Category Archives: le jardin

In No Particular Order

Apparently I just have a lot of different little things that I feel like I need to share, so here they are.

  • We discovered that there was a bird nest in the insulation covering our exposed foundation.  When they went to start removing the insulation, we discovered there were baby birds in the nest!  So that project has been tabled until fall (I do not want any bad baby bird karma) and THANK GOD the mama bird did not abandon the nest.
  • I finally completed all of my recertification credits for my SPHR and submitted that application.  So, now I have to wait the four weeks while they review it (snooze) and then hopefully that should be all-wrapped up.  Spending free hours listening to webinars was not my favorite part of the whole summer, but the nice part is that the hours also counted for my SHRM-SCP recertification so it was sort of like a buy-one-get-one type deal.  Now, I just need to figure out how to translate some of my other recertification credits  from the SPHR to the SHRM-SCP.  Lean in!
  • The deck off our our master suite is finally completed and on the first night of its functionality, I was able to watch a squirrel build a leaf nest in the maple tree so already, it is a fascinating and worthwhile adult treehouse.
  • A former co-worker was seeking to unload a bunch of Iris bulbs so I requested some and now they are planted in the one bed of dirt we have outside of our entire house. Re-landscaping will be a whole different project for another year.  To summarize: our house is surrounded by rock that is somewhere between gravel and proper landscaping rock.  The sum total of plants is one day lily and one peony bush (win!).  There are some bushes around the house but every single one is a different kind.  At least now I can say I’ve tried to plant some flowers and Do Better.  Last weekend we also obtained a trowel, watering can, and pruning/clippers thing.
  • I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.  I discovered this because my hands were falling asleep at night while I was sleeping (how uncool, right?) so the remedy is apparently to wear wrist braces while I sleep.  I just cannot even begin to discuss the level of indignity.  BUT. I slept so, so well last night and I know I was waking up every hour and a half or so before because my hands were falling asleep while I slept. So I will take it. 
  • Critter woke up on Sunday and decided to become a full-blown toddler so that has just been a really energizing time for all of us as we try to negotiate Not Touchdown Spiking All Of Our Toys In Inappropriate Places amongst probably any other toddler behavior you can think of.

So that’s how life is over here, lately.

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Up North At The Cabin (and some other weekend stuff)

Cabin 1

This weekend, I went Up North to the cabin with my parents.

Even though it poured for a good portion of the day on Saturday, it didn’t really matter – it gave me a pretty rockin’ excuse to nap and read.  I know that I could have done both of those things in the cities, but it is sort of nice to do them with a view.

And this morning it was Not Raining, so I hustled Dad out onto the pontoon so that we could go fishing.  Or really, so he could drive the pontoon and I could fish.

After about 20-25 minutes of trolling the shoreline, I caught a fish and I told Dad that we could head back in.

Cabin 2

When we got back to the cities, I was truly astonished because it was GORGEOUS outside (compared to the cloudy/cool clime at the cabin).  I decided that today I would FINALLY tackle our deck and front step planters since those have been on my to do list for the better part of a month now.  Plus, who doesn’t love to garden when it is sunny?

Le Jardin 1Le Jardin 2

They are done now and that is great.  The basil is actually a plant that we sourced from Trader Joe’s a week ago.  I felt like giving it more dirt would provide it with its best shot at life.  We’ll see how long that lasts for.  The kind woman at Lowe’s also informed me that if you are doing planters, you can mix one bag of potting soil with one bag of topsoil to stretch it out (and save some money).  I did not take her advice on this because I only have six planters, but if I was doing any more than that (or had more space to store soil), I would.  So there’s your green thumb tip for the day.

Travels Past: Giverny

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve really run the clock on this story since it has now been an entire year since we went to Paris.  But, who is keeping track?

Giverny is Monet’s home in the countryside outside of Paris.  If you want to see extraordinary examples of his work, go to Musee d’Orsay or L’Orangerie.  But it is here where you can see his Japanese-inspired Water Garden: the water lilies, the willow trees and the bridges that he so famously painted.

To get to Giverny, you have to take a car, because it is about an hour’s drive outside of the city.  Once you get to the true countryside, to the world of small villages and hay fields, tiny creeks and winding roads, you are there.

