Thursday, June 30, 2011

Weird Files

The missing frog wind chime appeared.  We were rigging up some fencing around the apricot stumps to thwart Thumper, and I looked over at the apple tree and there it was.  I didn't put it there.  Ted didn't put it there.  The spawn sure as shit didn't put it there.  The thought of them actually picking something up off the ground voluntarily has me laughing so hard that I'm crying.  If I didn't "politely request" that they clean up their dishes and trash, they'd drown in a sea of potato chip bags, candy wrappers, soda cans, dirty plates and various articles of clothing they discard in the heat of the day.

The most memorable weird files incident I've had to date was when the youngest spawn was 5 or 6 and the eldest around 9 or 10.  Clearly, they were potty trained.  I woke up one morning, went downstairs to make breakfast and there was a dirty diaper in the kitchen trash.  Huh?

Potty training.  Boy, I don't miss those days.  The eldest was easy.  We bribed him with a ginormous toy backhoe.  It sat on the top of the fridge for about two weeks.  And that was that.  The youngest, my stubborn child, took a little longer.  He turned 3, and we started.  That child went everywhere, except the toilet.  One day after about a month, I made him sit for what seemed hours.  No dice.  We were in the process of making cookies, so I let him come back in the kitchen.  He no sooner climbed back onto the chair to help and peed all over the cabinets.  I was defeated. I sat him down and told him that 4 was the magic number.  I said that they don't make diapers for 4 year olds, so when that day came and he had no more diapers if he had an accident then he'd be the one cleaning it up.  The morning of his 4th birthday, he woke up.  We put on big boy underpants.  That child hasn't had an accident, not even at night, ever.  Not once.  And that's where the stubbornness becomes a blessing.

Look!  More yellow tomatoes.  And, some peas.  The peas have been disappointing this year.  We'll go straight from seeds next time and put plenty down.

And for tonight's finale...

The Not So Elusive Hummer

That's right folks.  Thumper showed up, lulled the Dragon into a comatose state.  Just as I was blogging about missing the hummingbird...again...he?...she? to come back for seconds.  Teehee.

Next...I dunno, but I'm having yellow cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette with my lunch tomorrow.  We already snacked on the peas.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Game On Junior

Two days ago we mentioned sighting Phil Jr. in the neighbor's yard.  Yesterday we noticed something had absolutely wreaked havoc on the brussel sprouts in the back garden.

Today we noticed something had done the same with the tomato bushes back there as well.

We also found the gap between the fence and the ground where he has been gaining access.  The brussel sprouts are the bummer.  The tomatoes were seedlings that bounced back from the great over-fertilization debacle this Spring, so we threw them back there to see what they would do.  We still have around 25 tomatoes in the front.  I wasn't telling a lie when I said they were going to be coming out of our ears.

And where was the mighty Dragon?  Probably in the same position he was a few minutes ago when Thumper came sniffing around the apricots.

Farmer Ted threw a brick at it.  Thumper, not Twinkletoes. Don't worry, he missed.

The only thing the Dragon has chased lately is the hummingbird.  And the mailman.  Rufus vs. the Postal Service.  My mailman is an asshat.  He's also lazy.  He doesn't  feel like bringing packages to my door, so he says that Rufus bit him.   I say if my dog bit him, why hasn't he filed a complaint with the police department?  Now it's true that Rufus isn't very friendly to the UPS, FedEx or oil guy. And he has nipped at the substitute mailman, but he's never broken skin.  The mailgirl, he liked.  Smart dog.  She was cute. Here's my theory. Usually people who come to the door are friendly.  They bend down and pet him.  Not one of these people he's gone postal on (boo...hiss...I know) have ever done that.  And he only goes after them as they are walking away.  I think it's his way of warning them that he thinks since they are unfriendly they are up to no good, and he is keeping a hairy eyeball on them.

Next...Hopefully Farmer Ted's quick fix of using some of the pine logs to stop up the gap in the fence will keep Phil out until we can move at least the okra and the tomatillos to the front garden.  I don't know who in the neighborhood took out Phil Sr., but I'll be dropping some hints about Jr. this weekend.

