It's been cold and rainy here these last few days, which has made me really happy. Fall is totally my season, and if I could live in it year-round, I would. I've been doing a lot of tea and cookies (I bought three dozen balls of ready-to-bake snickerdoodles from soirenoir
, who makes even better snickerdoodles than I do, and now I'm out, so I'll have to buy more) in the evenings, sitting out on my patio to watch the rain. It's been really nice.
The other awesome thing about cold weather coming in is that it's time to start eating all my favourite kinds of foods. My parents were here tonight to help me do more yard work, and to lay some sod. I had tea and cookies and pita bread with roasted red pepper hummus and grapes out for us to snack on during the afternoon, but then come dinnertime, I broke off to cook. I made some squash soup (half my good squash soup from last year, canned by soirenoir
, half store-bought tetra pack squash soup, with nutmeg and sage and maple syrup and fresh cream and a touch of curry paste to give the store-bought crap some life, all mixed together in a big pot), and then I roasted a big honking eggplant with garlic olive oil and sea salt, and baked a decent-sized yam, too. I toasted some whole wheat baguette, and put that out with the asparagus-asiago spread I bought yesterday. And more tea. It was a totally vegetarian meal, and it was delicious. (Not that I'm vegetarian. But eating like one sometimes is really, really good for you.)
And just think! Soon it will be time for baking my own bread, making cobblers and pies, cooking spinach/feta/sun-dried-tomato loaves, and desserty cake loaves like lemon raspberry and chocolate zucchini, and lamb stew with baking powder biscuits fresh from the oven, and tea and tea and more tea, and hot chocolate, and ohhh, so many wonderful things. I can't wait for it to start!
As for the yard, I'm hoping to get the landscaping totally finished over the next week or two, so that it will be ready for me to start planting come spring. The yard looks completely different from the way it did when I first moved in. When I first got here, there was no grass, just dirt and dandelions, and some patio stones, and a kind of raised section of yard with some really terrible bushes along the fence. The bushes were comprised of some kind of monstrous evergreen, one to either side of a poor choked purple-leaf sand-cherry tree, and then two really leggy, twiggy bushes at the end that had grown together into a single tangled thicket as tall as I am. And under it all was "dirt" that was actually mostly gravel. I don't know who the hell brought that mess into being, but I've been resenting them for it rather a lot lately.
It took a hell of a lot of convincing, but I got my dad to help me take out the two evergreens, and next we'll tear out the leggy whatevers, leaving just the tree. It will finally be able to breathe. We've moved the patio about six inches, which doesn't seem like much for the amount of work it takes, but it brought it into line with the actual patio DOORS, and it gave me just enough room to put in a raised flower bed all along the other fence, where the second pretty sand-cherry is. We've built a really nice grey stone retaining wall there, and I found some white trellises on UsedOttawa, and come next spring I'll plant some Virginia Creeper there, and probably also some ivy, and whichever one wins that fight can stay. (I like them both, they both look really pretty, and all I want from them is to grow up the fence so I have some privacy screening.)
And along the other fence, once it's totally free of the stupid ugly half-dead overgrown unkempt bushes that never looked good and need tons of maintenance trimming that they never did get and never would have with me either, will be room for vegetables! I can plant carrots and tomatoes and all sorts of things, since that's the spot that actually gets sun.
Maybe I'll even put a big Euonymus under my bedroom window, since that's where the runoff from the rain hits, and it makes a big mess. But a good hardy plant would love it.
Now that the hard landscaping is almost almost almost finished, the difference is insane. I wish I'd taken photos from before, so I could post them and show you, but I didn't think to. And best of all, now everybody is seeing what I saw in my head, and they understand why pulling out all that shit was worth it. (After the number of times this has happened, between yard stuff and interior decorating stuff and whatever, you'd think they would just take it on faith that I know what I'm doing. But no!) My parents were worried that the building management would get pissed at me, but I doubt it. I did ask them if I could landscape, and with the state the yard was in when I got here, we ALL agreed that any changes would be an improvement. By the time I'm done with this yard, it will bring up the value of the apartment considerably, and the lovely ground-floor apartment with a GARDEN that has FLOWERS and ACTUAL GRASS and TREES and STEPPING STONES (and, if I can swing it, a gate to boot) will be more of a selling feature than anything inside.
Anyway. Time to go jump in the shower and head to Rose's. We have a box of shinies from Elise to open, and movies to watch! And probably brownies to make. ;)