Feathered Aspen


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Some more seeds planted

Lily and I got some more gardening done yesterday and today. The peanut is a natural born gardener. She loves to crawl around in the dirt. She also meticulously watches me out seeds in the ground. She then imitates me and pokes her fingers into the dirt and the pays it with her hand. When I laugh or smile at her for this she coos with glee.

In sum, we planted three more beds. In the second long bed we put in radishes, carrots, and beets. In the square sectioned bed we first added some compost and then laid down spinach, mustard greens, and a spicy salad mix. In this bed there are also some herbs that wintered over. The thyme is still kicking, and mint and oregano seem to be making a come back. I left the section with the mint open knowing mint will go wild in a month from now. I planted the other greens around be thyme and oregano. Mmmm thinking of using both on summer grilled pizza.

In the first medium sized bed with added sheep poop and some more compost. We then spread arugula seeds in rows across half the bed. On the second half we planted red winter and Italian kale.

I’ve decided to go heavy on the greens this year. In fact I’m a little worries there won’t be enough spinach. With the Ps and Eunice living with us as we’ll as aunt Sarah coming to stay for a month in addition to other family coming throughout the summer the garden is going to be hard pressed to keep pace.

This year I’ve also decided to plant all the seeds directly into the ground as opposed to starting them in starter cups and planting later. We seem to have bad success with this in the past the few times I’ve done it. In order to keep gardening on top of parenting and being a good husband and running and teaching and remodeling the basement, I need to figure out was to make gardening quick and easy this year. Anyone have tips on this front? Feel free to comment here.

Lastly, our fruit is finally taking off. The buds on the cherry trees are popping (that sounds super dirty). Same with one of the apple trees. The other is going slower. And most exciting of all, my raspberries are alive!!!!!! I was so worried about them all winter. I have several shoots coming up. I’m very excited.

Picture updates

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A Child Named Tomato, Speed Scrabble, and Butchered Badminton

Our vacation days are starting to bleed into one another. It takes me a moment to recall the day of the week, and it takes me a few more moments to recall what I did yesterday or the day before. I’d like to say that I’ve been productive and pursued all my favorite hobbies to their full extent, but my knitting needles lay in their drawer untouched. I’ve yet to pull out my sewing machine. Even my book has been banished beneath my nightstand.

Instead, I’ve been cooking. Mushroom Risotto, Tomatillo Salsa, Edamame Salad, Eggplant Parmesan, Veggie Kebabs, Mediterranean Potato Salad… Or, for example, yesterday, I spent three hours carefully browsing through, then selecting, then downloading, then transferring to my computer, and finally uploading to my iPod the trashiest, most wonderful Work Out Mix:

Blow by Kesha
Airplanes by B.O.B
Yeah 3X by Chris Brown
Forever by Drake, Kanye, Eminemem, and Lil Wayne
Club Can’t Handle Me by Flo Rida and David Guetta
Do You Remember by Jay Sean
Tik Tok by Kesha
OMG by Usher
Shots by LMFAO and Lil John
Paper Planes by MIA
Raise Your Glass by Pink
Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira ft. Wycelf Jean
Dynamite by Taio Cruz
Who Dat Girl ft. Akon by Flo Rida
We R Who We R by Kesha
Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz
Get Low by Flo Rida ft. T-Pain
Your Love is My Drug by Kesha
E.T. by Katy Perry

Should you want a copy, let me know. Clearly, I have plenty of time on my hands 🙂

We’ve spent some time with Brian and Brittany (the Devanes). On Cinco de Mayo, we experimented with Mediterranean Take-Out at the Garbanzo ( two out of five stars) and had a picnic at Berkley Lake. Afterward, we set up a badminton net and revealed our serious shortcomings in the sport. There was perhaps a five mile an hour wind, and we blamed all of our short-fallen or mis-fallen or just missed in general shots on the stiff breeze. When we progressed to volleyball, our skills did not improve. We blamed exhaustion and packed up the net.

After retrieving Devanes’ grill, we spent the evening eating potato salad, kebabs, and corn on the cob. Joshua made our Margaritas so strong, one just about put me under the table. When the sun went down and it got cold outside, we retreated indoors for some of Joshua’s blueberry pie.

On Sunday, the Devanes came over in the afternoon and taught us Speed Scrabble. The game has since swept the A household by storm. We’ve developed a point system, and I’ve whiled away a few hours in an effort to beat Joshua. I happy to announce that finally, we are evenly matched in a game of wit and speed 🙂

On Monday, Joshua used our new book, Great Road Rides: Denver by Jay Kenney, to plan an epic urban bike ride. With the sun on our backs, wind in our face, and horizon of mountains, we spent five hours biking up Cherry Creek Trail to Cherry Creek Resevoir. We made our way back through side streets, exploring the area around DU, Washington Park, Cheeseman, and City Park. Then, biking north, we made our way to Sand Creek Trail, onto Platte River Trail, and then onto Little Dry Creek Trail. The last five miles were all uphill and into the wind (naturally) and I got a wicked sunburn on my thighs (complete with an even more wicked bicycle short tan-line), but all in all, it was a great ride. We biked a total of 57 miles, and it was only in the last five that we grew tired of our adventure 🙂

