Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Me + Sewing Machine = Luv 4 Eva

Yeah, I had some serious make out time with the sewing machine this past weekend. With hubby gone playing with the boys, I flipped on the tunes, put on my sexiest outfit (read: ratty capris, faded tank top and flip flops), lit some candles (no, not really) and brought the sewing machine out from where it's been hiding since we finished our backtack project a few weeks ago.

To the sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Coltrane, the Allman Brothers and a few other mismatched artists, I managed to get all the pent up crafty out of my system as though my fingers were aflame.

I unraveled piles of gifted fabric (thank you Amy and KB!) all over the living room and set to work constructing not one, not two, not even three, BUT FIVE sewing projects that had been noisily milling around in my head for weeks. Torturing me with their intricacies, taunting me with their details, poking fun at me with their special adornments. THE AGONY!

Let me share with you the fruits of my weekend's labor:

First, and fruitiest: the so-called "Hostess Set" for my friend, Amy, who so kindly gifted me a giant sack of lovely stripes to go with the remainder of the toile from my backtack project. She is the ultimate hostess, and coincidentally uses toile, stripes (these, particularly) and similar decor in her house, so I made her a table linens set and matching apron as a wee thanks. Yes I tried on the apron. Yes I thought about keeping it for myself. What of it?

Second project to burst forth from the machine successfully constructed -- Purseket! Is that what it's called? I'll call it a purse organizer. Or, better yet, The Bottomless Pit of Doom Where Chapsticks Go To Die Organizer. The fact that I can reach into my Big Girl Bag (I recently promoted myself from tiny teen sized pocketbooks to this monstrosity) and pull my Chapstick right out is nothing short of a miracle.

So, where are the other three fruits of my labor? Why secretly hiding behind a shroud of secrecy until they are unveiled at a Baby Shower Not To Be Named, of course. I will tell you this - I had just enough fabric left from the first part of the project to finish the final accessories, the zipper came out SQUWEET and I didn't fuck it up at all. Love it long time.

After all the crafting was done, I felt I needed to shift my focus away from all things domestic and take in a little baseball. So as not to fully awaken my inner June Cleaver, hubby and I set out for Oakland to watch, what we expected to be, a virtual massacre of his beloved Royals.

Hold your hotdogs, folks! They totally won! Oh, nuh-huh. Color us surprised.

And it was the second week in a row that hubby and I made it out for a midweek date. Glory be! Miracles do happen. We also noticed that this was the second date night in a row that we dined on beer and hotdogs. This is a marriage made in meat heaven.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Backtack III - DONE

Knittale, my friend, your softie has hit the mail -- try not to scream in fright when you open the box.

Things got a little out of hand with the colors/wrapping/decision-making etc. So what you'll see in front of you might be cause for disturbance.

I hope you like it, or can at least feign enthusiasm long enough for me to lock myself in the craft room with the sewing machine instructions.

Photos to come post-delivery.

Happy Mem Day Weekend, folks.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

All the reason in the world for Happy

In the last 24 hours I've been virtually mobbed with Happy:
  • No rain
  • Date with Hubby
  • Live tunes
  • Starry skies
  • Outdoor fun
  • Hope in the garden
  • No rain
Yes, well, most any 24 hour period lately that isn't bookended with rain storms is a good one for me, and cause for at least mild celebration.

But the other stuff, that plain spikes my Happy and has me running circles with drunken glee.

Tuesday night Hubby and I went on an impromptu weeknight (nowayman!) date to see John Hiatt in concert at the Mountain Winery, a metaphysical little winery on the tippy top of a hill in Saratoga, CA. It is hard to imagine a more perfect, ideal, paradisiac, pure, sublime, utopian scenario than this night turned out to be.

Really, just reach-down-and-grab-your-soul-with-both-hands-and-squeeze kind of good. Not to be a total dorkus but I think I even teared up at some point in the evening as we sat, huddled together, four rows from the stage, listening to John sing Buffalo River Home, with a good dose of gin warming my veins, looking up at a starry sky above the heavenly reaching chardonnay vines. For me, it does not get much better than that without my wedding dress.

