alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Things which have, today, delighted me:

Improvements in my overall mental and physical functioning of late; most especially, the energy to do small practical things and random acts of kindness without nearly always stalling out somewhere between the idea and the result.

People being happy about things I have said and done for them or for the world in general: an online friend who got a package, a physical-space neighbor who is possibly on the way to being an actual friendly acquaintance, a partner who gave & got help, listening, and smiles, a passerby who called us superheroes for putting out a smoldering leaf pile where someone had tossed a cigarette.

Petting numerous cats. So many! So fluffy! So purr! 3 of 4 cat sightings successfully negotiated to pets on my morning walk, plus 1 kitty this evening on the way back from the car. Cats yesterday, too!

Our garden plot. The shade of the central fig tree is extraordinarily peaceful. In various plots, there are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries in some stage of bearing fruit. In our plot, we have lots of herbs, lots of things growing that aren’t harvestable at the moment, and a tremendous bumper crop of green beans! I am managing - so far - to handle totally-reasonable-in-origin worries about watering enough, weeding enough, and logging required community service hours despite the entirely unreasonable level of anxiety the provoke. With the rich compost that I nurtured on my shovel and the herbs that I grew in my mouth and the sun on my back and the wind on my face, it’s pretty doable.

Dreamwidth, and the community I find there. Thanks.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Yesterday we went to Sauvie Island and picked berries at a U-Pick farm. My partner and I admired the distant peak of Mt Hood, the boats on the river, and the green and rolling fields on the way over, argued about driving, compromised, and got to the farm with plenty of water bottles and sunscreen. The strawberries were basically done; the blackberries and blueberries were just starting to come ripe; the raspberries were in their glory. The sky was blue and enormous and the sun was very bright and warm. A breeze off the river cooled the whole island. The cottonwood trees left drifts of fluff on the grass. Birds sat on stumps in the river and trilled in the grasses and copses. We picked, lazily enough, for several hours, and filled two pints of tart thumb-sized early blackberries, two of greeny-purple-tinged small blueberries each, and three of perfect raspberries. A few sun warmed deeply ripened little strawberries in the drying rows burst in our mouths. I had nothing but raspberries for lunch, and felt well content… I left an offering of a strand of beads to the great oak tree that watches over the farm, and I believe it was accepted.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
More good things. (Because they are good, and because I’m still upset and need the discipline of identifying positives.) Read more... )

Many good things, yes, and one is having time to be here!
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Good corner for composting, useful earthworms, access to comfrey leaves, and good soil. I have already composted and harvested and spread compost from a batch of weeds I pulled when I got the plot in April; it is ridiculously quick. Slugs tho ... I'm ambivalent about slugs.

Working water tap and hose are not far from bed. Toolshed is very convenient (right across path!) and contains some useful tools including larger items I couldn't really realistically buy. Usable porta-potty outside garden gate. Parking nearby. Picnic table under fig tree that is great for climbing. Great set-up, some issues but really good features.

Mostly polite neighbors in the other community beds, speaking at least 4 different languages.

Plants growing at the moment: pole beans, bush beans, tomatoes, corn, radishes, chamomile, lemon cucumber, melon, kale, chard, last year's mystery brassica going to seed, thyme, spinach shoots, garlic, strawberries, basil, basil, oregano, kinnikinnick, stevia, one tiny carrot leaf in the whole row, maybe more strawberries.

Already harvesting: radish thinnings, snips of thyme, foraged greens from neighboring untended beds, and STRAWBERRIES OM NOM.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Quick good things from the last week or so, no order:

Garden plot, and things sprouting and growing.

People who stop to help strangers.

Guinea pig cuddle-squeaks.

Sunlight and finally being warm enough.

Access to water in some situations where it could've easily been unavailable.

... State of the me: still very stressed and exhausted, but hanging in there; good things help. And so do you; thanks for reading.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Hey! I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm more or less working on some things that will help with various things. Also some good things because Spring!

