Happy Summer Solstice! Don’t party too hard.
I can’t believe the days are going to start getting shorter. That is just WRONG.
I know, I suck, I have been so incredibly scattered lately that I haven’t taken the time to post over here. What can I say? That fucker keeps bringing me buckets and buckets and BUCKETS of squash and green beans, and who gets to deal with them? That’s right, I’ve been spending days upon days dealing with this shit. On the up side, when the zombie apocalypse occurs, we’ll be able to bring down the hordes by beaning them with frozen squash and green beans. If you play Words with Friends with me, you’ll note that I’m playing awfully slowly these days. Things will chill out soon enough, I suspect.
We’ve also been eating a LOT of squash. The majority of the meals around here have consisted of some sort of squash main dish with another sort of squash side dish, and a second side dish of green beans. We’re getting our veggies in, that’s for sure.
I’ve been bitching at Fred about planting so many squash plants, and trying to convince him that next year he should plant ONE row of summer squash instead of two and ONE row of winter squash. I like to act like it was all his decision, but back in May when the planting was going on, I was all for planting as many squash plants as humanly possible.
We planted lemon squash this year because I read something about them last year and thought “We should grow those!”, and sent off for the seeds. The plants are HUGELY prolific, and the squash are tasty and less seedy than the crooknecks. (You see mostly lemon squash in that gray bucket in the picture.) They’re called lemon squash, by the way, because they look like lemons. They don’t have any sort of lemony taste to them.
Fred thinks – and I agree – that the produce our garden is, uh, producing this year is particularly pretty. We did a lot of work up front at the beginning of the growing season, and now we don’t do much more work in the garden than picking produce.
We’re growing banana peppers this year for the first time – obviously – because I have a banana butter recipe I want to try. The funny thing is that I’m not a fan of any kind of pepper, but I always insist that we grow some. The jalapenos are pretty this year, too.
All in all, a good garden year. I’m growing one row of tomatoes this year, but the mistake I made – and didn’t even think about – was that I planted mostly cherry tomatoes and Compari tomatoes (which are bigger than cherry tomatoes, smaller than plum tomatoes). I planted one kind of full-size tomato, which doesn’t really lend itself to the amount of oven-fried green tomatoes that we like to get in our summer diet. I need to remedy that next year.
If you’re reading Fred’s blog, you know that we successfully had a well dug right outside the back yard. The next step was to have an electrician come out and run electricity to the well pump, which they did last week. They had to use a trencher to dig a trench from a corner of the house, across the back yard, to the well. Three guys showed up bright and early to do the job.
It never occurred to me to shut the back door, which I of COURSE should have thought of. All of the cats except Miz Poo are skittish if not downright terrified of strangers, so I figured that when strangers entered the back yard, the cats would all run inside. And they did – but it STILL didn’t occur to me to shut the back door so that all the cats would be inside.
I didn’t sit and watch the work, because I had shit to do, and so about mid-morning when I sat down at my desk and glanced out the back window, I was horrified to see Tommy sniffing around the trench in the back yard and the side gate standing wide open. I went out and shooed Tommy away from the trench, and shut the gate.
Once again, I did NOT shut the back door, because I’m an idiot.
They got the electricity run, the trench filled in, and then were on their way. I walked out into the back yard to examine the filled-in trench, and that’s when I realized that the front gate was standing wide fucking open. I came inside and ran around the house, calling cats and trying to figure out if anyone was missing. After about 10 minutes, I came to the conclusion that Tommy, Jake, and Corbie were all missing. I spent the next hour walking around the property calling for them at the top of my lungs.
Finally, as I was approaching the side stoop, I saw Corbie huddled under the side stoop. It took a lot of convincing, but I finally got Corbie herded into the back yard, and then he ran for the back door. Half an hour later, I found Jake in the same spot. I got him inside (though not before he gave me a heart attack by acting like he was going to run into the road. I screamed so loud my throat hurt for the next two days. It scared the fuck out of him, luckily, and he swerved and ran behind the garage.)
But no Tommy. I walked around the property and called and called for him, I checked every spot I could think of, and couldn’t find him anywhere. I opened the door on the side of the house that leads to the creepy crawlspace under the house (the electrician had to go under there at one point) and called, and no Tommy. When Fred got home he did the same.
