Melt down

I had a friend in college who liked to describe things as hottt. Pretty girls, clever t-shirts from the goodwill, that cd you were playing, the lunch menu in the dinning hall, you get the idea. Then he would tell you how many t’s worth of hot. As in, “Your “new” beer stained papasan chair is hott with two t’s.” The more t’s the better.

Durham is hot right now with many, many t’s, but it’s not so much a good thing.  In fact it is so hot that on Wednesday evening all the air conditioning and various other appliances apparently overwhelmed the electrical transformer across the street from us.

The transformer died with a 4th of July worthy shower of sparks and a small grass fire. It was quite dramatic there for a moment. But, no worries, David and another neighbor put out the fire in no time with a couple of fire extinguishers. It was all out by the time the fire department arrived. They looked bored. We went to our favorite wine bar for a few hours, and the power company had a brand new transformer installed by 1am.

The heat has also caused a generalized melt down in my social niceties. What’s the point of make-up when it just melts on contact with the outside world? And, when applying antiperspirant feels like spitting on a wildfire?

Plus, I’ve give up on meals. Not on food. No, just on assembling food into something resembling a balanced meal. Salsa is healthy, right? It’s practically a salad and salads make perfectly good meals, don’t you think?

Judging from my grocery purchases today, I seem to think we should be subsisting on cold Italian charcuterie, fancy cheese, summer fruit, fizzy water and alcohol. While this seems like a perfectly good plan to me, David is still convinced that we should have proper meals with side dishes and plates and shit like that.

My complete refusal to cooperate in meal planning has so far resulted first in David cooking for both of us (we usually make dinner together), then in lots of take out food. I think I am wearing him down though. I suspect that salami and hummus are going to constitute major components of our “dinner” tonight.

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Back to the sauna

I’m back in Durham, and I am not so happy about it. The actual temperature is supposed to hover around 100 all week and the humidity is approximately 3000%. It’s gross, which is particularly unfortunate because the garden could really use some attention right now.

David watered all of my plants and all of our neighbor’s plants last week while we were both out of town, so that was good. But, the three days of heavy rains we had just before I left town followed by a week of hot, humid weather caused the weeds to explode.

I pulled a heaping wheelbarrow full of weeds from the front garden alone. All that honeysuckle we pulled up in the spring is trying to make a come back and the grass is unimpressed by my edging. Apparently, grass prefers to think of edging as a a suggestion rather than a “boarder.”

Almost all of my squash succumbed to squash bugs while I was away.  They got my squash last year too, so it’s not exactly a surprise, but this year I do have a volunteer pumpkin that is still going strong. Next year, I’ll be looking into some sort of preventative measure. I will grow squash someday, it’s a matter of pride at this point.

Other than that a few of my tomato plants might have some kind of blight or something. One of my three mortgage lifters and the persimmon tomatoes seem to be slowly dying from the top down and the Juliet has a bunch of crispy looking leaved at the bottom.

Mostly the garden is going strong, but the unrelenting heat and lack of any sort of regular rain is making everything look a bit limp and pathetic. Next year I think need to plant something that will look good in this heat. I’ve been seeing some nice looking black eyed susans, and one of my neighbors has some spectacular orange poppies.

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The dark underbelly of St. George

Driving around doing errands the other day, I asked my sister if St. George even has a bad part of town. Almost everything I’ve seen so far looks pretty fresh and new. I’ve yet to see any of the decrepit and/or abandoned buildings that you see all over North Carolina.

According to her, she lives in the bad part of town, which is hilarious. Maybe in the good part of town people mow their green and manicured lawns everyday instead of once a week? And the adorably blond and deeply tanned children sell organic lemonade spritzers made with raw sugar? I wouldn’t know because I am stuck on the bad side of town where the landscaping is only nice and the cute blond children only sell regular lemonade. It’s tough here, but I am making do.

