Friday, May 29, 2015

CSA and Garden

Yeah, I gotta tell you. I am tired. It doesn't help when the dog wakes up at 4:30 because she wants to cuddle. Seriously. So, I am just gonna share beautiful things via photos because it is Friday and mama is struggling to make a kale salad and needs a drink.

One of my stunning peonies. You can almost smell the exquisite fragrance through the picture.

I set up a butterfly/bee/wasp bath. After having annihilated a small colony of young yellow jackets, I feel like this is a small way to say I am sorry and have a drink. Yes I am crazy and let's leave it at that.

*See the little wasp in the center? Happy wasp.

Here is a full shot of the starting to bloom flower garden. Things that did not come up last year are coming up full force this year, like Blanket Flowers, and I cannot wait to see how this garden transforms over the next few months.

Had our first CSA pick up at the local farm yesterday and holy smokes was it a bounty!!
Asparagus, arugula, 2 tomatoes, 2 zucchini, a potted plant, beets, quart of strawberries, radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach and rhubarb. ROCK ON.

May you all have a fantastic weekend!!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catching Up

Hello my dears. So much going on and so much not going on. Gotta love great weather to make one lounge or be busy.

Our little guy only has two more days of school. Amazing how fast the year went. Seriously, no matter how many times people tell you the time flies, it really, really does. Soon enough he will be dating and driving and I will have a full head of gray hair. :)

Yellow Jackets have come back to our porch. And like last year, though in a different spot, the entrance is between a brick column and bead board, so God only knows how big the nest is. While I am all for live and let live, that does not apply when it is next to my porch swing where we like to hang out so the exterminator has been called. I sort of feel bad, but I have no desire for any of us to get stung and they have been incredibly active today. Our son is obsessed with the little buggers so we watched them this am and I found this really cool video about them and the layers of their nest. Very interesting.

We have joined a different CSA this year and our first pick up is tomorrow. Here is what we are getting.

Asparagus, beets, lettuce, arugula, kale, swiss chard, potted flower, rhubarb, radish, spinach, zucchini and 2 tomatoes.

We are giddy over here. What is really great is we are sent a survey at the beginning of the week showing what we are getting and are able to substitute items if there is something we do not want. Now, while i have never made rhubarb, I have decided to give it a shot and hope to find something cool to make with it besides pie.

About a week ago I thought our iPad and Chromebook batteries were dying, thankfully, they are both hanging in there. Though I admit the iPad's charge is not what it used to be, but so far so good.

I have been finding awesome free stuff to do in our area. The Envionmental Educational Center in Somerset County is fantastic. In the building there are pamphlets, a calendar of classes, classrooms, a library and lots of interesting bugs to check out. Our son was taken by the petri dishes and microscope. The trails are great and there is a nice outdoor space with a turtle and frog filled pond. We also spotted a fishing spider which he loved. There are dragonflies, an herb garden and texture gardens, just beautiful. Right up the road is The Raptor Trust which I would like to check out this summer and right after that is the Great Swamp Watershed Association. I totally appreciate having access to places like these so giving a donation or buying a small token from the gift shop is totally worth it to me.

Did a lot of weeding over the weekend and threw tons of cheap wildflower seeds throughout the briar patch area. I hope they take over and crowd out the weeds at some point. It would be nice to look back into that area and see a meadow of flowers mixed in with the tall grasses.

I got a bunch of old baby clothes I was saving because I can be a pack rat and am hoping to bring them to a store to sell for some cash. I also found maternity clothing and will be donating a bag of that and other stuff that the store won't buy and give it to a woman's shelter. Better to have that stuff go somewhere it can be used than have it sit in a bin for some sort of odd sentimental reason. I am not knocking anyone who keeps their stuff, the whole Marie Kondo obsession baffles me, but for me there is no reason to save everything. I have some baby stuff of his I will not let go of. Even if it no longer "sparks joy".
Now, about the Marie Kondo tidying up sensation. Did I miss something? Hasn't Martha Stewart and her ilk been encouraging use to organize for years?? Or maybe Martha has to much crap so the minimalists in the world have pushed the less is more mantra for quite some time. What is it about Marie Kondo that is any different? is it because she makes you think your clothes and cups have feelings? That she talks about how we, say it ain't so, put feelings into our things? Granted the way she folds things looks nice, but hanging it on a hanger works just as well if one does not have that many clothes like moi. I mean, God bless if she has motivated people to finally sort and clear out, but does no one see where this all stems from for her? She has admitted her family did not care much for her so she started to clean and straighten up for attention. She directed her love to things. Things. Inanimate objects. Like forks and bras and plates. Come on man. I find it odd to thank my socks for a service that they were created to do. I mean, shit, my stove does not "spark joy" in my life, but it has a purpose. If it was a La Cornue we might have a different feeling here, but let's be honest, appliances/furniture are functional or should be, they are not always meant to move heaven and earth and make me feel loved. Again, if her style has made you feel like a better person great for you, but I feel one does not need to thank their purse for existing. Unless it is an Hermes ;-)

