Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Budget Pets & Sensory Gardens

Pets are a big responsibility... and one I can't in good conscience commit to right now. They require stability, time, space, and money. We're a little thin in some of those spots at the moment, but we still feel the emptiness that only pets can fill. We have a pet-sized hole in our lives.* So in the meantime, we have birds. Or more specifically, we feed birds. Wild birds to be exact... lots and lots of them.

Raise your hand if you get teary during the "Feed The Birds" montage in Mary Poppins...
While our fine feathered friends seem to eat their weight in food every day, a big sack of seed every couple of months is still cheaper than vet bills and designer doggy duds. Plus, they're the easiest pets ever (not even goldfish are this easy). Admittedly, as far as pets go, wild birds score pretty low on the snuggle-factor, but they rate very high on the amusement scale.

A Sound Garden
All of our bird visitors, large and small, have made our garden come alive with movement and activity... the kind you just can't get with whirligigs and weather-vanes. I tend to think that good landscaping should incorporate movement and sound, and indeed engage all our other basic senses as well. Like movement, sound is an element that often gets forgotten, but a yard that's atwitter with birdies, is a garden complete. Just hearing them out there chirping and chattering away makes me happy. I call that "cheep" therapy. Want to get in on all the action? Here are some tips that have worked for us...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Love Is A Many Blendered Thing

Herb garden in a glass!
I've been wanting to try making a green smoothie for a while, but never seem to have any extra greens sitting around. What I do have are a lot of herbs in my garden… they're green, do they count? I even have beet greens... although the variety we planted are ruby red, I think they'll do.

Wandering through my front and back yards, I clipped a bit of this, snipped off a bit of that until I had a big handful of "greens"...
Also intriguing me has been the idea of the whole-citrus vinaigrette. I just love the idea of pulverizing and consuming the whole fruit. Maybe I'm just excited about not having to slice, squeeze, zest, or otherwise fuss with it. It is simplicity and laziness together at their beautiful best. Why not try it in a smoothie?

I picked a small ripe lemon from our dwarf Meyer tree on the back patio and headed into the kitchen...

The smoothie I created is entirely experimental and admittedly, a little bizarre. I basically shopped from my garden and my freezer with a "let's see what happens" attitude. What happened was a surprising combination of flavors and a smoothie like no other. It's very lemon-forward due to the whole lemon of course, but also to all the lemon-scented herbs I used. Each one lemony, but in slightly different ways.

I've included the recipe here, not because I think anyone else would want to recreate it, so much as to show just how completely crazy you can get when making smoothies, and still end up with something really tasty....

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tales From A Nostalgia Trip (and some time travel tips)
I was away for a couple of weeks...  far and away...  far, far, away.  I was on a trip back in time to a place where pieces of my childhood have remained packed away and undisturbed:
...Jacks and super-balls in their little cotton drawstring bag. 

...Barbie asleep in her iconic pink wardrobe carrying case. 

...Tutus, tights, and toe shoes. 

...Cleats and shin-guards still in their duffel bag ready for the next scrimmage. 

...Prom dresses hanging in the closet as if waiting for the next dance.

...More Billy Idol posters than I even remember having.
I went through the portal—the rip in space-time that allowed me to travel back there for a little while. Time seems to have stopped after I moved away... leaving behind a closet full of who I used to be. But time doesn't ever really stop. While my childhood home may be somewhat Brigadoon-ish, my hometown had moved on. It's now bustling, over-crowded, and congested... anxious and claustrophobic. The reality of the place no longer resembles what I so fondly remember. There really is no place like home.

So, I was away... but I'm back now.
And yes, I brought some of my toys with me.

Handy tips for smooth trips
Should you find yourself doing some time traveling by air in the near future here are some tips I gleaned from my recent little adventure: