Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Our first few tomatoes are ripening up beautifully. These are sun sugar, a super sweet orange variety I got hooked on at the farmers market last summer. These tomato plants are doing much better than the other variety I planted, a husky red. The poor husky admittedly had the disadvantage of going in the ground much later, and was then partially crushed due to a tragic accident involving a foot--it is just so tiny compared to the the sun sugars that it was overlooked. Poor thing. Several of the sun sugars are taller than me now. Assuming these first few teasers last that long, I'll toss them into our salads at dinner tomorrow night. I can't guarantee they'll make it in the house though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Swimming Hole

We spent much of our time in the White Mountain State in this creek, either canoeing or just bobbing around in this swimming hole, which is located in the backyard of friends of our friends (fast becoming friends in their own right). We saw the swimming hole when we visited last fall, but didn't truly appreciate its glory without a few dunks. It is mind boggling that a swimming hole of such splendor could be in a backyard; if I lived there, I might never leave. It was perfectly storybook. We also attended a rock concert, ate soft shell lobster with our hands, drank wine, and stayed up late every night, watching the stars and talking all kinds of silliness. It was a great weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Great Escape

SodaBoy and I are cat people--we have always had cats. We easily make friends with unknown kitties, sometimes surprising their human companions, who had expected their shy cat to hide from our intruding presence. We make friends with cats wherever we travel. I still remember the names of cats we befriended on a vacation to California in 1999 or 2000: Peppermint in Scotia, and Seymour in Port Costa; I can't remember what year we took the trip, but I clearly recall the names of the kitties.

One convenience of cats as pets versus dogs is their independence. Certainly when taking "real" trips, like the one to California, arrangements must be made. For that trip, Meshoe stayed with my grandmother. On other trips, our friend P. stayed at the apartment, looking after Meshoe and Elijah both. But for weekend jaunts, our cats have always been able to fend for themselves with little more than a fresh litter box, bowls heaped with dry food, and a multitude of water bowls perchance one should be spilled.

However, with Rhea and Reemsy, things have been different. Initially it was their tiny helplessness that caused us to dump them on my parents for a long weekend of camping, their need for constant medication. Even after they shook off the parasites and accompanying meds, there were issues with Rhea eating properly. She tricked us for a while, crunching away and appearing to eat the dry food, but when you got up close and watched her, most of it was falling right back out of her mouth. We had to start feeding her canned food, and of course you can't set out big bowls of that and take off for the weekend, so our friend M. came and stayed at the house when we visited SodaBoy's parents at Thanksgiving.

Since then, I have transitioned away from canned food (ugh) and I put warm water in dry food to make it easier for Rhea to eat. She loves the gravy train, but it does nothing for the goal of regaining our weekend independence, since someone has to be here to moisten it for her twice a day. SodaBoy insists she is eating dry dry food now, as snacks in between squishified helpings. So for our trip this past weekend, we thought perhaps we could get away with asking my sister to drop in a few times and dole out some soft food for Rhea just in case. Rhea and the eating situation turned out just fine.

It was Beemsy who caused the problem. I had closed all the windows in the house, for security and in case of rain, except one upstairs that the cats love to sit in and sniff the breeze. Sis came Thursday after work and all was well. When she returned Friday evening, however, there was only one cat. Beemsy had vanished. Sis tore the house apart looking for the cat, to no avail. She finally discovered the screen had been torn out in that one open window. Beemsy had literally jumped ship.

We have no cell phones, so enjoyed our weekend with no knowledge of the missing cat. When we arrived home, we immediately noticed the lack of the Beems, and quickly figured out she had escaped by the bowls of food and water placed on the screened in back porch. Beemsy returned to SodaBoy's worried whistle within fifteen minutes, a little wilder perhaps, but unharmed.

But my poor sister! I feel terrible about the worry she went through, she and the friend who stayed at Thanksgiving both, as M. was enlisted in a fruitless search party on Saturday. After the trauma, I am not sure I could ever ask either of them to look after our silly cats again. Obviously I learned never to leave a window open in our absence, but nothing else good came from the great escape.

These cats are trouble.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Granite State

We'll be spending a long weekend in the Granite State, visiting dear old friends and attending a Rush concert. We're departing a bit late, but that always seems to happen. Too much to do. I should remember to take a day off to be at home before heading out of town. There's always next time...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Calling All Readers

Just a quick public service announcement: my review of Lost Mountain is being featured as a guest post over at The Blogging Bookworm. This is a fantastic new site, a collaborative project born out of Green Bean's Be a Bookworm Challenge. Posts include information about treading lighter, green book giveaways, and best of all, tons of links to reviews of green books.

It's a great place to find your next read. Go now! Check it out!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Heart Mulch

One of the things I did with my holiday weekend was get more mulch. That stuff is addictive, I swear. I had just put one of my tomato plants into the ground recently, and it just looked so sad and naked amongst all the other plants happily nestled in their mulch. Plus whenever I watered it, most of the water ran off in various directions and didn't make it to the roots. It was definitely time for more mulch.

I decided I would combine several errands. So I popped open the hatch, put down the back seat, and loaded up the two blue bins and shovel. Then I layered in the soda containers until there was no sign of the recycling containers, and barely a reflection in the rear view mirror over all the cans. My husband is down with many a green practice, but giving up his beloved soda is not a thought he would begin to entertain. In SodaBoy's world, there might be no bigger blasphemy.

So the containers pile up in the garage, drifting into corners until they start swallowing up entire bags of potting soil. I have a pretty high tolerance for such things, but every so often I'll get sick of looking at the mountains of containers, and make such a purge. [This is not simply an issue of too much space--when we lived in a walk up apartment, our elderly upstairs neighbor never used the back stairs, and we would build up huge collections there, as well.]

Now that I am blogging about the joy of returnables, I can compete with myself. The 679 containers I returned in January? Psht!! Saturday afternoon, I returned 826. Yeah, that's right... jealous? Seriously, I rock. And then I stopped on the way home and got my mulch. The only problem with my bottle runs is that they burn me out. That Christmas cactus never got re-potted, and when I got home with the mulch, I was too tired to spread it. I thought I would simply do it yesterday, but by then, the cursed foul heat had sank back over the lands, further draining my energy.

I spent the hottest part of the afternoon holed up reading In Defense of Food, then went out to do some yard work in the evening. Of course, I couldn't spread my mulch without weeding first, and then I got thinking it was about time to use the new bow saw I got for my birthday, and an hour and a half and much sweat later, I had only dispensed with half the mulch. But I had cut out a few volunteer trees from my vegetable garden, and that means more sun for the tomatoes and basil. Plus when the heat breaks, I'll have that extra bin of mulch just waiting for me. Hooray!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Flower Blogging

Torch Lily (Kniphofia sp.)