Tag Archive | Birthday

How do you grow a vegetable garden?

Beets me! < —  See what I did there.

I thought I’d bring you up to speed on this year’s vegetable garden. Like every backyard farmer, I start off with grand plans. My family will live off the land. The initial investment of vegetables, soil, etc. will be offset by the bounty my garden will produce.

You get the picture. Anyone who has tried backyard farming feels the exact same way… in the beginning.

Buckets filled with fresh-picked green beans. A bounty of tomatoes. So many tomatoes… I’d have to learn how to can them for all the sauce (by the way, it’s sauce… not gravy… I’m not budging on that topic) I’ll make and eventually freeze. Oh, and the zucchini. The plant that produces so much, you’ll only need two to provide enough to feed not only your family, but your entire neighborhood. Mmm, I can smell the zucchini bread. I can just taste the zucchini sautéed in garlic and oil over a plate of linguine. And the cucumbers… cool and refreshing. I had the perfect plan.

My facebook page is always littered with photos of my friend’s vegetable harvests. I was looking forward to doing the same… participate in a little farmer bragging.

So, I prepped the garden. And I worked my ass off, weeding, tilling… the whole she-bang. The sun was hot, the work was hard and tedious… but the end result… the glorious bounty my garden would produce would more than make up for it.

Most home farmers know there’s always one crop that dominates. One plant that produces more than you can possibly handle… but happily accept. Your pride and joy crop.

Here’s mine:

Weeds.

We were hit with a ton of rain over a five-day period in June. A ton. Although I missed some beach/writing time, I found my silver lining… no watering the garden and fighting the mosquitoes that always seem to latch on to the scent of my Sicilian blood.

When the rain finally stopped, I went outside to survey my farm. And this is what I found. Like someone dropped a giant bag of weed seed directly on my vegetable beds. I couldn’t determine what were bean plants and what were plain ol’ weeds. Ends up the bean seeds drowned… not one plant sprouted. Not a single one.

I tried to pull them, but I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a carpet of weeds. I have never seen anything grow so incredibly fast. I can’t get the grass on my front lawn to grow as lush as these weeds had. I couldn’t keep up. I’d pull one and three new weeds would spring up. It proved to be an impossible obstacle to overcome.

beans cukes

Here are my green bean and cucumbers. Awesome, aren’t they?

Okay, let’s move on to my zucchini plants. The one crop I was sure would be my pride and joy and the envy of the neighborhood.

zuc

Yep, there it is in all its glory. I have another one. This is a picture of the healthier plant.

Here’s my cucumber… No, your eyes are not deceiving you; there is an actual cucumber on that plant.

cuke

It’s smaller than a marshmallow. But it’s something. I’m not counting that as a total failure. We’ll say it’s failure-ish… with a tiny sliver of victory.

And lastly, my tomatoes. You know the giant harvest I planned on transforming into gallons of the best homemade sauce (once again… not gravy) ever made.

toma

You may have to squint but they are there, in the midst of the weed jungle. And I managed to produce a few tomatoes. A few the damn chipmunks got to them… bastard vegetable stealing critters… but I picked a good four tiny tomatoes. I guessing it’s a safe bet that I can return the case of canning jars I purchased.

So there you have it… my crop of weeds. Such a proud moment. < — Sarcastic Bitch Comment.

Some of you may remember my husband’s “Glamour Crop” from last year. The watermelon the size of a quarter. Well, he’s at it again… tackling yet another watermelon glamour crop this year.

Here’s a picture of it today:

watermelon

Yes, that is climbing up a very light weight screen from a screen house wall.

Yup, this is going to end well.

I’ll keep you up to date in whether that plant actually produces anything or tears down my screehouse in the coming weeks.


Now on to Business:

 

The Casual Rule:

If you haven’t downloaded a copy of my book The Casual Rule… what are you waiting for? If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle App from Amazon and start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required.

Amazon US link: http://tinyurl.com/osl87fb

Amazon UK link: http://tinyurl.com/nx374jq

Amazon AU link: http://tinyurl.com/ntcasyb

Amazon CA link: http://tinyurl.com/nf3yt56

And many other countries…check out your Amazon links.

