Friday, April 29, 2011

Why Having a Garden is Better Than a Puppy

When Andrew and I were house hunting back in August, we had one main qualification: we wanted a house with a backyard. Our reasoning was that we were planning on getting a dog, and life would be much easier if Sunny (our imaginary golden retriever) had some space to run and play.

The idea of having a dog quickly turned into other things, and soon I was talking about getting some chickens and a rabbit and maybe a small pig I could say "that'll do" to. Then Andrew reminded me that I would have to take care of all of those animals and probably exercise all of them, and I got a bit too selfish and was worried about life not actually being like Babe: Pig in the City, and well, for the time being, I've abandoned my hopes for a pet. I blame it on the Georgia humidity. Animals or people shouldn't have to live in this kind of weather.

Anyway, we decided to use the space in our backyard for the next best thing: a vegetable garden.

So for the past 6 months or so, we have been placing our food scraps in this lovely container:

Then, when the bucket was full, we would dump it behind this little fence:

It was our own, beautiful, lovely, hand-made compost pile -- complete with yard clippings, egg shells and rotten fruit.

So a couple of weeks ago, when our compost was finally decomposed enough to use, and it was no longer raining, and I could convince Andrew to build a giant wooden box on his day off, we set about constructing our garden.

Andrew doesn't normally wear such stellar shades...

But he had LASIK surgery the week before and was required to wear these glasses anytime he went outside. He wasn't too keen on my trying to capture his goggle glory, so he threw his hands all up in my space.

Chill, four-eyes.

The next obstacle to our vegetable haven was finding a way to back Andrew's truck in through a gate in our backyard. Perhaps the ordeal may have gone smoother had one of us not had recent eye surgery...

After our semi-blind driving efforts, and a lot of hard work on Andrew's part, we mixed the soil, compost and a bit of fertilizer to create this little home.

Then Andrew and I had a brief discussion in Home Depot as to why I needed to buy the more expensive Martha Stewart seeds when they were probably the exact same as the off-brand ones, to which I took great offense and said gravely, "because they are Martha Stewart seeds, Andrew, and I will own every product with her name on it."

Plus, I like to imagine these are the seeds from her actual garden...

Then I ran out of these cute little labeling sticks and had to go steal some Starbucks stir sticks to finish off the job. I'm assuming Starbucks would only be too happy to donate to my earth progressive farming...

And in the end, we planted herbs...

And vegetables...

And basically more herbs and more vegetables.

With the garden finally assembled and my little seeds planted, I can't help but feel like we made the right choice in postponing our animal raising days until a later time. At least a garden doesn't require too much attention to keep alive. I believe I can manage a garden.

I really do think this...that is, until I remember back to last year.

I forget that it was only last summer that I had my beautiful and lush basil and parsley plants that I kept in the window sill of our apartment in Augusta. The plants were strong and thriving and supplied their leaves for many an omelet and soup.

But now I remember their former glory with a slight chill, and I need only glance over my shoulder at my present location at our fledgling garden to see my basil plant's current condition.

And now I'm certain I made the right choice in not getting a dog, but I'm worried I'm not fit to take care of anything: plant, animal, vegetable, or mineral-related.

I can only assume this means small humans as well...

Saturday, April 16, 2011


This past weekend, I put the "sin" in cinnamon rolls.

I can't remember where exactly I got the idea, but for some reason, I had the hankering to combine this:

and this:

And so I did.

And I am not ashamed.

I blame it on having company. My lovely friend Sharaya came to visit.

Sharaya and I go way back -- back to awkward stages in life, like Homecomings and driver's permits. I love Sharaya, and apparently I have no love language other than food.

While Sharaya was here, I also bought her coffee, gave her a $20 bill and promised to name my first born child after her, boy or girl.

See what sacrifices and gifts I bestow at the feet of my guests?

I'm talking to you people in Oregon who need to come visit me. The summer season is fast approaching. What's it going to take?

Name your terms.

