Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The bee dresscode is getting ever more casual.

This weekend's hive check proved to me that, much like the garden, the bees really don't need me for their survival.

Because even with all my OH MY GOD THERE'S A HIVE BEETLE IN HERE and other crazy screamings from last week, the bees soldiered on as though I hadn't thrown a fit outside their house and were AOK when I checked on them yesterday.

Handy thing, having an enthusiastic non-bee fearing neighbor who shares a dutch door gate, by the way, because I actually have some photographic evidence of the non-freakish hive check where nothing terrible happened.

Dutch door gate = way for awesome neighbors to come photo my bees for me. Also, a way for their garden to sneak into mine in the night like teenagers at camp. SEXY.

Also, at no point was I found shrieking or predicting doom and the end of days for the hive.


But, for the photos:

I've decided that the bees prefer flip-flops, and so, I oblige.
But you can see that darker yellow area on the frame, which is all the comb they've built up since April 7.

And that is the Boss Lady herself, laying eggs and being PRESENT rather than being in a tree.
And that is the probably 100% unnecessary Beetlejail and my bare hands which are much more adept at checking a hive than, say, stupid too big gloves.
That's about the sum of the hive check.

Set-up: 2 deep 10 frame brood boxes, 1 empty shallow super with hive top feeder 
Bees: Calm. Eating sugar syrup and collecting pollen. Flying in and out of the hive like normal bees without any entrance restriction. Listening to their Boss Lady.
Boss Lady: Present and accounted for. Laying eggs. Keeping these bitches in line.
Comb: Built out on 5-6 of 10 frames. Capped honey. Uncapped brood. Stored nectar and pollen.

Pests and Scourges: 1 hive beetle and me with my smoker.
Feeder: Nearly empty. I'm ready to ditch the feeder and let them fend for themselves when this jar goes dry. 

Stings: 1! I had my first sting on Saturday when I, like a full on retard, knelt down in front of the hive to OH MY GOD HOW CUTE at the two bees feeding one another at the entrance and then bzzzzzzzt! a bee flew out of the hive and into my hairs.  During the gentle shaking of my hairs and trying to comb the bee out with my fingers, she got me right on the finger crotch. Sadness. Though I did confirm that I am not allergic to bee stings. Helpful, I suppose.

Now - prepare yourselves for me to change the subject next week. Think bikes, Bubba, some of the uglier parts of CA and a lot of spandex. I'll explain more tomorrow-ish. Get excited, now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The garden is so awesomely fucking weird right now.

This was totally going to be a post where I bitched and moaned and felt all sorry for myself because WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH MY POOR BEES, but you may be glad to know that it's not.


Because #1 - the bees are probably fine.

Quit worrying about us, lady. We've been doing this for thousands of years.

I mean, I found a small hive beetle bastard when I went in to check on them the other day and that sent me into a minor meltdown because HOW COME EVERYTHING GOES WRONG ON MY HIVE but then I ordered a Beetlejail and have some vague confidence that it will work.

Plus, I took the one beetle I found aside and have him sitting in a jar in the yard (lid ON) thinking about what he did and also acting as an example to the other beetles lest they get the wild idea to go rooting around in my beehive because NO. (You may recall previous incidents like this and I promise you, they are very effective. It's the garden equivalent of a severed head on a spike.)

Then, while I was out there doing the hive check, I added on a second brood box (big deep hive box in which babies are hatched) full of frames and moved the feeder to a shallow box (which will act as a honey super one far off day) in the hopes that this act would inspire them to work on more babies.

Baby factory. Creepy when you say it like that.

Even though there were some frames in the bottom brood box without any action at all.

Well, I went out there this morning to check on the feeder and found what I thought were two dead bees and no activity whatsoever on the feeder which was weird.

I was sure the whole hive was doomed. I thought they'd swarmed overnight (uh, not likely) and left me destitute. I was ready to throw in the towel and drown myself in gin. At 7am.

Except that NO AGAIN since I came home from work today and they were buzzing happily in and out of the hive and the feeder was active and the "dead" bees were "gone" in the sense that they woke up and went about their day.

