Sunday, August 25, 2013


We do gardening in bursts here.  Mostly, we neglect things.  But weekly or bi-weekly we try to pull something up or hack something down that shouldn't be growing.  This gardening strategy has worked extremely well for our yard.  When we find a plant that we like, a plant that seems to be growing well where it has been planted, we leave it alone, and occasionally cut down the competition.  If we leave it alone long enough, it will go to seed, and then the next year we have even more of that type of happy plant.  And soon the happy plants take over the entire garden in an impressive way, and the neighbors compliment us and ask us what our gardening secrets are.

This is how we came to have a front garden full of hollyhocks.  And an expanding raspberry patch in the back yard.  And a vegetable garden overrun with green onions, red chard, leaf and butter lettuce, and this year, carrots.  

Last year we planted a few carrot seeds, but only a handful grew into carrot plants.  The carrots were difficult to dig up, and once dug up, they tasted like... well... carrots.  Which means that somewhere in the heat of mid-summer the carrots weren't worth digging anymore.  So we neglected the remnants.  And then one of the carrot plants did something interesting.  It grew huge stalks, and big clusters of little white flowers.  And the bees loved the flowers, so I wasn't going to cut them down at that point.  And before we knew it, we had carrot seeds scattered all across the vegetable garden.  

This spring, to our happy surprise, there were many little carrot plants growing up around the red chard, lettuce, and green onions.  I thinned a little in one of my gardening bursts, and then abandoned all gardening during the months of June and August, and spent my gardening time in July picking fruit instead of worrying about the vegetable garden.  

But last week, I realized the vegetable garden was overgrown, and it was time to pick the carrots.  

So I spent two hours today digging them up, and after pulling about 2/3 of them, the carrot harvest covered my kitchen counter. 

Carrots!  Who knew?  How fun!  Except they still taste like... well... carrots.  

What are we going to do with all these carrots?

Dancing carrots from my garden.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Somehow autumn

Today was Jonathan's first day of fifth grade.  If all goes as planned, and we actually get visas and paperwork and housing and flights and transportation and furniture and school and all those things you need to move to another country for eight months, then Jonathan will have two first days of fifth grade.  The second one will be at the beginning of February.  But this was Jonathan's first first day of fifth grade.

I thought it was a pretty good deal, having Jonathan go back to school here -- today -- in the middle of the summer.  It's great to have him back with the friends he loves and learning again so early in the year.  In the middle of the summer.

In fact, I was happily walking around with this idea that we are in the middle of summer all the way to and from school this morning.  And then I was happily driving around with this idea that we are in the middle of summer after that, as I headed up over the mountain to the local conference on the other side.  I was happily thinking it was the middle of summer right up until I looked into the mountain and saw...

... orange.

The green hills are covered with spots of orange.  As in autumn orange.  As in mid-summer is gone, and autumn has already touched the trees in mountains.  During the next few weeks, while we are peacefully sleeping in our beds with the windows open, appreciating summer, that sneaky autumn will creep down out of the mountains and start touching the trees in the valley as well.  Which means summer is over.

School started, and in the mountains, it is autumn.

How did that happen again?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

After tenure

Now that I have tenure, I do crazy things. Like wear purple sparkly glasses with hearts on them. It is true. I have worn them all week. I am wearing them now.

My new purple sparkly glasses make a statement to the world. They say, "World, I am wearing purple sparkly glasses." Apparently from the photo above, they also say, "World, I have a large red nose. But ignore that for the moment and check out these awesome glasses.

People who don't have tenure can wear whatever glasses they want, but typically they will want to wear more boring, conservative glasses, that say, "World, I can conform. I am reliable and diligent and I wear respectable glasses." But people who have tenure can wear glasses that say, "World, I am a big nerdy nerd with thick glasses. But wait! Also with a hint of sparkle. And purple hearts? That totally indicates some mental instability and wow! You just may want to back away now. Slowly." I scare the world with my purple sparkly glasses. I make them realize that I am unpredictable.

In other unpredictable behavior, I also wore a skirt today to a conference I am attending. This may be a first for me. Or possibly a second. I think I wore a skirt to a conference once about six years ago. And a pink flowery shirt. I am totally off the wall crazy. I know it. Now that I have tenure, I can be crazy in crazy unpredictable ways.

Ha!  Bet you didn't expect another photo here at the end.  See what I mean?