Check out today’s harvest! Sooooo many cherry tomatoes and two little tester carrots. Plus a giant eggplant?! Awesome!
I wanted to get everything picked that was ready before the great Hurricane Irene comes in this weekend. With projected 70-125 mph winds coming in, I’m worried we’ll lose our garden. I would be so sad if this happened, but I’m going to try and cover everything with a tarp and just see what happens. I suppose that’s all we can do!
I am amazed at how, with some water and nurturing and bucket-fulls of patience, we now have a fully grown and fruitfully producing garden. Here’s an aerial view:
And an inside view:
We have tomatoes of various kinds, eggplants, squash, and cucumbers, as well as lettuce, carrots, green peppers, yellow peppers, cubaneles, and hot peppers. All of this with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (and basil, chives, and lavender) means we’ve been eating very, very well this summer.
We’ve come a long way from our pot garden adventures. Pot gardening was fun but we were limited by the pot size and the plants just couldn’t get that big before getting root bound, which meant the fruit harvest was minimal.
Now we have tomato plants that are growing every-which-way. We have one plant that created six separate different vines that each needed their own stake. Some of the plants are as tall as me:
We are especially grateful to our wonderful neighbors/landlords who allowed us to dig out some nasty vine-y roses and overgrown weeds on the side of the house and lay out a thoughtful garden plot that has surpassed our expectations for growth and produce.
We are also very proud to boast that this garden is nearly all organically grown. I say nearly because we’re not sure if the seedlings we purchased were organically wrought. But all of the soil, compost additives, and fertilizers were organic mixtures (Coast of Maine, mostly, and we highly recommend). Maybe next year we can shoot for 100% by keeping some of our seeds or purchasing organic seedlings and seeds.
The tomatoes, I must say, are the best I’ve ever eaten. We grew some that are as big around as a softball, and some tiny little cherries. We have an heirloom plant that produces pink tomatoes that when cut up look like watermelon and taste perfectly tomato-y. We eat them in salads and sandwiches, or just halve them up with salt and pepper and bite into them like an apple.
I’ll leave you with photos of a few of our harvests.
Jealous? Don’t be. Come on over. We have plenty to share.
This is just a place holder post for a longer, newsy and mile by mile account of our Tour de Lakes and London Adventure. Suffice it to say, we did make it back safely, prettymuch no worse for the wear and with hundreds of happy memories and twice as many pictures. I’m still combing through most of both and will write more soon. But until I do, here is one snapshot of a particularly happy memory:
Here we are, resting our feet after a semi-grueling (but not excruciatingly harrowing) day three ride over only two fells. Am I being a bit cryptic? Yes indeed—you’ll have to check back later for the detailed travel log, which will be coming very, very soon. And by soon I mean this weekend, after I’ve upgraded my system software, downloaded and compiled all photos from Mummy and my cameras, and written a clear and concise account of one of the very best adventures I’ve ever had.
Huzzah!! Today my mom Lesa and I set off on our great cycling tour of the Lake District in England. We are thrilled and excited, anticipating a few big hills, hearty pub meals, cozy B&Bs, and bucolic views. Mom’s looking forward to trying an English breakfast, and I’m looking forward to buying Mom a Guinness!
We’ll be taking off soon from Logan airport for a quick hop across the pond to London, then it’s a three-or-so hour train ride up to Penrith where we’ll bus it over to Keswick. Our flight leaves here at 18:40 but we won’t arrive in Keswick until about 17:00 GMT (12:00 EST) tomorrow. We’re in for a long day but we’re chuffed. That’s “stoked” or “thrilled” to all you Yankees — I’ve been trying to teach Mummy some British words, like “cheers” for “thank you” and “quid” for “dollars”. She doesn’t much like when I say “bollocks” or “wanker” but I’m hoping by the end of our trip she’ll bust out with loud “buggar”.
Check back in with us as we cycle our way around the north west Lake District’s fells, dales and becks.
Yeah, you got me. I have no idea what a “petite lap elephant” is either, but considering this is the #1 search term that links to the blog, such a thing exists. The other question of WHY a person wants or needs a petite lap elephant is also beyond me. Who the heck knows.