They do this, the bees. They sleep so completely that they totally look and act dead.

You can even take them and, say, throw them inside their shipping cage into a trash can and close the lid, meanwhile feeling all suicidal for having killed beautiful sweet bees, only to find that when you lift the can lid the following day to fish out the queen cage you suddenly REALLY need that OH MY GOD they're all not dead at all and actually buzzing right at your face, like, "What the hell, man? Was it YOUR idea to lock us in here overnight with the kitty litter bag because NOT COOL."

I just realized there are a lot of caps in this post. Apologies.

Because all of that was not the reason that this post is not suicidal but instead totally fucking YAY and HOORAY and ALL IS NOT LOST.

No - this is why:

Small things can be VERY exciting to me, which you should be OK with by now.

Yes. That's the #1 Tomato and he was just spotted after my post-work hive and garden check and he is a Better Boy and I love him and he's saved me from suicidal thoughts.

I need a beer.

Hooray for tomatoes. The life-savingest of all the home garden produce.

There's also another garden surprise keeping me from running headlong into traffic and it is called a Surprise Pair of Tomatillos.

Surprise. We are here. Yes, I just said WE.

I thought they were sunflowers at first, growing all volunteer like between the tomatoes, but no. They are tomatillos.

And when I noticed one and got all excited for one second but then remembered that I'd have to have two in order for them to tango me up some actual fruits and then became sad because I only had one - I suddenly realized the other "sunflower" sproutling was, in fact, a tomatillo, too and became SUPER THRILLED.

Now, get to tango-ing.

It was a roller coaster day in the garden, let me tell you. And the fact that my day can become a roller coaster because of such things makes me feel very fucking strange as a person, but you've already accepted me so it's too late now.

Just love it and go with it.

So yeah, I relocated these two beauties to a more spacious and sunny location where the tomatoes won't try to smush the ever loving crap out of them and so we'll just see if, by some miracle, these two volunteer tomatillos can actually be productive.

We now have our own house as protection from the marauding tomatoes. Phew.

I suppose stranger things have happened. In my trash can, for instance.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Have I ever told you about the meaty crunch? It's what Bubba and I call that awful sound when, say, a wide receiver gets crushed by an over excited defender as he's going up for a big pass and what results is a compound fracture to the femur.

Or like when you're hauling balls down a hill and you suddenly and completely roll your ankle.

The sound of muscle fibers and tendons ripping free of their charted course - that's the meaty crunch.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I ran the Horseshoe Lake Trail Run at the beautiful and scenic Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.

To say that I hadn't trained in any specific way for the event would be mostly accurate. I mean, sure, I did have a rip roaring good run last weekend at Sanborn Park, home to The First Trail Race and the place where I turned all mountain lion and found the fun in running, but aside from that I didn't do much.

I didn't even look directly at the elevation chart for the race which you know to be a poor way to prepare for any race. Not analyzing the amount of pain I'd have to endure because of hills? WHO AM I?

Yeah. I was in denial I think. Because seriously, all trail runs have hills. There just aren't any flat and fast trail courses because a flat and fast trail is called a road and roads are paved and those races have things like balloon arches, thousands of people, strollers, timing chips and aid stations even for the shortest distances.

This race had none of those things. This race was what you might call "Low Key".

For example, our "starting gun" was a dude standing on a step ladder yelling "3,2,1 GO!" into a mostly functioning bullhorn while waving a polka dotted ribbon in the air.

This was after he told us that, "Hey, by the way, the water and aid booth for your distance (5 miles) is, um, at the finish line, so, like you should maybe carry some water with you."

Yeah. Glad I read about that in the pre-race instructions. Wore my Camelbak and everything so that I wouldn't have to get all annoyed at having a dry throat as I crested the hill at 2.5 miles.

Yay for the Camelbak. Boo for thunder thighs.

Which was a good plan - wearing the Camelbak and all - because it was a tad dusty out there and I had a few sips as I went up those rotten hills which are, incidentally, not nearly as evil as those at Sanborn, but whatever, that wasn't the surprise.

