right now

right now

Jun 19, 2010

A day at the beach

The weather was perfect for the beach! I am so glad we went instead of hiding inside today. Tomorrow however, we will be hiding in the house since it should top 100 and that is even too hot for the beach!



Same "shot, different day!


Posing for daddy! One would think they like each other....


He must have followed us from the garden!


Good boys get surprised with junk food!


Learning how to smile without showing all his lost teeth!

Notable events today: a possible drowning at the beach, which is crazy since the Special Forces team also found a body yesterday while they were out doing manuevers (the beach we go to is a military base) - this is actually one of the safer beaches since it is where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, so it is shallower, less riptides, calmer, not to mention not at all crowded.

Also, on a funny note: driving down the road a seabird lifted off the saltmarsh and flew low over the road and dropped her fish! Note to self, along with watching for texting teenagers, watch for fish falling from the sky and slamming into the hood of your car and remember, the bird will soon follow... driving is getting more and more hazardous! I wish I had videotaped this but then I really would have been in an accident!

It's too hot to garden!

...so we're going to the beach! It was not too hot yesterday evening however, to shoot a few photos of what's going on while I am hiding from the garden's oppressive heat and humidity!

Enjoy...


"Vorlon" Heirloom Tomato


"Red Zebra" Heirloom Tomato


"UFO" (unknown) Polish Heirloom - 1 lb sizes and still going....


Grapes


Colonnade Apple Tree


Edamame - needs to be harvested TONIGHT!


"Bush Baby" Watermelons, just starting to get fruit


Blanketflower


Celosia - easiest flower seed to grow!


Self Seeded Cosmos from last year, they are all over the lawn!


My favorite Basil "Pesto Perpetuo"


Blackberry Bushes


Figs


The pond area, filled with hummingbirds and dragonflies this time of year

Time to go beat the heat - beach report later, stay cool!

Jun 18, 2010

kinderGARDENS Week 10 Update & Teacher's "CSA"!


Inadvertent Farmer

Week 10 already, and we are sweltering... summer is in full swing it seems, but wait... you mean it is still officially spring? Unbelievable!

The "green roof" really isn't going gangbusters as I had hoped, I think once the gourds take off and start sending out tendrils is when it will happen. "Mr. Mockers", my resident evil mockingbird has made a nest in the green roof's planter box, so that is interesting trying to go up there and tend to things without getting divebombed and squawked at.

The peanut boxes are growing! I have never grown peanuts before so when the kids planted them I was a little skeptical they would sprout in the regular soil from the yard we put in there, but apparently since they are a big cash crop here, they love the sandy soil.


Peanuts!

The kids have been helping with the overabundance of beans and they love harvesting the berries, which is really helpful when it's so hot outside you can only stand 10 minutes at a time and there is so much to do out there.


Beans, Blackberries, Raspberries


Finn sharing his blackberry harvest tonight after dinner.

Kind of funny, the neighborhood kids always ask where I got the berries and I always say "they fell from the sky!" since I won't show them or the little hoodlums will take all the unripe ones too and trash my bushes! Tonight the little girl next door yells over the fence, "hey Loch's mom, did any berries fall from the sky today?" I told her to cover her eyes and I will go find out, I came back about 20 seconds later with a handful for her LOL! I happened to be standing right in front of the raspberry bushes when she asked, some kids either aren't very observant, or really don't know berries come from a plant!



After using this on a dead tomato plant, I wiped it with Listerine to disinfect it and commented that I needed to wash it. I came back 2 hours later to unload the dishwasher and saw this! The kids said "we washed it!" They certainly did... so simple that a grownup would overlook this sanitizing solution LOL! This may become standard practice for me since I swore this year I was going to keep my tools clean but have yet to make good on this promise.


This was finally the last day of school for Loch! In keeping with my resolution to give handmade gifts and not spend money on stupid little things throughout the year, I headed out to the garden this morning to see what I could round up for Loch's teacher for a token of our appreciation. Once I laid it all out, I had to laugh because it reminded me of a CSA Share! A little of this, a little of that. I actually had some jalapenos ready to harvest so it looks like she can actually make a little fresh salsa from what I was able to get today. Loch told me his teacher lives in an apartment and she probably doesn't have a garden so I hope she likes it! It was pretty cute watching all the kids crowd around smelling everything when I brought it into the classroom, I honestly think most of them are pretty unaware that all this stuff exists or even that it grows from the ground!


