Thursday, June 26, 2008


This week I learned a lot. Number one is that I shouldn't schedule two physically demanding events a day for the boys. Although they're going to bed without trouble (there's a first!), they're getting run down. Today was the last day of that, thank goodness.

Number two is that there is no way I could go to work full time. I've been away from the house about six hours a day this week, and between coming home tired, trying to get dinner, the laundry, yard work, house work, and bills paid (end of the month, and all that), I've been a stressed-out wreck. I honestly don't know how working moms do it. My hat's off to them.

And also, this'll be my last post of the month. More commitments for the weekend will leave me with no blogging opportunities. :-( I'm afraid I didn't complete NaBloPoMo this month, but I'm going to give it a go next month, when I'm not so, well, committed. And food for the theme! Should tie in well with all the produce from the garden, forays to the farmers' markets, and my experiments with Meatless Monday.

Hello and thanks to all the new readers! I love comments, even if I don't respond right away. Keep after me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quick post

Not much time to post today. I put down the soaker hoses with help from Thing 2. Got two of the veggie beds watered. Otherwise, been very busy running here, there, and everywhere. I think I've been home about four hours today. Tomorrow will plant parsnips. Wanted to get that done today.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In the Pink

Ooooh. Am I lobster woman today. I had to be outside for three hours today, and I was not prepared for it. It was cloudy when I left! No hat, no sunscreen, no long sleeves. And I get to do it again tomorrow! I'll be prepared this time.

Tonight was another Meatless Monday, and although I liked the Ragin' Ratatouille, the menfolk didn't care for it at all. Sigh. I'll keep trying. Anyone have a meatless dish that they'd like to recommend?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fitting in Dad's Shoes

You know the time will come when your kids will be taller than you, but it's kinda scary when Mr. E is handing down soccer cleats to his 12-year-old.

Whatever the Weather....

Ran out to check on the garden today. The radishes, lettuces and (finally) the cucumbers are up. Still no sign of corn or squash.

We had on odd, hot (83 degrees) muggy day yesterday. I guess a cold front moved through, and it pulled heat and moisture up here from down south. The only reason that 83 was unusual is because it's been so cold this year.

I think I finally turned off the furnace for the summer. We had quite a bit of wind last night. I was hoping we'd get a thunderstorm because the garden needs the water, and I just love thunderstorms. We don't get them too often here, although before we moved here apparently they had them more often and there are stories of trees that were hit.

The next week looks fairly dry, so I'm going to pull out the soaker hoses and get the boys to help lay them out. For those in the Seattle area, there's a website that shows how much water has evaporated from your soil on a daily and weekly basis. Just click on the station nearest you, and there's all sorts of useful information on solar power and irrigation requirements.

I keep hearing yelling from the other room. The guys are watching the Spain-Italy match. It's overtime....

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Well, I missed yesterday. During dinner we decided to do a spur-of-the-moment trip to the drive-in. Ergo my missing posting since after dinner is usually when I do it. Anyway, we saw Kung-Fu Panda and Get Smart. I thought they did a good job with Get Smart, having grown up watching the TV series. If you've never seen the series, the movie probably wouldn't seem as good. Anyway, we got home at 2am, since the first movie didn't start until 9:30, it being so light out.

Thinking we would all sleep in, Mr. E woke me up at 8:30 with his snoring, and Thing 1 was up at 9. He gets very cranky and unreasonable when he's short on sleep, and so do I. So we were at each other by 11, Mr. E and Thing 2 sleeping away. Which wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that we had company coming over for dinner.

I left to go shopping. I normally don't do this on Saturday, because town is an absolute zoo. But go I must, and when I got to Costco, there wasn't a parking spot to be had. I thought of waiting for this guy to pull out, but I totally hate it when people do that, so I decided to try over on the other side of the lot. Lo and behold, an open parking place right in front of the store. Karma?

In and out and to the grocery store, also a madhouse, and 2-1/2 hours later I'm finally home. I'm totally exhausted and try to sleep, but am woken 15 minutes later.

Dinner went off well (a coworker and his family who just moved from California). Salmon, fruit and green salad, and bread. Now I sleep.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Note to Self:

No caffeine after 6pm. Otherwise one can't sleep a wink. So.... tired....

Been working hard on my first quilt, using recycled old jeans. Tune in tomorrow, when brain cells are functioning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sour Summer?

Oh, my! Can it be? My 100th post! Woo-hoo!

Our first taste of summer came today in the form of three "ripe" strawberries. I say "ripe" because they were red all the way around, but boy, were they sour! Only my lemon-eating Thing 1 liked them.

