As promised, here are some highlights of my afternoon wandering the Brooklyn Botanic Garden:
The bees that live there are the fattest, drunkest, slowest and happiest I think I've ever encountered.
The wisteria was lovely but what fascinated me most was the size of the trunks. I don't normally think of flowering shrubs as being a witness to history like these apparently are. The stories they could tell...
A tad early in the season to experience the full-bloom splendor of the rose garden, I was more focused on the patina and patterns of the structures.
(there's someone's peaceful little home up in there)
Don't you just love this time of year? What goodies are in bloom right now where you live?
This is what I've been waiting for all these months
and it's only going to get better from here on out. I can't tell you how much I've looked forward to just heading to the backyard when my stomach growls, or as a refreshing alternative to our pathetic "I dunno, whaddayou want for dinner?" back-and-forth.
The earliest crops, planted back in March, are just starting to be ready for munching. Lettuces, onions, chives, peppery greens: this is what spring is supposed to taste like:
My little sprouts (this is a new adventure for me!) probably could have grown another day or two but after nibbling on a pinch this morning I couldn't resist tossing a few on top. Crunchy and tasty - I'm super excited about sprouting all the bags of different seeds I just bought.
It'll be a few months before I'll have tomatoes growing here, but the season of cardboard tomatoes is over and yummy organic heirlooms are starting to show up from warmer places.
A little Tofurkey on top (yeah I realize I may have lost a few of you on that one) and it's a super quick and easy lunch in the middle of a busy day. Yum!
Ok, time to get back to work. What goodies are you starting to enjoy, now that it's spring?
...is the kind when the weather permits me to take my studio outside and work in the backyard, surrounded that much more closely by the smells and sounds I love.
It's an extra-special treat when I get the chance to do this during the few weeks the lilacs are blooming; the whole neighborhood smells heavenly and when I look up, this is the view from my little drawing table.
Mmmm. Taking a deep breath I peer out across the yard and - hey, wait...
...yeah, that's what you thought you saw.
I let her have this one hole because it just makes her so darn happy. I justify this by saying it keeps her from digging my garden beds. Every now and then I'll fill it up and cover it with more turf, but really that's just so she can have more fun getting back down to the good part again.
There's beauty in imperfection, right? That's kind of our landscaping and decorating motto around here.
Besides, when you're smelling this, everything really is perfection.
Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. I think it always feels this way around this time of year - after months of deep, dark hibernation I feel as if I'm emerging from a hole in the ground, squinting at the light, wondering where those winter months actually went.
Days, weeks, months are just flying by. And now it's officially spring.
Handsome Ted has settled in and finally realized that he is home.
He has warmed up to being excessively picked up, smushed, scrungled, and loved-on, but still doesn't understand why he would ever want to sit on a lap, or why we would suggest such a thing. He is perfectly content to sit next to us, watching us with his eyes closed.
This one has been filling the empty spot in my lap whenever possible, though.
She is, without a doubt, the. Best. Dog. Ever.
It's been super busy here in the Artstuff Studio since returning from Atlanta in January, but during little breaks in big projects I've been trying new things. After decades of distantly longing for one, we finally got a Vitamix last month and I have been obsessed with smoothies morning, noon, and night. I just can't get enough. This new obsession may require a whole post of its own soon.
I've found some more new obsessions via Pinterest.
When I finally scraped the last bit out of my favorite delicious lavender lip balm my sister gave me last year, I decided I could just make my own.
So I did.
I found the recipe here. It was so easy; literally, like this stuff, it took me maybe 10 minutes at the very most from start to finish. I was so happy with this first batch, I am now obsessed with the concept of making my own personalized-to-perfection organic skin and hair products. I've barely dipped my toes into this thing, but I think I'm soon to creep out of the I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing stage into the knowing-just-enough-to-be-dangerous stage.
And then there's this:
Sorry, this isn't frosting.
The next recipe I tried was this homemade rosemary-mint shaving cream I made for Husband Guy. We Logans seem to have this curse: when we love a product, a restaurant, even a TV show . . . it goes away. Disappears, gets cancelled, changes formula, whatever. This has happened to him a few times with favorite shaving products, so when I saw this recipe, I had to try it - hoping he might fall for a product that will never, ever be discontinued. He was a little frightened, but agreed to give it a shot if I made it.
And, ta-da, the first batch was actually Husband Guy Approved, although the moisturizing effect took some getting used to for him. He's "not a moisturizer guy" so after the first few times using it, he could not stop touching his face because the sensation (of hydrated skin) was so weird and foreign to him (which was sort of cute). But then he admitted that his skin felt good, and most important not oily at all (this had been his biggest fear).
And finally, my Annual Early Spring Obsession:
The first seedlings are about to go into the garden! I am over-the-moon excited for this gardening season to start. This is the part of the year where all I've got is high hopes: for a long, warm growing season, for successful slug-vanquishing, for months to come enjoying yummy goodies from my own backyard. These precious little babies from last weekend's Edible Plants Sale have been spending this week hardening off in big plastic tubs outside and will go into the ground any minute now, really they will...
I spent an awesome day with my even more awesome sisters last weekend visiting one of our favorite places: Dragonfly Farms over on the Kitsap Peninsula.
She's starting to wrap things up for the season, but as usual there was still a show
and lots of inspiration.
Some stuff I can't wait to try in my own yard
and lots of stuff I can't wait to draw.
(Get it - it's a horseshoe, it's a crab - ha ha ha...)
The nursery is tops: cool and unique plants, lots of locally-sourced goodies, amazing garden art, and the surrounding gardens are magical.
I'm pretty sure fairies live there.
Sometimes you just need to go to a place guarded by dragons
where anything can live in a tree
and scorpions are friendly.
Sometimes dry teasel should be blue
and frogs should dance.
Sometimes you just need a little escape to another world for a while.
Dragonfly Farms Nursery is open Thursdays through Sundays in March through October. If you are here in the Pacific Northwest it's worth a visit; I'm sure you'll find it a friendly and inspiring place that will become one of your favorites too.
It's been such an amazing summer around here this year. I have been away (and in traffic!) more often than usual the last couple months, so time spent here at home and in my studio is just that much sweeter. Meals straight from the garden, afternoons spent drawing at my backyard table with Molly by my side, busy days spent in the studio with Ted above and Molly below. Unusually long stretches of sunshine, the smell of rain on the sidewalk in between. Busy, but soaking it in . . . every sweet breath of it.
I realize I just got finished telling you how I eat so many raspberries standing in the garden that there are never enough to bring inside to do anything with. That is usually the case, but this year I seem to have just a few more than usual. I credit all those cute fat little bees I've been seeing out there. Thanks, bees.
The other night after completely gorging myself standing in the raspberry bed, I realized I had only made a small dent in the day's so-ripe-you-gotta-get-em-today-or-it's-too-late ones. I rolled my overstuffed belly into the house for a bowl and carefully picked a suprising (to me) amount more. It was getting late, it was still warm, and mostly I was feeling sort of lazy - but I really wanted to do something with them.
I briefly considered baking or cooking something, but then remembered having seen a lot of really yummy looking berry frozen yogurt recipes on Pinterest, and I thought I'd even seen some non-dairy ones using coconut cream (I've been on a major coconut binge lately, I just can't get enough). But for all those pretty little images in my head of beautifully-photographed 2- or 3-ingredient frozen fruity goodness just thrown into a cute vintage bread pan and frozen, I didn't seem to actually have pinned any of them.
So I improvised. My usual kitchen theory is that if the stuff you put together is all fresh and delicious enough on its own, rarely is the end result going to totally suck. I'm not saying you can't ruin perfectly lovely ingredients (oh, and I have) it's just my excuse for being a lazy cook and fortunately for those I cook for, it usually works out alright.
So, here's what I did, in case you'd like to try it yourself:
I threw 1-1/2 to 2 cups freshly-picked, cleaned raspberries into the Cuisinart
added 1 can coconut cream (the can has already gone off to recycling so I can't tell you what the measurement is, but it's the "standard" can-goods size can from Trader Joe's)
and about 1-1/2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
I whirred that together and then started adding honey a little at a time, to taste. I wanted this to be tart-sweet, not overwhelmingly sweet-sweet. It may have been about 1/4 cup, but really this isn't rocket science - it's just making something taste good to you. I could have probably added a lot more berries, but I didn't. Next time I might try a more berry-heavy version, just to see which one we like best.
I poured it into a glass container and threw it into the freezer.
Don't ask me why I didn't get out the ice-cream maker for this. Ok, you can ask, and I'll even give you an honest answer: it's been so long since we've made ice-cream that I'm a little frightened at how deeply the inside-part of our ice-cream maker is buried in the basement chest freezer, and I was too lazy to go digging for it. This was just another example of how Past-Beth is sort of rude and thoughtless to Future-Beth, because it was probably just as much work cutting the rock hard, frozen finished product into slices and processing it a second time in the Cuisinart for that fluffy ice-creamy texture (and of course washing all its parts a second time) as it would have been to dig through the stuff in the deep-freeze for the ice-cream maker thingy in the first place.
Although, it's probably good to have learned that post-freeze processing does result in a nicely-textured goody, as if it had been made in a real ice-cream maker.
Either way, the result was what I had hoped.
Tart-sweet, smooth, creamy, frosty, and raspberry-y. A hint of coconut goodness but not overwhelmingly coconutty. And actually pretty healthy. What's not to love?
Even better with more raspberries on top.
Although I still don't seem to have that whole sitting-down-while-eating-raspberries thing down yet; I couldn't resist scarfing the whole bowl while standing at the kitchen counter.
Hope you're enjoying the yumminess of summer wherever you are!
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