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It’s all very transporting.

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Mom accused me of taking photos of her butt as we wandered the town and gardens.  I would dispute that as being not entirely accurate.  For whatever reason, on this particular day in France, the only thing I actually wanted to take photos of was my mother.  To me, she was the most beautiful thing.  And yes, Mom, if you are reading this, of all of the things in Monet’s gardens you were my favorite.

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I’m sure that when spring isn’t MIA and everything is in bloom, it is quite lovely.  But instead, I did my best to take snaps of the few flowers blooming on the entirety of the grounds.

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Some people say the light is different.  When Marcus got the chance to look over some of the snaps I took of the willows and the water, he could not believe that the water and the sky were not switched.

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It truly was just like that.  I have never been of the particular belief that seeing an artist’s subject matter will bring any sort of great clarity to viewing their work.  That being said, seeing the light on the water was  not something I could have possibly even imagined.

It was a different piece of art entirely.

Picture 203

Au revoir, Giverny.

Workshopping

KITTENS.

This has really been quite the week.  This is me.  Right now.

Me

Watching Sharknado because apparently that is A Thing.

  • I know that this is straight from the department of First World problems, but coming back to work after being gone for a week (or more!) is So Hard.  And this Monday marked the fourth time I’ve done that this year.  It’s exhausting.  I knew if I survived the meetings I had today, that the week would be a success so as I was driving home after my last date with PowerPoint, I put a point on the board for Team Kat.
  • Jetlag hasn’t been terrible this time around, which is nothing short of a miracle.  It may have to do with our 30 hour journey home, in which our bodies gave up on any semblance of time-telling.  That being said, I have been crashing HARD at 9:00 PM every single night.  I can’t imagine that tonight will be any different.
  • In spite of the heatwave that is paralyzing the country, my Petunias have performed quite admirably.  I think they may have cousins close to the equator because otherwise I can’t find a way to explain how they’re doing so well.  Look.

Flowers

  • Otherwise, Le Jardin has largely been an act of willful ignorance.  I did move our hanging basket from the deck to our front steps because I don’t think the Impatiens were agreeing with their location, but before we left we were getting tons of rain (no need to water!) and then my mother looked after our plants while we were away.  Much less stressful than herbs (though I won’t be tossing my flowers into a summer salad any time soon).
  • My parents were in London the week before we headed out to Europe and they brought me back an eclectic potpourri of wonderful commemorative Royal Souvenirs (I know – so trashy, but they kill me).  It’s basically a Customs House around here these days.

Souvenirs

  • In other Good News, my mitts and paws are finally in order after 20 days.  It only took me three days longer to accomplish than I had originally planned (read: I thought they would be done on Monday), BUT they are done now.  I still think that going polish-free for Europe was the right idea but, restoring order?  So Centering.
  • I’m headed up to the cabin tomorrow afternoon and I am So Excited.  Yes, seriously, I need a vacation from my vacation.  What better way to do that than with a weekend full of pizza from Zorbaz, beer, sunning and running?

A Declutter of Epic Proportions

On Wednesday, the spirit of decluttering struck me, promptly in the middle of the workday.  It was a bit of a What The Hell-moment, if I can be totally honest.  As it’s fairly obvious that I was powerless to do anything about it in that moment, I actioned a To Do list of sorts to clear my head.  And then I tucked it into my planner.

I like to think that we keep an appropriately clean house.

But when The Universe directs you to wipe down your baseboards and dust and windex all surfaces (cabinets and windows included) and sweep the laundry room, you do those things.

And it is centering.  To a certain extent.

But once all of that was done, I knew we were not finished yet.

So Marcus and I tackled things like the mysterious pile of boxes in the corner of the garage.  The old suitcases lurking beneath the boxes, one of which ironically had $20 tucked into it.

We addressed the fact that we are apparently lightbulb hoarders.

Bulbs

Marcus informs me that the reason we have so many is because every light in the house needs a different bulb and purchasing the multi-packs Makes Sense.

You will not get an argument from me on that one.

