Thursday, 31 December 2009

the year of awesome is almost over

today is the last day of the year of awesome. it was not an awesome year for blogging, but it was awesome in many other ways:

  • was awesomely frozen on inauguration day and had one of the best days of my life!
  • took an awesome trip to india in february for work
  • enjoyed an awesome cherry blossom 10 miler run
  • had an awesome bike accident in may -- which mucked up my triathloning for the season
  • got an awesome new boss in june who brought in a whole new cool group of awesome office mates!
  • had an awesomely exhausting and adventurous fall filled with trips to: rome, johannesburg, NYC, and geneva (i really do want to get some photos up about those trips)
  • and then just the usual stuff of having wonderfully awesome friends and stuff.
i feel like there is too much to catch up on, so i am not even going to try. ;)

i have been thinking about where i was 10 years ago. i was with my friend tami in helsinki finland freezing my butt off. tami was teaching english to business students in a polytechnic in valkeokoski, finland. she invited me, and her sister tonya to join her in celebrating christmas with their aging grandfather in joensuu. it was an awesome trip. i was in in school so i had 3 weeks to just play and we did.

for new years eve we went down to the city square. finland was the president or seat of the EU and it was a giant celebration. somewhere along the way tami and i had both been given iodine tablets to keep us protected in case Y2K changes made the nuclear plants in russia blow up. in all honesty, it was pretty trippy. but we survived and it was really fun.

the decade then got weirder and weirder and now i am happy to see it go.

i am kicking off the new year with a burnt up face due to the basal cell carcinoma found on my nose. this is round 2 of the stupid face burning treatment, i am pretty sure the technique is NOT perfected. so, the decade of teens will hopefully be a decade of wellness, healing, and hope in contrast to the aughts fearful, twisted, and just kinda messed-up-ed-ness.

tomorrow a new years theme will be announced. i am kinda sad to see the year of awesome come to an end. it has been such an awesome theme. in so many instances over the year i thought to myself, what is the most awesome thing to do and i would do it. i will probably still ask myself that question. because i like being awesome. :)

happy new year!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

the barn where my dad grew up

in the 1890's my grandfather's family moved from germany to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to a little town called "bark river". in the 1900 my great-grandfather built a barn, with the help of all the town's people. as my grandma would say, "donchaknow, back then you didn' jus call a contractor. you made a day out of it and the whole town came to help". so they built the barn, which started the farm that became the farm where my dad grew up.

the barn was built without nails, according to my grandma. it is all joints, which is pretty cool. and probably the reason it is still standing.

in 1961 my grandparents sold the farm to the fudala family to chase some gold in california. things didn't pan out so well and there has always been regret about the move and selling the farm.

few months before my grandfather passed away, we pilgramaged to bark river to celebrate his 80th birthday. it was really amazing to be there and go on walks and learn about the place that i had heard about my whole life.

the stories of the outhouse (when they sold the house they didn't have an indoor toilet) and how difficult it was to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom in the freezing cold winter. all the hard work they did out there, etc.

the barn was falling apart when i saw it. my dad and i talked about how cool it would be to buy the farm back and fix it up. it is pretty unrealistic for me to own a farm in the UP of michigan, but it was fun to think about.

anyway, somehow the barn was chosen as a finalist by the campbell's soup company in a barn restoration effort. you can vote for the barn here: helpgrowyoursoup.com/projects.aspx it is called the fudala barn now.

they misspelled our name, so i fixed it. i love you to vote to have the barn restored.

this is an article from the bark river news paper . . .

Which barn will win?

Bark River barn in national contest

By Laura Mead
POSTED: November 21, 2009

Article Photos

Laura Mead | Daily Press

John Jorasz, Harris, stands in front of the 100-year-old barn owned by the Fudala family. Jorasz has rented the farmland upon which the barn sits for the last 25 years. The barn is the first U.P. barn to have been chosen as one of 10 finalists in the Campbell’s Soup “Help Grow Your Soup” contest.

