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Archive for June, 2012

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And that’s not even half of it!

🙂

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Summer Do

I’ve seen a few summer to-do lists floating around in the blogosphere lately, and I thought it’d be a fun idea to make one for myself. After all, this summer isn’t ALL about scraping siding, growing veggies, and settling into my new job right? Right??!?

Hopefully this list will help motivate me to fit some fun and relaxation into my summer:

Summer 2012 TO DO:

1. Watch the sun rise. 

Catching a good sunset is easy enough, but you (or at least I) have to make an exceptional effort to do the opposite. I wonder at what beautiful spot my sunrise watching endeavors will take place…

2. Finish Gone With the Wind.

So far Scarlett O’Hara takes the cake as my least favorite literary heroine of all time. But, I’m only halfway through the book, so there’s still hope for her in the last 400 pages. If I’m not totally miffed by the time I read those famous last lines, I might even deign to watch the movie and see what all the fuss is about.

3. Go blueberry picking.

There’s a fantastic urban blueberry farm that I used to drive past every day on my way to my old job. All winter it has been taunting me with signs advertising promises of summertime pick-your-own blueberries. Since I never got around to planting my own blueberries this spring (sad face), I will be sure to doubly enjoy the fruit of someone else’s labor. 

4. Go swimming. 

Early this year I was fortunate enough to take swimming lessons with my sister. This was a Big Deal for us, because we are approximately 30 years old and had never learned how. There’s no better way to celebrate summer and last winter’s achievements by soaking up some sun and chlorine by the pool. Now if I could just find a pool..

5. Try 10 new recipes.

There’s no excuse, in the season of plenty, not to try my hand at some tasty new recipes. Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

6. Bike to work. 

I have a cool new bike. And I have a helmet. All I need is a bike lock and then I’ll have no excuse.

7. Have a picnic.

This one’s easy. Pack something delicious. Hike/bike/walk somewhere really pleasant. Sit down and enjoy it all! Perhaps that is too easy and I should challenge myself to have a picnic somewhere really unique.

8. Learn a new song on the piano.

It’s been a while since I sat down at the piano. It’s been even longer since I took the time and effort to learn a new song. Something tells me it’s about that time.

9. Throw a party. 

It’s not summer without a backyard festivity or two. Though for me, “party” usually equates with “family gathering,” which is perfectly fine by me. I might even get really crazy and attend a gathering of non-family members. Probably not, but it’s a possibility!

10. Ride an amusement ride.

According to wikipedia, “amusement rides are large mechanical devices that move people to create enjoyment.” I’ve never been a big fan of roller coasters, but that shouldn’t stop me from bringing out my inner thrill-seeker. Perhaps this year’s State Fair will find me squealing on a Tilt-A-Whirl or two. 

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Regardless of whether or not I achieve all my tasks (and achieve in successfully blogging about them), my one hope for the summer is to enjoy myself as much as I possibly can and to make some wonderful memories to help keep me warm when winter comes again. May all your summers be as relaxing, thrilling, productive, and enjoyable as you make it!

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Jeff and I got back home from our bike-run (I bike, he runs) just as darkness was falling here in Rocky Ripple. I looked over in the dusk just at the right moment to see Evie execute a mid-air pounce on something. Something big. Assuming it was a bat, I picked up a stick and tossed it close to her, just enough to startle her away from the thing. This is my usual method of scaring the kids away from bats, which almost always allows the bat ample time to flutter away to their (and our) safety.

This time, however, I didn’t see anything fly away, so we approached slowly, peering intently at the spot where the creature should be. I was so thoroughly expecting to see a bat that I almost did not see the beautifully huge winged thing that was lying on its back in the grass and struggling frantically to upright itself. Beneath a shock of bright red legs and a red and white striped body as big as my thumb, were a good six inches of gorgeous black, gray, red, and white wings. We found out afterward that it was a Cecropia moth, North America’s largest native moth.

With a little effort we were able to wrangle the cats enough to give the clumsy thing a chance to get airborne. We watched as it flapped away over the neighbor’s yard, looking more like some large exotic bird than any insect we had ever seen. Evie looked on ruefully.

The wonders of Rocky Ripple never cease to amaze us!

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It’s been a little while, so I thought I’d post some photos to mark the progress of our garden. Overall, things are going very well in the new location. The radishes outgrew themselves and have all been roasted or composted by now. (Remind me to post about roasted radishes sometime. They are a delicacy!) The turnips are humongous, and I have to continuously pluck them back so that they don’t crowd out the sunlight from the raspberries and carrots. Considering their size, and after pulling up a baby turnip and tasting it, I don’t think I will ever grow turnips again. It was something like taking a swig of nail polish remover (though I’ve never done that so I can’t quite compare the two). I’m sure a roasted turnip could yield a tastier result, but I will save it for the day when I have extra space to devote to the less desirable edibles. You live and you learn and you taste turnips and you know better for next spring.

The raspberries are still coming along slowly but surely. As long as they don’t die I remain a happy camper/gardener.

The bean bed is my little pride and joy these days. I (reluctantly) thinned them out to about 8 inches between plants, which seems to be a good amount. I’m a believer in packing as much greenery into a growing space as possible, so I like to let my veggies nestle as close together as they can without competing. One of these days I need to get around to reading Mel Bartholomew’s book Square Foot Gardening, to try to pick up a few tips for my method.

Grow, beans, grow! They look as if they might burst into blossom any day now…

The pumpkin is coming along quite happily in his little patch. I keep checking the spent flowers to see if any of them are “pregnant.” So far no baby pumpkin bumps to be seen yet.

The potato cage is filling up fast! With a little help from my next door neighbor I finally tracked down a local bale of straw for sale, and the towering potato plants are now nestled snugly and (I hope) producing lots of tasty little buds. I’m hoping they grow another foot or so before they start flowering. I want to get as much use out of that cage as possible!

Ollie reminds me to include him in the garden update.

I haven’t been able to resist the urge to fill every container I have with soil and find something to plant in it. I now have another dozen potato plants going in 5-gallon buckets, as well as some summer squash and zucchini which are coming along fine. Another EarthBox contains several onions, and several corn plants that survived the onslaught of some furry little digging creature who realized too late that already sprouted corn kernels are not worth the trouble.

Sadly, my heirloom ground cherry that I mail ordered from Seed Savers Exchange never got bigger than about 6 inches tall, but it has been blooming and producing these intriguing papery sheaths with some sort of marble-sized fruit hidden inside. I’m very curious to know what will come of all this. If I like it, I may have to try growing some from seed next season.

And last but not least exciting, my tabletop container herb garden is growing by the day. I’ve been too doting to actually use any of the mature herbs yet, but it is delightful to run my hands over them and take in their amazing scents. This is aromatherapy at it’s finest. And most picturesque.

But all the hard work and busyness has not been relegated merely to the garden lately. My goal for the month of June is to get the majority of the house scraping completed. I’m proud and excited to announce that, just this afternoon, we finished off the South facing side! I’m hoping this will prove to be the hardest side to scrape, because it has been a real pain (quite literally). But it will certainly be worth it in the end, just to get rid of that hideous brown. 🙂

Oh yes, and down there among the paint chips and the barren top soil beside the foundation, is the hope of beauty to come: super-tough nasturtium seedlings are peeking their heads and promising to grace a newly painted house with a little bit of complementary colors.

It’s gonna be good! …eventually.

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