2012 planty goodness

Yep, that time of year again, the current view out my window of torrential rain notwithstanding.  Here’s the Spring 2012 Plant Sale Roundup.

Early Bloomers

April 14

This is a smaller sale in the Arboretum with lots of interesting things.  Recommended.

Seattle Tilth Early Edibles

March 17

For those of you who are actually ready to put things in the ground and don’t plan to spend the day eating corned beef and drinking green beer, check this out.  The later sale is May 5 & 6, if you aren’t quite ready.

Northwest Perennial Alliance Sale

April 22

Lots of selection and unusual things here. I like. Not usually any edibles.


April 28 & 29

This one benefits the Arboretum, always a good cause.  In years past, it’s been held in a hangar at Magnuson Park. This year it will be at the Visitors’ Center in the Arboretum.  Hmm. I’ve been to the Early Bloomers sale there, which seems to attract a much smaller crowd, and it’s kind of a madhouse for parking. Be warned.

Master Gardener Foundation Sale

May 5 & 6

Yep, the king daddy.  This will be the 3rd year Carolyn and I (and now The Geek) have gone to the Preview Party they hold on Friday night (Assuming that is how she chooses to celebrate her birthday) – wine! appetizers! no crowds! best selection!  Highly recommend.  Tickets required for the Preview Party – usually through Brown Paper tickets online. Costs about $35 and worth every penny.

NOW.  To be honest, I’m not sure how many plants I will be buying. The front yard is chock a block with things I bought last year and just stuck in the ground.  The back yard is STILL a mess and a project in the making. We still haven’t put our shiny new conifers in the ground. I meant to go to Swanson’s sale and get a cherry espalier for against the back wall but I didn’t make it.

Pfft. Who am I kidding. I’ve got two beds and trough to fill at least!

the good fight

I’ve written about the Boy Child here and here. He is now in the 5th grade and next year will be in middle school.

He’s never had it easy in school – it just doesn’t come as naturally to him as the Girl Child. It’s always a little bit harder, like it just doesn’t quite click.  The reading part has finally clicked, once he found the Warriors cat series. If I could hug Erin Hunter, I would. He reads for hours now. Without nagging.

He has a special love for cats. He desperately wants a cat, and that has been his motivator when it comes to homework. Considering we have this beast, we are trying to figure out ways to make this happen.

Sometimes, though, the cat is not enough. So we practice extra math online, hoping to increase math fact fluency. I think it is beginning to work, but time before middle school is running out, so we are doing a little tutoring once a week with a friend who is a teacher.  She can give me insight professionally – should I be worried about ADD or a  learning disability? She says it’s probably just a maturity thing, and to keep practicing.

The problem though is the tutoring. He thinks having a tutor makes him “dumb”.  We have gone round and round about this, me trying to explain he is plenty smart and lots of kid have tutors, even kids we know. I think he has come to accept our friend helping him, mostly because he thinks it will help him get a cat, but she can’t go on doing it forever.

So I found this place. It has a great reputation and can help him with writing too – another area he hates and struggles in. I told him about it last night, holding my breath. Explained it’s not like Sylvan or Kumon, which he thinks means you’re REALLY dumb (no, I don’t know why he thinks that).  Then we started his math homework – 10 story problems with fractions. He did great on 9 of them, and then lost it. Said he couldn’t do it, too hard, blah blah. Which was nonsense since it was exactly like the other 9 he did pretty easily. On and on like this for 15 minutes, til he broke his pencil in half. I took his paper and said that was enough and went to cook dinner.

Then the heartbreaker – he brings his “night night” into the kitchen and said he was throwing it in the trash. I said if he did that, it was going in the garbage. He did, and I did. Of course, I stashed it somewhere between the kitchen and the garbage can, but he didn’t know that. A long, bad, sad night. He has had “night night” since he was born and sleeps with it still. He wrote a note to it last night, about it serving him well and it was time to party ways. I cried.

This morning I wrote him a note. Explained that getting a tutor actually means you are smart enough to know you need help and care enough to get it. That all I want is for him to be able to do his best at whatever he chooses, and that means he needs to do extra work now. That getting mad solves nothing.  That I saved his night night and he can earn it back. That I love him very much.

We talked this morning, and he told me tutoring scares him. I know this. I told him he needs to think of the benefits and give it a chance, just like he did with our friend, which turned out to be not scary at all. That I will help him.

Getting over this hump will take hard work. He will need to fight for it, and right now he doesn’t want to.

But I do, and I will. All day. Every single day.

lentil stew

The Geek has long sworn that lentils “taste like dirt”.  Apparently his mother cooked them a little too long – apologies to her if she ever reads this – and I have a feeling that is an understatement.

My mother never cooked lentils. In fact, I’m sure I’d never heard of them til well past college. I’d had a lentil soup or two and didn’t mind it though, and I recently made a sausage and lentil soup that was pretty tasty.

Tonight’s dinner was a lentil stew. And what follows is not a recipe, per se. More like a set of guidelines, so those of you who need precision will be aggravated. In any case, The Geek ate it willingly.


1 bag of lentils (any sort will do)

1 pound of Italian sausage – spicy if you like

2 carrots, diced

half an onion, diced

spoonful of minced garlic

pinches of oregano and thyme

box of chicken broth

2 cans diced tomatoes

fresh baby spinach

Saute the sausage in a big pot or dutch oven til browned.  Add vegies, garlic, and spices.  Cook til softened, a few minutes.  Add lentils, stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cover – turn to low heat.  Cook til lentils are softened – I’m guessing this was about 45 minutes?  If it gets too thick, you can add some water – I added a tomato can-ful since the lentils weren’t quite soft. When the lentils are soft, throw in as much spinach as you like, and stir a few minutes – it will soften in the heat. Season with salt and pepper as you wish.

Eat and enjoy with some crusty bread.

You can change this up with celery, maybe some red peppers, smoked sausage instead of Italian, zucchini. More broth if you want a soup.