BARK RIVER - The Fudala family wonders who will save the soul of their near-century-old barn in Bark River. The 'Augie Fudala Farm' barn is currently tied for fifth place in the Campbell's Soup "Help Grow Your Soup" contest.

This historic structure, which was chosen as one of 10 finalists in the country, now has a chance at winning a $5,000 grant for exterior repairs from the Campbell's Soup Co. and the National Future Farmers of America Organization come spring.

Voting began Oct. 1 and will continue through Jan. 5. Only the top five barns will be restored and the Fudala's barn is right on the brink. This year, the public's votes decide which barns win.

The barn is estimated to have been built sometime between 1900 and 1910 by the Konkel family. August and Anita (Carlson) Fudala bought it in the 1960s.

For daughter Barbara Fudala Atencio, who currently resides in New Mexico, the barn represents not only warm childhood memories, but also a lifestyle she had dreamt of living.

"Ever since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to have a farm and live the country life like my grandparents and cousins," she said. "It was me and my mom's dream. She really pushed for the farm. When my parents bought the 'Konkel Farm' in the early 1960s, my dream came true."

"I still love the U.P. and the farm and barn and I'd hate to see it end up like so many other barns," she added. "It is still very near and dear to my heart."

With its hip-style roof and naturally-weathered wood, the barn's aesthetic is a nod to the past.

"These types of barns are getting fewer and fewer and if it's not restored there won't be any left for future generations to see what the past was like," said John Jorasz, Harris, who has rented the farmland upon which the barn sits for the last 25 years. "We're preserving a piece of American agriculture's past for the future."

Atencio said the barn of her grandparents and cousins have been lost and she would hate to see the same thing happen to her family's barn.

"Just like old buildings in cities and towns across the country which are being restored and preserved in order to save part of our 'history,' I believe we need to give our old barns the same respect and recognition."

Atencio worries that if the barn is not renovated soon, it could fall into complete disrepair, and she does not know when the family could renovate it on their own.

"It'd be good to renovate it sooner than later to prevent any further deterioration from the elements and to preserve a piece of our American heritage," she said. I don't know if we'd be able to renovate it on our own, so this is really an ideal opportunity, to win the contest."

The barn would be restored by volunteers from the FFA chapters in Coleman, Wis., and in Stephenson. The restoration would include replacing broken doors and windows and rotting boards, as well as cleaning and landscaping.

Atencio said the renovation would not only benefit those who can learn from its history, she believes it would also put the U.P. on the map.

"It would highlight agriculture in the area," she said. "It would be nice to see a Yooper barn in there. We're hoping to get some more votes."

Individuals can vote once a day, every day, through Jan. 5. To vote, go to www.helpgrowyoursoup.com and then vote for barns.

"The reviving of our barn will ensure it will be around for years to come to serve as a working barn and stand as a symbol of the American farm," said Atencio.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

i heart roma

i have photos, but i don't have time to post them. i just want to say, i love roma!!!!

actually, i just love italy. i think i have gained 10 pounds since i arrived on sunday. i just am not going to be conservative about eating here. that is definitely a VERY BAD IDEA. i am sure when i am not eating bufolo mozzarella, pasta, risotto, pizza, pistachio gelato, triamsu, pasta, all day long, everyday, the extra pounds will just fall off :).

some things i have learned here:

  • positano is crazy awesome. so is the whole amalfi coast.
  • there is a random italian man in st. lucia italy who knows every single word to "knowing me, knowing you" by abba, and he sings it pretty loudly, with headphones on, off key, in front of the duomo.
  • if you can't sleep, don't pour 1.5 bottles of (hotel sized) body wash and then add a bottle of shampoo to your jacuzzi bath, even if they smell REALLY REALLY good. it makes about a foot of bubbles in about 3 minutes and you have to turn off the jets.
  • there isn't bad food here, so don't stress about where to eat.
  • people can kinda figure out what i am saying when i speak my horrible spanish to them.
photos to come . . .

one more thing . . . thanks olympia for making health care reform bipartisian. ;)

(i really hope we don't get rid of the public option for one vote . . .)