Almost forgot, we have added venus flytraps to the bog.

Monday, June 27, 2011


While I spent the afternoon in bed fighting a migraine, Farmer Ted was waging war on the aphids. The Tomato Leaf Cocktail seems to have worked.

We see no more wool on the plants.  Later aphids, feel free to not come back.

So, the groundhog is still MIA; however, Phil Jr. made an appearance today.  He was scurrying around the neighbor's yard, just where we like him.

We are pleased to announce a new poll.  Basil trounced oregano.  Next up, Parsley v. Thyme.

We are also pleased to announce the harvest of something other than a leafy green.

One miniature purple bell, one jalapeno and one yellow cherry tomato.  I see a GrowDammit side salad with tomorrow's lunch!  We are going to have tomatoes coming our of our ears.

Finally, more of Ted's awesomeness with the camera...

Sunflowers are so cheerful.  These aren't homegrown, but we have some coming along nicely.

Next...Will we ever have a day this summer that isn't mostly cloudy?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Tomatoes are part of the Nightshade Family. Who knew? I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I always thought a Nightshade was a flower, but it indeed has various vegetable varieties including the chili pepper, the tomatillo and sweet peppers. All of which are in the GrowDammit gardens. The tomato’s leaves are poisonous. I think I knew that. At least I knew part of the plant was poisonous. Their flowers are bisexual. Definitely didn’t know that..

Anyways, the garlic spray only succeeded to scatter the aphids not annihilate them. Which is the goal. Plan B is to make us up a little Tomato Leaf Cocktail. Tomorrow morning the aphids will be in for a big surprise. Shock & Awe baby, Shock & Awe.

Eggplant and potatoes are also Nightshades. Neither one of these are in our lineup. I don’t eat many potatoes. I could go for a big ol’ plate of scattered, smothered & covered right now though. That was always my 4am soak up all the alcohol you just consumed go to meal. Ahhhh, the Waffle House. *drool* Ahhhh, College…Boozefest 1987-1991.

Where was I? Oh yeah, eggplant. The only way I eat it is in the form of Eggplant Parm. And since I try to defat a recipe as much as I possibly can, I only eat Eggplant Parm at a restaurant where I’m going to splurge anyway. I also only eat Indian food out. Almost all recipes can be defatted, but there are some dishes that shouldn’t be.

I just told Ted Plan B. He looked worried, so I quickly assured him it was for aphid control. It’s not your turn.

Talk of poisoning reminded me of the chocolate incident…Rufus vs. the Godiva. When we first moved into this house, I put all the baking supplies on the bottom shelf of the pantry. Rufus can nose his way into the pantry here. One day, I came home, and Rufus was lying by the front door. He was unusually listless. I looked around and didn’t see anything amiss. I hadn’t left any unsuspecting wheels of cheese or hams around. He got worse and worse as the afternoon went on. We were going out with friends that night, so I got dressed but kept an eye on him. Then, he started getting sick. And, getting sick. And, getting sick. Upon further investigation, I found the culprit. An empty pound bag of Godiva dark chocolate chips that I had bought the day before for a recipe was under the dining table. A Friday evening emergency trip to the vet to have his stomach pumped, a weekend at the vet with IV fluids and catheterization and $1,300 later Rufus survived. That’s right folks. $1,300. Dollars. We switched vets shortly after that. It wasn’t so much the price tag of the Chocolate Incident, as it was her suggestion to do acupuncture on the Dragon to fix some ailment exactly what I’ve forgotten. That’s right folks. Acupuncture. On the dog. Yeah…..No.

Next…The spawn are cramping my style again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wooly Aphids

On our nightly sojourn through the backyard surveying our gardens, I looked at my coneflowers and said, “WTF is that?”  Then, I quickly noticed “that” was also on the phlox, the hummingbird bush, and the black-eyed susans.  “That” appeared to be something akin to a white mildew that I have found on the phlox before, but thicker.  Like cottony.  We moved on.  Nothing new in the veggies.  I stopped to pinch back a flowering cilantro plant, and there “that” was again.  Upon closer inspection “that” was clearly a pest with wings and legs and a weird white fuzzy back. 


