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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend 2009

Happy Easter everyone! FYI: I left our camera in Davis so the pictures in this post were taken on Dave's phone. Sorry about the crappy quality.

Every Easter for the last several years my dad and I have either done some gardening or gone to our cabin, AKA the Farside Ranch. This year, instead of gardening with my own dad, I went up to Gualala to spend the weekend with Dave and my in-laws and do some gardening up there. Since Dave had to work both Friday and Monday this past week, I figured he wouldn't want to drive all the way down to Davis for only 2 days. (Not that I really want to drive all the way up the coast for only 2 days, but then again I don't have to make that drive every single week like he does.) Plus we knew the weather would be perfect for planting our summer garden and I wanted to hang out with Peggy and John.

On Friday I went to the hardware store and picked up:
  • 15 tomato plants (Ace, Brandywine, Early Girl, Cherokee Purple, German Green Stripe, and Roma)
  • 2 winter squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 pickling cucumbers (for more of those bread and butter pickles, which turn out to be scrumptious, even to a pickle-hater like me)
  • 1 "Nacho" hot pepper
  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 1 lemon cucumber
I also went to the public library and borrowed 2 books on CD. I listened to Memoirs of a Geisha on the way up here (and enjoyed it) and will listen to Baby Proof on the way back down tonight. Dave is going to listen to Memoirs when he comes back to Davis this coming weekend.

On Saturday morning it was sort of windy but warm outside. I rototilled the garden twice (yes, while 5 months pregnant!) while Dave and John worked on the berry vines. After lunch Dave and I dug out ten garden beds and set up the irrigation, complete with special irrigators for the tomatoes, which need deep soakings. By the time we got inside on Saturday night we were both exhausted and it felt great to have been outside all day. We fried up the last of the ocean rock fish Dave caught last summer and ate it with "green pasta" (which is what Dave calls pesto). We also made some dilly tartar sauce for the fish.

To use up the breading from the fish, I decided to make hushpuppies. To do this, I mixed the egg wash with the rest of the seasoned flour (this time was with salt, chili powder, and garlic powder--it makes the fish taste that much better), a little shake of baking soda, and a splash of milk. Normally I add some cornmeal to give them texture, but Peggy was fresh out. Dave fried up the little balls of dough until they were nice and brown. They weren't done inside yet, but we were to hungry to wait. So we just popped them into a 350F oven for about 15 minutes. They came out drier than usual so next time I'll add more liquid or some oil. Still, they were super yummy.

Fried fish and green pasta probably ranks as Dave and John's all time favorite dinner. (John's is probably fried abalone, actually. I love both.)

Then on Sunday (today), Dave and I did a leak check on the irrigation and then started planting our tomatoes. Right after we finished the tomatoes and the squash plants I commented on how loud the bees were getting. Suddenly, we both realized that there was a swarm! John had said that morning that it was "perfect swarm weather--not too windy but nice and warm." Sure enough there was a swarm forming about 200 feet from our garden, from one of the hives in the middle of John's hive community (he probably has about 25-30 hives each summer).
I stayed in the garden to watch where the swarm would go (usually they gather into a tree nearby but sometimes they'll fly away) while Dave ran to get his mom, who jumped in the car and got John. What an ordeal, I know. But a new hive's worth of bees from a breeder can cost well over a hundred dollars so it is worth it to catch the swarms and force them into a new hive.

After about 40 minutes the bees congregated on the back windbreak fence behind the hives. John set an empty hive box out there and swept some of the bees into it, hoping the rest would soon follow.

Once that was settled, Dave and I finished planting the garden by sowing the seeds:
  • a row of green zucchini,
  • a row of yellow zucchini squash
  • a half row of dill (the rest of the row is for peppers)
  • a row of Swiss chard
  • a row of sugar snap peas
  • a half row of red potatoes that Peggy discovered were sprouting in the we just planted them

After lunch we took the dogs (Poppy, John's dog, came along) to the river for some swimming.
Dave andI donned our fancy new waders that I got him for his birthday. He said he always wanted some for romping in the river when it was too cold to I surprised him with a pair for each of us from Cabela's. (Getting myself a pair might seem a little selfish but giving him a pair wouldn't allow us to go out to the river together. So his present was really a present for me, too. I guess there are just some presents like that. In fact, Dave's Valentine's Day present from me this year was a new computer video game--I got two copies and gave one to Edward so they can play together on the weekends. Without two copies the gift wouldn't have been nearly so fun for Dave since he likes those games most when he can play with Edward.)
We looked like total dorks but it was so much fun to walk around in the freezing cold water. Do you know how tiring it is to walk through water for a hour? Whew, I'm beat. As usual, we spent most of the time at the river commenting on how cute the doggies are while swimming--Ruby snorts while she swims and Potatoes splashes a lot--and collecting rocks. I found a reddish heart-shaped rock for Dave this time. We spent a lot of time walking into really deep water and sitting in the middle of the river just because we could. It was so much fun.

So now we're relaxing before our dinner reservations. Next weekend I'll prepare a proper Easter dinner of ham and all the Southern sidedishes we like with it (stewed greens, blackeyed peas, hot cross buns, sweet potatoes, etc.).

Well, we're off to dinner now. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend with their loved ones!


Mimi mouse said...

You guys are totally fancy! I don't really do outdoorsy stuff, but I admire people who do. I am reading Ina May's guide to childbirth and it is intersted. You may like it too--she is a super hippie just as an fyi

Tina said...

You in the overalls, the pups, and the bump ~ too cute. Made me saw AWH outloud.

steph.kelley said...

Aww, you two are adorable. Er, you FOUR. No, FIVE (with Eddie showing under the waders). What a picture of peace in a gorgeous riverine setting. xoxo