Friday, 9 October 2009

dreams deferred

today i was supposed to leave for meetings here next week

but i got sick...so i am leaving tomorrow.
to prepare i have been reading this
it is a great primer for how this place works

the plan was to spend 3 days here
(now i just get 2)


from this jumping off place, i was going to see this massive archeology site
but now i am not so sure

what would you do? 2 whole days on the coast or
one day on the coast and one day checking out ruins?

i will stay near here the rest of the week

in a hotel with this view


more to come . . .

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

his holiness


today was one of those days when it seemed like everything went wrong. turns out i was supposed to practice being zen.

i woke up late. realized halfway to the capitol building that my bike lock was at work. took a different route to work and hit a totally jacked up bit of road that was one inch hire than the other part, which in turn flatted my tire. thankfully cheryl was willing to drive me to the capitol. got there just in time to get into the inaugural Lantos Human Rights Prize and watch the prize bestowed on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

from left to right: katrina lantos swett; john mccain; nancy pelosi; his holiness the dalai lama; annette lantos. howard berman, chair of the house foreign relations committee is speaking

(you can tell i was late by how far away i am from the action)

there were beautiful video presentations about both tom lantos and his holiness

you can watch the videos here

i loved when nancy pelosi recounted an shared moment with his holiness. she explained that she was in india with a congressional delegation and they were getting "riled up" about the way china was treating tibet. the dalai lama reached over and grabbed her hand and told her that she needed to "approach these conversations with a spirit of reconciliation and not anger".

i really loved that!

getting the prize

i also loved it when the dalai lama tickled sister lantos under the chin

the way you tickle a baby

it was super cute

it was inspiring.

here is some video from his speech


some of my favorite quotes from today . . .
"Huge gap, rich to poor. This is unhappy. You have to think seriously about those less-privileged people. They're also human beings."

The "real greatness of America, is your ancestors' principles . . . When I think of America, I think of the idea -- concept of freedom, liberty, equality. I think these are real human values."

i have to say that when he said that i wondered if america had "jumped the shark". i started thinking about how far we have moved away from the ethos of the founding fathers. they were people (men and women -- see john adam's letters to his wife) who valued education; hearty but respectful debate; freedom and accountability; etc. i really think they would be discussed by the level of discourse and the way we are treating each other. the "health care town halls" were an abysmal demonstration of our degraded society. it was embarrassing then simply because it felt so wrong. but perceiving those events through the eyes of the Dalai Lama, is super embarrassing.

anyway, i think this should probably be more throughout before i write it. listening to the Dalai Lama today, i couldn't help but wonder if he wasn't saying something like . . . don't forget you were once awesome.

Speaker Pelosi mentioned how if we can't stand for human rights in tibet and china then we have no moral authority to stand on anywhere in the world. i wondered after His Holiness spoke if he wasn't suggesting that we are in the process of loosing that moral authority.



tomicah was the concluding speaker.
he followed the dalai lama by making a joke :
"when we finish, I plan to ask His Holiness what wrongs one would need to have committed in a past life in order to end up speaking after him on today’s program."

the truth was he was the perfect closer.
there is something really amazing about watching such a close friend speak after the Dalai Lama and realizing that they are the same caliber of person with gifts of a similar magnitude.


i left the event considering the role of my own spirituality on the world. how important it is to be connected to a cause greater than oneself. to, as tomicah said, "seek a more humane fellowship with humankind". i hope tomicah doesn't mind me quoting him here. but this passage brought tears to my eyes when he spoke it, and it brings tears to my eyes as i read it tonight (he graciously shared a copy of his speech with me)

"The struggle for human rights is a fight with no end in sight. . .This cause cannot move forward without our help, and we must ask ourselves if we are ready to continue walking on the path that these two men have trod. When political prisoners are tortured in North Korea; when women are raped in Congo; when the innocent are locked in shipping containers in the deserts of Eritrea for peacefully practicing their religion; and when Tibetans are denied their liberty, will we give of our time, our talents, and our resources on their behalf? Will we work within our sphere of influence – however lofty or lowly it may be – to advance the frontiers of decency?

