All around, it’s been a very homey Saturday. We canceled plans to go out tonight because Z is having a crappy few days and not feeling well. I spent the afternoon doing a little stoned knitting (which proved about as slow and inaccurate as regular knitting), and tweaking and cat-proofing the patio garden.

The patio garden is one of my favourite places at present, as well as an incredible time-sink. I’m trying to buy as little stuff for it as possible, so it’s built mostly of cobbled-together found materials. You can interpret this to mean that I am either an Earth-loving recyclista goddess, or too cheap and lazy to go to the hardware store. All of the roughly 200L of sterile dirt filling the various pots, planters, buckets and dresser drawers were purchased and brought home in plastic bags over the last two summers, which kind of diminishes any Earth goddess cred.

Last summer on the patio garden: tomato flowers

Last summer's patio garden: Tomato flowers

Having taken a quick bathroom break in between splicing chicken wire to fortify and re-install the homemade fence around the patio garden, I returned to find a cat sprawled ecstatically on the soft warm dirt of my herb bed. Bastard! 15 minutes later, catproofing was complete.

Then I made dinner out of delicious ingredients from this morning’s farmers market, including a rhubarb PIE, and then Z and I played some cards….  Tomorrow upon awakening I will resume panicking about schoolwork*.

Contrasts:

It’s interesting that dirt, rocks and sticks – the raw materials of gardening – are such scarce resources here in the inner city, while pots, planters, furniture, etc. are heaped abundantly in backalley trash heaps. I had a hell of a time finding sticks to prop up the chicken wire, and finally lucked out when biking past a municipal tree-trimming work in progress. (I then proceeded to bike 10 km home with a bundle of 4-foot long sticks lashed to my frame…)

It’s also interesting that all the glorious tinkering I did today for fun (knitting, gardening, cooking) represented unceasing toil for my grandmother, sixty years ago.  She grew most of the family’s produce in her garden, cooked and baked all their meals from scratch, and knitted socks for everyone. I greatly appreciate being free of the urgent necessity of doing these things. For lucky me they can be leisure, like sitting on the beach, but they are more. They are also little symbolic ways of handmaking beauty for this house and this life.

I ordered a book of knitting patterns for baby stuff in the mail, and can’t wait to inflict nubbly handmade “beauty” on the helpless, immobile and mute offspring of my friends.

*Schoolwork = Coursework? Sort of. I find that one of the ways grad school chips away at my sanity  is that there are infinite tasks that are only cursorily related to actual courses, but that have to get done for one school-related purpose or another. Networking, resume-building, volunteer work, independent research, responding to 11,345 emails about the students’ association… all schoolwork.