O Freunde

Happy Earth Day to all!

I was listening to music instead of podcasts this morning while taking the train into work. My iPod was in shuffle mode and throwing up a pretty interesting combination of tunes: Mad World (the slower version from Donnie Darko), Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meatloaf), Slow Train to Dawn (The The), and Brand New Day (Sting). 

The culmination, though, as I was walking out of the station and into this warm, sunny day was the fourth movement (the choral) from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

I had the pleasure of enjoying this symphony live a few years ago at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sitting just a few seats away from the chorus and just slightly above the orchestra and main vocalists, it was an unforgettable experience that I will always treasure.

And what a way to start such a lovely day! I was tearing up as I rode the elevator up to my floor and listened to the words.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!

 What a great way to start Earth Day.

Shaky week for Chicago

It’s been quite a newsworthy week here in Chicago and those of us living on the northwest side have had more than our share of events to deal with.

Earlier this week, we were rattled by a wild cougar roaming into a northwest side neighborhood where police cornered and killed it. (I wasn’t happy at first to hear that they killed it instead of capturing it, but apparently the situation escalated so rapidly that there was no other option.)

Then we get another fiasco on the el’s Blue Line Tuesday morning leading to thousands of frustrated morning commuters. Thank goodness I no longer ride the Blue Line every day and my husband had decided to ride his bike to work that day. The extra cost I pay for a Metra ticket is worth the increased reliability and decreased hassle. I mean, who wants to start their day stuck in a filthy, poorly-ventilated tunnel underground?

Finally, today we wake up to an earthquake. I briefly roused this AM at about the time of the ‘quake, but I just put it down to my typical pre-dawn restlessness. Several folks at work say their cats woke them up, but our poor kitty got stuck outside last night (that’s what she gets for sneaking out the back door just before bedtime) and the dogs didn’t seem to find anything wrong with a little trembling in the morning.

Let’s hope things settle down a bit here.

Returning

We’re back! We’ve actually been home since Thursday night, but I had no time to write until today. Friday was for catch up at work, and today…ah…today has been for working in the garden.

I have a new friend who helped me garden today. Laura is a friend of Rachael’s who is just as crazy about gardening as I am, but has no space to do it in. She will be sharing the garden space this year, which is just fine with me. As much as I love to grow veggies and eat them myself, Mark is not as into it as me. So, I typically end up with lots of produce to give away or that goes to waste. Of course, now that the I have the “hungry hens” there is likely to be very little wasted at all, but I’d rather see some person get to eat it first.

Today we prepped and planted two beds with cool season veggies: peas, chard, beets, radishes, leeks (a bit late for these, but we’ll see what we get), arugula, and two different kinds of lettuce. One of the beds is reserved for tomatoes and eggplants, and the other was planted in garlic last fall, which is sprouting fairly well. We’ll add some pole beans to the perimeter of that bed once we get past the last frost date. Other things that I’ll be adding in pots are peppers (capsicums) and watercress. At last year’s farmers market, I found myself stalking the one farmer who sold watercress. I had no idea I loved this green so much until last year. Now I’ll have my own yummy plot. We’ll also be adding pots of herbs, too, but all of that must wait until after mid-to late-May when we get our average last frost date.

The weather was perfect today: sunny and warm. We lured the hens into their Eglu run with some wilted greens and then got to work. Once the beds were prepped and planted, we had to secure them with bird-netting and fencing to keep the hens from digging up all our seeds. I really need to build a new run for them that will give them more room to roam than the Eglu does but still keep them away from the garden beds. However, I won’t have any free time to do that until after next weekend.

All in all it was a fabulous day and I’m feeling much better than I have in weeks. I’m off to make some dinner and now, so will have to post about our trip to Cumberland Island another day.