Sunday, May 31, 2009

Holy Heck!
I almost put in a literal 9-5 gardening today. (I started closer to 10, and I took about an hour for lunch) Despite that marathon, I didn't accomplish everything on my gardening list. But I put a huge dent in it. Today I:
-planted more carrots, daikon, onions, scallions,and spinach
-transplanted 5 more brussels sprout plants
-put in my new tomato, basils, cilantro, dill, chamomile, and lemon balm from this past week's Trax farm visit with dad. While there I saw a sign about giving hothouse plants the porch treatment to get them used to the sun before planting them, so that's what I did. I think it might have done the trick! (fingers crossed)
-hand weeded the entirety of the bed along the side of the house. this took most of the day and was a giant pain in the ass, but oh so satisfying to see nice clean soil with only the things I planted in it. In the process I found several volunteer tomato plants, the largest of which I tried to replant in the tomato bed. I'm kinda excited to see if they make it!
-moved the exotic mints all to the back wall, and planted the two boxes closest to the house with lettuces, fennel, and rainbow chard. If they are successful, I'll switch their spots in the raised bed planter for summer veggies (cukes, eggplants, beans)
-pulled up a turnip! it is nothing to write home about--huge massive leaves and puny little root. I think if we are going to be successful with root crops we're going to have to mix some sand into the soil. I think it compacts too much and therefore it's hard for the plants to form nice big roots. I was really tempted to pull my one beet that made it from the first planting, but I'm gonna hold off. Anyway, tonight I'll be eating some turnip greens!
-pulled up a bunch of giant chard (which wasn't so giant--that's the name) to make room for more brussles sprouts. I don't know if I've mentioned it here before or not, but rebby and I have contrasting gardening styles and it's driving me a little batty. She plants in old skool long rows with spaces in between, whereas I am a fan of the "square foot" method of packing stuff into a square. With my method, it's easy for me to kneel down, out of the box if you will, to weed or thin or pick or plant. I did the majority of the new raised bed, and it's been easy for me to keep up with it. She planted these fordhook chard in there though, and it just threw me off with it's tightly packed row. Also, it was blocking the sun of a couple of brussels sprouts guys I had planted at the ends of the "row" (back when it was a square) Anyhow, I have a bunch more chard seeds and I think I'll plant some more in the side plot now that it's all weeded. I did not do the thinning and weeding in the greens plot that I wanted to, primarily because I just can't figure out how to get in there without crushing anything! So I'm gonna have to make tiny foot rebby take care of it. ;)
I *think* that's it. I seem to have done a good job with the sunblock which is a relief, because even though it has been extremely mild and pleasant all day, the sun was shining down right on me. Dried some sheets on the line for extra springy goodness.
Now it's time for a shower and then on to the kitchen cleaning and cupcake baking portion of the day. Hope yours has been as lovely!
Taking a little break after three solid hours of gardening!
I'm doing all kinds of rethinking, and it feels good.
Put in my new tomato and basil and cilantro. Planted some bunching onions and shallots near to the onions I rescued from the back 40. Did a LOT of weeding, and I'm not done yet. I planted a few new carrots and daikons, but when I turned over the ground to plant more thousands of ants came pouring out. I am consulting the internet for advice. Last year I had the thousand ant problem in the compost and the internet suggested watering it....let's see what the internet says about ants in the garden....

Happy Breakfast

I cannot believe how gorgeous this morning is. It's like the spring we didn't get at the begining of May. I've got lots of gardening to do, and then cleaning the kitchen and baking a birthday cake for my gal. Life is sweet!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whoa, it's been some rough weeks for blogging!
Sorry again about that. I honestly spend at least an hour on the computer EVERY DAY and I don't know why I can't bring myself to just type a few sentences about what I'm doing for my legions of fans (Smirk) and posterity. I blame Facebook, I guess.
Anyhoo, it's Saturday morning and I am going in to work the breakfast shift, and then when I emerge this afternoon I will be off until 8am Monday. I am tempted to make a list so as to make the most of my glorious unfettered Sunday, but I think instead I'll just roll with it, baby. Rebby is out of town until Tuesday in York, PA, so I'm on my own. I am hoping that the weather is pleasant enough that I can spend all day gardening and get the rest of the veggies settled. The couple days of rains this week have been so transformative and things are growing like MAD! I think it's finally warm enough consistently (even on the rainy days) that I can put in the summer veggies: cucumbers, beans, eggplant....which means I need to deal with the back 40. Which means I need to get some more dirt to throw on top of it. Can't carry much dirt home on my own,'s always somethin when it comes to gardening.
I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow of my enormous cabbages and all the greens that are blowing up. It's very inspiring.
Aside from the garden, there was the rebbyq Memorial Day weekend for her birthday (which is actually Monday--she has to spend it in a Motel 6 in York, PA. Poor Rebby!)
She grilled pork ribs, jerk chicken, some venison loin, and then Adam showed up with a ton of sausages. Lots of people were out of town so we thought we had way too much food, but it ended up being a nice sized party. I had my camera sitting on the table out back all day but didn't take one single picture(actually, before anyone got here I took a picture of the dandelion wine jug, but that's it) Silly. I had people drinking mojitos and mint juleps to try to put a dent in the mint which is spiraling out of control. We did put a nice dent in it, but of course with all the rain it's back to where it was. I am determined to spend the summer drinking mint tea.
The party was fun and didn't result in a ton of clean up, for which I was thankful. Also, I didn't get too drunk so I didn't feel awful the next day. I did however, smoke more than a few party cigarettes, so there was that. But for the most part it was all good, except for that I am still trying to deal with the leftovers. Help! My fridge is full of pork!
I've been spending a lot of time lately reading through concert riders to figure out what to make for the Mattress Factory Garden Party. The theme this year is Backstage Pass, and since I am really into themes, I'm trying to come up with some things from rock star catering riders that can be a)vegetarian and b) bite sized. So far I think I'm going to make tiny vegan manwhiches a la Marilyn Manson. That just cracks me up. Van Halen apparently liked three bean salad, apart from the famous M&Ms. I am assuming that the Mattress Factory is going to take care of the M&Ms and if they don't I am going to lodge a formal complaint. You can't have a backstage pass party without M&Ms. I'm sorry.
I am sad to report I STILL have not gotten on my bicycle! Between long hours and bad weather there just hasn't been a good time. Also, I have that stupid thing where I feel like I have to be GOING SOMEWHERE on my bike. That's just dumb. I need to just ride it around a little bit to get a feel for it, and then think about going somewhere. Hopefully this afternoon will be bike ride time.
I think that's about it for the scatterbrain report. As you can see, my world is pretty small these days. I like it that way.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jeez Louise, I'm a sucky blogger these days. Didn't even manage to finish writing about my awesome weekend and here it is the next weekend already!
I've been BUSY. You know, the usual. This week was extra busy because I had Cinco de Mayo dinner on Tuesday and we've got our first wedding of the season today. So this week has been a lot of long days at the restaurant, and when I get home from the restaurant I'm all about laying around on the couch watching TV. So there you have it.
Anyhow, a quick finish about last weekend: after all the good times in the morning, rebby got back from hunting and we decided to do some thrifting and then go to the dreaded South Side Works for Wolverine. The thrifting was very low-key good--we got a couple fancy bottles with stoppers for dandelion wine, and Kizmet, and a rotating spice rack, and some great cookbooks, and a couple new linen dresses and some fake chuck high tops(for me), and a new desk chair(rebby). I think that's it. So after all the thrifting we headed to the dreaded South Side Works and decided to check out the new Hofbrau Haus. Which was OK. Really more of a fantasy German experience for mall goers than anything authentic. The beer was OK, the food was OK....the main characteristic of the place seems to be lots and lots and lots of loud drunk people in one room. We opted to sit out on the patio, which was significantly less crowded with loud drunk people, and kind of plesant. They actually employ security guards to make sure drunk people don't do anything stupid out in the beer garden, to give you some idea of the character of the place. Like I said, it was OK, but definitely not something I will have to experience again. It's Max's Allegheny for me all the way (at least until I finally get to the Kleiner Deutschmann)
We had about an hour to kill till the movie so we got our tickets and then wandered through Sur le Table (soooooo pricey!), sat around the fountain listening to white people play innocuous jazz, and then to Caribou Coffee for a pick me up. Where I was convinced the gothlet cashier was trying to put a spell on me, especially when she said I had to give her my name in order to get an iced coffee. Huh? Anyway, I survived.
The movie was very good. It was thrilling, but mostly it was a tender romance and personal history kind of thing which went to great lengths to show a)why Logan is so full of rage all the time and b)what an incredible body Hugh Jackman has. Seriously, I didn't noticed if the DP was male or female, but he or she was obviously popping huge boners (literal or figurative) the whole time. I was introduced to the mutant Gambit for the first time and he became my new favorite (though I'm sure if I were to rewatch X-Men II right now Magneto would go back to being #1. He's just that awesome) After the movie, we came home and crashed.