The surprise came when I, for the first time in my slow ass running career, was actually in physical need of an aid station on the course.

Why? I'll tell you WHY - because I decided to pass a chick skinnier than me AND a 70 year old dude trucking along at an admirable and consistent pace and the running gods decided that was a no-no.

See, we were about 1.5 miles into our 5 mile course, trotting along on the most beautiful little single track you could want through wildflowers above a gorgeous coastal fog filled forest canyon when I got the wild idea to pass a few people.

Up until that time, all the passing had been done by other people as they swiftly overtook me going up the first big hill.

But, I didn't feel right about On Your Left-ing on a narrow single track perched along the edge of a hill that dropped off into the never-never, so I waited until we were in the trees and following a wider trail to On Your Left those two finely moving folks I mentioned earlier.

And, for a few minutes, it was truly divine.

The air beneath the tree canopy was that bright sharp cold brought in with coastal fog, the trail was devoid of jutting rocks and snarls of tree roots and I wasn't heaving with exhaustion from overtaking a 70 year old dude.

It was a good time.

Until my enthusiasm picked up the pace toward the bottom of the downhill (after which I could see I had nothing to look forward to but hundreds of feet of elevation gain) and as I neared the bottom of the hill...


I rolled my god damned ankle.

Like all the way rolled it.

Like, rolled it so suddenly and completely that I did that hopHOPhopHOP with the rolled ankle foot in the air thing to the side of the trail that you do when you know putting any weight on your rolly ankle will make you either shit yourself or cry out every bad word in your repertoire.

Thankfully, I have a very full repertoire.

FUCK FUCK FUCK shit damn it crap.

(OK. So the repertoire's not so much BIG as it is well-used.)

And as I teetered on the side of the trail, balanced against the trail marker, cradling my MAD ankle, I looked uphill for the obviously huge and clandestine pot hole which ate my foot, to watch Mr. I'm 70 and Awesome buzz by with a, "Ooh! That looked bad!" to which I quickly said, "No worries! It's fine!"

Which was totally a lie.

It didn't feel fine. In fact, it felt like it needed an ice pack and a cocktail STAT.

But no - there weren't any aid stations on the weeny 5 mile route so I was shit outta luck. Fun.

But, and one quick glance down at the Garmin confirmed this, I was too far from the start to go back and not at all in the mood to scratch, so I stood there feeling sorry for myself for a minute to exercise my bad words and let a few more people pass me before I pulled my shit together and tried hobbling.

I hobbled for a few steps and it wasn't the worst, so then I tried hiking at a tender pace which then wasn't the worst either and then went back to running and wincing and hiking and wincing and then I just decided I needed to stop being a puss and finished strong.

Strong in the sense that I finished the big hill with a combination of hiking and running and then tried my very scampering best to descend the hill back to the finish line without re-enraging my ankle OR WORSE rolling it again.

I heard that meaty crunch running on a loop in my head the whole time. EW.

So, first time for rolling an ankle on a trail run. Which - handy - since it was also during a race and that race doesn't believe in aid stations for 5 milers. Hooray.

Also more first time fun - my shoe came untied somewhere around mile 4 and I had to stop to retie it, therefore letting one person who I'd managed to re-overtake after my ankle incident get forever ahead of me.


I did however somehow make it to the finish line without having the dude and the skinny chick catch me. Small miracles. They were moving pretty good.

I'm very excited to have rolled my ankle. HOORAY ME. Idiot.

So yeah. Now I have a semi-swollen ankle and a prescription for prone cocktails.

Look. I have skinny ankles. The one without protruding veins and bird bones - that's the swollen one.

Which may also have something to do with the fact that I came home from the race and then spent the rest of the day wandering Maker Faire with my sister because I don't know when to say die.

I suppose I should learn that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Like I was saying...in May sometime...

My predictions held true and it's basically just now that I'm finally back paying attention to things other than the bees.

Because wildflowers don't swarm into a scary buzzing mass on your shitty neighbors' fence and therefore require immediate containment so the reminder to deal with them is sorta less prevalent, let's say.

