July 25, 2015
Blackberries grow wild near our home.
As we feast on Copper River salmon, roasted vegetables and fresh greens from our community garden, followed by rhubarb and ice cream, I say, "We will remember this after the 9.2 earthquake takes out everything west of the Cascades. All the old people who survive will be shipped to the Midwest, where they (more…)
April 20, 2015
Visiting Port Townsend on a sunny day. Next to a sculpture by Gerard Tsutakawa.
After the gift of a beautiful sunny day yesterday, we received a second today. Too nice to waste indoors! So we drove to Port Townsend, one of my favorite places, to visit the waterfront, eat lunch, and visit the Chimacum Farmstand.
Lunch was at The Fountain, a restaurant one flight up and two streets away from Water Street, the main drag. I have been admonished by my son for taking photos of my food in public, so let me just say that the mushrooms stuffed with (more…)
March 23, 2015
Adding lime to the soil at the Rock Farm
No, la jefa of the Rock Farm Community Garden, Anita Rockefeller, spread lime over all of our plots, creating this eerie landscape. I happened to be there Thursday before the evening rain soaked the fine powder into the earth. The darker front rows are my plot, where I turned it in and planted a row of blue potatoes and a row of carrots. Next, we will spread a layer of compost. Supposedly, we should avoid turning the soil too much. This should encourage a build up of compost and keep carbon sequestered in the soil, where it belongs.
Spring is here after an unusually dry (more…)
March 9, 2015
I ate the evidence, but here are the ingredients!
Late winter and early spring are an iffy time in the northwest. We had record-breaking high temperatures for February, while much of the east coast shivered beneath a blanket of snow.
Historically, early spring has been an unpredictable time. Rather than in the dead of winter, this is when indigenous people were most likely (more…)
February 19, 2015
I liked chayote as a child, but I had no idea how to prepare it.
While the East Coast has had a winter of discontent, we have experienced mild temperatures and even sunshine in the Northwest. Our growing season ended last fall with a whimper when freezing temperatures took out my late planting of squash in early November. I didn't think to check the garden space I rent until (more…)
January 8, 2015
Another winter, and those of us in the Northwest have turned inward, that pause when we clean our homes after a hectic season, and plan for the coming year.
It is very dark here in January, and I struggle to get out of bed even when the clock says it is time. Our vegetable gardens are sleeping, deep in dreams under a cover crop of clover or alfalfa, or like mine, under a layer of fresh soil I optimistically added in early November, hoping for a late fall crop. Instead, it froze early, taking out the last of my kale and some promising squash.
This year, social justice is (more…)
November 15, 2014
An adult and an immature towhee caught in a storm
This is the time of year when our gardens produce their last fruits and vegetables. I could tell you how clever I was today for combining a pear with the last of the rhubarb to make a tart and sweet compote.
It is a time that reminds us all of our mortality, as theleaves begin to turn and fall. The berry bushes that looked as though they would take over the neighborhood have begun to retreat, close to the ground for another season. We preserve, we line our nests and contemplate the seasons when we spend more time indoors.
But this has been a time of terrible loss. A freshman in high school shot four (more…)
July 14, 2014
Clean berries and dirty carrots
It is that time of the season when, if you are in the right place at the right time, someone will hand you a bag of beet greens. Or a handful of berries. Or leave a dozen fat oysters at your back door!
It took four to five months to reach this point, but every cloudy day, every seed that refused to sprout, every insect, is forgiven when we bite into a salad of our own growing. (more…)
June 17, 2014
As the season progresses, the community garden is bursting with life. A neighbor kept my plants watered while we traveled for two weeks, and I returned to kale, mixed greens, and more kale! We have enjoyed it many ways – stir fried, as salads, as a soup with white beans, and in a frittata. We are almost caught up now.
The carrots are well-established, and my yellow tomato plant survived its baptism of copper sulfate and sideways planting – la jefa of the garden, Anita Rockefeller, had me lay the gangly plant on its side and bury it, only allowing about eighteen inches at the top to curve out into the air. It seems to be working.
It rained intensely over the weekend, so there is no need to water. As I harvest and weed, two ravens greet each other overhead, (more…)
April 20, 2014
This year, I will apply my mad skills in gardening to a 10x10’ plot at The Rock Farm, a community garden on the west side of the island. This lacks the convenience of walking next door to garden in Hilary and Neil’s yard, but affords a larger space with more sun and a Master Gardener to crack the whip if I get too lazy.
In addition, I will be able to (more…)
From the early literature of the Americas to the late 20th Century
Essays on Family and Writing
“The Desert Remembers My Name
makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
–The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary
is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books
"This book entered my dreams."
–The New York Times Book Review
"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."