The whole next week is forecast for off again, on again rain. The boys are defying the weather outside and are wearing shorts. I keep trying to turn off the furnace, but wind up turning it back on again a day or two later because the temp inside is in the low 60s. If it were just me, I'd probably live with it, but as it is....

No sign yet of anything I planted over the weekend.

The last two days have been teasing, as it's cloudy all day, and suddenly clears just as the sun is going down.

Made a yummers jambalaya tonight for dinner. Thing 1 went back for thirds. Hemplers, in Bellingham, makes great andouille sausage which is a must for jambalaya, and hey - it's local! Can't say the same for the shrimp or rice in it, though. If the heat won't come from outside, I can at least provide it in the form of cayenne. :-)

Speaking of yummers, I made a scalloped potato dish that was to die for. It used a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and smoked cheddar cheese. Sounds weird, I know, but it tasted heavenly. I got the recipe for it and the jambalaya from the America's Test Kitchen Best Recipe cookbook.

Pretty sad that I'm still making winterish comfort food in mid-June....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Of New Websites

Worldchanging has a new, just-for-Seattle area folks, website, WorldChanging Seattle. Makes a great compliment to Grist and my morning cuppa tea (Stash English Breakfast, splash of milk).

Bill McKibben has a new site up, His goal is to get the world to think of 350 as a desirable level of atmospheric CO2, and to strive to drop it to that point. Just launched in eight or nine languages, I was having trouble with the "find an action" button. Maybe there aren't any yet.

Somewhere, I would love to find out exactly how much CO2, water, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity my family is "allowed" for a sustainable existence. I suppose some would argue zero in the fossil fuels areas, but wouldn't you like to have a number to see where you stand and how far one needs to go to get there?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Elusive Marinara Sauce

Our Meatless Monday dish tonight was gnocchi with garlic tomato sauce. It turned out so-so. The gnocchi was a little undercooked. The recipe said to pull them out of the water as soon as they floated, but they really needed a few more minutes. The gnocchi were made of only potatoes and flour. I prefer ones made with a little egg. They definitely needed salt. The sauce seemed bland, even though it had 9 cloves of garlic and a ton of herbs. It could be because the garlic was my more mild Inchelium Red. Had I used Music, you definitely would've tasted it. Mr. E says that it needs to be baked in sauce, which my recipe didn't say to do. He tried it and said it helped a bit.

I'm trying to find a new marinara sauce. The one I used to make used a can of condensed tomato soup and a can of tomato sauce. But I'm trying to get away from high fructose corn syrup, which is in the tomato soup now, and there's no getting around that. My new sauce would preferably be something I could make from my own tomatoes. Making tomato sauce is easy. I've canned some before. I just want that bold, creamy taste....

The one good thing that happened tonight was that I finally got to use my immersion blender. You have to be careful, but man, did that work great! In a matter of seconds I had all the tomatoes pulverized into a perfect saucy consistency. I always hated using the food processor (it leaked) or the blender (too small) for soups, and then all the dishes afterwards. Now I won't have to, and only the stick to wash! I can think of a million things I can use it for - applesauce, soups, tomato sauces.... Okay, maybe not a million.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thinning Onions

Ahhh! Finally two gorgemous days back to back!

After putting laundry on the line this morning, I did the first thinning of the onions. I planted seed of two varieties, Prince, which I bought last year and didn't manage to get in the ground, and Varsity, which I bought this year. I know that onion seed only has a one-year shelf life, but I figured I'd give it a try. The old Prince seed definitely had a lower germination rate. So much so that I hardly had to thin them at all. But what came up was also very weak and spindly compared to the Varsity onions. I suppose the old seed = weak seed = weak plants.

Thinning is so hard for me to do. I don't like the feeling of playing God with baby plants. "You must die even though you're a much stronger plant than the one I let live back there. You're just too close to this guy." It's cathartic to take out one's aggression on the weeds, but I feel remorse for each veggie I have to pull. I know, however, that if I want bigger, useful onions, carrots, lettuce, whatever, I need to sacrifice a few plants. At least the babies will wind up in tonight's salad.

Oh! In a DUH moment yesterday, I finally realized why I had such low germination rates with my lettuce. I could never figure out why lettuce I planted would have a tough time germinating while lettuce seed that just fell to the ground in the fall was sprouting all over the place come spring. I was planting the seed too deep. You're only supposed to plant it 1/8" deep. I was planting it at least double that. Duh. Read the directions, girl.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Busy as a Bee

I've been as busy as this little fellow today.