I imagine this is the reason more people plant wildflowers than keep bees, but what the hell do I know since I do both.

Plus, the other day, I made a failed attempt at fixing the light on my bike only to have to call Bubba away from his important Putting the New Grill Together project to help me twist a screw, so in addition to playing with 10,000 stinging insects and planting pretty flowers, I also dedicate time to pestering my  husband away from more pressing demands.

I'm just full of hobbies.

Anyway, I wanted to show you why my neighborhood thinks I'm bizarre. Also - give those of you who are interested in the progression of the front yard meadow an update on that mess. Handy that they are concepts one in the same.

Lawn, lawn, lawn, lawn, WILD ASS MEADOW SPILLING OVER THE SIDEWALK, lawn, lawn, lawn...
Yeah, the meadow is not what you might call restrained or orderly. You might call it pretty, whimsical, natural or xeric, but you definitely wouldn't call it tidy or organized.

That's in the backyard where I exercise my anal retentive side. I reserve the front yard for my I'm Off My Rocker side.

Back garden - neat and tidy
Front yard - WTF?! It's in my eyes! Is that a lady bug? Look at that big ass lizard!

Strangely enough, that's where the bees would rather hang out.

Want to attract bees to your yard? Throw a few borage seeds on the shittiest soil you have and watch the madness unfold.

They may not be honeybees but I have a definite soft spot for big, fuzzy, pollen hogging bumblebees in my poppies.

And this used to be the pee hole. We've come a long ways, y'all.
It may not have helped my neighborhood persona to be sitting on the sidewalk with my camera buried in the borage growing wild in the sidewalk patch for a solid half hour, but I sure did love seeing all my bees (every bee is MY bee, obviously) hogging down on the borage.

At least I'm not mowing a lawn. THAT is what real crazy people do.

Also new in the front yard - ALL THE GAURA MY MOM GAVE ME X100.

People, do you grow this stuff, Gaura? Because my mom does. And she has for as long as I can remember. And now that I think about it, she probably has no choice in the matter because as I'm coming to find out, this stuff will be right up there with cockroaches and Twinkies in the post-apocalyptic circle of life. Which, is kind of nice since it's pretty -  unlike cockroaches and what Twinkies do to your ass if you eat too many. Not that I know. I haven't had a Twinkie in probably 20 years, but I'm getting off topic.

See, last year, when I was all, "Mom, I have a bare patch in the front meadow, what should I put there that I can forget about forever without it dying?" she immediately ripped some Gaura from her yard, threw it into a pot WITHOUT DIRT and then let it sit on her back patio for, I'm guessing, weeks before handing it off to me to grow in my yard.

And you should know that when I got it, it did sort of look a bit ratty, but as soon as I planted it, it perked up and looked fine.

Which should have been my warning.

But, since that evidently did NOT serve as poignant enough warning for me, the one hundred little Gaura sproutlings that shot up in the front yard, gutter and sidewalk cracks this spring certainly should have.

Dudes - this stuff is bullet proof. And prolific. And it's a damn good thing it's nice looking and takes a brutal pruning like a champ because holy crap there's no stopping it now.

It's pink. It's white. It has green foliage. It has red foliage.
It's even man enough to fight back against the Mexican Feather grass and fescue. Whoa.

And against the patio you can see it beginning to take over UGHverywhere.
So, for those of you looking to plant something in Zone 9 or 10 that will be drought tolerant, abuse tolerant, frost tolerant, thrive through brutal prunings, reseed itself to cover all unplanted spaces, produce cute flowers, have a nice grassy effect AND outlive the End of Days - try Gaura.

And then begin sharpening your pruners.

Monday, May 16, 2011

SPICY update

For all of you who are suddenly here for the first time because you typed in a lewd search query and instead found this post, I'm sorry - I'm not all that porny.

Though, if you're into growing jalapenos from seed in addition to your fetish porn habit, stick around and, like, try not to touch anything.

