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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

JumbledCareful readers may have noticed that my mother is facing some health issues, which explains why she was out of town a few weeks back.  (She was visiting another city for medical treatment.)  When she got back, her many and very loving friends showered her with flowers. My mother has always loved flowers.  She buys them for herself often and has assorted vases to show them off.  They symbolize to her, I think, her delight in aesthetic beauty and her desire to relish the present.  Buying flowers means she cares enough about herself to merit beautiful surroundings. (more…)

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Herbivores Delight Bordered

The “Herbivores Delight” from Ripple

The other day I was trying to figure out what to do with all the herbs that are starting to really flourish in the garden, and the solution hit me—herbal drinks. I love herbal infusions in cocktails. My favorite drink at the moment is served at Ripple in DC and is called the Herbivores Delight. It’s chamomile-infused vodka with grapefruit-thyme soda. I love the way herbs fight against the sweetness in drinks, and I love how subtle their flavors are. I also thought they might work in a mocktail; my mother is not drinking at the moment but I still wanted to make her an interesting treat. So I went online and found every recipe I could for thyme flavored drinks, went out and bought the ingredients, and hauled them all to my boyfriend’s house to play with them. (more…)

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Lovage

Lovage

This weekend, my boyfriend and I worked on the back yard of my mother’s house. My mother is out of town and as a present to her, I wanted to get the yard prettified at least a little before she came home.

The tale of prettification is complicated. My mother, my sister’s boyfriend, and I all have opinions about what should happen to the back yard to turn it from what it is now—a haphazard weed collection—into a place she might actually use for dining, relaxing, and growing pretty or edible plants. Mom has consulted a couple of landscape gardeners, all of whom have been seemed not to care whether they get a job at all. When it comes to deciding what to do in the mean time, we have a severe case of too many cooks, with my sister Meredith, her boyfriend Kevin, me, my boyfriend David, and my mom all voicing opinions about what should happen, when, in what order, and who should do it.  Despite the differences in strategies, we’re making progress.

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Red Greens

Onions 2

Roasted red scallions

So last Thursday, the first CSA was ready and my mom and I were stunned.  There were half a dozen large bunches of greens—red romaine, red kale, leaf lettuce, frisee, bok choy, and collards—plus a bag of radishes and a bunch of red scallions.  (Why is everything red, I wonder?)  Neither my mother nor I wanted to try the collards—HUSH all you people who like collards, get your own CSA—so I went back and swapped them for something that we never figured out what it was and it wilted soon after we got it.  I was alarmed at the very idea that there was something that we couldn’t figure out what it was—in fact, my mother had to identify more than half of the things we got for me.  This made me feel awful, but lots of friends told me that their CSAs were also adventures in unfamiliar vegetables, so that was good. (more…)

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Cherry Pre-Pruning

Container-grown cherry tomato, pre-pruning

Summer is here so I have time to blog—and, more relevant to the planet, I have time to cook and garden.  Whether I actually write, cook, or garden remains to be seen, but this last week I’ve been planning and working to be able to spend more time on all three. (more…)

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One thing I noticed shaping my perception of my trip to Kansas City was my recent reading of William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness.”  It’s a key essay in environmental history that apparently generated a lot of controversy when it came out.  It makes the argument that the idea of wilderness in American history has been harmful to the extent that we think of wilderness as pure, unspoiled, and something that we ruin by our presence.  It’s made us value nature only (or especially) when we perceive it as wild, untamed, or untouched.  In this view, though, as soon as we enter the picture, nature is irretrievably damaged.  (more…)

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My mother and I just got back from a trip to Kansas and Missouri, where my parents grew up.  We were visiting my 94-and-a-half year old grandmother and staying with my aunt and uncle—my mom’s little brother and his wife.  It was a great trip in terms of family—my grandmother was warm and loving, even though she’s in a nursing home with round-the-clock care, and the rest of my mother’s family was as hilarious as usual.  We had a nice lunch with my aunt Mary’s brother and his wife and told stories.  We saw an old friend of my mom’s from college and got to go to my second cousin’s first birthday and to meet another cousin’s new girlfriend.  All the human parts of it were pretty wonderful. (more…)

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