Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Birds!!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am afraid of birds. By the way, there has not been a conclusion to the mystery of that feather. I was going to take it to a friend's for identification and it disappeared! Maybe Carol's comment to that blog post was correct:

You must have walked in on an angel and scared a feather off of it while it tried to leave quietly.

And the feather must have disappeared, as angel feathers do.

Anyway, as I've mentioned I am afraid of birds; however, I try to face that fear when I can. I attended a talk at work from a coworker who volunteers at a bird refuge. He brought in huge owls and other birds and I was in the same room (way at the back) and I was OK. Well, I once again decided to face my fears and went to visit my friend Casey - a bird lover extraordinaire. Now, I'd agreed to go to her house before I remembered that she has birds, but I didn't back out. She took me to visit the birds, nice and tidy in their cages and it wasn't bad at all. She asked if I'd like her to take one out and (I desperately wanted to say no) I said "Sure!" And it flapped and jumped and fluttered and totally freaked me out, but I maintained my composure and even touched its head! I was a big brave girl, however I still won't get out of my car if there are birds flocking in my backyard! It's the wild, untamed ones that will peck your eyes out!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Pooper

Someone is pooping in my garden! I want to blame the dog down the street. I often see him walking around loose. We also have some outdoor cats in the neighborhood. I am no scatologist, so I have no idea how to determine what species the culprit is, but I'm pretty steamed about it! The problem is that with poop come flies! I took my morning garden walk and inspection and swear there were about 200 flies swarming around a nice pile of poop. I scooped it up and called for the flies to follow me to the trash, but they didn't. They instead resettled on the nearby fence rail like a flock of crows, just watching me and waiting for me to leave so that they could lure the pooper back to my yard for some more goodies! They are definitely in cahoots! I just know it! They will not get the best of me though! I am the master of my domain and I will deal block the problem pooper with a nice bit of chicken wire around the bed. Of course, a cat could climb or jump over the four foot high wire, but if she is willing to make that much of an effort, she really deserves the right to poop in my garden!

Please note my love for you, the reader, in that I resisted including any images of the offenses in this post. Who loves ya, baby?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Featured Square(s) Weeks Three and Four: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Cucumbers

The past two weeks I have been amazed by the zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumber in the garden - both in the square foot garden and in my traditional bed (I had too many things to plant, so I did a traditional bed as well.) I think it is the gorgeous squash blossoms. Last year, we got our first blossom in July or August and we only got two zucchini - we had no cucumbers at all! This year, everything is in bloom and it's so lovely!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week Two Featured Square: Leaf Lettuce

This is my favorite square this week because, besides the rotten strawberry that Michele "ate", this is the first food I've enjoyed from the garden. I worked at home yesterday and at lunchtime skipped out to the backyard, picked a few leaves of lettuce and some basil, added some blueberries leftover from the french toast, and had a YUMMY salad! Oh how I love eating from the garden!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Michele's Birthday Weekend - Part Three: Garden Decor

Now, we did spend most of Michele's weekend relaxing, but we also opened a package we'd received from a delightful stained glass artist in Florida: Glass of Many Colors. I had commissioned this husband and wife team to make a set of four stained glass veggies for our square foot garden. Michele and I spent a fun-filled hour deciding where to put each of the four and then just admiring our handiwork. Aren't they gorgeous! We've decided we'd like six more: a beet, cherry tomatoes, a red pepper, a head of broccoli, an onion, and a yellow squash to join the current corn, green beans, carrot, and beefsteak tomato. When the sun hits these it's like you're in heaven! And, in addition to the beauty they add to the garden, the carrot is a welcome addition to my carrot-themed art collection: glass!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Michele's Birthday Weekend - Part Two: Gardening Edition

All week I've been excited to give Michele one particular, extra special birthday present: the first fruit from our garden! I've been watching and praying over this strawberry, hoping that no one (read: squirrel, bird, ground hog, rabbit, mouse, etc) ate it, and that it keep growing and and be ready for picking when Michele got home. I thought it would be the perfect present for her. And it was! She was so excited to see the very first edible thing (besides basil) in our garden. We weren't sure, though, if it was really ready to pick, so we just visited it a few times yesterday and marveled over it. Then, yesterday evening, we decided it looked ready. I picked it and presented it to Michele - oh, the perfect strawberry! She took a bite and . . . immediately spit it out! It's really too bad that it was thoroughly rotten inside! Well, as they say, it is the thought that counts, right?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Michele's Birthday Weekend - Part One

Michele and I have birthdays very close together, so we're having another bunch of fun to celebrate her 38th birthday! Her actual birthday was Friday, but she got stuck in New Jersey and didn't make it home until today. That, however, didn't stop us from having a ball! I made her a surprise brunch for this morning - I had tried this recipe for the first time for my birthday brunch and Michele loved it so much I wanted to make it for her as well: Overnight Blueberry French Toast. The logistics of getting the french toast in the oven and letting it bake at the same time I needed to go and pick up Michele was a bit tricky, but I just threw it in, drove like a fiend, picked her up, told her I left the kettle on so that she wouldn't be suspicious about my hurry, and made it home just in time to uncover the casserole and let it bake and brown for 20 more minutes! She was very surprised and happy and the french toast was DELICIOUS!!