For everyone else who's just dying to see what the hell is going on with the jalapeno popper seeds that germinated one hundred years ago and then were promptly forgotten by this blog, feast your SPICY eyes on this:

Oh shit! Those are second sets of leaves!

Yes. I got very excited to see that they didn't die in my kitchen even though they were moved from the sunny windowsill to the less sunny one by the sink when that sunny windowsill went away to make way for my forthcoming bar.

Also, I'm putting in a bar.

Not, like, a "Wet Bar" because that sounds disgusting and also involves piping a sink to this other area of my kitchen where I don't really need a sink, but I'm still calling it a bar because you'll sidle up to it as though it's a bar and sit on bar stools and then you'll drink cocktails atop those stools and that all sounds like bar activity if I've ever heard it.

And then someday we may move our actual bar (which is just a cabinet in our dining room that holds booze and wine and their important accessories) to a high cabinet in the new bar area and maybe add a library ladder to reach it because we're frivolous and silly like that.

I SAID MAYBE. We're not sure yet. All I want right now is for the thing to be done and the new floors to be in because my house is a god damned mess of sheetrock dust and construction crap. And it makes it very hard to start seedlings successfully when your one sunny window is blocked by a plastic screen a la the Wizard of Oz and a ShopVac.

So, you can imagine that I was veryVERY excited to see the jalapeno popper seeds (They're called NuMex Jalamundo if you're being picky and annoying) which I sowed in the actual outside garden rather than in sure-to-perish pots indoors actually germinated and appear to want to live.

WE WANT TO LIVE. Sort of. It's too soon to tell, really.

I was sure, for whatever ignorant reason, that one couldn't direct sow pepper seeds and expect them to live, even in our super mild Norcal climate, but I consulted with the GardenGirl at Sunset and she said that you can. Here. In NorCal.

So, I did and they are and this is getting a bit obscure.

Anyway, in addition to me germinating jalapeno seeds all over the muther effing place, the SPICY winner, Ms Downhourgunter, is also germinating seeds and she paired up with another blogger, Ms Chocolatetamale, and allegedly their won seeds are germinating somewhere in a garden and somewhere in a pot and there might be photos to prove this but I haven't seen any.

Ladies - if you want to send me the link to your Flickr pool for this (and even invite me to it because you're not bitches, right?) we could show off our pepper seeds to the world [that reads this blog] as a team or something. It could be cool! Do it now.

And because I can't just leave a post at The Kitchen's a Mess, The Peppers Have Germinated and We're Going To Drink Professionally In Our House Soon - look at the fun things in my backyard that aren't jalapenos:

#1 Strawberry

Awesome neighbors tore down the heinous sumac trees that were behind that lovely plum tree and replaced them with a [still too small to see] orange tree. We're VERY happy about this.

We're coming home!

Nasturtium growing from my neighbor's yard to mine - over the fence.

Yeah. It's good times now that the garden's back in. Crazy good times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Well that is a shitastic time if I ever saw one.

Especially given that my most recent 5Ks have been sub-30s and I'd had some faint vision of coming in sub-28:57 this time around. I think my imagination even wandered into the What if I can sub-28 territory.

My imagination is apparently delusional OR it is not acquainted with strollers.

Jogging strollers. Double strollers. TRIPLE GOD DAMNED STROLLERS. Strollers lined up right at the starting line and next to the ~6 mile pace signs. Oh, really now?

Dudes - there were one million strollers at this race. And it was a problem. And before I rant about strollers being just everywhere and anywhere I wanted to run to escape the throbbing, drooling masses I would like to rant about the dog policy.

Specifically that they didn't allow dogs because of some vaguely referenced "liability".

Um, if you can have people of all fitness (and aptitude) levels operating strollers three times the size of your average dog and these strollers are filled with kids who do NOT want to be pushed at high, medium or slow speed through the overcrowded streets of my fair downtown so they are screaming and throwing shit out of their seats as they are being used as battering rams, HOW can that not be a liability?

Do you like how my no-dog rant became the stroller rant? Yes, I'm good like that.

