Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

I spent the afternoon digging in the dirt and was so very happy to be there. It's February, which means brrrrr! in most of the country, but it's a sunny, pleasant day in southern California (please don't hate me. I really do miss the four seasons!).

Actually, I feel a bit like a bird let out of its cage. While I've enjoyed editing the current and upcoming issues of Edible Los Angeles, I'm ready to get back to writing and having time for other things, like catering an Oscar party this weekend, getting ready to teach a cooking class and preparing to present a talk on the history of Irish cuisine. Writing assignments are suddenly coming out of the woodwork (and even a couple of photography assignments)! Seems like it's all or nothing, so I think I'll be happy with all right now. All is good. And all is well. And all's well that ends wel....okay, that's enough.

And I'm happy to get back to the garden (cue the Crosby, Stills & Nash). It's easy to forget what's out there once winter comes. But when I creep out back and start to nose around, I'm always delighted to find things still at work there. They don't take a breather just because I'm not paying attention. The grapevine has the bright green beginnings of this year's leaves just popping out. The fennel is holding its own much better than its identical-cousin dill plant. The new fig tree has put out five timid little sprouts and one starter-fig. At least that's what I call it. It fell off during the recent rains, but I guess the tree just needed to get that one out there. Priming its fig pump, I guess. The catnip is beginning to recover after having had at least one cat lose her dignity all over it. The oh-I-forgot-I-planted-those spring flower bulbs are showing green and getting ready to send up blossoms in time for Easter.

I've always wanted one of those terra cotta strawberry condominium thingies, so I finally splurged got myself one, along with a dozen strawberry plants to nestle into all those little pockets. Between working on that and planting tomatoes, cilantro, swiss chard and microgreens, I had a great time of it. I even planted an artichoke in the hope that it will help increase my appreciation for that prickly so-and-so. I find that's often the case with difficult foods. Get to know them well and you develop at least a grudging respect for them...and possibly even decide you like them after all. Sometimes that happens with people, too. It's the darndest thing.