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.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Weekend In Portland

Alycia and I spent the past weekend in Portland, Oregon, attending the wedding of our good friends Emma and Geoff.  It's always a great joy for me to reconnect with good friends who I haven't seen in a while and whose only downfall is a lack of proximity to North Dakota (which includes just about everyone).  We spent a lot of time chatting, recounting past glories, retelling the same old but still very funny anecdotes, and reveling in each others company. 

The weather was unseasonably warm for September, with mid to upper 80's until the last day when it returned to more Portland-esque breezy and showery.  We had great food and fantastic beverages the whole trip.  I also got to play some basketball with old friends, with kudos to the groom Geoff who actually organized a game the morning of his wedding, that's some dedication to the game.   
Instead of a wedding cake, they had tiny pies from a local bakery.  They were delicious.  And no one seemed to notice or mind that I snuck one into Alycia's purse in case I needed a midnight snack (I did). 
Our friends Geoff and Emma, who were very dashing and very lovely (respectively).
Your intrepid blogger and his piece of gluten free arm candy. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Local San Diego Legend Passes

Outside of San Diego, few people have heard of him, but Jerry Schad was a San Diego institution.  Though I've never even met him, I feel like I know him through his writing.  I've got a dirty, dog-eared copy of his guide book "Afoot & Afield in San Diego County" somewhere, and I've thumbed through others copies a handful of times, in the library, from friends bookshelves, and even the house copy at the local coffee shop. 

Jerry wrote a column in the San Diego Reader (a local independent weekly magazine) that I'd read on occasion.  I was always struck by the power of his words to enthuse me to put on some walking shoes and explore the outdoors.  He was one small component that made the community a little bit cooler. 

You can read the article about Jerry in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pickles on Parade!!!

OK I lied, the pickles aren't really on parade.  But my How to Make Bread and Butter Pickles post did get picked up by Associated Content/Yahoo media.  You can read it here:

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Yay for pickles!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Frost Warning

The locally respected Farmers Almanac says that the average first frost date for our neck of the woods - Grand Forks, North Dakota is September 27.  That isn't stopping Mother Nature from trying to send us freezing weather two weeks earlier than the average first frost date.  The weather forecast is for freezing weather tonight/Wednesday morning and possibly Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

We'll tuck in the tomatoes and peppers in a nice warm blanket overnight to make sure they stay warm and cozy.  It seems like it's too early in the season to be worrying about frost, heck it's not even officially autumn yet, but you can't argue with Mother Nature, she's gonna do what she's gonna do. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Super Cuke

This is what happens when you're not super vigilant about harvesting your cucumbers every single day.  They can get unruly....
That's one big ass cucumber.
This particular variety of cucumber is the Armenian cucumber, and has a milder cucumber flavor with edible skin that doesn't need to be peeled. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

And The Tomato Spoke

I was returning with Shaak Ti from a squirrel chasing stroll through the park when I heard a barely audible voice from the garden, that said "Johnnnnnnn", it's barely audible voice trailing off.  It took me a minute of investigation but I found the source.  It was this little guy.
I got closer and heard the tomato say "John - make meeee into a Beeeee L Teeeeee".  Seeing as I had some bacon leftover in the fridge from our out of town visitor the previous weekend, I saw no impediment in obliging this little tomato's last wish.  And lo, it was delicious.  Thanks little tomato for the great idea.

Warm and Dry Weather

After a protracted Spring of cool and wet weather, summer returned to more normal weather in North Dakota, hot and humid.  Maybe even more humid than normal.  The precipitation was also perfectly spaced throughout the summer growing season, and didn't come all at once.  Just a nice quarter to half an inch of rain every two or three days.  It's been a pretty good gardening season for sure.

This week has been warm (mid 80's) and dry, great for the farmers to harvest everything from grain to sugar beets (sugar beet pre-piling started this week).  The warm weather is expected through the weekend and has a "last gasp of summer so you better get your ass out and enjoy it" quality to it.  So enjoy it I have been with meanderings through the garden and wanderings through the shady park with the pups. 

We have a big pumpkin, two watermelons, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and a bumper crop of cucumbers still coming in.  Alycia has been running the food dehydrator almost non-stop making zucchini chips with the bounty from our garden and donated stuff from her parents garden.
This is a pretty typical daily haul from the garden, lots of various kinds of cucumbers, some eggplant, some tomatoes and a few peas.  Good stuff.