Sunday, April 05, 2015

The garden has become self-aware

Remember how that one time I went away on vacation or something and came back to find that the garden had done just fine in my absence?

Like how it almost didn't need me poking around in it and doing things to it and whatever to get it to grow and do what I wanted?

Yeah. That was a fun realization actually. Like, YAY! I don't have to be always doing things in order to have the garden be all productive and happy! I can slack off and be lazy and still the garden will do its thing just fine! Woo!

Let's start cocktail hour right now!

Except that what I wasn't realizing, probably because I was suddenly really excited about full time cocktail hour, was that it wasn't just that the garden didn't need me, it was that the garden didn't want me around while it hatched its plan to take over the universe.

Starting with Bubba's chair and the potted Clementine.
Yes, friends - the garden has become self-aware.

I take.
Because while I was off growing plants at work all the live long day and leaving my plants at home to mostly their own devices, they apparently got together and decided that the time was right for a land grab.


And lest you think it's just the nasturtium that's getting all I CLAIM THIS LAND IN THE NAME OF THE KING and that perhaps I've lost it just a little bit more than usual, let me assure you that the plants are in on this together. 

So, we'll just be having the front porch then. 
And we feel like the walkway is pretty much ours already.

Meanwhile, what's up here? That's probably ours for the taking, too.

This cable is merely a highway by which we may more easily commandeer the outskirts of the yard.

Poppies are the friendliest of all occupiers.

We obviously need a table to go with our chair and potted citrus. I mean, where are we supposed to put our cocktails and light reading otherwise?

They've been taking notes.
So, yeah - the garden is really in full swing and I don't need to tell you that it has very little to do with me and really a lot more to do with the force of thousands of plants being left unsupervised to do just exactly what they wish while I go running off to tend for thousands of other plants that I like to think need me SO MUCH OTHERWISE DEATH.

And I'll continue to believe that because it's what my boss believes and that is what I like to call job security. Which, in farming, is a rare and also very nice thing.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oh, just a whole bunch of random shit. And photos.

Ugh. I just hate going so long without talking to you guys.

I get all, "Oh, I'm sure I'll come up with something meaningful by the weekend and then I'll write it up full of scrumptious swears and it will be like nothing happened."

Like I never all the way mixed up my life and routine and then went on acting like I was going to be able to keep all non-work related aspects of my life unchanged.

Well, we all know I'm a delusional ass, so let's not act so surprised.

But yes, I have been delinquent in my posting.

Happens, I guess.

So, the good news is that I am making this shit happen right now, but the bad news is that I have no direction, so that is when we go to the photos on instant upload to see what the fuck I've been up to that I want to tell you guys all about.

Usually this involves food or food, so let's just start with food and see where that takes us:

We resurrected one of Bubba's smoked tri-tips from Chesty and almost blew our brains out with deliciousness last night.

I pulled the first spring onions yesterday when I was pruning back the dill and discovering lots of oddly shaped radishes. Asses.

I brought some of my basil over to a friend's house the other night and she proceeded to make me a drink fit for a fancy person. Which I am most certainly not.

I had a hair appointment on Valentine's Day, so obviously I brought my hairdresser a Valentine of vegetables. Because I'm, like, 80 kinds of weird. Just not the harmful type of weird. That's an important distinction.

I made those annoyingly awesome chocolate ganache cupcakes for Bubba and it got sort of colorful in my kitchen for a hot second.

Mostly because of my new crazy ass silicone cupcake cups.

I ate so much of this frosting while I was making the cupcakes. Seriously. I didn't end up making dinner because I was so full from frosting. Way to go, me.

I redeemed myself with this badass salad. It's not particularly photogenic, so I'm not sure why I took a picture of it. Or why I'm showing you. 

Made a little Best Sauce Ever. Yep. with my cuddle-worthy wooden spatula

Ooh! I forgot about this, but I totally made the pumpkin mascarpone soup again and WHOA is it still just as good as I remembered. 
So, food is done. Mostly. I mean, depending on whether you count the garden as food.

Which we do. In the future beans will be here. For now, only my neighbor's gorgeous tree and a tipi.

Future beans having a day outside. They were into it.

This is my first full season with my pink lemon and it is looking pretty promising. Also, there's a big ole lemon on there, so it's going to really go into a cocktail here at some point. That's how I'll know it's a success anyway.

To sow spring seed, one must wear one's coveralls even if it's just mostly for the pockets and so that I don't tear up the running clothes I'm wearing underneath because I'm too impatient to change clothes between running and gardening. 

