the hyphens that define my life

100 Days of Gardening April 9, 2015

The Great Discontent (TGD), a quarterly magazine with candid interviews on those that create, has inspired me.  The interview of my photographer friend, Ike Edeani (check him out, follow him on Facebook and Instagram) was featured in their first issue and connected me with the magazine.  TGD began a #The100DayProject, as defined on the website:

What Is the 100-Day Project? It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.

The project began on April 6 but, if you’re like me and forgot to start until April 8, you may begin at any time and finish at your own pace.  Whew.  I’m in.

My project focus is gardening, #100daysofgardening, and my creative process will be posted daily.

Pause here for clarification:  yes, I know I’ve written many times that I will blog/exercise/eat right/do something daily and then drop the ball.  Guess what?  I may do fail to meet the daily expectation.  Life happens. However, with heightened awareness, a sense of purpose, and our last threat of frost rapidly approaching, I am going to try my damnedest to garden daily.  Really, I have no choice if I want a garden this year.

Yesterday, I ventured to my front yard garden to assess what prep work will need to be accomplished. Front yard gardening is a big deal, Google it.  It is controversial in some areas, forbidden (the horror!) in others (doubt me, ask your HOA or check with city/county regulations) and subject to extreme criticism from the neighborhood.  My front yard garden is permissible (no HOA strings on me), no city restrictions (I checked), and has been well received by the neighborhood.  I made new friends last year during the construction phase of the garden too.

Last year, I dug up all the sod (yes I could have rented some machine to do the job but I needed the therapy of physical labor) and created 10 unformed raised beds and pathways in a keyhole design.  Unformed raised beds are just like raised beds without the wood frames.  Unformed raised beds may require reshaping each new gardening season.  I reshape while cleaning up winter debris or adding soil amendments, not an issue for me.  One district representative did ask me, “What would [will] happen to the dirt when it falls out of shape?”.  [dart your eyes back and forth a few times and raise your eyebrows like I did in the moment for effect.] “The dirt will fall to the ground”, I replied. Total state of chaos. Save yourselves while you still can.

Back to the project.

Day 1:  Assess the situation.  Dirt on the ground.  [good start]

garden 2015

I need to rake up leaves and debris, add some bark to the pathways; address irrigation and shape the beds.  I began the clean up process, noting that my tarragon and sage are returning.  Some carrots, arugula and lettuces have sprouted from last year’s seed.  Then I found this surprise:


My first asparagus.  I am surprised because I bought three asparagus starts at the Manito Park Plant Sale last summer and just stuck them in the ground, not paying heed to the planting direction of digging a special asparagus trench (what?) and other special asparagus tricks.  Asparagus starts are supposed to take two years to produce. I planted just to see what would happen.  Lo and behold, an asparagus is born.

100 Days of Gardening is not going to be easy, it will be a lot of work.  The process of this work is what I love.  The produce is what I enjoy.


My apprentice.


Advent-ageous! December 1, 2013

Happy December 1, Happy First Day of Advent,  and Happy Countdown to Christmas!

Being the non-practicing any religion person that I am, Advent, to me, means chocolate calendars that countdown to Christmas.  Chocolate isn’t required, it could mean a construction paper ring chain counting down the days.  Western Christians  observe Advent as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.  The Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance from November 15 through December 24practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Christ.  My 23 days of detox and Thanksgiving deliciousness were definitely not aligned with the Nativity Fast.  Like I said, I’m a chocolate calendar, construction paper ring chain kinda gal.

Typical of our house, we are counting down the days.  Our boys know they have 15 days of school before Winter Break, 24 days until Christmas, and 30 days until the end of the year, and 32 days until their sister moves to Spokane.  Western or Eastern Christian, or not religious at all, countdowns are on. Advent-ageious, one and all.

For our family, Christmas isn’t about the day, it is about the season.  Giving, receiving, experiencing the full effect of the holiday. Yesterday we joined two families and caravanned north to Camden Ranch in Elk, WA to cut down our own Christmas Tree.  The weather was cold and foggy but the scenery was glorious.


We were instructed to hike up into the hills and surrounding area and find your perfect tree.  Take a hand saw, cut down the tree and carry it down the hill.  The tree is tagged and loaded into a truck and driven back to the main barn at the ranch.  We follow on a hay ride.  The tree is condensed into a mesh bag and muscled onto the top of your vehicle.  We laughed and contemplated and hiked and shivered until we found our beautiful tree.

Our 8-year old insisted he would cut down the tree and managed about a 1/2″ cut into the trunk before his arm gave out and the others got a turn.  Eventually, TIMMMM-BERRRR, the tree fell over.

christmas tree 2013

This tree was no featherweight.  It took 5 of us to carry it down with our 8-year old leading the way, pointing out slippery slopes yet maintaining far enough of a lead not lend any muscle.

We sipped on hot apple cider while waiting for our tree to be bagged and loaded.  The sun was setting as we drove home, naturally spotlighting three cotton-tailed deer bounding through the meadow.

My husband is very scroogy, bah humbug when it comes to most holiday traditions.  Yet the entire drive home he commented how much he enjoyed this excursion to get our Christmas tree.  He enjoyed it so much he suggested we should plan to go to Camden Ranch every year.  Who is this guy having Christmas fun and setting tradition?    He even tolerated listening to hours of Christmas music to and from Camden Ranch.  Whoever he is, wherever he’s been, I like this new Spokane guy!

Today, for our first day of Advent, we put away our fall and Thanksgiving decorations and hauled out the Christmas boxes.  Our tree is massive, standing at 9’3″ but fits beautifully in our living room.

christmas tree

No lights or decorations yet and I realized tonight that the two uncarved pumpkins are still out on the porch.  Slight holiday overlap but we’re getting into the holiday spirit, one day at a time.