At piano, I pulled out the piece of shit iPhone and googled “fuzzy white garden bug” and after waiting and waiting and waiting (damn you 3G network) I saw a reference to something called the Wooly Aphid.  Farmer Ted viewed the image and confirmed that we have indeed caught the Wooly Aphids.  Which is much better than catching say…the crabs.

I digress…back when Farmer Ted and I first had our initial flirtation on Facebook (yes we are one of those couples), he made a comment on a pic of me in my “Slammin’ Halloween Witch Hat.”

I volleyed with a comment on a pic of him with a big ass stone crab “I see you’ve caught crabs, they have meds for that.”

He started making daily FB proclamations that I was the "hottest woman in the solar system," and the rest is history.

Back to the aphids.  Anonymous recently commented on one of our blog posts with an inquiry as to how we have combatted pests thus far.  Frankly, we’ve done little.  We had an initial issue with cutworms, but surrounded the young plants with cut-out Dixie cups to enable them to grow tall enough so the cutworms couldn’t get at the leaves.  Success.  We’ve been organic so far, and in solidarity with our friend Maintzie and the Becky Spach Landes Memorial Garden we will try to remain true to organic pest control.

Right this minute, we are boiling a head of garlic in water and will be spraying those menaces.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll try cayenne pepper water.  If that doesn’t work, I am not opposed to employing the use of DDT to save my flowers.  Just like I’m not opposed to lighting up Thumper’s ass with a paintball gun.  You'd better stay away from my apricot stumps, silly rabbit.

Next…Rufus vs. the Hummingbird.  Note we still do not have hummingbird pics.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Becky Spach Landes Memorial Garden

Today’s guest garden comes to you from our friend Maintzie in South Carolina.

Anyone can have a veggie garden or a flower garden.  We all garden for the same essential reasons.  For the most part, we grow the same things.  Growing your own veggies is economical, the taste is fresher, the nutrients truer.  Nurturing a flowerbed is self-satisfying.  Surrounding yourself with beautiful blooms is relaxing at the end of the day.  Both are rewarding.  They require a lot of hard work to realize your return on investment.  The GrowDammit gardens are just ordinary in the grand scheme of things.

Memorial gardens are the cream of the crop. They are special because not only do you have reason, but you have purpose.

Ted & I went to high school with Becky.  We have fun, yet distant memories of partying with her.  She was a punk rock, skater girl back then.  We both lost track of her after high school, until Facebook reconnected us.  Even then, for me at least, the interaction was minimal.  I remember seeing her post about her family life and her adored children.  I don’t always comment on pics or statuses on FB, but I do try to pay attention to them. Her love of nature struck me, as did her posts about gardening.  Becky was taken from her family and friends way too soon in 2009.

And this brings us to the Becky Spach Landes Memorial Garden that has been established in the great state of South Carolina by her friend, and ours, Maintzie.  (If you bother to go back and read the blog comments, you’ll see Maintzie is a regular.)

We asked Maintzie what it was about Becky to inspire her memorial garden.  She gave us not only what touched her about Becky in life, she gave us what she does to honor her memory.

“I've had gardens in the past, and never has it been an all organic garden. Becky had a knack for gardening and firmly believed in all natural. She was a huge environmentalist. I figured when we planted last year we would go organic all the way in her memory. She was a beautiful soul, and I wanted to keep her memory alive and honor her and that was the best way I knew how. We don't use chemicals.  We use bamboo as stakes, hemp garden twine and try to recycle rainwater as Becky did. It is a hell of a lot harder, but I loved her and just feel like she is still here in some way with our garden. Even though her death makes no sense to me and never will, the garden gives me some comfort. Corny I know, but it’s all I have of her now so that's what I do.”