Today I:

(Re-)Planted 36 row feet of corn - Bodacious
Planted 4 hills of acorn squash - Tuffy
Planted 20 row feet of lettuce - Red Sails, Buttercrunch, Romaine, Salad Bowl, and Black Seeded Simpson
Planted 20 row feet of carrots - Nantes and Royal Chantenay
Planted 4 row feet of radishes - Cherry Belle

And I did one of the ickiest jobs in the garden: Cleaning off the apple maggot traps. Haven't seen any yet, but I caught a ton of other bugs. Yuck.

Some strawberries. The boys can't wait!

This is what the socks look like on the apples.

My one and only pear. This spring was so cold, even the bumbles didn't wake up in time for the pear blossoms.

And the western half of the veggie garden. In the front bed are potatoes, and off to the left out of the picture are onions. In the back are the tall soup peas (Amplissimo Viktoria) and shorter shelling peas (Early Frosty). In front of the soup peas are cabbages, broccoli and a couple of lettuces.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blog Block

Okay, so I shouldn't be trying to cram in a posting at 11:30pm after attempting to watch a really awful, went straight to DVD and shouldn't have gone that far, David Carradine movie. I'm totally brain dead, and after three tries to write something thought-provoking, I'm packing it in and calling it a night.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Swimmin' with the Fishes

Things always seem to come in threes. Today it was taking my two (not-so-) little fishes for swimming lessons. Then we had baked cod for dinner. Lastly Thing 2 and I cleaned his awful (gak!) fish tank.

In garden news, I replanted my cukes. Everything is doing okay, considering the weather. The peas are podding. The hardneck garlic is starting to scape (grow scapes? scapify? I don't know the correct term). The potato vines are positively huge! I'll try and get the corn in tomorrow, and some lettuces, carrots,....

No, Wait!

I got distracted! I went to a book club meeting, had dinner with M and a long gab afterwords, got home at 11, and Mr. E made me watch the Top Chef finale. Now it's past midnight!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


No real post today. I woke up with a headache, and nothing I've tried has helped. Mr. E was so kind as to make dinner tonight (bratwurst, sauteed onions, and bread), and now I'm going to try to sleep.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blustery Day

Will summer ever arrive? Rain, rain, wind, and more rain today. Not our normal small drops, but big ones, driving hard and fast. The snow level is dropping to 2000 feet! One of the news stations said the temps are more like late October. At least in October you get crisp, sunny days.

I'm hoping to replant the corn on Wednesday. It's supposed to at least be dryish, if not our normal temperatures. If I don't get it in soon, I'll have to forgo it for this year. I bought some cucumber seed from (cringe) a rack at the grocery store. I'm not taking any more chances and starting it indoors tomorrow.

Watched "The Mole" tonight. I love that show. I thought the mole was Nichole until I heard the "next on". Actually, now that I think of it, I really think she is the mole. What doctor would threaten to kill someone in their sleep? Nope. She's it.

A mostly worthless day.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Workin', Man

Busy day today. I will be a soccer widow for the next three weeks, as the Europeans are having their big tournement. Mr. E and the boys headed to a friend's to watch Germany and Poland play. I stayed home to:

1.) Dump four wheelbarrow loads of compost on the potatoes,

2.) Weed out 1-1/2 herb beds,

3.) Weed the leeks,

4.) Put 100 socks on apples,

5.) Planted some rosemary,


6.) Prune the Alkemene apple a bit.

I have almost gone through the 300 socks I bought, and still have a tree to go. Trying not to count my apples before I've harvested them, I figure I'm looking at over 100lbs of apples this fall. WTF am I going to do with 100lbs of apples????

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Paddington in Paris

Mr. E took a (very long) business trip to London, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo. Paddington hitched a ride from Paddington Station, and insisted that his photo be taken in front of all the Parisian sights. Tres jolie, non?

Friday, June 6, 2008


If you want to watch an interesting silent movie, Metropolis has incredible sets and, for the time (1927), ground-breaking cinemetography. It's about the working class (hands) versus the upper or management class (head), and the prophesied mediator (heart) needs to help them work out their differences to save the city. Social commentary on the idiocy of mob rule and idleness of the upper classes. If you can get past the breast-grabbing, wild hand-gestured overacting, it's kind of fun. Too bad many of the action scenes were missing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quick Note

We have company tonight, so just jotting down today's happenings:

Picked up concert tickets for Weird Al, grocery shopping, boys to swimming, and, after all the rain today (again!) I decided it was a clam chowder kind of night.