We've spent the rest of the day just relaxing together. It was so very nice and so very different from my birthday, that's why we work so well together. I love to pack activity into every minute, while Michele loves to relax, have an iced coffee, and spend hours reading at our favorite coffee shop. It's a lovely change of pace for me and it's exactly what she wanted for her birthday, which made the day just perfect!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blog Redesign

I had some fun and redesigned my blog! I thik it looks cleaner and I'm really loving the color scheme. So, what do you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week One Featured Square: Garden Beans

I am particularly proud of this square in my square foot garden. If you've been following for a while, you'll likely remember the garden beans I feasted on last year, the purple, green, and white ones. Well, this box was planted with seeds I harvested from those beans. I'm thrilled each time I look at it because 1. last year was my first year gardening in my life, 2. these are the first seeds I've ever harvested in my life, and 3. it makes me feels extra successful to have had a grand harvest of garden beans last year and still be reaping the rewards of them this year!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Special Delivery from Australia

A beautiful bundle of fun arrived for me in the mail today all the way from Australia! My sweet blogging friend Sue sent me this adorable tote as well as a set of cute buttons and some kitty newspaper fabric! I'll share some photos of the fabric later - it's so windy out that everytime I tried to get a shot the fabric blew away! Thank you so much, Sue! The craftswomanship on the tote is wonderful - look at the button and tassel! A really beautiful finishing touch!

It was extra fun to receive this, too because 1. I've never gotten a gift from Australia and 2. the wrapping was so pretty! (Isn't the twine and tag a wonderful touch!). Now, this gift was Sue's PIF to me and I am proud to say that I am ALMOST done with the last of my PIFs - I've sent about 1/2 and am putting the finishing touches on the other 1/2. I can't remember what I last said my goal was for completion, but let's just pretend I'm on track.

Thanks so much, Sue! This will all be cherished!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Good Account on the Court

Well, I survived yesterday's basketball bout and gave a good account* of myself on the court, if I do say so myself! Driving home, though, I felt like every bone in my body had been jarred loose from its moorings! I'm hobbling a little today, but I kept up with the guys yesterday, so what's a little pain, right? And, in case you're wondering, that's not sweat darkening my t-shirt - at least it's mostly not sweat - we played in the rain. Yes, that's right, in the rain. Being the only female, I had to represent and if the boys weren't stopping for a little rain, I couldn't either! Chad, who you may remember from football, threatened to invite me to play with them again - oy vey, I'll need to learn how to dribble, move, and shoot before then!

*Note: A "good account" in my book is not leaving the court without making a basket. I think I made at least two baskets, so I rocked!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mysterious Feather

I found this feather on my dining room floor. I'm incredibly afraid of birds, so, no, I have no pets it could have come from. The cats are indoor cats and I see no evidence of a bird that may have gotten into the house and left this single feather. We don't have feather pillows and the down in our coats is quite a bit smaller that this feather. I really have no idea where it came from. I've scoured the papers to see if there is a rash of break-in-and-leave-a-feather burglaries in my neighborhood, but no reports! Last year I was tormented by squirrels - maybe this year the birds are taking their turn?

OK, I have to head across town - tonight is football night, but instead we are playing basketball. I am tall, but I am clumsy, so things don't bode well for me. Also, I'll be the only woman playing with this pack of rough and tumble guys. If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know that either the bird got me or I lost it on the basketball court. (Rochesterian friends, will you see to my cats and my garden??)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Carrot Dogs, They're What's for Dinner

On the evening of my birthday, we'd planned to have a barbecue, but Michele and I were so pooped we decided to follow out customary birthday tradition of dinner at Red Robin and a movie (we saw Date Night, which I highly recommend! SO funny!) Now, the most exciting part of the whole barbecue plan was that I was going to try my first carrot dog. Don't be disappointed. I didn't do a carrot dog barbecue for my birthday, but I did make one for myself last night and all I can say is YUM!!! They are really, really good! So good! I put mine on a grilled bun, topped it with grilled red onions, hand chopped relish from bread and butter pickles, and peppadew mustard, and paired it with roasted asparagus and homemade mac salad - quite the gourmet feast! You've really got to try it. Just steam a carrot, chill it, and then grill it and voilá! You have a yummy carrot dog!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Best Weekend Ever, Part 3 (The Final Chapter)

Today marks the end of my amazing birthday weekend. It was just the best weekend ever, truly! Yesterday was the height of  fun. I hosted my first ever brunch with two very good, very sweet friends, Jena and Sarah (Bad influence Sarah of football and sledding fame). It was such a treat having them over!

Then, that afternoon when I opened my gifts from Michele, I got the best surprise! OK, first I've got to tell you the back story: every six months, at Christmas and my birthday, Michele heads to the local Lindt store and buys me six months worth of chocolate. Well, the local Lindt store closed and the closest ones were in Niagara Falls and Syracuse - both about an hour and a half drive from us! And my extra special birthday surprise, you ask? Michele, sweetheart that she is, drove to Niagara to buy my birthday chocolate! I felt so touched and so bad at the same time - I mean, she drives for a living and the day after she got home, she turned around and drove to Niagara just to make sure that I would have my favorite chocolate for my birthday! I'm still overwhelmed! It is such a blessing to have such a wonderful partner and such wonderful friends and family (both here in Rochester, around the world, and in cyberspace) to spend this special birthday with! Thank you everyone for you lovely birthday wishes!


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