Saturday, July 16, 2011

saving the zucchini

Last year when I planted my garden, my zucchini plants sprouted right on schedule, but shortly after the leaves spread open, they turned lacy and the plants died. I had to buy my zucchini at the farmer's market. That was a bummer.

This year my zucchini sprouts started going lacy again, so I took a good long look at the plants. With the help of google, I identified that I had a cucumber beetle problem. The community gardens are required to be organic (which is my preference anyway), so I had to find a non-toxic solution to my problem. After some reading, I made a pepper-spray solution: one quart of water, 1-and-a-half teaspoons of ground cayenne pepper, and two squirts of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle. Every day I went to my garden and sprayed all the leaves of my zucchini plants, tops and bottoms, with the pepper spray. So far so good! On Wednesday I harvested my first zucchini of the season.

I'm still not certain my plants will survive the summer, as I've seen loads of squash bugs, and there are reports of vine borers in the garden, but I'll harvest as long as I can!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry and Me

Harry Potter and I go way back. I read the first book before the second book was published in the US. When I read the first book, I didn't even realize there was going to be a sequel, let alone a whole series, and I never imagined what a sensation the whole enterprise was to become. I have loved watching the wizarding world take on a life of its own these past 14 years.

My daughter is a huge Harry fan. When she turned 11 in April, she received an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. That was quite a thrill!
At her violin recital in June, she played two pieces: a Bach minuet, and Hedwig's Theme.

We went to the movie last night. We had an opportunity to see a 7:00 p.m. screening, five hours before the midnight release, which was awesome, because I don't do midnight screenings.

I haven't always been pleased with the movie versions of the books, but I really have enjoyed watching the maturation of the actors portraying Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and I adore the who's who among the supporting cast. I am a Masterpiece Theatre geek, and I love love love Jane Austen film adaptations, so it's fun for me to connect the Harry Potter characters to their period pieces. Last night I immediately spied Captain Wentworth in Aberforth Dumbledore. Captain Wentworth. Sigh.

I am eager to get my daughter to watch A Room with a View with me. I shall coax her with the fact that the movie pairs up Bellatrix LeStrange and Minerva McGonagall. Who, I ask you, could resist that?

Oh, and at the movies last night, we got vouchers for the concession stand, so I ordered a medium popcorn and a medium soft drink for myself. I was dismayed at the size of my "medium" soft drink.

I drank maybe a quarter of it at the theater and brought the rest home. I measured the cup's capacity. It was a full 32 oz. That is one full quart of soda. I would hate to see the large.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I absolutely adored Luna Lovegood's crocheted-flower-embellished sweater in this final installment. She really stood out among all that darkness.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Embroidery for a baby

My husband's cousin had a baby girl recently, so I made this little embroidery to send along. The pattern is from Bumpkin. I used her recommended colors because I thought they were so sweet and perfect.
My original intention was to make this into a little wall quilt, and I could see it so perfectly in my mind, but once I finished embroidering this it languished untouched for weeks because I never felt like making the quilt! Just one of those mood things, I guess. Finally I decided to finish it in a hoop, and I think it's adorable this way.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby Sweater

I've been cleaning house (again!) and went through all those mysterious giant rubbermaid containers that were under my basement stairs (mentioned in this post). I now have 6 large garbage bags full of clothes to donate, and I reduced my under-stair rubbermaid collection from 7 to 2.5! Yay for me.

One thing I found, which went back into storage rather than the garbage bag, was the sweater I knit during my first pregnancy. It was the first thing I ever knit, and one of the few knit things I've managed to complete. I'm still amazed I made this!

I used a variegated yarn in soft blues, greens, and lavenders. I was expecting the effect to be stripey rather than splotchy, but I still liked how it came out. I didn't know I was having a boy, and I figured blues would be better than pinks regardless of gender. Both my son and daughter wore this sweater as wee ones.
As evidenced by the spit-up stain on the front.
Seems so long ago, but not really.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We have a winner!

Lemon La Croix tastes like furniture polish smells. I like the other flavors, just not this one. I've had a case of it in my basement for a year now, not knowing what to do with it, until today, when inspiration struck on an overly hot summer day. I made a batch of simple syrup (one cup water, one cup sugar, stir over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil and all sugar is dissolved, then let cool). Add a tablespoon of simple syrup to a glass of Lemon La Croix, drop in some ice, and yum, you have sparkling lemonade! My daughter liked it, too. I might have to go buy more Lemon La Croix to get us through the heat wave!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 1 Yard: Full-on Summer

It's looking a little unkempt in the back yard. It always does.

The herb garden is doing well.
The Russian Sage along the driveway was just about to bloom when I took this photo on July 1. It's now all purple, and the bees are a buzzin'.
Cosmos are springing up along the wall. By the end of August they'll be hanging over the driveway and making our comings and goings a bit of an adventure.
Ornamental grass is standing tall:
These geraniums have since had a nice trimming. I can hack away and hack away at them, and they still look full and lush:
This side of the walkway needs a tiny bit more oomph. Every year I think this, yet I never do anything to improve it. I think I am waiting for the lavender to spread:
Here's a nice tidy shot. Pretend like I started at the end!