Thursday, July 01, 2010

Plant Pour-n

Here ya go, my dears:
The yard, in its current state this evening.

A squash the Vietnamese guy next door is growing. It will end up being 3 feet long and will possibly hatch aliens.
Cucumbers, being fussy about climbing their ladder to success. Giant-ass tomato in the background, and yes, that's the Latin name. Assus Ginormous.  Please also note my jean scrap mulch!

Sunflowers I'm growing for a bee-counting research project. I guess I should actually get out there and count bees some day, right?

Ginny the cat, looking startled. It's fireworks season here on the Southside.

Ginny lays in the yard, waiting for birds and mice.

My lovely hydrangea bush has turned shell pink.

What I love about these blackberry lilies is that they come speckled and solid, in orange, pink or purply, look like iris foliage, and only resemble blackberries when the flowers go to seed.

Non-Gardening News!

I'm teaching a class about making a t-shirt quilt with all those teenage shirts you just can't bear to get rid of, because you are a hoarder of memories, just like me.

Here's the skinny: July 16 and July 18, at MADE Studios on burgeoning Cherokee Street. You'll need a lot of shirts if you want all images on the quilt. Questions? Leave 'em in the comments here.

In other news, I went to Pennsylvania for a week and when I came back, discovered my green and purple zinnias had succumbed to the 100-degree heat and that my back yard had turned into the Amazon. I have pulled a wheelbarrow full of weeds and am almost done.

On the plus side, I had a ridiculous amount of fun in PA with my cousin, my brother and his girlfriend. I kicked it old school and drank until the sun came up on the 20th, then went to church still a little drunk. Obviously, God has a sense of humor, and knows that I'm good people, because he did not strike me or my equally-drunk cousin dead.  We're the ones in the middle, wishing it was 20 degrees cooler and that we had had more than 2 hours of sleep the night before. That's my mommy on the right with her cute short bob. Mine will be that short next week!

My grandfather turned 98 on June 1, so we had a big surprise party for him. I wasn't sure if surprising a 98-year-old man was a good idea, but he enjoyed himself and even managed to blow out the candles on his cake. No, we did not get 98 candles, but did put a lot on there in the shape of a 9 and an 8.

Things I am glad for today:
1. the 2 pairs of goldfinches that have set up shop among my sunflowers.

2. the gorgeous weather we've had. It hurts to stay inside and sew. I want to lay in the grass all day, reading and drinking Earl Grey iced tea.

3. my husband cleaned our basement last Sunday. According to him, it was a sleeveless t-shirt kinda job, and he said there were not a lot of spiders down there. He even managed to recycle the box our television came in......2 years ago. It's now second-life-ing it as a path in my garden.

4. I am glad that my friends who are going through rough patches right now are brave enough to reach out for help and to talk about it. I'm a very private person and prefer to wallow/suffer by myself in my sewing room. I admire them, and please send good vibes to E. and A.!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden Update

So, in the past week, it's gone from Pacific Northwest cold/rainy to St. Louis late July. It is so disgustingly hot and humid today, and just a few days ago I was adding an extra blanket to the bed.

Naturally, this has made Rabbitt Gardens explode with goodness.

1. The first peas are allllmost ripe.  I keep messing with them each day in a Hansel and Gretel way to see if they're fat enough.

2.  Cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, mystery squash, peppers are all a go. I went nuts and planted a ton of flower seeds in one bed where some Roma tomatoes reseeded. I reminded myself that I really love picking fresh flowers in the summer, and it would be very pretty in a few months.

3.  Last weekend, in the cool drizzle, I transplanted 6 or 7 different colors of irises a coworker dug for me.  I may regret this in a few years, but I LOVE irises!

4.  Discovered a potato plant growing from my failed tater-in-a-tire-pile experiment last year. Perhaps it wants a second try.

5.  The taller-than-me hollyhocks that I thought would be magenta are looking like they're black. This is a very good thing, because I had blamed Mr. Rabbitt for dumping dirt on the old black hollyhock cluster, thusly killing it.

6.  Front yard looks great with dark penstemon, pink coral bells, yellow coneflower/black-eyed susan (nobody knows), orange daylilies and bright blue anemones.
This pic is a few weeks old....will add new ones later when the plants stop wilting in the heat!

