Kitchen improvery

Yesterday K. was home all day so we took advantage of what turned out to officially be the last oddly balmy day of January before the snow blew in. We went out to the garden and got some last minute things done: harvesting, pruning, and salvaging some herbs for the winter. All this year’s leeks got pulled (mention of overwintered leeks as root vegetable in Lucky Peach issue 2 notwithstanding) and I’m looking forward to lots of potato leek soup with garlicky dumplings on top – this was a big winner of a dinner last winter. I got a refresher course in pruning as we tackled the peach trees, apple tree, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes, azaleas, and boxwoods. And I got to the herbs in the nick of time.

indoor herbs

Here you see some pathetic indoor basil and a transplanted bunch of outdoor oregano. Last year, a ton of herbs overwintered outside: sage, oregano, and thyme thrived. Basil kicked the bucket early, as usual. Weak! Hopefully the stuff we brought in realizes how good it’s got it and goes bonkers producing leaves I can cook with. Herbs are weird the more you think about them. I’ve probably talked about this before, but it still blows my mind how people find, cultivate, and prize smelly specific-tasting plants.

This corner of the counter has traditionally been a twilight zone of overflow drying dishes, random thermoses, kombucha culturing, and a plant or two. I made the executive decision to turn it over to the plants:

more indoor herbs

In the largest pot in back are rosemary, sage, and thyme. To the right of that is some lavender that had been totally hidden under our huge parsley bush. To the left of the lavender is chocolate mint. And in the front are two pointless houseplants: some ridiculously hardy succulent type thing that I haven’t managed to kill and desperately needed repotting and thinning which I’d been putting off until yesterday, and that pineapple. Hopefully someday the pineapple plant will produce a pineapple fruit and I will no longer consider it useless.

Yesterday was 40s and drizzling. Here’s today:


Eurgh! As you might notice, the shed still needs to be sided. Otherwise, it’s pretty much complete and we’ve begun storing things in it: bikes, garden stuff, skis, tools, and sleds. From here on out it’s goodnight garden, see you in the spring.

Meanwhile, since when K. is home there’s a lot of organizational energy on the loose, we moved some stuff around. My studio is no longer right here:

no longer like this!

Instead, we moved it into the catchall spare bedroom/storage/hobby stash room and put in some sweet new storage. This is why living above a furniture store comes in very handy:

New kitchen... armoire

I made N. help me wrangle that thing up the stairs this morning and boy was that a spectacle. Somehow he got his foot wedged behind it and a stair in an impossible way and the doors kept banging open. Luckily I held the whole enterprise together with my superhuman strength and resolve and here it sits in the kitchen, being useful.

What is it full of? Cookbooks!


Yeah! Now the myriad useful spaces in the kitchen that were clogged with books can be used to store stuff like ice cream makers and grain mills. And big glass jars full of lentils.

The books are vaguely organized by subject, which is my M.O. Can you spot the bread/baking section? The stash of plastic-bound community cookbooks? And the ubiquitous marker of my particular social tribe, the Moosewood cookbook? (Buddy L. who hails from Ithaca says Moosewood the restaurant is overrated these days. I’ve never been, but paging through that cookbook the summer after graduating was my primary form of entertainment. We didn’t have TV or internet in that house, we had to make our own fun.)

AND the kitchen armoire has drawers underneath. What would you put in the drawers of your kitchen armoire? Someone tell me!

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4 Responses to Kitchen improvery

  1. nancyo says:

    The pictures are showing up fine on my computer. I’ve always heard that the sharp pointy houseplant is called “mother-in-law’s tongue” – ouch! The armoire drawers would be great for baking pans, or containers of flours/sugars/nuts/ingredients, or linens. Drawers rule imo.

  2. Debby says:

    Cloth napkins, tea towels…..?

  3. Kate Reynolds says:

    Under the cabinet sounds like the perfect place for placemats and tablecloths. What a productive day; wish I was half as energetic!

  4. Pingback: Roundup! | Friends and Hammers

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