May, 2013 browsing by month



Monday, May 27th, 2013

UPDATE – Here’s another view of things.

We took these pictures to show how many garden beds we have in now.

This is a panorama of the main garden on the west side of the house (greenhouse at the far left).

garden panorama

And this is squashville (though this year it’s asparagus, edamame, artichokes, corn, and jerusalem artichokes), back by the solar panels. We’re putting in 4 more beds in the blank space.


Things are coming along nicely. Fewer trips to the grocery store for us. And better food too.


And the exterior is done!

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

What we’ve been up to

Saturday, May 18th, 2013




A delicacy

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

There are some treats that are nearly impossible to enjoy if you don’t have access to local produce. One of them is scapes.

Scapes are the immature flower stem of garlic. They come out in late spring and are generally cut off before they bloom to allow the garlic to develop more fully. They have a lovely curl to them.

They are also delicious. They have a much more mellow taste than garlic and are something like a cross between asparagus, small green beans, and a chive. You can saute or steam them and eat them as a vegetable or mixed into an omelet or pasta. You can also make them into a pesto. Here is a pasta dish we made with cut up scapes and scape pesto. Delicious.

scape pasta with scape pesto

The tragedy of scapes is that they are hard to get unless you know someone who grows garlic (and they only appear for a brief period once a year). You might see them at a farmers’ market, but we’ve never seen them at a store.

Brad and I imagine that there are fields and fields of garlic somewhere with scapes not being enjoyed. Some day, maybe we’ll seek them out and spread the love.




What’s blooming here

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Some wild and some planted….

11 days, 4052 miles

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

We are just back from an 11 day, cross-country road trip. (I wrote most of this as we traveled, knowing that when we got home, we’d have a lot of work stacked up to catch up on.)

My older sister just got her masters degree (yay!), and we decided to drive to Ohio to see her graduate. We were originally planning to make it a baseball-themed trip, but, weirdly, it turned out that no Midwestern teams were playing in the Midwest during our travel window.

We left on a Tuesday, driving to El Paso to pick up a rental car so we didn’t have to rack up all the miles on our car. From there, we drove through Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, camping along the way. We stopped in St. Louis to go up in the arch, which was fun. On the way to Ohio, we also stopped in the small town of Tolono, IL, where I lived when I was small. It was easy to find the house we used to live in.

After a lot of miles, we reached Dayton¬†on Thursday night. We spent Friday with my parents, and then the graduation was on Saturday. We were happily surprised to learn that one of my nephew’s friends, who has visited us a couple times, was also graduating.

On Sunday morning, we set out again, planning for a slower trip home with a few more leisure stops. Just as we were leaving Ohio, we got a phone message from some people who were staying in our house saying that one of the plant beds was flooded and the water tank was empty (not unusual….there is a timer that sometimes sticks) and that there was a screech owl living in the bathroom of the new house (that is new…although since we’ve been home, we haven’t seen it; hopefully, it’s found its way back to nature). Well, it’s always something I guess.

Our first stop was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. I’d been there several times as a kid (thanks to my mom and dad for taking us there; it was nice to remember being there as a family….and seeing several little kids on our tour, I realize it probably wasn’t easy); Brad had never been there. We took a 2 hour cave tour that we both really enjoyed. It started with about 325 steps down through a very wet part of the cave. The tour ended with the famous Frozen Niagara. We would like to come back another time and do some other tours.

After that, we drove through Tennessee, stopping at a wonderful Indian buffet for lunch in Elizabethtown. It wasn’t long before we reached Arkansas, where we spent two days in Hot Springs. I’d been there several times for work and always liked it. While we were there, we hiked in the national park, visited Garvan Woodland Gardens (new for me), and of course, soaked in the hot spring water. We also had a nice visit with a friend we hadn’t seen in a while.

The next stop was Dallas for a Rangers baseball game. That was fun, and the Rangers lost 5-2. (Brad says that our team is so bad that we’re reduced to rooting against our rivals.) I didn’t realize that Rangers Ballpark, the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and Six Flags are all in walking distance of each other.

The return drive through Texas was long but seemed to go faster than the first time through. There was a lot of wind.

We got through lots more of Anna Karenina on this trip (we’re reading it aloud). We’re at about 80% now. We also worked in a couple movies and several sushi excursions (our guilty pleasures when we’re in town).

This trip was especially nice because of the lovely spring weather. Everywhere we went seemed to be blooming with brightly colored flowers. And places that would be crowded with tourists in summer were much more empty. Thumbs up for spring road trips.