I liked having monster beans hatching on my grow rack so much, that I may always start my beans indoors first. It's just too hilarious. RAWWWWWWWWWWWWR! Sorry. That could not be helped.

Hi, Tallest Monster Beans. I'm sorry that I didn't lower the light right on top of you like I know I should have. That's why you're freakishly tall now and no one will want to be your friend at school. 

Sort of hard to tell from this crap phone photo and the mounds of dry leaves, but the front yard meadow is sort of looking decent right now. And it's about to look way better. And then it'll look sort of blah for a while, then haggard, then ugly and then HEY! It looks kinda good again! And we'll have gone full circle. 
I didn't even know how to hold it is how odd this radish was.

This has been a rather radishy winter. Kinda nice, actually.

I mean, how fun does that look?

Too bad I'm just eating this and thinking about how hot our summer's going to be if the garden is this warm all winter.

Especially since I'll be working in the greenhouse that today -  IN FEBRUARY MIND YOU - was 111 degrees.





Ugh. I shall perish.

First though - ship a shitload of hydroponic basil.

First actual shipment. Very goofbally selfie. Favorite hat

OK - I'm done.

That was a lot of random photo barfing. Good job hanging in there. Sorry that my posts have gotten all spastic, but I'm allowing myself room to veer ever so slightly off my long trod path of strict discipline because if I don't, I'm 100% sure that my I will melt the fuck down in the brains.

But for sure YAY SPRING!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not all about the fish this time.

So, you know what I've been doing aside from working all the live long day and then making room in the liquor cabinet for new gin?


Yeah. I've cooked some stuff recently that was rul good. 

And I baked a thing that was rul good. 

And I have a crush on a new vegetable. 

Because that's a thing a person can have - a crush on a vegetable. It's called love, people, and I encourage you to try it.

In my case, I have Bubba and Jada and life and this muther fucking parsley:

It's as big as my fork, milder than your typical parsley and, after a light frost, is just a little bit sweet so that you go, "WHATTHA YUM?" when you first try it.
Everyone, I'd like you to meet the fourth member of our love square - Giant of Italy parsley

And before you get all, "You can't love parsley like you love Bubba..." and other nonsensical shit, do remember that I tend to get a little overexcited about vegetables

I mean, right?

And I have tasted a lot of types of parsley and grown a lot of types of parsley, so it's not like I just tried it for the first time and declared it the soul-fillingest parsley of all time. 

It's totally not like that. 

Because, until I just had this parsley the other night with butternut squash ravioli I awesomely froze for myself a few months ago, I just grew parsley because it was an herb I chopped up and put in the base of every soup and meatloaf and meatballs and a billion other things I make because parsley is a standard.
If by "Standard", I mean "BITCHIN", which I do.

Or am I the only one that puts parsley in everything? Is this maybe a personal problem I have? Is it possible that I don't really want to lay down my life for this variety of parsley now that I've enjoyed its riches in my mouth which sounds really really bad?

No, none of that can be right.

Mostly because it sounds absolutely lewd.

And, while I do love this parsley, I don't want to, like, marry it or something.

I just want to eat it with every meal. 

Or whatever. I'm sort of a slut for food lately because I keep getting really good stuff from work and then from my garden and then my lovely Bubba who announced that he'd like a chocolate cake which prompted me to (accidentally) find the world's most incredible chocolate cake recipe.

So yeah, fuck vegetables for one second - chocolate cake.

That's the real story here.

Just you try to look away. IT'S AN UNDOABLE THING.

Firstly, I'll warn you that the recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, so while 100% awesome and worth it, you need to be prepared to dirty every tool in your kitchen twice and have to do dishes in between projects.

Because this recipe is a total project.

Like, I had a strategy going into it (make the frosting first, put it in the fridge to firm up, THEN bake the cake, etc)(hey, that's a strategy!)(Shut up.) and there was proprietary shopping involved and then there was lying down with a cocktail involved after I finished baking and frosting this cake. 

Sort of took it out of me, all of that mid-stream dish doing. 

But I can say that it's the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted, Bubba nearly flushed his wedding ring down the toilet when he took his first bite and declared he loved it more than anything in the world and even my not-sweets-eating boss was "stoked" on it. 

The only things I did off-recipe were to bake it in a 9x12 glass dish as a sheet cake rather than as cupcakes, not try to fill the thing awkwardly with ganache and then I put a bit of this awesome vanilla bean baker's salt on top. 