Oh, and the best update? 4.5 days left of SCHOOL!!!!!

Also, also,.....Green With Indie is rolling around again, and I've been reasonably productive!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dig, Alli, Dig!

Do note that my name is going to be spelled correctly in the final release :)


St. Louis, MO - 4/27/2010 - Thanks to the partnership of Alderman 
Shane Cohn, HopeBuild, and the Dutchtown South Community
Corporation, on May 1st residents of the Dutchtown neighborhood 
will welcome two new community gardens into their backyard - 
one on the corner of Virginia and Liberty and the other in 
Amberg Park - with a gathering at 1:00pm and a ceremony at
1:15 pm  at the Virginia and Liberty location.

This effort started in May of 2009, was led by community 
gardeners, and these two new gardens are the products of their 
hard work. Allison Rabbit, a proud Dutchtown resident, explained
that these gardens will energize and have a lasting impact on the 
community, saying, "This will be a draw to younger people who 
are looking to relocate for school or jobs. Not only will the gardens 
benefit our neighborhood, but they may have a larger impact on
the regional economy as well."

The community is thankful for the partnership of Alderman 
Shane Cohn in leading and overseeing the cause and according to 
Bill Schuh of the 25th Ward these gardens not only improve
the neighborhood aesthetically but also  communally,
"I expect it will bring together neighbors for the good of all. 
The future looks bright!"

Indeed, the future does look bright for the residents of the 
25th ward and the surrounding neighborhood because of
these exciting new gardens. This excitement can best be 
summed up by the words of community gardener Steve Jameson,
"I can see the light! Grow tomatoes! Have a bunch of zinnias to 
cut for my wife and neighbors! Get my hands back in the dirt! 

WHEN:  Saturday, May 1, 2010 @ 1:00 p.m. (Rain or Shine!)
WHERE: The Dutchtown Community Commons @ Virginia and Liberty

# # #
Dutchtown South Community Corp. is a community-based not-for-profit development organization which serves the entire Dutchtown neighborhood, along with Mt. Pleasant, Marine Ville, Gravois Park, and others. They strive daily to improve the quality of life and development for the residents within these city neighborhoods.
# # #
 HopeBuild is a non-profit that  focuses on building community and garden spaces. They do so through empowering underserved communities to lead healthy lifestyles and enrich neighborhoods through increased access to fresh foods, urban produce gardens, and nutrition education.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Yesterday, according to the Humane Society of Missouri's records, my sweet baby girl turned 12.  She is in excellent physical health and demands a walk each day.

Here she is, many years ago, after we hiked through Taum Sauk Park and made it to the highest peak in Missouri (hence the plaque). She had also just finished chasing a rabbit.

And yesterday? Forced to wear a velvet bow and a sign.
I can't even begin to describe how important she is to me and how much I love her. Maggie became "mine" when my ex-fiance ditched me and said that I either took her or returned her to the pound. I became a dog owner.
Maggie and I have driven all over Missouri, exploring state parks and natural wonders like Pickle Springs, the Devil's Posthole, Elephant Rocks and the Katy Trail.  She has been my co-pilot on the long 14-hour drive to and from eastern Pennsylvania.
("Welcome to Pennsylvania! Now drive for another 3 hours.")
I guess people who have children can relate to how I feel about Maggie.  She is one of the most important things in my life and I can't bear the thought that someday she won't be with us anymore, looking out the window, ignoring the neighbor's cats that frequent the yard, angling for a walk or begging for bacon grease.

On a less wistful note, I found these today:
I think this is brunnera? Teensy tiny blue flowers.
On the other side of the steps, one of my anemones or windflowers bloomed. I didn't know they would be so petite and sweet. you have a sewing machine? Do you want some new spring clothes?
Check out the Swap O-Rama 2010 at the History Museum on April 10th!  Emily, the organizer, is hard-up for some volunteers to run machines to help folks refashion the afternoon away. Plus, the clothes swap! You know I love new clothes, and if they're free, it's even better.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Self-Pitying Post! Be Warned!

