I’m home! And Steve has been busy while I’ve been away. In addition to cleaning out his parents’ house, he was putting the finishing touches on the greenhouse– including installing the major exhaust fan and small fans, installing the heater (which will be attached to a propane tank), and finally, building five raised beds.
Once the beds are filled with soil (a potting mix being prepared for us by Mississippi Topsoils in Cold Spring: compost is too rich and soil is too mineral-y), I’m going to start with peas and spinach and greens. Once the beds are finished, the tables will be built and we can start growing microgreens and sprouts and of course, prairie plugs (the real purpose of the greenhouse).
I’ve entered the world of “one year ago”… as it was mid-February when I was in the process of getting a cancer diagnosis, followed by all that treatment. And as I go about my business now, still suffering from fatigue and some bone aches and a bad shoulder where all the nerves have revolted against me, I think about the not-too-distant time when I couldn’t do even this. Yesterday, I planted the leeks, those plants that need six months to mature, and the rest of the tray in sunflower sprouts.
I kind of lost heart making hummus, though, and left it for today. I didn’t know this, but the low point for me in all that treatment seems to have been the day I couldn’t muster the focus or energy to make a batch of hummus. No doubt I’ll keep coming face to face with other lows. There are some planting lows, like the day it took me three trips to the basement to plant 24 tomato and 24 pepper seeds I then didn’t have the energy to label. That was not a good day. The many days I wanted to but couldn’t find the energy to mound the leeks.
I have been cooking up a storm, however. We’re continuing Steve’s work while I was gone in “eating down the pantry” and the freezer. I also started a February Middle Eastern cooking challenge with my Facebook cookbook group. I like cooking other cuisines in winter when I don’t have fresh vegetables and so don’t mind digging into more “exotic” and out of season ingredients.
So last week I made this, my favorite chicken recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook, and also a quinoa salad with carmelized onions and dried apricots, to which I added the last of the garden butternut squash. We bought some lettuce, so the day before had big salads with the last of a jar of pickled beets, feta, and a vinaigrette with the fancy olive oil I got for Christmas. And last night I couldn’t help myself. Though we had dry pasta, I wanted fresh made, so took a few cubes of pesto out of the freezer and made some fettuccine!