My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Little Garden Recap

It's about time to make it up to you all and post some pictures and stories about the garden.  The weather around here is still fantastic, 60's and 70's during the day and cool at night, and though there's a threat of frost Saturday morning, it shouldn't be too bad.  The zucchini are done, but the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants all still look good and are going strong. 

This was a learning year for us and some things worked: all tomatoes, especially the wild Mexican cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini.  Some things didn't work as well: peppers (just starting to produce now that weather has turned slightly cooler) and eggplant (I think they got crowded out from being planted near the tomatoes).  We'll continue learning, making improvements and trying out new veggies.
This was the main bed of tomatoes.  The word "unruly" cannot even begin to describe the tangled mass of tomato-ness.  I was out of town for some of their formative weeks, and they missed out on some of the necessary staking/trimming required to be organized members of a polite garden society.  Despite lacking that structure they still produced prolifically.
This was the first tomato harvest in mid-August, grape and cherry tomatoes.
This was two days later, cherry tomatoes and beefsteaks tomatoes along with a few eggplants. 
This was the very next day.  We got a ton of tomatoes, Alycia had the food dehydrator running  24/7 for several weeks and we have a ton of sun dried tomatoes for use all winter.  They make a delicious addition to soups, stews, chili, and on top of pizza.  The bigger tomatoes were either eaten right away or transformed into delicious pasta sauce. 
The zucchini plants were indeed prolific and we got more than we needed from just two plants (there are indeed two plants right next to each other), but unlike others who find themselves cursed with too many long green squash, we saved ours with the help of the food dehydrator.  Cut into circles and sprinkled with a bit of the sultry mistress of spice, Mrs. Dash - viola! we had zucchini chips, quite tasty and probably a healthy replacement for potato chips (which we never really eat anyways). 

For the next few weeks we'll try to keep the tomatoes and peppers warm (in case it freezes) and slowly producing more goodness.  I'll make another raised bed or two for next year and we've already taken some of the excess strawberry runners, grown new offspring plants and transplanted them around the blueberries.  We're also going to mulch over more of the lawn area in the garden, in and around the apple trees (I"ll take some pictures of this later - don't worry) so that next year we have more room for large spreading veggies like squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Favorite Things to Read

I know everyone else is NOT like me (this is probably a good thing).  They don't have hours of free time most days to sit and peruse the wilds of the Internet, visiting various websites and reading miscellany to their hearts content.  But if you do happen to have some free time, or appreciate news and information, or simply enjoy reading well crafted magazine articles on the web, I'd like to heartily recommend the following two websites to visit.

Give Me Something To Read.  This site is without a doubt the single biggest time killer in my life, and can easily be pegged as the sole reason why on any given day I get nothing done.  Looking back, I wish Alycia had never introduced to me to the site.  My life (and her life) would be more productive and full of completed tasks, instead of chock full of useless information and a long mental to-do list.   

The site is simply a selection of the top articles from Instapaper each day.  I get the feed in my Google Reader which consists of 2-5 articles every weekday, sometimes there's more, and some days there is nothing.  It has articles from The New Yorker, The Guardian (UK), Harper's, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, GQ, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc.  This last week alone had - "George Lucas Stole Chewbacca, but it's OK", "The Legacy of John Lennon", a new Malcolm Gladwell article, and a great analysis of the efficacy of the death penalty in America.

Another must read for me is Tuesday Morning Quarterback (aka TMQ).  This posts every Tuesday on ESPN.com during football season, roughly late August through January, and is written by Gregg Easterbrook.  If you're already familiar with the column, congratulations you're probably awesome.  If you haven't read it before and you're a football fan I can't encourage you any more to give it a read.  In addition to thorough NFL and college football analysis, Easterbrook is also humorous and informative on topics ranging from economics and politics to space exploration and physics.  It's good stuff. 

Now not only do you have a few things to read, but a deeper insight into how I waste my time every day. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Under New Management

After an intense period of renovation, the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog is pleased to announce that it has been reopened under new management.  Please visit the wonderful new facility and bask in the splendor that is - a new menu, updated/modern fixtures, helpful customer service associates, and (mostly) fungus free restrooms.

The new ownership consortium makes the following promises* to you faithful reader:
  • No more four months lapses between posts!
  • More doggy pictures!
  • More pictures of North Dakota scenery!
  • Less John, more Alycia and Shaak Ti!!
  • More gluten-free, vegetarian recipes and food stories!  
  • Gardening goodness galore!!!**
At the very least we will endeavor to make fewer apologies when there is a huge lapse between postings.  Rather, like a shanked golf shot that splashes into the pond, we'll just pretend it didn't happen, block it from our memory, and move forward with nary a thought of our previous transgressions. 

Stay tuned!!!

*Please note that any and all promises are subject to my whim and procrastinative tendencies, so let's be honest, they may or may not happen.
**Gardening goodness galore offer may only be valid during the months of June through September.  Management reserves the right to regurgitate previously used stories when gardening is not in season.