Sunday, June 15, 2008

Moving On

This weekend I harvested the beets, as promised. After taking a trip to Findlay Market earlier in the morning on Saturday, I decided it was time. Just seeing all of the veggies and herbs at the farmer's market really inspires me to keep gardening. I can't wait until the time when I have a bigger plot of land - then I'll really be able to produce enough veggies to keep us stocked throughout the summer months.

The variety of beets that I grew this year was Cylindra. They're not the standard roundish beet that I'm used to. They are oblong, almost like a fingerling potato. In my case, about half of each beet ended up growing above ground - odd? Here's the freshly pulled bunch:

Since I knew that I was only going to be reaping one batch worth of beets, I had done some research to find a new, refreshing recipe. Up until now I have only eaten them pickled, with thanks to my mother. I happened upon a recipe for Red Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette. It was pretty darn simple:
  • Cook the beets for about 30 minutes and then sluff the skins off. Slice them into small rounds.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together diced shallots, olive oil, cider vinegar, fresh orange juice, ground cloves, salt, and pepper.
  • Arrange a bed of peppery greens, such as arugula. Next arrange the beets on the plate intermingled with slices of fresh orange. Crumble fresh goat cheese on top, drizzle with vinaigrette, and snip some chives over everything as a garnish.
I was quite pleased with the results - both refreshing and colorful. I'm definitely deeming the beets a success this year.

Since the big radish/beet/carrot container is now empty except for the carrots, I've decided to experiment with yet another veggie during the hotter summer months. At Findlay Market this weekend I picked up three yellow crookedneck summer squash plants. For now I've got them planted opposite the carrots. I'm just going to have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't start crowding the carrots - I've heard that squash have a tendency to take over spaces. I think the carrots have just a few more weeks to go, so once I've pulled them, the squash should be able to "let it all hang out" over the whole container. They should be a nice counterpart to my cucumbers, which are also doing extremely well. I put a cage up in their container today in the hopes that I'll be able to train them - we'll see. Here is a picture of one of the new squash babies:

The rest of the garden also continues to grow by leaps and bounds daily. This HOT HOT weather is just what it needed. The jalapeno and hungarian wax peppers are in full bloom, and I spotted the first baby peppers on the hungarian wax the other day. I'll be interested to see how hot vs. mild they are. They were labeled as sweet, but I've been reading that they actually have some heat to them - bring it on!

The herbs are really taking off as well finally. I made a "down home country breakfast" this weekend with hashbrowns and eggs, both of which were liberally herbed - basil in the eggs and thyme/rosemary in the hashbrowns. I'm looking forward to jazzing up my vegetarian biscuits 'n gravy with some fresh herbs and peppers. I get a big kick out of cooking certain "country" meals that my grandmother or great-grandmother may have cooked. It's fun to update old-timey recipes with new ingredients or fresh herbs - it's also a great way to be creative when it comes to substituting non-meat products for the old standbys like bacon, lard, and sausage.

I start my new job tomorrow - the fact that my anxiety hasn't flared up is a sign that the decision to move was a good one. It's also a sign that I've learned ways to help myself from getting overwhelmed by a job in the first place.

I'm proud of myself for all that I've done so far towards overcoming this condition - it sure as hell hasn't been easy. I cringe when I think back to that first weekend in September 2007 and the subsequent terrified visits to the ER, doctor, and therapist. After a week, when I was able to even entertain the idea of going back to work, those days in the office were so long and so scary. I felt like every day I had a pitbull by my side - this powerful force that could turn on my at any unexpected moment and attack me to the point of dizziness, nausea, searing stomach pains, racing heart, and panic attacks. It is impossible to explain something like severe anxiety to someone who hasn't experienced it - it just ends up sounding like I'm exaggerating or blowing things out of proportion. In reality, it's so much more than being "nervous" about something.

The sheer terror that I lived in for months was unbearable. I'm not even sure how I got through most of those days. I know that I spent many hours trying to distract myself with the positive things in my life - things like my husband, my cats, and of course, my garden.

The other thing that helped so very much was the yoga class that I started going to. Yoga is one of those things that I've always been curious about, but was never confident or motivated enough to just go out and DO. Well, there is no better motivator when your sanity is on the line and something presents the possibility of relief. Shine Yoga Center has become a haven for me - it's helped me to re-train my brain on how to relax. It's more than just exercise or becoming flexible or being trendy - it really is one of the best forms of therapy that I've found. The particular vein of yoga that Shine espouses is Anusara, which is focused more on love and acceptance of yourself, no matter what you individual limitations may be. That's exactly the kind of energy that I need to be around - keep on preachin', brother.

It's not often that I like to accept compliments or praise, especially from myself (anyone's harshest critic), but after years of self-doubt, I am learning to love myself.

Here's to turning a new page...

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