Monday, January 14, 2008

I will miss...

My family, obviously. On New Year's Day I went for a long walk in the forest with my Dad and second Mom, PainterLady. There's this train trestle a good, I don't know, hundred or more feet over the river. It looked a thousand feet up. Those rails you see only extend about a tenth of the way out, and here at the beginning was the only place I could bring my camera up without feeling like my senses were too dangerously compromised. I don't know why PL didn't join me and Dad on the bridge with no rails or walkway that could have a train coming along at any second. I mean, the sudenly damp armpits, twisting stomach, and shallow breathing was so fun! Looking straight down past your feet through the ten inch gaps in the tiers was exhilarating. Well, they might have been only 3 inch gaps. Also, I suddenly remembered my adult onset fear of heights. And PainterLady was the only sane one in the group, opting out of the crazy idea to walk out on the trestle to check the view. It's hard to look at a view, anyway, when every nerve ending is screaming to get off the bridge you crazy woman! Still, I felt very alive and it was beautiful.

The trees. Back on safe ground, we followed the tracks for while to where I remembered seeing some albino redwoods. I am pretty sure that trees are my spirit animal. Um, spirit... life form. Unless it's cats. I wish I could take my cats out to the public parks like people get to do with their dogs. Dad and PainterLady and I were all pointing out things to each other because there was so much awesome nature too see. Mushrooms, mushrooms everywhere, and trees that captivate so fully I think I walked right into PainterLady one time because I was looking up and not where I was going.

The biodiversity. I can name hundreds of species in the vastly varying terrain we have around here, and not just that but I can telll you a little about each one's role and life, too. And yet I had never seen this lichen before. That's how rich the variety of flora and fauna is here. I will miss all of this.

I'm also excited beyond belief about the whole new life and world I'll get to explore in just a month. Tomorrow I hand in my letter of resignation. Wow, and I thought walking a train trestle was an adventure.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pearl Onions

The seed packet said Vidalia Onions, but I think there was a mix up. Strangely enough, my potatoes also came out miniature. Honestly though, when I dumped out that 5 gallon bucket of wet soil, just the fact that potatoes ACTUALLY GREW was pretty darn satisfying. I think I ended up with over ten potatoes.... the biggest being about 3 inches long. Maybe it was two and a half. And the smallest... well, ahem... okay it was smaller than one of these onions. But I ate 'em anyway! Mashed 'em up for thanksgiving.

These little onions, on the other hand, were harder to work with. Nevermind that they were barely biger than peas, I was going to eat what I grew! The first one I managed to cut the root end off, but when I went to peel it it turned out that after the papery skin there were only three layers. Total. Still, I cut it lengthwise, and proceeded to do the same with 5 more ( I harvested a good twenty onions!). I then sauteed up the lil things in some butter, tossed in an egg, and voila, tasty. I tell you they may have been small, but they were potent!

The rest, I'm ashamed to admit, became windowsill decoration. A few got carried off by Maggie, who found their long dried stringy leaves doubled well as dental floss. She would carry them around by the very end of the leaf, her head held as high as possible and her nose nose almost skyward. The onion dangling at the end would swing just above the ground, and she'd strut around like this until she found a nice spot to lay down and clean her teeth. Then she'd bat around the little rolly polly veggie.

There were just two left on the windowsill when I was standing there chatting with my honey a few days ago. Feeling a little mischievous I picked one up and swung it around by it's tail, pretending I was gonna bonk someone on the noggin with it. Before it could even complete one swinging circuit, however, the delicate dried strand snapped and the baby onion went flying through the air like a comet, barely missing my honey's suddenly startled eyes. Two streaks of striped fur followed the accidental projectile to it's landing while I got taken with a fit of hyserical laughing.

"My whole onion flashed before my eye", he said, blinking his baby blues. If I could have caught my breath I might have told him good thing it wasn't a potato. So I guess they ought to mention on the seed packets; may be miniature version. And, caution: do not swing harvested product like a baton wielding parade prancing majorette. Or maybe just: Use eye protection when handling this product. You think?