right now

right now

Jun 4, 2011

Nothing earth shattering today...

More working on tomato bed pruning, pulled a few weeds.

Weather was very nice again!

Kids to the YMCA pool again...

Pruned out some of last season's strawberry puree from the freezer...

Added some of the whole blueberries and watermelon chunks we still had frozen with some yogurt...


Dropped one of my precious carrots from yesterday's harvest on the floor -

Proceeded to forget about the brats I had going on the grill for dinner, so we had lumps of charcoal with our salads and steamed carrots.

I'm in the process of making Jane's Gr@penuts and thankfully those will turn out well!

Now headed out to the small health food grocery here to restock on flour, we are completely out and aren't ready to make the mill purchase yet.  I've been making bread and pitas pretty regularly now so I can't be caught without flour!  Will also soak some chickpeas for the week's supply of hummus I need to make tomorrow.  Anyone else think the co-op and soaking chickpeas sounds like a rockin' Saturday night?  'Fess up!

Jun 3, 2011

Work Day in Photos...

Sometime last night the dewpoint dropped from 72 to 40!  We woke up to 64 degrees, breezy and beautiful - time for work!

Victim of the heat...

Think it's time to pull the lettuces?  

And maybe the peas?  Pretty pathetic.

New friend on a grape leaf...

the grapes on the fence are loving the heat -

Anyone recognize this?  I haven't had time to surf the web yet, but it looks like some kind of scab on my grape leaf, we only found one leaf like this.

It goes right through to the back side of the leaf...

A harvest today!

Below is the almost the last of the lettuces for now, only some Mizuna and Mesclun remain out there.

Planted some clumps of corn and Sugar Pie pumpkins in the makeshift fence bed, hubby put up bird netting and bamboo stakes all over to keep dogs and birds out for the next few weeks until it gets bigger.  Notice how dead the yard is - we are now officially designated as a "Severe" drought area.  I didn't notice until this week, but apparently we have been way below average rainfall every month since January.

The new Lettuce House! 
 Hubby built it out of some old gazebo supports we had kept around and some old bamboo fencing.  I can just roll the fencing out of the way to get in.  I sowed some more greens, hoping to get some summer lettuces, it's normally too hot but I keep trying new things to get that summer salad.

I pretty much only worked in the center fenced garden today.  Below, I trimmed up all the Amish Paste tomatoes so none of the branches touch the soil and sprayed a few aphids in there.  This should make it much easier to water without getting any on the leaves.

And much easier to see all those paste tomatoes!

The remaining bed of snap peas were pulled and in its place I sowed Edamame and another succession planting of Dragon's Tongue and Golden Wax beans.  Also transplanted some peanut and sunflower seedlings into the "extra" space I was talking about a couple of weeks ago.  It will be the "snack" bed, I guess!  I put bird netting over those for the time being since they always go in and dig up the seedlings when they are young.

We could have kept on working but really wanted to enjoy the evening, this was definitely a day to remember weather-wise, we might not see temps this cool again this summer.

Off to dinner!

Lettuce House Builder Guy deserved a brew.

Chesapeake Bay yummies...

Tomorrow is supposed to be more in the 80's but with low humidity again I think, so I will be moving on to the side garden, where most of the tomatoes are and get back to work!  Hubby is working for "Clean the Bay Day" so I'll be on my own, but hopefully I won't need any special strange things built tomorrow :)

Jun 2, 2011

Library Day

Tomorrow will be my garden day.  With temps forecasted to be 79-80, I plan on getting a week's worth of work done out there. Today, yuck - still in the 90's.  What's a girl to do?

Go to the library!  Boring post, maybe... but I still love, love the library!  It's a cool 72 degrees in there, there's 2 floors of books, a coffee shop, no children with me, and oh - did I mention it was 72 degrees in there?!

Today's Picks:

For the man:

For Finnegan: 
He is finally reading on his own, it takes some work finding books for him that he would like and he can read by himself.  The kid loves cows like you wouldn't believe, but I'm forcing him to branch out :)

I didn't go overboard today for myself, mostly because I have a lot more work to do than I have time to read about work.

One guess who this stack is for :)

When arriving home from the library, guess what was waiting at the doorstep?  Ribbit, you hush! ....(she knew it was coming!)

