our chipmunks have been ruling the roost all year long! Craig tells me their lifespan is about 4 years… to which I responded, “Fantastic! That means that junior and junior and junior and junior and junior and junior are just about ready to take over!”

How’s your chipmunk sitch?

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Posted in Household Management 101, The Daily Balance | 4 Comments »

potato frittata with green onions

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Garden potatoes are perfect for making a potato frittata. And according to Martha Stewart, who is sort of like the Merriam Webster of cooking terms, frittata is spelled with 2 “t”s first, and 1 “t” second.

Phew. I think I have been spelling it wrong.

I am such a huge fan of the potato frittata now. Almost as much as I love crustless quiche. I mean, essentially they are first cousins. Except that the frittata uses potatoes as a “base” with the egg goodness on top. The last time I made a potato frittata I used roasted red peppers. You can read the recipe and basic steps for making one complete with photos here.

This time I took the same basic recipe, but I used less roasted red peppers. Instead, I added whole green onions from the garden on top!
potato frittata with green onions

It was delicious! And a great way to use green onions that I had plucked from the garden that were starting to wilt in the fridge.
potato frittata

I serve the frittata on a bed of organic baby spinach and mixed salad greens.

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Posted in Cooking Adventures | No Comments »

the near-frost october garden

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Sigh. The growing season is, well, pretty much over for outdoor 2010 here in southern New Hampshire. I didn’t do a great job of planting fall crops this year. But! I do still have a few veggies hangin’ on or waiting for me to harvest. And it is always nice to have something to look forward to.

beets

Beets!

My beets take forever to grow. This my second year growing beets, and last year they did squat. So this year I started these buggers waaaaay back in April. I pulled a few beets in summer and they were teensy. So I left the rest, and they finally look like real beets! I think I’ll pull them this weekend because I also want to use the beet greens. You can stir-fry them or chop up the greens for soup. And the beets we will roast to put on top of salad.

cilantro

Cilantro!

I planted new seeds in August, and for whatever reason, these cilantro plants have been total slackers. I thought my seeds had been dug up by birds or chipmunks, but a few weeks ago—wallah! Late bloomers. Wonder how frost-resistant cilantro is? It would be awesome to get a little crop going to clip over the next few weeks. Fresh cilantro = yummy taco night. Need I say more?

And, of course, carrots!
carrots

This is our second year growing carrots, and I am so excited to pluck them from the soil. We’ve grabbed a few here and there:
carrots

But the majority of our garden carrots are still waiting. And carrots are great because they tolerate frost pretty well. And, really, they just keep on, keepin’ on in the soil. Which works well for us! Looking forward to roasting them with a little olive oil and fresh dill.

So, that’s one of my weekend goals—to finish harvesting the gardens. It’s always a little bittersweet to say goodbye to the outdoor growing season. But, hey, good eats await!

What do you have still growing and hangin’ on in your garden? Did you plant fall crops? What’s working for you? I’d love to know.

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Posted in The Growing Season | 3 Comments »

fall gratitude

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

It is rather odd to be getting up in the morning and racing into the shower to greet the hot water these days. Helllllo! So coooold getting out of my cozy bed! Not necessarily a comfy bed, mind you, but that is a whole other post.

Needless to say, these fall mornings are such a shocking change from the broiling hot days of summer that were here not too long ago. When I would go to sleep and wake up to temps in the 80s! I will always miss the sweaty, summer-goodness heat.

That is just the way I am. I am not the biggest fan of fall. I am the first to admit that. The end of garden vegetables and flowers and robins and katydids and ice cream stands and farmer’s markets and lightning bugs and thunderstorms. But fall is inevitable. It is part of the cycle of the seasons. And I am trying to embrace that.
happy fall!

Fall starts to mess with my psyche. The cold mornings. Then the mid-day warm-up awesomeness that is such a tease. The sun setting before I get out of work. The coldness yet again when I get home. Early dark nights that make me think I should be in bed by 8:00. Running in the dark. Sigh.

Does anyone else feel this way?

I am reminding myself to be grateful that the seasons do change. That my trees, bushes, and lawn will soon get a chance to relax and slumber for more than a few months in order to renew themselves. That I can turn on the oven and cook “real” meals once again. That I can layer on sweaters and comfy clothes. That I can give myself permission to go to bed early. To nest with a good book. To spend time making jewelry and crafty schtuff inside instead of watering the garden outside. That I can wholeheartedly miss summer so much that I will be dazzled by it once more next year. A long ways away from now.

It is hard for me to make this transition into fall. But I am trying. I will settle in.

Slowly.

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Posted in The Daily Balance | 6 Comments »

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