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Posts tagged garden

IMG_8683thank you for the kind comments from the previous post. i was surprised at the interest in my writing. frankly, i am more of a picture person vs. a reader…so, i guess i assumed what i wrote was the least important part. so, thank you for reading. with that said, let me go off on some more tangents.

i have made the decision to leave the cabin. it was a hard one, but i feel confident it is the right one for now.  i am sad to not see some of the things around the property come to life or change in the fall, but anxious to see what kinds of things can surprise me still the next month.  i haven’t a clue where i shall end up after this. denver is an option, putting my stuff in storage and roaming around seems to be the main focus. there is something super exciting about that, as well as a bit daunting. where will i end up after it all? it is possible i will wander on forever.

even though most of my thoughts lately have been about leaving the cabin, oddly enough, i find myself missing LA again. the past few days i have been listening to some old yo la tengo albums. the one’s that were on repeat in my first apartment in LA. music always takes me right back. i can almost taste the foods i ate back then, i can see myself as i was- the clothes i wore, driving in my car, the feelings i had.  after getting through the first year there i started to find a little place for myself. i stayed up late, drank lots of wine, had a very large stack of cd’s accumulating in my living room, made t-shirts with lace and dye, took polaroids,  and was just starting my career. seems like yesterday, seems like forever ago. back when i was a magazine horror, wore converse, was addicted to amoeba and friendster, and had a very large boxy computer.  i’m not sure why these memories are popping up in my head lately. maybe, leaving the cabin somehow means i am leaving LA behind too.

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everyday, i have been taking walks around the property.   piking wildflowers for bouquets and yesterday, i spent the afternoon harvesting all sorts of these other goodies. sucking in all that the sunshine and mountains behold. stopping to see what surrounds me, to see what is growing. you should try it sometime, you might be surprised what you find. every single day i see a new flower, a new plant, hell, yesterday, i discovered a cherry tree outside my bedroom window. for the past month i thought it was an apple tree with stunted apples, but a few started changing color and i stopped to look up and realized they were cherries…i was ecstatic. as i walked away from my new exciting discovery i remembered how sad i was to leave LA and all the lush vegetation of my backyard. the lemon tree, the fig tree, the rosemary bush…never would i have guessed i would have found all that i have here, in colorado. it reassured me of the future, that it can always surprise you.

there are a million apple trees around the property. a few pear trees, tons of chokecherry bushes, a grapevine, now a cherry tree, and even a peach tree, though she isn’t producing anything this year.  it has been raining a lot- thunderstorms or clouds almost everyday.  there are a plethora of mushrooms growing everywhere. i havent a clue what kind they are, nor do i intend to find out. i know a lot of the puffball mushrooms have turned out to be poisonous. i am continually fascinated by the eco system i am living in. the cabin sits in a bowl down by the river, allotting for shade and sun with rich soil from the river.  a short walk up the road and you are in a desert.  open space and to my surprise tons and tons of sage growing. i can’t begin to explain my joy when i discovered it…which i will try in my next post about the harvesting of it. i have even discovered yarrow on the property . there are cacti and all sorts of strange looking desert flowers. i have never stopped to notice a pine tree growing it’s branches, or what a baby pine cone looks like.

it is the perfect combo of desert and mountain…. because it is just that -a mountain desert.

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IMG_8899 IMG_8732then there is my own garden. i admit, i have been a little bit lazy about it. i have it watered on a timer, and only occasionally do i go over to trim and de-weed. the tomatos are doing pretty decent, but some of the other things, like the zucchini, are growing slowly. i have been a little too lazy to figure it out though. i’m just happy with whatever she wants to provide me with, naturally. one evening, the sun was glowing on the garden. the colors were so incredible. one of my favorite things to do everyday is to visit her and see how she is doing…what’s newly ripe or getting bigger.

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i am so thankful for the bounty this place has surprised me with.  nature, is my church, it is my god. it’s what allows me to discover what i hold within myself. i couldn’t be more thankful for the time i have spent here. i know in my heart, i will find my way back to this lifestyle  time and time again.

i suppose , ten years down another road, i will put on that yo la tengo album again, remembering these moments now…walking outside my back door discovering a cherry tree, harvesting a basket of sagebrush, and breathing in the smell of pine.

never underestimate the small moments- my biggest lesson thus far.