*I am sure someone will read this and call me an asshole. Eh, I've been called worse. Also, this woman has made serious bank off of her issues so this is capitalism at work in all its glory. Amen sister, go get your payday. Maybe instead of reading excerpts and gushing articles, I will read the book myself and see if I do glean any insight. If so, I will then come back with a mea culpa for ya'll. 

On a very serious note, keep the folks in Texas and Oklahoma in your thoughts and prayers.


Monday, May 18, 2015

What Time Is It?!

For some reason our three year old has woken up at the ungodly hour of 5:45am the past two days. If spell check did not exist, there would be an ENORMOUS amount of errors throughout this post. My addled brain has things it wants to share so I am going to do that and then fight wanting to nap most of the day.

This past Christmas, a darling friend gave us a $100 gift certificate to Xaviar's Restaurant Group in New York State. We have done brunch at Restaurant X a few times and nothing compares to it anywhere. Seriously, it is that good. When a huge group of us went once, our friend informed them we were vegetarian. Apparently the cook was excited and had a good time making things for my husband and I. A few others at the table got jealous. LOL
Anyway, the hubby and I decided we would give one of the other restaurants in teh group a go so we booked the Sunday Lunch at Xaviar's at Piermont for yesterday. We dropped the little boy off at our friend's who got us the gift card since the restaurant is five minutes from their home.
The place itself is intimate with just 8 tables. The Sunday Lunch is a prix fixe menu for $40.00 and worth every single penny. The service and food are sublime. My appetizer was a spring ramp and mushroom risotto. It was the best risotto I have ever had. For my main dish I had soft shelled crab, the dish came with two, lightly fried on a bed of spinach and roasted tomatoes and avocado. I have never had anything so amazing in my life. The portions are not enormous, but we were full for the rest of the day so Brava to them. And HALLELUJAH, I finally had a Bloody Mary. Mama was VERY happy. :) So if you are going to be in the Piermont, NY area, I recommend you make a reservation and feel fancy. Oh, the other best thing, as elegant as this place was, you did not have to dress fancy and it was actually loud, not a "no talking above a whisper" kind of place which I thought was even more awesome.

My $12 drink and my was it delicious.

If you ever had the fortune or misfortune to work in the entertainment industry, as I did many moons ago, you know that what you see is not what you get with most famous people. The site Jezebel put out a call to all their readers to tell them The Best Time a Celebrity Was a Dick To You. OH YEAH. Some of these stories are hilarious, some of them make you wish you could hang out with them as your BFF, others you want to punch in the head, others blindside you with their whatfuckery and others and their self importance are not surprising at all.  What always bugged me when working in said industry was how much of the general public assumes these people are so much better and different than you. Nope. They just happen to have a more public job that pays ridiculously well. Remember, assholes are in every bleedin' industry. These tales are an eye opener for those folks wearing the rose colored "famous people are better" goggles and amusement to those of us who already know just how screwed up a lot of the famous are. I saw A LOT of band itineraries and some of their back stage/green room requests were beyond divaish-asshole behavior. Specific colors of flowers, only certain types of tea, candles, food. FYI - Those in charge of the actual venue where the performance had to have every single one of those things at the ready or else heads would roll.
The food requirements always got me because there was always an abundance and I often wondered how much of it even gets touched or thrown away.  After reading a few it made me want to grab a few of these morons and say, "You are not that important, you sing, you are not performing brain surgery."  As an aside, singer Joan Osborne's tour requests were not over the top which made her seem like the most rational human. I remember she had a request for an inordinate amount of teas, but it wasn't something impossible like everything had to be white. Yes, Someone actually had that in their backstage rider. Flowers, room, sofa, everything white. Would it surprise you that it was J Lo? Yeah, didn't think so. (I know this is not new news, but that rider is real and imagine having to get all that shit. People can be such nitwits.) Just cause your famous does not mean you should act like a tool, but I always believed if you are like that now, you have ALWAYS been that way. Fame or not.
Anyhoo, scroll right down the article to the 3700+ comments and have a freakin' ball my friends.

