The leaves on the trees are finally unfurling. No, not all of them, but lots, and we finally have a haze of green around us. The perennials are coming up nicely. I know because at 6:30 this morning I heard loud mooing much too close to the house and there were several cows and their calves who had squeezed through a hole in the fence and made it down to the pasture by the house where the fence, naturally, wasn’t closed. So after shooing them back through the fence and closing it, I did a brief tour of the raised beds. I was also pleasantly surprised at how warm it was this morning compared to other mornings, when the temperatures have been around freezing.
The greenhouse is about an hour away from being finished and pulled by tractor to its new home behind the house. Tom and his helpers built it in front of the garage so it was easy to unload building supplies and for an easy power supply. On Mother’s Day afternoon, we dropped the kids off at rehearsal (the performances, finally, are Thursday-Saturday for “Willy Wonka”) and then headed to the recycling center, where next to the plastics bin we discovered several large stacks of enormous black plastic nursery pots for trees, perfect for growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplants in the greenhouse. A very nice Mother’s Day present, though not nearly as nice as the breakfast in bed (heart-shaped pancakes, with bacon), flowers, greenhouse, nursery gift certificate, handmade cards, and seven-course meal.
Because I cannot do anything properly without reading about it, I have been reading my Bookcloseouts treasure, Paradise Under Glass: An Amateur Creates a Conservatory Garden by Ruth Kassinger, ordered before I realized I would have my own greenhouse to play in anytime soon. Ms. Kassinger details field trips to Logee’s and Glasshouse Works, where I spent far too much money as a single girl in the early nineties, though unfortunately exclusively by mail order and never in person; in fact, I used to keep the catalogues by the bed, and remember them well — the Logee’s catalogue was small and slim, and fit into a jacket pocket for easy subway reading, and the one from GW was large and floppy, on newsprint. Have also ordered the following, from Amazon.ca and Chapters:
Eliot Coleman’s The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses; I’ve long been a fan of EC and have been looking for an excuse to buy his latest.
Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion by Shane Smith, illustrated by Marjorie Leggitt; as soon as I saw Ms. Leggitt’s lovely cover, I knew this was the book for me, since I am planning on putting a comfortable chair near the door for surveying my new domain.
The Greenhouse Gardener by Anne Swithinbank, which also goes by the title The Conservatory Gardener, and which I had to buy from Book Depository because it’s no longer in print in Canada though apparently so in the US. Also ordered from BD, Debo Devonshire’s Wait for Me! because I couldn’t wait any longer, but sadly not Miss Buncle Married, which I have a feeling sold like hot cakes upon its recent Persephone reissue.
Am once again reminded by Cicero’s quote over on the left, “Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.”
Tom determined that the days are nowhere near long enough, and so hired a drywaller to finish the walls in the new dining area. The fellow has been here for three days, and the sanding has begun, so the plastic is up and the dust is flying. When I drop off the kids for today’s full dress rehearsal, I’ll swing by the paint store for chips. I’m horribly consistent, so I am planning to pick the same yellow as the rest of the kitchen, and we’ll repaint the kitchen walls and also the cabinets (which will be the same cream color I chose 12 years ago, too). The kids and I will prime and paint, and I have to choose casing for the windows too. Then flooring, and Tom was even talking about the Ikea base cabinets for the east and west sides of the room (there will be base cabs on either side of the table, and shelves above them; sort of a modified Welsh dresser, for dining room as well as home school accoutrements), so we may well have a trip to Ikea in our future shortly. Which is good, because I think I would like these solar lights for the greenhouse:
I’ll take some pictures of the new greenhouse and the dining room as soon as I can find a camera I am able to use, and a cable. For all the cameras and cables floating around the house, none of them seem to be mine any more.
Also yesterday, we had our semi-annual home school facilitator visit, who managed to make me feel good, and satisfied, about our efforts even though I have been managing estate matters and a business in NYC more than home schooling my children. Since Laura will be starting Grade 9 next year, we talked a bit about high school, though in Alberta at least it doesn’t start until Grade 10. I’ll be going by what I’m used to, which is 9-12. And I am going to try to remember to be guided by the Gilbert Highet quote, also over there on the left, from his book, The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning,
The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning.
Finally, since this post feels rather naked without some pictures, I’ll add the ones from Daniel’s 12th birthday celebration the other week — his “hamburger” cupcakes made by his loving but not particularly crafty mother, who was egged on by Sheila, who does this sort of a thing at the drop of a hat and very well too. Surprisingly, though, they turned out quite well. Unsurprisingly, I forgot all about taking any pictures until there were only three left, and of course they were the least successful of the bunch. But you can get the general hamburger-ness of them,
You can see the original version here.