When we got home, we quickly showered and Joshua poured us each a shot of whiskey for a pre-game drink. At the neighborhood Chipotle, we met the Devanes for dinner and two for one cervezas. I drank half a Corona, but I was already a little giggly and pink from my shot of whiskey. No lunch, the bike ride, and a sunburn had weakened my tolerance 🙂

Bundling into the Devane’s car, we drove down to the Coors Stadium to watch the Rockies play the New York Mets. We bought the cheapest seats possible and spent the evening buffeted by the wind high up in the ‘Rock Pile.’ In the end, the Rockies conquered the Mets two to one, and after, we drove to Dairy Queen to celebrate.

Now that I’m on the subject of the Devanes, check out some of the photos Brian has taken of our hikes around the Denver area. Visit his photo blog at www.briandevane.com. All the photos are a testament to Brian’s mad talent, but my favorite one is of Oscar racing down the trail.

What else? I got a haircut, and the hairdresser blew out my hair into a perfect coif. When I came home, Joshua almost rolled over himself laughing. I looked like a sorority girl. The next day, after a shower, I was back to my slightly frizzy, slightly wavy, mostly unpolished self 🙂

We watched Black Swan. When I close my eyes, I can still picture the image of her split toe nail, and I convulse with revulsion.

On Sunday night, we babysat for A. and L. while E. and S. went out for Mother’s Day. We took A. and L. to the park and played Pirates for a couple of hours. Joshua masterminded a treasure hunt complete with sharks, ships, posionous candy, sabers, and evil pirates. I was the evil pirate, and every time I chased L., she threw up her arms and toddled-ran away, screaming with glee. Back at the house, we got the two wriggly adorables ready for bed, and I spent the next hour reading bed time stories and singing songs to A.’s “just one more!”

I almost forgot! On Friday and Saturday, we started a revolution in our backyard. On Friday, I took apart our patio, removed all the weeds, and then put it back together again while Joshua tore up the Southwest corner of our yard. When I took my turn at slamming the hoe into the soil and pulling out roots, weeds, plastic, a carpet, and mulch, the neighbor took pity on me and gave me a pick-axe (“dahlin’ that’s some work! Lemme give yer a pick axe.”). The pick-axe had some heft behind it, and it took fewer swings to bring down the roots and weeds.

About seven hours later, we admired our newly weeded and tilled backyard. The patio was much improved, and we went inside to wash the layer of sunscreen, sweat, and dirt from our bodies.

On Saturday, we joined S. and A. on a trip to the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market. While A. sampled the local cider (non-alcoholic, of course) a few times, we selected tomato starts from the famous Ms. Ingrid’s stand. Joshua, who has quickly come to think of this project as “his garden,” selected the Black Prince, Ildi Cherry, Paul Robeson, Deiner, and Black Cherry varieties. He magnanimously allowed me to select the eggplant. I chose the Black Beauty.

On our way back home, we stopped at a Craft Fair near Berkely Lake. The stalls were womaned by the sort of funky ladies I wannabe. Tattoos and 50s dresses, 70s dinnerware and vintage jewelry stood beside hand-printed stationary, graphic tees, and saliva-inducing accessories. God, I wish I had money 🙂

Back at home, we planted our starts from the market, plus the starts we had planted from seed a few weeks ago. Our Mesculun Lettuce and Spinach is already coming up like crazy, and our Snow Peas are just emerging. Our radishes our sprouting happily, and so are our Mustard Greens. Our parsley and cilantro was rioting out of their pots and welcomed new growing grounds. Our Basil is recovering from a battering of colder weather, but new shoots suggest survival 🙂

Meanwhile, our onions, carrots, and Sweet Peas (our one flower variety) refuse to sprout. We planted a few more seeds and crossed our fingers. Joshua watered the tomatoes and whispered sweet nothings into their leaves. In the morning now, I wake up and walk into the backyard. He’s sitting there in his lawn chair, reading and keeping the plants company. Last night when it rained and dipped dangerously close to freezing, he stayed up half the night fretting. He’s like a new parent.

Hmm… Oh yes. I found a Language Exchange partner on-line and met up with him at Chipotle on Sunday. He’s been living in the U.S. for 20 years, and his English was FAR superior to my Spanish. While he wants to discuss philosophy, politics, y emociones, I’m still working my way around the basics. I think I may have to find another way to practice my Spanish.

In other news, we just got our energy bill in the mail. Joshua opened the envelope and nearly passed out. I started hyperventilating in fear. Just to torture me, Joshua made me guess how much we had spent in the past month. Fearing the worst, I predicted 240 dollars.

38 dollars. Can we just take a moment to respect our vigilance in turning off lights and not using the heat?