Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ashes - Result!

A follow up on the cricket. Back on June 8th England and Austraila started on the Ashes series.

Now - some two and a half months and 25 days of cricket (five 5-day matches) later a winner has emerged. I know you're all sitting on the edge of your seats for this...........VICTORY!!!! We beat the bloody Wallabies in the final test at the Oval to take back the urn 2-1.

The final game was effectively over midway through the afternoon of the second day when Chris Broad tore through the Australian batting reducing their first innings total to 160. From then on it was largely a formality - bat sensibly to create an unassailable lead then take the 10 2nd innings wickets to wrap up the series.

All in all an enjoyable and successful summer for the home team and a fitting way for Freddy to hang up his test boots.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Rescue

Don't Worry, Brando! We are coming to get you! Will and I will get you outta that pack'n'play!

We are almost ready for the 10 hour road trip to Louisville so we can finish this wedding business off right: the grand finale of a Southern Wedding Reception.

Tomorrow is our two month anniversary... and we get to spend it in a car...going through West Virginia... Now, that is special.

by the way: this photo of Brando is from our wedding reception in England and so far, it is my favorite photo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nector of the Gods: Return and Refill

Will and I are driving to Kentucky for a wedding reception for us this weekend given by my parents: a grand finale to the fairy tale.

It happens to be *very* good timing, as we are almost out of Ale 8. And if you don't know what Ale 8 is, you should. As you can see, we need to return the bottles and crates, get money back, and promptly "refill" by buying another 10 to 12 6-packs, at least. In the long necks of course. Because everyone knows that Ale 8 tastes better in the long necks.

Ale 8 is available only in Kentucky (or on teh interwebs) and you can only get it in the long neck bottles if you are near Winchester, where the delicious gingery ale is made.

In fact, I am sitting in my kitchen in DC, sipping on a cold one, and it is soooo refreshing and well, perfect. It makes me think: Maybe we will just leave the wedding presents and fill the car with Ale 8.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Perfection

Sweet, golden, juicy raspberries, and a red, ripe, beautiful tomato. Gardening just doesn't get any better than the tastes of these fruits.

Their fates: with the raspberries, we ate instantly the eight berries we picked; and with tomato, it became the centerpiece of a scrumptious BLT sandwich.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Downside of Wedding Presents

One would have thought that there weren't any, but Will and I have developed a deep-seated loathing for Styrofoam and/or corn starch peanuts. Every package we receive seems to overloaded with the stuff. One little 7 inch plate came in a box that was, no joke (cuz I measured) was 2 feet x 3 feet x 2 feet and full of peanuts. It just seems to be a bit overkill. Thank goodness we have good recycling here. We have saved several boxes for mailing presents out and boxing up stuff for when (if?) we do the attic, but the rest we set out for recycling. Every week we overflow the two little bins we have been given by the city. Though, in most weeks, we have more recycling (and compost) than trash.

But at least the corn starch peanuts we can dispose of with water. Though, the thought has crossed my mind about the water consumption used as I dissolve the peanuts and I don't even want to know what it is doing to our pipes. With this old house, one has to be careful what one wash down the drain. (For example, we don't even put oil down: We use it to make suet for the birds).

I have a new appreciation for the stores that call you to let you know you have a present waiting and you can retrieve it whenever. One of the places we registered for does that for us, and it is a walkable distance from us, so one doesn't have to get in the car.

In the meantime, we will continue to deal with the peanuts and the cardboard (because receiving thoughtful wedding presents really is fun). I just hope that all the other couples getting married and receiving gifts delivered to their homes also recycles. And that the stores only use the corn starch peanuts and stop using any Styrofoam when they mail out their wares.

Determining "Good Morning" Factors

You know how you can determine if it is going to be a good morning or not?

When you are presented with these, then you know it is for sure going to be a good morning and lead to a good day:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Spicy Side of Life

Ding Dong! Me: Ohhhh, UPS delivery man! What are you bringing me today?

(sounds of paper tearing, tape ripping) Me: Ohhhhhhh, a large wooden box! What's inside? TWO LAYERS OF PENZEY'S SPICES???

Thank you Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins! This is wonderful! The spicy wedding gift box! I have coveted this box for ages and now I have one of my very own. YEA!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Harvest!

Another harvest! Purple carrots, green jalapeno peppers, scarlet runner beans, ripening figs, and some lovely cherry tomatoes. Well, really more like another round of picking the limited fruits of our labors. However, I would like to point out the potatoes. We dug up another 1.5 LB of potatoes, for a total of 3.6 pounds grown from a starting point of 2 pounds. Very exciting. As you know, we are already preparing for a fall planting of Yukons.

Your eyes also do not deceive you: that *is* an eggplant. I allowed a vowel vegetable to grow in my garden. A big step for me. I do not deny that it looks rather pretty, both on and off the vine. I however still do not want to eat it. We gave it to Kelly, who is contemplating a parmesan or bobaganosh. I promised I would have a taste, but I promised that I would not like it.

And yes, that is a very long zucchini. We were taken by surprise that it was even growing. We checked the plant one day, only blossoms. And then three days later: this monster! Finally, after three years of attempting squash and zucchinis, we have a proper one; not one that has cross bred and created a new type of of inedible squash. We are very pleased with ourselves. We cooked half of it the other night on the grill (delicious) and the reminder is in the fridge... waiting for my dad to come visit and make me his zucchini bread like he did when we were kids.....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer visitor

We are happy to welcome back our friends the humming birds to the garden. They come up every year from Central America cross the Gulf of Mexico and chill out at our feeder to recouperate and stock up before the return journey in September.

