revival: part one
Before we ran out of Root time, I harvested a dozen onions,
which I’m now curing in the dried grass atop the Naturkeller.
And made another batch of roasted beet chips.
And finished washing and slicing all the rainbow carrots
and parsnips and red onions for the fermented salt pickles.
I began making these ten years ago, based on a recipe in “Nourishing Traditions,”
a book given to me by printmaker-turned-organic-farmer Barney Casey,
who also gave me a ton of organic root veggies to experiment with.
I owe her dearly and hope someday she’ll come visit.
(Though I actually began eating fermented pickles a few years prior,
stopping for ful sandwiches with torshé (literally translating to “soured”)
for breakfast each morning while working at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo.
I credit the probiotics in the pickles for keeping me healthy while living there.)
Otherwise, we’ve just been watering everything,
constantly, allowing the canal water system to run,
while spraying out the water, everywhere;
often from three or four different hoses at once,
to saturate the land, fill all the ponds we’ve dug,
and deeply water all the things we’ve planted.
And the pink-eyed peas I’d recently planted have been emerging,
as have the sunflowers I put into the flower garden last week.
And everything has been responding wonderfully to the water,
especially the wildflowers that are beginning to rebloom,
and all the flowers we’ve planted this Spring.
(& even the nasturtiums on Nutella’s grave)
And the strawberry popcorn has begun to show signs of flowering.
And thankfully, many plantings that were hit hard by the heat waves have recovered.
We spent awhile this week putting together the outdoor shower area,
which is now just a few driftwood floorboards short of being complete,
(& maybe a shower rack & a few hooks), but it’s now ready to use.
And we found a nice wide, slightly broken, plastic bucket by a dumpster,
which Mohamed dug and nestled into the ground to be our newest pond,
over by the circular planting of tomatillos and sunflowers (which are reblooming!)
While I’m walking through the yard checking on all the plants,
I often come across flowers (& fruits) that in my previous life,
I would sit outside and paint, still-life style,
fascinated with their glorious colors, intricate forms,
and the way the sunlight dances through the petals.
And aside from my commitment to not be making artwork this past year,
I don’t really have the time right now to dedicate hours and days to sitting and painting.
So I’ve been taking photos of what I would’ve painted.
I’m in near constant motion, as there are hoses to move and other things to water,
seeds to sow, and produce to pick (& wash & pickle or use in our meals),
and places that need weeding, and grasses that need trimming,
and whole new areas that need to be cleared for planting,
since we have an eggplant and two tomato seedlings ready for the garden,
and thirteen sweet corn seedlings that will go into the end of Horta Nova next week.
And we also have a few big construction projects to work on, too.
Marmalade wants a kitchen play area, like one she saw in a toy catalog.
Since her birthday is only a few weeks away, we agreed to work on it,
and have made it our mission to extend her playhouse to incorporate a kitchen.
Luckily, we recently found a few small wooden tables and panels that will work,
but everything needs refinishing and painting on some fun details.
Another upcoming construction project is an outhouse,
which will probably be a shelter for our dry composting toilet.
After moving in, we realized that we will have to redo our septic tank,
as it was just a lidded, sawed-off plastic barrel dug into the hillside,
and the pipe leading into it is rubbing up against a cork oak sapling,
(which is only going to get bigger!) pushing the pipe out of alignment.
So we need to clear out a whole lot of blackberries to dig a new place
for the septic tank and then move (or replace) the tank and redirect the piping to it.
Fortunately, composting toilets are fairly common here;
and so yesterday we toured our teacher’s house (& composting toilet)
to get ideas for both our outhouse and septic system projects.
And pick apples, as her ancient apple trees are already ripening,
and now have two sacks of apples to eat and transform into sauce.
Also, a friend of hers had recently backed their car into her prickly pear cactus,
knocking off a giant limb with several huge pads and unripe fruits,
so we brought that home as well to plant into our cactus garden
during next week’s Fruit transplanting time.
We also want to put in more planting areas,
extending the garden boxes with semi-circular garden rings
to re-integrate those hard, geometric, unnatural spaces back into our world.
And work on our house: inside and out.
Inside, we need to finish the living room floor
and the bathroom still needs to be completed,
(a slow and gradual process as we collect all the materials we need).
We have sourced the skylights we want for the bathroom roof,
and now need to contract a carpenter to frame a roof with a pitch
(so water will no longer pool on the roof) and add the two skylights.
And we want to add a bedroom for Marmalade,
as a small, sunny space off our room in the back of the house.
And we are now planning to add more exterior cork façade
over some of our worn and water-damaged exterior walls,
(especially the final bathroom wall, & 2 small kitchen walls)
because it really is an incredible material and made for this climate.
And finish painting the rest of the outside of the house,
which won’t seem quite so daunting once Marmalade is back in school.
I’ve sorta daydreamed about still-life painting some of the morning glories
onto our exterior bedroom walls, around our windows where they’ve been blooming.
Luckily life is long.