Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Haul

The garden has gotten huge and is producing lots of vegetables. We have been trying to eat out less and last weekend we stayed home and cooked. After watching some recorded food network, Sunday I stopped at what seemed like every grocery store in town. We ended up having catfish ceviche, buffalo tacos, tilapia tacos, chocolate cake, and couscous salad. Saturday night wasn't a bad night to stop by our place. Sam put together the couscous salad which turned out great. It was couscous, black beans, corn, red pepper, cilantro, lemon juice, lemon zest, and champagne vinegar. Those were some great leftovers.
Every couple days we get a haul from the garden. This was yesterday's. We have been drying lots of basil, eating copious amounts of cucumbers, and finding creative uses for Roma tomatoes. We have gotten three pickings of beans from the first plants and the later plantings are now producing bean too. The summer squash is producing a few. We are a couple weeks away from having lots of hot peppers. Like last year, we can produce hot peppers but are having trouble with bell peppers.
Other than a few giant green heirlooms that we picked early, none of the other tomatoes are ready yet. Thank god, I don't think we could handle anymore tomatoes right now. 30 a day is enough.
This weekend I hopefully will have the courage to pull out our dishwasher. It stopped working and the floorboards and trim are rotted and mold is everywhere. So I am fortifying the blog with pictures of green things, since I have a feeling this weekend will not be so happy. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July Happenings

Wow July is flying by. Summer always goes so fast and will be over before you know it. Sam is into her training for the Redman triathlon half ironman distance race in September in Oklahoma. I signed up for a short triathlon in Jackson county in August. I haven't done much in the way of training since the big race in Texas in February and need to get back doing something.

Sunday we saw Sublime at the river market. It was a good show, but more of a good sublime cover band. Other than racing, enjoying the heat, and going to a few concerts, nothing much is happening. Although our garden is out of control.
To illustrate that point, here is a shot straight up standing underneath the tomatoes. We now have tomatoes growing higher than I can reach jumping. The tomatoes are taller than the new 10ft stakes and I don't think I'm going to get anything bigger. At some point they have to stop growing, right?
Any day now we should have lots of squash. You could live under this squash plant. It has taken control of almost the whole bed.
Mmmm blue beans.
The vertical cucumber setup is working great. We are starting to get a few ready and there are dozens more on the plants.
I may be picking cucumbers from the roof.
We might be creating a cucumber/tomato super plant. Those cucumber tendrils stick to everything.
Saturday I did part of the 2010 psummer psycho race at wyandotte county park. I haven't been training much, that combined with the heat ended my day early. I got way too hot and stopped sweating and using some better judgement ended the day early. Smiling here but looking pretty pale.
Yep, that is pretty much how I felt.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Italy 2010 - Portonovo

Bad Luck Chuck was all packed up and ready for our trip to Portonovo, a small area south of Ancona on the east coast of Italy.

He also found our stash of homemade granola our friend Shelley made for us.

We had a room with a balcony at a very hotel. Portonovo isn't even a town. There are three hotels, about six restaurants and a convenience store.

Monte Conero was diectly behind the hotel. There was a national park with a huge system of trails on Monte Conero. Unfortunately, there was an impenetrable nature preserve between us and the trails. We had to take a bus around the mountain to access the trails.

A view from the top of Monte Conero. We did find a nice trail and hiked up one afternoon.
Along the trail, we found a bar. Decisions, decisions.

We figured we hiked 8-10 miles with a 500 meter elevation gain.

We found Chuck back at the hotel...

It wasn't exactly white sand beaches. More like white rocks. But we made due.
John bought himself a new swimsuit to fit in with the locals. Who wears short shorts? It would have been fine except he forgot to put sunscreen on the parts that haven't seen the sun in a while. He was a little pink.

You get pretty good at readjusting the rocks for the most comfortable position.

Is that the Jolly Rodger I see??

Clear, blue water. The rocks made it a little difficult to get into and out of the water. It was slippery, to say the least.

I also bought a new suit and the "European cut" exposed a little of my white rear-end that also burned. But not nearly as bad as John's.

We had plenty of time on the beach.

The view didn't change much.

We did find a few workers and decided they're the model for John's new summer dress code.

Chuck always finds the ladies.

We ate at a Mediterranean susci restaurant. It was by far the best meal of the trip.

We spent half a day in Rome.

The Coliseum.
Me, trying to get gum off my shoes. Damn tourists.

Palatine Hill. Obelisk outside the Pantheon.

Spanish Steps.

On our way out of the airport, we found these: Pocket Espresso, from the same company that makes Pocket Coffee.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

We made it back from Italy. Those pictures will be coming soon. In the meantime here is a garden update. Before we left I had to buy 8 foot tomato stakes because the tomatoes had become way too big for the big cages. This theme is similar to last year, except I had them in little cages and they went horizontal into a giant unproductive mess. Here is me on a stepstool standing them up.
Here everything is the second of July when we got back. Yep, the tomatoes are taller than the garage roof. Most of them are taller than the 8 ft stakes. We are situated right on the creek bend and the yard is good black dirt.
Last night we sacrificed a few Romas and made fried green tomatoes, which turned out really well.
The Mr. Stripeys are looking good too.
I picked peas, beans, radishes, and lots of basil.
At this rate I will be getting on the roof to pick cucumbers.
The bees and spiders are everywhere in the garden. Surprisingly we are free of bugs other than a few slugs.
The peppers are the size of normal tomatoes. I picked the first jalapeno yesterday.
The beats and leeks will be pretty much crowed out by the summer squash. That's fine since they were a late addition to fill some space, I thought. The basil is doing well and the carrots are looking big.
All in all the raised beds are working out as advertised.