We re-arranged the laundry room cabinets and organized the contents of the giant box of 3M products that had taken up residence in the guest bedroom.

Cabinet

We threw away things like the old, broken doorknob from the garage door that was saved for reasons unknown.

We unearthed the printer we added to our wedding registry that we never bothered to unpack or install.

It was quite the archaeological dig.  I sincerely wish that we would have thought to take some before pictures because there was some heinous stuff going on.

In case you thought at that point we were thoroughly exhausted (we were) and ready to call it quits (we were not), read on.

Because I dealt with Le Jardin.

I know that for the past few years we’ve done things like basil (always basil), tarragon, parsley, sage, cilantro and tomatoes.  But this year we’re going to be out-of-town for a couple of Important Weeks in the growing/harvesting season, so it made no sense to grow edible plants that we were never going to…eat.

While the rest of the neighbors have been actioning planters for the last month or so, we have been dragging our feet.  So Le Jardin?  On the list.

The end result, care of the Lowe’s Garden Center, is a variety of annuals and our first-ever hanging basket.

Le Jardin 3 Le Jardin 1 Le Jardin 2

I found myself in a conversation with a sorority sister over brunch yesterday where we were discussing splitting Hostas, so my life is basically over at this point.

See also: I suspect that I’m going to need to learn how to prune in the coming days.  Our association is cutting down all of the diseased trees in our neighborhood, which means that a massive tree disguising all of the extremely mediocre landscaping on the side of our house will be going down.

That it will be displacing the Mourning Doves, The Bunny Nest, and The Angry Red-Winged Blackbird That I Secretly Love is another issue entirely.

For today it is more than enough.

(An Edible) Deck Rainforest

What’s alarming: I haven’t discussed le jardin since May 16th.

Where has all the time gone?  And more importantly, why wasn’t I busy photographing my crops and tending to them like any attentive novelty-gardener should be?

I mean, hello?  Ready-made content.

I kid.  I’ve been watering them faithfully throughout the summer because had I not been watching them vigilantly like a hawk, they would have been scorched to death in a day.  This summer on the 45th Parallel?  Not so hospitable to all things great and small.

Anyhow, we’ve come a long way from growing sideways and thank God for that.  After having to totally abandon the purple basil, I think I would have lost my mind if the rest of the plants failed to flourish.

See?

I know.  Pesto Time.  How verdant and lush.

I’m especially impressed by the sage and the hydrangea, only because I haven’t tried to cultivate either of those things before, ever.  Though I’m kind of thinking that I might need to re-pot the hydrangea, lest it become a teacup version of its full potential.

I’ve also been informed that sage is a bush-type thing that I don’t need to re-plant from year to year.  Can anyone confirm this as true or strike down the myth?  I just want to be appropriately prepared.  Heaven forbid  I leave a planter out for the winter only to have it return barren.  That would probably be the disappointment of the year.

Gardeners: How are your plants doing?

Call for advice: What do you bake/cook with sage besides stuffing (yum)?

Growing Sideways

This week, le jardin got moved off of the bench in the living room and out onto the patio.

I never thought this day would come.  Except for when I did.

Can we all just take a moment to give thanks for another year where I planted things on finished wood that we can’t rip out and managed to avoid ruining it?

Amen.

Some people might prefer to harden-off their plants over a progression of days.

My beef with that concept:

  • I have no desire to wrangle plants in and out-of-doors on a daily basis.  This would be akin to having a pet.  There is a reason we don’t have…a pet.
  • I don’t want to pay that much attention to the weather.  Is it freezing?  Is it not going to be freezing?

Or we could just distill that into I don’t care that much.

So, rather, I waited until I was feeling very certain that we would not be seeing a frost again.

And now that I’ve typed that, we will probably have a frost which requires me to bring my tiny patio-Eden indoors once more.

But anyway, I brought the plants outside and so naturally, instead of worrying about cool(er) temperatures, my plants got to play Sahara in the mid-80’s.

They are now growing sideways.  And none of them are pointing in the same direction (AKA towards the sun).

I just don’t think this is how it is supposed to work.

What is your spring weather like?  Tropical or tropical?

Gardeners: Do you move your plants in and out-of-doors as the weather warms up?