Date night with the Vaughans

And then this morning, I was greeted in the garden with some VERY GOOD NEWS. Things are not dead. Better yet, things are alive! And growing! And setting fruit! And, as we all expected, beginning to run amok.

Pumpkinzilla's first, and someone rain bleached, flower

Snap peas have finally passed up the top of the fence

Slicing cuke holding on for dear life

Setting fruit:
Snap peas

That, my friends, is the first cuke of the season. Right there. No, there. Right in the middle. See? See.

Running amok:
From above Pumpkinzilla

From within the Forest of Pumpkinzilla

Also, it looks like the lettuce is making a recovery, basil MIGHT actually be taking hold (it's a rough time when even basil is laying low) and I saw TWO blooms on my mini rose bushes. Oh, did I tell you? Hydrangeas are starting to bloom folks -- fannnnnnnccccccccccyyyyyyyyyyy.

So, what is one Finny to do with the overabundance of Happy? Why, sit in the yard and absorb it all over a three day weekend with a glass of wine in hand -- of course! I also was the lucky recipient of some very nice striped remnant fabric this week that I plan to pair with the leftover toile from my Backtack 3 project for any one of many potential projects: napkin/placemat sets, pillow cases, bolster covers, chair upholstery, cosmetic bags, travel bags, the possibilities are staggering really.

I also have a zippered wristlet for someone that I need to finish up and a Favorite Godchild who desperately needs something Made by Aunt Finny to cuddle until Finny can make it to sunny AZ to do the cuddling herself. Perhaps it is high time I put my newfound knowledge of softies to good use and fashioned a squashy friend for Ms. Emma? Yes, that is possible.

Either way, me and my Happy will be strutting around the homestead this weekend basking in the glory of it all and being extra thankful for a Monday off.

Monday, May 22, 2006



This weekend our house was a flurry of meat activities. There was milking, rubbing, salting, serenading and even a bit of dancing involved as Hubby (and indirectly I) prepared the first of many summer bbq feasts.

Hubby was at the helm, directing the meatitude from butcher block to eager mouth, making sure all steps were taken to ensure maximum KC deliciousness. I promise you, no one went home disappointed.

In order to preserve Hubby's secret methods, I did not photograph the transformation from obscene slabs of raw meat to salivary overload, however, here are a few feature shots of Meat in Smoker and Meat on Server to whet your appetites:

And, our feature presentation: Meat on Slicer

And for those of you not of the beef persuasion, an uncensored look at some lucious breasts:

These also made for some dee-lish smoked chicken mushroom jack fajitas on Monday night. Bless the chicken.

And let's not forget the star of the show, Smokey:

He worked overtime as Hubby's loyal sidekick and pumped smoke for two days until our neighbors finally gave in and came over to see who's garage was on fire.

Oh! No garage on fire?

Whaddya makin'? Smoked brisket you say? Why, I remember that from your bbq last summer.

Any chance you are having another bbq soon? Oh! This weekend? Why that is a coincidence, we are going to be home this weekend and for some reason, we haven't grocery shopped in a decade and thus, have no food.

Just kidding, it didn't exactly go this way. Our neighbors are way too well behaved. However, we did feel it necessary to allude to additional summer bbq's in order to keep the peace, and to keep hungry fingers out of the unattended smoker while we were at work.

So, I guess we know what we're doing this summer. Darn.

Can I get a "Yeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwww!" for the Red Arts here, or what?


Mmhhmm, so yeah, I did it all. I am SUPERWOMAN of the checklist, my friends. I need a cape. Someone get me a cape!

#1: Check! There was sun. It was warm. Rain did not fall on the glorious meats.

Please note the similarity between this photo from Saturday, and the hoped for photo from last summer.

Nicely done, blogging friends.

#2: Check! Sewing project, which actually changed form once I got all the bits to the work table, turned out great -- and is going to get tucked in with the softie for my Backtack buddy. Just a little hintee -- I'll post a bigger photo of the whole shabang after I ship it off. Look similar to the hintee I posted of the softie? That is because the extra sewing project matches the softie, of course. Coordinating? Yes, please.