Today sucked. I had thought my good mood returned yesterday, and things today were going well until I went grocery shopping.
1. My grocery bill was less than 50 cents OVER the balance in our account. I was so embarrassed: I've never been that person who has to put stuff back. Did I put back the Take 5 bars? Hell no! The dog food can wait a few days! Why should I suffer a lack of chocolate when...

2. My serger has been stitching funny and I can't get it adjusted quite right. I was almost done with my Secret Project and then the damn needle fell out. After twenty minutes last night of fussing with it, I was sick of thread tensions and loopers.  At that point, I said, "fuck it" and turned it off and put the cover over it.

3. Tilted my hot iron to see what was sticking on the bottom and poured hot iron water all over my hand.

4.  Decided to cut out bird bits for bird pot holders. Brought up bin of Asian fabrics, opened it up and was overwhelmed with choices and couldn't decide where to start.

5. Motherfucking squirrel(s) dug up my planters of lettuce on the front porch.

6. Don't even get me started on the "I'm pretty sure I don't want kids, cause I like to be alone and I like a clean house, so why do I feel so bitter about people who are pregnant?" conundrum!

Waaaa.....poor little me.......

Since I just read an article about negative self talk,  I have to balance out the bad.....

1. My friend Kelly came over and I sent her home with 2 bags of fabric that will be made into super cute bags.

2.  Mushroom and olive pizza is cooking in the oven.

3. I found these today:

4. Last year on March 28, I took this picture:
Here is the same view today, with no snow, a robin and bird bath:
He was splashing around and enjoying himself immensely. Anyone want some money plant that's coming up all around the bird bath?

5. I had the presence of mind to NOT pull up a mystery plant that I first thought was a weed. After further investigation, said plants are either Grecian windflowers or anemones. 

6. My sweet little arthritic Maggie will be 12 on March 30. She enjoyed a long walk today and some fine smells on the warm-ish breeze. Notice the pillaged planters flanking her.

Let's hope for a better day tomorrow!  Now for some pizza and Sunday flyers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


There are two pairs of cardinals that hang out in my yard. Here, one of them sits atop the bird feeder pole.
 While his lady friend and a robin wait for him to eat.

The downy woodpecker is pretty brave and doesn't give a rat's ass about who is king of the feeder. I think there might be two of them also.
I cut some forsythia and brought it inside to bloom. My only regret is that I won't be here this weekend to see it open!

The sunshine and balmy temps of the past few days have really done a job on my winter blahs. I didn't think I was mellow, but I was noticeably happier yesterday. It might have been the odor of roasting coffee from Chauvin Coffee Company wafting through the air, or the delicious smell coming from the Vietnamese's kitchen next door. 
Either way, I'm happy spring is here and am excited to drive to Chicago tomorrow to see old and old-ish friends. Dan Ryan, here I come!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Digging In The Dirt, 2010

FINALLY I was able to get the garden started!
I am on spring break this week, and after a day of self-imposed sloth-ery, I worked outside all day yesterday.
Here's what I found in the compost bin:
Wee little mice. There must have been about 20 of them, fleeing like it was the Titanic! Glad I'm not scared of them.  It amazes me how they live all winter. Why don't they freeze?  And now I know why the neighbor's cats (Ginny and Peanut) sit, mesmerized by the bin.

As you South Citians know, most of our backyards have a cement walk flanked by a thin strip of grass and the typical chain link fence. Since we moved in almost 5 years ago, I have been slowly killing said strip of grass with a combination of cardboard, leaves, newspapers and whatnot. This past year was the last killing session I had to do. Behold the loveliness:
The green bit is a clump of magenta hollyhocks that I hope will bloom there this year. I'll put tomatoes, and squash in here, and give up on my dream of a corn patch. Last year was very traumatic for me, corn-growing-wise, thanks to the local wildlife.

Crocus are blooming, and there's one daffodil out front that is ready to pop.  I cut some forsythia branches to force inside.
Last year, we had snow on March 26th, but it doesn't feel like that today. Warm, balmy breezes, a dog sleeping in the yard and a corned beef simmering away. Perfect, perfect. 
Days like today make me feel I am blessed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring, where are you?

We're getting new outside doors tomorrow! I am beyond excited and thought about it all day long at work. Exciting life, eh?