I am intrigued, though, and would love to hear your ideas. And since we haven’t had a giveaway in such a long while, I think it might be fun and prudent to have one RIGHT NOW. Well, ok—this isn’t your regular giveaway. Perhaps giveaway is a misnomer. I suppose it’s more of a give-and-get.
Because, you see, I want to hear from you. So I will award TWO Le Petit Éléphant soaps to the reader(s) who can, in my opinion, best (“best” to be defined as “the cutest, funniest, and most creative”) elucidate the elusive “petite lap elephant”. No standard definition will do, however. I challenge you to dig deep, think hard, and be creative. Write a haiku. Draw a picture (mail it to us here). Or pen a tall tale or a lengthy narrative. We’ll name the winner(s) in a future post, and send said winner(s) some Le Petit Éléphant happiness.
Today, I think, was the true start of summer. For starters it was the most glorious day. Full sun and a slight breeze, blue skies. It was warm and not too humid. We Bostonians and Cantabrigians have made it through the annual epic commencement season (Harvard exercises were Wednesday and Thursday) and so the city and Harvard Square, abuzz for the past few weeks with pomp and circumstance, are now saying “¡adios!” to the student crowds and welcoming, well, sort of, the throngs of tourists.
Walking through The Square today were crowds of people—mostly tourists but some lingering students and families—girls in sun dresses, boys in shorts, a snaking line outside the froyo spot, every Starbucks order “iced”, and generally a sense of freedom and excitement. Freedom from books and classes and excitement for what lay ahead. I couldn’t help but hum “Schoooooool’s. Out. For. The summer!” Too bad we’ll work through summer. But even at the office today we didn’t get mail, which, for a finance office, means a small moment of peace and quiet.
Tonight we spent some time tending the garden, pulling a few weeds, aerating the strawberries and planting a few more peppers. Then Mark lit up the grill and made us our first summer feast: burgers, brats, potatoes, and salad. Sooooo yummy.
And since it was such a nice evening, we brought our food and cold drinks out front to the stoop. With plates on our knees we dined al fresco
Our entertainment was, as on every night, a little league baseball game. Tonight we cheered on the Rockies v. Red Sox. Mark provided color commentary and I root-root-rooted for the big hits. There was some impressive pitching and fielding, and nice hits sent batters around the bases.
At one point the game was interrupted by a baby running through the outfield, but security (his mom) intervened and the game went on. The cricketers waited in the outfield with their bats and wickets for the game to end and, and when it had finished and the baseballers cleared the field, they set up the pitch for a late match before the sun dipped below the hills and the twilight turned too dark. There are no lights on this field (and that is probably a good thing).
We love our little community here in Coolidge Square, Watertown. So much going on—people out and about, families of all shapes and sizes and nationalities. Dogs of every kind. Guys of every age and background playing pickup games of B-Ball. A little park with swings, Armenian markets, a diner, and a local pizzeria/fishfry/soft serve joint, all visible or a stone’s throw from our stoop. The view from where we sit—our cheap seats—is pretty great. Can’t wait for more nights like this. I’ll never want summer to end.
Today on our morning walk we came across a small broken robin egg. Looking closer we discovered it had a baby bird, not yet fully formed, still inside the half-opened shell. The poor thing had fallen or been snatched by a predator and dropped out of its nest. The little bird was maybe half done, big bulbous eyes and tiny body, little wings and feet neatly folded in the fetal position. Afraid it might get squished or eaten, I found a piece of plastic and a stick and scooped it up and carried it back to our house.
I wondered, at first, if it was still alive. I knew it wasn’t likely, that it probably hadn’t survived the fall let alone the time outside its egg. Who knows how long it had been there before we found it. Could we keep it warm? How does the bird even keep growing inside the egg—could I recreate that environment some how? How would I feed it? All these questions of course pointless as the little bird was, I am certain, no longer living.
So I found a spot under the rhododendron bush out front of the house and dug a little hole and laid the little bird with its half shell egg inside. I told the bird it was ok. He would be alright, and he’d come back to earth soon, perhaps as another bird, or something else. His tiny spirit would live on longer than his body did. I covered him up with the dirt and laid a wet leaf over the mound and the stick I’d used on top of it. I said another little prayer then went back inside.