#3: Ok, this is not an official "Check!". But I did scour the shelves in search of the organic fertilizer of choice AND spend some time on the ol' knees carefully digging it in around the base of all my plants. Against better judgement, I also fertilized Pumpkinzilla. May he have mercy on us all.

#4: Ok, we didn't have any doubt about this one. I had many glasses of wine. And a beer (very rare). And I might have had a cocktail at some point. All the better to accompany the sunshine and delicious bbq, I say.

Curious about the Meats themselves? I would be. Well, I have some special footage starring The Meats that I hope to air this week right here on FinnyKnits, aka MeaTV.

So, pencils down. How'd we do? 100% thankyouverymuch. In fact, for the added activities AND THE NAP I managed to take yesterday (miracle) I'll take an A+.

On top of everything else from my Mental Mind List, I also managed to get a batch of brownies (not the funny kind) out of the oven, have dinner with some friends AND plan two separate trips with them for the summer. Our out-of-doors adventures are soon to recommence. There will be backpacking. There will be fishing. There will be camping and misadventures of the funny NorCal kind. And there will be many amusing photos of hubby and I as we traipse around this fair land in search of a cool place to sit, or camp, as it were.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Soggy Meats

Dudes. Can someone please tell me why it's RAINING IN MAY? Still?!


I'm so over this weather. It finally cleared up in NorCal a few weeks ago and has been downright hot since -- a welcomed change to the dreary dampness we'd been dealing with for our long ass winter. The sun came out, baseball was on the tube, shorts were on the (ultra pasty) legs, sandals on the feet, vegetables in the garden. ALL THINGS WERE WELL!

Now it's raining again.

And it's supposed to rain all weekend. As in rain-all-weekend-when-we're-having-our-first-summer-bbq.

So friggen annoying I could just strangle myself with my rainjacket. Can we please hold hands and hope that, for even just the time when the peeps are at my house, the weather looks like this:

Meanwhile, meats have been milked and are currently busily absorbing all the spiciness of hubby's rub applied this morning with much drowsy love. Sound pornographic? Mmhhmm, I could see why you'd think that. We have an unhealthy relationship with meats in our house.

Hubby rubs the meats. I dance with the meats. Hubby milks the meats. I rub salt on the breasts. It's a good time. Please don't call the police. It's all consensual.

So, speaking of drowsy marinading, we have also had periods of drowsy Backtacking within the last 12 hours in the Finny house.

With all the talk of smoked meats and bbq party planning, my mind was too wound up to sleep when we hit the hay around 12:30. And then at 1:30am when nothing had changed and I was still staring listlessly at the ceiling fan thinking about all the stuff I wouldn't be getting done during our luscious bbq feast, I decided to just quit playing pretend like I was going to sleep and went down the hall to the office/craft room/library/ski storage/computer workshop/knitting corner/Rocket's love shack/storage room to make a dent in my BackTack project.

And make a dent I did! Not to give too much away, but let's say that the once stuffed but unassembled bits of Softie carnage are now assembled, trimed, festooned with buttons and sitting self-supported on my craft shelf waiting for their special accompaniment that I hope to construct this weekend. You know, with all my extra time that I'll have after cleaning up the detritus of a college baseball team on a BBQ enhanced tear through my house and property. Yes, this crafting will happen fer sure.

Although, if the weather keeps up at its current (AGGRAVATING) pace, I will be trying my hand at making one of these babies. But since I can't find the pattern, it'll be freehand. Scary? Oh yes. There will be much bad word screaming, I'm sure.

Oh, and I'll need to be getting to the nursery for some desperately needed fertilizing juices for the vegetables. Not sure if it's the rain, cool weather or lack of nutrients in the beds, but the lower leaves of my maters are looking yellowy (GASP!!!) so now I must fertilize. Organically. And with great vigor.

