Archive for the 'Comments' Category

Allergic to asking for help

I really hate asking for help, although you probably couldn’t tell it from this blog.

Or maybe you could tell it, because I’m forever running into trouble with my plants and only then, after I have a bunch o’commenters tell me what’s up, do I do the right thing. So why, then, do I have the conversation with myself about how I should most certainly ask my blog readers a plant question, particularly if I’m too lazy to look it up myself, and then decide to just forge on, helpless and, um, pretty darn inept?

I realize that if any of you could answer this question, you would probably also save me a lot of money in therapy bills. So there’s that.

Aloe, minus rootsRegardless, you have been heard on the aloe plant. No more water! In fact, no more soil, at least for the time being. On Tuesday night, in response to the immediate outpouring of comments on behalf of the beleaguered aloe plant, I removed it from the soil, discovered it had lost whatever roots it had left after I dumped it out in my frigid car, and then removed the mushy tentacles. (I know many of you call them leaves, but I’m still standing by my tentacle thing. I cannot help it, people. I cannot help it.)

When I announced the imminent death of my aloe, Heather recommended the whole 50 percent bleach solution, but I have not yet tried that. But at least I got the thing out of the moldy potting soil it was resting in. (Or, as grammarians would say, in which it was resting.)

And I will go pick up some cactus mix, per Trey’s suggestion, tomorrow night and repot the thing in something resembling a friendly medium. Because that’s how I roll. I am all about providing the friendly medium.

I am coming to grips with the fact that I may have killed the thing, but those of you who have posted stories of hope about aloe plants you have tried—and failed—to kill through the years are wonderful, charitable, kind people. Because you are helping me avoid writing off the plant entirely.

Flower salad

I’m a big fan of restaurant dining. Plate it up, kitchen, and dot that sauce around the rim.

I’ve been known to plate a meal or two at my own house, for sure, but I have to admit…I’ve never served myself up a flower salad. That always seemed a little too, I don’t know, high-brow? Or maybe I was just afraid I’d eat the wrong flower.

But this year’s nasturtium crop in my garden has totally exploded. Every day I go out and there are at least two or three more blossoms and probably a dozen or 20 new leaves. It’s craziness.

Flower saladSo I took my commenters’ advice, and came home and fixed myself a salad tonight. Ingredients: lettuce and a variety of other greens, just cut from the garden; a few stuffed grape leaves from the local Co-op; some crumbly Mexican cheese; nasturtium leaves and a single, lovely orange nasturtium. I topped it with a blackberry-ginger-sage balsamic vinaigrette (Have no fear…that recipe’s coming soon…) and served it up with a side of red wine.

Flower salad, direct from my back yard to my stomach. And it’s so much less hassle than making a reservation. I’m going to have to do that again soon, before the nasturtiums give it up for the season.

Them’s some powerful beans

Apparently Steven’s comment was right—there are many more beans to come. I harvested another handful this week, and they are destined for some good eatin’, although I have not yet cooked them. I’m a little overloaded with vegetables, still, and have hit that point in the season where I’m a tired of dealing with them.
Fall beans
Of course, that means I feel guilty about not dealing with them, because come February I’m going to be craving them, and I know that now, but I’m just weary of harvest.

Weary, and kicking myself for even saying that. Ah, the dichotomous life I lead.

When I saw the flowers on the bean plants a few weeks back, I figured I might get five or six more beans, but I harvested a solid handful—plenty for one—and left some on the plants for a future meal.

The plants themselves? They’re so bedraggled they barely even resemble their original selves. But they’re still producing like champs. Go figure.

Better choices next year

I don’t like the way these mums look from down here.As I sat on my porch yesterday afternoon, blogging and enjoying the quite excellent Indian summer weather we’re appreciating here in Iowa, I looked up at the hanging basket.

Trey was totally right in his comments about my hanging basket choices. Mums are a very, very stupid choice for hanging baskets. Not only do you mostly only see the stems, but you can’t easily get up there to deadhead the stupid plant.

Thank goodness for the Blue Haze Evolvolus, which saves the day by being pretty and drapey and interesting to look at. And now that I have it facing the front yard, there’s at least some minor redemption.

Trey, I promise. Next year, I’ll email you before I go to the garden center.

Eight random things

Down at the southern tip of Florida, where they have to grow tomatoes in the spring and the fall because the summer is so freaking hot, my cousin Katherine started a blog this year: GFCF Mommy. GFCF stands for Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, a dietary lifestyle her family has adopted to help meet the nutritional needs of her adorable son.

Katherine picked me as one of the four people tagged for the Eight Random Things meme, and since she tagged me at the end of August, she probably has been thinking I’d forgotten completely about it. But I hadn’t–was just finding the appropriate time to fit it in!

I know I swore in July that I would not do any more memes, but family is family, and I am a big fan of my cousin’s blog. Even if you’re not trying to live a gluten-free, casein-free lifestyle, it’s worth it to check out her interesting recipes and stories. So…in honor of Katherine, I return to the well for eight more random facts about me!

  1. I just walked in the door from my first-ever Ani DiFranco concert. Can anyone explain to me why it took me 34 years to get to an Ani DiFranco concert? Can anyone explain to me why I had only heard of—not heard—Melissa Ferrick, who opened for Ani? These women rocked my face off.
  2. I have never been to Asia, but I really want to go. I have, however, been to every country in Western Europe. (You’ll have to cut me some slack on the Eastern Europe bit…I lived in Europe before the Wall came down, so travel was, shall we say, impaired.)
  3. I have an incorrigible Diet Coke habit, which became even more horribly apparent while I was driving around northern Pennsylvania and Central New York in July. For miles, no gas station, no grocery stores had Diet Coke. And trust me: I asked everywhere we stopped.
  4. Barring weather disaster, I will attend more college football games between September 1 and November 1 than I have attended the entire rest of my life. And I am loving every minute of it.
  5. I get nervous every time I pull up to a barbeque joint in Iowa. It’s not that I think it’s going to be bad barbeque, it’s just that I know it’s not going to quite cut it. This has nothing to do with not relishing my time in Iowa, but it does have everything to do with recognizing regional specialties, of which Iowa has many others.
  6. When I was in college, my advisor asked me to play tennis with her because her regular doubles partner had gotten sick. I had developed a pretty killer serve in high school, and delivered one, right into the middle of her back. Luckily, she never let that affect her grading when it came to my papers…
  7. I still own one of my very first cookbooks, Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook, written by Arnold Dobbin and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, which my great-aunt and great-uncle gave to me for Christmas in 1977. The most ingredient-splattered recipe in the book is Samuel Whiskers’ Roly-Poly Pancakes, which, to this day, tastes like childhood to me.
  8. I not only have a tomato plant growing out of the stump in my yard, but I just found one growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. I’m thinking about buying a bunch of seeds next year and just planting them in utterly random places, just to see what happens.

So…that’s eight things about me. I’m going to break the rules and choose not to pass this particular meme any further, but I do want to encourage you to participate in the comments. What random things are you ready to share?


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