Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Justin installed my (pulley-mounted) laundry line last week, and I am supremely happy. I spent nearly a decade of my adult life in an apartment community that didn't allow residents to hang out laundry, and it nearly killed me. No exaggeration. Okay, slight exaggeration. Anyway, one day, when I was already feeling a little blue, the communal dryer ate my laundry ticket. I was out of tickets, out of money, and extremely cross. As I hauled my sopping wet quilt across the courtyard, I noted the warm spring sunshine and pleasant breeze and thought "I'll just throw my beautiful patchwork quilt over the privet and let it dry in the sun!" About 45 minutes later, I got a call from the apartment manager asking me to remove the quilt immediately. She said that another resident had 'complained' and reminded me that clotheslines were verboten. I took my time bringing the quilt in, but it still had to finish drying over the shower-curtain rod and that night it had only a faint trace of that fresh, line-dried scent. All it took to spoil that small amount of grace for me was a nosy, cantankerous control-freak.

For weeks afterward I was filled with rage and depression. It was a small thing of course, but it really rankled that anyone could be so petty and unneighborly. I also hated that such a simple, reasonable action was precluded based on the freakish notion that laundry drying in the sun is somehow an objectionable sight. Mostly, I was just frustrated beyond tolerance that I had so little freedom. Renters, particularly in apartment complexes have few rights -- often they can't keep pets, even if they are willing to assume financial responsibility for any potential damage. Modern apartment communities rarely have any space for children to play, and usually have signs forbidding ball-playing, bike-riding, skateboarding, and any other thing children might do to enjoy fresh-air and exercise. And, few apartment dwellers are allowed to hang out their laundry.

Today I'm feeling very grateful for my old city bungalow, with it's crumbling plaster, sagging porch, and new clothesline.

dinner tonight: curried chickpeas, gingery green beans, brown basmati rice with whole spices

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

We watched this little beauty struggling to fly last night. The children wanted to 'rescue' him but generally fledglings fluttering around on the ground are best left alone. We snapped this picture and made sure to keep Roonces the Cat indoors for the night. This morning I was a little concerned to see Baby Jay still on the ground but I was reassured when I saw the parents dive-bombing our neighbor when he tried to pick the little creature up. When we got back from African Drumming and Dance, the baby had finally flown. I've been considering volunteering at our nearest wildlife rescue center, with an eye to becoming a certified wildlife rehabilitator myself, and seeing this little jay was good incentive to actually make the call.

All is well in the garden -- the catbirds are very fond of the serviceberries which are just now ripening, and the drip bath is again proving popular. Even our viburnum has a few berries, so there must be a compatible species somewhere in the neighborhood. Good news indeed, since I don't have room for another viburnum in my own yard. I dug a small cucumber and squash bed (just 2 plants of each) and put a Rutgers tomato and a Red Beauty pepper each in a large pot. The perennial bed will have to wait until fall, and possibly longer as we rethink our plans.

dinner tonight: stewed green beans, spiced feta, herbed focaccia: nourishing, cheap, and delicious!