Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday. NO, REALLY. Super all the way happy!

When Bubba asked me, like a month ago or whatever, what I wanted to do for my birthday, I told him that I wanted to go backpacking.

Like last year, but this time we bring Jada. And we go somewhere where I can swim! Yes! I want to swim in a high mountain lake with the dog! And you, too, Bubbs - if you wanna swim. 

I'm very inclusive., but OK, said Bubba, and he set off to find a good place for us to go that would allow dogs since stupid awesomely beautiful and fun Yosemite is not OK with dogs. Probably because of the bears and the whole "dogs attract bears" thing and such.


Though I don't *really* want to have my face enjoyed as a midnight bear snack...

So, Bubba planned a great sounding trip where we'd hike up to a nice lake so Jada and I could swim and he could sit on the shore and throw shit at us because he's not as super into the swimming thing like we are.

We being Jada and I, you know. Me + the dog = swimming buddies.

Last Friday night we got all our shit shoved into our packs and Jada's food stuffed into her pack and tah-dow! we were ready to go.

Until we woke up Saturday morning and it was raining.

Shit snacks.

So, we punted.

I mean, I'm all for Be a Hardcore Camper and such when you're stuck out in it,  but it was hard to stand in the clean, dry comfort of the cabin and be all, "Yes. I want to hike myself, a 30 lb pack and a dog up a muddy mountain trail so that I can swim in a cold snowmelt lake while it rains and then sleep in a tent with Wet Dog Smell." when I could instead be all, "Let's stay in the cozy cabin, make waffles, bake bread, drink beer, let the dog run amok in the woods after which I can dry her off with a beach towel and then we go watch the Giants game with the neighbors."

Needless to say, Bubba was all about it, too. No one wants to sleep in a tent with Wet Dog Smell.

Guess I'll be unpacking these packs then.

Boo rain.

And then Bubba, Jada, the neighbors and everyone kept trying to *make me feel better* because I was missing out on my birthday backpacking trip.

Because making waffles, baking bread, making another (BETTER!) batch of lip balm, playing with a happy dog and watching baseball makes me so sad.

I resisted at first, and kept saying things like, "No, it's totally fine! I'm happy, see?" while smiling big and aggressively hugging the dog, but then it became something of a personal quest for Bubba to make sure that the birthday weekend fulfilled my birthday wishes, so I just let it happen.

I know what will make you feel better! BACON!

And a birthday present! Down booties!

And a big stack of waffles!

And a freshly caught squirrel! (Look - we're in the woods, she's a dog doing a dog thing - I don't want to hear your shrieking.)

Actually, mom, can I get that squirrel back? I think I left the tag on it. Yeah...that's it.

BLTs! Those make you happy!

On freshly baked bread!

And then, on Sunday, when the weather was P.E.R.F.E.C.T. - the *consoling* continued in earnest even though my face was creased from a rainy Saturday full of smiling big and the dog was bruised from all my semi-convincing happy hugging.
You love the beach! Let's go there.

I've even scheduled some special birthday guests. No, stop crying, it's not a clown.

Let me entertain you - I'll go scare all these stupid seagulls...

Fly away you sumbitches! That's a birthday ORDER!

Baby, they didn't fly away. I'm sorry about your birthday entertainment.

So entertained.

So, yeah, Birthday Not-Backpacking Weekend was a total success and I wasn't sad for even a minute.


Though when I came home, I found that the garden had not received the memo and was still concerned about my birthday feelings. Even after I hugged the dog right in front of them.

All of this pollen is for you. Surprise!

We made this for you while you were gone. Surprise!

Bet you didn't think we could get this big, didja? Surprise!

We've made friends, the volunteer cucumber and I. Surprise!


Here, we got you something. 17 lbs of something.
No, really, we like the food you made for us. Ummmyummyumm...
We've been waiting for a special occasion. Surprise!

Thanks, guys.
So, today I celebrated by hanging out in the garden for 2+ hours, maxing out my big food processor making The Best Sauce Ever. Yep. and eating the finest tomato sandwich in creation.

Why yes, that IS blue cheese on that sandwich.

Happy Birthday to ME.

 Later, Bubba is going to take me out with the three dimensional people for a proper meal during which time I will wear a new dress and drink as many cocktails as I want plus also eat nice food prepared by a qualified chef.

If only I could have a decent birthday. *Sigh*


Hey, where's the dog going?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Countryn' it up

Dudes. It was a country weekend.

In the sense that I went home to pick blackberries in the country with my mom and then I came home to the not-country and canned blackberry jam, a truckload of tomatoes, pickles and peppers like I was going to be stranded in the country through a long hard winter.

You know, rather than what I've really got here in the suburbs which is decidedly short and soft.

Wow, that doesn't sound right at all. And this was going to be a wholesome post.

OK - let's try wholesome.

