Monday, March 24

the sense of sight

I'm thankful for the sense of sight today. And yesterday, and tomorrow.
A rather dramatic view of the Cascade Mountain Range, which can be viewed from the eastern part of Whidbey Island. I live on the western edge of the island with the Olympic Mountain Range within view.

Evan and I spotted this sand dollar when we were walking the beach at Fort Casey State Park a few weeks ago.

Saturday, March 22

the transformation

In honor of spring's arrival, but mostly because she is addicted to buying plants, Suzie spent her last day on Whidbey preparing this flower bed. Weeding, transplanting, and spreading manure, she has turned this bed from something that look liked Medusa's hair into something beautiful. I wish I had a "before" picture. But you'll just have to imagine that box completely filled with weeds, where a few random bulbs were trying their hardest to eek out a living. And somehow in all that mess, the deer still found the tulip leaves and feasted solely on them. The unpredictability of nature leaves me with no words. hmmm.

Tuesday, March 18

V is for Vermicompost

For all of my faithful blog watchers, today you will learn a new word: vermicompost.

Vermicompost (also called worm compost, vermicast, worm castings, or worm manure) is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by some species of earthworm. Vermicompost is a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Suzie and I have approximately two pounds of worms working for us to produce vermicompost. In a few months we should have a dark, rich, substance to use in our vegetable garden that will thrill our wee little plants.

By the way the picture above is totally unrelated to this post. I just thought it was cool. It is a large rock that is covered in barnacles and mussels (the mussels are the black things). The green is seaweed that has been washed ashore.

Bush Point (my neighborhood) Update:
  1. Our three rows of peas have made it to the light.

  2. We have recently introduced four cherry trees, two pear trees, a peach tree, a goumi berry tree, two apple trees, and six blueberry bushes to 307 Spyglass.

  3. Stacy and I have decided to try riding the free transit to and from work to save money ($3.65/gal. today)

  4. I met a local chocolatier, who had just been to italy for a series of chocolate workshops. Her 850 lb order of Italian chocolate is on its way to Whidbey by freighter.

Friday, March 14

the putrid smell that arose

I arrived home from work yesterday evening and Suzie (who is visiting until next Wednesday) was busy with supper preparations. Reheating black bean soup, cooling the oven fresh corn bread, and keeping a close eye on a mystery substance under the lid of the skillet. As she raised the lid, a billow of steam along with a wreaking smell arose from the skillet and filled the kitchen. What is that? Evidently Suzie had discovered some stinging nettles growing along the bluff.

I had been hearing that new nettle leaves were a good additive to a meal, low calorie, high nutritional value, but I had no intentions of harvesting them and eating them. Mainly because I've had my run-ins with the stinging nettle before. And every time I had lost the futile battle. Fleeing with small, burning lumps on hands, legs, or buttocks (hazard of peeing in the woods).

But deep in my adventurous spirit, I knew I would try the furry little leaves, even though they did smell horribly inedible. Surprisingly, I liked them. They were a good addition to the meal.

After dinner I looked up the facts about stinging nettles from two sources : The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and Herbal Medicine by Diane Dinsin Buchman.
  • According to old herbalists - nettles are an effective weight reducer, nettle water is said to be good hair tonic and cologne supplement (I cannot imagine the smell of that cologne)
  • Medicinally - anti asthmatic, used in treatment for consumption and rheumatism, the seeds counteract venomous bites, cleansing cure-all for stomach, lungs, and intestines, used as a blood cleanser
  • Today wild food enthusiasts believe - boiled or steamed nettles make a tasty vegie, light and low in calories

So maybe I'll be adding nettles to my weekly diet. Who knows. I guess I'd have to put up with the putrid smell of the boiling leaves. No t looking forward to that!

Sunday, March 9

my reality

  • two things I've decided I can not have enough of:
  1. wool socks
  2. anything fleece (ex: hats, socks, pants, jackets)

(and this list, of course, does not include food items, it would be much longer with edibles included)

  • Some of you may have read my sister, Lana's, blogged account of her black bean soup failure. I am, as I type this, attempting to successfully recreate the soup that she has sworn to never cook again. Maybe this Gottschalk can outsmart the wee little black bean!
  • The heating blanket under my seedlings must be working. I have Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Mustard Greens, Radishes (I'm not sure why I planted these, I can't stand radishes), Paste Tomatoes, Kohlrabi (don't really know what that is), Tri-color Tomatoes, Japanese Mizuno Greens, and Cilantro all popping up out of their warm soil home!
  • The rabbits, deer, and voles are doing a number on my crocuses, primroses, daffodils, and tulips. Tulips seems to be the favorite. As soon as a little tulip leaf pokes through the soil, it is mowed off to a stub.
  • I think the word, 'thistle', is a cute word. I wish the weed was just as cute. It's not, and it's invasive. I'm battling it's proliferation in the yard. I'm declaring war, and I will win. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it will be eradicated.
  • I used to dislike pears. My love for them has recently blossomed. I think I'm finally getting my adult taste buds. It's about time.

Saturday, March 8

the filling of life

  • my 5 year old niece calls me to find out how magnetism works

  • my Bozeman buddies love to inform me when they play Settlers of Catan in order to entice me to move back to the Gallatin Valley

  • a random comment from a long-distance friend helps me fix my errant computer

  • Amber and Dan's world travel plans make my blood pump faster

  • fruit trees being delivered to 307 Spyglass - our orchard is taking shape

  • connecting with an old IWU friend in Seattle, who randomly looked me up this week

and last but not least

  • chocolate chardonnay ice cream made by local Whidbey Ice Cream