Smelling Like Dirt

It's always a toss-up what season of the year I like best. It usually depends on what season we're in. Right now...Spring is my favorite season. In June, I'll tell you it's summer. Come September, it's all about Fall. And even Winter has its charm. Perhaps the lesson is that the present is always the best place to be.

Today's forecast is for a record-setting 80°F day. We've lived in the Portland area since 1978, and certainly I can't remember it ever being that warm in April. While I'm happy about the warm weather, it is a tad warm for being out in the bright sunshine. Yesterday's relatively cool temperatures were perfect for getting out and planting the annuals.

Starting at the culinary herb garden, I planted some cilantro. I'm not a great fan of cilantro, but I do use it in cooking. (In my humble opinion, it actually tastes pretty good on its second day after its flavor has mellowed a bit.) The problem with cilantro in cooking is that I usually want just a small amount, but nevertheless am forced to buy a large bunch. By planting it in my own garden I'll be able to get just the amount I want.

Also, the tarragon needed to be replaced. If memory serves, I believe I replaced it last year too. Sometimes it takes a couple of years to get something going. 

The rosemary is a good example. I tried and tried and tried to get the rosemary to come back after winter. It took several tries, but now I have big and good-looking rosemary plant.

When the previous owner/builder of our home moved out, he left behind this rock. It has a small impression at the top and a little cactus was growing there. It lasted a few years, but then died. Now the rock is home to a single weed each year. This year, I decided to dress it up a little.

I scraped off as much moss as I could, and then gave it some new soil. (It had clay in the impression...not exactly the soil of choice for cactus.) Then, I planted this little heliotrope. While I was planting it, I realized I have no idea how large or small heliotrope is. It may turn into the plant that ate Los Angeles, so stay tuned. If I stop blogging mysteriously, you'll have a place to start looking.

This whiskey barrel is my favorite place to plant a cherry tomato. Cherry tomatoes can easily overwhelm even the most avid tomato lovers, and so one is my limit. I like having it up close to the house so that I'm not too lazy to walk out in the middle of cooking dinner and start harvesting cherry tomatoes for a salad. Also, we both like walking by, picking off a few, and popping them in our mouths on the fly. 

This plant has to share its space with some volunteer pansies and some tulips that escaped the notice of the squirrels. Oh yes, and that little plant stake there...it's just one of the yard ornaments I can't seem to resist when shopping in our local mega mart. This one glows in the dark. And may I just say it's totally cool.

At that point, I was ready to turn my attention to the three patio pots. Each one had some snapdragons still alive from last year. Since I don't think it's ever possible to have enough snapdragons, I planted another one in each pot, along with some pansies and some asters. I'm trying not to let my optimism overcrowd the pots this year, and so I left them some room to grow.

Then there are four more pots lining the sidewalk down to the greenhouse. In the first one, I planted geraniums. I used to plant petunias here, but the deer ate them. Now I give them the stinky geraniums less pleasing to their palates.

In the second pot...marigolds. Just because.

This third pot has been filled with perennial dianthus for about three years running. This year, they show no sign of returning. I had more pansies than I could use, and so I planted the remainder here. If the dianthus comes back...they can share.

Finally, gerbera daisies in the fourth pot. I love gerbera daisies, but never have much luck at keeping them blooming. Nevertheless, I remain forever hopeful. Spring will do that to you. This pot is in partial shade, and so it's a good place for them. Don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I keep trying.

After that, I took a break, but I wasn't finished because I still needed to plant my hanging petunia pots. They don't look like much now, but it's surprising how quickly they fill in.

Since the deer wouldn't leave them alone at the sidewalk pots, I started hanging them up close to the house where deer fear to tread. These will hang on either side of my greenhouse window.

And that was my day in the garden. For dinner, I tried a new recipe for this Savory Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese tart. It smelled good enough, and I could make it ahead. It was a five star effort with only a three star flavor, so I can't recommend it and I won't be making it again.

That was served up with a salad of cherry tomatoes. It was a good thing everything was made up ahead of time because our power went off about the time Mike got home from work. We've lived in our house since 2002. Being in a rural area, we worried in the beginning about the potential for days (even weeks) long power outages in bad weather. In all that time, I can only recall one power outage that lasted for several hours. This week, we've had three.

In this internet age, it's easy to report an outage and to keep track of when power is expected to be restored. Yes, the computers are off, but our cell phones still work. So I checked the outage map for our zip code and was helpfully informed that there were no outages in our area. Begging to differ, I reported ours and was informed that approximately 150 people in our area were without power. And losing power in our area is a big deal because it also means our water will run out fairly quickly too. 

