Friday, April 20, 2018

Weather or Not

Our weather has been all over the place. Yesterday was beautiful -- but chilly. A few days ago it was almost in the 80s. And the day before that, there was snow.

The tree peonies are blooming . . .

A lone bloodroot . . .

The River Birch is a brilliant chartreuse while a green haze is settling on the mountains -- a nice change from Winter's gray and brown.

Yellow trilliums and their lovely mottled foliage.

Some days we need the sun block . . .

Other days . . . not so much.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

From the Department of Shameless Commerce

Another reminder of some classes/workshops I'll be leading this summer. 

Wildacres Writing Workshop  July 7 - 14, Little Switzerland, NC. This is a critique workshop for serious writers with a novel in progress (or even just begun -- but at least 20 pages worth.)

Wildacres folks were thrilled to learn that the Wildacres Writing Workshop was listed recently in National Geographic's 100 Places That Will Change Your Life.

John C. Campbell Folk School  June 10-16, Brasstown, NC. This is a writing boot camp for all levels including beginners.

Great Smokies Writers Program (Asheville) --  Writing to prompts -- a no-stress, no homework short class (5 meetings) Tuesdays, 6/5,6/14. 6/26, 7/3, 7/17, 6-8:30.  My class has just been added and may not appear on the schedule yet but will be there soon. You could always call the office and ask to be added. 

If you're interested in any of these opportunities, follow the links or ask me about the offerings. (vicki3laneYOUKNOW WHAT

Who knows, one of these classes might change your life!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Coyota in the Kitchen

Oh, my goodness -- there is so much to love about this book! It's a mix of memoir, cookbook, and art. Rodriguez, the daughter of an Anglo mother and a Hispanic father, shares her struggles and her triumphs in this colorful and eclectic account.

There's a lot about adobe -- Rodriguez learned the art and made a living as a plasterer and oven builder. There's a fascinating section on the hallucinogenic ayahuesca and more on the folk remedies used by the native curanderas.
And throughout, the family stories and the culture clashes keep the narrative lively.

The cooking runs like a thread throughout -- family meals, celebrations, meals in hard times, cooking at a restaurant where the owner wants to use up all the shrimp and the coconuts . . . and it all sounds wonderful.

I've never been to New Mexico but after reading this book, I'm homesick for it. The recipes have me making a list and planning a visit to a local tienda in search of some of the ingredients 

A bonus is the inclusion of color plates with Rodriguez's paintings --  brilliant mixtures of (to quote Wikipedia) "Native American ceremonialism, Mexican mysticism, and Hispanic folk art."

I loved this book!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Got to Get Back to the Garden

At long last, perfect weather in the 70's made it imperative to get into the garden. Time for some dirt therapy! On Thursday John fired up the tiller and attacked the tiers . . .

while I cleared off and weeded the asparagus bed.

The end near the road wasn't too bad -- the horse radish is thriving . . .

but the majority of the bed was covered in mats of  ground ivy, aka Glechona hederacea , Gill-over-the-ground, Creeping Charlie, Alehoof, Tunfoot, Catsfoot, Field Balm, or Runaway Robin. Whatever you call it, it smells minty and is fairly easy to pull.

It's non-native, having been brought from Europe by early settle for its culinary and medicinal uses. Wikipedia has quite a list of these. I have never tried any of them.

I weeded carefully around some catnip plants -- and harvested some for the kittehs . . .

The finished bed -- not a thing of beauty -- except to me. Now if the asparagus would just begin to show itself. The ground is still pretty cool -- maybe these sunny days will get things moving.

On Friday I tidied up the Creepy Garden that's at the front end of the asparagus bed -- the Black Pussy Willow needs pruning . . .

The concept of the Creepy Garden was to have plants with black or near-black foliage. I have some deep purple tulips and irises, as well as some black liriope. Also there are plants there because of their names -- spider plant, Voodoo lily (Arum Dracunculus aka Dog dick plant.) 

And there's some stuff there just to provide a contrast.

Confederate violets are like weeds at this time of year. And I was happy to find a Columbine that my sister-in-law Fay gave me several years ago was thriving.

As are the Dog Dick plants --  which will be a trifecta of creepiness when they bloom: name, color(raw liver,) and fragrance (rotting meat.)

I got the black pussy willow tidied up  . . .

and moved on to the box beds -- John had weed-eaten and tilled four of the beds but the other four, with their perennial herbs, require hand weeding.

I made a start . . . but the beds at the far end and above the rock wall will have to wait  . . . Josie will be with me ton Saturday.  Soon, however, I'll get some seed sowed.

But the really good news for me is that, compared to last year at this time or even at the end of garden season -- I have a lot more stamina.  And, getting up from sitting on the ground, while still not pretty, is at least possible. Last year I was having to slither to the steps or a slope so I could get my feet downhill and attain verticality.  This year, I can kneel and then stand up!

Thankful for small victories!