Dirt yard, sugar cubes, nappy nap

Still with the sore traps (the right side is killing me), but otherwise a nice quiet Saturday. Oh, except our backyard is leveled. Yes, over the past week, we had heavy equipment driving around back there. The pool was smashed and removed in its entirety.

Once again, The Cop and I looked at each other and said, “Gee, I didn’t think about what this’d actually be like.” Yes, we are both given to launching projects without bothering to think them all the way through. My most famous examples are my climbing career, when I just learned how to climb up — yeah, but um, what was gonna happen when we reached the end of the rope? (Answer: multi-pitch technology kicks in.) And how are we going to get down? (A: rappel.) And what about the fact that I don’t know how to rappel? (A: crash course in rappeling, at 150 feet up). The fact that I’m still alive kind of proves that not overthinking works, right?

Favorite yoga example: multiple attempts at getting my feet to clear the ground and come up behind me in bhujapidasana. That was the question, but not the FULL question. “How can I get my feet back and up?” is a good start, but if I’d thought it all the way through, there would have been a “and what happens once I get my feet back there?” follow-up question. Which might have led to thoughts about falling forward. Nah! Why waste time thinking about consequences? I only had to slam my head once before I understood what was going on. And the pain did not detract from my pleasure at figuring out the feet part of the equation.

Okay, so now we have a dirt back yard. Oh, hey, and a dog who loves to stroll around back there. And, now, a house with all kinds of dirt tracked into and through it.

No worries. This will be the impetus for thinking about what we’ll do back there. So far we know we need a strip of lawn for the dog to pee, poo, and lie on. She’s old and needs a soft surface. And the rest of the backyard? Xeriscape! Woohoo! A new project. I want a back yard that is totally sustainable — a back yard that lives and grows in the desert with only the natural precipitation (which is about 6 inches of rain per year, if I’m remembering correctly).

First order of business, though, is to get a strip of lawn and perhaps a gravel pathway to create a perimeter around the patio. That way, if the dog (or I!) am playing out in the dirt yard, the grass and/or gravel will get some of the dirt off our feet as we come back into the house.

As far as the rest of the backyard? I’ll have to do some research on ground cover and decorative grasses and shrubs. I’m already thinking I want some sagebrush and maybe even some tumbleweed. The natural desert plants are unbelievably beautiful — unfortunately most of the raw desert around here has been processed into housing developments. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a desert in my back yard. And then I’ll just need a few coyotes and a rattlesnake or two. 😉

Poor Cop. He’s sleeping after a night shift that included tracking a guy who fled a burglary, then broke into a resort and stabbed a couple of people. The Cop found him and chased the guy right into the arms of the SWAT team. Good work. But now, while he’s having a well-deserved rest, I am planning how to turn his yard into the desert. I wonder if he feels like I make his life easier or more difficult with my notions…

***

Dahlia the masseuse is out sick today, so instead of having a massage, I made maple syrup candy. I think this was kicked off by Laksmi’s post where she talked about wanting to eat a sugar cube when she woke up from a nap. I have the same sugar craving after naps. But I skipped the nap (may grab one in a little while, still, though!) and went right to the candy.

I used to get maple syrup candy when I was a kid and we would go on vacation in New Hampshire. It’s just crystallized maple syrup, and mmmmmmmmmmm, it’s yummy. Super easy to make, provided you have a candy thermometer.

Maple Syrup Candy

1 cup maple syrup

1. Pour syrup into a large heavy saucepan and set over high heat. The syrup is going to foam and expand a LOT when it boils. Figure it’ll expand at least to five times its original size.
2. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and whatever you do, don’t stir. Stirring causes the sugar to crystallize prematurely (you want the sugar to crystallize only after it’s reached the correct temperature).
3. Cook to 238 degrees F and take off of the heat.
4. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it changes consistency–it will become grainy instead of glossy, and get lighter in color. This takes about five minutes.
5. Pour it onto pan lined with foil or foil cupcake liners and let cool.
6. Cut into small pieces and enjoy.

***

Okay, now that I have sugar cubes ready, it’s time for that nap.

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3 Responses

  1. Hey, Patrick was just getting in to the maple syrup too. This sounds SO good–I didn’t know it was possible to do this. Refined sugar makes me feel very bad, honestly. But MS is a sweet little buzz. As are MS-sweetened cupcakes.

    The desert is wonderful and your yard plan is so much more interesting than pools and lawn. When you come to Los Angeles (didn’t realize you were doing that?), you can see the Desert Gardens at the Huntington Library (almost as wonderful as their Japanese Garden). It is enchanting.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbhl2005/sets/72157594158830743/with/172011207/

  2. would you consider posting a picture of your yard once it is ‘done’?

  3. Yes! I will get some “before” pictures today!

    Desert botanical gardens are great. The first time I was in one, it felt like a sci-fi movie. Things that are capable of growing in the desert are really strange and lovely.

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