I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries, lately, obviously. Mom and I have some clearly articulated boundaries, about which I feel pretty strongly. For example, I want her to speak for herself for as long as she can. I want her to make her own decisions for as long as she can. It’s a mark of my respect for her, but it’s also a safeguard for me, so that I don’t have to take responsibility for her before it’s time.
With all the herbs I’m growing and all the projects I’m considering, I needed a better solution for drying herbs.
My solution so far? I get a long string, tie a bunch of [insert herb here] to both ends and hang it in a dark, little-used area. In my condo, it was over the showerhead of the guest bath. In my current place, it’s over a curtainrod in a corner of my basement (but sadly in a place I suspect annoys my mother no end because of where she likes to hang laundry). It’s totally workable, but it doesn’t scale particularly well and it’s not convenient when you have someone who wants to use the guest bathroom, say, or someone who objects to your drying herbs in such a fashion.
I searched online and found lovely forged-iron drying racks with six decorative hooks (extra sets of three hooks $5 each) apparently for people who display their drying herbs in their kitchen. Thankfully, my kitchen is way too sunny to dry my herbs there (I don’t know why darkness is specified in every set of instruction I’ve ever seen— probably to preserve color), so I don’t need a decorative solution, just a scalable one.
God bless IKEA. They invented this:
If you look online, you’ll see it’s $10-ish. I’ll be honest, in the store, I paid that for two. Sixteen little clothespins per, and an octopus joke to boot. I bundled my yarrow with a rubber band and hung it from one of the little clothespins. Done and done. Compact and straightforward. I can go in and add bundles of mint, oregano, lavender, and rosemary and not overwhelm the system. I also got one for mom for drying clothes, so we don’t have to fight over it.
A few years ago, I was in therapy, and there was a thing that would reduce me to a teary, shaking mess. Last week, that thing happened. And I’m on the other side of it now. It can and will be argued that there is more to come, but the specific thing I was worried about happened and I found a way through it, and I want to take a minute to celebrate that.
On Sunday mornings, Mom has set the expectation that I will make brunch. I have inherited this, as I’ve inherited other responsibilities, because my father used to do it. I can make an argument that it would make better sense for her to make me brunch on Sundays, because the dynamic was that she did 90 percent of the cooking, and so on one of his days off, he’d cook brunch for her, but I do 100 percent of the cooking for both of us (she’ll sometimes heat something up for herself if I’m out, but she prepares food for me 0 percent of the time) and it’s my day off. Fortunately, I’m not bitter about it. Well, not very bitter.
One of the things that makes me call myself a hippie, when it comes to gardening, is my thought that nothing should be wasted. I did a lot of container gardening, before I had a garden, and I learned a couple of useful things.
I definitely didn’t invent this hack, but I was visiting a friend recently, and they hadn’t heard about this, so I thought I’d share. They were measuring honey into a measuring cup for a recipe they were making, and complaining about how you lose half the honey to the sides of the measuring cup, and then when you scrape it out, it ends up all over you and every surface in your kitchen.
In case you hadn’t heard, the way around this is to measure your oil using that cup first. It coats the measuring cup and all of your honey (or in my case, your sourdough starter) makes it into the bowl instead of clinging stubbornly to your measuring cup.