The efficacy of the prize presented to His Holiness this morning will be determined by whether we answer that question in the affirmative. It is my hope and conviction that we will meet this challenge. That when we return to our homes, our jobs, and our families, we will remember that this morning was not simply a celebration of the Dalai Lama and Tom Lantos, but an affirmation of principles that should guide us all."

tomicah's aunt katrina said today:
"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. These hopeful words should remind us that we cannot simply standby and wait for the arc to bend. We have a duty to use our power and influence to hasten its trajectory."

i feel inspired to be better, fight harder, and focus on improving the rights of women, creating a more equitable world, and ensuring access to health care.


if you really want to, you can watch the whole ceremony here . . . or of course you can skip ahead to the parts you want to see most.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

tainted meat

this morning i was reading the NYT and one article was so powerful and mindblowing i just had to share it. it is about a 20 year old dance instructor in Minnesota was paralyzed from eating store bought ground meat.

turns out when you buy ground beef from the store or order a hamburger from a fast food place, you aren't getting just ground up beef. you are getting all sorts of parts mixed with other trimmings that have been soaked in ammonia to kill bacteria, etc. just read the article. especially if you have kids in your care.

click here to read the article

if you don't have time to read the article please watch this video



Anatomy of a Burger

Confidential grinding logs and other records and interviews reveal the ingredients and E. coli issues in a typical hamburger sold by grocers and fast-food restaurants. This patty was made by the food giant Cargill, which recalled 844,812 pounds of ground beef on Oct. 6, 2007, after an estimated 940 people were sickened, including Stephanie Smith, 22, of Cold Spring, Minn.


|Related Article »
Flow chart of the sources of the meat




if you still want to eat beef, but want to eat safer meat you can click on this map for your state and find grass fed meats. doesn't look like it is comprehensive, but a good start for peeps who haven't bought grass fed before,

To find a farm or ranch near you, click on your state in the following map, or choose from the alphabetical list at the bottom of this page.

Click on a state or country below to find a local supplier...

map

New Jersey Rhode Island Connecticut Delaware Maryland Massachusetts Maine New Hampshire Vermont New York Pennsylvania West Virginia Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Alabama Mississippi Tennessee Kentucky Ohio Indiana Michigan Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Illinois Iowa Wisconsin Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota New Mexico Arizona Utah Colorado Wyoming Montana International Hawaii Alaska Florida Texas Idaho Nevada California Oregon Washington Find Grass-Fed Products Outside the US & Canada

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

decisions

i am a libra. and turns out, that besides being awesome, libras are also indecisive. that is where you come in. i can't decide what to do. i know i "need" a fixie.

i want a bianchi to replace my bike that was stolen. and i can't decide between this:



OR



this

the "coffee and milk" via brera has a sram cog which allows you to change from fixie to single speed with the turn of an allen wrench.

the via condotti is celeste blue.

basically, it doesn't matter much about components, because i know how to change those. but which one is prettier.

please vote!

Monday, 28 September 2009

total eclipse of the heart

for any number of irrational reasons, bonnie taylor's '80's hit total eclipse of the heart has been going through my head for weeks. my friend rob introduced me to the video i am going to post below. liz shared this chart, which has helped the song stay trapped in my brain.

here is graph that will help you understand what bonnie is hoping you will do . . . or at least understand



and the video to the literal version of the song. please DO NOT skip watching this video!




and then there is this duet of josh groban and ellen degeneres

big lick tri

this year, for my birthday, i decided i wanted to do the big lick triathlon with some friends. i could only convince two people to do it with me :) tho i did convince ali to come out to cheer us on.

