Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roses and rain

Partner snapped this rose last month. We were flabbergasted as to how our perfectly white rose suddenly came up with a half pink flower. It hasn't done it before or since.

We've had rain for almost the entire month of July. We had our one hot week and that means the English summer was over when it finished. I remember when Partner said that the Met (Meterological) Office had predicted a "barbecue summer" this year for Britain, I thought, sure, just like they predicted last summer when we got one week of sun. My prediction, however, is based on the experience of the last five summers here: depend on it to be cool with lots of rain.

We're having guests over for the weekend: Partner's sister and her daughter are coming up on the train. I've been making him do all the housekeeping for the past two days so it's nice and tidy when they arrive. I'm thinking maybe I should just go tidy up the garden as well: one of my planters out front has got a little carpet of weeds. And I've put a load of towels on so there will be nice fresh ones for everyone. I think I'll ask Partner to clean the toilet and tub later...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So far my goals for July have been sadly neglected. I've had a bad case of the Don't Wannas and most of my free time has been spent in very unprofitable ways (like lounging on the couch reading or sleeping in). In fact, the Don't Wannas have nearly taken over my life, but even awareness of this gives me little strength to fight back.

Partner has been very motivated recently to keep the kitchen clean. I generally clean it when I wake up if I have the time/inclination, or just before I decide to cook dinner. So it can stay messy for a whole day even. But he really went over it a few days ago (even polishing the front of the oven door) and has been keeping it pretty clean since then. The one room in the house I really care about cleanliness is the kitchen, and it makes me very happy that he's doing it.

This photo features a selection of my lilies; they live right next to my runnerbeans (not pictured). What a fabulous smell: just walking out the back door is enough to give me a noseful of them. I think this fall I may move them to live in the bed of rosebushes out back; they might not be so squished there. Partner says when he stands at the sink to do dishes the yellowy-pinky lily stares at him. He thinks it's unnerving.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We've been eating our lettuce recently, but Partner thinks it's still too small. I, however, can't wait for it to get bigger and it's tasty now. I've also picked some carrots which were a very good size (definitely supermarket size) and tasted beautiful. I can't believe we even want to eat supermarket carrots; compared to ours they're absolutely tasteless. Partner pruned the tomatoes a touch, and he smelled amazing for the rest of the day. We still haven't had any ripe fruit, but we've got a few little green ones now.

I planted a tray of basil in my greenhouse, and it all sprouted; the next day, all the tops had mysteriously disappeared. I know the culprit was a slug, but I have no idea how it got along the mesh of the greenhouse to the tray. So another tray has been planted and is now on my kitchen windowsill. My last month's batch is destined for pesto.

It's my ten year high school anniversary this month. Sadly I will not be attending. I think back on my high school peers and about the cliques and rivalries there were. I never considered myself a cool kid or a popular kid, though I did have lots of friends and had two separate groups I hung out with. Considering where I am, and what's happened in my life, I think a lot of those people would be surprised at how I've turned out. I think most of the girls my age married young and had children young and stayed in state, if not in town. I always considered myself to be more of an adventurer than that. Of course, I did marry, and I may have children, but not only did I leave the state, I left the country! I've done a lot of traveling and had a lot of experiences; I would venture to say I've had more experiences than most people my age because of my travels. Not, of course, that all of them were good... But they've definitely changed me and while I look pretty much the same (maybe a dress size bigger), I am not the same person who graduated from UHS.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Passionflower streamers and garden spirits

What, one may ask, is this jungle in my garden? The bright red flowers belong to poppies. Slotted in below them are broccoli, and behind them both are tomatoes. And squeezed in behind the tomatoes are my runner beans, climbing up some netting. All in a bed that is perhaps five feet by three feet. I had to stack them in as tightly as possible, as I kind of ran out of room before I ran out of plants.

I also really liked these little tendrils on the passionflower vine. They are just like little party streamers glistening in the sun (click on the picture for the full-sized view).

It's been a long week of mostly work-related activities. Today (my day off) I woke up at five and couldn't get back to sleep, so up I got. Then at seven, Partner still firmly and unequivocally snoring, I went out with the dog. The silence was beautiful. There was no noise of traffic, of barking dogs, of people shouting (people shout a lot here). Even the birds were quiet. By eight, as we were walking back, however, the usual village sounds were in full swing. So I went and woke Partner up and we went grocery shopping and came back with Eggs Benedict ingredients. Which we then proceeded to make. 7000 calories later, I feel like it should be siesta time.

This week's bouquet on my windowsill is of lilies, hydrangea, verbena, and laurel leaves. The first flush of flowers has now mostly gone over for my roses, lupins, and sweet peas. The sweet peas are still flowering, but on shorter stems now, and you can now actually tell the plants have leaves.

I discovered what Partner says is a garden spirit while weeding, so he took a picture of it before it ran off. I think it hopped into the lavender immediately afterwards.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

My last bouquet for June features pink roses, hydrangea, campanula, and ferns. You can see a spike of lupin from my front garden out the window. Those lupins really outdid themselves this year.

I'm still waking up earlier than I have been used to, and feeling tired earlier as well. It's odd to go to bed and fall asleep within ten minutes. Partner can do it in two. In the past few months I've often lay in bed for an hour or more, not able to sleep. I'm not sure what's changed. I do know I don't generally need my full eleven hours any more, and mostly wake up after seven or eight. And if there's a particularly loud bird out the window, I sometimes wake up after just five.

I told my mother that our dog nearly caught a blackbird, and she felt sorry for it. I, however, felt sorry for the dog. The blackbird was in MY kitchen eating kibbles out of MY dog's dish. She got it by the tail, but the bird escaped, leaving behind its tailfeathers in her mouth. This is not the first theft, either. Partner says he's even seen one teaching its children how to steal dogfood from the kitchen. Rotten birds.

I asked Partner if it was shameless of me to post my menus. He said, "What, the list of everything I've cooked for the last three weeks?"

[crickets chirping]