The house finches have made their nest in the porch again, and every time we go out there we are met with a startled brown flutter of wings. If we dare to sit out there for longer than five minutes to try to enjoy the sunset or an afternoon beer, we are serenaded by angry chirruping from daddy-finch as he stares us down from his perch on the power lines over the driveway.
There are four babies in the nest this year; they keep mostly hidden, only popping their heads up when someone has swooped in with a snack. And to anyone who thinks that baby birds are adorable, I would just like to say: These guys look like terrible muppets, with reptilian flesh and awkward tufts of hair, living in a poop palace. It’s disgusting. But good fertilizer for the garden after they’ve left?
Every year I try to make a promise to myself: that I won’t buy any more plants or bulbs until I’ve planted the ones I already have. I am not sure why I bother trying to promise anymore, because as we speak, I have 11 fruit trees, 100 strawberry plants, 10 asparagus, 60 bulbs, and 18 other bare-root plants in need of planting. This, by the way, does not include the 8 flats of veggies waiting to go into the garden beds. Insert the sound of slow-clapping here.
My go-to salad of late has been a Thai-style spring roll salad (sans rice paper wrapper):Lettuce, cucumber, sprouts, avocado, imitation crab legs, shredded carrots, and puh-lenty of cilantro, dressed with lime juice and sweet chili sauce. I haven’t gotten tired of eating it yet, and I think that says a lot for something you eat 5 times a week.
In other food news: I recently discovered that I do not, in fact, hate pork chops. Turns out I only hated them because they were always cooked until they were dry & leathery. Try this: make a brine of 4 Tablespoons kosher salt + 4 Tablespoons honey + 3 cups water, heated until salt dissolves. Brine your chops (bone-in, for best flavor & best joke-making possibilities) for a couple of hours. Pat dry, season if desired (black pepper, garlic, herbs, etc.), sear both sides in a skillet, & pop them into a 400F oven for 8-10 minutes (or longer depending on the thickness of your chop) until done. Seriously, these were the best pork chops of my life. I don’t have a picture of them, or maybe I do but I can’t find it. What I do have a picture of though, is this:
I just saw my next-door neighbor outside in her bedroom slippers, poking at fire ant hills in her yard with her feet. I think we can all agree that this is a bad idea, but for the record: I do the same thing too. But not with my bedroom slippers, which I don’t have anyway; I use my trowel and squat down watching the tribe of ants scramble and roil over each other for a few moments before moving (quickly!) away. I’ve been trying to get rid of them with a homemade fire ant killer, which consists of water, citrus peels, and dish soap. I can’t say for sure if it works, or if it just makes the ants mad & they move to a different spot in the yard. (I say ‘yard’ euphemistically, meaning really: a collection of weeds and bare sandy spots that we mow when it starts looking too unruly).
A couple of months ago I transplanted about 10 volunteer blackberries to a row in the yard next to the blueberries. The blueberries are blooming, in spite of the fact that I did nothing at all to help them after transplanting. The peach has blossomed & leafed out, & the kales & mustards are bolting in an explosion of yellow flowers. Phlox & anemones are blooming, & the irises are setting buds. April has been cooler than normal, but still: It’s spring! Time to get planting.