Monday, July 26, 2010

People are funny.

Human beings are funny creatures, filled with habits that serve no purpose and assumed responsibilities where none exist. Kate and I set out today to pick blueberries. My grandmother has three well established blueberry bushes that she doesn't use so we went out there to clean them up. There weren't many so we decided to check the black raspberry bushes. We've always picked them in the same place at Gram's so I visited all the usual spots. No luck there. I figured when we got home we'd use some frozen blueberries to round out the pie. When we got home Kate and I checked out our home blueberry bushes, since we were thinking about it. These were planted last year and are still in the growing stages. We've picked about a cup over the summer, but that is more than we expected. As I'm bending over the cages around the blueberry bushes, I looked up and there, not a foot from my face is a perfectly ripe blackberry.

Yup, drove 10 miles and fed a bunch of horseflies to look for what was in my backyard, cause we "always pick berries at Gram's." Am I in a rut? Anyway, we did add a few frozen berries, including some strawberries to make a delicious smelling pie. I spent some time thinking that I should make a scratch pie crust, but then I decided a store bought crust pie was better than no pie at all, which would have been the case. It was a toss up between shaming my family with a pillsbury crust or shocking them by wasting fresh fruit. I picked the option that included pie. Kate insisted it be a smiling pie as well.

After the pie went in the oven we went out to investigate what else was in the garden. I got two more tomatoes, a big green pepper, and ... more zucchini. We have two plant. I'm to the point in the season when I'm letting them get entirely too big because that means there will be less zucchini over all. However big zucchini are not as appetizing as tiny tender ones. I should just let them go, or ever pull out the plants, but will I... That would be a waste of food silly. Of course I won't. So what do we do with giant zuchs? Well, I cut them up, clean out the seeds, shred them and freeze them. Did you know the inside of a zucchini smells vaguely like the inside of a pumpkin. You can definitely tell they are related. Put up 8 quarts today, and after all that, here's what's left.

These will most likely go to feed the chickens at my parents, cause I can only use so much frozen zucchini. But they won't go to waste. That would be against my genetic imperative. Is anyone else this wound up over fresh produce, or is it just me. Here's the punchline... nobody in my family cares in the least. It's all in my head. The inside of my skull is it's own little theme park, what can I say. This is the same brain that passes over the quality wool in my stash to use up the gross acrylic, just so it will be gone. Life with me is such fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The other...

The weather has been hotter than blue blazes, the perfect time to finish a knitted blanket right? Of course. Here is Kate's new blanket. She chose the colors herself, and I labeled it painfully pink. I've spent most of my time since we first found out Kate was a girl fighting the pink thing. I hate pink. Her room is painted yellow, and her crib set was green. I informed everyone who was invited to my showers that I hated pink, and yet, four years later, the kids adores pink. What's a mommy to do, but provide.

The pattern is based on an idea from Mason Dixon Knitting and was dictated by how tired I was of each particular color at the time. It's knit from basic red heart acrylic because if Kate actually uses it, it'll need to be washable and durable.

I'm now working on a cotton tank top that will probably be done just in time for Christmas, cause that's how I roll.

We had a big old storm last night, and I'll sign off the same way the storm did, with a rainbow.

If you look very closely you can just see the ghost of a second rainbow a little to the right.


The summer fun continues. We took Kate to Lake Erie last Sunday with all her grandparents. When we arrived she got to try her hand at fishing.

Aside from her daddy thinking she was going to cast herself in to water along with the rod, she did pretty well. She absolutely loves fishing the way any kids does who's never actually pulled one out of the water and had to deal with all the flapping and gasping. After she got tired of fishing, we headed for the beach.
She had a lovely time splashing in the water and playing in the sand. Just like most kids she tried to take the whole beach home with her. We managed to limit her to one bucket of rocks and all the sand she could carry inside her bathing suit. We had to use the hose to clean her off when we got back to the cottage. Do you think she enjoyed herself?

On Monday Kate earned enough stickers on the chore chart to go letterboxing, our new hobby. After a few false starts on a badly marked trail, we followed the clues and got another stamp for our notebook. Here's the face of a kid who has no idea what poison ivy looks like. (It was everywhere, but that was Monday, and we haven't gotten it yet, so we got really lucky.)

