Veggie Garden Changes

One of the fun things about having our own vegetable garden is that I get to see the outliers of the seasons.  The weather is one thing, but when vegetables choose to grow is sometimes another.  Sometimes a pumpkin appears in your garden out of nowhere (really) in June.  Sometimes you get a dozen healthy pumpkins in June, for that matter.  When you planted zero pumpkin seeds.

Our green peppers were late bloomers this year (figuratively and literally), but they really started to come into their own in the last month or two.  We’ve been getting fresh red bell peppers all the time.

One of my favorite side effects of a red pepper overflow?  Sliced red bell pepper with hummus as a snack.  Yum.  It makes me feel like I’m at some fancy party every time I eat that combo.

But as the weather changes (sometimes drastically), even the late hangers on must come to an end.  Last peppers were picked the other day to try to save them from the impending freeze, and I found something fun in one of those peppers yesterday.

peppaLook, it’s turning red!  Just a teeny, tiny piece of red, but still red.  And don’t be scared by my flour hands.  It was homemade pizza night, and I didn’t feel like washing my hands between dough rolling and pepper chopping.  They were washed when it mattered.

That’s my report for the day.  Now it’s all kale and Brussels sprouts and broccoli in garden land, and I’ll have to find a new garden snack plan.  Sigh.  Anyone know a good way to snack on Brussels sprouts?

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Time for The Great Pumpkin

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but there are a few things I truly love about this day.

  1. Candy!  There’s so much candy to be had for free on this particular day.  It makes my vending machine cravings seem downright tame.
  2. Watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  It’s a classic, and I like it.  Linus with his sincere pumpkin patch (but maybe not quite sincere enough), Charlie Brown with his not quite perfect holiday (as usual), Snoopy with his World War II bomber costume.  It’s great, just as it should be.
  3. I added a new favorite in the past few years–finding the best costume in the array of trick-or-treating kids.  Today, my favorite at the library was a Yoda baby complete with toddling older brother in an ewok costume.  It was good.  They had some serious competition though.  There was a bumble bee that was just learning to walk.  Stumbling bumbles are powerfully cute.  And there was some homemade costume awesomeness, too.

So go forth and watch (or record or rent or buy) It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! and eat some candy for me.  And while you’re at it, try to be subtle about picking your favorite costume.  You don’t want to be creepy.

photo from blurppy.com

photo from blurppy.com

Oh, and my awesome co-worker found a Disney character that I could dress up as without buying a single thing.  Bless her!  So today, I look at least 5% like this:

photo from wikimedia.org

photo from wikimedia.org

Miscellaneous Thursday

These are happy tidbits, nothing more.

First, Scott recently became the friend of a friend of the head of an equestrian program.  Which  means that he acquired horse manure for our garden this morning.

manureThat is a lot of manure!  That is an entire truck bed of manure, to be exact.  And in the background, you have the top of our garden fence, complete with drink can deer deterrents.  I like to think of the hanging drink cans as yard ornaments, not trash.  Some people have gnomes, we have cans.

Second, I successfully convinced Scott that old taters should be used as tater-o-lanterns sometime in the next few weeks.  The idea didn’t originate with me.  It came from Apartment Therapy, who got it from Apartment Therapy contributors.  I still like it, even if it wasn’t my idea first.  Look at those awesome spuds:

photo from ApartmentTherapy.com

photo from ApartmentTherapy.com

And lastly, I have a recipe for your tasting pleasure: Real Simple’s Southwestern Chicken Soup.  The magic of this soup is in its simplicity.  It isn’t necessarily designed for your fanciest dinner parties, but it is tasty, homemade, and ready in 15 minutes.  Sometimes that is all I could ever dream of getting from a recipe.

professional 15-minute soup from realsimple.com

professional 15-minute soup from realsimple.com

my 15-minute soup

my 15-minute soup

It’s also kind of fun, because you can change the taste of the recipe dramatically by using a different type of salsa.  We used a hot variety, so we had a spicy soup.  You could go with mild or mango salsa or whatever you want to try.  The world is your oyster (or soup bowl).