Anyway, there were strollers. And there were very small kids racing on their own behalf which seemed mostly just like a bunch of kids screaming and racing around because they couldn't find their mom in the throngs of 1800+ runners. So, you know, they're running horizontally through the course rather than straight ahead and...not my favorite, but OK - it's a race benefiting the local elementary school, so I had accepted this fact from the start.

I knew I was going to have to not crush little kids. Fair.

I knew there were going to be strollers, too, but I apparently underestimated my patience for such things.

Though, all told, I did take advantage of a particularly fast double stroller runner (double! and so fast! and in the tiniest shorts!) by drafting her for about half a mile as she broke trail, but - and I hate this - she was too fast.

Yes. Here was a woman about the size of my shoe maneuvering a DOUBLE stroller through a suffocatingly crowded field of runners/joggers/walkers/looking-for-their-mommy-ers and here she was-  too quick for me to keep pace with. I think she was running an 8 minute mile - at least.

And remember - I'm a 9 minute mile AT BEST kind of girl - so it didn't take long for her to leave me in the dust.

But - Hey Fast Double Stroller Runner Lady - you're awesome! And thanks for the lead from mile 1.5-2!

The only other thing I'll bitch about - because even I see the folly in bitching about so many things in a short 3 mile race, was the timing.

The timing was "All new and technical and professional and shit because we're using a real chip timer company!" (OK, so that's not an exact quote...), so I assumed we'd have either the stickers on our bibs or the shoelace looping chips, but no.

It was some foam sticker stuck to the back of the bib. Which wasn't a big deal, because I assume it'd function like all the other chips like this I'd used in the past. Specifically that when I went over the starting line strip, I'd hear a beep and when I came back across the finish line strip, I'd hear another beep.

Not so. I heard no beeps. Not even that comical Super Beep Fest that you get at the outset of most races as the masses head across the start line. And - the thing that fucked me up the most - there weren't any start or finish line strips.

How the hell am I supposed to know when to start shoving people out of my way if there's no starting line strip?

I mean, until now I've really been low key at these mass starts and don't start actually running and trying to make space to run a normal pace until I get to the starting strip. I don't waste energy doing that while I'm toddling to the start pressed against everyone in their newly collected race Tshirts. What's the point? If I'm not being timed, I'm not running.

And therein lies the problem. I didn't know when to start running (and pushing, shoving and eye-gouging).

I started my Garmin when I went under the balloon arch and stopped it when I came back under the same arch. My watch said 29:47, which, still, not great, but still sub-30, but my official time is almost a minute slower.

What a rip.

Anyway, aside from all my random rantings, the race was fine. I saw my cousin, neighbors and friends and we all started the race together. My neighbor and I walked to and from the race together, which was also nice and neighborly of us. I got some interesting things in the goodie bag that entertained me at packet pick up (a dish scrubber? What about that says, "Running" to you?). Money went to the school in our town. I was home an hour after I left and in time to go have cocktails and Race Fries with Bubba and fellow runners.

And, as Bubba reminded me, this was a small town "fun run" and let's not take it so god damned seriously and just eat your Race Fries and have another cocktail because you've got another race in two weeks so just worry about that now.

He really knows how to put things in perspective.

Cheers courtesy of Sloe Gin Fizz

Monday, May 09, 2011

HURRY! Look! The tomatoes will be ripe in a really long time from now.

Oh my god let's talk about the garden already because if I wait until I "have time" I'll be shoving aside tomatoes just to type these words.

Because - PEOPLE - the tomatoes are all blooming.

I'm actually blooming a lot more than this because this picture is a week old.

I might actually be a different angle of the same tomato but since this photo was taken a week ago, there's no good way to tell.

I have four tomato plants this year: 2 Better Boys, 1 Brandy-last year I was a happy mistake-wine and 1 Sun Sugar cherry tomato, even though cherry tomatoes are usually not my thing but OH do these make a good pan sauce for green beans.

Oh, and hey, the beans are on the poles, just like the good little whores they are.

