Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So-Cal, Cilantro, Ai-yiy-yiy

Oh California dreamin… leavin, on a jet plane… go to California, go to California… okay enough DJ shit. :) The trip was great and we are home in one piece. I lugged my laptop across the country only to use it to check directions to the Barnes and Noble and if S6 went to the coast. (It does.) So we home and holy family and people! I can make conversation for about two hours, I discovered, before I run out of shit to say and start majorly wishing there was a cow to slap around. I spend roughly eighty percent of my time either alone or in the presence of livestock or dogs so being cornered into conversation, and conversation about something besides the pros and cons of grassfed beef say, I run out of shit to say. It’s like the t-shirt says, I’m not a quiet person so if I’m not saying anything it’s because we’re not talking horses. Beautiful country north San Diego though, Escondido and the hills too. We got to hike a little and that was probably my favorite part of the trip, that and the Mexican food in Old Town. I can highly recommend that. The Wild Animal Park and Balboa Park and Coronado were cool too, but driving and getting out and walking, seeing the real California, was even cooler. Touristy stuff has never really been my thing.

In honor of the wonderful food and extremely hard working people who served it to us, today’s herb is cilantro. It’s a classic herb used in Mexican cooking, extremely flavorful and essential to any salsa.

Cilantro is a member of the parsley family and the leaves of this two foot high are used for cooking. It’s an annual unless you leave the flower heads, then it will reseed itself and regrow the following year. Start the seeds directly in pots as transplanting disturbs the roots and causes early bolting. (News to me.) They can also be started indoors six weeks before planting outdoors, I’m assuming either in peet pots or directly in a pot. I’ve had luck with using a peet pot, but the plants last year were very fine and kind of weak so might not want to listen to me. If sown directly and started in rows instead of containers, the plants need nine to twelve inches of space and they grow well in a pH range of 6.5 and 7.5. (So much for my throw manure on and go theory.) Cilantro likes a soil that drains well, can take full sun or some shade mix, doesn’t like to be overwatered, and will grow indoors under lights as well. It takes about six weeks to get a saleable plant.

Amazingly, though I got little else done, I read and wrote a goodly sample of poetry on vacation. Mostly I read Ai and started Wislawa Szymborska. Here’s a YouTube of some Ai poems, lovely reading and hearing.

Ai uses narrators and persona in her work, brutality and femininity running side by side in a no-holds-barred narrative that’s as beautiful as it is unflinching.

So it’s back to reality today, at my desk early and work tonight. It’s been raining almost since we left so will have to see if the cows are floating or if we need to inflate the ark.

Welcome home  :-p