Saturday, March 31, 2012

162 Days Later...

Can you believe that my little ladies are all grown up?  

Not sure who the culprit was, but everyone got extra mealworms and an big hug today.  Proud day at Casa Crustante.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Returning to the Water

When I turned 16, my parents gave me the best gift I had ever received- sailing lessons. The weeks spent on the water were the best times of my teenage life. I remember coming home, recapping the days with joy to my father- a man who always wanted to sail but his body had betrayed him too soon in life, and he wasn't physically able to do so.

So we would scheme and plan and design boats together, he would sketch them out the best his arthritic hands could- and I'd hunt down old Wooden Boat magazines from the library book sales. We'd flip through them and dream.  We found a 18' sailboat at a garage sail- a plywood project boat- that had dry rot through the majority of the hull.  My father confided in me, telling me that if he ever had a sailboat, he'd name her Nonchalant.  So we christened our little land sloop, and even though she couldn't sail, I loved that boat.  She was parked in front of our house for several years, and I always thought I'd be able to fix her up someday.  

But I went away to school, and life got complicated, and my plywood sloop, Nonchalant, was burned. I cried when she was pulled apart, because honestly, it wasn't just the boat that was burning- it was my dream of being able to return to the water, to a simpler place. Just the wind and the waves.

On Monday, I had a chance to get back on the water in Maui. I sailed on a beautiful boat, called the Scotch Mist II, and everything I had been missing hit me. Hard. I had an emotional breakdown, lamenting the years that I have been away from my hometown, missing the water, missing my father, and in general just being a pain in the ass. The angst has fueled something dangerous.

I'm going to build a boat.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home, I've missed you.

Out of the nine whole days of Spring we've had so far, I've been in Hawai'i for 7 of them.

I have a whole smattering of photos I'm excited to share with you- We drove the road to Hana, played with the local chickens that give the term free-range a completely different meaning, and explored the largest organic farm in the entire state. We went sailing, saw some whales, devoured copious amounts of seafood, and battled a gecko.

As much as I had a great time, I missed the Pacific Northwest. The more I travel, the more I feel completely blessed that this is our home.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I've never even seen a loaf of soda bread until this evening, when I decided at the spur of the moment to bake one.


I feel like I haven't truly lived until now.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Calm Before the Spring

I love this time of year.

In the raised bed, my garlic, chives, and fava beans are growing like weeds. Because of our new puppy, I may be moving my garlic, chives, and herbs to the backyard.

On the right side of our yard, my precious rhubarb managed to survive. I bought it late last year, and I wasn't certain it'd make it.

We have a volunteer primrose. It wasn't here last year, so I'm not really sure where it came from. It's absolutely welcome to stay, however.

Just behind the gnome is a rose bush. I aggressively cut back and transplanted our roses. They were long and scraggly and battle worn. I figured a fresh start would be good for them. All three of them have lush green foliage starting to emerge.

I'll be planting potatoes this weekend! I'm excited to show you how I'm going to do it. I've made two more raised beds (3x3) from left over lumber from a picnic table I'm building. I can't decide if I want to plant even more beans, or if I want to branch out and perhaps get a dedicated asparagus bed going. Decisions, decisions!

There is very little better in life than having a garden to plan. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winter Sowing

I discovered something last night, something that completely blew my mind: A hopefully viable alternative to starting seeds inside.

It's called Winter Sowing. And yes, I'm probably a little late in the game (although we're still technically in winter- and we're still getting random snow mixed with our rain).

Winter sowing, at least from what I can gather, is where you plant your seeds outside in a small, protected receptacle which acts as a miniature green house. You can use milk cartons, pop bottles, or in my case, spinach containers. You fill them with soil, add your seeds, cover them, and leave them outside. They'll grow up protected from vermin, protected from serious weather conditions, and they won't require hardening off. Which is exactly the problem I had with my seedlings last year.

I've been hanging onto these spinach containers for ages, as they looked useful, but I had no idea what they'd be good for. The husband HATES it when I do this (I know he's secretly videotaping my behavior and sending it to the TV show Hoarders), but thankfully we have a giant shed to store such treasures in.

So I drilled some holes (a bunch in the bottom and some on the top), filled with soil, watered it, and added my seeds.

The first seeds I planted were my beloved, faithful, ever lovely Stupice tomato. I could write sonnets about this tomato. Seriously. It's that good.

I popped the lids back on, marked on the top what seeds I had planted, including the quantity and the date.
And then I put them outside.

I planted a bunch of other things as well; Cheyenne Bush pumpkins, Amish Salad cherry tomatoes, Ronde Di Nice summer squash, Bushy cucumber, and even seeds from my favorite pumpkin of all time, Butt Pumpkin. Yes, I know, I'm 12, but that pumpkin brought us so much joy and hilarity that I wanted to give it a chance to live on.

After they sprout and get their true leaves, I'll select the best ones and pot them in larger containers. Hopefully it'll work.

For more information regarding winter sowing, check out

Sunday, March 11, 2012

There's Someone I Want You to Meet

He's coming home in 4 weeks. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Weekend Draws Nigh!

The weekend is nearly upon us! Let there be much rejoicing.

The weekend menu:

Bridal Shower.
Procure beer brewing supplies.
Brew beer.
Look at puppies.

Puppies. Yes, the time has come.

So, the husband has been drooling over corgis for as long as I can recall. Back in our college days (7 years ago!) I remember him pointing out a corgi in an anime called Cowboy Bebop. That was the first time he had mentioned his strong desire to have one.

Now we have a little land, with a fully fenced front yard, and as a stay-at-home housewife, I've got the time to deal with a little bundle of fluff.

My instincts tell me to adopt- as always- but as Val really, really wants to experience puppyhood of a specific, rather hard to find breed (he is especially fond of cardigan corgis- the ones with the tails), that would be a challenge. So, we're doing the next best thing and supporting a responsible breeder.

So keep your fingers crossed for us! I hope the breeder likes us, the puppies love us, and we all end up with the perfect match.

And in case you need puppy therapy, check out this adorable cardigan welsh corgi:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Wrath of the Bearded Chickens

Have you ever seen a more luxurious set of beards?

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Madness... Or is it Starch Madness?

I have just received a box via UPS. I bet you can't guess what's inside.

Are you a mind reader or something? How did you guess?

Why, yes, those are Ozette potatoes on the left. Yes, it is probably the oldest potato cultivar in North America. And yes, a small percentage of my ancestors devoured them.

And while you mention it, the Bintje potato on the right IS indeed the most popular potato in Belgium.

And in the form of the lowly potato, I see an opportunity to celebrate my husband's ancestors and my own. There's something wildly, tuberly romantic about knowing that these late season varieties will grow old together.

Ah, romance.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A cat, a quilt, a dirty mirror, and a cake.

Yesterday was leap day. My father would have celebrated his 18th birthday.

I made a cake to celebrate, a very tiny three-tiered cake. Perfect for two people. Behold, my very own cake wreck:

Ugly, I know. But it tasted amazing, and that's what counts, right?

The rest of my life has been routine.

I have a lazy cat with sharp claws.

A dirty mirror.And I've started on my very first quilt.

I'm anxious for spring.