Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer, So Far

It’s been rainy, cold and very non-summer like here in Northern Illinois. For someone who lives for the summer sunshine, I feel incredibly neglected of my Vitamin D.

I learned a very unfortunate lesson this year with my garden. I had a huge truckload of manure/compost delivered and I spread it everywhere, including on top of my garden soil. I had read a book about weed-less gardening and it suggested that you not rototill your garden as it “churns” up the weeds and allows them to get all of the sun/air/water that they need to grow. Instead, you’re supposed to mulch like crazy and let it be and you will have very few weeds. In my haste to spread the manure/compost, I somehow got a little confused. As in, this stuff is not mulch. It is rich. Very, very rich. And unfortunately for me, my little tomato plants that were started from seed didn’t stand a chance. After about a month of hoping and fussing that they’d take off, I had to accept the fact that they were not going to grow. And then, I had to break down and buy plants for my garden. I rarely buy vegetable plants. Every year, I start most everything from seed indoors or else put the seeds directly into the garden. It’s not that I’m opposed to buying plants; I just really love the satisfaction I feel dropping those seeds into tidy rows and loving them until they produce more food than we can eat. It’s a process for me; one I love dearly. The lady at the nursery where I bought the plants confirmed what I had suspected---too rich. So when I put the new plants in, I tried to scrape away as much of the manure/compost as I could so as not to “burn” them.

Stangely enough, everything else seems to be coming in just fine.  Are tomato plants tender?

Hello little radish.

We love fresh basil in salads and of course, pesto.  I found this pretty purple basil plant at a Farmer's Market in Michigan and had to bring her home.  I'm excited to make basil-infused vinegar for salad dressings.  Yum.

What do you get when you have lots of rain, cool temps and lots of manure?  Mushrooms!  They are everywhere.

The "Cedar Grove" in all it's glory.

And some tid-bits of Mother Nature. 

 My most favorite rummage sale starts today.  I look forward to this sale all year long.  Seriously.  It is run by a Boy Scout troop and held in a church parking lot.  When I see those huge white tents go up, my heart starts to race.  Then, usually on Tuesday the trucks arrive.  Huge, massive trucks full of treasures.  You see, a very affluent neighborhood has a neighborhood garage sale and everything that’s left gets donated to this sale.  Thursday is opening day.  Sometimes I’ve gone after work on the first day, sometimes not.  Usually my plan is this:  there is so much stuff crammed onto the tables that on Thursday, the first day, it can be extremely overwhelming.  I find that the best time for me to go is on Friday after work.  By then, they only have Friday night and Saturday morning left and they are anxious to move things out, so they start selling brown paper bags for $10 and everything you can fit into that bag is yours.  That may sound like a lot, but you can fit a ton of stuff if you know how to cram it all in there.   This sale is a little different for me in that I really go for the clothing.  Usually, at any given rummage sale, I don’t even bother looking at clothes, but at this sale, it is a guarantee that I will come home with 2-3 bags full of Gap, Express, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and various other brands of clothing.  Last year I also found a McCoy planter that when I looked it up online, I found selling on Ebay for about $40.  Score!!  And also, by Friday night, a lot of stuff has been sold but there are almost always still unopened boxes underneath the tables!!  So, I start digging and filling my bag with as much as I can.  I'm in trouble.  This is not very conducive to my purging of "stuff."  Ah, stuff.  I love stuff.  I guess the beauty of buying 98% of my clothing used is that I can pretty much have an entire "new" wardrobe on a pretty regular basis.

Have a great weekend, friends.