I was positive that Tommy would show up at dusk, but he didn’t. We left the gates to the back yard open that night in hopes that Tommy would find his way home. I was sure that when Fred woke me up before he left for work, he’d report that Tommy was home.
All that day, I walked around the property and called for Tommy, to no avail. Fred did the same when he got home. We both worried that Tommy had wandered too far and had been attacked by a dog or a coyote or just couldn’t find his way home again.
That evening, I was doing something upstairs, and Fred walked into the room with Tommy in his arms.
As it turned out, Fred thought of looking in the crawlspace under the house one more time. He opened the door and called and called for Tommy, heard a distant meow, and waited and called some more. Finally, Tommy came nervously toward him. All that time we’d spent walking around the property, that poor kitty was literally right under our feet.
THANK GOD Fred thought of looking under there again. Tommy had to have escaped through the front gate, gone all the way around the house, and then slipped into the crawl space while the door was open. He was a determined boy!
Tommy was subdued for a couple of days, but he’s back to his usual self now, thank god. He doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from being without food and water for a day and a half (Fred said “Maybe he was eating mice under there!”). If he had meowed while he was down there, we would have heard him – once upon a time, back when we first got him, Joe Bob got into the crawlspace through a gap around the air conditioning unit and I could hear him meowing under the floor in the front room (we’ve since blocked that gap, of course). Poor Tommy.
I was, of course, irritated with the electrician – I mean, the gates are there for a REASON – but I am mostly irritated with myself. I should have thought to close the back door so the cats couldn’t go into the back yard, and I should have been more vigilant, and – hey, here’s a thought, dumbass! – I should have mentioned to the guys working in the back yard that the gates needed to be shut so the cats didn’t escape. We were really lucky this time that we didn’t permanently lose any cats.
You better believe it’s not going to happen again.
The same company who did the work running the electricity was supposed to come out Monday to run the water line from the pump by the pig yard out to the pond. I was worried that they’d leave the gate to the back forty open and that George and Gracie would escape.
“Should I make a sign for the gate?” I fretted to Fred. “I should, shouldn’t I?”
“Yeah, sure,” Fred said, clearly not listening to me.
So I made a sign and hung it on the gate.
And then I laughed and laughed and LAUGHED (inappropriate use of punctuation annoys us both) and sent the picture to Fred at work. He apparently got a kick out of it, too.
(And then I took down that sign and hung up the real one that doesn’t include quotation marks. I also used matching zip ties, because we want to keep it classy, yo.)
In the end, Fred cancelled having the guys come out and run the water line, because it was going to be expensive and really there’s no reason our current system (PVC pipe running along the fence line from the pump to the pond) won’t work perfectly well. Who are we trying to impress, after all?
Since we have the well now, we’re using that water to water the garden and to fill the pond. Once we have the water professionally tested (Fred tested it with an at-home kit once the well was running), we’ll start using it in the house, too.
AND since we have all that free water AND since it is hot as fuck here and it’s only mid-June, we went full redneck and bought a 15 foot by 42-inch pool and set it up right outside the back yard. We’ve been swimming (I should say “swimming”, because it’s neither deep nor wide enough to do anything more than float around) multiple times, and it is really freakin’ nice. The first day, it was FREEZING because the water from the well was about 20 below zero. The second day, it was a bit warmer. Yesterday, it was sheer perfection.
It’s not the beautiful in-ground pool we had at our first house in Madison, but it works well enough, and it cost, literally, 1% of what that pool cost.
Works for me!
2011: “OH MY STARS! Doesn’t ANYONE ever vacuum this room? Look at this mess!”
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: This weekend I’ll probably give vacuuming a try and give the Roomba a break.
2007: And since it’s still muddy in the garden, no weeding for me again today. Darn!
2006: “Save your breath,” I said, gasping for air. “I don’t believe a word you say, you lying liar.”
2005: “Spot caught a copperhead!”
2004: No entry.
2003: Poor Gram.
2002: Oh, quit with the gasps of horror.
2001: Lynn is very very nice, but as I’ve mentioned, she doesn’t appreciate the beauty of silence.
2000: I was giving out dirty looks left and right, let me tell you.