the big lick was my first triathlon. i was super untrained and didn't know what i was doing. i changed my clothes, completely, between each sport. rented a bike and a wetsuit. etc. i made a myriad of rookie mistakes. that was 2002.

in 2009, i own a couple of race bikes, have a tri suit, 3 wetsuits, and a lot more experience. and still i can't break the 3:00:00 mark. i am doing big lick next year, and i will most definitely break 3:00:00!



on our way to the tri
early in the morn
i am obviously, not very organized

the swim was super cold
it was kinda misty rain
when we first started to swim, i had a hard time breathing
you know how when water is cold and you struggle to breathe
that is how i felt for the first 600 yards
i am pretty sure i swam an extra 100 yards at least
i hadn't practiced in open water and i forgot to look up as often as i need to
i would find myself really far away from the buoys

my transition from swim to bike was okay
i just got tied up in my wetsuit
and then my hands were cold so there wasn't heaps
of fine motor skills
thanks to jon for taking all these photos!
here i am coming in from the ride

lizzy

the bike.run transition was a disaster
mostly because of my shoes
those five fingers are really tough to get on
i might have to get a pair of newtons for next season
to improve my transition time



coming up the first hill
on the run
please note that this is a LONG hill
for some reason, i started the run doing 7:30 miles
i had to slow myself to 8:30 or i would have burnt out.
i still don't know my average pace, but i am guessing not 8:30



decent form,
tho i am concerned that my arms are crossing so much of my body
and it looks like i am not running on my whole foot

also, i am turtling my neck when i run
so i have to strengthen my deep neck muscles so my head isn't tilting like that

here is sara
she was getting close
which was good
it reminded me i was in a race
for some reason, the whole time, i was just having a nice peaceful training ride
and then i saw sara are remembered
i didn't want her to beat me
so i tried to pick up the pace a bit

here i am turtling my way to the finish line
not that i was necessarily going slow,
but i am doing that thing with my neck

please note how wet it is
once i stopped running, i got SUPER DUPER cold
i think i needed a warm bath

i think we all did
everyone had a good time
i think everyone is pumped for next season
and we also know where we will stay for the
smith mountain sprint and the big lick next year

so we left the tri and went to our new found
huddleston haven:





sara and jon BOLTED out
sara wanted to get the drive over and they weren't spending the night.

the rest of us TOTALLY lazed around all day
and ate ALL DAY.
i am not sure how many calories i consumed but it was significant
we watched some television
read some books
and mostly just talked
it was SUPER relaxing


sunday the weather was PERFECT



ali went for a run
while liz and i did yoga on the dock



ate and amazing breakfast with tomatoes and zucchini from the garden





ali tried to be a mermaid


and we kinda just vegged out looking at the beginning of fall

then packed up to leave
and a guest came
he was super cute
and seriously wanted me to take him home
he just walked in our house and made himself comfortable
it was pretty crazy
but also kinda cute how fast he attached to me

but in the end i knew i had to leave him




he tried to keep us from leaving


and even jumped in the car to try and keep us from going
finally liz got out of the car and coaxed him to follow her
it was sad to say good-bye to this little guy
but i am pretty sure he is better off in huddleston

as we left i decided i wanted a photo of us near the
entrance of the smith mountain lake state park

when we got to the sign we found this guy hanging out
not a guy tho
most definitely a girl
this is her from the front

from the back


this is her egg pod

there were heaps of her little ones crawling around


hence the photo being taken away from the sign!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

hot, biker, ho

i am not sure i have the commas in the right place, but that is what i was called today. now, that might be a compliment but i am sure it is not completely accurate. and if they knew anything about my personal life, i am sure they'd agree.

here's the story:
i was cycling home from one of the most intense days, from one of the most intense weeks, of work. i was wearing a dress, because i had to moderate a panel and wear grown-up clothes.