Nothing unseemly going on here. Just wholesome countryness.
I guess it would be more wholesome if my bra strap weren't all front and center there, but it's not like I was fooling you with reports of wholesomeness after all, so I might as well tell you that these photos were taken while swearing.

Because, as my mom and I agree, you really have to be the boss of those blackberry bushes and swearing helps.

Though, this year there was decidedly less swearing since it wasn't as molten-melt-your-face-off-hot like in previous years. In fact, it was rather comfortably and breezy, even. I don't even think I broke a sweat even though I was out there in jeans.

Crazy, this pleasant berry picking experience. I barely felt like I went to war at all.

Still screamed swears at the bushes though, that's a given. Bastards always manage to sink a thorn under a fingernail and shit hurts.

Then I came home to find tomato plants in need of a spanking.
We've been bad
I went out on Sunday morning and picked 22 lbs of tomatoes and those plants looked like I hadn't even bossed them around one bit. Like, you couldn't even tell I'd picked anything.

Ridiculous. I should have brought a whip and a chair.

So, since I had 22 lbs of tomatoes and 12 pints of blackberries, a bunch of cucumbers, a half pint's worth of peppers and some measure of patience remaining, I decided to round out my country weekend by poaching myself over the canner.

Funny thing was, it wasn't even that hot over the canner like it usually is. I mean, normally I'm boob-sweating it UP getting tomatoes into jars and my house smells like a hot kosher dill and I've got blackberry jam spot welded to my forearms from all the stirring, but no.

It was, like, almost a nice idea to get a giant pot of water to a rolling boil on the stove. The thought did not repulse me and feel like the exact opposite of what I should be doing in a house that's around 90 degrees. Because it was around 65 when I got started and probably didn't get over 80 all day.

I guess the weather's freaking me out a bit. In a good way. Until today.

It's hot again. 90-something.


Anyway, the world has righted itself -- it's hot, the tomatoes are ripening, the blackberries have been picked, I made a pie and I have a cupboard full of canned stuff to eat during the long hard isolation endured out here on the NorCal tundra.

Yep - all quiet on the western front.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who's to say who's effed and who's not? Clearly, not me.

I should really be posting a tutorial for lip balm right now, I know.

It's just that the whole lip balm situation really revolves around my desire to berate the lip balm recipe havers of the Internet for putting up the most annoyingly vague and useless recipes and I can't very well do effective berating if I, myself, am not posting a useful not-vague recipe myself.

I think you'd agree.

Anyway, while I'm not vague or useless (quiet, you), I am sometimes forgetful. In the sense that I forgot the handwritten recipe I hand wrote for myself as I was mixing up this batch of lip balm (and then remixing it and remelting it and, well, you'll see when I write it up) up in Tahoe and so I can't give you the recipe right now.

Although I *could* give you the rant against the dim hippies who wrote up all the useless and vague lip balm recipes on the Internet right now. Because that part comes real easy. As you know.

So, instead of wrapping my rant around a fabulously NOT-vague or useless recipe for a lip balm you *might* use -- Melons.

More specifically - an update on the Adopt a Crop Team Melons vs Team Cucumbers situation.

Remember how I was all, "Oh Team Melons, you're totally effed" and shit, like back in July?

Who's effed now?
Er...that proclamation may have been premature.

I mean, not that one melon, even one that can grow from this:

I'm adorable.
to this:
I'm obscene.
in one week can break the cucumbers' lead or anything, but when the melons do that meanwhile the cucumbers do this:

Wait? We're cucumber plants? We'd forgotten. We were busy being pathetic losers.
it's safe to say, at least, that Team Melons is not as effed as they seemed to be back in July.

Though, it's true that I've harvested approximately 2 lbs of cucumbers so far and 0 lbs of watermelons, I'm fairly certain that the melon you see plumping up on the vine up there weighs more than 2 lbs and that cucumber plant you see rapidly shitting the bed up there is going to produce about five more minutes' worth of cucumbers before it shrivels up and gives me the finger once and for all.

So any greatness the cucumbers might have enjoyed a month ago might be wiped away in one felled twisting of a watermelon from the vine in a month or so.

OR that watermelon may meet an untimely death at the hands of a nasty creature (this happens sometimes even in the depths of suburbia where we happen to live. We call these happenings "raccoons" and I don't want to talk about it.) and Team Cucumbers could be back firmly holding the lead.

A pathetic 2 lb lead that does not put pickles in the jar, so to speak.

In the sense that it hasn't put any pickles in the jar yet. Because I canned pickles on vacation and they shriveled up into depressing little brown turds in the jar because I *might* have miscalculated our actual elevation and then I *might* have over processed them according to elevation instructions for, like, the Swiss Alps or something.

My pickles came out looking like shits floating in a jar, people, it was sad.

