Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tomato Love

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
May Sarton

Through the years I have written about my tomato woes -- how each year I plant them in great anticipation -- accompanied by trepidation. I don't have much luck. Some years my plants just sit there all summer, same size as when I planted them. Some years in our drought, I can't keep up with the watering and they just plain give up. Some years we reach above 90 degrees very early and the blossoms won't set. It's always something.

You might recall these lovelies from previous posts. 


A bountiful harvest

Hopeful beginning, but just didn't go anywhere.

Never one to give up completely, this year I tried again. The early spring rains in Texas were most helpful in getting things going. I planted my tomatoes in another place in the garden and no kidding, they began to thrive.

My cages hopeful for fulfillment.

I tried something new here - sort of an instant caprese salad. Basil on top and the tomato coming out of the bottom.

I watered, I fertilized. I begged my husband, my daughter-in-law, anyone to water if I was out of town.  Progress.

Now, every tale must have conflict. Right? RIGHT? That must explain why when I returned from the lake this past weekend, some little #@$%^%$%^$%!!!!! animal had stolen that large tomato growing out in the garden.  Never ceases to amaze me what can make me sad, mad, and glad as there are a few hopefuls still out there on another plant ---

And I did get to observe some monarch caterpillars devouring my fennel (gladly I'll sacrifice my fennel froths for monarchs.)

I'm going to be away from my garden for a couple weeks. During that time, my green beans will produce a massive crop.

Wait, that's the morning glories combined with some green beans.

The Turk's Cap will bloom along with the petunias and a few other beauties.

Send good vibes that my middle son will water my only orange on my orange tree.

Alas a happy ending. Although I'm certain the Texas heat will totally debilitate my garden in my absence, I take comfort in the fact that I will eat this beauty before I leave. 

Between the cost of water in Texas, the fertilizer, the initial plant and every one's watering time and attention, that little nugget probably only cost about $500. 

Happy Gardening Everyone.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Recipe for Sane Family Travel

And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.
Dave Barry

How does a family of eight travel to an expensive city and find a place to stay everyone can afford,  have everyone get to do what they want to do -- and no one hates each other at the end of the trip? Question before us a few months ago as we planned travel to NYC for youngest son's graduation.

Three sons
Two most significant others
Two uncles
Google Maps
NYC Subway

Step One: Go to AirBB and find an old brownstone in not the most popular neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Step Two: Eat at the airport after the long flight so no one is hungry while progressing to final destination. Study car services before getting there so you don't get highjacked into paying some outrageous price to get to your place of stay - and a car that arrives at the appointed time.

Step Three: Don't try to organize anybody other than yourself -- for whatever. Supply information on the subway, phone Aps for directions, Broadway plays, sports events, parks, gardens, museums, bus tours, etc., and let it play out on its own.

Step Four: Keep your cell phones on to send or receive texts every now and then that say, "Hey, we're here and gonna do this. Anyone want to join us?" If you feel like it. Meet in good people watching places - Bryant Park, the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel, the yellow and purple egg at Rockefeller Center.


And while you are waiting, take a quick stroll through the bottom end of Central Park.

Step Five: Make certain where you are staying has a huge table in the dining room so all can gather at the end of the day, toss down their collected brochures, ticket stubs, found treasures, and share their tales of the day.

Tales which might have included

The Guggenheim



The theatre

Or more eggs.

Bike riding through Central Park

This old broad made it 7.3 miles around the park. This is me at the end.
Some of us, uh...

Brothers loose in the city.

Step Six:  Have a son who is a chef so he can come over and cook for you one night.

with the assistance of his sister-in-law - the only one who can keep up with him in the kitchen anymore.

while his dad and oldest brother do plate prep and cleanup.

And the rest of us fart around waiting for the food.

Which was well worth the wait.

Step Seven: Converse and enjoy.

There you have it. Recipe for successful family trip without scar tissue. 

Take that Dave Berry.


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