The only thing I have to add is that how you handle grief and loss is never corny (not even if you plant plastic flowers on a grave).  Thank you Maintzie for helping us remember a friend gone, but not forgotten.

Maintzie recently has some kind of squash eating larvae infiltration.  The solution presented to her at first was larvae cutting.  We’ve all agreed that this is butt nasty.  She has purchased an organic larvae Agent Orange, and intends to go all Ninja on their asses…the Becky Spach Landes way of course.

Next...Wooly Aphids

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Elusive Hummer

What?  We've had a hummingbird who has been visiting our flower garden, and every time he shows up the expensive ass camera is inside.  Tonight we had the camera at the ready, but were driven inside by rain.  And the hummingbird remains pictureless.

Instead of deck night, we had Kitchen night.  We made black bean and wild rice stuffed poblanos with colby jack cheese, and bell peppers stuffed with wild rice and Ted's Amazing soy crumble/wild mushroom tomato sauce and parmesan.  I also made some fresh salsa.  For dinner we had one final round of mushrooms stuffed with GrowDammit creamed spinach.  That's right folks, the spinach has ran it's course in the garden.

Vote in the poll people!  I'm going to disagree with Farmer Ted and place my bets on Cilantro as the final winner.  Who knows though, I haven't been right yet about the tastes of our blog followers.

Oh!  We have new features this way------------------>

I think if you enter your email address, you can sign up to get email alerts for whenever we make a new post.  You can also share our blog with Facebook and Twitter.

Next...I'm going to work on a Guest Garden Feature.  And some tomatoes better RipenDammit.  I'm not sure how much longer I can resist the lure of the farm stand and $6/lb tomatoes.  I have a hankering for a fresh tomato sammich.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden Death Match Poll

Vote for your favorite in the first round of an Herb Smackdown between 16 of the most popular.  Tonight we start with two heavy hitters.  Basil vs. Oregano.  The eldest spawn was so impressed by the scientific thought process and time we put into the bracket, he insisted we post a picture.

I guess this means he has gotten over the broccoli debacle and is reading the blog again.

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day.  Farmer Ted mowed the backyard while I got my tan on with my new toy, the Miststand.  Hell Yes.  You hook this bad boy up to the hose, and get treated to a continuous spray of fine mist.  Perfect for laying out on the back deck in the heat of the summer when you don't have a pool, creek or ocean handy to jump in.  Then I dragged Ted to cram ourselves into the Apple store in the King of Prussia Mall with the rest of the planet.  I dread the Apple store.  Why subject the poor man to that?  Because my piece of shit iPhone wasn't working properly.  Again.  I figured Father's Day at 5:30 would be a ghosttown.  Boy, was I wrong.  It all worked out for him though.  We ended up getting our Growler on at Wegman's on our way home.  Peel and Eat Shrimp and Steamed Clams were for supper.

We have exciting new GrowDammit developments...

Tonight for dessert, we had a Growdammit Fig with balsamic vinaigrette.  I'm not going to post a pic b/c the vinaigrette doesn't pour fluidly, rather it drops out of the cruet.  It's yummy, but pics of it on a plate look like blood splatters.

Next...I'm sure we'll come up with something.  The Dragon is back from his weeklong sojourn at the house with air conditioning.  He has a lot of patrolling to do.  And yes, you read that right...our house does not have central air.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It wasn't me.

Did somebody step on a duck?  Who let out the barking spider?  Okay, so I have a pair of farting flip-flops.  Sometimes they make a flatulent sound when air gets between the sole of my foot and the top of the flop.  I swear.  Anywho, the Wannabes love potty humor.  We also have a remote control fart machine.  I highly recommend you get one too.  It's a great social experiment.

One time in Disneyworld, I was hangin' with my friends the Badelves and I put the receiver in my bag and let the Badelf spawnette have the remote.  She went to town with it.  I'm sure we offended people, but hey we had fun.  Another time, we were walking around downtown Charleston and the eldest spawn (who was about 8 at the time) put the receiver in his pocket.  Just watching people react was a whole day's worth of entertainment.  They either act like they didn't hear a thing.  This is great.  Or, they laugh.  The best is the look of the 8 year old.  I just love watching people.

