Tuesday, January 22, 2013

They're Baaack!

November 2012

Your tired and cranky amaryllis is supposed to take a two-month snooze in the deep darkness of the closet during the fall. Then, come the holiday season, it should wake up fresh and ready to party.

Like an overtired toddler, however, one of mine refused to go down for a nap. It already had four flowering stalks and was not to be persuaded. So we had a gorgeous display from Halloween (the other holiday season) until mid-December. Just in time for my second plant - the obediently napping one - to send up new shoots. I count six... Nope, make that seven.

So if you are lucky enough to have an amaryllis this season, hang onto it and most likely you will have an amaryllis every season.

November 2012...
And six weeks later

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Other Potato

The rest of the potato story (I just knew you couldn't wait):

In addition to the Augustas, I planted Purple Vikings. They took longer to grow, and didn't produce quite as much (for each pound planted, I got only about eleven pounds back... which is still damn good by all counts). And they took a little longer to mature (110 days or so). But these babies were crowd pleasers.

All of my taste testers, with the exception of my best guy at home, preferred the Purple Vikings. Not by much, mind you, but still.  They were mashed, baked, roasted, cut up into potato salad, even turned into French fries (You can fry food at home? Who knew? I thought you had to eat out for that pleasure), and then gobbled down. No problems there.

Their other advantages: They are pretty fellas - purpley-pink on the outside and and bright white on the inside (you'd think that an eight-year-old girl had dressed them). And they store quite well.

There are only a few left in the box and I'm already looking forward to growing them again next season. Or rather, eating them.  Maybe even sharing them...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brag, Brag, Brag #5: Pauline Autet

We were very fortunate to become acquainted with this wonderful New Zealander who was studying art at Cal this past fall. Everyone agrees that she is a treasure.

For her final project in her ceramics class, she created a series of small pieces to be installed outside. The point being to encourage people to become more aware of their surroundings. "People just don't 'see' anymore."

Most of the pieces were hung from tree branches around the southeast corner of the campus (think Kroeber and Wurster Halls). All - or at least the ones I located - were in plain sight of well-traveled walkways; some were even within plain reach. The ceramic pieces she produced were related in size, materials and colors, but some were round, others flat, some were dressed up with gold leaf and others sported major piercings.

I first saw them - around a dozen or so - a few days after they were put up. We then took an "oh-no-it's-not-going-to-rain-anymore-today" walk ten days later and got soaked. But through the rain we could just make out that only two were left hanging. People saw 'em all right. Pauline had hoped that when someone took one, s/he would leave a note, explaining why (the only note that I saw was my own). But we all know why they were taken; they were just too cool to leave behind.