Archive for December, 2009

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. – Anton Chekhov

As I bid farewell to 2009, I know that it could not end any other way than with a full ‘blue’ moon and a lunar eclipse. Why should the tail of this wicked dragon be any less impressive than the head or body was? Why should it settle for an ordinary planetary alignment!? (oh, and I almost forgot to mention the EARTHQUAKE we had yesterday – sheesh!)

When I look back over the year, I see a fiery dervish of death and disease, loss and tragedy, stupid people, bigotry and pain. Fortunately, I also see a beautiful daughter graduating with honors, a son who not only looked fear in the face but flipped it the bird, harmony with the love of my life, a new friendship with one of the sweetest hearts I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, a loving family and supportive friends. Also in the mix was a bountiful garden, food and wine that would make the Roman gods pissy with jealousy, and the joy of returning to college – just because I wanted to. Nature gaveth and she tooketh away.

The Chinese call the December full moon the “Bitter Moon” and I can thoroughly understand why. There is much that I could be bitter over. 2009 basically kicked me in the balls. Do I feel bitter though? No, no I don’t. What I do feel is wiser, calmer, more accepting of the roller coaster ride that is life, confident and f-ing CAPABLE. I’ve learned to let things go that don’t matter and save time for the things that do (mostly), as well as knowing that I get to decide what matters to me. No longer do I need the approval of the entire ‘village’ to do what I want or be who I am. Finally, after 42 years. People will let you down, people will screw you over, people will love you and bring you joy and pain – acceptance is the thing that will even it all out in the end. It is what it is and I no longer need to keep my claws in “it”, deluding myself that I have any control whatsoever of what goes on in the world around me. The only thing I can attempt to control is my reaction to life, and that’s sketchy at best.

There are no “new years resolutions” happening, but I am looking forward to a fresh sheet of paper, new seeds in the garden, perhaps some new orchids to tend to, new semesters, a nap now and then, wine and vegetables from the garden on my table. I’m looking forward to celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary and 42nd birthday, with gusto! I shall also attempt to avoid that crap that gets dumped into a life by inconsiderate people – maybe I will be able to say NO at the right times and YES at the right times…we’ll see.

So, Happy New Year!…and to 2009 I say “goodbye, good riddance, you were a pain in the ass and you will not be missed…but thanks for the info!”


Read Full Post »

“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.” – Patty Duke

Today I got up and out early to plant some little red and white onion bulbs I bought on sale. I wanted to get them in the ground before the full moon tomorrow. It was a cool, crisp morning and I could see my breath in the air as I turned the earth over to get the bed ready and the ground is still moist from the recent rain. With a steamy cup of coffee and my favorite pitchfork in hand, my day started out perfect in every way!

I chose a sunny location, but really I don’t have much choice in my small suburban back yard – unless I want to dig out more lawn, which I promised my husband Tom I wouldn’t do. (even though I sometimes sneak a few inches here and there – he calls it “encroachment”…whatEver!)

So first, I dug down about 2 feet and turned the earth over and over, removing rocks and weeds and crumbling up the big chunks. There aren’t many rocks left after working the California clay soil this way for several years. Now I have soft, crumbly, sweet-smelling dirt full of rich organic mulchy goodness. I met several hideously long and fat earthworms (earthsnakes) – a good sign that my earth is healthy! Onions prefer fairly firm soil so I gently patted the earth back down, leaving some back to cover the bulbs with, and set the onions in the dirt roots facing down. If you accidentally plant them upside down they will still grow, but they’ll be a little stunted from the effort to grow against their nature…as with all of us I guess.

I don’t need a lot of room for these because I will most likely pick and eat them fairly green. If I want larger onions to dry, I just leave some in the earth and they’ll have plenty of space to grow after the green ones are removed – just pick every other onion to keep them evenly spaced.

Then, I covered them with the remaining dirt – an inch or two deep – and patted the soil down a bit. The whole process, including a coffee break, took 35 minutes – plenty of time to get to the home office by 8. Now comes the hard part, waiting for spring!

You can harvest the green onions after the plant part is about 6-8 inches tall. If you want to dry your onions: hold back on watering when they mature, wait until the tops turn brown and fall over, then pull them out, dust them off (being careful to leave the delicate skins in tact) and let em hang out in a cool, dark place – like the potting shed. Make sure they have a LOT of breathing room all the way round. A screen works best, or do it the old way and tie them up in groups of three using the tops. At this point moisture is the onion’s worst enemy so keep an eye on them for soft spots or mold. After 2 to 3 weeks you can cut the tops off and use them, or store them as you would grocery store onions. Remember to remove and immediately use any plants that form a flower since they don’t make good dried onions at that point. Onions are bi-annuals which means they don’t bloom until their second year…mine get eaten way before that!

Nutrition Facts:

(1/2 cup fresh green onions, chopped)

Calories 13
Dietary Fiber 1.2 grams
Protein 0.9 grams
Carbohydrates 2.8 mg
Vitamin A 2,500 IU
Vitamin C 22.5 mg
Iron 0.9 mg

(1/2 cup chopped, mature onions)

Calories 29
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 6.6 grams
Vitamin C6 mg
Vitamin B60.2 mg

Isn’t it odd that only green onions have Vitamin A?

For more juicy bits about onions visit the ‘source’

Read Full Post »

According to Wikipedia: “A hardiness zone (a subcategory of Vertical Zonation) is a geographically-defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone.”

I garden in Zone 10, which means I can grow just about anything and I have a long growing season. I have learned not to prune things late in the year when most people are cutting their plants back for winter. In San Diego, this only prompts things to shoot up and bloom immediately and when we have a nice sunny day (80 degrees right before Xmas!) then my plants get confused only to be frost-bitten in January or February. If you live in a warm zone like this, don’t prune until you want the plant to grow for spring. Prune during a waning or new moon to stimulate growth…or so goes the lore.

Read Full Post »



These sunflowers were growing at Summers Past Farms, my favorite place to buy seedlings. http://www.summerspastfarms.com/

Read Full Post »