Dragon's Tongue & Golden Wax Beans, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Cucumbers, Garlic, Red & Yellow Onions, Shallots, Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Dill, Chives and a loaf of Banana Bread!


Finn even found me a recycled box to carry it in!

So that's the update on the kid's side of things around here, check out The Inadvertent Farmer's Week 10 Post for the link party & updates from the other participants. Get your kids out into the garden!

Jun 16, 2010

More Kid Stuff and Tomatoes

While Loch is still in school for 3 more days (can you believe it?), they had their 1st grade assembly and awards today. His school has 10 1st grade classes, I will never get used to that! I come from a small town, we had 1 class for each grade! We are very proud of him, he got an award for citizenship, and he was the only 1st grader to have his art selected for a citywide art show (that we weren't told about so we didn't get to see it - bad mommy!). I stopped in to his art teacher's class on the way out and she told me it should be coming home with him the last day of school. That's kind of unnerving seeing Loch get an award for something I didn't even know about, I feel guilty even though it's not my fault!

The morning in pictures:


I didn't catch the first part of the award, but this is for the Art Show...
video

A few more tomatoes trickling in... it will be awhile before we are harvesting lots of these, but every one that comes in gets to be savored properly - the "calm before the storm"! The one on the right is not a proper representation of an Heirloom at a measly 2.8 oz, but it is a Paul Robeson that I was lucky to get as the plant is as good as gone at this point, I am sure you will see it featured on Garden Blogger's Death Day this month, LOL! The others are all doing well, with huge fruit that are showing no signs of ripening yet...


2 "Fourth of July" hybrids, 1 "Paul Robeson" heirloom


Jun 15, 2010

Graduation Day!

Just got back from Finn's preschool graduation! Thought I would wait until tomorrow to post, but I want to get it up so Daddy can see it as soon as he gets the chance. This past year we were so lucky to be part of a pilot program here. Some of you may remember from last year how anxious I was to find a preschool for Finn. Financially, we were unable this year to send him to the same Quaker Friends School that Loch attended, yet we don't have a regular public funded preschool in our state. Our school system launched a new pilot program at one school called "Preschool Partners". The concept is based on reverse mainstreaming which integrates typically developing children into a Special Education/Special Needs program. These students are called "partners" by the class. I knew this was something we wanted to be involved in and and that the values of acceptance, patience, and the joy of helping others that Loch got from the Quaker school would be replicated here. The problem? They only had 6 slots for "partners"! Well, Finn was accepted last fall and we have thoroughly enjoyed the program, children, and excellent teaching staff! It was such a success that the city has launched the program out to almost all of our city elementary schools for the upcoming school year. There was an article in our local paper about the program a few months back which explains it with a little more detail, check it out!

On to today's events!

Finn in his cap & gown!

Finn & Mommy

Finn and one of his friends getting ready to enjoy ice cream


video
The ceremony. Standing room only! One of Finn's friends has been in the Special Needs program for 3 years and she is ready to move on up to kindergarten! Her entire family tree showed up for the big event filling the little classroom. Way to go, Lillian! If anyone needs to pack 'em in for a grand opening or something, she's your girl! I don't think there was a dry eye in the room when she got her certificate...

Finn hugging his teacher good-bye!

It's official now! On to Kindergarten...

Thank you to all of Finn's teachers, the other parents, and all of his friends in class for a great year!

A Bright New Day!

You guys are still here? I didn't scare you off with my rant? Well, thank you! My husband got a kick out of that post but wasn't able to see the comments from the ship so he requested I copy & send them - see, it's not only me that loves hearing your take on matters at home. Seriously, you guys are a great sounding board, and I woke up to a shiny new day ready to take on the world, or at least my garden. Slightly less humidity for today only, the weatherman says, so I took the opportunity to dig some of my container tomatoes into the bare ground, trying to save them. Only time will tell if they live through my mistreatment, but now I know it is just too hot and humid to container-grow tomatoes here. Live and learn. I got to walk around the garden a bit today with my camera, here are some of the things brightening my day today:


Kenneth the Guerrilla Gardener must have visited me because I sure don't remember planting any lilies!


Lots of dragonflies this week

Remember my baby dove? Here she is venturing out of her basket, perched on a bamboo fence

She is growing fast, soon to be foraging around the garden with me while I do my chores. Unfortunately, one day when the mama flew out of the nest, I saw one of the 2 babies was dead, so mama watched me as I removed it, but she came right back to parent the other.

