Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Voice of Experience......

Never ask the Geezer to 'take a quick snapshot.' It won't be quick. It won't be a snapshot unless you can wrest it from his grasp before he gets it into Aperture.

On the positive side, he's pretty gracious about wresting.

But 'quick' - not so much.

Saturday Picking at Appleton Farms

10 Sunflowers, a huge bouquet of flowers, 8 pounds of green beans, 3 edamame plants, tomatoes, more tomatoes, basil, hot peppers, more tomatoes.

What a Difference a Slipcover Makes.

I changed the slipcovers on our tv room sofa today. If I knew how to link to another entry, I'd show you how the red ones look. But here are the blue ones. I like the red better, but they need washing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Curries- Yum.

I've just posted 2 of my favorite vegetarian curry recipes on Hotdish Bleus. I made the eggplant one last night and had it again for lunch. Wowser.

Excellent for Weight Watchers, who like Indian cuisine and have a vegetarian living with them. Should there be anyone like that out there.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Sheba and I walk to meet the Geezer's train most nights. Tonight, on the way home we spotted this wonderful mushroom. It's about 8 inches tall and perfectly formed. All it needs is an elf living under it.

It's a consequence of the rainy summer we've had - perfect conditions for all kinds of fungus. Mold is pretty happy this summer, too. But we will not speak of that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Appleton Farm - Picking Veg and Flowers

The COG and I went to Appleton Farm this morning to pick beans, tomatoes, flowers and herbs. The first picture was taken from the gate to the field where we can pick. Someone has left their sunflowers in a pail of water, while they pick something else.
For our membership we get two things. First, every week we get a grocery bag full of whatever is going, which we choose from bins in the barn. Second, there are some fields that are planted for us to pick from. Sometimes some things are limited. Today we were limited to 3 Heritage tomatoes - but could pick unlimited regular and plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. We were also limited (if you can call it a limit) to 10 stems of sunflowers and 5 gladioli.

Beans were unlimited, so I picked about a million. They were so plentiful. I think that people haven't been picking as much because it has been so wet. Plus, I was picking in a newer field, a bit farther out than the older one, which still has lots of beans.

You can see my basket of beans in one picture and a typical plant with lots of beans on it, in another.

I continued picking a long time after the pictures - The basket was full to overflowing before I stopped.

The last picture shows some of the sunflowers. They are planted in rows and they grow so tall. It's fun to walk down the ranks to find the best flowers in the middle rows, far down.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday Evening at Plum Island

Because I'm a cheap date, I let the Geezer take me to Plum Island Sunday evening. He loves going there for two reasons: first, it's free because he's so old; second, it's beautiful. My role was to drive, to stop on a dime when the Geezer saw a photo op and to do my part for the ecosystem as part of the food chain (me->mosquitoes->tree swallows->whatever eats the tree swallows etc.).

While the Geezer took his beautiful pictures, I listened to a book on my ipod and gazed with admiration at all the other photographers, some of whom had very, very large zooms.

As the evening advanced, I did take a couple of pictures - nothing like as lovely as the COG's, but just to give you some idea of the general look of things.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cat amongst the herbs

I went to a local farm today to buy some corn and berries (Russell Farms on the way to Crane's Beach, for anyone who knows it). On the table where they sell herbs and perennials, I saw this cat sleeping peacefully.

Horrible Job, but finished: Part 2

The trellis guys did not show up today and we didn't hear from them. So we aren't sure when our new trellises will be installed. At least my part is done. They are still stacked against the garage door, as in the picture I posted yesterday, being rained on at this moment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Horrible Job, but finished

Last Spring, the Geezer and I contracted to have some trellising built and erected on our house. It's really good quality trellising, cedar, heavy duty, well-made. You can see them here, leaning against our garage door.

In a fit of what must have been early dementia, I said I'd put the wood preservative on them. What was I thinking?

It was a horrible, horrible job. I rented a sprayer, which made it marginally easier, but also created a fine mist of easily inhaled toxic fumes. And a mess. I did put down a drop cloth to catch most of the spray. However, when you spray lattice, you mostly are spraying the holes between the wood parts, so the drop cloth was a mess by the time I had finished - 2 coats on each side.

Now, although I've showered, the inside of my nose seems to be coated with the stuff because it's all I can smell. And I feel sticky all over.

We think they are going to come tomorrow and put them up. And they will look good. More pictures, then.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nifty New Purchase

Look at this cool dish I bought. I've never seen anything like it before. I don't even know quite how to describe it. The black floral design is silver on the back of the dish and from cruising ebay, I'm thinking the design is something called silver overlay.

This one was in the 75% off bin of a antique store in Essex. When I bought it for a few dollars, the woman told me it was black metal, not silver on the edge. I was pretty sure she was wrong. In fact, had I not been thinking humbly that she was more of an expert than me, I would have been sure it was silver. And she definitely was wrong. It's silver, though more tarnished than I've ever seen. But, with a good amount of rubbing the solid black starts to come off, and then the silver comes up beautifully. I'll leave the floral design black I think, but just clean up the edges of the dish.

Fruits of the Season: Part 2

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by vegetables and fruit. Today, I froze 7 pounds of green beans and cut up 3 small watermelons (one delightfully yellow) into easily eaten chunks. I baked 2 loaves of zucchini bread. I sugared some blackberries which we'll probably have for dinner. I looked up a recipe for Rumtopf (fruit preserved in rum, a German Christmas treat).

Tonight for dinner we are having a curry made of kohlrabi, kale, potatoes and carrots, all from our CSA share. The heat is supplied by hot peppers I froze last year from our share and our garden. But I still have a fridge full of vegetables and more that don't fit in the fridge. Plus, peaches, yellow plums and blackberries from a local farm and some cherries our neighbors gave me from their yard.