Alright, enough of the fluff.  Today saw the Wannabes make what is now a weekly field trip to the Home Depot.  Tomato cages were on the list.  We also are pleased to announce the addition of the youngest spawn's Bog Garden to the GrowDammit Farm.

Tonight, the eldest spawn decided he needed a break from his weeklong vacation at his grandmother's pool and came home to spend some time with "us" (e.g., his PS3).  To celebrate, Farmer Ted got his grill on.  The man can cook.

Those steaks smelled so good, I almost became a carnivore again.  I had a stuffed pepper instead.  We also had Growdammit Lettuce for a side salad.

Next.  We have a couple of Guest Garden features on the horizon.  And, I still owe you a poll for the Herb Bracket.  Alas, my ass is parked with a glass of wine on the back deck and the bracket is upstairs so the wine wins and no poll tonight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GrowDammit Curry

Last year I was at the garden center and they had curry plants that were half dead and on major sale, so I bought two.  I really bought them on a lark b/c their leaves were a really pretty soft shade of green.  For contrast, I put one in the perennial garden and one in a container with other flowers.  The one in the container did not over-Winter, but to my surprise this year the one in the garden came back.  Tonight, we decided to cook with it.  I read online that it really doesn't replace curry powder or paste in a dish, but if you saute it in a bit of oil before you cook your aromatics it adds a nice flavor to them.


The herb on the left is the fresh curry, on the right we have some thai basil that was generously donated to the GrowDammit garden along with a delicate, edible marigold by our friend good friend Jill.  Thanks Jill!

And without further ado, dinner tonight...

GrowDammit Curried Shrimp
Eat your hearts out.  Farmer Ted's getting good with the expensive ass camera don't you think?

Next...I promised you a poll.  Still working on it.  And, a Mohawk for the eldest spawn.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Have you seen my Wiener?

Dog that is.  Here is a day in the life of Rufus.

And here is the Dragon "on patrol," which is what he would like us to believe he does all day.

Without fail, every time we pull into the driveway he runs to greet us and then makes a beeline to the groundhog hole.  Not sure what happened to good ol' Phil, but he hasn't made an appearance lately.  The neighbor down the way said something about trying to trap it.  I'm going to go with that scenario, and not ask any questions.  Still...Twinkletoes wants to remind us that he's on top of things. Real or imaginary.

The youngest spawn graduated from the 5th grade yesterday.  He still has a week of school though.  Hello cruel world.  He's seriously pissed.  He reasons that he's done his time, graduated and made the honor roll.  Isn't that enough?  I told him to run for the School Board.

On the GrowDammit menu tonight...

Pea Soup

It was delish.

Last night...

GrowDammit Stuffed Shrooms

Next...Farmer Ted is starting to learn how to use the damned expensive camera we own.   And, the herb bracket poll will start.  I'm hoping this will eclipse March Madness.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


No, not us.  We may act unseemly, but that is some low-rent shit.  We were leaving Wegman's tonight after getting our Growler on and food shopping when we spied two cops going through a Walgreen's bag of  one sobbing woman.  I just can't think of justification  to commit a crime.  Bribery?  Robbery?  Is the possibility of going to jail really worth the crime?  When my dad was first in the SC State Senate a bunch of legislators were taken down as part of an FBI sting.  Taking $1,000 bribes.  These people went to jail.  Ruined their lives, their businesses, their families...for $1,000?  Crazy.  And, people are so brazen.  We were in Target a few weeks ago when Ted saw a woman breeze through the clothing department with a dress in her hand, put it on over her clothes and walk right out of the store.