I’ve thought all day about that little bird. How it wouldn’t get a chance to fly or be an early bird for a worm. Did his mama know he was gone? Was she looking for him? Or was this just the way nature works, unfair as it seemed. Nature is at once beautiful and powerful, and often incomprehensible.
This small little bird didn’t have his chance today, but maybe tomorrow. Or some day, years from now. Maybe he’ll be an eagle, or a white dove.
Ok, maybe not NEVER… but can you give us just a few days of sun? Please, pretty please?
Is it annoying to complain about the weather? I know, last year I complained about the heat…
Perhaps it isn’t annoying but rather pointless? I mean, what can we actually do about it? Absolutely nothing. Which is why it’s so annoying!
Oh well, today I don’t care. It started raining Friday night, and hasn’t really stopped precipitating some sort of liquid. We’ve seen everything from torrential downpours to thick mist. I really. Am. Tired. Of the rain. The gloom. The cold, enveloping watery veil that seeps into every pore. Yuck.
It’s May, for f.’s sake! Where are my May flowers? Soaked in a puddle, that’s where—all my newly planted daisies and snapdragons are droopy and saturated saying “Enough! Show us some sun!”
I feel squidgy and sowish from not walking to work as I usually do. It’s weird to not walk my 4 miles round trip nearly every day. Walk in the rain!? No way. I’d get to work looking, and probably smelling, like a wet dog. The buses are full and soppy. All the people in there together, we look sad and smushed like marinating sardines. Lots of frowny-faces and frizzy hair.
And speaking of wet dogs, even Gordon doesn’t want to go outside. I tried to take him out last night before bed. It was pouring but he HAD to go out! He got to the top of the stoop and looked at me like “Are you f.ing kidding me?” and walked back to the door. I had to drag him by his collar down the stairs where he promptly peed and hurried back inside. Poor guy. Hasn’t had a decent walk in three days which means he’s extra ornery. I’m not joking, he actually gnawed open a carton of chicken stock, spilled it all over the floor, and lapped up whatever came out. We found the empty carton on the floor with tooth marks in it. Darn dog. He needs a good 10-mile run as much as we do.
Oooh poor us. Pity pity pity party. Boo hoo hoo. I know I sound like a whiny baby. I’m TRYING to find the good in this, I am.
For instance, everything now is so green. And so many shades of green I can’t even count them. It is beautiful. Also, the hot water bottle is perfect for rainy nights, and I do love using my hot water bottle. Hmm… what else. I do like the sound the rain makes when it hits the windows. It’s calming and nice. I haven’t had to water the plants outside, and I know when it DOES get sunny, they’ll do so well. AND, the lettuce I planted outside loves the cool and rain. We’ll have a nice harvest of greens this weekend. OHKAY… there are a few good things about the rain. I’m not so sad or jaded, just looking forward to some sun.
And, hey. I did make quite a fine soup yesterday for dinner—a hot cuppa soup IS the best remedy for a chilly day.
Here’s the recipe—I made it up as I went, but it was so easy. I call it:
Easy Veggie Soup with Pasta (deep. really creative.)
2 T olive oil
2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
1 t minced garlic
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn (you could use fresh veggies – I just didn’t have anything but carrots)
1 cup diced carrots (really any veggies you like, up to 3 cups)
1 carton or large can of veggie, chicken, or beef stock
1 small can of tomato sauce (not pasta sauce, plain tomato sauce – Hunts makes a good one)
1.5 to 2 cups water
salt, pepper, spices to taste (I used rosemary)
any pasta you like, boiled to al dente **tip! keep .5 cup of the pasta water after it has boiled and stir it into the soup – gives a rich taste to it!
Pour the olive oil into a large pot. Heat the oil and add the tomatoes and the garlic. Let them get mushy in there, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat if the garlic gets too brown. Add the veggies and saute them until warm. Add the tomato sauce, the stock, and the water. Let simmer until the veggies are well cooked. Salt, pepper, and spice to taste. Cook your pasta, strain. Add .5 cup of the pasta water to the soup and let simmer a few more minutes. Put a few pastas in a dish and pour the soup over. Eat and be warm.
