Monday, April 16, 2012

A Long and Rambly Post That Never Had a Point

This weekend we celebrated our last birthday of the season.

Fritz insists that the German method of birthday celebrations is to have them in the morning, with cake for breakfast. Even after 8 years, I'm still not used to this. I secretly believe it might be a tradition unique to his family; because they LOVE eating cake for breakfast and they don't restrict cakes-at-breakfast to birthdays. As far as eating cake for breakfast goes, I can say a couple more things: 1) I DO like having my calories early in the day 2) Tiramisu cake makes a good cake for breakfasts 3) the Whole-Foods-Invented-In-Nearby-Aurora!-Tiramisu-Cake was not as good as the one that Fritz's mother makes. (And, no, she doesn't live in Aurora.) I'll give you her recipe someday.

I did, in fact, get a chance to spend some time alone this weekend. I cleaned the floors on my hands and knees. It was great. Really. It can be so frustrating to try to clean when the boys are around. When they are finally gone for a few hours, I have these tremendous bursts of energy and I am able and HAPPY to clean and clean and clean. I even pulled down our sheers/drapes/whatever-they-ares and washed them!

I have been quite busy starting little seedlings. The other day, Fritz asked me (seriously) if we should build a little greenhouse in the yard. I was flattered that he noticed my new hobby AND that he thought about supporting it. Not to be overly cynical, but I think the full window sills might be getting to him. In-the-Ground-Planting-Time in Denver is May 15th or Mother's Day, so there's still a month of full window sills. Speaking of mothers, my own mother is very curious about what I'm up to in the garden, so here we go. I understand how boring gardening can be, so feel free to bail out now.

This window sill actually looks orderly. They don't all look like this cute.
I have been working on the porch planters that my mother bought (and planted) for me last year. This planting business, never mind the shopping for the plants, is quite an investment! I'm very thankful for all her work last year. I'm learning a lot, and I suspect I will continue to learn a lot as the season progresses.

White Shasta Daisies (center, not blooming yet), Purple Verbena (filler, I think?, I hope?), Red Ranunculus, Vinca (vine)
These planters will spend some quality time in our living room if it looks frost in the next month. There are six planters altogether, I'm hoping to do one planter full of herbs, and one planter with Paris Market Carrots (just because the package says I can do that). I'm debating whether or not I'll stick some peppers in one or two. Seems like pepper plants are too big, but wouldn't it be cool to see some peppers in the middle of some flowers?

In the safe-to-plant-early category: we do have some sweet peas coming up. This is a new one for me. I was much inspired by Katie, who kindly gave me some of her heirloom golden peas.

Fritz has been awesome about rearranging all our drip lines to compensate for my garden tweaks from last year. I must confess, his enthusiasm and support have really given all my gardening efforts sticking power. Here's our list of veggies this year: Red Kuri Squash, Munchener Bier Radish, Carrots: Dragon and Paris Market, Oregon Sugar Pods, Golden Peas, Fennel, Sweet Salad Peppers, Tomatoes: Black Krim, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Red and Yellow Pear Blend. Hmm. Now that I've written it all out, it sounds awfully ambitious.

The bamboo we planted in the giant deck planter is looking about the worst that it has ever looked. This is typical for bamboo, because it stays green all winter and looses all its leaves in the spring. Kind of strange.

Bamboo has a once-a-year 60 day growth period that is, purportedly, proceeded by the arrival of the new leaves. Well, here are the new buds/leaves:

Left: buds. Right: old, windswept leaves. The old leaves should fall off.
And here are a few culms pushing out of the ground:

Left: new culm. Right: new leaf.
Fritz loves to talk about how bamboo was used to execute people in ancient China because it grew so fast it went right through them. (I have no idea if this is true.) If true, it certainly wasn't the variety of bamboos we bought. (Yellow Groove, Rubro, Spectablis, Bissetii) They don't seem to be growing particularly fast. Then again, just after I took this photos, the temperature fell from the 70s and 80s into the 50s. Well, now, this whole bamboo thing is a big experiment, and if it's a failure, I will have learned. The Denver Zoo has some good information on their experiences growing cold hardy bamboo in Colorado. They suggest to postpone the culms from emerging as long as possible because they are very susceptible to frost. I'm just crossing my fingers that it stays warm....

It will be really fun if I can show you some dramatic before and after photos in a few months. I mean, that is why one plants bamboo, right? Patience, Ann, patience.


Katie said...

There's something quite wonderful about clearing the house of pitter-patter and cleaning - deep cleaning - and then having it fill back up with your loves.

Now you have me excited about squash and your soup recipe!

Pregnantly Plump said...

Good luck with the garden! I wasn't nearly as ambitious with ours this year. And that's great about cleaning the floors. I was thinking about getting some heavy duty mopping once the boys are sleeping this evening.

rooth said...

My mother would always give us our leftover birthday cake for breakfast - so yay to your tradition!

twisterfish said...

Love cake for breakfast. I say I do it for the kids, but it's all for me!

I wish I could garden or grow anything, but I have no luck at all ever.

Shalini said...

Oh, cake for breakfast is the best.

Anonymous said...

Bamboo can grow through people! It was on Mythbusters. Here's the Youtube link.