Monday, March 21, 2011

Growing Joy

This last week has been pretty nice. Aside from the fact that I spent most of Thursday sleeping off a cold, the weather has been great and it's been the first long stretch of days that actually feels like spring. There is a thing that happens every year about this time of year. I get the fever to start planting things, even though I know the danger of frost has not yet passed. So, I buy a packet or two of seeds and take whatever I've collected from flowers and vegetables from last year and toss them around into the pots on my balcony. And then I wait.

...and wait.

...and watch.

...and wait some more. I watch this bare earth as though plants will emerge from its depths fully formed like Athena. I keep watching and waiting and watering and then one day, little green sprouts emerge as though they were waiting for me to walk away for a moment.

I think these are the lettuces, though I also tossed some parsley in with them. I figure that if we get even a little bit out of the pots on the balcony that goes into our dinner, that's pretty good. I may live in the city, but that doesn't mean I can't grow something to eat.

I've been working through stuff that we got from the farmer's market last summer and I'm planning to raise the grocery budget somewhat so that when beans, corn, peaches, berries, tomatoes, and so on are ripe and in season, I can buy some to preserve and have over the winter. I'm so excited about summer and have been missing all the good stuff that I took the very last batch of peaches that I froze and made them into pie. I even made the crust. Good quality local organic peaches deserve a made by hand pie crust. There is something infinitely satisfying about creating a pie such as this. You can buy a frozen pie and that's pretty good. You can get a can of fruits and a crust from the grocery store and that's even better, but this was culinary excellence. It's not so much that my baking skills are any better than any other person, but rather that the difference between truly homemade and mass-manufactured store-bought is huge. Even Husband, who doesn't particularly care for pie, had a piece. I think he remembers how good the peaches were last summer and, like me, wanted a little of that memory in pie form.

I thought the little peach on top was pretty brilliant.

Come Thargelia, we'll start seeing more fruits and vegetables in the market and I cannot wait. That will be the end of most of the preserved and shipped-in food and the beginning of the good stuff. As good as that pie is, fresh peaches are going to be so much better.

I've got seedlings growing on the windowsill in my office and daffodils on my dining room table. The sun is shining, the tank is clean, and the newness of spring has spurred on a great deal of activity around these parts.

My sister says that I make still-lifes. I don't know what she's talking about. If this were a painting, I'd put the bowl of apples a little closer to the flowers or something. It would be completely different.

Anyway, I've started to walk to the lab (when I'm not down with a cold) and I've even been knitting lace. I started the Echo Flower Shawl (Ravelry link) last weekend and it's the first lace I've knitted in a very long time. Here I am two repeats in and I actually feel like continuing. My head doesn't feel like it's going to implode. Little bit is under the impression that it is for her and feels as though that because she helped pick out the pattern and the yarn that she is entitled to the end result. We shall see, young one. We shall see.

There's not much to see just yet, but I'm having fun with it. I don't often knit just for the process, but I feel like challenging my skill set, so there you are.

The socks I'm working on are totally product knitting. I want the socks at the end and even though the pattern is interesting to me, it's not really a challenge to knit. I've made this pattern before, liked it, and decided to make another pair in a different yarn. They're moving along just fine and since they're my dice-and-paper game/take-along knitting, they won't take any longer than any other pair of socks.

I still haven't managed to get a picture of the butterfly hanky I finished, but I have seen the first butterflies of the year. Yay spring!

I'm working on another star-themed hanky, this one in pinks because I happen to have a lot of pinks. I don't actually care for pink that much, which is probably why I have a lot of it. I use up the other colors. Anyway, I think it will be nice when it's done and maybe someone will enjoy it when I put it up in the shop. Which, by the way, will be donating half the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders, in light of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

I hope that as the days grow longer, joy can increase. That's all I really want.

Happy Equinox!
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