Friday, June 27, 2008

So remiss!

Ugh. I guess for now the epoch of daily posting is in remission. Part of that is because I have new tales to tell and want to give them justice.

I took photos of my garden to post, but it looks like they're not wanting to upload, dammit. Oh, wait, at least one of them did. Rock on. Patience, Stew, patience. (Blogger is apparently playing hard to get.)

Shortly I'll be leaving for the Queen City for the weekend, where I'm going for an almost-family reunion. My friend-since-10th-grade jj, her parents, her sister(s?), aunts, uncles, cousins, and me. Oh, and NOT least, jj's two children (of which I've only met one), her husband, her sister's new babe, and her sister's husband (neither of whom I've met either).

I'll be taking them some gardenous bounty in the form of a couple of tomatoes, cukes, plums (from the community garden), plum jam (same, but I processed it last week), and peppers. As you can see below, the eggplant is not yet ready, but isn't it looking nice? The beans are behind, because I planted them way late. That's fine, though, because there's still plenty of time for them.

Now for the pix, which did eventually upload. As you can see, however, some of my edits didn't take for some reason. Bizarre that they didn't save as rotated.


One of my eggplant plants.

Corn! And maybe zucchini. Something in that family, anyway.

Tomatoes. One of many varieties. The first to ripen were the sungolds, as I mentioned before. The second is the Cherokee Purple. This is either Better Boy or perhaps Pink Beefsteak.

Hydrangea. I got this plant about 6 years ago, and it was a baby in a 6 inch pot. (Note the fig tree behind it.)

One of the zinnias. Gorgeous color, isn't it? Cosmos and swiss chard beside it.

Misleading photo of a summer squash. It's only about 6 inches long. Perspective. I'm guessing it will be good to eat in a few days when I return.

My tomato/pepper/cuke/eggplant/marigold bed.

I wish my camera took better close-ups. It's from about 2000, though, so whatevs.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Interesting wordcloud of the front page of this blog. I can't make it bigger without losing the resolution, but the larger, clear size is here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Crossing fingers...

I put an ad up in Craigslist on Friday, knowing that Roommate is moving to the city where I work, now that he too has a job there. Got a couple of bites. The first one was moving into town to go to Local Private University for grad school. She brought her parents, and the whole thing was very annoying. I told her to let me know, and I expect she thought it wasn't a great match as well.

A couple more canceled, having found their dream home, and I had another potential roomie come by this morning.

She has a dog. A cute as hell, slightly stupid, yellow lab rescue with no psychological issues. The girl herself was fantastic, too. Closer to my age, settled in the area, no drugs, no red flags. I believe strictly in being upfront about any potential conflicts, and as such, for example, didn't clean the house or even my room, so that she'd see the worst case scenario. We clicked immediately, and as she left today she said she'd let me know tomorrow for sure, but that she was pretty sure the answer would be yes.

I believe I have faith in humanity again after Former Roommate from Hell.

Update: She said YES! She said YES! I'm gonna have a DOG!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yes, I know.

This has to be tedious for anyone other than me. You know, the daily garden update? Well, not quite daily, I suppose, but still.

Here's the thing. I find myself newly in awe of the garden every time I look at it recently. Something has always changed. A new sucker to rip off, the first zinnia bud, a radish seed pod.

A ripe fig.

I considered waiting to get a picture of it before I shoved it into my mouth, but well, impulse control issues and all that.

This is my first real year with the fig tree, and I was sad that only one fig developed when the tree first leafed out this spring. I thought that was going to be all I got. Then slowly but surely itty figgies began developing at the base of most of the leaves. I don't know why, but I thought all of the figs would ripen at the same time, more or less, even that first one. I noticed that it was looking kind of peaked today. It wasn't shiny anymore, and though big, it just looked like something was wrong with it. Then I touched it. And it was soft. I picked it off, and split the skin with my thumbs. Inside was a rosy purple. So sweet.

Also, I discovered a peach tree across the street from my office's parking lot. It looks like it's nobody's tree, and I will eat from it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


In my zeal, I didn't actually let them get ripe enough, but DAMN it's nice to have tomatoes again.

I just got back from about 2 hours of preparing my new bed at the community garden. Two more wheelbarrow loads of compost filled it in. I amended the soil with some blood meal and bone meal. Then I made two walkways, dividing the bed into three main rows. I lay down some garden fabric, weighed it down with a few bricks, and put some scrap wood in the trough to use as stepping stones.

In the northernmost row I put two watermelon mounds. In the middle, one cantaloupe mound, several cuke plants, and a ton of beans. The southernmost row is all cantaloupes. I need me some fruit.

I met both of the coordinators for the teen program and some of the youth themselves, and it looks like I'll be volunteering regularly on Friday afternoon/evenings. One of the teens suggested I bring the teens from my program over to visit. I think it's a wonderful idea! I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing with them, but lifeskills workshops were mentioned.

