I am truly humbled by the many beautiful, fresh and lively blogs out there. I can easily loose an entire morning thumbing through page after page of smart writing, beautiful photos and… well, lets just say the next thing I know I look up and the morning is GONE!!!
Of course the next step in this process is to begin doubting my own work (I know, that’s when things really begin to get unproductive!!!) Blogging is the new “dear diary”, a repository for ideas, a disciplinary exercise…and it’s FUN!
So, what follows is a metaphorical pencil sharpening, a self-imposed exercise, and basically just touching base…besides, I’m not ready to start work this morning. I’d really rather be out in the backyard stroking my lovely veggies, picking alpine strawberries and monitoring the daily meteoric climb of the pole beans. But that’s a really slippery slope; that’s how whole days, not just hours, are “lost”. At least this way I’m still at my desk and technically “working”.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my “work”? I actually fall asleep with a smile on my face! So here follows a cache of snapshots, and a little window into what I’ve been up to when I can steal away from my desk…
I say I’m a big fan of foliage, but after a spring like the one we’ve just suffered through, flowers or I should say F L O W E R S!!! are what I crave. Billowy, colorful, abundant blooms. These are some of the blossoms I contributed to the Northwest Horticultural Society’s annual new members party. With armloads of FLOWERS and the service kitchen filled with volunteer floral arrangers, the floor strewn with leaves and stems and every possible vessel put into service as a vase, it felt like an old fashioned church meeting or festive wedding. What bounty to “work” with – there’s that word again.
Backyard Bliss!!! We had our first fire in the firepit the other night. It was mesmerizing to stare at the flames, and drink in the smell of a real wood fire. I know that wood fires are generally bad for the environment contributing unfiltered pollutants and carbon to to an atmosphere already under great strain. In today’s world, this is a luxury, a seasonal indulgence – sorta like the marshmallow s’mores we’re becoming expert at crafting.
One of my many hats I wear under the topic of “work” is that of garden guide. I lead people around town visiting gardens and basically showing off this Eden we call the Pacific Northwest. I know, sweet gig, huh? Next week a group is arriving from South Carolina and I’m so excited to witness their reaction to the beautiful abundance and art of some passionate, local gardenmakers. The best part? I get to snoop and preview these beautiful landscapes, talk with their owners, kibbitz about plants, colors, pests & neighbors.
Everyone has a different approach; colorists paint beautiful pictures with plant combos like the Peruvian and Torch Lilies at the above left, while plant collectors get to present their treasures to an appreciative audience. The photo at the above right is without a doubt, the coolest variegated viburnum I’ve ever seen. The intricate, fuzzy, nearly pixilated foliage clothes a gently slumped, mounded shrub to about 4 to 5 feet (so far). I don’t even have to see it’s flowers, it’s supposedly beautiful fall color, or even know it’s correct botanic name (we couldn’t find the tag) to know that I want one!!!
But most of all, getting out and looking at gardens is a constant source of amazement and a fresh shock at all the many colors, forms and incarnations of an endlessly fascinating world.
Take one rustic firepit, build a small but fragrant, crackling fire and allow it to burn down to glowing orange embers. (Don’t poke it too much, you’ll put the whole thing out altogether – trust me on this)
Impale 2 fluffy, soft, decadently white-sugar, bad-for-you marshmallows onto the tip of a long stick; I use the same stick I poke at the fire with… Hold just above the coals, and rotate gently to achieve a lightly toasted crust with a molten interior all the while arguing with your companions as to what constitues the true perfect speciman. Watch out for the flaming, incendiary sugary torch of a certain daughter’s questionable method.
Of course you will have prepped the requisite graham cracker snapping it cleanly in two - Honey Maid, plain, hopefully fresh and crispy but chewy and stale will work – face it, the crackers are not the point here! Top one half of the cracker with 1/6th of a Hershey Bar. Yes, just 1/6th to achieve the perfect chocolate/mallow melding. Why oh why did Hershey change the packaging of these iconic bars? Where is the plain paper wrapper and foil sleeve? The present day plastic pouch may have it’s advantages but I find it hard to open one-handed with a molten marshmallow threatening to jump ship in the other hand. Plus, it just feels wrong.
Sandwich the molten, sugary goods between the crackers, squeeze and allow at least a couple of minutes for the chocolate to melt. Lick the drippy edges if you must. Now bite into summer…and be glad that’s it’s dark and no one can see that you have marshmallow goo and chocolate all OVER your chin! Yum…