Well, that is all I got right now. My son just asked if we could go outside. Dear God in heaven, he wants me to get dressed. I can only answer him in Tina Belcher speak.

May you have a lovely day and may I stay awake.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crap, Crap, Crappity, Crap, Crap

Last night I took a shower and after I turned off the water and got out, there was a weird whooshing noise. I checked the faucet to see if maybe I did not turn them off, but that was not the case. As I walked towards the upstairs landing the noise got progressively louder. I stopped for a moment and then headed up to the bedroom and informed my husband, "It sounds like the water is running and it gets louder by that one pipe by the wall. Something is not right."
He got up and went downstairs while I stayed upstairs talking to my son who wanted to know "What happened?" The minute my husband opened the basement door we could hear the water. Yup, a pipe burst.

Home ownership can suck more than a vampire at a blood bank.

My husband shut the water off and we are now waiting to hear from our contractor. We believe the burst happened by the nasty looking old house water filter the prior, prior owners put in so that is going to go. Granted, all of our pipes need to go, but let's face it, replacing plumbing all at once is hideously expensive. My husband mentioned something called Pex and another friend did as well so I looked it up and I have to say, I want it. It is cheaper than copper, flexible, won't rot and will most likely do very well in our home. Check out an example of it here.

Thank goodness we had gallon jugs of water on hand to be able to brush our teeth and rinse a pot or two. As for flushing the toilets, well that will wait until later.

And in more homeowner amusement, I called the exterminator who informed me that "Yes, the yellow jackets are currently staking out places to set up their colonies so they cannot come out until we locate a nest." I get it and I was fine with it until I found two yellow jackets in my sons room at separate times. One I was able to get out via the window, the other, unfortunately, perished at the hands of my husband and an Old House magazine. So far we have had no other incidents as I have kept his windows shut. I am hoping they choose some place in the back where I don't have to deal with them. I don't want to have an exterminator come and I want to use my porch. Not asking for a lot here, but nature does have the upper hand in the meantime. Respect.

As a thanks for listening, here is a nice recipe. I did not use gf pasta, but it was still fabulous.
Artichoke Hearts and White Beans with Pasta


Monday, May 11, 2015

Movies, Books and Gardening

Believe it or not, I have snuck in two movies in the past week. Granted I watched them over a few days, but still, that is an accomplishment.
The first one I watched was Saved! and truth be told, I really liked it. Some people it accused it of being Anti-Christian, but I saw it differently. The film showed examples of blind faith, lack of faith and finding faith alongside homosexuality, being handicapped and more, all with a dark comedy vibe. While the content may not be your cup of tea, the performances from every actor was excellent.

The second film was a surprise for me in that I could not believe that it was a true story. The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio was surprisingly touching and aggravating. Julianne Moore plays a mom to ten kids, God Fucking Bless, and a wife to an alcoholic husband. She ends up being the breadwinner, how? By winning contests. Yes. Contests. Seems back in the day, known as the 50's, you could enter a contest sponsored by someone like Frigidaire, by writing a catchy jingle, and win a refrigerator. Wish THAT still happened. I will say I cried at the end not just because my hormones lack balance, but because it was sweet.

We did a lot of garden work yesterday. We planted more lavender and sage and oregano and still need to put the pachysandra in. I will take pictures so you can see what we have done.
Unfortunately, it seems as if the yellow jackets are back. Now I am pretty much a live and let live gal when it comes to outdoor wildlife, but not if you are going to take up residence where I spend my time, the porch. The problem is, I have been trying to track where they are going. One time they were entering a crack in the porch, another time they were by the side of the front door, and yesterday one went under the bird bath in the dirt where I needed to plant stuff. Every time we were over there she would come out and hover. This is not good. I don't really want to call an exterminator, but getting stung is not an option. You can buy a home plan to be done three times a year, but the treatment wipes out some beneficial bugs/insects as well and I am not a fan of that. I know farmers like yellow jackets,but I can't tell the damn things where the farm is or else I would. We shall see how we proceed in this matter.

We will be pruning our lilac tree pretty hardcore this year so I have decided it is a good idea to cut flowers for the house. Look at them, they smell heavenly as well.