Another major bonus of this community garden is its numerous and varied fruit trees. According to the garden outreach coordinator, they don't get sold at the market, but rather are for "casual consumption." Hell yeah. Plums, peaches, figs, apples, mulberries, and probably more.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Exciting. New. Happenings.

Like all my other friends who either have had or will have had children recently, I too have a new baby.


I went over to SEEDS this afternoon and signed up for weekly volunteering. AND I rented a plot in the community garden. It's about 10'x10', and recently cured* of a fire ant infestation. The other choice (why do they have empty beds at all??) had better sun, but was much smaller-- 4'X4" or so. I'd have taken that one if it were the only option, though.

The Southside Garden encompasses the community plots, greenhouses, fruit trees (peach, persimmon, plum, mulberry, fig and probably more), outdoor classroom, cob pizza oven, composting areas and some of their youth-program plots. It's a gorgeous space. SEEDS has tools, compost, leaf mulch, some seeds, and water from rain barrels for its gardeners to use during business hours, and you can come garden at any time. Friday hours are until 8 p.m., so I think I know how I'll be spending my evenings!

After paying a ridiculously low rental price (The sliding scale fee starts at $1 per plot. I actually paid double of the full price, marking the balance as a donation.), I hauled a wheelbarrow load of compost over to my somewhat underfilled plot, but then I was done for the day. I'm thinking I'll need to amend the stressed soil. They use straight compost in the beds, so I'm thinking of buying some topsoil to get some clay in there. After all, we still have a drought on here.

I'm really excited about this, folks.

Advice solicited: what should I plant since I only have this rented until the end of August? I assume I'll be renting it for the September to March growing season as well, but I don't want to count on that. They may have needier and/or neighboring folks to give the plot to then.

*We hope! If you have any tricks about repelling fire ants without pesticides, please do let me know.

Photo redux

I came across my Photobucket account, which I'd mostly forgotten about. Here are some highlights, which many of you will have seen prior.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dribs and drabs.

Inhale....exhale. Cough, cough. It's like a campground out there, folks. Very weird.
Two days ago, a very satisfied customer* sent me flowers. A large vase full of Gerber daisies. It was thrilling beyond belief, and I paraded them around the office, glowing. I wrote her a brief thank-you-for-the-thank-you note, to which I got the response "Oh, and we're making a donation to your organization in your honor."

Wow. Feels good!

*I've decided to call the people who ask me to do community presentations "customers" because it makes me feel good.


Today is Ols's due date. A little girl. I can't wait to see the little poppet. Her parents-to-be look SO different from one another it's hard to imagine how those genes will mix. I'm also jealous that she'll have Moxie to snuggle up to as well as Ols and Mr. Ols.


I'm off to see my sweet Nem this afternoon, but I'm not sure what's going to become of our plans. We were going to go to the botanical gardens and then for some crazy popsicles, but this haze might cause some re-thinking.


Recent transplants don't understand just how much ice has to go in sweet tea if it's not yet cool.


Garden SOC: My tomato plants are overloaded with fruit, especially the Sungold. I love how the itsy tomatoes grow like grapes. I have 1/4 inch cukes. I'm not sure which types of squash I planted, but they're up and thriving. I planted corn, but I'm afraid for their stability. They don't have much topsoil, and what there is is very loose. I haven't planted enough beans, so I have to hop on that. I don't think I ever mentioned that I've companion planted a slew of marigolds in between all of my nightshades. Oh. I have peppers, believe it or not. They're small, but they're there! I think I have some fertilizing to do. The raspberries are almost done, and I have a new one to plant. Thanks, gardening neighbor! I chewed up some Long Leaf Plantain to use as a soothing poultice for my new mosquito bites. Next time I'm out on swampy trails, I'll remember to do the same with Jewelweed, which is one of my favorite plants already. Love the seed pods. And apparently the seeds themselves taste like walnut. Yum.

OK. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Surely you can do better...

Change the US Federal budget to what YOU want it to be!Be a Budget Hero.

p.s., If the link doesn't start the game appropriately, click here and try accessing it from the June 9th post called Budget Hero.

(When *I* changed it, we had fully funded universal healthcare, were saving the environment, social security was funded, pork was eliminated, kids were getting more appropriate and better education, we were out of iraq, and many, many other fabulous changes. And we had a budget that was sustainable, and entirely in the black. Hint: repeal Bush's tax cuts.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hand feeding

Next door neighbor just came over a few minutes ago, slightly frantic. Right next to his back steps were two itsy baby birds. One was dead, and the other had its mouth gaping open for food. They'd fallen or been knocked from their nest. They were about like this one.

As Neighbor readied the ladder to put the baby back in the nest, I rushed to the worm bin and pulled out a handful of castings. I callously ripped a couple of worms into bits and fed the not-even-close-to-fledging poor baby, who gulped them down. Then Neighbor climbed up the ladder, Momma Robin screamed and flew away, and then the baby was back at home.