I also have sweet tea.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A post {that became unnecessarily long} where I celebrate my one-year anniversary with Georgia

It's hard to believe we've been in Georgia for almost a year. This time last year, Andrew and I were packing boxes as orderly as possible and filling our car and one small travel trailer to maximum capacity. It was Easter Sunday and we were on our way to say goodbye to all our friends and family at church before we began our 10-day road trip across the country.

But as we started down the hill towards our final gathering in Oregon, our car didn't seem to be moving in any type of normal way. It was, however, making a very disturbing grinding noise that seemed to be coming from the back tires.

As we got out to survey the issue, we quickly learned that apparently you can't put everything you own in one small Toyota. We had essentially packed so much weight in the back trailer, that the car was literally riding on top of the wheels. As in, like, the wheels couldn't turn because the car was sitting on top of them.

It was clear we were going to have to lighten our load.

Seeing that I was already emotional, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that an argument immediately began between Andrew and me over what should stay behind and what should come in the precious space and weight we could afford.

The accusations were swift and heated. Andrew argued that I didn't need all my cookbooks. I returned that he didn't need all his computer textbooks. Unfortunately for me, we both agreed my beloved espresso machine and KitchenAid had to be left behind because they each weighed about 50 pounds.

Two hours later, the neatly packed boxes had been ripped open and scattered about. Our dishes, photo albums and winter clothes were tossed into several empty boxes. And the precious items we had so carefully selected, wrapped and placed in cardboard boxes, were overturned and left behind in Andrew's uncle's garage.

And so began our five-thousand mile journey towards Georgia: I was crying, we were arguing, church was long over, we were driving away from every person and place I had ever known, and we didn't have a clue where we were going.

And the espresso machine was still sitting in the garage.

It was a rough day.

But, in perhaps a way that can only be cheaply summarized on a blog, we got over it. We were on our way to Disneyland, we apologized (I was sorry I called computers "stupid") and I comforted myself with the realization that the remainder of our belongings would be sent to us in a few months. And as much as I had bemoaned the prospect of a week-long road trip across America, it is, ironically, now one of my favorite memories.

To be fair, the past year in Georgia has been very trying at times: Andrew was deployed, I went without human contact for 6 months when we lived in Augusta, and the humidity of the South may one day be the death of me or any joy in my life.

But it's spring right now in Georgia, and it's hard not to sort of love it here -- especially when I listen to country music, where, literally, every other song is about Georgia or some aspect of Georgia (usually having to do with women from Georgia or pine trees from Georgia or drinking beer under pine trees with women in Georgia).

Seeing as this week marks my one-year anniversary with the South, I recently went through all the photos on my camera from the past year -- I think they tell the story rather well.

When we first arrived in Georgia, we didn't have a home so we lived in a hotel for about 5 weeks:

I don't really remember what I did during that time, but I'm pretty sure my life was in fact a lot like the Suite Life of Zack and Cody -- I watched the View, the Martha Stewart Show, worked out at the hotel gym, read a free paper every morning and used the pool. A week is probably long enough to ever stay in a hotel though.

So we moved here:

And I survived with no dishwasher or microwave and this much counter space:

And an oven this big:

And I had to hang everything on the walls:

And apparently, from my photos, I did nothing in Augusta except bake:

Then Andrew graduated from Signal school or academy or training or whatever the Army calls it:

And we bought a house in Savannah and moved here:

We discovered our house has a bonus room with a stage in it:

We are still unsure of what to do with this.

While in Georgia, we have visited our neighboring states of Florida,

And South Carolina:

We went to a Braves game:

And apparently we tried to take about one-thousand pictures of ourselves. If I remember correctly, we were trying to send Andrew's parents some pictures for Christmas. So my camera is full of a lot of pictures like this:

(Andrew calls the frizz on my hair that results from the humidity my "solar flares." Fitting.)

And this:

Frame-worthy if you ask me.

So photogenic are we.

We survived Christmas without our families:

And finally managed to take a successful picture to send to Andrew's parents:
Andrew and Me
Though "successful" may be too strong a word.

And perhaps most notably, we discovered the joy and the wonder that is Waffle House:
But that you must experience for yourself.

I am truly looking forward to another year here in the South: we are thankful; we are content; and we have a stage with which to entertain our guests.

I think that is the very definition of happiness.