Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Fair is Back

The Benton County Fair is back, which means the carnival employees are camping in my back yard again. This is not an inconvenience. In fact, as I watched them setting up camp Sunday afternoon, I realized I was glad to see them. I can vicariously enjoy the carnival atmosphere without having to actually do the work of setting up the event in this crazy heat.

The campers also provide some protection from the rowdies that occasionally show up at the fair. I'm not one to judge; I've been their age before and I understand you've got to kick up some dust now and then. All the same, I'm glad the carnival employees provide me with a buffer from the craziness.

Just like last year, I volunteered to help my co-worker take in canned and baked goods to be judged. One perk of this gig is that exhibitors bringing in their treats will sometimes bring in a little extra for us to snack on (score!). Another perk is I get a free pass to the event for my two hours of... uh... work?

Anyway, for those keeping track of my benevolence, my volunteer work so far this month includes making a balloon arch for Pride Corvallis, setting up a maze for da Vinci Days, playing with kittens for the Humane Society, and tasting competition-caliber baked good and treats for the County Fair. I’m magnanimous like that. Perhaps I should volunteer at a homeless shelter; the homeless love balloon arches.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Box of Veggies (8 of 22)

In the box this week: E&A are back from England, so I have a much more manageable amount of vegetables this week. We split the dill and the zukes. I took the spinach, garlic, cabbage, and blueberries, and they took the potatoes, lettuce, cucumber, onion, green pepper, and cilantro. There were no carrots! I hadn't eaten the purple carrots from the previous week, and I gave them to E&A when they picked up their cats on Friday.

The dill, and last week's parsley and cucumbers are currently chilling in my fridge becoming tzatziki. The rest of last week's parsley, scallions, and tomatoes plus some mint from my garden are also chilling in my fridge as tabouli. These were on last week's meal plan, but I didn't get to them because the boarder had offered to make dinner on two of the nights (gougère on one night, and crêpe the next - both were delicious!).

The boarder is gone this week, so I will make fewer meals and have leftovers. The cabbage will be two batches of duk-bokki, the zukes and onions will be teriyaki, the spinach will be blanched and salted and served with the rest of last week's potatoes either roasted or mashed. Last week's lettuce (holding up surprisingly well) and onions will be used for salads and sandwiches. I had half the blueberries in my pancakes this morning, the other half is destined for the same fate for breakfast tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tomato Update

Same tomato 1 month later.

By this time last year, I had already started getting red tomatoes. This reddish Roma is the closest so far.

All three plum tomato plants I planted are healthy and productive, but none have ripe fruit yet.

As I posted earlier, last year's cherry tomatoes took over my garden, so this year I decided not to have any cherry tomatoes, but several cherry tomato volunteers kept popping up.

I pulled most of them and decided to keep just this one.

But weeks later I noticed I had missed another one that had sprung up in a part of the garden I hadn't planted.

As you can see from the cracked soil, I have done absolutely nothing to encourage this plant. The soil isn't tilled or fertilized, and I have never watered it. I don't want this plant, but I've decided not to pull it. I've decided to leave it, but not water it or anything, just as an experiment to see if the already minimal work I put into this is actually necessary.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Heartland Humane Society

I've started volunteering at the Heartland Humane Society. I Go every Saturday morning from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. I started last Saturday, but today I remembered to take pictures.

Primarily, the job is cleaning kennels. 2 or 3 dozen cats are kept in individual kennels (sometimes 2 will be in the same kennel if they're small). In addition, there are 3 window rooms. These are the size of closets and have glass walls, and cat furniture. 4 or 7 cats will share these. These are cats that have been there longer than the kennel cats and tend to be older and better socialized. Then there is the prime suite: the puppy playroom (presumably it was expected to be for puppies when it was named). This is much bigger than the other window rooms and these cats (including Feivel, pictured) are the oldest and most affectionate.

The window rooms and playroom are the reason I love this. I go in these rooms and a half dozen cats will start clamoring for attention. It's complete cute overload.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Critters II

A year ago today I posted a bunch of pictures of critters around my yard. I have a couple more:

When I came home from my trip to Seattle, this frog was waiting for me. (No, I'm not referring to the French boarder - but he was there too. In fact, he's actually the one who took this picture).

The cats were the first to notice this guy on the patio last Saturday.

Bonus critter from Andy and Jung Eun's yard:

When I arrived in Seattle, this bug was waiting for me. Andy and Jung Eun named him Jumongboli.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who's Eating My Cauliflower?




Cabbage Worms

When I first posted this picture, I incorrectly labeled this as a broccoli plant. When I bought the starters, they were ambiguously labeled, and I guessed wrong.

Also, less than a week after this photo was taken, the plant in the picture was chewed down by ants (who knew?). But I didn't get a picture of them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Miss Melody's Maze

This is Miss Melody. I volunteered to help set up at da Vinci Days this year and they asked me to help Miss Melody build this maze. In exchange, they hooked me up with a weekend pass to the event.

