Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bread. Bread bread bread.

Yesterday Claire and I made four loaves of zucchini bread. I was really glad to be able to use up some of the zucchinis, but in the end, I still have a long way to go if I want to keep up with how many I'm getting out of the garden. I also need to check a little more thoroughly when I'm out picking them. I've been trying to not let them get over a foot long, but obviously those two huge ones snuck by me, probably more than once. Thats a whole lotta zucchini.

I'll probably plant fewer zucchini plants next year, and more beans and peas in their place. I could crunch on fresh beans all day. And yesterday I picked the first handful of sugar snap peas, and they were fantastic. Better than fantastic, really. I definitely wish I had more of those in the garden. I have really enjoyed the whole garden experience this summer (obviously).

But anyway. Today I found out what happens if you leave post-its out on the table....

...an hour (maybe more) of quiet entertainment. Which is definitely worth the $.72 they cost.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I've been meaning to post a picture of an amazing sunset Claire and I were lucky enough to see on Ferry Beach a few nights ago. I can't remember ever seeing a sunset as beautiful as this one was. The actual setting of the sun was not much, but after it sunk below the horizon, the sky completely filled with color, and was reflected in the water around all the sandbars and boats. It started out just slightly orange, but as we watched, it became darker and more intense until it was unbelievably red, and then finally purple before all the color and light faded completely. The colors were so saturated our skin, clothes, even the sand looked red in the light. I took pictures, of course, but not many. It was definitely something to sit and enjoy fully rather than through a camera's viewfinder.

I also used this sunset as an opportunity to try out my camera's 'photo stitch' capabilities to produce a panoramic photo. It worked great, but now that I have it I have no idea where to print it. My usuals (snapfish and shutterfly) don't offer panoramic prints. Any ideas how I can print it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Frankly Scallop, I don't give a clam'.

This past weekend we went to the Yarmouth Clam Festival. It was just about exactly what Milwaukee's IrishFest would be if it were held in Maine. Where IrishFest would have music stages, ClamFest had art tents as far as you could see. Where IrishFest would have beer and brats, ClamFest had lobster and, of course, clams. Simple enough. We enjoyed a bag of steamers and wandered around a bit before we moved on to the next activity,

Which was spending the evening with some friends who happen to have a neighbor that begs people to come and use their (really nice) in-ground pool.

And after swimming, we grilled our dinner and settled in for a nice game of Euchre. I've learned how to play so many times now, I really should be catching on. But so much time passes in between one time and the next, that I basically start over every time I sit down to play. Honestly, I was surprised to find people who know how to play the game here in Maine. I had never heard of it until I met Mike, and figured it was something unique to the UP. Needless to say Mike and I lost, and I think he is pretty serious about giving me Euchre lessons so it doesn't happen again.

And, our garden continues to grow veggies. This is four zucchinis, a cucumber and one of about three handfuls of beans I picked yesterday. The plants seem to have veggies in all different stages, so it looks like we'll have a pretty continuous supply. Its really amazing.

Anybody have a great zucchini recipe for something other than bread? If not, who wants a loaf?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ceiling Fan Issues

Back when Jim and Teresa were visiting, we tried to put a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. What we thought would be a quick job turned into a half-day project which was ultimately abandoned. Until yesterday, we had just a few wires sticking out of the ceiling. But Mike and I were able to finally get the fan installed (and working!) with very little problem. I think the first time around we were in too much of a hurry to get on to other projects to really take the time to figure it out.

We have also continued to stuff ourselves with fresh veggies out of the garden. I don't have any pictures, so you'll just have to believe me when I say the tomato and zucchini plants have really taken over and are not even close to being contained by their planting boxes anymore. The watermelon plant heard me talking about its lack of growth, and has since spread out over the lawn just like the tomatoes. The bean plants have been producing enough that we have fresh beans with just about every meal, even breakfast. We got our first broccoli and cauliflower snacks as well. When I planted everything this spring, I figured we'd get a few beans, maybe a zucchini. I didn't expect it to be incredibly successful, just because I don't really know what I'm doing. I never imagined we'd have this much success.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

With Pictures!

Another project crossed off the list: the basement stairs. We proved once a gain that a coat of paint makes all the difference. The white walls were all scuffed up from hauling stuff up and down, and the stairs really needed a fresh coat. Really the pictures don't even do it justice. In short, it looks great (before and after, if it wasn't obvious):

Tuesday, we decided to take a quick camping trip with Claire, just to test her out and see how much work we have to do if we wanted to go camping with her regularly. Turns out not much. She did great sleeping in the tent, even when it was bedtime for her, but Mike and I sat out by the fire for a while longer. A fire that was fantastic. Its been really wet lately, and though it didn't rain Tuesday, the woods was still damp. We couldn't even find leaves that were dry enough to catch fire. But Mike was patient enough to start a fire that was hot enough that the coals were still smoking in the morning.

And then, when we got home we realized we had a cucumber ready for picking. Definitely the best cucumber I've ever tasted!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Green Thumb?

This year was the first time we've planted a garden. We've never really had the space, and though I wanted to plant something last year, I didn't have the time since we moved in during the prime planting days. The previous owners of our house, however, had built great planting boxes which were filled with strawberries. We were excited when they started ripening. We picked one barely red and bitter strawberry, and then over night they all disappeared, enjoyed I'm sure by the beetles.

I'm doing everything I can to prevent that this year. We have zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, watermelon, and various herbs, all doing very well. The zucchini and tomatoes have kind of taken over. They are high enough you can't even see the rest of the stuff behind them. I have a feeling that if anything, we'll be eating lots of zucchini bread this fall. And so will everyone we know.

Its going much better than I expected, actually. I was excited when they started flowering, and even more excited when I started seeing tiny little veggies. I'll really be happy the day I need a cucumber and can go out in the backyard and pick one. The watermelon is the only one that hasn't flowered. It sprouted quickly, but seems to have slowed way down. Mike's money is on us NOT getting a melon from the plant, but I think we might. I'm not really sure what to expect yet.

And I love this little tiny broccoli. Its taken a lot of willpower since I discovered it to not eat it. Its perfectly bite-sized right now. Claire's pansies are doing great as well.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What a break (term used loosly)!

Well then. I believe that this might be the first time I've sat down for more than 10 minutes in a week. I went to Wisconsin and spent some time with the Halbergs and some time camping with my family. We had a great time, especially Claire. She loved the camping. My parents have a camper permanently set up at a campground in Door County. Our days were full of catching butterflies, sitting in the hammock and feeding the fish. There was even another cousin named Clare there, who (my) Claire called 'Other Claire', as in "Excuse me, Other Claire, will you play with me..." Very cute. So here are some pictures of that:

And before I got back to Maine, Jim and Teresa had already arrived for a week of working. Much like last year, I believe Jim had a hammer and screw driver in his carry on and started fixing things before he even set foot inside the house. I thought they had the house looking fantastic when I got home, all power washed and sparkling with new doors, but that was nothing compared to how it looked when they left. Fantastic. Everyone worked very hard, and it shows. I only have one set of before and after pictures right now, but I'm sure there will be more to come. I think the kitchen is my favorite part. I really wish I had a before picture of the light fixture. It was just about the ugliest florescent fixture you can imagine...that didn't work.

Before, with Confused Mike and a stove older than me:

After, with the trimmed doors, new knobs and new stove:

Lights! And the wonderful new storm door in the background.

Now that everyone is gone, and Mike is back to work, the productivity will slow way down. But it has been a really great week, and it feels good to have made some huge improvements. Thanks Jim and Teresa!