Monday, May 30, 2011

The Planifesto

Several months ago, I read this great article by Martha Beck about the importance of attaching adjectives to your life goals. She cited a couple different examples of people wishing for things—one woman thought she would find happiness by being her own boss, another by having a baby.

Unfortunately, both women failed to accurately investigate the details of their goals before charging ahead. The woman who aspired to be her own boss was really seeking a job with freedom. She quickly learned that starting your own company means you're tied down a lot of the time. The woman who wanted a baby thought it would finally make her feel fulfilled. But it also made her exhausted.

These examples got me to thinking about the life Mr. Wonderful and I are hoping to create over the next several years (or decade). We talk a lot about how things will be "when we move to the vineyard." But we haven't really tried to flesh out what that will look like. And as I learned from dating, you gotta put color to the details (and then stick to them) or you end up with some really unflattering shades...

After all the wedding hoopla finally faded, I decided that Mr. W and I should sit down and start listing our adjectives. Penning our descriptors might help us to start paving the path.

So I found an empty notebook. The French cat one above (which Mr. W actually bought me in Barcelona at the gift shop inside La Pedrera) and we sat down with a glass of wine and brainstormed. The hope is that we will continue to fill the book with ideas, and by the time we've covered each sheet of paper, we'll be well on our way to living the list.

Here's a little peek at what we have so far:

• blissful • peaceful • low maintenance • fun • easy • rich in experiences • satisfying • inspiring • creative • challenging (in a good way) • communal • balanced • healthy •

It's sort of fun to hypothesize where we'll end up and when. I think maybe we'll be farmers... Or maybe a writer and a photographer... The possibilities are endless, really.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How Does Our Garden Grow?

Although we're planning to relandscape it this summer, I do have a bit of a crush on our backyard.

California poppies and red clover Mr. W planted between his grape vines.

I love it for its serenity. I love it for its sounds of chirping and buzzing. I love its breezes and patches of filtered sun. But most of all I love it because it holds our garden. There is truly nothing better than being able to walk out your back door and come inside with the fixings for a salad.

The first time I ever gardened with Mr. W, I was appalled at the level of precision he used. We didn't just carve out a space and throw down some seeds. We graded the dirt so it was level. We mixed bone meal and manure into the existing soil. We set up irrigation lines. It was intense. But oh how it paid off...

These are the best artichokes I've ever tasted. They're almost sweet.
Grilled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and oregano—they're amazing.

We're very hopeful the family of skunks we discovered last week
in the backyard doesn't come feast on our baby strawberries.

Mr. W's old roommate grew corn a couple summers ago.
It was delicious but apparently when you only grow a few stalks,
you have to hand pollinate all of them. Anxious to see how ours turns out.

Practice for the mini vineyard we hope to own someday.

I didn't know that flowers had sexes, but apparently the zucchini
produces male and female flowers. The males fall off until a female
one is produced. We're still waiting for our baby girl to arrive...

In the summer, we try to get all the figs before the squirrels do.
And then Mr. W likes to do things like douse them in balsamic reduction
sauce or stuff them with goat cheese.

Hopefully the changes we make this summer will turn my backyard crush into a full-blown love affair. Until then, I'll keep enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors.