Friday, July 25, 2008

Garden Update

Here is the status of my Victory Garden. Aphids are rampid. Today I sprayed the garden with a soapy water spray. Hopefully this will make a dent in the infestation. The deer haven't destroyed anything recently (I am afraid to be too positive), however Thumper and the E.B. (Easter Bunny) have moved in. Tonight while eating pizza on our front wrap-around porch Victor noticed a RABBIT (I think it was Thumper) hopping along like he owned the place. The nerve. My carrot and beet tops have obviously been someones lunch and dinner in spite of being totally surrounded by marigolds. More pepper spray and grated Ivory Soap I guess.


On a more upbeat note ...

My "Nutri-Bud Broccoli" has performed beautifully. I have always thought that broccoli was tough to grow, but this year it was problem free. I cut off the large center crowns when they were ready and then waited for other smaller shoots to sprout up. I need to replant again as broccoli is content in cooler weather.


My potatoes are almost ready. My Father-in-law (who is from Portugal and knows a thing or two about gardening and especially about potatoes) told me that potatoes stay in the ground for 3 months, which basically boils down to waiting until the plants are completely done flowering. Then, the plants should be trimmed down --- wait one week --- then dig them out. While I was trimming the tops off I ran into several potatoes here and there, and they looked beautiful! My red potatoes are the most gorgeous red, and the Russian Banana fingerling potatoes look impressive. Of course I will be worried until I pull them all out of the ground that they are half devoured by some pest or other -- but what I saw today looked encouraging. This is the first time I've tried growing potatoes. It seems miraculous to me. Better than unwrapping a gift at Christmastime. Tomatoes, a vegetable I've grown for years, plod along from seedling to plant to flowers to fruit. But, you see the whole thing as it happens. Potatoes do this amazing thing behind closed doors. Wonderful.


My Siberian Kale is flourishing. I've been making braised mixed greens. Stealing a few branches off of my turnips and beets -- mixing them with the kale. Cover the bottom of a pan with olive oil. Throw in 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt (depending on how many greens you're cooking), plenty of freshly ground pepper and a bunch of shakes of crushed red pepper (I like them spicy), thinly sliced garlic and if you have it- some sliced onions -- cook until translucent and slightly golden over medium heat. Then put the greens in -- they should be slightly damp from being rinsed which will help to steam them. Put the cover on the pan. Toss the greens around from time to time. Take off heat when the greens are done to your likeness. Eat!


A few of the beets that took early in the season were ready for eating. I baked them in the oven the good ole Fannie Farmer way with butter, salt and pepper. They were fabulous.


My zucchini and yellow squash are only doing OK. Some of the flowers are just falling off (not pollinated?) I should have planted more. That is one thing I've learned. I feared having too many of one thing and therefore planted conservatively with some things. But, invariably some plants get eaten, stomped on, or just don't take. This is true for my zucchini, eggplants and okra plants. Next year.


My tomato plants are big and loaded with fruit -- but green fruit. As my father was lamenting the other day ... here in New England tomatoes are for August and September and that's it. But, the are worth the wait and the short season.


I planted loads of peppers. Cayenne, Jalapeno, Thai, Sweet Red Peppers, Orange Peppers ... especially red pepper plants. I've been worried about them because I was pushing the planting season a little, then we had a cold couple of weeks. I read that peppers wont produce fruit if they are "put out in the cold". So far I have flowers and I am starting to see baby peppers peek out. Exciting.


Alright, I've gone on long enough. More gardening news later ....

Tut Tuttle Trip

For your viewing enjoyment ... We are back in our wooded, inland home ... closer to "civilization" including access to my computer with photo card access and faster than Victor's laptop. So, for your viewing enjoyment here are some pictures of our trip on Tut Tuttle to Cuttyhunk and Nantucket. Enjoy! (PS: Am I the only one who struggles to format these pages? Suggestions anyone?)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pretty dern cute.

Aren't they cute? During the summers, when my snowbird parents are "up north", we, along with my brother and his family, go to Mom and Dad's little golfing community on Tuesdays for Family Night. There is always some form of entertainment for the kiddos and a buffet dinner that keeps everyone happy (parents and poor eaters like Ripley included). Before summer struck, Mom cleverly shopped for "matching" clothes for the Grandkids. Here they are in their "yellow attire". From left to right: Ripley, Rosalie, Benjamin and Reese. Coming soon ... Scott and Tanya's number three boy! (due July 29th) Thanks for the good times Grandmama and Gramp!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Fun

Yesterday was the Little Compton Road Race and Church Fair. Ripley and Benjamin ran in fun runs for the kids -- their first ever -- and had a great time. I ran the 4.8 mile run along with our friend Vivian. Vivian is hardcore and finished the race in 36 minutes. I on the other hand was thrilled and feeling great after finishing in 46 minutes. The Church Fair is fabulous with all kinds of game activities for the kids from a climbing wall, to your typical moon bounce, to donut on a string eating contests, to bean bag tosses and fishing for things in a kiddie pool. They had a great grill going with reasonably priced fare, and a "yard sale" (I think they called it a White Elephant sale) to die for. By the time we got to that part the paper back books were on sale for "four for a dollar". I purchased: A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Four Great Plays by IBSEN including A Doll's House, The Wild Duck, An Enemy of the People and Ghosts, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser, Empire Falls by Richard Russo, and for the kids Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Bread-and-Butter Journey by Anne Colver. Of those, I've only read Little House on the Prairie.

After the Fair, we made our way to the beach with friends and enjoyed fabulous weather, beautiful water temps, and FUN WAVES. All of us had our turn catching waves on the boogie boards. What a blast! Afterwards we made our way back to the house for a BBQ of chicken, burgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, tossed salad and Popsicles. I have to wait to share photos with you until I have access to a computer with a photo card access -- I'm still on Victor's laptop. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hello from Nantucket Sound!

We have been blessed to be invited aboard my parent's boat "Tut". Currently we are en route to Nantucket. The weather is beautiful. My boys are sitting beside Gramp "helping" him to navigate, Mom aka Grandmama is reading her latest Diana Gabaldon book The Fiery Cross (which I am working on too incidentally after having just finished The Boelyn Inheritance), Victor is outside soaking in the sun. I'd load a picture for you, but Victor's laptop doesn't seem to have a photocard slot. Odd.
This weekend I am running in the Little Compton Road Race - a whopping 4.7 miles, which for me is all of the challenge I need. I've been running a comfortably paced 5 miles every other day so that I won't be in shock when it comes time for the Road Race. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

For the 4th, friends of ours came to visit us at our little seaside getaway. The town is by the sea, our little getaway is a 10 minute walk away. Anyway, the weather looked a little less than promising so we decided to attack a new hobby -- fishing. Earlier in the week, we'd been by the little harbor here and saw a man in (I'm guessing) his 60's who said he was Greek, pulling fish out of the water literally every 3-5 minutes. It was unbelievable. The boys sat on the rocks mesmerized. Last summer we meant to get out and try fishing, but for some reason it never happened. Yesterday seemed like the perfect opportunity. I'd already gone out and purchased cheapo poles that came along with a mini tackle box all for $29.99. Our friends, the Trigos, were much more experienced in the fishing department than us -- which actually isn't saying a whole heck of a lot since we've basically never fished -- but their oldest son, Alex is a very experienced fisherman indeed. They bought the bait, and Alex and his dad, Carl helped us to get everything "assembled". We drove down to the little harbor where there is a breakwater and a lot of fishermen. (Fisherpeople??! Come on.) It truly is unfortunate that no one present had a camera or video camera because it surely was a sight to see Victor and I trying to cast. I officially lost four hooks I think and two weights. We practically emptied the harbor of seaweed -- attached to our hooks. Even non-fishers would have been hysterical laughing at the sight of us. But, don't you know at some point -- miraculously -- I caught a fish. A flounder!! I managed to get it half way up the breakwater (a large rocky barrier) and then proceeded to panic like a 1940's young lady screeching at the sight of a mouse. I didn't know what to do with it! We'd forgotten to bring a net of any kind so here was this flapping flounder halfway up the rocks and me -- squealing. Victor came to my rescue (as if he was qualified). By some stroke of luck, the two of us, sorry fishermen that we were, managed to get this poor fish up. I know this is a fish story and all, but you'll have to trust me when I tell you that it was about a foot long. We put that poor thing in a bucket with salt water and took it home. Carl deserves a metal for somehow managing to "prepare" the flounder with the sad knives he had at his disposal. I made a marinade out of olive oil, salt, pepper, and lots of sliced onions. Victor fried it up on the grill (on tin foil) and wow did that fella taste good. My first salt water catch. My second catch ever. (I'll have to tell you how my father let the spoonbill catfish I'd caught go some other time.)