Of Gardens, Kitchens, and Books…

Flowers are taking over my garden. They were smothering my little eggplants, which really couldn’t take much more after the flea beetles got at them. They were hovering over the pepper plants, too and shading some squash in the back. The thing is, though, I think they may be good for the tomatoes: camouflage. Birds and other thieving creatures won’t get to the fruits before I do because there are other red and colored things all over close by that can’t be eaten. Is this sowing chaos?


The garden after weeding, mulching, watering…have I mentioned it’s dry?

Yesterday, I went to the garden to cull flowers, weed and check out what was there. One tomato plant was in trouble from blossom rot and my hope for zucchini had also rotted on the vine. I worked away happily (I am on vacation this week, partly to get the kitchen in order and partly to do other things I can’t seem to get to while working, getting the garden to fabulous being one) for more than four hours and liked the result.


A few tiny cucumbers coming on give me hope of bread and butter pickles…

Today I went back and added composted leaf mulch. But before that, I threw down some bone meal on the tomatoes and squash and some organic fertilizer for good measure. The bone meal could take care of the blossom rot, if that’s the correct diagnosis.


This is the plant with blossom rot. It may be getting over it if this batch is any indication.

I also transplanted some of the zinnias I removed from the garden and put them outside the fence for our sidewalk border. I hope they survive.


The bees love the zinnias.

The small Plot Against Hunger garden has some massive tomatoes coming on, as does the large plot. There was also a summer squash in the large plot and a perfect zucchini in the small plot. Obviously, these plots have a better mineral balance than mine. We’ve given a lot of produce to AFAC this year so far. Jane did a lot of succession planting and interplanting with the early crops, and all the chicken manure we put down in February or March seems to have done its magic.


Other tomatoes are mixed with zinnias and hiding near winter squash.

Over the weekend I painted the kitchen something called shore house green, which looks more like robin’s egg blue to me. There was some bad language at the edges where cutting in or masking is necessary. The edges aren’t perfect, but it’s okay. I painted the wall where I currently have a desk something called suntan yellow, and I really like the combination with the blue.


When I opened the can of paint for this, I started laughing, I liked it so well.

After the garden today, I went up to the Container Store, where I had a counter and shelves designed last week with their Elfa system. I took pictures of the kitchen (being me, I had already taken precise measurements, but forgot, for instance, the HVAC vent up close to the ceiling) and we made some adjustments to the design. I’m paying for delivery and installation, having already used up my bad language quota during the painting. Suffice it to say, it’s a bar height counter I can use for work or breakfast, with some shelving above. I’ll show it when it’s installed.


This is where the bar/shelving will be installed. I use my metal fuse box cover as a place to post notes.

Since all work and no play would be bad, I’m also reading and recently finished a book I enjoyed immensely. It is called Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. Holy smokes. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a book so much. I’m following it up with Julia Glass’s A House Among the Trees and will let you know how that is when I’m done.


I really like the way this blue makes the window pop.

But Lillian Boxfish. She’s an 85 year old woman who takes a purposeful walk through Manhattan on new year’s eve in 1985. She was at one time the most highly paid woman in advertising as well as a poet and writer of self help books. She takes the reader through the New York of the twenties (Prohibition did not stop cocktails), the thirties–yes something from most decades. She is witty, astringent, clear-eyed, and open and her walk takes her past landmarks that all resonate with an event. The narrative moves easily between past and present and the writing is solid. Lillian has some insights about life, some surprising, and if she were my neighbor, I’d be dropping in on her.


My banana peppers are loaded. I think Lillian would like banana peppers.

Tomorrow, I’m having lunch with a friend (did I mention we’re having some spectacular weather? Low eighties, no humidity, sun) and may take a kayak onto the river. Vacation at home is heavenly, even with chores…


Soon, I hope to stop buying beans from the grocery. Though I’ve been picking these young and putting them in omelets…

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28 Responses to Of Gardens, Kitchens, and Books…

  1. I told you already I laughed out loud too when I saw that first photo right? It’s a fabulous colour!! If I had a kitchen like that I think I’d just stay in there. I’m also pleased to hear that old desk combo is being replaced – and look forward to seeing what you have chosen. Your garden is looking fabulous, I am such a fan of an overgrown and rambling mixture of edibles and flowers – it’s the way gardens used to be organised and having the right mix of companions keep the critters and bugs at bay too. Lillian Boxfish sounds pretty interesting – it is fiction isn’t it? For some reason your description of it has reminded me of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ Did you read that? Set in the UK it’s a charming and unusual story about an elderly man who sets off to post a letter and just keeps walking……

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Oh, my, I don’t know that book. I must look it up. It turns out that Lillian is modeled on a woman whose archive the author was able to peruse. There was an afterword where the author told about this. While the times and circumstances and some of the limericks and prose came from the archive, of course the rest is wholly imagined. Yes, I think the mix of flowers and veggies is good, but I need to choose which flowers and which veggies go together. I have never gotten serious about companion planting. Maybe next year 😉 Yes, I am excited about the new work area. I could have scheduled it for the third, but it would have meant getting my niece up early as she would be on the sofa bed in the living room… So I scheduled it for a Sunday morning (if I can’t make the 10:00 service, they have a 5:00 pm. BTW, I am spending a LOT of time in the kitchen…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Tang says:

    I feel I should refresh some of my rooms after seeing your new kitchen. Glad to hear that you are enjoying it so.