I must confess to shoplifting once in my life.  I was 5 or 6ish, and my grandmother and I were in the Red & White on the Isle of Palms after church (at the Holy Cross) one Sunday.  I wanted a piece of penny candy...I think it was Bazooka, or maybe Double Bubble.  Marie said "No."  I wasn't taking "No" for an answer, so I grabbed a couple pieces in the checkout line and shoved them in my pockets.  We got back to the grandparents homestead on Oak Harbor Boulevard and my grandmother wanted some answers as to where I got the mouthful of gum I was chewing.  Next thing you know, she marched my little ass back down to the Red & White to fess up to the manager.  Thinking back, I'm sure she called him in advance because he was NOT nice at all about me stealing and even talked about calling the police (my grandmother was the clerk down at City Hall).  I'll tell you what, to this day I wouldn't even consider taking something without paying for it.  I even feel guilt if I get home from shopping and have something in my stash that I wasn't charged for.

What the hell does this have to do with gardening?  Nothing, but we did get our garden on today.  More weeding and mulching.  We planned next year's garden, and some movement and logistics of this year's that need to happen.  I got a mani/pedi, and Farmer Ted took a nap in which he dreamed that Obama moved into the hood and they sat around and shot the shit.  Apparently, I got home from the salon right as he was asking about the White House Garden.  I'll let him fill you in on the lack of security.  Oh, we paid for all of our groceries.

Next...Cold Pea Soup and 5th Grade Graduation.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Feeling the Burn

We finished mulching the gardens around the house today.  We're hoping the aches & pains are worth the effort.  I think it looks awesome.  We mulched around the entire house, but the perennial garden is the prettiest.

Tomorrow we mulch the orchard and weed the veggies.  Maybe we'll finally get to the Wienergate video highlighting the Dragon's antics whenever we pull up in the driveway.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

To the Batcave

Ted has installed amber light bulbs in the fixtures hanging over my kitchen sink.  He likes them b/c they give off what he calls "softer light."  It's what I call the Hannibal Lechter Lair Look.  Oh well, he likes them.  He's the one up at 4am.  He fixes my kids breakfast and lunch, so that I get to sleep in.  He gets to keep the creepy lights.  We have at night taken to referring to the Kitchen as the Batcave.  Ted will bust out  w/ "Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na Batman!"  We found a small plastic Batman figurine that has taken up residence in the Dining Room window.

I have never had a bat inside my house, well this house anyway, until last night. Go figure. We're chillaxing on the deck, listening to tunes, watching the fireflies, wondering why we haven't really seen any bats.  The next thing you know, the youngest spawn comes flying out of the house yelling to Ted that there's a bat.  We look in the windows, and sure enough a bat is flying around.  Inside.  Ted opens the slider to the Kitchen and out flies the bat.  Straight for me.  Okay, the eldest spawn informed me after he stopped laughing hysterically at me that it wasn't really flying anywhere near me.  I also learned that if I'm ever attacked at home, it won't do any good to scream.  Not one neighbor took even a mild interest in my welfare.  Thanks neighbors.  Rufus Dragon took no notice of the bat either.  His ass was parked in the A/C, and I don't think even a big ol' ham would've roused him.

The Dragon beating the heat.

Salsa Verde:

5 or 6 tomatillos
a couple of hot chilis (serrano, jalapeno, poblano - you can stick to one type or mix them)
a couple of garlic cloves, unpeeled
white onion

Roast the tomatillos, garlic and poblano at 425 degrees until the skin of the tomatillos start to blister and peel.  Let cool and take the skins off of the tomatillos, garlic and peppers.  Core and de-seed the tomatillos and peppers.  Throw that into a food processor or blender with the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until it's the consistency of salsa verde.

Next...I dunno, but if we have another bat incident I will torch the house and move.  I like bats, but they don't make good bedfellows.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day of Reckoning

The eldest spawn wants to know what the hell he did to you people?

He actually was a pretty good sport about it.

The Dragon was too.

The youngest spawn made tracks.

We harvested some figs.

Next...Still owe you a salsa verde recipe.  And, we have yet to get the video we need for Weinergate.  Also, considering working on an herb bracket for the next few polls.