And an update on the ambulance situation. I paid a 15% reduced rate of $864.00. Aces.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Random Things

Such glorious weather these last few days. My little forget-me-nots keep popping up in different areas of where I planted them originally. I like them and wish they would bloom bigger and longer.

My son has a cold. Never fun being sick when the weather is fabulous outside, but I am hoping he will lay low, whatever that means to a 3 year old, until he is better.

I am in the middle of reading "Trigger Warning" by Neil Gaiman. A sweet collection of short stories. Joking. There is nothing sweet here so far. Honestly what goes on in that man's head is pretty impressive.  'A Lunary Labyritnh' and 'A Calendar of Tales' are favorites so far. 'The Thing About Cassandra' still has me wondering if I got it right and after a quick internet search I saw I was not alone in my wonder.
Unfortunately the book is due back Friday, so I feel like I a in a marathon rush to finish getting through all the stories. If not, I hope I can renew it, but it was a 14 day loan and I am sure there is a waiting list.

The other day I went out to my composter and spotted these little hand prints. Seems raccoons have been called by the sensual decomposition of fruits and veggies. I am surprised they did not get the twist cover off the thing because I imagine them to be quite clever little devils.

True Blood Season 2 is getting better. I still skip some stuff, but it has it's very funny, campy, twisted moments.

Need to plant stuff this weekend in the garden and in other areas we would like flowers. There is no guarantee this will get done.

I have been reading Mad Men recaps every Monday since I don't have cable. I cannot wait to see how they shut down the series. May Netflix get it as soon as it is done.

Our son is obsessed with vacuuming. No complaints here.

I need to buy sneakers still. Not a purchase I relish, but at some point I shall make my way to Marshal's and suck it up.

As someone who would rather have hardscaping and meadows and flowers instead of just grass, this article on Houzz about creative ides for a small front yard is inspiring. What I do love most about our "lawn" is it is filled with violets and clover. I don't understand how anyone hates that. Seriously. I get the rolling carpet of green is attractive to someone, but that someone is not me. I would rather not have to mow something all the time. I don't my hubby does, but still.

This cashew carrot salad from Fat Free Vegan looks nice for the warmer months.

Have a gorgeous day.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hello Darlings!

Played phone tag with Reveune Guard.  You gotta love that there is a company out there specifically designed to get money for the ambulance companies. Clearly this came out of the fact that nobody wants to pay the ridiculous bills they send out so instead of wasting resources trying to get paid, they chose to contract a company that will spend their waking days doing billing with the potential to ruin everyone's credit. Yeah, this is a going to be a fun battle. I doubt I will win, but I personally think this practice sucks and every time I hear the first aid horn now I think, "Oh, there goes another $1000.00+ customer." Friggin' sad.

Again, I understand these services are not cheap and I appreciate First Aid Squads, but either find someone to negotiate a much better contracted rate with insurance companies, or hold more fund raisers. I say this because going after folks for money after they have been through some sort of trauma is probably not the best way to do business let alone endear yourself to your community even though we need each other.

Okay. Moving on.

Made these fabulous from scratch pancakes. Let me warn you though the batter will rise VERY high in the bowl and so will the actual pancake in the pan, but they are delicious. I added chia seeds and chocolate chips.

After my car gets brought in for it's oil change and car wash, woo hooo!, we will need to get some yard work done today. I also need to go to the bra lady and get measured for new bras. This is an expensive endeavor thanks to being well endowed, but I will not wear crappy bras that fall apart and I need proper support. I also really need a new pair of sneakers. I hate buying sneakers, but that is why places like Marshall's exists so I don't have to pay $85.00 for them.

We no longer have any outdoor furniture. Sets we were given have been used and loved and broken and moved to the trash. I have been scouring Craigslist which I never have success on. I am jealous of people who go on and can furnish a whole house in one sitting. We do have a few various town wide garage sales kicking in so I may need to check them out. We really do like this particular one by Crosley and it is sold in a few places, but it is $279.00. We both really dig the retro vibe of it and the sky blue color. We figured it is a set that could stay with us for some time because it is made of steel.

For now I am not sure what we will do because I do love sitting outside. We could get cheap folding chairs or something, but why buy something cheap and poorly made? Ahh the conundrums of life.

Hope you are out enjoying the weekend. We have some very warm weather coming this week, PRAISE THE SWEET TOOTHED JESUS, and I am so looking forward to watching everything bloom and planting veggies and sowing some seeds. Have a good one.