Friday, July 22, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mine grows with weeds. Aplenty.

For me, gardening is about fun. I like to dig in the dirt, I like to watch things grow, I like to eat vegetables. And sometimes I like to pick weeds. But I may have underestimated the verve of the creeping charlie and other nuisances making home in my vegetable beds.

I may have one up on the weeds with my sheer numbers, though. When I planted tomato and pepper seeds way back when it was still frosty outside, I estimated on the cautious side of things. I planted 50 pepper and tomato plants knowing only a few would grow. I only got 3 pepper plants in the ground and they are so small I'm not sure I'll harvest anything. But, tomatoes proved me wrong. I have 14 huge, flowering, heirloom tomato plants in my garden.

I must have lucked out with good soil. Because I'm not a great gardener. I don't check the soil, add supplements, plant in neat rows and meticulously till. And right about now, with the corn and sunflowers taller then me, the zucchini and watermelon plants sprawling across the grass, and 14 tomato plants taking over every square inch they can claim, my garden feels a little like Miss Mouse's garden. A Garden for Miss Mouse was my favorite book when I was a little girl. I had it memorized and used to "read" it to anyone willing to listen. Now Little Man loves it, too.

And I don't care that it is full of weeds. I don't even care if we don't get any peppers. What I do care about is the summer ritual of running outside every morning with Little Man to check on the garden and see what has changed. We both pick through the sugar snap peas looking for any big enough to eat off the vine.
Little Man drools over the green tomatoes and can't stand to wait for the ripening to be complete. I check the zucchini flowers and hope the baby bunny living in the fire pit hasn't eaten everything. The wonder and excitement of trying something new, watching something grow and bloom, and seeing that excitement bubble over in Little Man is such a gift.

And I like the unexpected little challenges that arise. Like when a heavy rain and wind storm knocked over all the corn. We just replanted the stalks in the ground and Hubs jerry-rigged a rake and a shovel handle in front of it all to hold it up. So far, so good. The stalks are still growing, so it must have worked!

I also have no idea what is going on with our broccoli. Little Man picked out this crazy, pointy and spiral-looking Italian broccoli plant and of course I threw away the seed packet after planting so I have no idea when it will be ready. It doesn't look like the picture yet, so I'm guessing we either messed it up or it isn't ready. Either way, it can stay put for now.

Even in a little city yard, there is plenty to explore and discover.

I just hope this guy doesn't like tomatoes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Road Trip!

Little Man and I went to Chicago to visit family last week. Little Man spent every waking second playing with his cousins and Grandma; he was in heaven. For five days he wasn't an only child. He had two big cousins to hang with; to share beds and fight over toys and play walkie talkies and Angry Birds. It was really nice for him. He can get so lonely at home- I'm not saying that being an only child is bad, please don't read it that way. But Little Man had a sibling and they were best friends and now there is a missing piece every single second. And he misses having a live-in buddy. So cousining is a very special time for us.

It was also at Grandma's house, which makes it uber-special. And we got to go downtown to the Science and Industry Museum, which made is dang near epic. And we got to see an Omnimax movie on Storm Chasers. And tour a submarine. And get a kitschy wax tractor souviner from Uncle -the kind mom unequivocally prohibits. Maybe for Little man, we hit Epic at the tractor. For me, epic hit when we got to the original Gino's East on a Saturday night with 9 people and only had to wait 5 minutes for a table. Seriously.

Drool over this, people. Nothing beats it.

Now we are back home and I'm really trying to find the motivation to clean the house, wash the laundry and fold the 3 baskets that I didn't get to before we left. Folding laundry is probably the weakest link in my chain...just can't do it. Sigh, at least it is clean.

The only thing I have actually accomplished today is vacuuming. Because it was gross. Leaving Hubs home with two shedding dogs during the hottest week of the summer spelled disaster. The fur balls were so big I thought Hubs cloned the dogs and we had a litter of puppies tumbling across the floor whenever the air conditioning went on. So yeah, I vacuumed.

And now, I'm going to put off that laundry just a little longer and dream of pizza. Happy Monday, friends. Stay cool!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cashing In

We've been having gorgeous weather here for the past few weeks and are not taking it for granted. Even though we've been really tired and not feeling at the top of our game, that hasn't stopped us from getting out and enjoying a Minnesota summer. After all, we've earned these good days- why else would anyone deal with the bitter cold all winter long if there was no summer?

And now we are cashing in and hitting up the beach, going canoeing and fishing, playing tennis in the park, walking to the zoo, using the slip and slide, enjoying popsicles and novels on the front stoop. We even went for a bike ride on the Gateway Trail. It is a state trail and I somewhat joked that I was surprised it wasn't barricaded since the government has shut down almost everything else fun in the state this month; It was open, busy, and Little Man was able to bike 10 miles! What a guy! Then we stopped for ice cream and grilled out in the backyard.

What I am not doing this summer is taking pictures very often. I am also not using the computer as is a good change. Being outside and actually doing something is way better than reading about it or talking about it online. So with that, I'm off to finish my coffee and get Little Man ready for swimming. I hope you are all having a wonderful week and making the most out of your summer!