Here are some pics to tide us over until spring strolls in. It can't be much longer, as my bulbs are poking their little spikes through the soil. I planted $50 worth of bulbs in October, and by now, I have forgotten what went where. Should be a nice surprise in a few months!



Lovely seed packets from 1965. My mother was 19 years old. Free Fritos!

It's always hard to believe that it all begins like this:

And ends up like this 7 months later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!

 Just some pretty:

My parents in Pennsylvania are getting hit hard with the snowfalls there.  There is nothing on that patio table except 2 feet of snow.

I am jonesing for spring, especially after seeing a huge flock of robins this week.
Here are some warm photos for you to contemplate:
This is my mom and brother in 1981.

Check out those tritoma!

I love, love, love zinnias. There's something about their symmetry and pure rich colors and unfussiness that appeal to me.  Come on, spring!

Monday, January 11, 2010

For MB

Today in homeroom, my students told me, in hushed and awed tones,  that a couple former students were involved in a shooting death this weekend. Apparently, one of my former boys got upset at a dice game, took another boy's gun, and shot the boy he was upset with. They are in ninth grade. Fourteen or fifteen-year-olds. Rumor also has it that the shooter panicked and took the body to a local fast food joint and then skipped town.

  The shooter was a kid who I would describe as a big teddy bear. He never had issues with other kids and was very popular. Now, he might not have been the best student academically, but he wasn't a kid who I would expect this from. I could make him cry if I wanted to.

I spent the rest of today watching my current seventh graders work in pairs and then separate and cozy up in bean bags for silent reading time. They are so small and so innocent and so ignorant of how cruel life can be. 
Which of these will I be hearing tragic stories about in 2 years?
Which will not make it past the age of 20? 
After I left teaching in juvenile detention, I would follow the crime beat in the Boston newspaper. Many, many of my former students are dead. It's not shocking to me anymore, but it is still saddening.

The Mississippi River is mostly frozen over. Yesterday, we drove up river to look for eagles and to check out the amazing and beautiful ice floes. The ice is broken up into 2-inch thick slabs and there are actual snow drifts across the ice in some places. When you stand still, you hear the quiet sounds of the ice moving and cracking against itself. Even the sun doesn't penetrate the frozen, otherworldly feeling you get when you see the ice field.
I  imagine the hearts of the mothers involved look like this. Cold and broken with no signs of life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Many Moons Later...

I've found that there is a dearth of St. Louis urban garden blogs. Or, I've found that I can't find them. So, just like when you skid in snow, you know you should steer into the skid, I see that this blog became a garden blog without me realizing it. I'm steering it that way, then.

It is almost painful to read the last posts as I sit here, trapped inside the house because it is 7 degrees outside. I've been trapped inside for the past 4 days, due to 2 snow days, Saturday and today being Sunday. The couple inches of snow have not melted. The dog still demands a walk each day, even though she gets snow between her toes and then limps the rest of the way home.

But how could I resist that grizzled face?

How did Rabbitt Gardens turn out?
1. I made 5 bags of marinara sauce.
2. I roasted and mashed and froze 2 bags of mystery winter squash.
3. The potato/tire planter suffered too much water and did not work. I have hopes for this year, though.
4. Squash has to go somewhere else next year. It grew into the alley and became a nuisance.
5. Watermelon wants more sun.

6. I will never plant corn again. Sure, it looks neat and orderly, but what the squirrels didn't eat during the day, the raccoons or possums ate at night.
7. Cleome has tiny little painful spikes on it.
8. Money plant reseeds like crazy.
9. I will pull up all dill I see next year.

10. Tomatoes are going in a different place this summer.
11. The front yard is a fine place to grow peppers.

Pictures, you say? Sure, I've got lots!

There were 3 pairs of goldfinches that hung out most of the summer, working on the 3 varieties of sunflowers I grew. The one in the top right is not deformed; he's just itching.

Monarch caterpillars on dill:

Giant yellow and black garden spider. She had made a huge web conveniently across the top of the compost bin. I almost walked into it, and am glad I didn't, for that would have taken years off my life. Here, she is eating a grasshopper, which I am very thankful for. Where do these things come from?!

The last picture of the garden.

Then we look forward to orchid blooms and Christmas cactus blooms:

So, stay tuned as I plan for Garden 2010!