Friday, August 29, 2008

The case of the prickly cucumbers... solved

As I have never grown cucumbers before, I don't know how they are really supposed to look. I bought seedlings from a local nursery and I don't know if it said what variety it was.

Well, they are bumpier than what I would expect and they had these little pricks on them. So, although one looked big enough to harvest, I didn't know what to do about those pricks. How was I going to eat a prickly cucumber without peeling it? Well, after asking the local master gardener about it (he really didn't understand my question), I decided to just go ahead and harvest my cucumbers with the pricks still on them.
As I was holding the cucumber, I found the solution to my case:

The pricks rub right off.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Mercy Garden

That's what I have called my vegetable garden. Here's why:

  • I didn't test the soil.
  • I didn't properly fertilize it (although I added compost mulch about 2 weeks later)
  • I didn't really turn the soil, I tilled it a little and put the plants in (at least a week after I bought them)
  • And I put the plants really close together
So I knew I'd have to rely on God's mercy if I were to harvest anything. After all I did a lot of things wrong.

But I had to do something. And I figured I didn't have much to lose.

And so far, most plants have produced alright. My peppers haven't produced much, but at least they are producing (although I lost my most productive one, topic for another post). At one point, I thought my cucumbers (and everything else) had a wilting fungus disease. I initially thought it was just poor watering, but then I read a post about how hard it can be to prevent the fungus, and it seemed to come on so suddenly. Given that the author of that post lives in my area, I figured it may have already been in the soil. If anything, I knew the watering (or lack of) contributed to it, even if it meant the plant got weaker because of it. I also thought I had killed one of my cherry tomato plants. This one is in a container, and the soil dries out very quickly. I tried to be better at watering, but it was looking pretty bad. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Upon the advice of my master gardener, I added blood meal (he advised a general fertilizer, but I already had blood meal and read it was good for leaf production) to the container. Then we had a cool, rainy spell and when I went back to my garden, there was new growth on the plant. Now there are tons of flowers, which means more tomatoes! And also after that cool spell, the cucumbers looked better too. More new mercies!

I have taken so many pictures of my garden so I can share it here, but I didn't realize it would take me all summer to post about it. So here they are in a slideshow:

[update 11/13/09] bubbleshare, the service I used for the slideshow will be shut down as of tomorrow. I will repost the pictures at some point. If it's been a while, feel free to ask me where the pics are in the comment section and I'll get back to it :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Partners in slime and other stories...

It's ragweed allergy season here and everyone but me has been congested. I've just been tired from successive interrupted nights, but for the most part, we have managed alright. Back in my daughter's first year, she had many colds. My youngest son also would get it and their noses were very productive. That's when I started calling them "partners in slime."

Well, a few minutes ago, my oldest son alerted me to my daughter's slimy nose. After I was done wiping her, my other son comes up to me and tells me he has a "sloppy nose" too.


I needed a good laugh.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My junior olympians...

With the Olympics underway, I thought I'd share some accomplishments my junior olympians made at the playground the other day:

J, age: 5.5, crosses the monkey bars by himself for the first time.

A, age: 3.9, initiates training for proper swinging techniques (i.e. properly pumped his legs and leaned back and forth on the swing for the first time)

N, age: VERY 2, shows sportmanship by allowing another little girl to hold her frisbee, then puts her hands out to encourage the girl to throw it to her (as opposed to going up to her, snatching it and saying, "MINE").

Congratulations my dear children. You have made me proud. :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Psalm 100

When I got up this morning, I had to choose to dwell on self-pity, false assumption and uncertainty, or on the goodness of God. I chose the latter and then my mother called and mentioned this Psalm. How it nurtured my soul!

Psalm 100 (ESV)


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Two are better than one...

...because they have a good return for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

Yesterday afternoon, a friend came over with her food processor so we could process our vegetables from CityFresh. Earlier on, I had been talking to her how I always am lured into thinking if I had a processor, I would use up the vegetables better. She mentioned she had a processor and didn't use it because she doesn't have kitchen counter space, and said I could borrow hers. Well, given she had the processor and no counter space and I had some counter space and no processor, I then proposed that she bring it over and we could use it together.

We did get some processing done. I finally shred 3 cabbages accumulated over the last month, made fresh salsa, sliced cucumbers, and julienned summer squash. The boys (hers and mine) also made some veggie faces. We finished off the evening by grilling some chicken and the corn we also got from our share. Later that evening, I made hummus (she let me borrow it).

Sure, it was nice to have most of my vegetables in more useable condition, as well as tasting fresh salsa and hummus. But I must say, the highlight of the day was the sharing of resources, the conversation, and watching our kids have fun with one another. Although we didn't really have much of a plan, we had a lot of fun. I also get energized interacting with people. Usually (like tonight) I am so ready to wind down, so I often want to put off cleaning the kitchen. Last night, however, was not the case. Cleaning my kitchen was an act of gratitude and appreciation for the generosity that was extended to us, as well as the opportunity to share with one another, without demanding or expecting anything else in return.

This was a great antidote to the pull of commercialism. And so often, we live lives in parallel with others, but not in community. By combining our resources, my friend and I were able to accomplish more than we could have individually, with the added bonus of the satisfaction that only comes from companionship.

I wouldn't trade this for having a food processor any day.