November 23, 2012 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt
I am skipping the expected “I’m giving thanks” post. It’s not that I am not grateful—I am incredibly grateful. But it’s the day after Thanksgiving and I’m not inclined to go through the motions of something I wouldn’t have been inclined to yesterday anyway. I know I am thankful, Big A knows I am thankful. Moggy knows I am thankful. And now, that’s done. Prepare for a long-ass post with lots of pictures.
After a go on the elliptical and my back exercises, I went outside—because the weather was beautiful—and I finally cut back the asparagus bed in the yard, and the patch by the house. It took longer than I expected it to. The property has really been lying dormant since the beginning of the year, so I suspect weeding that would have been done if the previous occupants were in the house didn’t get done. Which made this effort more of an effort. But it was sunny, and lovely, and I got to screw around outside, soaking of the vitamin D.
I also got to take a good look at these asparagus plants. I understand it takes a few years to establish a bed—talk about feeling thankful. I am definitely thankful for this bed. Because we do love asparagus. Some of the stalks were spindly newish wisps of green, whereas others were thicker than my thumb (one I found was about both thumbs put together). I assume that’s a sign these things have been around for a long, long time, which leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, they are of an old school, untampered-with variety. Certainly, the previous owners take on growing things leads me to believe that. I asked how they got through the drought and heat wave over the summer, what with the vegetable garden being such a trek from a water source. She said she just let God water them and hoped it would work out. It did; the garden did well. Well enough, certainly. The asparagus, I understand, was approached in the same way. I believe her mother (she herself is in her 60s or 70s) planted it, and when she moved into this house (decades ago), she never really did anything in particular with it, just cut it back in the fall. Anything new in there is from its seeding itself.
So, that’s what I’m going to try. I cut the stuff back and shaved off the mess of weeds and grass (I’ll weed proper in the spring). I set the stalks with berries on them aside in its own pile, then snipped off all the twiglings with berries into a smaller, more easily distributable pile. Then, I spread those back over the bed, hoping they will do what they do naturally and seed themselves.
The patch by the house is an area of about a foot or so square, absolutely thick with hefty stalks. An asparagus cluster, if you will. And it grows into the bush beside it. The patch was clearly there first, but the bush seems like it’s been there for a little while too. There are also stalks scattered by the low brick wall behind the barn, next to the silo. I’m leaving those. I know zero about growing asparagus and in trying to figure out what I should do with it, I found sources that recommend both cutting the stalks back and not cutting them back. So, I cut back the bed and house patch, and I’ll leave the others. I’ll do both and see which does best.
I then dragged the piles of stalks up to the segment of driveway I’ve reserved for everything we’ll need to burn in the spring (once we’ve got a good and proper burn pile—eventually we’ll have that, but also a sizable compost. All things in their good time). I pulled a handful of berries aside to extract the seeds from and send to a friend to start her own bed.
After I cleaned up my mess, I gave Murray his Thanksgiving Feast—a whole can of salmon with the juice. Murray’s origins are as such: The previous owners needed a barn cat and had a friend who had a litter. So, the friend dropped off Murray and he’s been here ever since. I have no idea how old he is, but he looks like he’s been around the block a few times. They have a big, metal (\m/) drum with a lid where they’d put big bags of cat food with a scoop. They’d scoop out a bunch and put it in a pan for him. He’d get water from the spring in the yard. We started giving him the scoops, but quickly realized that, while we were feeding him, we were also feeding everything else in the barn, and wasting money. So, we took Moggy’s battery-operated automatic feeder out there to see how that would work. We seem to be wasting less kibble and I think he’s acclimated himself to the timed feedings.
He is not a people cat. There is no petting Murray. There is no getting within ten feet of Murray. If he’s home when we refill his kibble trough, he runs off to a safe place and watches until you walk away, and then he will come back and eat. I stuck around a little to see how well he’d like the salmon. After a little waiting, he very slowly crept down to the bowl. Once he got there, it was all over. Bye-bye Salmon. I left him to it, then went back to the house to help Big A with dinner. In the end, we ate:
A Quorn fake turkey loaf (we are vegetarians—more specifically, since the beginning of summer, pescetarians), marinated and roasted in fresh garlic, sage, rosemary, and thyme; stuffing of the same herbal concoction and chestnuts; mashed potatoes with sauteed green onions and garlic; veggie-based gravy with onions and garlic; corn niblets, deviled eggs made with mayo, spicy mustard, and instead of sweet relish, I used a tomatillo salsa; cranberry jelly from the can (it’s the one thing I really need to keep from our family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner—if it’s not can-shaped, it’s not the same).
We snagged a homemade pumpkin pie from a roadside place–The Golden Apple in Valencia–and we made some whipped cream (which is better than store bought…it just is). We had a little wine, then later, we had a little cherry cider, and
I spent the second half of the day eating and crocheting (an ugly afghan I started months ago but haven’t had time for since
Not a bad day, if you ask me.
This, by the way, is what I want to do to Murray, if I could ever get near him.