garden dreaming.

Just when you think you can't take one more chilly gray gloomy day, the clock turns and the sun shines warm long after dinner.  Tiny gusts of early spring breezes made the day even better.  I opened the windows and let the fresh air breathe new life into the rooms, blowing the staleness of winter out.  It was a kind teaser to warmer, more colorful days that are (fingers crossed) just around the corner.

Mostly I enjoyed it from my back deck. I find it very relaxing there, and if I get distracted, it's usually by my puppies, birds chirping, wandering deer, or the breeze....the breeze that could almost lull me to sleep if I closed my eyes.

 I'm going through some strange denial-unsettled-excitement right now, a mix of taming wanderlust and thinking of changes to come. Just this afternoon, I had the strongest desire to sew buy new curtains for the kitchen, and last night, I found myself rearranging furniture in the living room. Almost like I planned it, but knowing full well I didn't. There are certain things I can't stop thinking about, so I'm redirecting that fussy energy to writing, cooking and fluffing.

 I always seem to be at a loss for words at the most poignant times in my life.  So easily they flow straight from my heart during the ups and downs of the journey, but when the time comes for me to finally exhale and let it all out, I find myself searching and reaching for what to say. It is 11:30 at night, past my normal bed-time and I have just wrapped up a fast and furious two weeks, followed by a week away, a schedule I'm not used to, but I think I could grow to love. But, when certain things have happened, you are on someone else's schedule part of the time. Lunches may be a chunk of homemade bread and fruit grabbed on the run and eaten in the car.

lately I'm spending a good part of my day garden dreaming.

Maybe it's that pesky Mother Nature, trying to trick me into believing that warmer weather is just around the bend with our promised 50 degree temps today.

Maybe it's because I'm taking on that perpetually house-bound feeling...the feeling that I shall never again feel grass beneath my toes. The feeling that my skin will never lose its late-January pallor. The feeling that my fingernails are destined to remain forever clean.

Most likely, it's because I recently saw It's Complicated on late night TV and fell in love with her house, yes, but mostly with her garden.

Oh Lordy, that garden renewed my belief that heirloom tomatoes can and will grow prolifically on my vines this year. (Nevermind the fact that a newspaper article spilled the beans that they actually wired spotless, perfectly ripened beauties to the vine. Gotta love Hollywood.)

That garden, so intoxicatingly, achingly lush and orderly and vibrant, made me believe that with the right basket in my hand, the perfect hat and wishing it were so my garden will fall right into line around me.

 Seriously, if I were Meryl Streep, I would have only signed on to this movie under the condition that I could move into the house and spend the rest of my days tending to this garden. (I would have had the basket written into the contract, too, naturally. Oh and maybe, throw in Jack Donaghy?)

I found a fantastic bent-wood edging on a plantation tour in Charleston two years back and I fell in love. I'm thinking white wire edging would look perfectly English cottagey lining  my perennial garden.

And what garden would not be complete without a resident grounds keeper? love you Ruby.

I'm also envisioning an entire section dedicated to a cutting garden. Swoon!

Oh, and worm-free tomatoes.

Come on, May! I'm itching to get my hands on you.

P.S.  Swoony Corn and Potato chowder recipe below.


 Swoony Corn and Potato Chowder
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 a cup)
1 T olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon, if you have it on hand
2 regular sized cans whole-kernel corn, drained
2 regular sized cans creamed corn
4 cups 2% milk
2 regular sized cans chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
3-4 dashes bottled hot sauce
4 cups cubed, skinned potatoes (I love Yukon Golds)
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thinnish discs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion and celery in heated olive oil until veggies are softened. Add cooked bacon toward the end. (You could also omit the oil and cook the veggies along with the raw bacon, but I avoid cooking bacon at all costs and I can buy it inexpensively and pre-cooked.

Add both kinds of corn, milk, broth, cream and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.

Add potatoes and carrots. Return to a boil, reduce hit and simmer again, covered, for 15 minutes more, or until carrots and potatoes are softened.

In a small bowl, mix softened butter and flour, until smooth. Add flour mixture to soup. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, then cook another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper. (I usually leave my soup on "low" until we're ready to eat.)


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