Yeah, these aren't on the poles yet because this was a week ago when I took this. You know.
And I got a pretty good germination rate from the Fortex green beans which is good news, shade-wise, for the lettuce that is big, bushy and ready to hang out with some blue cheese dressing.

Look. I love blue cheese dressing and I do not even care if it covers all my homegrown lettuce (Lollo Bionda and Merveille des Quatre Saisons) because all of that makes it into my belly so I get some nutrition from the lettuce somehow and YUM I get to basically drink blue cheese dressing. Yes, the lettuce is just a vehicle to get the dressing into my mouth and no, I don't care what kind of piglet that makes me.

Though, note: not taking suggestions.

We're scared of cheese of any color now.
We're too small to know any better.

On a non-salad dressing note, the Slo-Bolt cilantro is slowly bolting.

The fact that it's not a blur of growing activity in this photo proves its "Slo-Bolt"iness.
Now, maybe it hasn't bolted because it's not that warm yet or because I've pruned it for tacos once already, but who can tell. I'm hopeful that I'll remember to plant it in successions so that we'll have some cilantro around when the tomatoes ripen in OH TWO LONG MONTHS FROM NOW but I'm not holding my breath for that particular miracle.

And can I just say that I don't understand why they can't just call it SloW Bolt rather than Slo. What do we, as Americans, have against the proper spelling of normal words. It's not like Bob Slo bio engineered this cilantro to bolt slower and therefore got to lend his namesake to the seeds. And it's not even a cocktail appropriate Sloe, like in my beloved Sloe Gin Fizzes like the one I had after the race on Saturday (with Race Fries and bacon, don't you worry) so that we could come up with some spicy cocktail drink with it.

No. It's just dumb.

A dumb thing that annoys me just like when people decide to name a restaurant Kountry Kitchen because that somehow sounds more cozy and like a place you can get good waffles than Country Kitchen. OR it sounds like a breakfast place run by the Klan.

Whatever, the grapes are up.

"Up" in the sense that they're growing.

They'll be officially "Up" when they're on the cable. I'll think of an inappropriate way to explain that situation later.
Of everything that's growing right now (including that lavender that's completely cracked out)(and so pretty)(and I can't wait for it to open up, which should happen this week, because the bees will be all over it and that is my vision) the grapes are probably growing the slowest, but I'm chalking that up to it's their first year in my yard and they're shy around all the other over-achieve-y plants.

Plants can be shy! Don't you mock me. I hear you out there. Jerks.

Wouldn't YOU be shy around this ambitious lime tree? Yes. It's cocktail making power is intimidating.

I tell you, these plants can be pushy.

Poor grapes.

We're small but mighty.
And that's about all the photos I have to prove to you that the garden is happening even though I haven't said much here.

BUT - if you're following my Twitter bullshit, you know that Team Cucumbers has a leg up on the lagging Team Melons.

And, again, this is a week old, so now there are FOUR cucumber seedlings and ZERO melon ones. Watch out boob fruit!

Now the only thing I think I have left to tell you, garden-wise, is that I've already added the first harvest to this year's Finny's Garden Tracker so get your eyeballs over there to check it out. And, if you see it and get all, "OH! I should totally do that, too. Too bad I hate making spreadsheets and how come no one just makes them FOR ME WOE IS ME." - here. (Just make yourself a copy and go nuts.)

OK - more soon, with less craptastic photos.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Running update X4

No bees today. I haven't taken any new pictures and they haven't done anything new or terrifying and for that, I'm incredibly grateful.

I just only have so much capacity for controlling catastrophic events on my property.

Though, speaking of catastrophe, I've managed to sign myself up for four races in the near-ish future.

Yeah - I know, right? When have I EVER had four events on the calendar at once? I'll tell you - never. I don't know what came over me.

There was this brief period where, in my head, I had nothing on the calendar race-wise. I was like a bird, just flying through life not planning things and enjoying the freedom that comes with being able to decide on a Saturday morning that it's not worth it to go for a run when you have a headache (AKA hangover) and it's suddenly hot-ish.