(a tip for the ladies -- if you are ever having low self-esteem, i have a fail proof pick me up. put on a dress that you like, but that is kinda stretchy. there is a difference between dresses and skirts, so make sure it is a dress. get on a bike. ride it around dc. men seriously don't know what to do with themselves. they are so distracted it is crazy. i think there is a direct positive correlation between the level of sportiness of the bike/femininity of the apparel and the amount of attention.)

so, i am passing these two twenty-something neighborhood dudes. one was "pumping" the other one on his bike. (pumping is what we called it in gilbert, where i grew up. if you gave someone a lift on your bike, you were "pumping" them. i don't know if there is a real verb for that action.) as i start to pass they cat call. and then ask me, loudly: "how do we get a hot biker ho like you?" i don't really respond, because . . . how do you? and i hear them begin a discussion about how they could get a "hot biker ho" like me.

sounds like someone needs to write a "how to" guide. DIY steps? something!

unfortunately, i don't have the answer to that one.


this is what google images comes up with when you search "hot biker ho"





SO NOT ME!

MOTORIZED???!!!!! sheesh people.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

just thought yall might wanna know:



Community and Faith-based Organizations and

Response to 2009 H1N1 Flu

Thursday, September 24

1:30-2:30 pm EST

Please join us for a conference call with Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius; Assistant Surgeon General, Anne Schuchat; Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Joshua DuBois; and other HHS experts to discuss the release of a new resource “H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Community and Faith-based Organizations.” The call will focus on the important role of community and faith-based leaders and organizations as partners in 2009-2010 flu response and prevention. The new guide was developed by the HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (HHS Partnership Center) with support from the Centers for Disease Control. Speakers will provide the latest information on H1N1 flu and vaccination plans, and an overview of the guide.

You and your organization are crucial leaders and resources in your communities, and essential partners in comprehensive state and local flu response. We want to ensure you and your communities have this resource and the most up-to-date information on H1N1 flu. The HHS Partnership Center will keep an open and dynamic channel of communication throughout the response effort. Following the completion of the call, we will send a call summary to our listserv. If you are not part of our listerv, you can join us at www.hhs.gov/partnership, click ‘Join the Mailing List’ under the ‘Newsletter’ box on the left-hand side of your screen.

At the time of the call, copies of the guide will be available for download at www.flu.gov and at our website www.hhs.gov/partnership.

Dial-In Information:

Toll Free – 1.800.369.1899

Passcode - 1696323




and if you kinda don't care about it. this outta warm your day.
parental discretion is advised!

pizza

i started making pizza again.


everything on this pizza is from the garden
basil
tomatoes
zucchini
the olives are from mom's
the fresh mozzarella is from costco
i made the pesto with basil from the garden

this is murat
he supplied the dough
he owns roscoe's pizza in tacoma park
when cheryl told me he was coming over for pizza i got really nervous
but he offered to bring dough
and she stretched it for us so . . .



it was a super fun and delicious night
i wish i had taken more photos
diane and monu came over too
it was a SUPER awesome party
and even though i had to be at work at 8:am
it was worth it to stay up until midnight
thanks for coming over and playing with us!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

born and bred

so cheryl was looking up "teabelly's boss" to see if st. helen would come up . . . and lo and behold we found this little gem . . .

i think my parents are going to be the most surprised by this whole thing...

You are missing Obama's agenda - and that is perpetuation of the Bush admin agenda. Not only has Obama strengthened the faith-based and (newly named) neighborhood partnership offices throughout all of the govt agencies, he is actively embracing the agenda of the fundies and evangelicals.

Kimberly Konkel, a Bush holdover director at HHS (who not coincidentally, is LDS born, bred and educated - as was Mike Leavitt, the prior HHS sec who pushed through the abstinence only crap and the midnight conscience clause rules which would deny countless women essential healthcare education and reproductive health care), stated that not only are there no operational definitions of the terms, faith-based, community and neighborhood, there are no eligibility criteria, no metrics for stated goals and no evaluative criteria for effectiveness and even identifying what targeted patient outcomes are, let alone meeting them. It's a snake oil salesman's paradise.

