Old-Fashioned Pleasures of October 11

I think everyone gets a little old-fashioned on the first real days of fall. Suddenly, everybody is heading to an apple orchard, or baking a pumpkin pie, or inspired to catch a high school football game.

We’re all drawn to flannel, and knits, and cozy blankets on chilly nights. None of these things are terribly expensive–in fact, older things are often cozier.

These are a few of the old-fashioned pleasures of my week.

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This Week’s Old-Fashioned Pleasures: June 2-8, 2018

Time for some old-fashioned good stuff…

This week, I’ve been enjoying:

  1. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb close up
    It is the queen of fruit-that-isn’t-a-fruit, and I cannot get enough.

    At present, I have acquired 11 pounds of rhubarb, and I’m not done. Eventually, I’ll can it, but it’s tucked in the freezer for safekeeping. I discovered I have a bit of a hoarding problem, as there was still a quart of cherry-rhubarb pie filling in the back of the freezer, which I rather sheepishly made into a cobbler.

  2. My secret garden

    An impressionistic view of my little fire escape spot. 

    Our fire escape, like many in Chicago, is almost a porch. There’s room for a chair and some flower pots, and I’m very pleased with my little collection of impatiens, petunias, coleus, and begonias. I have vastly improved the view out of my kitchen window.

  3. My actual garden

    Kale, chard, thyme.
    A small harvest of greens and thyme, with promises of more to come.

    A few blocks away, 4×8, full sun, and all mine, my little community garden plot is doing quite well this year. I’m regularly harvesting greens and radishes, and everything else is looking good, for the most part.

  4. Composting

    Keeping food out of the trash (Photo by Thomas Dils on Unsplash)

    I finally have a compost bucket and derive a truly astonishing amount of joy from putting food scraps into it.

    What old-fashioned things are soothing your soul this week?

Victory Garden: Successes, Failures and Mysteries

Victory GardenThings are happening in my little garden!

Successful Things:

Kale and chard look like actual plants.
Beets and carrots are visible and growing.
Peas are trying to take over the world.
Those onions I didn’t plant are huge.
The strawberry has leetle teensy green berries.
Green beans are popping right up, except for the one that got crunched by some creature.

Unsuccessful Things:

My pepper and eggplant seedlings were not strong enough to make it. They were replaced by hardy plants from the garden center, same varieties.

Remains to be Seen:

My tomato seedlings are hanging in there, but may not be strong enough, either. In the event of their demise, I’ll replace them with Brandywine seedlings from the garden center.

My cucumbers just don’t know what they want to do with their lives.



I haven’t had a garden since 2008, when I moved out of my first apartment. I had dug out a little section by the driveway, and filled it with tomatoes and sunflowers and marigolds and weeds. I haven’t had space since then, and routinely miss the deadlines for signing up for the community gardens in my neighborhood. Not this year, I vowed. I set a calendar alarm for the moment registration began at the Peterson Garden Project location near my apartment. All summer long I had walked by it with envy and longing. I got my slot. A 4×8 garden bed shall be mine!

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