Three things: First salad, third-culture-kid comedy, and grandparents’ gardens


Our first salad this spring! L. helped me to thin our radishes, and then I thought it would be nice to combine them with a handful of our plentiful weed, sorrel. L. took it further, adding in borage and calendula–any excuse to pick flowers, really. And voila, I think we can call that our first homegrown salad of the year! Not usually a fan of radishes, I must admit their peppery leaves along with the bright sourness of the sorrel worked perfectly together to liven up our risotto.

Loved this interview with comedian Hasan Minhaj. (Have you seen/heard his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?)

Enjoyed this article about the writer’s grandparents and their garden.

Small holes in the silence

It might be that we have had a relatively dry few weeks, but when the rain started up again last week, I was almost happy for it. I guess we don’t get quite enough sun here to have that delicious smell of rain on warm concrete very often, but we had it once last week and it took me back to being 9 or so, and playing netball with my class on the outdoor courts.  And, as that smell always does, it reminded me of this poem:

Rain by Hone Tuwhare

I can hear you making
small holes in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind:

the steady drum-roll
sound you make
when the wind drops

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

But if I should not
smell or feel or see you

You would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

(you can see a painting of this poem here)

Three things: Trees, slow food, and solitude


L. found a sprouted conker in his sand pit this winter and so we popped it in a cup of soil and now it is big enough for its own pot.  Everytime we turn a corner on a walk he’ll gasp and say, “Mum, look at that beautiful chestnut tree with its droopy ‘hands'”.  And it’s true.  With the city is looking livelier under a blue sky, we are spending a lot of time standing beneath trees looking up to see the sun sparkle through the leaves.  L. is convinced the sparkles are fairies.  We planted our small Christmas tree in a woods nearby our place, and I think our healthy chestnut sapling has a similar future destination.

Very excited for the May Festival next week, especially for the Slow Food events.  Are you Aberdonians going to be at the Taster event on Friday night?  I will also be at Carlo Petrini’s lecture on Saturday.  And saving my pennies to spend on vegetable seedlings at the market.

A poem that knows exactly what I long for right now… just an hour of solitude would be wonderful… even the middles of my nights are not lonesome at the moment.

A sense of wonder so indestructible

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Three things: Quilts, blueberries, and social inclusion




Two quilts.  The one in the top pictures is one made by my mum for my eldest.  His middle name is Kuaka, after a migratory bird that flies between New Zealand and North America, where he was born.  So kuaka feature in the quilt, as well as many moments from our last trip back to New Zealand, like finding the one ripe fig on the tree before the waxeyes devoured them.  Both my kids love this beautiful quilt and I often find one of them inspecting the details.  I’ll give you ten points if you can match the tree in the background to one in the quilt.  The other quilt is one I made from a Kaffe Fassett pattern called “Mitered Boxes”.  I actually finished it on my mum’s machine on that same trip.  If you use his fabrics, it will come out looking more like this (second picture down), but I made mine mostly from old shirts.  I bought the shirts as I needed them, and I can tell you which I found on a trip to New Orleans, which came from Indiana when we lived there, which came from Chicago, which were sent to me from Dad’s closet when he wasn’t paying attention…

I planted a hedge of blueberries a few weeks ago with five different varieties of blueberry which will hopefully give a good spread of berries through the season.  Just after I planted it, I heard this this podcast about how to get the best from your blueberries.  So helpful!  The tip I appreciated most was using soy bean meal or cotton seed meal in the Autumn as a fertiliser that offers different things to the plants as it breaks down.

Finally, I just listened to this amazing podcast episode, an interview with Kim John Payne, who wrote “Simplicity Parenting”.  The podcast is about bullying, or social exclusion (the term he prefers to use), and I picked up a lot of helpful information that one day, I am sure, in one way or another, will become useful.  Sigh.