Every morning I take my coffee thermos out, no matter how chilly the spring air, and sit on our bench and stare at it all in wonder: "I did that," I say aloud. I dug it, Brian tilled it, I raked it all level. I planned it, bought the plants, got them in the ground, weeded and mulched it all. I excavated our buried brick pathway on my hands and knees all archaeologist-style with a garden trowel and a paintbrush. I did it. It's an imminently satisfying feeling - rather a lot like climbing that mountain when we first became a couple.
You truly do appreciate things more when you work hard for them.
Here's what the butterfly habitat and (beginnings of) our raised bed garden looked like on the day of my 30th birthday party. I promise the bag of mulch got moved prior to the party as Brian used the last little bit to edge out the newly excavated brick. :)
It's glorious. The picture just doesn't do it justice. My sage bush is in full bloom, I have two kinds of coreopsis, echinacea, a butterfly bush, blue fescue, two foxgloves, verbena, lavender phlox, salvia, an array of fresh herbs, 4 strawberry plants sprouting, 2 blueberries, 1 grape vine, a wildflower patch beginning to sprout, and so much more you can't see in this photo.
The raised bed garden isn't done yet, but I can see it how it will look in my head. The bed you see will be taller - at least 18 inches, though I'd prefer 24 inches deep. The pavers that lead to it will snake around the perimeter of the center bed and 4 2 foot wide raised boxes (2 6 feet long and the other 2 7 feet long) will bank the perimeter. This will be where I grow my root vegetables and winter varieties: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, radish, butternut squash, garlic, celeriac, and kale. The potatoes are in the ground, such as it is, though I'll excavate them briefly once the rest of the bed gets built and add more dirt. Yes. We're very late getting our potatoes in this year.
I managed to get the deck not only clean and organized, but fully decorated before my party, too, and I'm thrilled with its new arrangement. It just adds to the whole oasis feel. :)
|Yes I went a little Martha Stewart for my party. :) Mismatched place settings, cheery flowers, and even tea cups nonchalantly dangling over the fireplace in effortless crafty chic. ;) It was a garden party. I had to. :)|
|One day I will have nice wooden chairs instead of bright electric blue butterfly chairs. Whatever. Priorities. :)|
|Up close of the centerpiece. Marvel at it's charm. Do it. I order you.|
The party, if you must know, was super fun. :) Old and new friends came together for the first time and everyone laughed and was merry.
|And I kept the food simple with a burrito bar - all prep ahead so no fuss the day of. Chipotle-bbq shredded chicken in a crockpot, cilantro-lime rice, tortilla chips, shredded romaine, my corn and black bean salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro, monterey jack cheese, flour tortillas, and ranch dressing. So, literally, one could have nachos, a burrito bowl, an actual burrito, or a salad, with or without meat, or any and all of that at once. (As James has done, by putting EVERYTHING on his plate). :)|
I hope I can work some more of the tomatoes in elsewhere, though I'm out of space now in the main garden. Maybe I'll buy some big pots and pot some on the deck. :) The peppers I thankfully have plenty of room for once I harvest our garlic, and the zucchinni I managed to squeeze in 3 right in the spot I'd planned to put 3 of them (thankfully). If I build another small 2 x4 bed in an empty section of the raised bed garden, I might be able to get the rest in. If not, I shall gift those to others, as well.
All in all, right now I have 22 tomato plants in the ground this year. That's 20 more than last year. :) I have now a total of 24 pepper plants, 3 zucchinni, 18 potatoes, 6 green beans, 6 peas, 3 snap peas, 4 broccoli, 2 each of green and red cabbage, 12 romaine lettuce, and 24 onions so far. Yet to plant this week is the rest of the haul: corn and beans in the primary garden, as well as more onions, then the rest of what I listed earlier in the raised bed garden (once it's built!). :)
Today, I'm digging the asparagus patch out all along our fence. It's late to get them growing, but we won't harvest them next year anyway, since asparagus are best on year 3 (and we have 1 year "bulbs" not seeds). Brian is halfway done with our chicken coop, so I hope he has time to finish that during the week. That just leaves the composter and the raised beds - two fairly simple building projects. And then...my goodness. We will have gone from barely nothing growing in our backyard to a moveable feast. :) Dreams are so cool.
Alright, I'm itching to get out there, so I need to wrap this up. I made a new pizza (shock) the other night for a mother's day dinner for my mom that I rather enjoyed. So here it is. :)
Yield: 1 large (enough for 4 people)
1/2 recipe my basic pizza dough
1 recipe sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces thick-cut, nitrate free, applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp
1 C cherry or grape sweet tomatoes, sliced in half
1 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated
romaine lettuce, garnish (or spicy arugula, if that's your style)
3/4 C good mayo
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t worcestershire sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
sea salt and cracked black pepper (plenty of pepper)
a dash of sugar
Combine the sauce ingredients and let set in the fridge a few hours.
Make the pizza dough according to those instructions in the link exactly. Par bake it to crisp.
Spread the sauce on the par-baked pizza crust, then top with the cripy bacon, the sliced tomatoes, then both cheeses. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, then garnish with the lettuce or arugula. Done!