Context & Bad Things: Friday I commented a bit about being really miserable. A Bad Thing happened at school, and I was processing that. Read more... )

Good Things:

The plum, apple, and cherry trees are in full magnificent blossom here in Portland, with pear and crab-apple still in bloom but starting to drop petals and leaf out. There's that particular intense reddish pink that I want to call cherry-candy-colored but it is historically older and prettier than cherry candy! Sunrise cloud red-pink?

S and I are struggling with some communication with each other - I miss her nonverbal signals; she has a hard time finding the spoons to verbal at me - but we're very aware of it and love each other a lot and are working on it, and I think we made progress talking and listening before she needed to go to work. Progress is good!

I have discovered the Everything Croissant. You know all those seeds and spices and onion bits and more seeds you get on a good savory Everything Bagel? Try those swirled into a croissant with extra butter, and shaped like a giant muffin of croissant-y tastiness for extra silliness.

We got our community garden plot assignment at last! Payment, required training and volunteer hours, first day to weed and turn over, details of commute, and deal between me and S on who does what still to be worked out, but WE GOT ONE YAAAAAAY! And okay, it is far away, but still YAY GARDEN.

I have actually seen the sun at least briefly more days than not this past week.

One of my school kiddoes LOVES the sensory activity kit I put together for her and it is also helping with eliciting some spontaneous oral language stuff. Other stuff is complicated but hey smile of pure joy on little kid's face after squishing a squeezy toy and ringing a little silver bell = YES. Also several students keep giving me dandelions to wear at recess, so I do. <3

I have some time and some energy now and will try to go do some things accordingly.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
At the moment, I am grateful for numerous things.

Cool people to hang out with, online and offline, who have enough in common with me to be empathetic and enough differences from me to be exciting. A broad, variable band that partly depends on how far *they* will push their comfort zone and how far *I* will, but one that does exist and is significant. Also, the fact that I explicitly chose, and pushed myself, and asked for help in achieving, and was aware of strategies for, getting to know the communities (DW, gaming group, etc) and modes of social interaction that are currently happening in my life; I did the work and it is mostly working.

Kittycat socks.

Noms and sips. Physical self-care. Movement practice. Read more... )

Plans that capitalize on rather than trying to get around my preference for having functional routines.

Stories and poems and songs, oh my!
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
After a conversation on writing, and some thoughts I've had recently about time management, prioritizing, and making room for joy, I've decided that it would be a good idea to update at least once a week in the form of either a poem or a piece of fiction writing in progress. Thus, a part of my day today, in a haiku chain.

*** Gardening Poem ***

Weeds always come back.
A tree of thorns erupts from
under the chain fence.

Sun always comes back.
Three-prong fork scratches the dust
of dry brown mudstone.

Rain always comes back.
Today, water rolls off, oozes,
gone; but soon clouds come.

Decay comes back too.
A centipede, crawling, twine
left buried, forgotten.

Life always comes back.
Seeds, care, time, air, work, luck, earth,
life in the garden.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Slice of life, no giant ups or downs, some weather and chores and things...

1. WEATHER NO. Excessive heat warnings and dry dry dry. Feh. Too hot for pats. *pours cold water on head*

2. So, in addition to major gardening yesterday, today I had a grownup conversation about a difficult topic without any freaking out from me OR my interlocutor and we successfully did some stuff and moved on to the next thing, so good us on tap-dancing around both of our issues. This maybe shouldn’t be noteworthy, but it is, especially given YUCK HOT, so I’m noting it.

3. Also I did dishes and dried them and took out the trash.

4. Nap right after breakfast. Was nice snooze. However, no, body we cannot go back to no sleep schedule whatsoever. Yes we will get enough rest, I promise. *sets alarm to remind self to GO to bed instead of the other way round*

5. So even though the garden was covered in weeds some of the things I planted did survive so far and maybe will have a chance if I get out there and water, so that’s good. If I keep this plot hopefully I can nurture strawberries and chives and oregano over the winter season for produce next year. Would be nice if greens came back too but no strong expectations there. I may look up produce for the next climate zone south of here, except that’s California and there are so many of them and I’m not sure ex-rainforest is a climate zone.

