Thursday, September 10, 2009

A new place for an old sculpture

A few weeks ago I met up with a friend at the National Harbor. I went there expecting to hate it, all Disneyfied and such, but it was actually quite nice. A little empty, since many of the storefronts have yet to become occupied, but it seems like a lovely place to spend an evening.

Remember The Awakening, that sculpture that used to be at Hain's Point? The one we were dismayed to learn had been removed? Its new home on the National Harbor is pretty cool.

The photos, taken on my little camera phone, don't really do it justice, but it looks especially neat at night.

Kids can still play on the statue, and it's a moving image from just about everywhere on the Harbor.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Brought to you by the letters F and P and the number 30

A while ago, some fruit flies infested the apartment, likely thanks to some garbage we waited a little too long to take out. The flies attacked and killed the pea plant, or at least they contributed to its demise. White-hot sunshine and 90-degree days also contributed. All I got was one pea. Oh well. It tasted like heaven. The flies have also attacked the zucchini plant, which has yet to produce anything more than cheery orange flowers. Perhaps I should have pollinated that plant with a cotton swab or something. It's hanging in there, but I'm not optimistic.

However, the cat grass still grows, the parsley is hanging in there, and the basil is so sweet and tender that I mix it with tomatoes and mozzarella every chance I get. There's not enough yet for pesto, but perhaps that will come soon. The biggest news is that I have a pepper. A solid green pepper is growing on the plant, with pretty white flowers promising more peppers in the future. The whole plant smells like a pepper. If I can make a real meal with peppers from my lame little container garden, I will consider this little endeavour a success. Maybe I will stuff them with quinoa, mushrooms, red onion, and herbed feta. Or maybe I will melt them into a giant pot of stew with white beans and zucchini and chopped tomatoes.

Which is good, because I'm turning 30 in five months from Friday. It wasn't a big deal until Sunday, which is when 30 was everywhere. CBS Sunday Morning was celebrating 30 years on the air. A car dealership on Route 1 in Maryland was having their 30th annual Labor Day sale. In the year she turned 30, Julie Powell taught herself to really cook by working her way through Julia Child's cookbook (I drooled my way through "Julie and Julia" Sunday night). I hadn't thought much about 30 until Sunday, when the world reminded me of the olio of experiences in my past that haven't amounted to much. Nothing noteworthy, anyway, just a grab-bag of opportunities through which to grow in some way. Kind of like my motley crew of windowsill greenery.

So now this pepper means something. It's my opus. If I can grow one measly little pepper in my little apartment in the city, I will have something to really show for my 30 years of life. I will have grown a plant from a seed, coaxed it to bloom in the bright afternoon sun, nurtured its fruit, and nourished my body with its harvest. It's a little thing, really, this pepper, but growing food is not such a little task. I don't think you can really preach about sustainable food systems unless you've actually grown any of your food yourself. Growing your own food, even one vegetable or herb at a time, changes you. Computers and cars, work deadlines and gym memberships, they are all nothing when you realize that you can pull your own food from your own dirt, aware of the miracle of life you have created.