We've been getting regular visits now for a fortnight from probably the same couple we had last year. They are simply enchanting as they fly around the garden and often hover as close as a meter away from us, seemingly giving us a better view as a thank you for providing the food.
We will be sorry to see them leave but in the meantime will enjoy their frolicking.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Garden Prep for Next Year

Yes, it is *already* time to be thinking of next year's plantings.

We harvested seeds for next year's tomato crops (including seeds from Rebecca's tomatoes, hand delivered to us last week from New Mexico) as well as seed potatoes for two more crops: fall and spring! We will soon be seed self sufficient!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kingly Visits

Our butterfly bush continues to attract some beautiful creatures. Will caught on film on Friday this Monarch butterfly. We have seen it once since, and been visited numerous times by the Swallowtail.

Annabelle and Juliette took turns telling Becca who told me some interesting facts about butterflies versus moths. For instance, did you know that butterfly lands with its wings out whereas a moth lands with its wings up? There are differences in the antenna too, but I don't remember what they were. Something about one has balls at the end of them and the other doesn't.

Now, why a 6 and 4 year old know this and a 32 and 35 year old don't, that is another matter....

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Our garden is bursting into life! It took it a while, but we have lettuci and chard coming up; our carrots and chives are flourishing; our squash plants are blooming.

Our sorrel is even going to seed-- and the rest of our herbs are going gangbusters.

And yes, that *is* an eggplant on the vine... in my garden...of a gardener who does not like vowel vegetables... Just because I grow it, doesn't mean I eat it. It is certainly pretty on the vine, though. Still, I am not eating it.

And FINALLY! we have a ripening tomato. A nice, big, beefy, juicy tomato almost ready to pluck and eat and digest without sharing... with you, dear reader, not my other half...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gift in Clay

During the summer, my lovely friend Marian was here for the month of July helping with stuff at work. She is super awesome, and she was so even before she and her equally lovely husband Steve brought Will and I a lovely wedding presents. As you can see, there was lots of love going around in July.

The tile is handmade at Marian's and Steve's favorite store in Austin, called Clayworks, which had a variety of styles and motifs for tiles, house numbers, and sconces. Our tile's theme is their tree of Life, very appropriate for us gardeners.

We decided to hang it above our stove, along with three smaller tiles Will has picked up in his travels. It has added to our kitchen and never fails to make me smile, or think of my super awesome lovely friends Marian & Steve.

Thank you two!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Garden Toy

I got a gift certificate to Smith & Hawken's for my bridal shower and so, last Monday, Will and I went into the store in Georgetown to see if we could find something to buy.

Did we ever.

The store, the entire company I should say, is closing and there were great deals to be had. And we will keep going back for even better ones as the months get closer to their final countdown.

One of the purchases, and towards which the gift certificate went, is a brand new ginormous thermometer! Because when it is super bloody hot out, you want to know exactly *where* that mercury is on a very large temperature gauge, especially when you can walk into a large, un-air conditioned hot-box of a house...

It is quite pretty and adds just a little more to our garden, which is already pretty much picture perfect.

Yukon Deliciousness

one of our potatoes, ready for cooking and then eating.

Homegrown Beans

ready for boiling and eating

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Touch of Spring?

We are at it again: deciding paint colors for various rooms and hallways. The names of the colors are really something else. It is a job I have always thought would be fun, that and naming nail polish. Where else can you contemplate, with all seriousness, Touch of Spring or Polliwog for the front bedroom? or Galveston Dust and Dried Hydrangea in the hallway and stairwell?

So, we are now looking at October Sky or Postal Blue or Azurean in the guest room...

and in the t.v. room, Jungle Green or Festival Moss or Straw.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Latest Harvest

Green beans, scarlet runner beans, black zebra tomatoes, and mini orange tomatoes. I know what is for dinner tonight!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Potato Harvest

Remember in February, when these arrived on our door step? We planted the Yukon Gold potatoes in April, they were up in May and yesterday, we dug them up! We dug up all but two of our nine mounds (the two still have live plants).
Under each mound was at least 3 potatoes!

Our harvest straight from the ground and then washed and ready to eat!

We started with 2 lbs of seed potatoes and we have so far 2 lbs 1 oz of eating potatoes and two more mounds to eventually dig up. Not bad for a first attempt at growing potatoes!

We have set some aside for growing our next crop-- this time, in deeper holes so we don't have to mound up so much-- and the rest will be consumed immediately.

We ate a tiny one raw and it was delicious! We can't wait to cook them properly!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tiger Swallowtails

We had two beautiful butterflies on our buddleia (also known as a butterfly bush) yesterday morning. Tiger swallowtails are very common around, as it is the state butterfly for Virginia. We had a male and a female (no blue spots) floating around. They are quite pretty and rest with their wings open in the sun.


After a month-long visit, Hurst Street decided it was time to pack up and go on home. After all, she and the family had been traveling since mid-June, all on a count of me. First it was my wedding, which took them to England, and then it was my seminar, in which Fiona participated. But I would say that after having a sh!tastic start to the month of July, I do think that we know how to say goodbye properly.

We went to dinner at the White Tiger with the other seminar participants. We will never forget the name as they had lots of ways of reminding us:

To celebrate the end of July, the end of month-long seminar during which Fiona meet every day, all day, with a variety of immigration scholars, some good and some better, also during which I had another month-long seminar happening, we ordered beers. Well, let me clarify. Fiona ordered beer...
I ordered a mango lassi, cuz it was freaking hot that day.

Fiona was challenged to a drink off by her compatriots. At one point she was double fisting, though she will deny it and since I only have proof of her drinking one at time, I really shouldn't say such things.

Cuz even if I do, Fiona will tell me that I am wrong, and that I should Suck it, Whig.

However, looking at the table does at least prove that there was indeed much celebrating and cheering to the fact that they were done and could go home and have a brain dump and no longer think of immigration history and policy.