6. Was I going to do a thing? Write a thing? Maybe? I’m going for spontaneous today as long as I am not sitting in one spot doing the same thing repeatedly. Energy might be a thing. Or it would be if it wasn’t so hot. Words, what.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Buh. Bzuh. Tired. Left house at 11, back now at 4:15. Spent day gardening. Much help from lovely S. Went to garden store for more gloves and trash bags, to home & garden repair store to rent string trimmer, grabbed snack. Went to garden plot at community garden. Yanked and cut weeds. Tied up berry canes trailing into garden plot. THORNS. Yanked and cut weeds. Ate cloudberries. Tried to make trimmer work. Got it working for less than two minutes. VINES. Unwisely switched trimmer off. Was unable to get back on; very frustrating. Yanked and cut weeds. S returned trimmer to rental place. Yanked and cut weeds. SMELLY WEEDS. Spoke to parks and rec staff member trimming public area; got assist trimming paths. Cleared off path. Yanked and cut weeds; piled on path. S returned. Bagged up weeds. Three super size trash bags plus, and the first bag broke. Put tools away. Took weeds in car to dumpster. Garden is now at a normal instead of terrifying level of weeds. Still need to mulch paths, turn over soil, clear some crops, plant for fall, all within less than two weeks and ideally before school gets started, to be in compliance with garden standards. But did biggest things: bureaucracy and weeds of doom. Take that anxiety monster. Ha. WE HAVE GARDENED.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
I am eating a fruit that is new to me. It is known as a haskap berry or honeysuckle blueberry.

Cut for content: food descriptions, gratuitous science.

Read more... )
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Kitchen mad science tonight trying to balance bitterness with sweetness. How and why?

I have been frustrated recently with the little gardening I have gotten done. Work stress, bad sleep habits, and the fact that I have to drive there since I have a community garden plot combined to encourage me not to go, and while that was my choice, it isn't one I'm happy with. So when I was finally able to get out there today, the backlog of weeding and mulching that needed doing and the number of things that were alive but doing less well than they could be with more attention really got to me. I decided to take out my frustration in a healthy way by eating SOMETHING from the garden, dammit. And while I don't have lush spinach or lettuce at the moment because I've only watered about half as much as I should, I do have radish thinnings and dandelion leaves.

(Warning: Potentially inaccurate kitchen terminology ahead. I am not a chef and I don't really know the difference between browning and sautéing.) Once I got home, I got two pots of boiling water going and set up to sizzle some onions in a pan with olive oil. I washed my radish greens and my dandelion leaves thoroughly, and then let the dandelion leaves sit in cold water with white vinegar for a couple of minutes. Taste-testing showed that the dandelions, uncooked, were too bitter to be tasty at all but not the kind of inedible bitter you get from a dried-up half-poisoned half-mowed lawn dandelion. The radish greens tasted fine but were kind of gritty. I rinsed each kind of green separately, and dunked the dandelions in the first pot of boiling water and let them go about five minutes. At this point they were bitter in a way I appreciate but still a bit strong for any kind of actual dish. I also got my half an onion going on fairly high heat with olive oil, salt, and pepper to get it a bit brown and sweet. I dumped the water and dandelions through a colander, rinsed with cold water, and put them with the radish greens in the next pot. It only took about two minutes for the young radish greens to be cooked (the dandelions already were, just hoping to remove a little more bitterness), and then I repeated the colander trick, patted things a bit dry, and tossed them in with the onions just until it had all sizzled a little. When I was done most of the bulk of the dish was onions and most of the flavor was salt/pepper/olive oil, but it was tasty and mild and not gritty, and I was eating from the garden. So ha!

I should clarify, I do forage a bit and I am not normally the kind of forager who thinks "remove all vitamins and flavor from your wild greens by cooking in three changes of water to debitter" is a great plan, but this was mostly about proving a point, e.g., I HAVE A GARDEN AND IT GROWS FOOD.


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