So, yeah, no pickles yet. And only 2 lbs of cucumbers. And 0 lbs of watermelons. And cucumber plants that look about as pathetic as you can imagine while still, somehow, remaining vaguely alive. And one watermelon plant that still hasn't produced a single viable fruit and barely any leaves.

But at least we have the craziest volunteer sunflowers ever.

12 feet tall. Who knew sunflowers could get 12 feet tall? I did not.
This bee got light headed flying to reach it.

The zoom was all the way extended to get this shot.

So, yeah, the drama continues in the garden. Melons staging a comeback, cucumbers quietly dying a tragic crispy brown death, sunflowers towering over the garden like some sort of otherworldly being where I can't prune them to make a stunning bouquet and tomatoes doing what tomatoes always do in the garden.

Go fucking bonkers.

I think if I were to really think hard about who's effed around here, I'd probably say it was me. Or the canner. Because we're both going to have to get really effing busy if we want to keep up.

It's not the worst problem to have. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

#900 (AKA: The post about everything)

Did you know that this is my 900th post?

It is.

Also, it's the post where I let you choose your own adventure. Sort of.

Because I just got back from vacationing in the mountains and could show you pictures of that and recount our *probably* poor behavior OR I could show you ridiculous photos of what the garden did while I was gone OR I could show you pictures and recount with much salivating the delicious shit we cooked when we got home.

OR I could just mash it all into one incomprehensible post that would really bring to light the reality of the past 900 posts, which is to say that they've all been a mish-mash of a lot of disconnected photos and me yammering but ALWAYS with a lot of swears and misbehavior.

OK - nevermind on the choose your own adventure theme - I'm choosing for you. You get everything. All mashed up into one post with photos and swears and, probably, disjointed storytelling.

Because why the hell else would you show up here? Not for comprehensible information, that's for sure.

(If you're here for comprehensible information - oops on you.)

So yeah, we vacationed last week and it was good times.

Tahoe, well, it doesn't suck. That's one thing. And another thing - it's the best.

Hiking, wildflowers, mountainous sunsets, cocktail time at noon, bare feet in the lake, snowballs in the face, dogs chasing everything that blinks, fishing for illusive fucking trout, single tracks along the creek by bike, random crafting that sometimes turns out great (hoppy beer!), OK (sort of too hard lip balm!) or awful (pickles that look like turds and get thrown away!), sleeping in silence and basically just breathing great fresh air.

So, you know, just generally the best.

Then, we came home. To the garden that is really into telling me how it doesn't need me.

What's your name again?

In one extended morning's harvest, Saturday to be precise, I picked 6+ lbs of tomatoes, 4+ lbs of beans, 2 lbs of cherry tomatoes and a lot of herbs and then weeds and crap that needed to be pulled.

It was extreme. Particularly since I spent over an hour picking those damn beans.

People - I could not be a farmer for a living. This shit takes me FOREVER. I mean, I love it, but I'd never make a living at the rate that I garden. Plus, I doubt I'd be able to drink as I go, and you know how much I like that.

After all that harvesting and then given the fact that we were home next to all that harvested business, obviously, we had to cook things.

All the things that we love to eat in the summer. Which - BBQ - because obviously. Also, tomatoes.

I'm amazed we were still hungry after our week of gluttony. Yay for hiking.

Bubba made BBQ ribs and chicken, I made Tomato Pesto Pie and then, because I'm wild like that and also needed to use up a lot of our farmshare eggs, I made a lemon meringue pie. And then grilled some corn. OH - and I made a very delicious caprese-ish appetizer with the garden's goods.

The dogs were not on the menu, but they were obviously very close by. And interested. And sniffing us a lot.

And I'm pretty sure my neighbor gave them each a bunch of ribs. At least given Jada's production this morning on our walk.

Whoa, dog.

So yeah - we're home from vacation, the garden's all WTF and we ate a lot of summertime comfort food.

You didn't really want to choose your own adventure anyway, this is way better.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nekkid blogging

My feet *may* not have been my only naked bit when this photo was taken.

Naughty hippie.

 Because we *may* have hiked up this glorious trail at the perfect time during the day and week so that no one was there when we were.

And because I *may* be morphing into thatguy  who is also thathippie when on vacation in the mountains.
As evidenced by yesterday's post-hike/nude swim activities of mead drinking, Phish listening, pickle canning and beeswax lip balm making.

You don't have to be a hippie to love lip balm.

Or pickles.

Or mead? OK, maybe mead.

And on an unrelated note: DONG(s)!

 I'm maintaining that I'm safe from certifiable hippieness as long as I don't go near the patchouli oil in the natural foods store. Though I did see some when I was in there buying sweet almond oil and unrefined Shea butter for my homemade from my friend's bees (and a little from mine, too!) lip balm.

The line, she is a fine one.

Chat soon, friends. Once I return to civilization and get properly dressed.