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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Garden Update (A Day Late!)

The Big Boys have flowers on them!!!
Amazing...they've only been potted a short while and were kinda sad looking when I got them, nowhere near looking like the healthy specimens you see below:

And the squash have what I believe are the beginnings of buds on you have to have HONEYbees to pollenate - or will ANY bee do? I saw a black bee (not a bumblebee-type, more a wasp-type today...

I was at my sis-in-law's this morning and oh my...! Her squash plants are LOADED with blossoms! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her plants survive (no signs of beetles yet...)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garden Update

Summer's just a couple of hours old and I've got results in my garden to share...
Summer Squash. With no blossoms yet...I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
And see the tiny jalapenos? They're so cute!

There are tomatoes (all green) and I've had some parsley and basil that I've added to salads. But it's the time when everything is perking along but not so's you'd really notice (save the jalapenos! They're so cute!!!)

(I know, I said that already - but they ARE!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How My Garden Grows...

Since this most recent scare about tomatoes and salmonella, I've been feeling pretty pleased that I'd planted 3 different plants back on Mother's Day. Then I went into two of our grocery stores. Not a tomato to be found that wasn't on the vine or a grape or cherry tomato. Now frankly those are the ones I like, but things were definitely looking a little spooky in the stores...
And so I decided to run by Lowes and see if they had more plants - they did. They're not nearly as far along as the ones I've had settled in since the second weekend in May...
They've got several good-sized fruit on each of the patio tomatoes and the yellow pears are just beginning to fruit...

I decided that 2 more Big Boy tomatoes were not a bad way to spend some of my food dollars right now.

Lettuces aren't doing much - the weather got too hot too fast, so they're struggling. I couldn't find "Summer Lettuces" in seed packs, so I think I'll have to forgo that this year.

So the next thought is this: I may need to can some of these tomatoes (Okay, I should be so lucky to have an abundance of produce from potted tomatoes!). Still, I think I'm going to join in on Freecycle again and hope for a good canner and jars.

I found a lovely receipe for rice and dahl today (I adore good Indian food!), and so my next shopping list is getting longer. While I don't believe in hoarding food, I'm thinking it might be smart to buy a few things when they're on sale that I can store elsewhere than in the pantry.

And I joined a challenge in the simple living group on Ravelry to remove 100 items from my house by the end of the month - lots of gals have had a head-start on me. I'm not the fastest at this, either. I'm NOT including the bags I make for people or the fabrics I have to bring in to make those bags.

But I can certainly stand to move some of this clutter out to a better home.

So...Food and Clutter-busting seem to be my projects in June! It really is time to do something about it all! I also re-evaluated the decision to take the bus right now. If my commute were longer, it would make sense. But at this point, gas has to get a lot more expensive for me to justify the higher cost of the bus tickets - at $3 per day round trip for tickets for a trip that is only 7 miles round trip? You can do the math as well as I can. It's still cheaper to drive.

Now I'm going to try dropping a bit of "pixie dust" over the two new tomato plants - they've got a little catching up to do...!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Garden Along 2008!

Norma started something!

Really, it's for everyone who has ever wanted to grow something of their own food, even if they've never known a thing about it - and while I've had gardens that were relatively large, and container gardens for the past 12 years, I still want to learn from someone I know is way better at this than I am!

So I emailed Norma and asked if I could join. She said yes, I posted the button on my blog and voila!

It's a Garden Along!
Come join us?

Monday, June 09, 2008

June's Plans! Sorry, I'm a Bit Late...

I didn't forget, I promise!

I've been making and following June plans already (good thing, since it's almost 1/3 over!), but I just couldn't find the time to get here and tell you all about it!

If you're in this part of the country, you know we've been hit with a heat wave. It's been 95+ for 6 days, tomorrow will be the 7th and then it's supposed to break. We had a tornado last week (the last one? It was in 1974, the year I graduated from high school! We don't DO tornadoes 'round these parts - HA!). But the one thing this heat has been good for are these:
The tomato to the right of my front door and
to the left. (There's another plant behind this one, but it's a different variety and not fruiting yet)

I am SO EXCITED! Last year? I got all of 3 measly yellow pears from my one plant. I am so hopeful this year will be far? So good!

And here is the squash "pot" with the jalapeno pepper on the top rack (there are EEntsy little peppers on it...but I couldn't get a decent photo).

I've been doing really well with eating more vegetarian meals. I'd been taking my lunch to work for some time, mostly soups or casseroles I made here at home...but dinner? Well, I made myself a promise that whenever I felt like it, and had the time, I'd bake a potato in my toaster oven and make THAT my dinner. (It's terrific! One potato - plus the skin - and it's a perfect, simple meal). I'm doing other things that are easy, too. Sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup (okay, not in the heat wave). Sometimes a bean burrito, sometimes an omelet with vegies. Hey, some nights? Cheese and crackers with fruit. The thing is? I'm finding that these relatively inexpensive things are just so easy to fix - I'd fallen into the trap of "easy" being a microwave meal. And that's easy, but it's not cheap, nor does it do a lot for the landfill with the packaging that goes into each one...etc.

Now...before the end of the month? This is my newest addition to my plans:

I'm going to try to use the bus to get to and from work as many times as possible. It's going to add about an hour to my total commute each day...but it's all knitting time. There are a couple of days out of each 2-week period when I just have to drive because of commitments, but the rest of the time, I'm taking public transportation.

SIL and I have used the bus a couple of times when it was offered to get to concerts at the Performing Arts Center when they had multiple concerts booked and limited parking. And it was easy. So, spurred on by my friend, Sandra, and because I'm a mass-transit believer (the one thing I miss about DC is the Metro!), I'm parking the Forester as often as I can. I'm hoping that if enough of us in this valley start to do this, that we'll see the new mayor of Roanoke take notice, and perhaps the county officials, too (they don't like to work together all that well, you see), and maybe, just maybe
1. the bus routes will be expanded (they make only small forays into the county),
2. the time-tables will, as well (they stop running at 8:45 p.m.! what do you do if you work 2nd or 3rd shift?),
3. and that just maybe, they'll offer service on Sundays (um, no, in this town apparently the powers that be don't think anyone who HAS to ride the bus really wants to go to church or might have to work or anything special!)

But there's another reason I've giving up driving my car every day: I don't think either one of the men running for President has a clue as to how to "solve" our problems. Perhaps one is being genuine when he says there are no quick fixes, and that will win him points. The other? Please. Tax holidays are pointless, the price will just re-adjust - fast.

We don't have a lot of choices. Life is already tough for many of us, and it's probably going to get tougher. We are in love with our cars (I do understand, believe me, I adore my Forester, and thank goodness she's a 4-cylinder car, the mpg is better than so many others out there). And with my business I need a car that large for transport to shows - which don't happen that often! The rest of the time? Not so much...

But I think WE, the people of this country, are going to have to be the ones to take this problem by the horns and do something ourselves. The leaders can't do much short-term - their job is long-term planning, retro-fitting, reseaching and developing alternatives that don't affect the food supply, and then MOSTLY spending time working on relationships with the other leaders of countries all over the world - this is a crisis we are in together and we have to start facing it TOGETHER.

It's gas. It's food. It's the economy. It's the environment. I can only change me and my behaviors. And I can hope I inspire some of the other people in the world to change their own. One step. One voice. One vote.

(stepping down off the soapbox now)
Oh...I'll be the "youngish old lady" on the bus, knitting socks, with her MP3 player attached! And probably wearing purple! *wink*