The event was great. I hung out with friends, listened to music, juggled, watched Kinetic Challenge events, and watched electric go-carts drive around in circles.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Box of Veggies (7 of 22)

In the box this week: potatoes, purple carrots, lettuce, cucumber, onion, scallions, chard, parsley, 6 zucchini/summer squash, radicchio, blueberries, and 6 tomatoes.

I made another batch of carrot cake muffins with last week's carrots.

2 zukes, 1/2 of last week's pepper, and 3 of last week's mini onions are marinating in a teriyaki sauce for a stir fry later this week. I will probably do this every week since there always seems to be zukes and onions.

Last night I made a pizza with 2 zukes, the other half of the pepper, the remaining mini onions, and the last of last week's tomatoes.

The last 2 squashes will be battered and fried and served with steamed chard, and half the potatoes roasted with butter and parsley.

I'll somehow make a meal of the radicchio (fried or roasted). This is a new veggie for me, so it'll be an experiment. I'll serve it with a dressing made with last week's cucumber and yogurt, and tabouli made with some of the parsley, 4 scallions, and 2 tomatoes (the recipe is in the CSA newsletter this week).

I will use the blueberries in scones and/or pancakes for breakfast.

I have no plans for the onion; I diced it up and it's ready to be added to omelets or whatever. The remaining potatoes will be fried up for breakfast. The carrots, lettuce and the remaining tomatoes, scallions, and cucumber will be for salads and sandwiches. I have no idea how I'm supposed to eat this much parsley (it's a large bunch); I'll do what I can, but I have feeling I'll be throwing most of this into the compost in a couple weeks.

I successfully cooked all of last week's veggies despite not having a stove (I'm particularly proud of the toaster oven eggplant parmesan), but eating all the food was impossible since I'm the only one home, so I still have fridge full of leftovers (the eggplant parmesan, veggie stew, duk-bokki, and now the pizza and carrot cake muffins). Fortunately, the boarder is back this week and I can get him to help me with these.

Also my stove has been fixed. Yay!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cat Pictures

Hi Eric and Allison,

I hope you're having fun in England.

Klaatu and Gort are wonderful house guests. It makes my days to have their fuzzy cuteness around the house.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Box of Veggies (6 of 22)

In the box this week: purple potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, 2 onions plus a bundle of mini-onions, beets, spinach, basil, zucchini, garlic, 2 small eggplants, 2 green peppers, 2 tomatoes, and cherries.

I've had the first casualties of the season; some of the veggies from two weeks ago were still uneaten and had to be composted. The chard was on-deck for supper the day the stove broke, and didn't get selected during last week's unplanned meals. I will try to salvage enough cilantro for one batch of rice, but the rest will have to go. I peeled away 75% of a head of last week's lettuce to make a salad last night.

I'm back to planning, but it's a challenge this week. The boarder is away, and E&A are still in England, so I have to eat everything myself. The stove is still broken (until Friday). And there's still lots of veggies from last week.

The zucchini, half a green pepper and what's left of last week's onion is marinating in teriyaki for a stir fry later this week.

In the crock-pot, I made a stew with half the purple potatoes, last week's carrots, the other half of the green pepper, half the mini onions, last week's tomatoes, and beets. I don't intend to eat most of it this week; I will fill a couple of quart size Ziplocs and freeze them for another day.

Last week's cabbage is on the endangered list, so I will make a hefty batch of duk-bokki, and have lots leftovers.

I'm going to attempt to roast the eggplant in the toaster oven and make eggplant parmesan.

Some night, I will have to make a meal of the beet greens and the remaining potatoes.

I made almost a pint of pesto with the basil, but have no immediate plans for it, but at least it will keep. I'll try to finish the remaining green pepper, mini onions, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato in salads and sandwiches throughout the week. I already ate the cherries.

By the time the next box comes, I'll still have the 2 onions (plus an additional one from my garden), the spinach, and the carrots left over from this week. I will probably get additional carrots and onions in that box. E&A will still be gone, but the boarder will return. And the stove should be fixed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Box of Veggies (5 of 22)

I was up in Seattle for the Fourth of July weekend (just like last year), so E&A picked up the box of veggies. I came back last night in time for E&A to leave for England this morning. They'll be gone for over 2 weeks, so they dropped off whatever they didn't eat: carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, 2 onions, cabbage, 2 cats, zucchini, cherries, and a tomato; plus some from the previous box they didn't finish: cilantro and garlic scapes.

My meal planning has been thrown off track this week for several reasons, primarily because my stove broke just before I left for Seattle and I hadn't had a chance to get it fixed. I will be improvising a lot this week. Perhaps I'll make a soup or something that can be cooked in the crockpot. I suspect I will be eating lots of salads and raw veggies.