So, get out your checklists people:
#1: Hope for sun
#2: Hope for magic in the form of a successful sewing project
#3: Hope for magic in the form of revitalized mater leaves
#4: Drink many, many glasses of Aussie Shiraz before weekend is over

We'll regroup next week to see how we're doing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Pumpkinzilla and his Mighty Harem

Pumpkinzilla and his mighty harem awaited me last night when I got home from work. Brandishing weapons and pointing fingers at their dusty dry soil. Without delay, I marched down to the basement (yes, there are basements in California) and switched the veg garden over to daily watering. We'll see if that helps with the mood in the garden. Meanwhile, the snap peas are finally blooming so there is hope of sweet snappiness in our future.

And, while we're on the topic of moods, this weekend will be the first time we're dragging out the smoker for summer festivities and it appears to have revived hubby's lost soul that has been buried beneath work piles. These naughty piles have been standing between hubby and his beloved hobby of meat smoking -- something that is eagerly anticipated by all that know and love him. And also by our neighbors. And their kids. And my friend's husbands. And my cousins college baseball team who we've never met. And anyone who's ever tasted real Kansas City style bbq and has the unfortunate luck to live in Northern California where there is scary little of the good smokey stuff to be had.

For those of you who haven't had the luck to meet up with the farest of meats, here is a portrait:

For those of us that forget what Blissed Out Hubby looks like:

Blissed Out Finny isn't far behind, since there's precious little I love to do more than gather my favorite peeps into the garden and stuff them full of delicious food. So I buy love with food? You wanna make something of it?

Here is me last weekend trying to buy Hubby's love with food:

How do we know it's love? Because that heart shaped Le Creuset (wedding gift) was filled with homemade macaroni and cheese. Why is that love? Because it was approximately 90 degrees on Saturday and, while making the M+C it was about 200 degrees in my kitchen. But when I made mention of trying the homemade M+C recipe from Cook's Illustrated and hubby's eyes snapped out of the thousand yard stare (a result of the naughty work piles), I didn't dare disappoint. I sweated through my apron while stirring my cauldron of cheesy goodness, but I didn't disappoint.

So love looks like this? That's fine. Right? :

I'll be off to the butcher for some handsome meats shortly since we'll need to start salting, milking (believe me, you don't want to know and it ain't kosher) and smoking the entrees to kick off our summer bbq series. And so I can continue bribing my family and friends with the best our backyard bbq has to offer. Oh, and fudgey.

It's no wonder I'm not making much headway on resolution #2. Resolution update to come soon.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Study in Foof

My friend, Caro, makes a good point. I do tend to underestimate the staggering drawing power of Rocket and her Foof.

Typically her Foof goes unappreciated because it's carefully guarded by pointy teeth and grunting noises reminiscent of wild boar. However, at those rare moments when she leaves the Foof unguarded, I go after it like, well, Rocket after a new bag of Science Diet.

It's a blissful, Foof-filled few moments before she realizes I'm devastating her expertly cleaned Foofiness, at which point she turns on me like a mother bear defending her brood and the teeth start a flyin'. She then gives me a look as if to say,

"Mommy, why do you touch me? I tell you not to touch me. Now I'm FILTHY and have to re-clean all of this acreage. I hate you."

It's a fun time.

However, at the end of the day, she is my buddy. Ok, so 90% of the time she's only hanging out with me (read: nipping at my heels and corraling me toward the kitchen) on the off chance that I'll cave and give her a "snack", but then there are those moments when I'm lying on the couch or in bed and she jumps up and lies her Foof across my chest or tucks her big bear of a head into the crook of my arm as if to say,

"See Mommy, sometimes I don't hate you. See how I'm not biting? That is love."

Or when she tippy toes her way up to the back of the couch to groom Hubby. Which he loves OH so much.

And then there are times when Hubby and I both are sitting on the couch and she comes to sit with us so that we all can share 1 sq. ft of space as though the rest of the house was made of hot lava. We call these moments, "Happy Family".

As Alessandro so expertly put it, she can, from time to time, be "Fancy Feast".

The best part of Rocket, though, can't be seen or appreciated in these photos. It's her voice. Hubby speaks for Rocket and has developed something of a distinctive Voice for Rocket that produces the most fall down, grab your sides, laugh till you cry commentary one could hope to get from a pet.