And yesterday we enjoyed a picnic in Kate's new fort. What fun!

Happy Summer!


The weather is hot, hot and hotter. And for the last few days the heat is punctuated by downpours and thunderstorms. The humans are not enjoying this weather much, considering we are without air conditioning. The house becomes nearly unlivable by late afternoon and we are forced to eat out or find a place to swim. The plants, however, are LOVING the weather. Observe:

Stargazer Lily's, my pride and joy. And the banana peppers are outweighing the plants. I've yet to have any idea what we are going to do with them.

The other produce however, I know just what to do with that...

Eat it as fast as possible. Yum. At least now, no matter what happens, we can't say we didn't get ANY tomatoes out of the garden.

Other things are enjoying the hot sticky weather as well. I found this little guy under my laundry basket in the basement. No idea how he got there, but he was safely delivered to the pond after a short stint in Kate's bug box for observation.
A small, shiny red salamander, I squealed pretty good when I found him, but I didn't stomp him into the tile, so he got off pretty easy. If you read here often you'll have found that most things of the wildlife variety are pretty safe with me, at least as opposed to my husband who's reactions are usually more along the lines of "kill 'em all and check if they are dangerous later."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Since last we spoke...

Summer is flying past us once again.

Kate and her daddy have completed the fort and climbing wall they were working on the past few weeks, and also made a brick fire ring which we used last night for the first s'mores of the season. While the climbing wall was under construction, Rick told Kate that he wasn't going to make it too easy, and that she would have to learn to climb it herself. He was using his tough daddy voice. She got a quivery bottom lip and looked at me for help, but I tend to stay far away from their altercations. Between the two of them, there is entirely too much stubborn for my safety. It was all for nothing though because not two minutes after the wall was complete...

So much for difficult.

The garden, as predicted, is breaking my heart. I am careening very close to the edge of crazy town here in that I nearly cried over the plight of my tomatoes the other day. At least I'm not alone. The tomatoes most definitely have blight, and something mysterious is chewing on the broccoli. The hollyhock looks like blooming death, literally. The stalks and leaves are brown or black but a few yellow blooms remain at the top. Weird. There are Japanese beetles in the lemon balm, but since I'm not eating that I figure maybe they'll be satisfied to stay there, and won't go near my vegetable plants. (That's right, I'm Chamberlain, the Japanese Beetles are Hitler, and the Lemon Balm is the Sudetenland. If you've managed to follow that, then you'll know that my pepper plants are Poland, and World War II is not far off.) I'm trying to move through the stages of garden grief towards acceptance. You know, "We couldn't have eaten all those tomatoes anyway."

At least my perennials have not let me down. Observe:

Bee Balm. Isn't it beautiful and alien at the same time? I love it. And we are eating out of the garden. Kate gets about two cherry tomatoes every other day, and yesterday i made a chocolate zucchini cake from fresh zucchini. Also, the other day i made a spinach quiche from the library garden for the library staff. They loved it.

In other news, remember the "rare" turkey sighting the other day, that I joked probably happens every day while I'm not home?

Two days in a row, this lady has wandered sedately through our backyard. That is, until I try to take her picture and she freaks out and flies up in a tree. (@#$$ paparazzi.)

And finally, for the Fourth of July, we enjoyed the parade that conveniently goes right past my in-law's front door, and then spent the remainder of the day with them. (We love them, we really do, it's not just the air conditioning... and the pool, it's not.) Kate loved the parade, and she really loved that the twins were picking up candy and automatically giving her half, without anyone telling them too. She was just sitting there in her lawn chair like a little queen and watching them run all over the road picking up candy and dropping it in her lap. We finally had to tell them to stop. She really didn't like that.

Last night were the fireworks, which we can see quite nicely from our driveway. See:

After the fireworks, Nona and Papa had planned to camp out in the yard with us, but we were all so hot and tired that we concluded it would be just as much fun to camp in the dining room. I think it worked out, how about you?