Yes, we have crossed over to the dark side, with an e-reader!  Before you groan and moan and shut the book on me... there really is a reason for this :)

Not only would hubby really get a lot of use out of it, he had a gift certificate to use!  When he deploys, he can't take but a couple of books with him since they won't fit in his little locker with all his other necessities.  Instead of him turning into "Illiterate Hubby" for 8 months at a time, now we can load up as many books as we want before he leaves, and there is quite an extensive list of free e-books as well. 

I am a die-hard fan of the feel of a book in hand, and I don't feel comfortable unless my bookshelves are always full, but I admit I'm excited to try it, and it arrived with my first book "beamed" into it in transit, LOL!  Tonight, music lessons and as soon as I get home I can't wait to try it out.

So tell me, how many of you have an e-reader?  I want to know what kind, if you like it, and your first impressions after using it!  I kind of feel like a traitor, but I think it will be very useful for deployments and our long car trips back home.  But of course, I will always love, love the library :), of course you can get library books too on some e-readers, too... LOL

Jun 1, 2011

I went into the garden today...

but not for long!

Sweltering is the word that comes to mind.  I did however get out early and snipped a bunch of yellowing leaves and branches off the tomatoes.  When I first saw them my heart sank, but upon closer inspection they were only on the tomatoes that had suffered all the storm damage, and the ones that I was pretty heavy handed on the lower leaves with the soap spray for the aphids.  Just in case though, I disinfected my shears in between the two varieties.  The only ones affected were the Red Zebra and Amish Paste, and they are nowhere near each other.  Most of the branches that were dead looked like where they had been whipped against the ties that held them to their supports during the last big storm.

That took about 15 minutes, and that was enough for me!  I spent another 5 minutes just taking photos of them for future reference.  I always forget to do that, because when I'm waiting for things to happen, it's nice to be able to page back to "same time last year" on the blog so I can see how things were progressing then.

I have 30 tomato plants this year from 9 varieties - how did that happen??!!!  All now have fruit on them.

Pink Brandywine - Heirloom, 6 plants

Burpee Long Keeper - Heirloom, 2 plants

(this is supposed to store until December, yeah I laughed too but I'll keep you updated, I couldn't resist)

Red Zebra - Heirloom, 3 plants

Yellow Pear - Heirloom, 2 plants

 Hillbilly - Heirloom, 5 plants

Orange Wellington - Hybrid, 1 plant

Fourth of July - Hybrid, 1 plant

Amish Paste - Heirloom, 8 plants

Although the Amish Paste were the first to set fruit, I expect the Yellow Pear and Fourth of July to be the first to ripen, probably within a couple of weeks.  The only ones not pictured are the "Jake Gyllenhaal" mystery tomato (2 plants) from 2010 that I saved seed from.  I forgot all about them as they are planted far away from everything else!  It remains to be seen what they will be like this year, since I'm sure my saved seed was cross pollinated with one of my other heirlooms.  All the rest are fresh seed every year since I don't have enough space to prevent crossing with others.

I then decided to go ahead and do indoor stuff I had been putting off.  I'm one of those people who can't cook or preserve anything unless my kitchen is clean, and it's been looking like a war zone lately so after cleaning the house I did a "special" cleaning of the kitchen, scrubbing cabinets and fridge, sink and all that stuff that gets forgotten.  Now I'm ready to make some jam I think!

I have been using a lot of dried legumes and other things lately so instead of working out of the baggies from the whole foods store, I put them all into jars, I just like looking at jars :)

Deja vu... yep, that's corn on the bottom shelf.  I thought I was done having seedlings in the house, I guess not.  I had to start them in flats since if I direct seed the birds get them all, but even in a flat on the deck the birds got to them.  The pulled out all my sunflower seedlings, snatching what was left of the seed and leaving the massacred little seedlings strewn about, then started in on the corn.  I snatched it and brought it inside.  Tomorrow I think I'll just plant them out and put bird netting over them for another week or so.  It won't be too bad since I'm just doing a few clumps, 3 sisters-style along the fence.

Who am I kidding?  It's going to be hot again tomorrow, no corn planting.  I'll be cleaning the freezers and defrosting getting ready for the harvest that will hopefully be coming in, weather permitting.