Time for me to go, Finn's preschool "graduation" is in an hour, and I figure I might want to get presentable, i.e. maybe no bugs in my hair and tomato leaf stains all over my hands, LOL!
Pictures of that to follow soon...

Jun 14, 2010

What It's Like...


Before you read any further, let me preface this by saying this post is in no way related to the garden and is not intended to offend any of you, my lovely readers! Rather, you are my trusted sounding board, and I look forward to every bit of advice, help, laughter and support that you are so good at providing! These "little things" I am about to rant about are normally vented through my trusted partner in life, and never seem to reach critical mass. Enter the problem: trusted friend/confidant/partner in life and parenting is currently deployed to the Middle East - that leaves you, my friends!

Letter to Random People Encountered Lately,

When you ask me what I do and I say "I'm a stay at home mom", don't be all condescending and tell me how much you want to do that but then you couldn't afford the $700 worth of after school crap your kids are enrolled in and the latest styles for them. That's passive aggressive, and it's unattractive. Why do you feel the need to justify working to me? I don't think any less of you for working and many times I wish I could go work with adults all day and regain an important spot in the workforce. After school crap and clothes, though? Pick a different excuse, that one sucks.

Don't assume things about me because I am not wearing a wedding ring. You don't know me - my husband does. I worked in an environment for many years that would not allow jewelry to be worn due to safety issues, good thing because I hate jewelry, all kinds - my husband knows this, that is why you will only see me wearing the silver WalMart plain band that I requested, not him, only on "special" occasions. I will say it again, I hate jewelry. But the fact that you would notice such a thing and actually comment on it is kind of disturbing - where's your own personal "governor"?

When you ask at a school/afterschool event where my husband/the kids' father is, don't tsk-tsk and feel sorry for me because he is deployed. He is doing a job that he loves, that his family supports, and one that earns an honest living for his family. No, it's not like being divorced, no, it's not like he has abandoned the kids! My kids have a loving father, I have a great husband who does all he can for us, and I think that's awesome, not sad. We may need the support of friends sometimes, but don't give us sympathy like he just abandoned us, and PLEASE stop saying stupid stuff like that in front of my kids!

Hey Sam's Club lady with the big flatbed full of junk food who commented upon hearing the cashier tell me my total of $74.36 today and following it up with "I could never be a bargain shopper, I can never get out of here for under $500.oo".... It shows! I hope you choke on the 7 cases of Jimmy Dean sausages and 10 cases of Moon Pies ya got there. Passive Aggressiveness Sucks Lady

When my kid begs for a ridiculous item at a store and you overhear me saying "no", don't say "Awwwww, but he's so cute!" So???? So that means he gets everything he wants? Mind your own business and you might want to work on your kids there, like the one letting all the bouncy balls out of the cage and the other stomping her foot and screaming that she hates you, yeah, is this supposed to help convince me to buy my kids more crap they don't need? It's not working and mind your own business.

When you park next to me in your big Escalade that you can't see out of the window in, don't hop out and say "What a cute car, I could NEVER fit all my stuff in there, though". Reality Check: It's an Outback, a damn station wagon, don't be an idiot. What did your parents drive you around in? Why don't you ask them? My mom toted all of us around in a VW Bug, cross country even while in the military... but apparently Escalades have been around since. like "for-EV-ER"... someone should have told my mom. And also, bragging about how much less mileage you get in an effort to be more affluent than me.... stupid. I'll say it yet again, passive aggressiveness sucks

Yours Truly,
The lady who doesn't have her husband here to talk her down off the ledge. That's right, I just may call you out in public one day, there's no one to stop me from losing it except a couple of little kids, and they aren't that effective yet...

Are you guys still reading? I am amazed, you are true friends! This helped so much I may make it a monthly feature, at least until my beloved sounding board returns home. Feel free to add whatever makes you crazy!

Jun 13, 2010

Hot Weekend!

This weekend has been a hot one! Heat index at 100, and I think this weather is here to stay. Every year I am blown away by how HOT & HUMID it is here. I definitely think that there is no "getting used to it" for this northern raised gal. It took me a few days to remember what my summer routine is, but now I think I have got it down again. Water & harvest the garden every morning early - like "still in my jammies" early - that way any sweat generated and bean vine allergies can be washed away by my morning shower routine and clean clothes! It took me about a week of "getting ready" first and then going outside at 8 a.m. only to be soaked in sweat 15 minutes later to remember how to do this! We are back to 7 am & jammies & bean picking!