So faced with the third outage of the week and the pessimistic expectation that it would not be restored until well after dark, I suggested that we head to a local dessert eatery, Rose's Deli, for something sinful. 

And I didn't have to say it twice to convince the Resident Engineer of the merits of the suggestion. We were out the door, in the car, and on our way in a matter of about 3.2 seconds...surely a new world record. Along the way, we passed two huge Portland General Electric trucks heading the other direction...a good sign.

Mike ordered a slice of the French Silk Cake and I ordered a slice of the Black Forest Cake. When it arrived, we unapologetically smashed our faces into our respective plates without pausing to take pictures. I'd say we ate like pigs, but that would be an insult to pigs. When we were ready to come up for air, I snapped these images. This is mine:

This is Mike's. His was huge, and he couldn't finish it. Mine was a more...shall we say...a "dainty" portion.

And then I checked my phone again to see if the power had been restored. It had not. There were no good movies playing at the local theater, and so we made an exciting visit to Home Depot. Yes, we do know how to have a good time. I still needed 1,500 steps to get my 10k and it seemed like a good place to do it. While there, we picked up a sweet basil plant to add to the garden and then wandered around looking at the things you see at Home Depot. It's mostly man stuff, but I did manage to talk him into looking at plumbing fixtures. I'd really like to switch out the cabinet, sink, and fixtures in our downstairs bathroom.

All the while, I kept checking my phone only to find that the reason for the power outage was still "under investigation", and the time for the power to be restored was getting later and later. When it seemed a reasonable time to just get in bed, we started for home. Along the way, we passed the Portland General Electric truck heading in the opposite direction. Now...that truly was a hopeful sign. And we were happy to find the lights on when we arrived home.

I'd say those desserts we ordered were a prime example of how to make lemonade from lemons, wouldn't you?

For today's agenda, I have five pounds of tomatillos and four jalapeno peppers hanging out in the fridge waiting to fulfill their life's purpose of becoming salsa verde. Also, in a use-it-or-lose-it effort, I'm going to use up the last of the frozen pumpkin puree to make some pumpkin bread. If there's time left over, I'll get back to work on the Cats of a Different Color. The basement sewing room is a cool place to be on a warm day.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Suzanne Ramsay said...

I enjoy your posts so much!

Suzanne Ramsay said...

I also like your blog set up. I'm considering starting one up. Please share whatever you are willing as to what blog provider you use and anything else that makes it as professional as yours turns out please. Thank you

Barbara said...

Suzanne, you are set at no reply. Please email me.

quiltzyx said...

Looks like you've made the most of your sunny days this week! I'm not sure if I've ever had fresh from the garden Cilantro, but I do like a bit of it mixed into Mexican food & salads. Seems to 'freshen' it up a little.
Wonderful flowers - as usual!
Keep enjoying your sunny days!

Michele Bilyeu said...

So many beautiful things in one post. Now, I really do feel like Spring has come! Even if Oregon goes back to rain..and we usually do..you remind me of new growth and creativity..and lots of delicious things! Happy early Spring, Barbara!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I'm not a fan of Cilantro either. I'm thinking of doing herbs mixed in the flower bed along the back of the house. Easy access to them - and I think they are pretty, too.

Margie Crewse said...

Oh My!!! As I was reading your blog this morning you brought back a very old memory. Years ago while visiting my brother, he took us to Rose's. I was thinking about this place a while back and wondering if it was still there! THANKS!!!!

Susan said...

Last Fall I was gifted a huge Rosemary plant by a friend who was moving to Arizona. It was living in my breeze way where it is cold, but not freezing. I had to give it away after a couple of months when we determined my husband was allergic to it. My cat missed it the most. He loved to go out there and chew on the bottom sprigs.

What recipe do you use for pumpkin bread?

Dar said...

All your perennial pots look like you had a fun time shopping for the plants to fill put in them. I like your idea of how to kill time when you are waiting for the power to return. Both the dessert stop and Home Depot. I always find things there when I least expect it. You will have to let us know how the cilantro does. I use a lot of it in my salsa, but also dislike having to throw away lots since it doesn't keep too well between making my salsa. I've tried to grow some in a small pot, but it didn't work. Maybe I need to take better care of the watering of it.

Dana Gaffney said...

I don't have luck with Gerbera's either, but love them and keep trying, I had a pale pink one return for a few years so maybe you'll find a color that works :) Isn't it nice to just text the electric company to report an outage?

Jenny - the lilac cat said...

i had to smile at your making lemonade when you've been given lemons, and given it was such a successful evening of delicious dessert combined with a bit of husband organisation I just wonder whether you and Portland General Electric may have been in cahoots!!

Kate said...

Sounds like you made the best of what could have been a frustrating evening.