The Good, the Bad, the Chocolate

Since I’m using you all as a lifesaving device during this tight spot, I carry you with me throughout my day. It’s true. Sad, perhaps. Modern, for certain. The little virtual angels on my shoulder, encouraging me to take heart, go forth and do good things. Or lock myself in the bathroom and ball my eyes out, depending on the situation.

I kept my camera at hand yesterday, and thought I’d share with you some high points and low.

We had breakfast with a friend (thank you!) and then rode over to the community garden to water. It’s officially summer here. Hot. Time to water every other day. And the harvests are rolling in. More chard. Even with the trickiest muffin recipe ever, I still didn’t manage to use up all the stalks from the last bunch. Into the compost. Enter the new beauties.

The carrots are sizing up, just in the nick of time. I do so adore garden carrots– for taste, and even just for looking at. Gorgeous.

My garlic on the other hand is meeting the same sad fate my onions met last month. I don’t understand this. I planted both last fall, they grew fantastically all winter, thick as leeks some of them. I was counting my chickens, certain I would be getting huge bulbs. Then the onions started to die off. Sweet! I thought at first, the bulbs must be about ready. But no, nothing down there. I kept waiting, thinking maybe this was a normal part of the process. My local garden guru doesn’t do onions, so had no advice for me.

Soon they just flat out were rotting. I pulled what was left, peeled off the rotten layers and got some decent green onions at least. When the formerly verdant green garlic started to lose it’s luster, I didn’t wait so long. I gave them a little time, with a kernal of hope. Then I started pulling them. Same deal, dying and starting to rot from the outside in, but no bulbs.

Boo hoo! I am crushed! This time, I’m eatin’ those suckers before the rot really sets in.

Last week we were gone, so I didn’t get a chance to harvest salad greens, and of course this week it was just out of control.

Am I the only one who can’t get the salad greens thing figured out? It’s always feast or famine. Especially the lettuces. This mix has precious little lettuce in it, and hey, I like me some spice, but pure chicory and arugula makes for a burly salad. Especially when you’ve let the leaves get so big.

Here’s my tactic for large quantities of greens. Wash, drain, dump into a pillow case. Drain more into the tub, then go out in the yard and wing that MF like a helicopter. Then just store in the fridge as is. This lets some of that extra moisture wick out into the fridge’s dry air. When the pillow case starts to feel dry, in a day or two, put the lot into a garbage bag. Don’t forget that part, it won’t last long in the cloth before it starts to dry out too much.

I had to clean out my fridge to accommodate the new batch of garden lovelies. Time to get cookin! I made stir fried rice with carrots, garlic greens and chard stems for dinner. (That’s some beet and cabbage sauerkraut on the left there from last month’s big cabbage harvest. Gotta love that color, right?)

Of course, my day wasn’t all playing with vegetables. In fact, the 1YO who fell perfectly asleep in the bike trailer on the way home from the garden, didn’t transfer. He woke up when I tried to put him in his crib, and once he’s gotten more that 2 minutes of sleep he thinks he’s done napping.

It was a rough afternoon.

There were some sweetnesses–

Some mama guilt (yes, that’s an iPad, and yes, I’m embarrassed)–

And plenty of messes, on every available surface–

Including (no picture here, you lucky devils) the 3YO peeing in a box of unpacked clothes, and subsequent cussing by yours truly. I tried to at least keep the F word out of it.

Fortunately, I made up a batch of mama treats last week. It’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve. This easier-than-pie recipe stretches that expensive fair trade chocolate nicely. And doesn’t require a hot oven.

Gotta keep these in the fridge in this climate. I prefer a camo container, such as this Nancy’s yogurt tub. Keep your secret secret.

10 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, the Chocolate

  1. I loved looking at the pics of your produce makes me feel so much better about working in our first time ever backyard garden. It will be sooo worth it in the end.

    Are you sure you didnt sneak into my house and take pictures of my floor? lol Seriously though the under age 5 crowd sure can make a mess in a hurry. Also does it make you feel better about the pee box if I confess that my 2 year old pooped in the empty brita pitcher yesterday? lol Potty training can get gross sometimes.

    It looks like you have had a busy and rewarding week it wouldn’t be complete without the residual mess. : )

    1. omg!!! thanks for the biggest laugh i’ve had in a long time. i’ve heard some stories, but that one takes the cake.

  2. oh and I forgot to add thank you for the tip for the lettuce I will totally be doing that this summer. I wasnt really sure how to preserve it for more than a couple of days : )

  3. One of my friends had a rogue pooper–one week it was the dumptruck, the next it was one of the kitchen drawers…

    Perhaps the onions and garlic are getting too much water and that is causing them to rot. It could also be a soil-borne disease…not that I am any expert.

    Hang in there, girl. My old man’s been gone for 2 weeks and it is certainly a test of our maternal resolve. This too shall pass…

  4. Ah, ye gads woman! I think we live paralell frikkin lives. My boy, who’s now 4, was always a terrible sleeper. Now he’s good, but that’s cos of the (thankgawdnessforit) hospital of sleepyness. He did transfer though. BUT, I just wanted to let you know that I know the terror that exists when you think you’re getting 20 minutes of your own time and then the lil feckers wake up and ‘ruin’ that last remaining 19 minutes. He was the definition of “2 minutes of sleep” saw him through the next 10 hours of awake.

    Anyhoo…keep the faith in yourself sweets. It’s hard when the worlds full of luvly jubly women who think that if they omit the ‘I wanted to kill the kids today when…’ talk and just put pretty photos of non-horizontal surfaces (where the rascals can’t lay anything down) that are completely clean and here we are with filthy floors and mess and playdough stuck in carpet and a hastily made meal for 4 people that only 2 will eat and the other 2 throw on the floor and laugh to each other about….

    but I digress, you get my point, right?!!!


    1. Even more infuriating is when they really do have clean horizontal surfaces. Oh that really pisses me off

  5. Great vegetables, cute kids, chocolate treats on hand… sounds like you are doing well… I think you are more than just surviving, wow, what you described is a good day for me! Imagine how you must rock when you are on fire!

    What variety of garlic & onion did you grow? Maybe you need a short day variety onions, which you’ll have grown over Winter & then harvest before the humidity of Spring? I am only just working out this short day/ long day business myself!! Almost time for us to plant out onions & garlic in Australia…

  6. Your veggies look divine, especially those carrots mmmgarden fresh.
    I am a big believer in a double alotment of screen time in hunker down solo parenting times. My math goes something like: 17+ years of childhood x odd weeks where they get more screen time + happier mumma who has a few more saneish moments to herself = good deal.
    Have you hatched any good plans for you at the end of the finals?

  7. What kind of garlic/onions are you growing? They sound like they didn’t get enough winter to bulb (the garlic). Try a creole variety? (check Filaree Farm) They don’t need very cold winters, I think. I don’t know much (anything) about growing onions successfully.

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