My personal favorite of Rocket's greatest hits, as sung by Hubby:

"Mommy, daddy kicked me."

Never fails to slay me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Look at me go!

I realized that I'm becoming a greedy blogger and should prolly change my ways before someone calls me out on it. I mean, my eyeballs are primed and steaming to read the daily posts from some of my favorite bloggers every morning, and then after reading these luscious insightful posts - what do I do? I might post a comment, but beyond that I go back to my daily ways slurping my tea and working my fingers to the nub without posting myself.


I know.

Ok, now there may not be hordes of folks out there shining their eyes like red ripe apples anxious to read what exactly I think I'm doing over here in Finnyland, but if the day comes, I want to be ready.

Summary: I'm going to try to post more. If not just for me (Uh-huh, I'm wildly self-involved, member?) then maybe for my few sets of loyal eyeballs. And I'm not going to get all, "Why hasn't anyone commented on my fabulous post? Does the world hate Finny? I'm going to go eat some worms." Because that is boring. Instead, I'm going to try to use this blog for good instead of evil which will inevitably mean more gumming about the plants, crafting, kitchening, summering, etc that happens here everyday. It's fun at Finny's! Really.

Ok, self-pep talk over. Guess who wandered in when I got to the office this morning? New puppy, Kona! Bless whoever came up with our dog policy here at work, because there is nothing that takes off the dull sheen of a weekday morning like a giddy pup. Does he care that I have only come to visit him in his office lockdown once since he joined us? No. Does he care that I nearly creamed him with the door when I kicked it open? No. And he also does not even care when I wipe off his puppy kisses right after he plants them on me. In fact, I think it encourages him.

This is him sitting just like he was asked to for the photo. Clearly, he's a genius. As soon as we reconstruct our shabby fence (there are currently slats laying haphazardly about the yard from our last storm) I'm hoping to have a friend for Kona to play with.

On a separate note, I had another convo with Me last night that I'd like to share in order to further illustrate specifically what kind of nutcase I truly am...

Me: Dude, are you really sleeping on the couch at 7pm?

Me: No, I'm resting my eyes and listening to the Giants game.

Me: You lie.

Me: No really, they're losing right now -- see?

Me: Ha, whatever. You know their record this season, they're always losing.

Me: Oh hardy har har, Barry's about to hit 714 you know?

Me: Yes. Weeeeeeeeee. Isn't there at least ONE other thing you could be doing while the game drolls on in the background?

Me: Fine. I suppose I could start cutting out fabric for Backtack 3

Me: Now we're talking! Ass off couch, woman -- get the scissors and the machine!

Me: I don't recall saying anything about sewing any fabric.

Me: Oh come on! It'll be fun! Don't you want to see how this pattern will come out? You've never made anything from this pattern before?

Oh crap, I've said too much...

Regardless, good night near the tube listening to the Giants lose and Barry NOT hit 714 while I cut, pinned and began sewing (I got talked into it) my Backtack 3 project. With any luck, Knittale will not be horrified with my black, white and OTHER choices for this project. On a positive note, I'm really liking how this pattern shapes up when it's all cut out and semi-standing on my dining room table sans-fill. Mental note: Buy fill this weekend. Softie looks bizarre like uninflated balloon without it.

Finny news update: Hubby gets home from Vegas today! Woo hoo! No more salami and peanut butter for dinner! Yes. That is right. I eat random food (if any) when I have no one else to cook for. Parmesan asparagus, chipotle grilled chicken and greek spinach salad exist only with hubby in the house to eat (and PRAISE) the food.

Praise comes in many forms, people.

Granted, Rocket would love some extra snacks, but according to her ever expanding waistline (cats have waists), she is getting extra snacks somewhere.

It appears that Rocket exists in ball form now. Don't tell her that bikini season is rapidly approaching, it'll make her hit the bowl even harder.

And with that, I leave you to your day. Now I can go read up on Farmgirl's lambie encounters, Africankelli's wanderlust and Monstercrochet's escape from the cube farm without my daily case of guilt.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hintee Hintee

Me: Dude, it's almost June

Me: Dude, no it is not. It's barely May.