This was after trying to find sole usable for sole muliere. It must not be in season. I did find this site which has which fish and meats are in season when.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Officially over $4 a gallon

I bought my first $4 a gallon gas today (in the US). $4.039, to be exact. I can't say that I'm sorry for it. I am in hopes that all those people who voted against all the mass transit initiatives in the Seattle area are thinking again about their choice.

In looking back in my journal, On March 20, 2007, I noted that gas was $2.70 a gallon. It cost me $1.10 to go to the grocery store, and $1.55 to Costco. Now it's more like $1.65 to the grocery store, and $2.33 to Costco. $3.05 just to take Thing 2 for a checkup.

I wish that the roads around here were better for bicycling. There are no shoulders, open ditches, and huge trucks so wide they can't fit in their lane. Really. It's quite disconcerting seeing one of them coming at you; they're crossing the center line, and there's nowhere for you to go but in a ditch or over a steep embankment. And what do they care? Nothing will happen to them. A bike path would be great, but a pipe dream at this point.

If there were a bike path, I could safely bike to town. At $2.00 a trip, I could even pay for a trailer in less than two years! Somehow I don't think that's a good enough reason for the county....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meatless Monday

We eat too much meat in our house. Especially Thing 1 who, if given the opportunity, would only eat steak and white bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, in an attempt to cut back on red meat for a.) personal and environmental health, b.) financial reasons, and c.) use up all these garden veggies, I have instituted "Meatless Monday" at our house. I think that by giving it a designated day, I will always remember to do it, whereas if it's just "some night this week," I'll put it off or forget. Last night was our first Meatless Monday.

I had a ton of spinach in the fridge which needed to be used up. So I found this recipe for 5 Spinach Burritos. I'm not sure what the "5" in the title is all about. I substituted home-grown spinach for the frozen, and sauteed it, covered, with the onion and garlic. Everyone but Thing 1 liked it. His idea of a burrito is one loaded with seasoned hamburger, and nothing else will do (see what I'm up against here?).

Mr. E is now dying for all the other recipes that took me hours to look up, but he'll just have to wait (so will you). I don't understand all the ins and outs of a vegetarian diet, and I think to suddenly go all vegetarian would create serious discord, not to mention the fact that I don't think any of us really wants to go that far with it. So for now we'll just do one night a week, and expand to two or three nights a week from there as we find things we all like.

Ideally, all the food will be local. The spinach was, and the cheese and garlic. I'm working at growing my own onions, and could've used my own salsa, I think. Tortillas? There's a huge Mexican-immigrant community around here, so I might find some, somewhere. I served the meal with organic refried black beans, which went well with the burritos, although I'm planning on making my own in the future. The beans won't be local, but at least they won't be processed.

So, a (mostly) successful start to a positive life-style change for all of us!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gotsta Get Me....

A subscription to Mother Earth News. I picked up the latest issue yesterday. Loads of really interesting stuff on how to make cheese (with recipes), herbal medicines, an article by Barbara Kinsolver, and oodles of other stuff my very sleepy brain can't think of right now.

I, er, stayed up too late reading it last night.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Socks on Apples

Say what? You put socks on your apples? Has it been that cold of a spring?

Yes, I put socks on my apples today. Actually, they're those ladies' disposable footie socks that you get at the shoe store for trying on shoes. The idea is that you cover your apples while still small with the footie sock, and the apple maggots and coddling moths either can't see or can't get to your apples. The socks expand as the apple grows.

I'm not sure if this is going to work. The instructions said to give the sock a twist around the stem to close it, but it didn't close very well. I tried wetting my fingers first, but that didn't help. I have a feeling that the first wind storm will blow away many socks, and then the search will be on to find both sock and uncovered apple. I may end up tying them closed with twine or something. I'm also afraid that they'll make nice homes for other apple-eating buggies, like earwigs.

I covered my Dayton apples first, since they were the largest. I think I covered over 80 apples. These are huge apples at harvest, and if all goes well, I should have 35-40 lbs of (hopefully worm-free) apples from this tree alone! It took a good hour to thin the apples and put the socks on. Thing 1 helped me by handing me the footies and spying any missed apples. Thank you Thing 1! He's my apple-eater, so he'd better help out (says the Little Red Hen). I'll try to do another apple tree tomorrow.

Oooh. We had great news today! Thing 1 made it into honors everything for next year!! I'm so proud of him!!!! (Yes, all exclamation points necessary....)