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Azure skies

I am visiting my sister in St. George, Utah this week while she recovers from her recent surgery. Mostly I am the chauffeur since she isn’t cleared to drive yet, but I do a little cooking and fetching/carrying too. It’s actually a pretty relaxing gig. I keep telling here that she is easier than just about any babysitting job I ever had.

And, oh, but the desert is doing it’s level best to charm me this week. I am not normally a desert sort of girl. The Art Director likes the dramatic, sweeping panoramas you get out here. But, whenever we play the where-we-would-live-if-the-stars-aligned-just-so-and-we-could-live-anywhere-we-wanted game, I always nix the Southwest on the grounds that I would have to bath in lotion and run sixteen humidifiers just to keep my skin from seceding from the union.

No, I generally like it green and wet, but even I have to admit that views like this have something to recommend them:

More or less what you see all around St. George. Photo lifted from this site because the Art Director is holding down the fort in Durham.

The skies have been impressively, perfectly azure practically everyday with adorable, little puffy clouds for contrast.

I was expecting a dusty, grey little town like the desert towns in California and Nevada that I am more familiar with, but St. George is more like something I would expect in New Mexico, all earth tones and pinks.  It’s rather nice, and I am enjoying the break from the cloying humidity we were getting before I left Durham.

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The garden has been up to much since I last gave y’all an update.  For example, we have tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. David uploaded this photo on June 14th, so we have had tomatoes since about that time.

Our first tomatoes of the season

Our first tomatoes of the season: one perfect, one okay, and one rotten.

As usual, the sun gold tomato (front) won the race for the first ripe tomato of the year. I love sun golds.  They are a small but prolific cherry tomato, and the plants themselves are the hardiest variety I have yet to try in my garden.

The middle tomato was from a mature plant I picked up from the discount plant rack at Lowes. The tag called it a “rambling red” tomato, and , silly me, I assumed this meant it would produce red tomatoes. But, no, it produces small, stripey yellow tomatoes. You know, like the one in the picture.

The half rotten tomato was a German Johnson. Surprisingly, I was able to get one really good BLT out of that  tomato after it ripened on my kitchen counter.

German Johnson heirloom tomato

German Johnson

The next German Johnson was much nicer looking, and just as delicious. So far the German Johnson’s are leading in the most delicious tomato category, but we still have a few varieties that we haven’t even tasted yet.

We also have oodles of black cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Cherry tomato ripening on the vine.

Black cherry tomato.

They are largish for cherry tomatoes and very sweet and rich, not tart at all. I think the plant might be the largest one in the garden. Of course, the black cherries are growing in the bed in front of the house where everything is impressive and huge, so location may be a factor here.


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To a better year…

Yesterday my sister informed me that I should really update my blog. So, since today is her birthday, here’s a blog update for my baby sister.

My sister is not having a good month, or maybe not a good year.  She had her left hip replaced just a few weeks ago, and, no, she is not my much, much older sister. She’s my little sister. Today is her twenty-sixth birthday.

You are supposed to say, “Happy Birthday!” (with the exclamation point) for every birthday, but quite frankly I don’t think that my sister is having a particularly happy birthday this year. She’s recovering from major surgery and pneumonia and mourning the loss of a beloved pet. Oh, and this year also brought her ulcers (from the pain medication for her hip) and kidney stones (said to be more painful than giving birth!).

Basically, I think the universe has just given her a big fuck you this year, and there’s no real point in pretending that today is a particularly happy birthday. Instead, I think I’ll raise a glass today to twenty-six treating her much more kindly than twenty-five ever did.

And, now a picture of a cabbage because I hope it will make her smile.

My little cabbage

Mon petit chou

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Assassin in the garden

David already blogged this shot of the assassin bug over on his photo blog. But, I thought I would post it here too since it’s definitely a garden denizen. It turned up in some lettuce I was soaking, not at all happy about my inadvertent attempts to drown it.

Assassin bug clinging to a life raft of lettuce in my kitchen sink.

Luckily for the bug, we put it back in the yard after David took it’s picture. The internet claims that assassin bugs can give a painful bite if you upset them, but this one didn’t seem to mind my relocation efforts.

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