Raindrops, Vegetables, and Bellies

21 February 2011

I don't have much to report but in the interest of keeping this little blog from losing steam before it's even launched I've compiled some musings for the interested few.

Jacob is up on the roof fixing a leak. Our roof has been fixed twice in the last six months by "professionals," but the weekend rain proved too much for it yet again and our little bunkhouse was full of cliche pots and pans catching droplets.

But the rain didn't keep us from getting our green on. We get organic produce delivered weekly from our CSA.  I really like this; it feels extravagant since we are on such a tight budget otherwise, but I value supporting a family run farm in the valley, and I value being forced to eat vegetables. Jacob balks at the extravagance sometimes...especially if we ever let anything spoil. So I do my best to never let that happen. Typically we structure our meals around what the veggie fairy brings on Wednesdays, but sometimes we get distracted, and I end up having a day where my food intake looks a little like this:

Steamed broccoli with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice


Chard, garlic, onion...eventually a soup


Jugo de Spinach, Celery, Cilantro, Ginger, Orange

Don't worry, Mom, I had eggs for breakfast.
Don't worry, rest of the world, I'm currently making brownies.
Don't worry, Joanie, I don't make brownies very often ;)

For interested parties:

Letting it all pooch out for your pleasure
Happy Monday!

The Beekeeping Saga (Pt. 1...hopefully)

07 February 2011

One of the (many) cool things about my husband is that he keeps bees. It's in his Rhodesian blood. Jacob's father was a beekeeper before Jacob and his father before him. (In fact, Jacob's grandfather has a hive in his bedroom, but that certainly warrants a separate post.)
This story begins before Jacob and I were even engaged, and he was living in LA and I in Rome, and we were chatting on the phone. I'm sure I was in the middle of some spill-all about the misery of long distance dating when Jacob informed me that there were bees swarming outside his window. 
That day the bees moved into the shed outside of the converted garage where Jacob and I now reside. Jacob became very fond of them, got them a hive, and moved them farther from the house. 
Harvesting last fall
And so the love affair continued underneath the avocado trees. The first few years were glorious, filled with gallons of honey dripping from cheesecloth for days, beautiful bricks of golden beeswax, and busy busy bees perpetuating our backyard ecosystem.

But the honeymoon only lasts so long...

Three weeks ago Jacob went to check on his bees. And, alas, they were gone. They'd moved out. We attributed it to the wet winter, but it didn't make it any easier. We both sat down at the kitchen table and stared listlessly into space. My father was the only one with an appropriate reaction to the disaster. We informed him via phone, and he sounded as if someone had hit him in the chest. (Jacob has successfully drawn my father into the bee mania and now Dad wants a beehive in his bedroom. Again...another post)

We quickly resolved to get more bees. So Jacob posted a Craigslist ad, and I covered the freecycle.org market, seeking a "Swarm of Bees." Within twelve hours we'd heard from a woman in Santa Monica who informed us that a swarm had moved in under one of her eaves and we could come get it whenever. We were stoked. Jacob checked his hive for mold, cleaned out the ants and old comb, and moved it to a sunnier, dryer spot. Finally, last weekend Jacob, his brother John, and I went to go pick up the bees. We arrived excitedly toting all our materials. The woman walked us around and pointed at an eave high above a porch roof. I'm sure we made a pretty sight, the three of us standing in a row, with the bee-veil and the gloves and the smoker and a big cardboard box and a shovel, all staring at. . .an abandoned wasp's nest. 

It was very awkward.
We tried to be understanding. 
After all, anyone could confuse this:

with this:

John did his due diligence and climbed up on the roof to both knock it down and assure the woman that it was indeed an old wasp's nest and not a swarm of bees. We put on happy faces, but it was all very sad. The three of us walked back to the car rather dejected and then proceeded to treat ourselves to frozen yogurt. 
Until we get another bite on our bee-swarm ads, we're hoping that some bees just move into our hive. We've attempted to make it sufficiently welcoming:

Today is Groundhog Day

02 February 2011

   For alumni of the University of Dallas (like my husband and me), these early days of February hit deep (and drunken) chords. 

   Groundhog is the best party of the year. Why? you ask.
   I believe the story (the myth?) goes something like this: Back during the days of the university's inception, some of the students were eager to start some traditions. Being wonderful UD students, they recognized the irony of beginning a tradition, something that is by definition handed down to you. So they asked a wise teacher, Dr. Donald Cowan, the grandfather of my dear friend Glencora, how one begins a tradition. He responded: 
   "Celebrate something. Celebrate Groundhog Day."
   And they did. 
   At least that's how the story goes.
   This is not a blog about UD or about traditions or about groundhogs. I have struggled for a while deciding what this blog would be about. I wanted something for my far away family and friends to keep tabs on us; I've felt this longing ever since I found out I was pregnant. So would this be a (gasp) MomBlog?? Would I fill post after post with narcissistic musings about my children and my crafts and what I've cooked recently? I will admit very quickly that I like momblogs. I follow several that I find endlessly entertaining, but this question paralyzed me. I cared too much about what people thought about me to present my trivialities so publicly.  
  But thinking about this story, about Groundhog day and the problem of starting a tradition, I realized that perhaps I should just take Dr. Grandfather Cowan's advice. Perhaps I should understand my project as celebration. The UDers who began the tradition of Groundhog were seeking something grand to make into a tradition and realized that they needed to celebrate something to make it grand.
   Here I give you a celebration of my little family.
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