Me: Dude, at least cut out the fabric for your Backtack project

Me: Ok -- fine. I'll do it right now. Then will you shuddup?

Me: If you're lucky.

25 minutes later...

Me: Dude, Internet's down.

Me: Don't lie.

Me: No, really. I called SBC and everything. They said it's us.

Me: Oh, now I believe you. It's never us but they ALWAYS say it's us. Asses.

Me: Agreed.

Me: So, now what? We can't cut out fabric if we don't have the pattern.

Me: Ugh. I know.

Me: Ok, just take some pictures of the stuff and we'll put up a hintee post on the blog. That'll do till we can print out the pattern at work.

Me: Ok, but I haven't gotten the 20% color yet.

Me: You are so high maintenance.

Me: I know. But I want it to RULE!

Me: You are also a spaz. Just put up the post. It's going to be sqweet.

Me: K -- after that, can we paint?

Me: Fine bitch but quit bugging me.

*Finger flip*


Monday, May 08, 2006

Back to the yard

I was waist deep in yard stuff (not the smelly kind) this weekend since hubby was toiling at the office and couldn't distract me from my Yard Visions with inappropriate groping and jokes at my expense. I set out to get a replacement tomato plant (my seedlings keep croaking despite my desperate pleas) and a "few flowers" to brighten up the front yard and managed to come home with a trunk full of "where the hell am I going to put this?"

Bright side was (as though coming home with a trunk full of plants wasn't enough) that I was able to test out the plant carrying capacity of Ms. Leeloo and thus prove her ultra-fabulousness in yet another way. See, I can justify any purchase. Try me, people.

By the end of the day, and after some eventful digging (I need to do a photo montage of the random crap I dig up in my yard) and not unstrenuous labor, all our friends were in their happy homes. Granted, there is much more to be done, but for now, at least we have some flowers, and that is better than the miniature prehistoric forest we had mutating beneath our soil before. You think I'm kidding? There are tiny plastic creatures from the Mesozoic era popping up in the yard every time we have the gall to sink a shovel in there. I think the Pangea split started in our backyard.

These are violas. Don't act like you can't tell.

OK, so I also got a replacement cucumber.

Did you know that Better Boy tomatoes were widely available as seedlings in Norcal? Yeah, see, I did not. That is why I was torturing myself with seeds. Prissy, "waaa! it's too cold" seeds. Uh, no more. Here's a nice established replacement plant.

Impulse purchases #1 and #2. Spanish lavender and lemon thyme. They can smell my weakness when I get close and they just jump into my cart. There's nothing I could do! Seriously.

This is Biggie. He's not new. Just scary. He's already trying to set fruit. I need a whip and a chair. STAT!

Beyond all the S&M planting going on, I also managed to tame the lawn with hubby's sidekick, the mower, water all my neglected potted plants and weed the Back 40 (closer to Back 1/40th), as we call it around the Finny house. Once all that was accomplished, I sat my tired, sweaty Gnarly (pronounced Gee-Narly) ass down in a patio chair and watched my recently returned finches ravage the feedbag.

Even my aching hamstrings could do this every day.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Love the Dentist.

So, I thought I'd divert attention from the ALL GARDEN ALL THE TIME blog that this has turned into lately by redirecting the focus toward my "I'm an adult so I can do whatever I want" attitude that I developed today.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you're faced with a choice that, as a child, your mom would have struck down at the point of conception, but as an adult, you realize you have free will to choose as you please? Like when you've been shopping all morning and realize you're hungry and instead of having to beg your mom to take you to Taco Bell and having her say, "NO! We have food at home!", you're able to steer you car right into the drive-thru, get your naughty taco AND get a soda. Yes, those moments are precious to me.

I don't know why, since my parents were probably the most liberal, free-spirited, do as you please hippies a child could hope for -- but clearly those few "No's" had an impact on me. I remember sitting in the back of my mom's station wagon, pouting, when she told us that we were NOT going to Jack in the Box because she could MAKE us a hamburger at home. I remember thinking, first - Ew. I don't want a hamburger made at home, and second - When I grow up I'm going to go out to lunch EVERYDAY.

