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  • Writer's pictureMary

May 2024: Making Plans, Throwing Pots, Growing Plants

Updated: May 27

A fleeting and lovely in-between moment as I begin writing this post: a gorgeous spring morning. A face mask for a bit of self-care. Rowan’s napping, Jasper’s at daycare, and Kev is working in the other room. My latest glaze firing is slowly cooling, nearly ready to be unloaded. The dogs are laying all around me, each in a patch of sunlight they’ve claimed. I’m working on another vase with chain details, and several individually rolled links sit on the kitchen counter to harden a bit before being attached. The nasturtium plants that hang from our patio railing and which I can see from our window have grown palm-sized leaves, round and variegated, and they are swaying in the breeze. 

(Edit - days later) It's taken me the better part of a week to complete this post. My current moment: A coffee soda (equal parts iced coffee concentrate and soda water) in a glass cup. Looking out at the evening sunshine at 5:50pm. Kev is out picking Jasper up from daycare. Rowan is napping after a nice bath. And I'm still working on links for that vase.

Life Lately

We’ve spent much more time outdoors, hanging on the front patio before Jasper drop-off, squashing spotted lanternfly nymphs in the backyard, and potting, repotting, and transplanting garden additions. We’ve made more plans with friends and family too, and it all feels so much like emerging from hibernation. I’d loved the coziness of winter paired with the cocoon of newborn life, but this feels good too, especially when we step out into the sunshine.  

In recent weeks, we’ve had family coffee runs, brunch outings, a trip to the Bronx Zoo, a visit to the South Street Seaport, and lots of household errands that got us out of the house and around town. Happily, we’re spreading our wings as a family of four so much sooner after Rowan’s birth than I’d expected. A wildly different experience from 2021 with Jasper arriving in the midst of a pandemic.

The entrance of an open air market with string lights and potted flowers on offer

Kev went back to work at the beginning of May, while I have a few more weeks to go. Now that one of us is back to work, the calendar is real again and the days in a week have meaning once more. I don’t mind the structure it’s re-imposed on the one hand; on the other, a scarcity of time has returned as well. 

Below, more updates, recent pictures, and a recipe box that catalogs dishes from around the internet that I’ve tried and saved. 

First, Pottery

A collection of vases is finishing up in the kiln today, with a few more awaiting their turn next. I started sculpting them in anticipation of flower season, and I’m proud to have completed the production process at a better-than-expected pace. Next, I’ll need to find the time to make arrangements and take product photos. 

The Ghost Parade Mugs that were released in February have sold out, with a small restock coming soon and more planned as soon as I procure more dark clay. Other mugs are in the latter stages of production too, including Farmhouse Mugs, Cactus Mugs, and Anji Espresso Cups. A few Tandem Mugs have been relegated to the Seconds & Samples section following flawed glaze finishes. 

I’ve been mixing bigger batches of glaze, starting with a wonderful but difficult-to-disperse satin matte that pairs beautifully with speckled clays. I’ll need to test a few gloss white recipes as I’m on the last bit of the old stand-by that I use for many designs. I’m also planning to replenish the acorn wash and the charcoal glazes in the near future as I have bisqueware awaiting them. 

This middle part of the year is a good time to experiment and develop new designs. By August, I'll need to begin holiday prep. Let’s see what these next couple of months bring. 

In the Garden

It seems that I’ve begun to learn some things about gardening at last. Between my dogs trampling seedlings, our landscapers’ sometimes indiscriminate weed-whacking, and general failure to thrive for some plants, I’ve finally begun to diversify risk and prepare more than I think I have room for. And for the first time, I don’t feel behind this planting season, having started seeds beginning in March and making additions here and there with live plants procured from Trader Joe’s and the garden center.

Over Mother’s Day weekend I spent most of a day outside transplanting a new crop we’d picked up that morning: cubanelle peppers, thai chilis, a red-indigo cherry tomato, snap peas, and strawberries. I then proceeded to order even more flower seeds on Etsy because I can’t stop/won’t stop.

Fritillaries and grape hyacinths arranged on kraft paper

Speaking of flowers, my little patch of striped squill was a delight, and several stems are hung up downstairs to dry because I’m enamored with their blue and white stripes.

Tulip season has ended as of early May. We enjoyed a beautiful array this year of Exotic Emperors, Akebonos, Green Waves, Foxy Foxtrots, Rasta Parrots, and the odd return-blossom here and there from seasons past. Currently, irises are blooming so indulgently that they are toppling over, and the rhododendrons' pink and purple puffballs are out.

I have a few sunflowers and some cosmos growing as well, each under a foot tall at this point. The rose bush I planted into a large pot is growing well and there are even a few buds developing.

Next up: gladiolas (some are returning from last year, perhaps they’ve naturalized) and hydrangeas.

Recipe Box

  • I made these super simple sake steamed clams recently. Jasper loves clams and we devoured 2 pounds of them.

  • This steamed fish dish is easy and healthy, and uses ginger and scallions which were needed for the clams above.

  • We often have Persian cucumbers in the refrigerator for snacking. They're the perfect vehicle for simple side salads with chili crisp oil, a dash of soy sauce, and a sprinkle of sugar. I also really like the dressing from this recipe for an alternate flavor profile, it uses ingredients already stocked in our pantry - rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil.

  • With some cornmeal I recently picked up, Jasper and I have already baked an olive oil cake, and I have this corn cake recipe on deck for when sweet corn comes into season this summer.

Photo Diary

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