The Garden Groweth

March 26th

Garden Update

 

Onions

Garden Update

 

Garlic

 

Garden Update

 

Baby broccoli

Garden Update

 

Beets

Garden Update

 

That broccoli I let go to seed (kinda pretty, really)

Garden Update

 

Leeks, which are not flourishing. I think it’s too warm.

 

Garden Update

 

Peas and beans climbing the trellis

Garden Update

 

Random herbs Finny sent me to help bring bees and good insects to the garden

Garden Update

 

Tomato blooms, which might be my very favorite scent on earth. So many heirloom varieties this year!

 

Garden Update

 

Random head of lettuce I didn’t plant. Thanks seed companies!

Garden Update

 

Brussels sprouts, which are covered in aphids. $16 in lady bugs later, I’m just going to rip these babies out. I think they were planted too late an didn’t get enough cold weather.

Garden Update

 

Kale. The true forest of kale we have eaten this year. Mama mia.
Garden UpdateBaby pumpkins. There are also baby sunflowers growing strong. It has been a fun season!

At J’s house, we have a whole different batch of crops going wild – namely zucchini. I see lots of breads and stir fry in our early summer future.

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (0)

When life hands you far too much freaking citrus

March 24th

This week

Juice those lemons and freeze them into ice cube trays. Place one of these at the bottom of a glass. Fill the next 3/4ths with a good seltzer water and ice and then top with a generous splash of Hendricks.

I like to call this lovely warm weather cocktail, a Finnberg.

~K

Posted in
Celebrate!
Comments (2)

Beep Beep

March 23rd

This week

This week

This week

This week

We are reveling in spring over here. Have I mentioned that? Have you rolled your east coast eyes so far back into your freezing brains that you just want me and my sunshine to shut up already?

I know. I’m sorry. But what can I say? We are in the last throws of Smug Season. Soon, you’ll be sipping cocktails on your patios by the glow of fireflies and I’ll be leaning over an oscillating fan wearing an iced bikini at midnight swearing at myself for suffering through another summer. (How’s that for a visual?)

Okay, that is a bit dramatic. (Have you met me? I’ve got a PhD in exaggeration.*)

Bloom where you are planted, they say. Don’t drip directly into the fan, they say. We are being dragged into another warm summer. Might as well celebrate the colors and gentle nature of spring while we can, and decorate the house with adorable cactus and desert dwellers where hilariously possible.

~K

*Actually, I don’t.

Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (2)

Howdy, Bicycle

March 21st

Bike to work!

Arizona offers a bunch of incentives if you use an alternative method of transportation for work. There are contests, gift certificates and the smug attitude you get to have all day after you’ve ridden to work, or carpooled.

I’ve done the carpool thing. It isn’t bad.  I did the bus thing once and it took 3 hours from my current home. It was a time suck. This week I did the cycling thing too. It wasn’t bad either, but it certainly was exhausting. I went from riding zero miles on my bike in, oh 2012-2014, to 29 miles in one day riding to and from work.

No, I didn’t ride a horse yesterday. Yes, I am walking like a cowboy. (The bike shorts I ordered last week are still in transit.)

April is “bike to work month” and Share the Ride is offering some fun incentives. Plus, the City of Tempe has a special day — including free breakfasts and other prizes. And there are a handful of vendors in Phoenix offering discounts if you ride your bike to them during April too. There is an calendar of events here.

A new adventure! Here is to hoping I can make this more of my routine, remembering the more immediate benefits: less gas and wear on the car, more time exercising, and a much more pleasant commute.

Bike on, friends,

Kelli

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama
Comments (0)

More of that saving sunshine…

March 20th

Citrus marmalade

Citrus marmalade

Citrus marmalade

 

Another 20 jars of citrus marmalade canned this week. (And yes, I did clean up the lip before topping these babies.) I’ve finally got this recipe down after 45 jars of jam made. This time I threw in a twist, adding a stick of cinnamon for the last 20 minutes. Then, I turn that giant pot of popping, smacking, angry boiling sugar to a medium low and just let it think for about 20 minutes, with plenty of steam still rising and my stirring arm finally getting a rest.

We’ve got lots and lots of jam and a mercifully decreasing amount of both fruit and fruit flies in the pantry.

Veggie Pizza

 

And homemade veggie pizza to celebrate. Yet another creative adventure at trying to use all that garden produce.

What’s cooking at your house?

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Community, Domestic Art
Comments (1)

Oakland Historic District

March 18th

I took a walk in the neighborhood near my office this week. It is full of colorful personality:

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

Neighborhood Walk

 

One woman saw me taking photos and waved her hands. When I looked over, she said, “Take a picture of my house! It burned down and we rebuilt and now WE GOT GHOSTS!”

I smiled and took a photo, much to her delight.

