Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In like a lion, out like a lamb?

Well let's hope so! March weather on the west coast has been wet wet wet but we are hoping that April will hold lots of changes for the better. Keeping that dream close to my heart, I ventured out into the garden this week to clean out the winter dead and make room for the little spots of bloom and blossom. The primroses are yellow and purple, daffodils bright lemon, the flowering plum bring in some shades of pink and the apricot is filled with white popcorn. All wonderful signs of Spring. This is the best season in my garden because it holds all the hope for summer while denying all possibility of failure.

Holding on to that hope, I planted peas, arugula,spinach and some lettuce this weekend. This way they will have 2 weeks to show themselves and I wont even be staring at them. I also set my artichoke starts into the front garden, surrounded by little green plastic tents to keep them warm. They look good so far and maybe the tents will let them grow before the deer spot them.

I cleaned and clipped roses but did not have time to spray before I leave, so I hope they are not pruned further by my 4-legged friends. I really need to build a fence to keep Duffy in the yard all day and all night. Maybe that would help! The neighbors might not enjoy the noise but there is always some price to pay.

For now, all it good and I am full of dreams of warm summer days. I am also thinking about life philosophies, solving world problems and generally meditating on life while I pull weeds and dig dirt. Do you realize that every person learns a language- some even learn Russian- when they are only 1 year old but at 20 we can hardly manage a second language. I think a big part of the problem is that after the age of 5 we stop playing with learning. The first language we learn by practicing sounds and saying senseless prattle just to see how it works. We love to show off our sound boxes all day long. As we get older, we want short cuts. We expect to learn what we want in the time-spans we choose. No wonder we become frustrated. Just like those little toddlers, we are still too impatient. And what about eunuchs? What was that about in the Byzantine culture? So many things for the mind to explore while the hands are tending to weeds.

As you can see, there will be epistles to come as the Spring proceeds. Tonight I am looking forward to 10 days in California. Anita and I will visit the Bay area, Healdsburg and the Sacramento Valley. We are throughing caution to the wind and packing swimming suits in case there is a pool somewhere, but more realistically we will probably enjoy a hot tub! I know there will be stories to tell when I return. Until then, love to you all and celebrate the beginning signs of Spring.

Mama Llama

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Barbara

I know you are all wishing you could have enjoyed celebrating Aunt Barb's 50th birthday so I am sending you come photos from the adventure. Lacey was a great driver and it was especially nice to have she and Corey drive David and I from doorstep to doorstep throughout the evening.
After working our way through heavy rains and Friday evening traffic, we arrived at the Herb Farm in Woodenville just in time for the pre-dinner introduction to all things Herb Farm. They served an interesting and tart herb tea for the introduction, as well as wine. Interestingly, we all chose the tea, being particularly ready for a warm relaxing beverage after the drive.
The dinner menu was set, with the Northwest trees as the theme for the evening. We were all surprised at the selections that we favored.
 The Egg appetizer was really subtle and paired with a wonderful Riesling-like white wine. A beautiful pickled breakfast radish adorned it. Really amazing! I also liked the Sturgeon stuffed with nettles - a fish I don't remember tasting in the past. It was full of interesting and delicate flavors. The cheese was served with tangy fresh greens and an aged local balsamic-wonderful. The syrah gelee with pepper meringue was unusual and very interesting as was the birch sap ice cream ( a little maple-like but more subtle).

Since the theme was trees, Colin would not have enjoyed the meal as much as I did because of the vast number of nut components. They change their menus every 3 weeks so. If he decides to go, he will have to choose a no-nut menu.When we made the reservations, they asked about menu restrictions and we did notice a vegetarian selection going out during the "Pork" dish that included a turnip instead of the pork!
Pigs are a big part of the Herb Farm and between courses patrons can ask for a slop bucket to feed the 2 Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs. Barb's friend Jill thought that would be fun so we walked out with her between the Meat Course and the cheese. They were pretty funny! In all, it was a culinary experience of excellence and art and a good birthday celebration. I hope Barb enjoyed it as much as Lynne and I did.

I hope you are all enjoying the month of March. It is a blustery month in Kingston but in spite of the weather, the goats have been shoren and the chickens have a new spring yard to explore, with a cover to protect them from the eagles. The injured chicken is in the hospital-cage in the chicken yard so she does not feel lonely. I hope she will improve and gain back her weight (she got a like thinner after the trauma of the attack). I, on the other hand hope to get thinning over the month! In all cases, may March be good to us all.

Much Love,
Mama Llama