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there is so much rhubarb growing in my garden right now, though i didn’t actually plant it, i figure someone should be par-taking in this glorious, crazy, edible stuff.  i have been slowly harvesting it and trying to come up with recipes other than the classic rhubarb strawberry pie. i mean, who doesn’t like pie? but with so much of it growing, there are only so many pies one can make.

my neighbors across the river had a bbq this past weekend. i made potato skins with a chipotle sour cream and rhubarb ice tea! it was super easy to make and i thought what a great way to celebrate in the bountiful beauty of our neighborhood then to share the rhubarb from the garden.  it pretty much tastes like sweet tea. living in the south for 3 years, i never caught onto sweet tea, but this was actually really tasty and everyone loved it! i have a feeling i will be making this all summer!

don’t just stop at rhubarb, any infused simple syrup is a great addition to an ordinary glass of tea. though, i still love mine with lots of lemon!

ps. if you didn’t already know, the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, so discard them right away!
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what you need:

10 bags of black tea

10 cups of cold water

2-4 stalks of rhubarb, chopped, depending on how tart you might like it

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

in a pitcher combine the cold water and tea bags. place in the fridge for a few hours to brew. no need to heat up the water. the cold brews it kind of like sun tea!

boil the sugar, one cup of water, and rhubarb together. once at a boil, turn down to a simmer. simmer until it becomes like a syrup. let it cool.

pour the syrup into the pitcher of tea. serve over ice with your choice of garnish!

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IMG_6689i have been growing herbs for a few years now, and though i am no expert, i find these tips to be helpful.  living in southern california, i could grow herbs year round and it was luxurious! here in colorado, i have been growing them inside for a few months, but have had a few mishaps with bugs, or simply leaving them by a very cold window for too long.  i recently bought a new batch and am back in business with the little gems. they are currently sitting in the front window and so far so good! when i first moved here, i cringed at buying a $4 box of herbs when it is so easy to grow them yourself. there really is no excuse not too!

there are many books or even tutorials online about your herbs. these are just a few simple helpful hints for flavorful herbs.

1. learn where your species are from in order to mimic their preferred environment. lavender, rosemary, thyme, savory, and sage are Mediterranean herbs and like lots of sun, sandy soil that drains well, keeping fertilizers to the minimum.  all this will help keep the flavor in the leaves. herbs like basil, mint, lemon verbena prefer lots of water and rich soil, maybe some compost. an easy way to distinguish is by the leaves. the softer the leaf, the more water it will want! perhaps, you plant your mediterranean herbs together and your more delicate herbs together so your watering doesn’t get mixed up!

2. harvesting: new leaves tend to have the most flavor vs. the leaves at the bottom. some say harvesting in the morning is also the best time!  when herbs like basil and dill have flowered, that means they have matured…no more leaves. for basil, cut down just above the last branch and new leaves should begin to sprout again!
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rosemary: year round if you live in a frost free area. dry soil, full sun. companions: beans, broccoli, carrots, hot peppers. keep dry.

sage: grows in brisk dry summer, dry soil, full sun. companions: cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, rosemary, broccoli, don’t over water-likes it dry!

cilantro: grows in spring/summer.cool nights, sunny days.rich soil. companions: anise. adequate water.

chive: spring summer. well drained average soil, 4-6 hours of sun. companions: parsley, broccoli, eggplant, mustard, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes. water: once a week. these babies will keep coming back!
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thyme: brisk days of summer. well drained, sunny airy spot. companions: everybody! keep fairly dry, don’t overwater.

dill: grow in summer. plant early spring. average light. companions: cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, onions, beets. lots of water. IMG_6692

basil: grow in summer. plant when soil is warm. full sun. companions: tomatoes and asparagus. adequate moisture.

mint: grow mostly in summer. plant anytime. open airy spot with room to grow. companions: cabbage, tomato, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli. needs lots of moisture.IMG_6690

tarragon: winter in some zones. well drained soil and sun in the mornings. if too hot, place in shade in afternoon. companions: anything. pests don’t like tarragon. keep well watered.

oregano: spring/summer. full sun and well drained soil. companions: cabbage, cucumbers, grapes.  moderate watering, but more while young.

now, these tips are simple and again, i am not an expert. i just thought this would be fun post to do to inspire those who may be timid to start a garden. there are so many different great websites out there for growing herbs. not only are they great for cooking, but have been used for centuries in many medicinal purposes. one day, we might just discuss that! we didn’t go over a few great ones either like anise, lavender, chamomile, but you can easily find this info online. check your thrift stores too for garden books! it is one of my favorite places to look!

i can’t wait to get started on my garden outside. i was hoping to dig into it before i left for three weeks, but that might not happen.  another tip, is to check about local growing. different areas will have different species of bugs, critters, or animals that will pester your herbs or garden. for example, the squirrels were a pain in the ass last spring in LA. apparently, growing tomatoes here in colorado is best done next to chervil (i believe, i gotta check that one again!) i also can’t plant any fruits or the bears will eat em up! another fun tip about tomatoes, if your leaves are turning a bit blue green, producing lots of leaves and no fruit…clip back your leaves as the plant is being too taken care of. the fruit grows in order to procreate. it is where the seeds are they will germinate the next batch. i found that to be so exciting! sometimes, you want to make the plant thrive in order to get it to produce. but more to come on the garden beds and veggies! i can’t wait!

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