Today is the first day of hurricane season here.  Normally, nobody cares because we never get hurricanes until September/October.  This morning I decide to actually turn on the Weather Channel and what do I see?  A tropical system forming off the southern East Coast already, on Day 1!  Normally hurricanes don't phase me a bit, but this year?  I admit I'm more than a bit nervous, and we are long overdue for a strong one.  Does anyone else feel a little uneasy about the weather patterns for the rest of the year, or is it just me?

May 31, 2011


As in, did nothing productive, lazy, hiding from work kind of day!  I started out by going outside to water some of the newer plants, and it was about 88 degrees and hazy humid at 7:30 am, yuck!  I decided to come back in pronto.

I'm so lame in fact that I dropped the bamboo shades in the back of the house and back door so I wouldn't even have to look out in the garden.

Here's what I got done today...

1. watered plants, sort of
2. did laundry
3. went to Trader Joe's for milk when what I really needed was a big grocery trip (hate grocery shopping!)
4. hmmm.....
5. oh yeah, surfed Amazon.com for, no kidding - 3 hours...
6. fished out some flip flops from under the couch and swept the floor
7. right now I'm blogging and surfing Facebook while waiting for the kids' bedtime 

Pretty lame, huh?  I know there are others out there dealing with the heat and humidity that has arrived, are you avoiding it like me or are you soldiering on?  I know for here at least, it's going to stay that way, but my body just isn't ready for it!

I'm so lazy I couldn't even take pictures of my laziness today!

Things are looking up soon however, I'm starting a new John Sanford book just as soon as Thing 1 and Thing 2 go to bed!

May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend - Day 4 (lots of pics)

Completely exhausted.  Cooked.  Done!

Today we went biking out in the swamp forests and salt marsh. I am so proud of Finn, he did it!



Loch & Finn when we stopped for lunch

Really hot today, in the 90's with horrible humidity, but it was pretty much total shade out where we were, which makes for a much more pleasant riding & hiking.

The below photos are what our area of Southeastern VA is supposed to look like, before the swamp was filled in and cities and oceanfront hotels were built.  It's my little secret, most of the hikers and kayakers are well aware, but you would be surprised at how many lifelong residents of this area don't know this still exists in places.  I don't offer the info either, unless asked specifically :)

That being said, if you are ever here and looking for unspoiled swamp and salt marsh, let me know and I'll tell you where to go to avoid the nonsense and really see it the way nature intended.

  Check out the bark on this tree...

The Bald Cypress here are simply beautiful.  Here is the base of one, these grow plentifully here and are part of what makes our swamp waters the dark, tannic brown color.

More Bald Cypress

Today was a snake free day I am pleased to say, we didn't see even one.  I know there are some snake fans out there but when you live in an area with plentiful Water Moccasins and have children, you treat all snakes as if they were venomous!

An interesting side note:  there have been alligators as far north as just about 40-50 miles south of us for years now, but our first confirmed alligator in the swamp on the VA side was just last month.  It was a large one, 9-10 ft long.  I think it will be awhile before we have to worry about sighting one ourselves, but it's yet another thing to have in the back of our minds as we kayak and explore.  In a way though, it makes me smile... it means that the area is deemed hospitable to another species, and that makes me feel good.  

We followed nature from the swampy forest all the way out to the salt marsh that opens up to the sound.  The sounds then connect to the ocean.

More sun filtering in shows us lots lilypads, grasses and flowers

Massive ecosystem here, can you see the turtle below?

The first of the tall salt marsh grasses are these cattails, the water here will still be tannic and murky with a mucky bottom.

Below you can see where we left the forest and how vast the cattails are

The water is a tad more open between the next expanse of a different marsh grass.  Walking out into the open salt marsh there is full sun here and a wonderful tidal salty scent heavy in the air.  We are on a boardwalk at this point because it is all watery marsh below.

Below is a shot of the salt marsh.  The cypress dot the area less and less as the swamp gives way to the open areas leading to the sound, the bottom here will become gradually more sandy.  This is brackish water here.

Another shot of a young Bald Cypress, clouds and trees reflecting on the dark water

These are the things I will miss the most when our time comes to an end in Virginia.  Although here courtesy of the military, I realized today that not only was I born here (courtesy of dad in the Navy, too!), I've lived here for the better part of 22 years now, so I guess it really is my home away from home.

Last but not least...

It was our anniversary weekend!  It's been 9 years now and for the most part we can still find things we like about the other :)

Tomorrow we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming, the garden needs work!  G'night y'all!