July’s garden

It wouldn’t be our garden without some troubles.

This garden is pretty empty:

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First the cucumber died, then all but one green bean plant kicked it and now the acorn squash is dying off. It looks like we have an infestation of cucumber beetles. Just laid down some chemical death. RIP buggies. The grape tomatoes seem to be thriving.

The other garden is a riot of life with only the cilantro plant calling it quits.

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You’ll notice both gardens are covered in netting. There are too many hungry birds in the backyard and the netting has stopped us from losing any more tomatoes. After the fifth tomato hanging on the branch with half of it missing, we laid down the law.

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Way back machine

Our entree for dinner tonight is the same as the first meal I cooked for the better-half. It’s funny that we remember that meal so well. The only thing that’s vague is the starch side dish, but the entree, vegetable and wine are firmly in both of our memories.

The entree came out of a cookbook from the bookstore I worked in when I graduated from college. The entree can be considered my first adult dish. That go-to dish everyone should have according to Them. Whoever they are.

It’s called dilly chicken breasts and it is dead simple. Mayo, sour cream, fresh lemon juice, garlic, dried dill (I used fresh tonight) and salt and pepper. Bake until done and eat.

As I was whipping up the sauce we talked about cooking as single people. Neither of us did much of that – I probably did more of that than he did. Mostly because I had no money and it wasn’t anything fancy.

When we first met we ate out all the time. His first dish for me was a chicken and walnut stir fry recipe from his uncle. We still have the recipe and it has lots of instruction along with the ingredients. He had never cooked for anyone before. I guess courtship does things for people.

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Fifth of July

We celebrated the holiday on Saturday instead of Friday like everyone else. I took this picture before folks arrived:

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I swear to all that is holy

When the trumpet sounds, it will be Diana Ross singing us home. No. lie.

I only have a blurry picture but that’s really Diana.

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Fun with the weekend

I’m on a 3 day weekend. Yay!

It started with the hula woman:
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She hula’d for at least 2 hours straight.

Then there was the very long coal train that partially interrupted Neko Case:
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The weekend is just getting started.

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On it’s way

Back in early May, Nut 2 and I worked on some gardening chores in exchange for a honking Lego Friends Cruise ship thing. She came over three times and we mostly pulled ivy and random spindly trees out of flower beds. The last gardening day we planted a flower bed.

The flower bed is in front of the house and is the former site of an oak tree. We don’t know if the tree was damaged in a hurricane or if it just got sick. We’ve seen some old photos when the tree was massive and healthy and some when the tree looks terrible. At any rate, the people who sold us the house had it removed and the stump ground. It was overrun by weeds and mushrooms.

The better-half tilled it and added composted manure and top soil:

Then Nut 2 and I planted some bulbs (a lily mix and Dutch iris) as well as some plants from Lowe’s. I don’t remember what they are called but they are all perennials and will likely clump and spread out. I can describe them as purple, violet and red/orange. How’s that for technical names? I plan on filling in with some daffodils and crocus this fall.

Finally, yesterday after work, I removed all the encroaching weeds and dug a trench around the bed with a hoe. ‘Ho on hoe action! Then I put down 11 bags of hardwood mulch. The bed looks so much better now that it has been weeded and mulched. I fully expect this bed to be something that just gets better in the coming years. Right now it is the little flower bed that could:

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New Food

The other day I mentioned to the better-half that we needed to try some new dinners. We’ve been in a lazy rut. Cooking, but not trying too hard.

Tonight we made planked salmon and haruki turnips and Israeli couscous salad.

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The turnips were from our last veggie box from the green grocer down the street. We’re taking a break from them so we can hit the local farmer’s market.

We had the best raspberries from the market over the weekend. That’s the good thing about summer in VA…lots of fruit and vegetables.

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Real quick

Today I saw a colleague’s inbox. She has 527 unread messages. Let me say that again because it is so important–527 UNREAD messages.

Pro-tip: do not do this.

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Garden Update

Just picked our first serrano pepper. The better-half will be very pleased when he gets home.

In contrast to the state of the garden in late April:

This garden contains all of the herbs. We realize some of these plants will eventually need to go in the ground. We’ve always had luck with sage and rosemary so they will probably get moved into an actual bed later this year. The chives we brought from our old house, and I thought they had died. The thyme lived in a pot for most of last year waiting for us to move. It is so much happier now that it’s in a more permanent place.

We also have tomatoes and a passel of peppers, including the serranos.

Our other container holds a cucumber, a grape tomato, acorn squash from a squash from the old house and several green bean plants. There will be more green bean plants soon as we planted another couple of hills this past weekend.

We’re hoping for a good outcome this year because, as you know, vegetable gardening hasn’t really worked out for us in the past.

This little critter has been spotted all over the backyard:

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Smells good and looks good

I’ve complained about how there is a lack of flowering plants in our yard. The peonies came up and were a brilliant display of white and pink. I didn’t know peonies were ever white. Apparently, I’ve been under a rock.

We have some sort of privet hedge and it’s slightly out of control in spots along the city sidewalk. It has spread all over the yard and we’ve been digging it up because, dang, who needs all of that.

This week some of it has bloomed. It smells a little like heaven in our backyard. I cut some branches so the inside of our house would smell as good.

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