That’s it. Easy as soup.
If it’s raining where you are, I hope you stay very dry and that the sun comes out soon. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to clear up, I suppose you can hunker down, make some soup, and listen to the rain with a good book and a warm blanket.
If it’s sunny where you are, please send some our way!
Good morning! It’s 4:30am EST and I’m up, showered, and ready to watch the main event.
I’m up with my trusty sidekick Gordon, and we’re liveblogging our view of the pre-wedding fun from our couch here in Watertown. (Mark will join us in a bit… He was up late watching the NFL draft.)
It looks like a lovely morning in London. There’s a huuuuuuge crowd outside Buckingham Palace! I’m so amazed. It’s fun to be up this early. I know my mom is awake (at 2:30am!) in Wyoming to watch. And my friends are up all over Boston.
It’s such a fairy tale. And I can’t help but feel as I and all those millions of other people watching are connected in some way by having gotten up early in our part of the world and watching this all together. I remember my mom saying she woke up early to see Diana marry Charles and then when William was born and brought out on the balcony for the world to see.
Ooooo Posh and Becks have arrived and look smashing. David has a top hat and a Windsor knot AND a medal! And Victoria is wearing a fancy navy dress of her own design and a sweet little hat. Smile, Posh!
The hats, I must say, are fabulous. I’ve seen festooned and flowered ones, and one shaped like some weird pea pod thing. Steven Jones hats and Philip Treacy fascinators.
I’m watching on CNN and the commentary is really funny. Pierce Morgan is great and Richard Quest is hilarious. BTW the buses are not to be called buses, but officially they are COACHES. haha. Oh, you British and your funny names. Pierce keeps chiding Anderson Cooper for wearing a lounge suit and not getting the memo about the morning suit.
Aaaaaand Sir Elton John is here with his partner David Fernish. The crowds out everywhere have little periscopes so to see everything over the head of everyone else.
And there’s the Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife. She looks plain. But it’s a nice change from some of the tacky hats. One blue naughty looking one I saw on a woman with a fresh nose job. Hmm. Don’t think the Queen would approve!
So fun! Hmmm. I’m hungry. Off to find a snack.
Ok back now.
The cameras have moved to view outside Clarence House, which is of course, Prince William and Prince Harry’s house. oooo there they are!! William is wearing his red Irish guard uniform! Harry is in a black uniform. They’re waving to crowds as their car passes down the mall along the procession route. Hopefully Harry hasn’t forgotten the ring. Fun! It’s really happening now!
Oh and this just in, Wills gave Kate a special wedding gift of a signet ring with his crest on it. How sweet.
Here comes the car! Almost there! The crowds are fantastic. Lined up everywhere. Prince William and Prince Harry have arrived at Westminster Abbey. He looks so nervous! Poor guy.
I love the trees in the Abbey. So pretty.
Ok. I think I might have to stop now. Don’t want to take my eyes off the tv now. Too much to see and miss!
Have fun everyone! Enjoy such a lovely day
And Congratulations to William and Catherine! Many joys to you!
• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •
The ceremony is over now and it was just lovely. Music was pretty and o my Catherine looked so gorgeous. Her dress is just beautiful and her in it, wow. So classic. A real beauty. She wore (and is still wearing) the special halo tiara, a gift to the Queen Mother from King George, before he was crowned. Kate is borrowing as a gift from Queen Elizabeth. Her veil was so lovely. And her sister Pippa’s dress was beautiful. Such a pretty cut and line. Modern yet classic. Everything about the wedding was just that — a nod to history in a modern time.
Now everyone is waiting for the families and the couple to come out on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for “the kiss”. They make such a nice couple. So sweet.
All during the ceremony and in their carriage ride along the procession, you could see them mouthing little exchanges during the wedding, private moments in such a public day. Those were my favourite moments from my wedding, the private whispers between Mark and me amongst the crazy of the day, and if I have one wish for Kate and Will, it is that they remember those moments all their lives.
Tut tut, now I must go to work. I’ll be recording all the fun on the dvr and will watch it later. What a nice way, though, to start my day and weekend.