Well, I was all grown up today, and after I went to the dentist for my routine cleaning (more on this grown up moment in a minute) I promptly got back into the car and ATE CANDY all the way back to work. Why? Cuz I'm a grown up and I'm the boss of me.

Also, it was a reward for having lovely choppers. My six month cleaning routine with the fabulous Dr. Lin is a highly anticipated event for me because, #1. Dr Lin is the most awesomest dentist to ever grace our great city. #2. He has the most beautiful dentist office a girl could want and #3. He and his staff heap accolades upon patients who pamper their teeth.

Yes, it's petty and small of me to seek approval from even the most random people in my life, but hey, when you've got seedling plants croaking at home, stacks of work multiplying endlessly on your desk and annoying people calling at all hours asking stupid questions about the car you have up for sale (Do you wear scented deodorant in the car?) -- a little positive reinforcement can go a long way. And so, I ate licorice flavored salt water taffy (do not say, "Ew gross!" because you don't know -- it's good) until I pulled into the parking lot at work. Sqweet.

To revert to the ALL GARDEN ALL THE TIME bloginess -- I am sad to report that I will be moving on to my last of four cucumber seedlings this weekend as the first 3 rounds of seedlings quickly croaked as soon as I put them out. Hubby suggested that I might consider breaking them in like I'm doing with the tomatoes (putting them out during the day and bringing them in at night) until they acclimate, but damn, I ran out of pots. He also brainily (a word) suggested that I put them in coffee mugs to transport them safely from inside to outside in lieu of actual pots. He is such a brain! I might do this. OR I might get lazy (best bet) and just put them out in the garden and be like, "Hey, you guys are already blooming! Get to work and quit whining!", because I'm a mean old garden witch sometimes and don't like wimps.

Mean time, the tomatoes have already gotten that lecture and I've begun to break Hubby into the idea that I may be going to the nursery this weekend to get some tougher local seedling tomatoes and cukes so we can get started on the fruit setting. I mean, sheesh! It's nearly mid-may and we don't have cukes and tomatoes growing freely in the garden yet. Yeeek!

Oh, and to be random AND include a picture in this post (two things that I always like to have), here's the Asparagus Parmesan that I made the other night after being inspired by Kevin at Seriously Good's recipe :

Admission: I couldn't get up the nerve to use mayo with the gorgeous delicate shavings of parmigianno reggiano, so I didn't. SORRY! However, this very quick, very yum yummy side dish gave me a good lesson in how to effectively use the broiler setting on my convection oven. So useful! So far I've only made boogery tofu with the broiler and it became clear to me during the asparagus incident that I've been misusing the machine. However! Now I know and can probably broil some things without boogerizing them. We'll see.

I'll check back in next week after I hopefully plant/transplant successfully some tomatoes and cukes, bake something for once, photograph some Backtack 3 teasers and drink some margaritas. Terrif.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Darwins Garden

Here in Finny's garden, we subscribe to the Darwinian method of plant selection. By which I mean, if a plant's (vegetable, flower, tree, lawn, or otherwise) health requirements run too contrary to my gardening schedule, I don't invite it back into the yard. Basically, this means I'll try any plant once, and if it croaks because it didn't get enough water, too much sun, not enough sun, had an unsuccessful run in with squirrels, broke a nail, snagged it's pantyhose, etc it's eliminated from the garden routine. Too high maintenance? No thank you. Plants must be able to survive on will alone at times when I'm disposed to work rather than tending the garden.

UNLESS, of course there's an unless here -- I'm a garden dork, remember? -- the plant has some extremely fabulous redeming quality that warrants special attention and time spent away from my couch.

A few unlesses for you:

1. Hydrangea : This water sucking, sun shy, pantywaist of a plant needs so much TLC I practically have to get a nanny to stay home and make sure that it is kept happy lest it wilt and die a horrific and crispy death in my yard due to my semi-daily negligence during the hot months. HOWEVER, it produces such stunning, long lasting gigantor flowers that I am virtually FORCED to find special ways to keep it alive and blooming so that I can boast unmercifully at summer bbqs about my plant growing genius. When it comes to these things, I am not modest. Especially since the increase in my summer water bill can be directly linked to the upkeep of the Mighty Hydrangea.