Seabiscuit: Excellent Sleeper

For some reason, I get extraordinary joy when I learn about creatures that like sleep as much as I do.  I really really like sleep.  So imagine my extreme happiness when I read this excerpt from Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (page 38 in my edition, with introduction before this about how the average horse sleeps in teeny tiny snippets, mostly standing up):

Seabiscuit was the exception.  He could keel over and snooze for hours on end.  His inability to straighten his knees all the way may have been the culprit, preventing him from locking his forelegs in the upright position.  Fortunately, he suffered no negative consequences.  While every other horse at the track raised hell demanding breakfast, he slept long and late, stretching out over the floor of his stall in such deep sedation that the grooms had to use every means in their power just to get him to stand up.  He was so quiet that Fitzsimmons’s assistant trainers once forgot all about him and left him in a van for an entire afternoon in brutal heat while they went for a beer.  They found him there hours later, pitched over on his side, blissfully asleep.  No one had ever seen a horse so relaxed.  Fitzsimmons would remember him as “a big dog,” the most easygoing horse he ever trained.  The only thing Seabiscuit took seriously, aside from his beauty rest, was eating, which he did constantly, with great vigor.

To which I say, good job, Seabiscuit!  And happy weekend snoozing to all.

photo from wikipedia.org

photo from wikipedia.org

Rainy Days for the Indoorsy

I hate saying that I’m indoorsy.  Sure, it’s a fun word, but I want to be outdoorsy.  I want to be athletic and adventurous and all sorts of fun things.  But honestly, I would rather curl up with a book on a soft chair most days.  You get to enjoy all the benefits of a good author’s adventures without any of the inconvenience of real adventures.  And if you end up falling asleep and napping for an hour, so much the better.

photo from weheartit.com

photo from weheartit.com

There is one perk of being secretly indoorsy, however.  It makes rainy days wonderful.  And weeks that call for rain all week long?  Even better. 

Rainy weeks mean that for several days in a row, I can stay inside guilt-free.  I don’t have to worry about the 10,000 weeds in the yard that are growing feet a day because of all the rain.  I don’t have to think about the running that I should be doing (well, not too much).  I can just do my inside projects and enjoy the sound of rain outside.

Do I feel vaguely bad that the weather I love makes our dog absolutely miserable?  Yes.  Do I worry about that?  No.

Happy.

[Important side note: I wouldn’t want to be inside ALL the time.  I just enjoy the lack of outdoors-related guilt on rainy days.  There’s nothing like a good hike or a real adventure sometimes.]

Head in the Clouds

What’s my favorite thing about myself?  Glad you asked. 

There isn’t a formal list of things I like about myself, but you know what I mean.  There are traits about yourself that make you happy.  Some people are proud of their running pace.  Other people are proud of their tidiness.  Not this girl.  I’m proud of my ability to daydream like a champ.

Sure, that sounds like a bad thing.  Sometimes I miss an important moment of a football game because my brain is somewhere else entirely.  But overall, it’s great.  It helps that I’m an adult and can harness the mental bunny trails when I need to be responsible. 

When I don’t need to be responsible, I can go from “Man, that’s frustrating!” to “Remember the way the sun came out behind the cloud at the grocery store the other day?” in 1 second flat.  Goodbye, meh day!  I’m thinking about clouds now.

photo from photo.net

photo from photo.net

(I had an actual picture from the grocery store parking lot, but my phone battery died, so imagine this picture with a small-town parking lot in the foreground instead of majestic natural something or other.)

And speaking of clouds, I am a sucker for a good cloud painting.  There’s an artist in the Richmond area who has been doing a painting a day project for quite a while now, and I like his work at lot.  His name is Duane Keiser, and this is one of his recent cloud paintings. 

painting by Duane Keiser

painting by Duane Keiser

He paints lots of other things, too.  Unfortunately for me, lots of other people like his work as much as I do.  Good for Duane making a living, bad for me buying one of his paintings.  Anyway, it’s pretty. 

And now I’ve been thinking about clouds and paintings and nice things for a good long while instead of thinking about all of the library patrons who seem to have horrible colds today. That is what I call victory for the easily distracted mind.