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!


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.


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.