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Archive for December, 2009

Happy New Year!  It’s the last day of 2009, and I’m still back in Olympia, WA visiting my family.  My New Year’s Eve is going to be rather boring.  But I’ve been having fun poring over all the seed catalogs that have arrived here this month (I’m afraid my mailbox back in DC will be bursting with them when I return next week).  The descriptions of all the vegetable seeds are really quite seductive – lascivious descriptions of succulent tomatoes, delectable carrots, and mouth-watering strawberries.  It’s hard to resist when everything sounds so delicious.

So I’m going to have to try hard to restrain myself from planting too many varieties again this year.  I’ve been playing around with my Excel-based map of my garden plot, and so far I’ve come up with this rough draft:

Bear in mind that my plot is only 14 feet by 14 feet or so.   I should probably cut out a couple of things, but it’s hard to choose.  To paraphrase Woody Allen, the stomach wants what the stomach wants.

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As someone who enjoys both gardening and eating seasonal food, I find that winter gets to be a drag pretty quickly (not to mention a serious drain on the number of topics I can blog about).  But one bright spot of the winter is the oyster happy hour at Hank’s Oyster Bar.  From 5:30-6:30pm they offer a few varieties of oysters on the half shell for $1 apiece (and there are drink specials, too).  I’m an oyster snob fan, so this is truly a great deal in my book.

I went there the other day with a friend who was visiting, and we dispatched two dozen oysters between us.  Delicious.

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The DC Food Blogger Happy Hour will be back with a vengeance after the holidays.  But the format will be a little different – it’s a potluck!  Bring some booze, or something nibbly.  Bring your unwanted fruitcake (or, really, don’t).  Join co-hosts Capital Cooking, Gradually Greener, ModernDomestic, The Arugula Files, Capital Spice, DininginDC, WeLoveDC, and Beerspotter: January 6th, 6pm, at 2125 14th Street (Union Row).  Capital Cooking is playing point on this one, so RSVP here!

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Investing in Tulips

Tulips certainly have an interesting history as items of investment.  If you’ve never read about the 16th century Dutch phenomenon known as tulip mania, I highly recommend the tulip chapter in Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire.  Or read the Wikipedia entry for a shorter version.  But even if you’re not forming an irrational speculative bubble, planting tulips is always about investment.  You trudge out in the cold in late fall or early winter and dig holes and drop in these knobby bulbs, and then months later your efforts are rewarded with beautiful, colorful blooms on elegant stalks.

I mostly grow vegetables, but a few flowers can be nice.  These five bulbs were gleaned from the dozens of bulbs I helped my mom plant at Thanksgiving back in Olympia.  So this spring I’ll have a little slice of home in the corner of my garden.

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I love the smell of fir trees.  My family doesn’t really bother with a Christmas tree anymore, which I’m totally fine with.  But I always loved the way a Christmas tree could fill a whole room with its wonderful, natural, fresh green smell.

I’m not going to wade into the debate over the most environmentally friendly options for Christmas trees; for me, it’s a moot point since I don’t really have room for a tree in my little apartment anyway.  But I did want to experience that Christmas tree smell, so I bought a nice, bushy wreath at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market.  Wreaths are, I’m guessing, made from the scraps of trees that were going to be cut anyway, and they’re easy to dismantle and compost.  Seems like a reasonably sustainable option to me.

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I’m off on business to Minnesota for a couple of days.  It’s going to be a high of 9 degrees there on Thursday.  OMG.  I don’t know how people survive there.

In the meantime, here’s a nice picture of the chocolate lab my mom has trained to hunt for truffles back in the temperate Northwest.  This is Sam, who used to be a completely adorable puppy and is now quite a handsome lad.  Good luck with the truffle hunt, mom!

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Hidden Delights

When I was out at my garden this weekend, I was amazed to discover how much of my bed of greens and kale had survived under the snow.  Check it out!

Once I cleared all the snow away, there was actually a lot of baby salad greens that were totally fresh and tender.  I got to eat a fresh, homegrown, delicious salad in December.  Amazing.

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