Then Bubba pledged his love to me (as long as the cake is joining us) for the rest of his life. Again. Because he did already do that once when we got married. Before I learned how to make this cake. So, like, I know he didn't just do it for the cake.

Can you imagine?

Anyway, I am also going to shill like the shilliest shiller from shilltown right now:

Yeah. I grew that. 

And, FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY, I brought it home from the farm to make sure that it was, um, shelf stable - yeah, that's it - and also edible. 

"Edible" is the lamest word for this basil.

Then I felt crazy and like a seasonal cheater when I actually went into a grocery store (FRIGHT) and bought sweet red bell peppers. 

In winter. 

Like a total traitor. 

I mean, they're still organic and they're actually from our ranches in Mexico, but eating bell peppers in winter feels wrong and naughty.

So, spank me. Because my enchilada peppers are THE FUCKING MOST.

At least I put some of the cilantro from work on top. Ripped it out of the ground myself earlier in the day. 

And also some of these chives.

Gee. Hope there's enough for the harvests.

So yeah, cooking, working, eating, skiing Utah, riding and running the Santa Cruz mountains, emptying and refilling the liquor cabinet, repeating - that's what's been going on over here. 

Come at me, bro.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Everything I said last time except the opposite.

It's kinda sweet how I naively think I've figured out a few things in life. 

These things I know how to do. 

And I KNOW that I know how to do them because I've done them wrong a bunch of times (or one tragic time) and then right a bunch of times (or a few triumphant times), so I feel confident when I say that YES, I know how to, like, do that kind of shit.

But the funny thing that I haven't yet learned how to do is how to NOT say I know how to do something until I've first done it successfully once and then repeated the thing successfully again.

That's what I should do.

But instead, I just go declaring victory when victory hasn't yet even been proven a single time.

I'd make a terrible scientist. All declaring YAY! I've found the cure for cancer! after just making Kool-Aid in a flask or something.

Anyway, today's lessons in Finny Doesn't Know Shit About Shit are as follows:

Dr. Fischoeder's Cleaning Lady, Consuela, doesn't clean a damn thing.

In fact, she makes more of a mess than Dr. Fischoeder and it's pissing me off.

Is that Consuela I see growing on the treasure chest? Why yes it is.

It would seem that Consuela is colonizing the fish bowl. Edging Dr. Fischoeder out perhaps or perhaps just making herself at home and commandeering items that she deems to be her own.

I take.
So all of that nonsense about the moss ball being "like a cleaning lady for the fish bowl" was complete crap. 

Not that I really announced to the world that it was The Truth And Nothing Else, but I did repeat what I'd been told by the dude at the aquarium store and that was a mistake. 

Don't always trust the stoned freak working at the aquarium store. Noted.

And then there are the paperwhites.

Damnitall if I didn't think I'd finally won the battle of These Things Fall All Over The Fucking Place just a little too close to the paperwhites so that they heard me and then rebelled.

Yeah. If these flowers weren't so fucking beautiful and didn't smell like heaven and weren't being so hilarious, I probably would have ripped them out of their vases just for mocking me and making me a liar, but they are and they do and so I haven't.

Can't fall over in a vase this tall you say? IS THAT A FACT?

And while this has nothing to do with me being wrong, but more the seasons being off or our tree being absurd, our tree thinks it's fall.

January, November - what's the diff?

I mean, who couldn't use a little fall in their winter?

Even Jada's confused by this tree.

Yeah. Nice try out there, awesomely beautiful but crazy tree.

And then, because I I was feeling bakey, I made the best chocolate cake of my entire life last night.

Also the cutest napkins ever, courtesy of my delightful sister who knows me very well. 
Yeah, if you're looking for a chocolate cake recipe and none of your good-for-nothing cookbooks that claim to have all the recipes in the world in them (Hi. Joy of Cooking. Not as thorough as expected.) have a recipe for just plain chocolate cake, go to Cook's Illustrated and be free.

Thankfully, Bubba had the bright idea for me to scan all of my Cook's Illustrateds into my tablet and then start using that for my recipes, so I just had to search my tablet for "chocolate cake" instead of leafing through a thousand pages of magazine to find it.

He's a smart one, that guy. Which is why I let him eat cake straight from the pan with his hands like a fucking animal.

I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes, but made a sheet cake because I'm a sunuvabitch like that.