Saturday, April 26, 2008

critical mass still rawks!

it's been foreeeeeever since i did the mass! i'd had this rotten annoying frustrating day and then i hopped on my bike and rode round this beautiful city and everything was okay again.

we took lion's gate bridge again - so, so beautiful. this is the view north:

and here's cass with the view north-east (and that's her opinion of critical mass):

we rode through stanley park too, with the big big trees. it smelt really good, all earthy and green. i miss that smell.

and here's me in my fairy-wings, helmet-moustache and earwigs. the earwigs are a new toy - they're polyprop material with velcro inside, so you just slide them up the straps of the helmet and they stay there and keep your ears lovely and warm. fabulon.

cass, m and i ducked off after a couple of hours and got gelati (yum!). there was more of a police presence at this ride than others i've been at - on bicycles and motorbikes. it was interesting, not sure how i feel about it. they did some good work corking at intersections and stepped in when motorists tried to ram through the ride.

after i rode home from downtown i was completely wiped but very happy. today i've been doing the "document your day with photos" thing, which has been fun. i'll show you the results soon. it's been a v. busy day, so should be interesting. but that post might have to wait til next week cooooooooos . . . miriam and i are hitting the island tomorrow morning and won't be back for 4-5 days. huzzah! expect photos of water and trees and stuff.

love to all.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

my little triffid

. . . is putting out a second set of leaves! so proud!

hopefully they will look recognisably gumleavey. (fingers in shot to give you a sense of scale - v. small.)

comprehensive field guide

being unemployed has suddenly turned me into a motivated young citizen. or, um, legal alien. . . not a citizen. . . anyways. i am *way* motivated. i even made a cv yesterday. it doesn't suck too much. i think.

also excitedly researching trips on vancouver island, for this weekend and next august. so many beautiful things to see! i'm reading a fat book called the audubon society nature guides: western forests, which has trees, plants, animals and birds all in one book, with lots of nice pictures and a good introduction to northwest coastal forests with an emphasis on ecosystems and interdependency. i got it second hand for $8 and it is keeping me well entertained. the kind of squirrel i see around a lot is douglas' squirrel, and the tree i was sitting under at ubc the other day was a lodgepole pine.

now i am at a cafe off main st. the moutains are very beautiful today. miriam and i visited the twins yesterday. we spent most of the time playing princesses. at one point miriam had a little tutu around each leg. it was most fetching.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

i'd also like to draw your attention to the very entertaining comment-thread in the post about the gumtree (?) seedling. there is triffidy goodness.

cooking fun with eppponee-rae!

a big jar of rhubarb appeared mysteriously on my desk - isn't it beautiful?

i combined said miriam-grown rhubarb with strawberries from ziggy (imported from california), frozen blueberries (from the farmer's market, so local grown and organic) and some maple syrup (bought at farmer's market, collected in quebec) to sweeten it:

now i have delicious purpley fruit mush to put on breakfast and toast. yum!

Monday, April 21, 2008

exciting new quiz!

aaaaaaaand the question for today is "Is this a lemon-scented gum sprout or a weed?" it comes from a pot with lemon-scented gum seeds in, but that's hardly conclusive. it is growing veeeeery slowly, which is a point against it being a weed. it doesn't smell like anything yet, and it's too small for me to smush a leaf and check the scent that way.

also, look how happy my tomatoes are!

cassandra and i went down kits yesterday looking at all the pretty things. i bought a cupcake and some nice books, which i shouldn't have, really, cos i got my final grades in yesterday and am now officially unemployed. aargh!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

more snow and maillove

this weather is not going to encourage my radishes to put their heads above the soil!

i haven't updated on all the nice post i've received lately. aaaaages ago vta sent me a lovely package of chocolates and an "i read banned books" badge and some ace material on the 100 year anniversary of female suffrage in australia:

cassandra brought with her this beautiful card of patricia piccinini's work. i luuuuurve piccinini. so creepy and so cool. check out her website. tine and i feel in love with her in newcastle, when we stumbled across a car nugget and simultaneously went "oooo, shiny!"

grotty sent a sweet postcard of "the place i like best in the ravensthorpe shire" and a package of bank note postcard, france photos and the moo cards itchy made for us so long ago.

i got some more nice cards at "i heart crafts" recently, so keep the maillove coming!

Friday, April 18, 2008

mountains, mushrooms and music

more shots of the fabulous weather last weekend. here's the big blue sky above science world (the big dome on the left) and the new false creek developments (on the other side of the water). apparently five of those big cranes have been shipped in from berlin, where they were once used to deconstruct the berlin wall. lots of big developments for the 2010 olympics, and lots of big political discussion about it.

i took this photo on a ride cassandra and i did down to yale town to visit winifred. if you turn 180 degrees from the above photo you got this view:

that's carpark, freeway overpass and stunning snow-covered mountains. i wish my camera took better distance shots.

in other news:

ah, the mushrooms. i love the mushrooms.

my twenty little sprouts turned in twenty adorable enormous mushrooms. see!

i made some of them into a nice chickpea wrap thing for a potluck, which went down well. potlucks are totally the new hot thing here, seeing as how mine went so well. we've had one every weekend for ages now. here's cassandra with the biggest mushies:

isn't she cuuuuute?

the remaining mushrooms are not looking that healthy anymore, so i won't gift you with any photos of them. i'm going to pick them tonight and store them in the fridge so i can try reactivating the bag one more time. if that doesn't work i'm going to try and buy a bag to grow oyster mushrooms. huzzah!

