Now, where did I leave that?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

  And it feels like Summer is biting at its butt. It was in the 70s yesterday, will approach 80 today and Wednesday, and will be warm the rest of the week. I suspect we'll have the fan on tonight. We've moved Susie, Mots & Dottie and their beds back out onto the sun porch (from mid-October on, they get a sunny room with fleece-lined beds in the house, with a cat door leading to the sunporch, and another leading outside); the older they get the more they want to stay inside! Mots, our 16 year old sun-loving Buddha cat practically hibernated this Winter, not venturing out even on the warm days. She and Dottie are the same age, but Mots is showing it more. I suspect by next year Mots will have been moved in permanently.

  You all saw the hoop house greenhouses we built, but we still haven't planted a single seed! Yesterday we put up a fence around the beds using deer-netting to keep out the cats & dogs (we already have fencing around the yard itself to keep deer out). We have a plan for a permanent structure, stealing shamelessly from the ethereal, poetic garden enclosure at Sycamore Garden Center (click on the link, choose 'photos' from the menu; it's the photo marked 'vegetable garden'). We saw it as we drove by and I made Linda turn the car around so I could get a better look. Randy, the owner, was kind enough to allow us to photograph it, and by Fall we'll have built something similar. The image of it has stayed with me for months; there's a grace, poetry, other-worldness about it that I absolutely love. So ANYWAY, the temporary fencing is up, the location for the coop is staked out, along with the game plan for getting started (it's going to require we install gutters on the garage; deep and heavy sigh), and I'm taking Wednesday off from work to plant seeds and get the coop floor built. So we were busy even if we haven't started the fun stuff.

 Another sign of Spring? The changing of the dishes, from cozy, playful Winter moose

to the elegantly rustic Copper Leaf stoneware.
  About the Beast mentioned in the last post...I didn't give in. What I did do was was frozen pineapple, coconut milk and agave nectar to make a delicious, no-refined-sugar sorbet that did the trick. Can I confess something? I bought tortilla chips this weekend. I even had that processed-beyond-recognition nacho cheese dip in my basket until I read that it had sugar in it, and then I put it back on the shelf and replaced it with real shredded cheddar and Newman's own sugar-less salsa. As soon as I got home I made a plate of 'nachos'. Ya know what? It was good, but didn't wow me. I didn't crave more. In fact, I didn't touch the chips again all weekend. And the ginger beer craving? Well, I've discovered that 100% fruit juice--like an orange-pineapple blend--mixed with club soda is pretty darn good! The club soda cuts the natural sugar of the juice, lightens it up, and gave us the feeling of a indulging in a cold, refreshing soda when we'd been working in the sun for hours. Great discovery! Linda saw the doctor last week, and she was told her cholesterol is higher than it should be, so now we need to take that into account when planning meals. I'm still feeling we're having to be far too food-obsessed, which is good in that we're being so much more conscious of what we eat, but bad because I have lots of other things I'd rather think about! I've lost a few pounds; next step is combining this new way of eating with the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. The doctor also told Linda it's time to exercise (yeah, same doctor told me that three months ago, too). So  we've agreed to do it together, starting with three evenings a week, taking turns on elliptical and treadmill. I need to do a shout-out to A Polish Grandaughter, and her Gypsy Soup blog post. We made this Moosewood recipe Saturday, and loved it!
It's lighter than one would expect, but filling, both sweet and savory. Thanks, Shel!
  So that's where life's at today...Spring's here despite the calendar, I'm holding back the Beast with whip, chair and Gypsy Soup, and another week is under way.

  How was your weekend?


AkasaWolfSong said...

You've been an industrious woman Ashling! :) I went over to take a look at the photos...I could get lost in that place and spend a fortune if I had it, lol. Wow...I really love the pottery.

As for the soup...let's just say I'm making it!

You sound like me with the chip times I'll have a craving and when I get them home and have a few it just doesn't hold a fascination any longer.

Watching your diet in regards to cholesteral is pretty easy...been doing that for several years now.

It is so good you live with someone who is on the same page as you are. What you do together is incredible. :)

Have a Superb Week!
Many Blessings... the new plates for the seasonal change

Ashling said...

Those dishes were from a short-lived Pfaltzgraff collection. We were both smitten the day we found them because they seemed designed just for us and the kitchen we'd just renovated. We were totally bummed when we discovered there were no accessory pieces and they don't even sell discontinued pieces of it!

Robin Larkspur said...

Congrats on fighting off the Beast! Very warm here too; I hope April isn't gonna be in the 90's! Your gardening plans sound great, and I can't wit to see the coop, and then the little chickies!! Stay cool now!
P.S. Wow 16-year old cats! Bless 'em!!

Robin Larkspur said...

Just checked out the Sycamore Garden photo page. You are so right!! I love that garden enclosure; using old windows and doors. Love how the gourds are trailing from the top corner there. Hope you can make it happen!!

Jen said...

I love both your sets of dishes and the idea of changing with the seasons. You sound cheerful! I think everyone is happier when spring comes.

Ashling said...

@ Jen...thank you! I change out dishes, towels, sheets & bedspread, throw pillows, even a chair seasonally (although since the rocker is in rough shape, looks like my upholstered chair is staying awhile longer. I'm bummed we didn't get a Winter, but since Spring is here, may as well enjoy it!

In My Wild Eden said...

I love the dish change. We do that too. I love "cozy" in the winter. Your spring ones are beautiful.

Michaele said...

I love the idea of changing dishes. Cant wait to see the new coop.

Linda said...

This sounds like my house...I just started WW for the hubby and I ...and I have high C too...That pineapple coconut milk and agave sounds so good...I will have to try that and the gypsy soup....They both so delicious!!! I have a 18 yr old and she stays in most of the time now...she sleeps alot...and she is so spoiled...:) she deserves to be...

I feel the need now to get new dishes...LOL Thanks for the inspiration....

I can't wait to see your new will love having chickens!!

Ashling said...

@Linda...well, we had chickens a year ago, and it was a rather dismal thing. But this time we know what to expect, have problem-solved the issues, and have accepted chicken poop as a life reality, so I'm looking forward to it!