Last week we had a dinner with 9 vegetables in it and another with 8 vegetables in it, so that makes tonight's dinner of only 4 veggies, plus fruit for dessert look puny by comparison.

What am I going to do with all these vegetables? I can't keep up: I'm falling behind. (voice rises into a whine at the end). Waaaah!

Fruits of the Season

This is part of this week's share from the Appleton Farm CSA. It doesn't show the herbs (basil, cilantro and dill) I picked this week or any of the leafy veggies (a head of lettuce, a bag of arugula and one of Russian kale) or the eggplant, zucchini and tomato I used for ratatouille a couple of nights ago. Or the 6 ears of corn we've already eaten. However, it does show the wonderful flowers, including 7 stems of sunflowers, which sell for as much as $5 apiece in flower stores here.

Because we've had a cold, wet summer (it's raining as I write) the tomatoes are late. Usually we have them by mid-July, but this was the first week for them, and they were limited. I was able to pick a pint of sungold grape tomatoes, but they were a little more green and yellow than gold. Nevermind, they still taste fantastic. There is nothing in the world like a just picked tomato.

There are 7 pounds of beans there, which I picked on Saturday. I must get them cleaned, blanched and frozen today. The odd purple bulbs on the right of the picture are kohlrabi, for which I must find a recipe. The gi-normous zucchini is actually a donation from the Rice's, our neighbors. This variety, I"m told, is extremely nicely flavored and you just hack off as much as you want and return the rest to the fridge for another day. This one, or part of it anyway, is getting made into zucchini bread, which I will mail to Son of, since the Geezer and I are watching our weight and can't eat it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Heron Update

It's a juvenile Great Blue Heron. The Son says so.

Wild Kingdom

The COG took this picture and I think he may blog about it too. This fellow has been in our pond all day. He's gone now that it's dark and rainy. We're not sure what kind of heron it is. Possibly a Great Blue Heron, but we aren't sure. We've written to the Son Of for an identification.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gloucester Harbor

On Sunday, we went to Gloucester. It has been such fun to go to some of the seaside places nearby, after seeing the seaside villages in Spain and France. I guess I'm still seeing with tourist's eyes and I think it's as pretty here as there. Though different in many many ways. Anyway, we drove to the end of Cape Ann (which was named, I recently heard, after the mother of King Charles I) to lighthouse in an Audubon reserve there. We took Sheba so I didn't walk all the way to the end of the jetty because she tripped on the uneven stones of the jetty. Here's a little film I took. The big white line through the film at one point is caused by shooting directly into the sun. Sorry.

And what, you wonder, does The Son do there?

Ahhh yes, what is The Son doing at MBL. It really has nothing to do with Marine life, but everything to do with biology. He's in a lab studying ants. Not ants exactly, but some bacteria which live inside of the cells of ants. And not really the bacteria so much as the DNA of those bacteria.

As I understand it - and I don't really - living inside the other cells makes the DNA of these bacteria interesting.Because it's inside the cell, there are certain ways it changes. For one thing, it is protected by the cell. Not because the cell is helping it, the cell is only protecting itself, but that inadvertently protects the bacteria. So the part of the DNA that would affect protection, isn't there. And there are other ways in which living in the cell makes the bacteria's DNA different, but I forget what they are. I seem to remember (though I could be wrong here) that the DNA chain is short. Or something.

But the point is, this is really basic science research, not with a specific goal in mind other than the accumulation of knowledge about DNA. And even though I don't understand it, I can see that it is quite interesting.

Marine Biological Laboratory, More on Woods Hole.

Woods Hole, though mostly a lovely little village, is also home to three big, important scientific organizations. There's WHOI (pronounced Who - eee), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; there's NOAA (pronounced like Noah), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - a federal agency focused on, um, the oceans and atmosphere - lots of weather related stuff. And MBL, Marine Biological Laboratory where The Son of works. I hope you can read the text on the picture taken in the front of the building Son Of works in. It tells you lots about MBL.

But just in case, here is the transcription: Marine Biological Laboratory, "The uniquely national center for biology in this country" - Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell. Founded in 1888, the Marine Biological Laboratory is the oldest private marine laboratory inthe western hemisphere. The MBL's mission is to improve the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science.

Resident and visiting scientists from around the world conduct research in a variety of areas including developmental biology and infertility, neurobiology and neurodegenerative disorders, learning and memory, cell and molecular biology and evolution, genomics and global infections diseases, and nutrient cycling and climate change. In addition, the MBLs advanced, graduate level education probram is know through the life sciences for kick-starting the research careers of the world's best and brightest biologists.

Learn more about the MBL a the Pierce Visitors Center across the street or by visiting our website at

Woods Hole - Son of COG

Last Saturday the COG and I visited Son of COG in his new place in Woods Hole. We saw his room in a large wonderful old house; met his landlady, Virginia, who seemed a very interesting woman a little older than us. The Son of.. showed us the wonderful deck/widow's walk at the top of the house from which you can see the ocean a few blocks away.
Then, we walked the couple of blocks into the center of town. The second picture is the place where Son of has breakfast most days. Really a charming looking place, where they make everything on site - including roasting coffee beans. He showed us where he works ( separate blog about that).
We had a lovely dinner at a charming restaurant. Then we walked home the long way, along the beach. The lighthouse in the pictures is pretty famous, at least locally.
And there's a glimpse of the COG and Son of... It reminds me of a picture taken at the Island, about 25 years ago, with both of them looking out at the water.

It was interesting to see Woods Hole after the places we visited in Spain. It was really very similar in many ways. It's a wonderful part of the Cape.