Wednesday, June 02, 2010

If It's Summertime, It's Allergytime

Every summer I try to deny that I have allergies, and every summer I feel like itchy, congested crap. Alas, I broke out the Allegra too late, so I stayed home today and did nothing but read and accidentally leave on stove burners (sounds like fun, but it wasn't).

Summer brings the allergies, but it also brings the good things. Like lots of strawberries:

For a Memorial Day gathering, Porkchop and I made ice cream using our backyard strawberries. Porkchop pureed the berries, and I cooked up the custard base. When it was combined and churned into creamy goodness, it was the best ice cream ever. Seriously.

This year I tripled the number of sugar snap pea vines, so I've had quite a few to gather. I never get sick of these treats:

Last Friday, I took this photo of one of our backyard garden beds:

After the sun and rain of the weekend, these plants have doubled in height. Yesterday I had to remove the plastic top because the center tomato plant was pushing against it. I'll have to post more recent photos soon.

Porkchop's potatoes are doing fantastically well, too, with lots more growth since this photo:

At the community garden, the squash have really taken off. I planted butternut, delicata, and kabocha squash. This is the kabocha, which already has flower buds on it!

Unfortunately, many of the tomato plants are struggling at the garden. I hope to dump some compost on them this weekend in an attempt to jumpstart their growth. The community garden tomato plants are so far behind mine, and they were all planted at the same time.

Speaking of the community garden, it's a monster to manage. I spend 2-3 hours a week weeding it, and by the time I'm done I don't have the patience to do more important things like staking the tomatoes or building a cucumber trellis. So, I will prioritize this weekend and put weeding at the bottom of the list.

While walking home from the community garden on Sunday, I spied this tomato plant growing by my neighbor's steps in the alley:

It is growing in a 1" strip of dirt, and I don't know how it's surviving. It's even producing flowers! I hope no one pulls it up because I want to see how it fares.

Other Fun Things
Sunday afternoon, Porkchop and I went on a little fishing trip with Suzi and Dale to a pond outside of Nashville, Illinois (Dale's hometown). It was quiet, cool, and green, and the perfect antidote to the muggy St. Louis weather.

Here is Porkchop posing with one of her catches:

And here I am with my first and only catch:

I hadn't fished in more than 20 years, and Suzi and Dale's dad gave me excellent instructions. Even though I only caught one little guy (note that all caught fish were released), it was a fun time.

Some Old News
The bar on the corner that was becoming the bane of our existence shuttered last month! However, it was not a result of our protest petition. Instead, it seems the bar operator wasn't paying rent and was perhaps intimidating the building owner (the woman in her 70s who used to run the place). The granddaughter of the building owner surrendered the liquor license just to get the tenants out. While it's sad to hear of these circumstances, I am quite happy that the bar is closed. Our corner is quiet again, and I don't worry so much about the people walking outside our house.

In late April, we took Keetah to the vet because of some "inappropriate urination" and her recent weight loss. It turns out she is now a hyperthyroid, kidney insufficient cat. The good news is that the thyroid medication is working great, and Keetah has put nearly a pound back on (she had lost about 4 pounds!). Her kidney levels are holding steady, too. So, as the vet told me, Keetah isn't going to drop dead any time soon. Whew!

On that note, have a good night and a great week!

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