Category Archives: books

Day of the Garden

Today was the Day of the Garden! I spent a good part of this 85° mid-May day getting the back garden set for summer. I tied grape vines to the lattice in hopes of training them for full coverage, cleaned out the herb garden and gave it a deep watering. I was pleasantly surprised to find the blooming sage buzzing with bees, which is a great sign for the summer. Even though we’ve only had about a month of good growing weather, the 20 foot raised herb and grape garden is looking abundant!

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I also tended to my 12 x 4 square foot garden. The 16 sq. ft. of kale, swiss chard and spinach I planted earlier this spring is coming along nicely and the spinach that made it through the winter is starting to get out of hand. I predict a spinach salad (or 5) in my future. I also got in all of my tomatos, eggplants, tomatillos, patty pan squash and bell peppers. Plus I sowed some arugula and Italian basil. I’m hoping to get some some cucumbers and green beans going tomorrow.

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And when Bella was down, dinner was done, and the house was quiet, I finally found some time to tuck into A Rich Spot of Earth, the history of Thomas Jefferson’s retirement garden at Monticello, as told by Monticello’s head gardener, Peter Hatch. I’m a fourth the way in and so far it is a fantastic history of a fascinating man’s garden (note to self, Jefferson deserves a Bio Better than Fiction post).

The book is made even better by great pairing of Hudson Manhattan Rye on the rocks.

Eh, It’s Just a Little Blood

I looked down to read the next sentence and there it was: one big blob of blood, quickly soaking into the virginal white page and turning from a reflective dark red to a dull rust brown. No way was this coming out.  I quickly used a finger to swipe away that which was still pooling on the page and wiped my finger clean on my shirt.

And that’s when I saw more, streaking down the side of the book, touching the edge of every page, seeping in just enough that with every turn of a page promising white, there was an eye catching, creeping brown. And this all seems appropriate.

For the last few years I’ve owned Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.* I’ve read it a few times and flipped the pages casually dreaming of what I’d make but only now did I force myself to find a time slot just big enough to break it in with a classic:  beef bourguignon.  It just happened that flinging around some stew beef I got a bit sloppy.

With most books I’d be damned well pissed at myself for ruining them with carelessness. But with Juilia its alright; in the kitchen anything goes. And a little baptism by blood never hurt a cookbook.

*I give mad props to myself for buying it before Julie and Julia became all the rage.  Follower? Nay! Trend setter, I am.