the tomatoes are big and healthy, and the strawberry plant has strange greenish proto-strawberry like things on it. it's all very exciting. i've also had a couple of really exciting sprouts in my gumtree pots, but two sorts turned out to be pesty mushroom things that lived in the potting mix, and i'm still not sure whether my one remaining seedling is a weed or a gumtree. will have to wait and see. i think it's time to plant some new seeds in the meantime.

in non-plant news, my students had their final exam yesterday. god invigilating exams is boring and stressful. and exams themselves are pointless. bah. i've been marking all day with my hair up in a cute little top knot and a bag of oreos by my side, and it's going quite quickly. i wish wish wish they didn't have to hand write exams, though. i know my handwriting isn't exactly a shining beacon of legibility, but . . .

went to a gig of the no shit shirleys last night, which was ace. miriam knows one of the performers, so she, her sister, cassandra and i all went to the gig which was in a very funky venue called the cellar. the singing was amazing and they explained all the stories behind the song. they did some ani and some ruthie foster, and some sweet honey in the rock. v. cool.

i also saw the waifs last week. aw. . . they played lots of old favourites and the place was packed out with ex-pats. i may have cried.

Monday, April 14, 2008

tomatoes, basil and strawberries

my room is such a nice place to be right now. look! miriam grew about fifty tomato plants from seeds and gave me five for my very own. they are so happy and glossy. i turn them each day cos they follow the sun so quickly, and their leaves smell faintly like tomato plants.

i have three varieties. one type has stripey fruit, another has little yellow fruit shaped like pears, and another has lots and lots of tiny little tomatoes.

i've staked them with left over protea stalks from my dried flower arrangement. once it is consistently warm outside i'll put them in bigger pots still, with proper stakes, and leave them on the back verandah all summer.

then i'll combine home grown tomatoes with home grown basil and make a feast! here's where the basil's at:

they're growing slowly but steadily. i keep sniffing, but they don't smell like basil yet.

the strawberry plant is very happy. it's grown another flower since i took this photo:

it's been beautiful warm weather for the last three days (top of 14 and no rain) and it's such a joy to be growing things. i've also been spending a lot of time on my bike again - huzzah! - mostly out enjoying false creek and surrounds.

glorious weather

i guess everything does look more meaningful in black and white . . .

Monday, April 07, 2008

gardening is fun!

this is a blog entry i've been working on for weeks, but then the inty was sooo slow it took hours to upload all the photos and then i got distracted by other things. so the news is not quite up to date, but the ideas are still exciting. enjoy!

(it also seems to be all underlined. bother.)


the mushroom bag was in disgrace for a while there, cos all my promising mushrooms shrivelled up and bits of the organic material went mouldy. thus:

so i just left it alone for a bit and look what sprung up, pretty much overnight:

isn't it exciting? this mushroom got bigger and bigger over the course of a week (maybe less), and another smaller one sprung up below it (you can see the sequence of its growth in these photos too). so cool!

i picked it when it started to completely dwarf the bag. it left the plastic covered in a white spore-y stuff.

i made the pair of them into linguine sauce, with some oyster mushrooms i got at the farmers' market. it was deee-licious!

the underside of my baby, taking up my whole hand:

and me pretending to be a yee olde farmer type (pre-hair cut):

that is the history of the shiitake mushrooms. i left the bag for a bit and it didn't do anything, so i put it through the re-activation process (soak in cold water for 4+ hours, drain overnight, thump hard on a table, place back in habitat) and after a few days there was a mass of little white buttons. now i have a dozen beautiful little mushies growing like beasts all over. i'll post a photo soon. i luuuurve them.


i am also growing stuff from *seed*. ooooo! look - this is my selection of basil pots, back in the day before they sprouted. waiting, waiting. . .

this? this is my lemon-scented gum seeds. they still look exactly like this, many weeks later. i have the spring of gum leaves above them to give them a role model. it's not going so well. i found another germination method on the internet. it's very complicated, but i'm committed to growing a gum tree cos i miss them so. at the moment i'm temperature and humidity testing various parts of the house to find the best place to start the seeds. also, the nuts on that spring spat seeds everywhere so i'm going to try germinating them as well. wish me luck!

now i have a strawberry plant as well (c/o miriam) which is growing like a weed. tiny strawberries! on my desk!

you can tell how much work i'm getting done from the state of my study space. . .

after two weeks of waiting, the basil seeds suddenly did this!

now they look like this, all twelve of them! aren't they adorable? i am going to have so much basil and miriam's going to teach me her pesto recipe.

stay tuned. there's tomato plants in the works. . .

Sunday, April 06, 2008

cassandra and the cherry blossoms

phew. lots going on! last week of semester, lots of organising and paperwork, choosing a phd / future and, of course, cassandra here!

we have done a little tourist stuff - tour of the drive, potluck with hundreds of people, trip to granville island and lots of pointing out the mountains. look! see how big! all snowy! she's been doing lots of exploring on her own and made sixteen friends and got twenty job interviews, etc. v. adaptable, our cassandra. i hope to link to her blog soon, once she sets it up, then she can tell her own stories!

it's lovely to have her here, nice to have some of my past here in vancouver, and of course she is fabulous company. hi, cassandra!

we had the union's 30th anniversary party over the weekend, so i've also been running around organising that - researching and writing the history walk, selling raffle tickets at the party, attending history panels and getting into great discussions about the purpose of the union, schmoozing at the dinner. it was great fun, but also kind of exhausting.

researching the history of child care on campus and within the union, i've become really interested in the politics of it all. i'm going to get involved on my new campus. in september! i'll have to make new friends! and study stuff! aargh!

oh well. i have a new friend already. i bought her last week. her name is edwina:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

pea aitch dee

i have made a decision.
i'm staying in vangroovy.
come and visit me, y'all. you got another four or so years to come hang in this beautiful city.

chicory says "AAAR!"