Phoenix, you are a delightfully weird beast.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (0)

Saving the Sunshine

March 16th

Raftriver Marmalade

I spent some time this weekend trying to save the sunshine — preserving broccoli and citrus. Much like the lore I’ve read in garden magazines about folks in the Midwest hiding zucchini in neighbor’s homes and cars to JUST BE RID OF IT ALREADY!, citrus piles up in Arizona come March. There are free boxes in the driveways along my neighborhood. I came into work last week to find two huge bags abandoned on my desk. We also picked the orange tree bare this weekend. (They go bad if they fall to the ground, and draw bugs.)

What to do with 30 pounds of citrus well after you’ve lost interest in eating a grapefruit at every meal?

Saving the sunshine

Saving the sunshine

Saving the sunshine

Saving the sunshine

Those cubes of lemon juice are delightful in an afternoon gin and tonic, and great for cooking. How many times do you buy one overpriced lemon for the fresh juice required in a recipe? The zest I’ll save for baking. I also juiced a bunch of oranges and grapefruit and froze them in Mason jars for an upcoming brunch.

Saving the sunshine

Tangy, slushy grapefruit juice is delightfully refreshing on a hot Arizona day.

Saving the sunshine

We’ve eaten so much broccoli over the last few weeks. I took what was remaining in the garden and blanched a bunch of it for future stir fry and soup.

Saving the sunshine

Saving the sunshine

Saving the sunshine

This week, I’ll make more marmalade from the remaining oranges and see about preserving some of the kale still growing like a hormonal teen — awkward limbs and all. Soon the tomatoes, beets, onions, garlic and peas will be in. For now, the tiny yellow flowers have me dreaming of salads, marinara and pizza.  The sunflowers and pumpkins are ready to sprout too.

It is certainly a very happy time of year at homestead.

~K

 

 

 

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (3)

Bean Soup

March 12th

Meal planning from spring

I didn’t think when I studied public health a dozen years ago I’d end up spending my days in homeless shelters and learning how to prevent people from killing themselves. Or hotly debating public policy, budgets and political leanings. Happily, here I am, mired in a career that keeps me my curiosities piqued.

Last week, I spent time with researchers from California who were visiting a local homeless shelter. We discussed startling rates of LBGTQ youth who end up in homeless shelters (25%) and try to kill themselves. The basic understanding is kids are not accepted by their families for their sexual preferences, run away, end up in homeless shelters and some feel further isolation — turning to suicide.

How do we stop this? Or the deaths of the 40,000 Americans resorting to suicide annually? I am not certain, but I have a few ideas. It seems most suicides are the result of loneliness. How do we better outreach those feeling isolated and provide the necessary care to give them another day?

Meal planning from spring

We are fundamentally created to live in community — to be around those who nurture our ideas, call us on our bullshit, and make us want to be better. Show me the person who tells you he’d rather be forever alone, and I’ll show you someone with pent-up anger  and a proclivity to send bombs via the USPS.

Meal planning from spring

With a bit of time and CDC funding, hopefully we’ll be able to come up with interventions that work. Perhaps something as simple as providing a support group for LBGTQ youth at homeless shelters in Arizona could help. We’ll see. It is one of many exciting projects on my professional plate.

And the photos of my pantry? Sometimes when it feels like I cannot control a thing in this world (See: Isis, those 47 Senators and their Iranian kowtowing, polar bears drowning in the arctic, wrinkles, more wrinkles, the number of children in foster care, those new wrinkles) — I clean and organize. While everything else seems to be spinning, the pantry is clean, meals planned and garden weeded.

Some days, hope and energy for new solutions and bean soup is what we have. This is enough.

~K

 

 

 

 

Posted in
Public Health
Comments (2)

Garden to Table

March 11th

We’ve been eating out of the garden lately:

Eating from the garden

This recipe for crockpot short ribs is out of this world. Next time I’ll use less sugar and more cayenne — but this one is a keeper. We have more kale and broccoli right now than we can consume (and the bunny is still too young to eat greens.) So, we are eating a lot of roasted broccoli and kale caesar salads with homemade dressing.

Eating from the garden

Eating from the garden

By the time the greens are done, the tomatoes and carrots should be in. The onions, garlic and beets are about ready for harvest. Sunflowers and pumpkins were planted earlier this week in time for the May-June heat.

My home may not be large, but I am enjoying making use of every inch possible of outdoor space before it gets sweaty around here.

{Thanks again to Finny for the inspiration!}

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (1)

More Baby Sweaters

March 10th

Sweater for Josephine

Sweater for Josephine

Sweater for Josephine

Sweater for Josephine

I’m looking forward to starting a new pattern today during my knitting group. Someone asked today if I take my “frustrations” out by knitting. I have is a job that requires 8 hours, and most days the other 16 are left to my own devices. There is only so much Netflix I can watch before being bored silly. I’ve never been terribly good at sitting still, and I’ve knit so much recently I’m starting to see my skills improve.

I only wish I could devise a way to read and knit at the same time. On a treadmill. With a margarita. (not too sweet)

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art
Comments (3)