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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dog Days of Spring, Illinois-style.

The ides of April are here, and like most springs in Illinois, it has interrupted the slow, gradual quickening of the earth. I planted a garden, and my strawberries are already blossoming. Last week I planted garlic, and the sprouts are already six inches tall. Watermelon radish sprouts I started a week ago (and planted three days ago) have already sprung out of the hard ground that was once a shoddy barren weed patch. My roses have literally exploded with new canes and leaves.
Last year we were certain the garbage-ridden hill we inherited with the house was full of softwood rubbage trees and half-dead lilac bushes. Already, I have a lilac bouquet on my dining room table, and the violets have conquered my hill in anticipation of the weed wars of June and July.
The thermometer has toppled 80 degrees or more for several consecutive days, and all we need now is a few more warm days after a good rain to summon the morel mushrooms I've been impatiently waiting for. One year, I remember mushroom hunting with my cousins at my gramma's house in Bartonville. Excited, but having no luck, I started running around with flowers in hand when I lept out of a hedge of thick grass. I noticed the familiar golden-tan color of Golds at my feet and lept over a ring of about 30 morels. I'd found the trove not thirty feet from the house, in plain sight. The delicious buggers came in all shapes and sizes, some larger than a baby's fist, some smaller than my fingernail.
This year, I intend to freeze or dry them, make morel broth out of them, sautee them in butter and make a wonderful Malbec-marinated filet minon with morels and baby red potatoes... I'm thinking garlic and rosemary are a must. Tomorrow, or by moonlight, some of those conquering violets are going to be picked, dried, and candied for cakes, ice cubes, and tea. Candied violets pair make a welcome addition to fruit soups or flower petal salads. Hopefully, they will also do well with my Black Magic roses.
When my veggie patch fills in, I intend to fill some of the intentional blank spots with Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes and kitchen herbs. I have a thistle bush I transplanted on either side of my garden for protection. Thistle is a beautifully unwanted weed with thorns but lovely purple flowers if you give it a chance to speak for itself.
Lucy was hyper this morning, so we took her to the dog park and ran with her for about 20-30 minutes. Mom and I then went to Mr. G's, where I had a yummy Gyro and she had a Coney Island dog on a poppyseed bun. Of course, she had to take me over to Baskin Robbins for a "Baseball Nut" icecream cone. Think vanilla with pomegranate syrup swirl, and add cashews. Damn well compensated for the run I had prior to it.
In other news, I was asked by Jack Stewart at the d20 Girls Project to work at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) this weekend. I'd be promoting the site, doing a convention report, and utilizing my camera. I'm glad to just be doing work in something related to my field of interests (rather than housecleaning for cripplingly low pay and a cosmonaut boss-- if you get my drift). Plus, it speeds up the hiring process for my d20 Girls application and would get me some decent exposure.
I'm off to get some of my own laundry done, then off to ICC to check on my Stafford Loan, and then I have to get ready for my interview.

The Mad Child

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