Monthly Archives: February 2008

Florida luxe

I am on my way home from Marco Island, Florida and sitting in the Alaska Airlines Boardroom in the Seattle Airport. We’ve all (ma, pa, hubby, kid) been up since 3:30am and I am punchy to say the least. The free bloody maries are helping. Florida is a super weird and unique state. Tourists and retirees. Tan people with ornate belly button piercings and golf. Gators and Montana houseplants growing in the sidewalk cracks. We had a great time on the beach. That’s what you do in Florida. Everything revolves around the gorgeous beach. I haven’t ever taken a vaca like that–no agenda other than hanging out. My parents treated us to the trip. It was relaxing and fab. We lounged on the beach. And by the pool. And in our beautiful hotel rooms with balconies and ocean views. My mom and I collected shells; the shells were abundant and incredible. I love the ocean. We ate well and cocktail hour was acceptable at any time of the day. I got a Balinese massage. Bug dipped her feet in the salty water of the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. The first day blessed me with a super sexy, Florida-shaped sunburn on the left side of my left thigh and a sort of hand print shape on my foot and another on my arm. I let Andy apply the sunblock from then on. I liked being all salty and sun-kissed, all in love with my hilarious family and martini-buzzed with tiny sand particles between the sheets of our king-sized bed after a day of beach bliss. And the sunsets. Swoon. Read more on Florida luxe…
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plotting my plot

For certain edibles, we must have starts here in Montana. It is possible to grow tomatoes from seed in the ground but at the end of the season, one is left with an army of green maters that just didn’t have the time to ripen. And I decided last year to never ever try to grow starts again because I am always heartbroken over the spindly, light-starved little guys who eventually die. They die because I throw ‘em in the ground and can’t bring myself to cover and coddle until they can stand on their own. I want them to perk up, suck it up and grow. And they can’t because I didn’t give them a chance in the first place what with starting them out in a window in my living room. So that is my predicament but I have learned that I will never cover and coddle so I might as well save the time, money and disappointment and just buy starts. The problem with buying starts is that I am at the mercy of the nursery’s decision making–what they choose to grow. Tomatoes are what kill me. I can handle the selection of peppers and squash. I am tired of Early Girl and Brandywine. Not because they aren’t good tomatoes but because I don’t get to pick. I rely on my overzealous seed-starting friends (Linda and Connie) who generously give me a few of their beautiful, greenhouse grown tomatoes. Oh, how I wish I had greenhouse. This year, I want to pick my tomatoes. So, this means starting from seed myself. And that means I need to find a corner in a greenhouse or build one. And because I am building a chicken house without the help of my carpenter husband (he doesn’t want me to get chickens because I will no doubt fall in love with them and they live for like 12 years and then what do we do with arthritic geriatric chickens who don’t lay eggs when we move or travel. I prefer to not think about this and cross that bridge when we get there. This is a key difference between the two of us–he plots and plans and I just do. But he eats at least two eggs a day so I think I can talk him into helping me.) I think I should probably borrow a spot in a greenhouse. And because my plot is painfully small, I want to grow in my boulevard. The boulevard in front of our house is grass and knapweed and I refuse to water it because it is a ridiculous waste of space and water. I pulled the knapweed and that is my maintenance. But because it is the right of way, I am supposed to comply with the city code that I just looked up and basically I have to get permission and planted items are supposed to be “ornamental” unless I am “unable to comply because of an extraordinary and peculiar set of circumstances constituting a hardship, or because of a wish to install a type of landscaping not specifically provided for above, but compatible with the surrounding area and in harmony with the public purposes of boulevards…” So, do I try to get permission or do I hope the city doesn’t care about little ol’ me growing some basil in my boulevard? In keeping with my aforementioned proclivity to just do instead of plan, I think I will plant in my boulevard. And hope devilish little twerps don’t sabotage my edibles. Here is what I am planting this year. I am going big: arugulamesclun spicy salad mixgolden purslane*rouge d’hiver lettuceamerica spinach*merida carrot*red core chantenay carrot*gold nugget tomato (Andy’s fave)pineapple tomato*black krim tomato*manitoba tomato*chioggia beet*bull’s blood beetroyal burgundy bush bean*black seeded blue lake pole bean**long island brussel sprout**poinsett cucumber*sugar sprint pea*oregon giant pea*purira chile pepper*sweet california wonder orange bell peppercaribe potato**easter egg II radish*perpetual swiss chard**mammoth sweet basil* * a cultivar I have never grown** a plant I have never grown Read more on plotting my plot…
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three oh

I turned 30 yesterday and welcomed myself into this new decade with a great day: laying in bed until 10am with my man and my babe (he also gave my fuhcockta (how do you spell that, Pam?) neck a massage), going out to lunch at my favorite restaurant, coffee at my favorite coffee shop, a trip to the U to check out a few new art exhibits AND–hold onto your seats–a visit to a certain box store to pick up my birthday present: Andy surprised me with a new iMac. I KNOW. And, my parentals got me a new camera. So, I feel all teched out and very loved. It was a good birthday that ended in a party at my house with about 30 folks, some cocktails and laughs. Here are thirty things I love right now: Read more on three oh…
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the first garden gab of 08

It is right about now in western Montana that I begin to yearn for spring. It is cold and snowy but not snowy enough for good skiing. And the snow is all old and puckery with brown spots peaking through. I think it is the brown spots that get me. I carefully approach these bare fields and stab at them to see if perhaps the earth might give a bit and could perhaps swallow some pea or spinach seeds. I still have a good month or so even with global warming. But I am ready to start talking about my plot. The picture above is the view out my kitchen window. The arching path on the left is not an arching path. It is a four foot deep trench that was dug last fall. My man is an electrician and is doing a new Service on our house. This is what I know about a new Service: Read more on the first garden gab of 08…
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funky looking, great tasting apple bread

So as if it isn’t enough of a culinary distraction when I decide to blog about cooking. Everything takes twice as long because there are so many perfect photos to be taken. Insert a photogenic kid and it takes two hours to make bread. A few weeks back, I was so excited to see that Costco was carrying organic apples. I didn’t hesitate to purchase a whole mess of them. Unfortunately, they taste like ass. So, when life gives you shitty apples, make apple bread. Bug was an entertaining sous chef and Alice the perfect line cook. We took breaks to dance and they got to hear her mama use some colorful language when she realized perhaps there is something to the whole *sifting* craze and that maybe she should have added the wet ingredients into the dry instead of the dry into the wet and three eggs instead of two like the recipe said…The “bread” dough looked more like dry oatmeal. No biggy. I just added a cup of yogurt and beat the heck out of it. It smells great. It looks funky. It tastes fabulous. Apple Bread (as I made it): 1 cup canola oil2 eggs2 cups sugar2 tsp. vanilla1 cup yogurt3 cups apples, chopped3 cups flour1 tsp. cinnamon1 tsp. baking soda Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in small bowl. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, adding yogurt little by little while stirring. Stir in apples. Bake in two loaf pans for 1 1/2 hours. voila. Read more on funky looking, great tasting apple bread…
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