My secret? Would you like to know it? It's sinful, so if you are a holier than thou, by the book, tight ass gardener, AVERT YOUR EYES.

I use self watering pots.


I know. I got a big old ass lecture from the aforementioned type gardener lady at the fancy ass, "We do not stoop to the likes of Home Depot" nursery about the use of these self watering pots as though they were the Devices of the Devil. To quote her snatchy self, "We do not condone the use of those pots." As though they are some type of gardeners gateway drug that will lead me to crop dusting and growth hormones. I exerted a lot of energy not flipping her off while she said this. I then turned on my heel and headed straight for the evil Orchard Supply for two lovely, and proudly displayed, self watering pots for my needy Hydrangea.

And see, here are the glorious results from last years bloom and the new buds successfully reappearing for 2006. Yes, clearly, the work of the devil wouldn't you say?

2. Meyer Lemon Tree : Ok, so this guy makes it into the "High Maintenance Fancy Pants" category mostly because it's in a pot, which means that I have to water it by hand. Hubby's skillful installation of the drip system in the vegetable garden has made me OH so lazy and spoiled, which means that plants can now fall into the "Special" category simply by existing away from the sprinkler system. This guy though, he makes lemons, and so he gets special loves. He also got a "Special" haircut this winter per the instructions in my Sunset Pruning guide and a dose of Finny Gardening Aggression that left him with nary a leaf and mostly just a few sticks protruding from the pot. I'm not gonna lie, we were worried. However, he's begun to make a proud resurgence, complete with one encouraging bloom! Mama is so proud. Yeah, I hugged him, so what? He MAKES lemons. C'mon!

3. The Damn Lawn : Ok, so hubby loves this lawn. Let me clarify, he loves the back lawn. The front lawn gets not so much sunshine so ends up looking crappy by early summer. But the back lawn - LORDIE - gets all kinds of sun, and with a healthy watering schedule can look like a million damn dollars. And after the winter we had, it's just greening all over the place. Personally, I'm not a big lawn person since it doesn't get enough use to warrant all the space it takes up. But I have to hand it to hubby, his grooming, watering, fertilizing, obsessing has done us right - and the lawn does look good. This weekend, I decided to help out since Hubby was working 24/7 and away from his trusty sidekick, the mower. So, the mower and I had a chat and after a fill up -- we tackled all the lawn (crappy front and beautiful back) without a hiccup. The stupid trimmer was another story. We had many chats. First one centered on his "Special" needs gas mixture. So, I fixed him a cocktail and thought I was set to go. Uh no. I nearly destroyed my rotator cuff trying to pull start this bastard. We had another chat. This one centered on his inability to start properly and how he'd look nice bent in half and shoved into the recycler on trash day. After much negotiating, he started up and we did all the lawns and a satisfyingly large portion of our personal Green Monster, the back ivy wall. I tried hard not to drop kick it into the garage and instead set it gently on the concrete. I have a big bruise on my arm today that makes me regret being so nice. But, the grass does look nice.

Unlesses aside, there are some plants that always make it into Finny's garden. Namely, plants that produce food. Here are some young champs making their debut this weekend.

Monster Pumpkin

Better Boy tomatoes, not yet ready for full time

The garden, pre vegetable civil war


So, clearly, I had a yard centric, Dirt Therapy weekend without any real indoor craftiness. The extent of my craftiness can be described only as prep, since I did technically BUY the ingredients to make the madeleine cookies I promised and I did BUY the materials for my Backtack 3 project, but that's as far as it went.

After all the Dirt Therapy I prescribed myself a deliriously fabulous afternoon of reading. Specifically, reading my new book, under the tree, sitting on my newly cleaned for summer patio chairs while I half watched the yellow finches at the bird feeder and sucked down the better part of a sinful, once a year, vanilla chocolate chip shake. I won't go into detail, but my face is sore from the sucking. Too much information?

Good good weekend.