Monthly Archives: June 2012

Summer Solstice

Happy summer, everyone! Okay, let’s not fool ourselves. Today feels no different from yesterday. It has already been super-summery for all intents and practical purposes. We’ve had several days of 90+ degree weather, and we need rain like nobody’s business. The sun has been beating us down for weeks already with that ultra-bright white light we all associate with swimming holes and ice cream trucks and the like.

Today marks Ethan’s first successful tree climb. He and Laurel have been trying to climb this sad little tree in our back yard for years. Laurel, being significantly older and taller, mastered this first. Ethan lagged behind and was rather put out by the whole situation. Finally, today, I took some time from my garden duties to coach him a little, having been a successful tree climber myself. Most of the branches were juuuuuuust out of his reach, so he had to grab one and sort of crab-walk with his feet up into the fork and haul himself from there. The kid has abs of steel so I knew he could do it. He just needed a couple of pointers.

And it paid off:

First successful tree climb

Meanwhile, the chickens are hanging in there. We only have three left after a fox/coyote absconded with two. A raccoon severely injured one, the little grey one you see below. She’s not given us an egg since that time but she’s soldiering on. She’s eating and drinking and I saw her running today when I moved the pen and let them out on fresh grass. Yes, I know, it doesn’t look very fresh. Or grassy. We’ve had a drought this Spring like I can’t remember ever seeing before. Sigh. I can’t remember the last time I mowed.

bock bocks

But! Thanks to modern technology in the form of irrigation lines, not all is lost.

Granted, the outdoor plantings look pretty sorry, as do the other outdoor crops. They are irrigated, but the schedule can’t seem to keep up with the evaporation. Even so, we do have a few tomatoes coming on:

outdoor romas

Inside the hoop house, however, the situation is much brighter. The crops I’ve managed to save from (or which are usually undisturbed by) the melon aphids are doing well. That consists almost solely of tomatoes and peppers with some herbs thrown in, but I’m still succession planting and hoping for the best. Once we’re back from our big summer vacation I’ll likely throw some more seeds in the ground; but for now I’m happy with the tomatoes. I eat a LOT of tomatoes. Mouse over the photos for captions if you wish.

indoor tommytoesjalapenos preparing for salsa dutylittle bell pepperslittle green Thai chilisthai sweet basilvolunteer something-or-others

And of course, a thrill for any tomato-loving gardener (and her kids), ripening tomatoes:

illini star

Fathers Day, 2012.

Few men in this world can call themselves the kind of father my husband is. He is a rare breed, indeed, the best example of what a father should be.

Happy Fathers Day, Greg. We all love you dearly.


The Family

First Big Tomato of the Season.

We have had a couple of cherry tomatoes off our plants in the hoop house. I ate the first one all by myself because I’m like the little red hen and nobody helped me grow it, SO THERE. Ethan and I split the second on Monday.

Okay, that one statement about nobody helping me is patently untrue. Greg has helped me tremendously but he hates raw tomatoes (I know, weird, right?) so he’s not likely to stomp around and sulk about me hogging that first cherry tomato. Laurel helped plant several of those plants but she’s out at the Joseph Baldwin Academy so she’s out of luck for three weeks.

This morning I procured this little gem, the first of the “full-sized” tomatoes:

1st big mater

Now, normally I’d have left it on another day or two, but when I reached down to inspect it, it just fell into my hand. Far be it from me to make any bald accusations, but I did point it out to Ethan yesterday, and he does have a habit of touching anything he finds interesting despite my very-plain-and-clear-worded instructions not to do that with my tomatoes. I can forgive it if he manhandled it because, well, his fascination with such things is quite endearing.

And the truth is, it might not be his fault at all. That tomato may have just become bored with being the only ripening one amongst its green brothers and sisters and decided to just come on in. I imagine the conversation in the house is more lively than in the garden, anyway.

Conversations with Boys: The One About the Hair.

Michelle: “Ethan, did you wash your hair?” (Note: it was obvious he hadn’t.)

Ethan: [silent but guilty]

Michelle: “Ethan. Did you?”

Ethan: [silent, but clearly engaged in a desperate search for a way out]

Michelle: “Son, you had better not lie to me. I mean it. Did you wash your hair?

Ethan: “Well…what happens…if I say no?” [suddenly all innocent, nothing-to-see-here, hands up in surrendering gesture] “I’m JUST WONDERING.”


I see a long, long road ahead.