    It is going to get colder here though the days are lengthening. We are finally having single digit nights (9ºC). So I can only admire your vegetable garden…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you get some rain soon. Great paint job. With slightly different shades these were the colours we used for our kitchen in Newark. Jessica had seen the combination in a film – ‘Trainspotting’, I think. Good book review, too


    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Derrick. You thought of those shades when I mentioned the colors, too, so no surprise it’s close. It has the tropical feel, I wanted. I’m considering seeing the Trainspotting sequel…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    So much to like about this post. First, gardens. I have such a soft spot for flowers that I can’t help but admire the zinnias. Second, the kitchen. Wonderful colors! And then “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.” It’s available through interlibrary loan, and I just requested it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin says:

    I love your kitchen and the color made me smile. I have a similar color here in our house, and it really brightened up the place. Your garden looks wonderful. I’ve been enjoying the lovely weather, too. I hear summer will be returning tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Robin. It’s been nice having the windows open and not using the air conditioning. The sun is warm and feels good. On the other hand, what’s the Fourth of July without humidity?


  6. Sylvie G says:

    What a holiday you are having ! It sounds heavenly. The garden is so great, all that freshness at your fingertips. Thank you for the book review and enjoy your day out tomorrow. The kitchen looks fantastic. I guess it is only waiting for you to make preserves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KerryCan says:

    I wish I could trade you some of our rain for some of your banana peppers! It wounds like you’re having a great week–such a nice balance of doing satisfying chores and relaxing. I don’t think I’d’ve had the nerve to choose that color combo of paint for the walls but it turned out so lovely–cheerful and sunny!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      The thing about color is now they sell samples. I still haven’t used those, but I do tape the swatches to the wall and look at them in different light…Yes, I’d give you a load of peppers for a good steady rain lasting all night….

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa, I LOVE the colors. They look great with the cabinets, and they’re a nice compliment together as the two walls meet. I can’t wait to see your counter/desk configuration. I’m glad you’re paying to have it done, so you can save up your blue language for healthcare legislation updates. (Aren’t you glad Congress is on recess so we can all enjoy the 4th? Too bad 45 can’t stop Tweeting!)

    Everything looks wonderful: your garden, your kitchen paint, the cute drapes…all of it. Happy 4th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Alys. I feel as though I got moving after 10 years… I do like the kitchen a lot, especially painted. Now for the bathroom… Yes, Congress, those wee, sleekit, cowrin’, tim’rous beasties, set upon by governors and constituents… As for 45, I just heard about some tweets today about a morning news show??? Dude can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Ugh, I just wish he’d resign so I could read news normally again. Happy Fourth to you as well. No fireworks out there, I imagine.


      • Ah yes…the bathroom, then the bedroom…and so it goes when you remodel. It’s contagious in a way. I hope you’re having fun. I’ve been listening to Pandora and avoiding as much as I can, but I’ve seen people sharing the tweet nonsense on Facebook. Good grief. 45 has the maturity of a 6th grade boy, yet the power of the office of president. It’s hard to fathom, even all these months in. Given your job and your address, it must be near impossible to avoid all the goings on there. I’m glad you have a week off. As for fireworks, they’re illegal here, unless organized by the city or county, but crazy people will still set off fireworks, and worse, mortars. I never get used to it. The cats hide under the beds or in closets, terrified. It’s really sad. Happy Fourth

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Brenda says:

    What a satisfying week you are having! The colors are wonderful. By the way, there is no such thing as a bad language quota when you are working on a house. Let it rip. I had to laugh at your flowers taking over the veggies. I always plant marigolds among the vegetables and they often end up looking like bushes, smothering everything nearby. I’m so happy that you included a book recommendation. It sounds wonderful. I will be ordering it on our inter-library loan as soon as I finish this comment. Let us know how you like the Julia Glass book. I’ve become much pickier in what I read lately and am always on the lookout for good books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I hope you like the book! I’ve been recommending it far and wide. Your marigold story is funny and makes me feel better about letting the flowers take over. I’m getting such good bouquets. A house certainly does bring out bad language! Good to know there’s not a quota!


  10. LB says:

    I’m so excited to be visiting WP friends today and to arrive here to see the developments in your kitchen! I’m also very glad that I was able to see the “before” so I can truly appreciate the “after”. Keep on enjoying your vacation, Lisa. That mix of productivity with reading and kayaking: perfect!!

    Liked by 1 person

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