I hope it lives. I hope we did the right thing.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thinking out loud

I went to the grocery store yesterday and the farmer's market this morning. My goal today and tomorrow is to transform the raw ingredients into meals that require little to no cooking at all. It's too damn hot already.

Probably because of the heat, the only things that appealed to me were meant to be served cold. Lots of fruit, veggies, eggs and cheese.

Here's the list:
1 pineapple
2 mangos
6 limes
1 lemon
2 cans chick peas
5 peaches
6 small tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
2 peppers, one green and the other green and yellow all at once.
5 mini cucumbers
2 mini yellow squash
1 mini zucchini
1 gallon skim milk
2 1/2 gallons "light" ice cream (chocolate and vanilla)
1 jar Ovaltine, chocolate malt
2 avocados
1 bag of store-brand fritos
1 block cheddar cheese
1 round smoked mozzarella
1 head red cabbage
4 multi-colored carrots
1 package whole wheat pita
store brand honey nut cheerios
1 dozen farm eggs


Hummus--chickpeas, lemon, tahini, garlic
Serve with pita and/or crudite (carrots, cukes, zucchini, squash, peppers)
Guacamole--avocados, lime, cilantro, onions, tomatoes
Serve with corn chips
Pineapple Mango salad with mint and honey
Caipirinhas, because YUM. Alternately: Mojitos made with cachaça.
Cabbage salad with onions, carrots, dressing
Chocolate malt
Cheese, straight up.
Cereal with milk

Time for a breakfast milkshake.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Not Satire

Whether she is lounging around the house, going to practice, or doing her chores. These soft athletic style crop pants will keep her comfy. Perfect for wearing with her favorite sweatshirt or tee. These athletic pants boldly proclaim just where she stands by pointing out that "True Love Waits" in a large screen print on the front and back of these pants.

* Drawstring waist
* Bold abstinence screen print
* Elastic cuffs. Cotton/Polyester blend
* Machine washable
* Imported

Buy them Here.

See them in use HERE!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Miss Bridget Carnie Heaton, at your service

Do you ever have people say "You look just like......"?

I think I must have one of those faces. One that is so common* that everyone I encounter can think of someone I resemble in one way or another.

Here are the three most recent.

*Not in a bad way, just not unique or quirky.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So there's this Swedish guy...

HA HA HA HA!! Not like *that*! I wish...


Yesterday when I came home from work, my neighbor was sitting on his porch with another guy and called me over to introduce me. His visitor is a Swedish photojournalist, who's traversing the country in search of the Real America to share with the 500,000 people who read the biggest newspaper in his country. He said he basically wanted to present the United States that's not known to outsiders, and has been/will be making several trips to meet and interview people all over the country. I think he said that so far he's been to DC, and maybe NYC? He'll be here for a bit longer, and I agreed to let him interview me.

In fact, actually, he's going to interview me at the legislature tomorrow, where I'll be participating in an HIV Advocacy Day, sponsored by one of my fave organizations in the state. Since he's mostly only interviewed white men in the 25-40 range, I figured I could whomp* up enough others at this event so that he'll get a broader picture than he already has.

Other than that, I don't really know what he'll be asking me. He interviewed Neighbor yesterday evening, after we'd all sat on the porch for a bit with Next Door Neighdog (who drank all my water, thankyouverymuch), just chatting. I'd gone home by the time the actual interview happened, so I'm looking forward to what he has to say!

Seems like a cool guy and a cool project. I'm not positive he'll come up with what he's looking for, given how pervasive our culture seems to be elsewhere. But I'm more than happy to help.

I just want to be HEAAAAAAAAARD!

*Whomp up alternate definition: find, come up with, throw together.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Loaf

Somebody needs a baking rack. Ah, well, knives on top of paper towel on a cutting board will do for now.

It's pretty though, isn't it?

I would have to pick the first day of using AC to bake no-knead bread, wouldn't I? I'm woefully sweating, as we keep the airco at 80º just to take the humidity out of the air. A 450º oven isn't very helpful on a day like today.

The process of making this bread didn't go smoothly. Sure, whomping the ingredients together and leaving them overnight was just fine. But when I turned the dough out this morning it was so wet as to be more like batter than dough. Is that what's supposed to happen?

I had to work in probably another whole cup of flour just to make it workable, and in the process of doing so ended up kneading anyway. Not much. Maybe 10 passes or so. But still. I was (and still am) concerned I messed something way up.

The coating on the bottom is ground up flax seeds. I fear that may have been a bad choice, because the house smells more like burned fish oil than bread. Thankfully, there was enough flour on the outside of the loaf as to shield the loaf from the flax seeds.

I don't have high hopes with this loaf, but I'll survive. I know that part of my pessimism is due to being spoiled by others' no-knead breads. Like the olive loaf Maria's sweet David made for her party yesterday.

Oh my, I'm hungry.