Here’s the three newest Blurbs:

Julia Ben 1

Julia Ben 3

Julia Ben 2

As many of you know, I’ve been writing book two to The Casual Rule. (Allie and Marcello… they do make me laugh). I’ll keep you updated on it as I go.


Fanfiction:

My intention was to have A Different Way chapter up weeks ago. What I forgot is how insane the summer can be. My and my husband’s birthdays were in July. Both BIG ONES. That meant family over the course of a few days. Then there’s college visits for my kid. That meant travel and time. BBQs, Birthday parties, Engagement parties… you get the picture, the summer turned into a long unscheduled time-sucker.

That said, I have about half of a new “A Different Way” chapter written… and if all goes according to plan, it should be up within the week. I had to enlist the help of a fanfiction reader for this chapter and she very kindly agreed.


 

End Notes:

If you have read my book and have the opportunity to post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads… it would be very much appreciated. Reviews are what help Indie Authors get seen.

One more thing… feel free to say “Hi” to my mother in the comments on this blog. She claims she doesn’t read this blog.

Uh-huh… I believe that. < — Sarcastic Daughter Comment.

Hi Mom!

One Last thing and I promise I’m done babbling:

It’s been a very sad week with the passing of Robin Williams. Please seek help if you or someone you know is depressed.

Sometimes we need a reminder…

 

The Great Pumpkin Patch

There are five kid’s birthdays in October in my immediate family.  Celebrating each one separately is an impossible feat. This is why we combine birthdays for the family… and they have their separate parties with their friends.

The past few years, we’ve embraced the Fall birthday season and go pumpkin picking followed by dinner and cake. We like to make it a full day and since the age range for the birthdays fall between six and seventeen so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

It’s interesting to see how inventive of the local businesses are when latching on something that’s going to improve their bottom line and extend their season. More power to them, they got me through their door.

We went to a Food Market/Garden Center near my sister’s home.  Our group of a thousand (okay, twenty-three) met at the designated time.  My sister, otherwise know as the Martha Stewart of the family, came prepared with thermoses full of apple cider for the kids and perverted apple cider for the adults (you know, cider with a little extra fermentation… wink, wink).

Once our group assembles (that task in itself is a small miracle, we live within a hundred mile radius of each other so time coordination is essential) and we sip our magical cider we’re ready for the hayride.  There’s nothing like squeezing twenty three people on the back of a tractor pulling a wagon with bales of hay as the seats. After a “scenic” bumpy ride through a parking lot, past a few greenhouses full of other birthday parties, you go through a very small corn field on your way to the mythical pumpkin patch.

Charlie Brown gets the credit, but it’s really Linus Van Pelt who made me appreciate the magic of the pumpkin patch.  As you get closer and closer to the Pumpkin patch, your heart races.  Childhood dreams of picking the perfect pumpkin fresh off the vine dance in your mind.

You see yourself walking through long rows of vines, searching out the pumpkin that calls to you, will it be perfectly round?  Oval?  Misshapen and with a little personality? (Like Linus, I uphold the belief that pumpkins have personalities. Don’t judge me).  You know you’ll recognize the right pumpkin the moment you lay eyes on it.

You pass on the corn maze because you can’t wait to meet your special pumpkin (besides, the corn has only grown about 3 ft. tall, making more like a stroll through some corn than a maze).  Finally the tractor pulls up to the patch.  You take a deep breath, this is it. You feel it…the green of the vines, the crisp brown edges of the leaves as the vine dies away for the season.

Pumpkin Xanadu.

 Here’s what I always envision, pulling up to the Magical Pumpkin patch.

Here is the reality of our magical journey.  Stunning, isn’t it?

i0000010

(Cue the booby prize music)

An open dirt field, with crushed pumpkins randomly scattered among the others.

Not exactly the dream.  But the kids were happy.  I own my special pumpkin grown just for me. And everyday until Halloween I will tell my husband “We really need to carve this into a jack-o-lantern” and never will.