Obama has already created a 25 member advisory board stocked with right wing fundie fanatics.

And it's all of Obama's making.

http://www.hhs.gov/fbci/about/contacts/fbci-contact.html



you can read the whole link here

this just goes to show how little you can actually trust blogs. :)

for the record, leavitt is not a cougar. and i don't sell snake oil, i sell worm poop. sheesh!

Monday, 21 September 2009

garden

i am bummed that i have been so lame about documenting the growth of my garden! but i am repenting right here, right now.

i came home from my crazy trips to ripened tomatoes! finally!!!!!

when i was on my trip i got this photo from cheryl

please note that there a peaches
i had 10 peaches this year
they are SUPER sweet.
and there is something super awesome about picking peaches in your back yard!


i got home from the airport and went immediately out to the backyard
this is what i got!
so so so awesome

then about 1.5 months later i decided to take photos of the garden

every morning, for some reason, i go into the study with eyes that are still having a hard time opening and i look out at this view
this is my kingdom, i guess
i just love to watch the progress
from here i can see almost all of it

here is a close-up from the study on the garden in mrs. jackie's yard

this is the zucchini


one of the dahlias from the garden
i have left the study and am now outside . . .
can you imagine the zoom that would take this photo from the study?

more of the zucchini
please note the additional bed i built this summer

the basil garden

the first of my fall '09 planting




i was really excited the sunflower grew
and that it attracted monarchs!


this is the view from the mrs. jackie's alley steps
looking at both gardens

little "tiger asian" melons growing

just to help you get a feel for the size of these guys

i am really hoping that i win this rodent war before this guy starts to ripen

roma-land

the zucchini, like usual, has grown over my fence and is taking over mrs. jackie's yard
thankfully, she doesn't seem to mind.

this is a athena melon

all the stuff in mrs. jackies garden grew late
which means that we might not have much melon this year and that the tomatoes are late
but next year that garden is going to be off the chain
we used leaf mould instead of compost and topsoil for soil
because it was free
so, now it has composted
and next year will be great!

the giant tomatoes in the garden in mrs. jackies yard
there was the HUGEST tomato ever
and it started to turn red
and i was SO excited
it was way bigger than my hand
and i checked on it one day
and some stupid rat had eaten it

here is another one
this is a tomato that was growing over the fence into the stairwell to the alley
i was excited about this carmello too,
and then some stupid rat!

and then there is this
i can't decide if this is a rat OR a bird
at any rate they are in trouble
i have declared war
i also found mouse droppings in my kitchen towel drawer
so, today i went to home depot and bought some WMD
i am pretty sure i am going to win this war
and it is going to be WAY more effective than the war on drugs
and way more necessary



this is the wall'o'tomatoes in the mrs jackie garden
they are dense, productive and mostly romas . . .
they make for some killer slow roasted tomatoes.

i use this concept, essentially, to make them
but i have variations...
obviously

and this is where it gets depressing
i think i overdosed all my fantastic heirloom, vint lawrence tomatoes,
on wormpoop
WHY DO I DO THIS ALL THE TIME???!!!
just please remember this,
liquid worm poop must be diluted 10-1!

these are the craziest sun gold tomatoes you will ever find.
i didn't plant them, they just showed up in my garden
they were not effected by the overdose of wormpoop
they grow and produce like crazy
i am pretty sure that i won't have to plant any next year either
and i am not going to!
they are tasty, but i am not going to waste precious grow lights
on tomatoes that grow spontaneously

the herb and strawberry garden
plus a heliotrope
which smells like vanilla

strawberries from seed

this year i decided everything i grew had to come from a seed
and it all did
everything you are looking at once was a seed in my hand
crazy to think about
that those 10 ft tall tomato plants were once a super tiny seed

oregano



a gardener's delight