Sitting here right now I cannot remember Sunday for the life of me. Rest assured it was a great day as well. I seem to remember planting my morning glories and moonflowers, and rebby mowed. That's all I'm getting right now.
The rest of the week was busy! Cinco de Mayo dinner turned out to be a great success--24 people came and folks loved it. I'm really excited to do special dinners every month.
Then there's been wedding prep, regular kitchen stuff, and yesterday morning I arrived at work to the unmistakable hissing of water shooting out of the back of a broken toilet. It felt a little Candid Camera-esque, especially the part where I was feeling around underneath the tank where the water was shooting out and suddenly it appeared that the toilet was BLEEDING and I was all "OMG the toilet is possessed by Satan!" but really I had cut open my finger on the broken piece. Ha. I managed to get the water to stop shooting out by wedging a ruler under the plunger arm so the toilet couldn't fill. I was pretty proud of my McGyvering under pressure and extremely relieved to be able to go back to making breakfasts without having to stop and mop every 10 minutes. The day got much better, believe me, and ended with Jamaican food from the ladies across the street, two big glasses of 9% Trippelicious, two episodes of South Park on tape, and a very early bed. Hoorah!
Now I gotta go cut the cheese (ha!) and find my catering pants and get showered and on the go.
I'll try to be better, she said resignedly.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Quick Update on a Wonderful Weekend

Sorry I haven't been around much lately....I have been trying to keep the computering to a minimum and concentrate on the OUTSIDE.
This weekend was the first and last two days off in a row with rebby for quite some time, and we wanted to make the most of it.
Saturday she went turkey hunting (unsuccessful :() in the morning, and I got up and went to the East Liberty Cooperative Market for "eggs." I put eggs in quotes because I came back with a pound of breakfast link sausage, mesclun, baby spinach, a garlic, and 9 herb plants. Oh, and eggs. Oh! And also some really good tabouli made with quinoa and flatbread, which I had for my breakfast. The fellow who sold me the tabouli and flatbread looked like a just out of college duder, and I wanted to support his start up. The tabouli was pretty good...I think mine is better, but I definitely pride myself on tabouli, and the flatbread was REALLY good. He had sprinkled some Mediterranean spice on there (sumac, maybe?) and it was addictive.
So I sat at the back table drinking coffee and eating my tabouli breakfast and planning my herb garden.
I got lemon thyme, which went in next to the English thyme, and pineapple sage which went in next to the regular sage, and tarragon and marjoram which went in next to the oregano. I also got a cinnamon basil plant which I put in the new kitchen herb garden next to the back door (the spot that used to be dark all the time, but since the tree exorcism gets plenty of sun!) and also put four exotic mints back there: orange mint, candy mint, chocolate mint and apple mint. It's getting exciting back there!
The sun was shining down on me and I was ready for labor, so I grabbed the cultivator and started ripping out weeds along the back fence for a wildflower bed. In the process I stumbled across a small patch of bunching onions that the previous Italians must have left. I dug them up carefully and transplanted them over in the garden...hope it works! After a lot of weeding and scraping I wound up with a nice spot for echinaceas, columbines, poppies, daisies and blackeyed susans. I hope some of them come up at least! There's about another two feet to weed for my butterfly and hummingbird wildflower mix, but I ran out of steam for that kind of heavy labor. Maybe tomorrow.
So next up was the vegetable transplanting---I put in my third of four kobucha squash plant, six brussels sprouts, and I thinned and moved my cabbage starts. Huzzah! Oh, I also transplanted my herb starts too--sweet and thai basil, dill, cilantro and parsley. I think that was all I did on Saturday morning outside. While all that was going on I baked some bread too. I think I've mentioned the 5 Minutes a Day thing before---perhaps the best part about it for our household is that I am baking tiny little loaves that we actually can finish off in a day or two. There is nothing quite so demoralizing as having to pitch the end of a beautiful loaf of homemade bread because it went moldy. With these little loaves there isn't any waste, and now that summer is here if there are unused bread ends they will become delightful crutons. Because we are gonna be eating MAD SALAD around here, I can tell you that.
Wow, there's lots more weekend to tell but I have to go to work. I will really try to finish later today!