I won't bore you with more bean harvest photos, just figure this exact photo, approx 1 lb of each variety happens every 24-36 hours!

Here's how the weekend shaped up for us -

Friday night -
3 hours of alone time for mommy! Our local YMCA does "Parents Night Out" one night a month and I take advantage of it every month, whether I have plans or not! This has taken on a whole new importance since hubby left for deployment, since that is the only 3 hours I get all month without the kids. No more leaving the kids with daddy while I get my haircut, go grocery shopping, etc... 3 hours is all I get! This Friday night I had no plans whatsoever. Sometimes I like to just go to the bookstore, enjoy a coffee and browse all night, but with limited funds even that can turn into a bad idea, so I opted to go right back home and just enjoy my garden and my house by myself for a change. I had spent the better part of the day cleaning and mopping floors, windows, etc. so it was really nice to be able to walk barefoot around the house that night without the kids bringing in gravel, sand, etc all over the floor - ah, the little things in life!

That got kind of boring after awhile so I went out to see what the garden had in store for me. More beans, of course. I have plenty stowed in the freezer already so I decided to see what else I could do with them. I have tons of dill that is really not slated for anything else since my cukes are a long way off still for pickles, and I have other baby dill plants for them so I harvested some dill heads and foliage, grabbed some of my freshly harvested garlic, some grape leaves, nasturtium flowers, and dug out my dried hot peppers from last year.

Can you see where this is going? How about if you picture a bottle of vinegar in the above photo?

DILLY BEANS!

I'm not crazy enough to consider dragging out my canning supplies with only 3 hours to myself, but I did make 4 jars of "refrigerator dilly beans". They will be consumed with no problem with the decent shelf life they have in the fridge. I also had enough leftover dill that I made an herbed vinegar with the dill, garlic, and Nasturtiums just for pretty-ness! Now if my second sowing of lettuce will hurry up so I can try it on a salad! I may even try it on fish, my kids love Malt Vinegar so maybe we will try this out and see what they think.

Remember those first 2 tomatoes I harvested Friday night? One I ate fresh right in the garden, the other I decided to put on top of some nachos! This one is for hubby, he is the Nacho-Maker around here. I did okay having to fend for myself - we still have 7 jars of my pickled jalapenos from last season so I used those, Jack cheese, and my fresh tomato. They weren't as good as when he makes them, of course, but they weren't bad!


Saturday -
A couple of weeks ago, Kelly from "How My Garden Grows" asked if I had ever gotten around to getting that ice cream maker I wanted last year. Why, no, I hadn't! She lit a fire under me to revisit that idea again, and I finally did it! We have used it 3 times in 2 weeks, so I think it is going to prove a useful purchase. Granted, this is another one of those things that maybe isn't the most "cost-effective" of purchases since they aren't that cheap, and the ingredients aren't that cheap either, but - there is something to be said for having fresh ice cream that only contains milk, cream, and whatever you flavor it with such as fresh fruit or chocolate bits, etc. Not a chemical in sight in my kitchen or in our bodies, nice! Thanks for reminding me Kelly, we love it and will be sure to use it often this summer & if you come across a great recipe, please share it!

Saturday Night's Ice Cream Batch - Mint Chocolate Chip!


Sunday -
More beans. A handful of Raspberries!

And a trip to the store for a $5 Slip n Slide... it's HOT!

video

Dinner was a yummy Stir Fry with all my garden goodies and a few things from last season's freezer supply, I think I have finally cleared out the bell pepper strips! I wanted to take a pic of that for hubby, but we were so hungry it was gone before I remembered! Of note: kids ate beans and carrots in the stir fry! Yay! Still won't eat the onions, broccoli, or pepper strips...

After dinner, dogs were brushed and given a pedi-pedi. (Yes, this is boring stuff, but it serves as hubby's link to what we are up to. He reads this out on the ship and all your comments, I think it helps him feel connected to the outside world!)

Tonight, kids are going to bed early and I am giving myself a mani-pedi! Can you believe my kids are still in school here? Madness, I say! There is something very wrong with a public school system that keeps kids in school until the end of June. We have had snow the past several years, always have hurricane & Nor'easter days so you would think they would start figuring that in and lengthen the days a bit to compensate or something!

Stay Cool!

(oh sweet! I hear thunder outside, that means no watering tomorrow!)