Monday, October 06, 2014

The KMA Method of Bulb Planting

To begin with, I've always thought people that plant their bulbs in September to be goody-goodies and people I would probably not like very much (or would like me!). Perhaps these are people that do not live life by the seat of their yoga pants? I have a sound method for planting large masses of bulbs in my garden that relies on hardcore laziness/practicality that I feel the need to pass on to you. 

I also urgently want you to know that you DESERVE bulbs, lots of them. If I hadn't had a few hundred in my garden this incredibly fashionably-late spring, I would have gone totally off the deep end. Starved for color and blooms, as I was, after such a frustrating winter. It is perennially my garden resolution to plant more bulbs and I'm a little fired up to make it happen this year. Who knows if I will, though. Because, you know, Gilmore Girls is on Netflix and all. 

So here's the method:

1. Buy bulbs, generously. You'll never have too many. I was lucky to have some sent to me by Longfield Gardens. They have a gorgeous selection and it's WAY easier to plan when buying on-line than standing at a garden center, piecing a a master design together. Treat yo'self. Have bulbs sent to your front door and then once you have them, plant them at your convenience. 
2. Wait for stuff in your garden to kick the bucket. Namely, your vegetables, annuals and dahlias. Rip that stuff out and toss it in the compost. 
3. Toss all those bulbs you bought in one big box. Grab a mixed up handful and throw them in the newly vacant hole. Throw some great soil or delicious compost on top and call it a day. Don't stress them being spaced perfectly or them being all facing up. Dudes, if a squirrel can plant a tulip, you can too. They will grow with only this help from you. Trust.

When did I end up planting bulbs last year? Late. It was early November. And later than that? I did it in the dark, skipping dinner to get it done. It didn't take long once I got it going but, whoa. Late. But I've planted bulbs as late a March before. And it worked!

I took some hilarious photos of me planting bulbs in the dark last fall but I can't find them. I imagine they were too dark to matter,anyways. Here are a few photos of the actual bulbs as they came up in the spring. 

A kicking mix of 'Flaming Purissima' and 'Queen of Night' with a dollop of muscari really made the best of my scads of Bleeding Heart and Heucheras. I'd do it again, in fact, I'm planning it now. My dahlias are still tall and strong so I'll sit on the sidelines until it's time!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Check Out My Crust (Not a foodie)

I'm not gonna GOOP you. I'm all about short cuts or lazing out entirely and getting a take-out most nights. But this time of year, when the tomatoes are rolling in the door VOLUNTARILY, I make a lot of pizza. Yeah, from scratch (except the sauce. And I don't make the cheese, either. Just the crust, I guess...)

The secret to good home-made pizza is a pizza stone and about $3 worth of sauce and cheese. It's easy, sort of fast and makes a lot of food. This set-up I'll be talking about makes a 2 pizza-stone sized pizzas and one tiny one for Hazel. Pizza stones are at Target for about $20 and you absolutely need one. Other things you need? Flour, yeast, canned pizza sauce (I like Del Alpe) and real mozzarella cheese. OR you can just make this crust and go the tomato and olive oil route and skip the cheese and sauce entirely. Make it all about the tomatoes, I wouldn't blame you.

1. Pull the KitchenAid out of the corner, add one package of yeast, a pinch of sugar and one cup of hot water. Walk away for 10 minutes. Come back and add flour, KitchenAid on, until it becomes dough. It'a about 4 cups usually but it varies like CRAYZAY due to weather and PMS. Set it in a warm place for a  whole flipping hour.
2. Preheat that pizza stone for that whole hour at 475. It's gonna make it hot in your house so have a few beers.
3. Slice your tomatoes and salt them. You have to salt them or they have too much liquid and will slide off your pizza and burn a hole in your foot. Occasionally you should smile at them and drain the liquid from them, just like I do for Hazel. Sometimes I just throw them in a colander with some salt and let it all just work itself out.
4. After an hour, divvy out your dough and roll one out. I just take a large handful and hit it up with a rolling pin on my well-floured* countertop. Remember you just need to make that sucker the size of the pizza stone. Any bigger is asking for the smoke detector to freak out the dog.

5. Pull off some hunks of cheese and open that can of sauce
6. Open the oven and singe off your eyebrows. Throw that dough up on the stone and dress your 'za while continuing to singe your eyebrows. Sauce, cheese and tomatoes.
7. Close it up and keep an eye on it. Should be about 12 minutes. Use your time to run out to the garden and grab an ass-load of fresh basil. Chop that up.
8. Pull your first pizza out with a fork onto a large dinner plate. Don't even attempt to cut it until it has cooled and solidified a little. The add that basil.
9. Throw your second pizza on.

*I recently ran out of flour to roll out the pizzas on. Interestingly, I just didn't have enough to roll out Dan's pizza and I'd already finished my pizza and Hazel's. So I used a 3 year old package of Cafe Du Monde beignet mix and he never noticed.

Monday, August 25, 2014

One for the road

Working Towards the Wedding

For the first time in weeks, it's quiet around here. The kid is in school and it's too hot to dig, build, mulch, power wash, prune, burn or chop anything down. As my Dad says, "we're polishing a turd over here", but I think it's a lovely and worthy turd.
My sister is getting married in THIS TURD!
So here I am at my desk, dealing with months' old speaking contracts and changing all my Visa card numbers on all my subscriptions and Amazon because I lost my card someplace in the yard and I don't even have time to look for it.

So, about 3 days a week I've been hurling myself at wedding prep, efficiently, says my Polar Loop. Then 2 days a week, Hazel and I kick summer's ass by draining every last drop of fun out of it.  Then, on the weekends we amp it up and do everything you can think of, as long as it's fun.
One of those things was a super impromptu trip to the Wisconsin Dells, where we rode the Ducks, fed some deer and then got the hell out of that soul sucking nightmare.
Then on the way home, we visted Dr. Evermor's Forevertron. It was the best thing I've ever seen in my life. Here are a zillion photos:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When the @#$% Hits the Fan: Gardening, Condensed

We have only lived in this house for a little over 2 years. As ambitious as I am about the landscaping, I understand that living someplace for 2 years with a 3 year old, mathematically, is like living here for less than 1 year.
I just can't get things done the way I used to, I could crank it out before baby. When we moved in here, I made a 5 year plan and I've been sticking to it. It's a large and wily property. I don't seek to remove all it's wildness, but it was a little neglected for a few years and I seek to reclaim a little order.

Well, the 5 year plan has just gone down the shitter. My little sister wants to get married in my back yard in 2 months. I need to get off the damn computer and go dig ditches, you guys. This is my first time sitting at my desk since they got engaged on the 4th of July.

It's not that the place is a mess, it's just that everything is my project and I work on it when time allows, when there's money for manure and the weather doesn't threaten me with bodily harm. I've said it repeatedly, I love gardening because it keeps me off the streets. I love long, drawn out projects. I'm in no hurry to finish, because when there's nothing left to do I'll probably kick the bucket. I'm a putterer, don't take away my putt!

So I've been working my aster off the 2 days a week that HayJay is in school. I'm never looking for perfection, just looking to put a cap on all these projects in limbo.
Well, I just got 3 yards of compost delivered so I need to go. I won't be a good blogger, or even a decent Facebooker until this is over. Instagram is your best bet if you start to miss me.
I'll try to pop in for some updates.