When I have a race coming up, even if it's coming up in, like, six months, I go for that run. I chug Excedrin with water slurped straight from the faucet, eat nothing and head out into the sun as though this is how real athletes train even though the only thing I'm doing that real athletes do is spend a lot of time trying not to poo myself as the Excedrin courses its evil way through my empty digestive system.

Somehow, in the five or so years I've been entering races and putting my body through the rigors of regular running, I've never quite gotten the full hang of pre, mid and post run nutrition. Like, I know that I'm supposed to eat beforehand and, if I'm out for an extended period I should eat something while I'm running and then when I get back home I should eat something else before I collapse into a sad heap of wicking fabric, but I still haven't come full circle on the whole thing.

Not that you came here to hear me whine about how I can't remember to eat a banana. Even I didn't come here for that.

No, what I did come here to whine about was, well, nothing. I mean, I have a race this weekend - a 5K, so nothing requiring mid-race refueling, special hydration techniques or a keen eye for old men in American flag shorts - but I'm not feeling whiny about it. I'm just feeling like Oh right, this is one of those millions of races I signed up for when my brain was taking a quick breather from all the hard work it was doing calculating amendment amounts for the garden or something.

During that brief but significant period I also signed up for the Wharf 2 Wharf, because apparently I *am* running road races again even though I said I wasn't, the Horseshoe Lake Trail Run and the Mermaid Duathlon in September.

Does the duathlon count even though it's all the way in September? I think it does because it's in my head, looming out there as another occasion during which time I might crucify someone with my bicycle during a moment of peddle-to-bike shoe failure.

Any chance of public shaming or failure counts as a race to me no matter how far off it is.

So, yeah, I have a road race this weekend and, in another act of out of character behavior for me, I have another one on 5/21 - just a few weeks away.

Since when do I run more than one race a month? WHO AM I RIGHT NOW?

And, I'm sorry to tell you that the X4 of this post was just that tally of upcoming races and certainly no indication of the greatness of this post.


Monday, May 02, 2011

And the bees go marching in - 10 abreast.

I was going to talk about something other than the bees, but here I am - about to talk bees to you, people.

Because YAY I finally uploaded some photos of the girls actually at work rather than milling around my yard unproductively harassing the dog and terrorizing poor Bubba.

Thank god the new Boss Lady is so bossy. In two week's time, she has kicked some major ass.

A few gals hauling pollen. GET TO WORK.

A whole team that was clearly told - GET OUT THERE AND FAN THE HIVE DAMN IT. And so, they are.
You may have also noticed that their front door has gotten bigger. And that is because I saw evidence of babies (therefore, increased ranks in the hive and the ability to defend a larger entrance) and so flipped the entrance reducer over to go from Single File Only to 10 Abreast so the poor little fanners could do their jobs without getting crushed every time another bee came in for a landing. (FYI: They fan the smell of the hive out into the wind in order to direct their bees back to the hive. It's very technical and special.)

Which was happening often.

I mean, poor gals were getting trampled, like, one hundred times a minute as they stood out there, butts to the wind, just fanning to their heart's content meanwhile getting smushed every five seconds by some pollen-laden sister girl who couldn't gauge the landing properly.

It was like watching prop planes landing on the beach in Costa Rica - not graceful.

Hey! Watch the fuck out! I'm trying to get in there, too, you know!

So, because I'm all nice like that, I decided they were grown up enough for the Big Girl entrance and opened it up a little bit meanwhile hoping I didn't re-ignite the apocalypse in my yard.

Which, thankfully, I did not.

They've behaved well and have taken full advantage of the newly widened entrance much like commuters would if given another lane during rush hour. Except you won't catch these ladies flipping the bird or laying on the horn if another bee cuts them off. No, they'll just collide and roll and pick themselves up again because THEY MUST GET TO WORK IF IT KILLS THEM.

It took them nearly half a day to realize that there was more space to get in, but once they did - WHOA - they were on it.

And sometimes it does. But let's not go into that now. Instead, let's enjoy this moment of bee peace and harmony in between the terrifying scenes that unfold in my yard. Hooray.