Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today, there is no garden to open to you or kitchen to welcome you into because there is a whole new character in my life that wolfs up time and energy.

The rescue said he was a happy-go-lucky family dog who got along with cats. They were wrong. They said he was three years old and a purebred chocolate lab. Yeah, well, not so much.

What we got was a very traumatized, maybe two-year old, anxious lab mix. (Great Dane? German Shorthaired Pointer? Something big and smart and beautiful.) Not anxious in the shy way, he's anxious in the I-think-you-are-messing-with-me-so-I-am-going-to-kill-you-before-you-get-a-chance-to-prove-me-right way. Luckily, he has fallen in love with us. Gorgeous is not too strong a word for him; nor is terrifying.

For the ten days we have had him, through the long nights of cat-protecting patrol and getting used to his large-dog noises—especially the wagging otter tail that rattles his huge crate—E and I may have collectively accumulated one full night of sleep. I've read everything about training dogs I can get my hands on in the little time I have to get my hands on something. Nearly every minute of time away from my job has been working with the dog, talking about the dog, reading about the dog, crying about the dog, rejoicing over the dog's small progresses. Our sleep exhaustion isn't making any of this easier.

I don't know if we're going to be able to give Indiana the help he needs to become the good dog that is under the unhappy experiences of his life before us, but we're giving it the college try. The university try. The PhD try. He deserves nothing less.

Wish us luck.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Brassica Bed

Rutabagas: Angela on the left and Joan on the right. This year, I tried planting them in six packs in August to plant out at the end of the September, rather than direct-seeding. I hope this gives me big rutabagas when I want them, in the middle of winter, rather than in the warming spring.
Broccoli: Umpqua. DeCicco kept disappointing me for standard heading non-hybrid broccoli. I'm giving Umpqua a spin this year.
Cabbage: January King, an oldie that I've never grown. 
Kale: Lacinato, the only kale I'm growing this year.
Broccoli: Purple Sprouting. My favorite brassica of last year returns to the ranchito to prove itself in a second year. I won't get florets until the spring, but if they're anything like last year, they'll be amazing.
Cabbage: Beira Tronchuda Portuguese Cabbage. Is it kale, is it collards, is it cabbage? Whatever it is, it promises to have large, fleshy, sweet leaves. I look forward to trying it as it matures.

Fall is still falling, but I'm hanging on. Despite my best intentions and a real desire to spend more time writing and cooking, I have neither much to say nor much to share tonight. However, no matter what, the garden still grows on.