17 September 2007

Gardening Like It's My Job

Well, I've found some honest work out here in Seattle, something to help pay the bills. And wouldn't you know, I'm gardening! Are you surprised? These past three weeks I have been digging my little fingers into people's yards: weeding, pruning, raking, deadheading. It is a strange time to begin a gardening career, but with Seattle's mild climate there are things to do year round. Who else will manicure this city's "better homes & gardens"?

I work on a team of three people, and we drive this big, old truck all over north Seattle and some on the east side (that is the east side of Lake Washington... where Bill Gates lives). We work on a variety of different gardens, mostly private homes. BIG private homes.

It's a decent job so far. I work four 10-hour days with a 5-mile bike ride tacked on at each end. As the days get colder and grayer and rainier, I may have to finally embrace my coffee girl career. I'm still looking for the perfect job, but until then I'm pretty happy to be among the plants.

09 September 2007

The Joys of Unemployment

I am recently unemployed. The past week I have been trying to enjoy my little bout of freedom while responsibly (read "obsessively") searching the want ads for the next big thing. It's not been easy, but I found some fun ways to spend my time.

1.) Needle Felting: my sister taught me this little craft before we left for my brother's wedding, and it is only a short time before tiny animals take over my bedroom. Fox is my second creation and is now my personal mascot.

2.) Canning: the first thing I did when I returned to Seattle was visit the Ballard Farmer's Market. This weekly ritual always makes me feel a little more human in this big city and there's tons of beautiful, local produce. And who could say no to a whole flat of ripe raspberries! They simply begged to be turned into jam. So I embarked on my first canning experience and threw in some tomato sauce at the end.

And of course, 3.) Blogging: I finally found the time and motivation to start this thing rolling. I have also spent an ungodly amount of time drooling over other people's cute blogs. I mostly blame my sister and sister-in-law for this newfound addiction. Hours of my life slip away checking out crafty things here and delicious recipes there. You can find some very useful tutorials on said blogs, if you just keep your wits about you. I've posted some of my favorite links so you too can be sucked into the vortex that is craftster blogs.

06 September 2007

My Garden

When I first moved into my new home, the backyard was nothing but crabgrass with a blackberry-covered fence running along all three sides. There were hints of what used to be a garden beside the neighbors' shed and along the back edge, but it had been overcome by weeds. My roommate claims that in it's glory days, more than half the yard was fill with vegetables and flowers. But no longer. Don't get me wrong, we have a nice yard; it's large enough- if we had the notion- for a good game of badminton or lawn volleyball. But it lacks pizazz.

So with the help of my good friends Rachel (pictured above; so happy about the little babies growing beneath the soil) and Andrew, we dug up two small plots for all kinds of green life. One plot was set aside for mostly veggies: beets, snap peas, shelling peas, three types of lettuce, three types of tomatoes, and three types of peppers. I did sprinkle some nasturtiums and marigolds in there to help keep the bugs away (yea, companion planting!). Ambitious, I know, but playing it safe wasn't why I got into gardening in the first place... I'm a rebel gardener.

The long garden bed across the back fence was reserved mostly for flowers. Flowers and more tomatoes. What can I say! I'm a sucker for home-grown tomaters. Once you experience the brilliant color and sweet, juicy flavor of a home-grown, you'll never go back! But these were cherry tomatoes: sungold, porter's dark cherry, and juilet. I also planted an heirloom called the "Pineapple" tomato. Nothing like it's sister, the cherry tomato, this yellow and red-striped monster grows impressive, one-pound tomatoes! I got it at the University of Washington's annual plant sale where people camp out at "six-in-the-mo'nang" in order to battle for the best cultivars in the tomato tent. I kid you not! We're talking some dedicated tomato lovers. I got there at noon and the only thing left was the Pineapple... we'll see how it grows. The flowers were basically whatever pretty picture on the seed packet impressed me most. They were tossed about in a wildflower-like fashion around the tomatoes. I'm not an obsessive weeder; if it's green and it's not hurting anyone, I'll let it go. The garden had a bit of a bedhead look to it.

My garden wouldn't have won any prizes, but it brought me some happiness and a little food. Having a garden was just as good as getting a dog. Less cuddling, but no pooper-scoopers. A garden can be a girl's best friend. Now it is September and most of the flowers have lost their spunk. We haven't eaten our last tomato (still waiting on the Pineapple), but things are winding down. I'd like to take advantage of Seattle's mild climate (they don't call it the Emerald City for nothing), but who knows. Maybe I'll spring for some Hostas. Maybe even some ferns.