Friday, 28 September 2012

I love my Wife. I love my food. I am a man of simple pleasures but it doesn't get much more pleasurable than that. Sadly though when my wife and I first got together I realised that she didn't have a healthy relationship with food. It was obvious to me when we went out and about that she loved her food. But it was a love that was guilt ridden at home. A meal at home could consist of a salad that would take a couple of days to eat. I never have been much good at eating like that. Once I get started I tend to have a very healthy appetite, and as much as I love eggs, I don't think I could put up with many more eggs than we had in the first few weeks we were together. It seemed early on in our new relationship my wife was eating for the sake of eating and not for any enjoyment. I could understand why, she worked hard to lose some weight before we met and had no intention of putting it back on. After years of feeling like the fat girl since her teenage years she was finally feeling like she was in a shape that she was proud of and here was I coming along trying to spoil it.

I of course was trying to do no such thing. I just love food. I love my wife. I love seeing her enjoy something as much as I do. I wanted to see her enjoy her food again without vilifying it or having a sort of Jekyll and Hyde dysfunctional relationship with it. Food for me wasn't about counting calories (granted I am flaco) but about flavour, about combinations of foods that we enjoy and crave. I wanted to see my wife enjoy food for its flavour and not worry so much about what calories it may contain. Granted though I don't just love food I love good food, as much as I like eating out I love a good home cooked meal. A meal where I know what's in it. I wanted her to introduce me to Chilean food  and the months that followed she did so. It might have taken a few weeks to finally stop eating eggs at home, but 3 years in my wife's relationship with food as grown in leaps and bounds. Her love for food, and cooking,  has come on so much that she has ambitions of kicking the day job aside in a few years and opening her own restaurant.

Even today though she will have issues with her body. There are good days and bad days and sadly in the bad days she doesn't see how far she has come form her earlier adult years and how she is no longer that girl that she still sees in the mirror. I can be impatient at times when she sees one girl looking back at her and I look to the photographs of her bigger days. She left that body long ago. Whereas there are times when my wife struggles to love her body I love my wife's curves. I would much rather watch her enjoy her food and stay the shape she is than starve herself on eggs or yoghurt and cottage cheese and watch her lose 30 lbs. I would much rather watch her ambitions fly than see them trapped inside a cocoon. I am proud to watch her grow and proud that I have in my small way nurtured it.

Happy Birthday my dear, we're both far from perfect but I'm proud of and love the journey we have taken together the last 3 years or so. Let's keep travelling, improving, growing and aging.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

And So The Neighbours Were Right - Almost!

As the leaves begin to fall the garden is starting to finally get some rest bite from the hot days of Summer, it was 89 degrees even just yesterday. When we first moved here all the neighbours said we couldn't grow a garden here.

Too much shade, too much snow in the winter, seasons too short was the reasoning.

That first year they were pretty much right. The garden hadn't been used in any capacity in years other than as an adventure playground for the voles underneath the turf. I spent much of that first year taking out the badly laid turf that the landlord had put in not that long before. I felt somewhat bad about it but the voes had dug tunnels underneath and the was falling down holes here, there and everywhere. It was then we were concerned that the kids weren't eating as well as they should so I thought taking out the grass that was most affected by the voles and making a vegetable garden would be a good idea. The neighbours of course thought it was a crazy idea.

I soon thought so too when I discovered underneath the grass was the same rocks that our driveway was made from. What should be an easy enough job of taking out the grass and adding compost took me a good couple of months of pulling out stone after stone to put it right. That made a short season even shorter. Tomatoes didn't ripen until they were sitting on plates on the kitchen table at the end of October.

This year was going to be better. After all I did much of the preparation work the year before. There wasn't even all that much snow until Spring. Soon, even that small amount disappeared and I was stuck in planting Basil, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach etc to get the garden filled with cold weather crops while the Tomatoes and Peppers were growing under a light in the spare bedroom. Two to three weeks into the Spring weather and Summer temperatures were here already. The basil not fully underway yet, disappointingly curled up and died. The Spinach thrived. The peas started off well enough before they decided screw this was beans weather. The few peas we did get were really tasty but ultimately were just a tease of what could have been. The cucumbers didn't do anything. Again the cabbages started off well enough but as the temperatures got hotter and hotter and summer went on and on they too seemed to be coming to nothing. One cabbage here, and another there would be like a magnet for white fly and would get pulled by the roots to save the other crops.

Neighbours 2 and 0.

It got to the stage that I was feeling guilty using so much water at night when the rain wasn't falling. I would water one  part of the garden one night, and another part another night but no where near enough considering the mercury was hitting between 95 and 104 daily.

Then finally late August the night time temperatures started to ease. Thats when the cabbages that had survived the whitefly attacks began to grow once more. Beets and Shard matured. Carrots were lifted and soon discovered to have so much more flavour than bought carrots that I was chastised for not planting more.

Then worthy of a Mormon miracle Cucumbers I had long given up on started to appear. Now I'm wondering what the hell to do with so much cucumber.


 Cucumber - yes cucumber. Sikkim cucumber to be precise. Yet to taste this asian cucumber but it should be an interesting change.
 Pattypan squash.

Seems that despite this long hot summer you can grow a garden here after all. Lets call it - Neighbours 2, Me 1, for now. I already have my instructions for next year. More carrots, more shallots, and that i'm sure is just a start and with a bit more experience with the conditions I should be able to call it a draw next year.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Summer Is Over

The long Hot Utah Summer was a struggle to get through but now that that the cooler temperatures are returning  the days are a lot more pleasant. No matter the season we are blessed to live where we do. Drive 15 minutes one way and we are in Downtown Salt Lake, drive 10 minutes the other way and we can take the dog for a walk in puppy heaven.

Actually we can do that pretty much by walking outside beyond our back garden but this area that we like to walk is exceptionally beautiful, and the dog practically cries as we get closer to our destination. We don't know whether to laugh at that or not, she really is a pathetic little mutt.

  The Fall colours definitely arrived earlier this year, with the long hot summer and no rain many of the trees in the slopes behind the house changed in early August when the trees just seemed to give up. Thatsaid there is still plenty of colour around, it just might be over sooner than last year.

 I love the reflection of the leaves in the water here, so much I had to capture it twice.


With late evening strolls like this just on our doorstep why would we want to live in the suburbs with all their identikit boxes and no trees.

Now if only we could get the money together to buy some of the vacant land that we have our eye on here here life truly would be sweet.