Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yankees fun

Last night John, Nathaniel and I headed into the Bronx to see the Yankees game. It was our first time to the New Yankee Stadium and it was so cool. We walked in and the first thing we all said was "WOW!".
It's so airy and bright when the sun was out, there were a lot of people, but it didn't feel too crowded. It felt clean and we were all happy with the results.

Here's a shot of us at our seats. They were high up, but we had a great view of the field. It was a fun game and we even got to see Jorge Posada hit a homerun right at the end. Nathaniel did an awesome Home Run Dance:

The guys behind us thought Nathaniel was such an awesome fan. He was really into the game and when something good happened they liked giving him high-fives and cheering together. It was pretty cool.

For me, the let-down was the food. They didn't offer a veggie burger or really any veggie option outside of cheese pizza or a soft pretzel. I didn't see anything green or even resembling a vegetable except for the salsa on the nachos. And yet they had Compost bins next to the trash and recycling. I didn't see anyone actually put anything into the compost bin (not sure what they'd be composting), but it was an interesting addition.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Funky Carrots, Monster Squash, Tomatillos and Sunflowers

Ah, July in the garden is full of good things. This past weekend, I walked into the garden and was greeted by big, blooming sunflowers! I think I've mentioned that I have the habit of talking to my garden and my vocal response was "Hi Ladies! You look great!". Don't they?

The tomatillos are also doing really well, even though I still don't know what I'm going to do with them, but don't they look cool?

I pulled some more carrots for my lunch salads this week and I've finally found the funky carrots I was expecting all along. Any little pebble or rock can cause the root to split, or just stunt it's growth (as on the right). They still taste great, they're just a little funky looking.

Oh, and doesn't everyone somehow miss a squash that's ready to pick at one point or another? Here is my monster squash. It weighed in at 1.6 lbs! The "normal" sized one was just about half a pound.

And another shot of the sunflowers! They're about 5 feet tall and just so cheery.

I've also been getting some cucumbers, so my lunch salad consists of lettuce from the farmer's market, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes from my garden and a homemade dressing and sometimes some homemade croutons. Nothing is finer!

I also have broccoli and green beans that are getting bigger by the day! Can't wait to harvest those soon, too.

Boston visit

On the weekend of the 11th and 12th I drove up to Boston for a quick visit and to see the Ani concert in Lowell. I drove up to John and Jill's on Friday night and then left their house very early on Saturday and was at Ann and Lee's before 11am. Ann and I walked over to Harvard Square to meet up with Allison for a delicious lunch at Cambridge One and running some errands in the square. It was great to catch up with Allison since I missed her the last time I was in town.

Ann and I walked back to her place and then we packed up to head up to Lowell for the Ani concert. We stopped and got some goodies at Trader Joe's for dinner and then got to Lowell in time to get great seats and enjoy a lovely picnic before the show. My friend Matt and his girlfriend Ashley also came to the concert. It was great to hear about Matt's recent trip to Egypt and see some of his photos.

We were excited to finally have the show start, and, of course, a row a six people directly in our sightline decided to stand up. Here's the fabulous view I had with them in the way:

After a bunch of people yelled at them to sit down, to no effect, Ann decided to take matters into her own hands and confront the drunk patrons. After a little arguing, some back up from Lee and a few strangers, our view was restored!

A victorious Ann returned to our seats to cheers from the crowd behind us.

After the concert we headed home just as it started to rain. It was a lovely evening.

On Sunday I went to breakfast with Ann and Lee and my friend Nick who I also haven't seen in a long time. We went to Darwin's for bagels and chatted for over an hour. I headed back to Ann and Lee's packed up my stuff and headed out for Walden Pond. Sadly, by the time I got there it was already full, so I wasn't able to spend any time there, but it did mean that I ended up with more time to spend with Christa. I headed to her place in Worcester and we had the chance to chat for about 2 hours. It was truly lovely. I think it's been years since we've been able to hang out like that. After visiting with Christa I drove all the way home.

It was just a quick visit, but it was totally worth it.

Phillies on the Fifth

After the excitement of everyone being over the 4th of July, we extended the fun of the weekend by heading to the Phillies game. With only 4 tickets, it was a tough call as to who was going to go, but it ended up being John, me, little John and Nathaniel.

It was a game against the Mets and it didn't disappoint. We saw 2 home runs, one of which was off of the 2nd pitch of the game. We had great seats and had a great view of the whole field. We could even see into the Phillies dugout, where the Phanatic likes to do his thing:

We stayed all the way to the end of the game and saw the Phillies win! It was a beautiful afternoon to be at the stadium seeing the most recent World Champions show off their skills. Everyone had a great time.

July 4th Fun

On the 4th of July my parents' hosted a great backyard BBQ and pool party. John, Jill, the kiddos, Kim, Mike, Alex, Kelly and Meg joined my parents and I in enjoying the backyard and the pool. There was lots of swimming during the warm afternoon, complete with shark goggles on Nathaniel and all three Johns in the pool:

Here's Alex pulling what looks like a good Spiderman move off the diving board:

This photo sums up the rest of the afternoon: me lounging in the hammock, Emmy saying Hi, Nathaniel playing wiffleball and Meg (all the way in the back) on the swing.

After dinner we enjoyed a rousing game of Apples to Apples...

And enjoyed the fireworks from the golf course behind the house. Thanks for the great photos, Mike!

It was great to have everyone together for a relaxing 4th of July full of good food, good weather, good company and topped off with fireworks to ohh and ahh at.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun at Conte's

If you ask pretty much anyone in Princeton where to get the best pizza, chances are they will tell you Conte's is the place to go. Pretty much the only things on the menu are pizza and pitchers of either beer or soda. And there is not frilly pizza here. Tonight I asked for a pie with spinach and black olives and they said "No spinach, we can do black olives". Got it. The toppings are basic, and the pizza is good New York style thin crust.

The boys had a lot of fun before the pizza showed up. Nathaniel is now missing both front teeth with makes for an especially scary vampire look:

And Sebastian always wants to try out what Nathaniel is up to:

Here's video of Sebastian doing his own thing:

Here's John taking some fun video with my parents' camera, and Sebastian making a silly face.

The antics continued after the pizza arrived, I just decided to put my camera away. After pizza we walked over to the park and went on the roller slide again and climbed all over the place and then paid a visit to my garden where I got some watering help from John, Sebastian and Nathaniel. It was a lovely evening.

How does my garden grow?

Holy crap - my garden grows HUGE and mysterious and with the help of my nephews and a very rainy June! Above is a carrot I harvested today. I'm particularly proud of it because it's straight as an arrow. I worked really hard to dig all the rocks out of this particular area of soil, knowing that I was planning on planting carrots, and low and behold it worked! I'm going to let the other carrots go a little longer and see if they get a little bigger, but not too much more because this one was sweet and nice when I ate after getting home and washing it off. This is the first time I've grown carrots and I think I'll do it again. Once I harvest them, there will be an empty space in my garden, so I'm thinking of putting in more arugula or possibly transplanting the peppers that are getting shaded by the HUGE squash plants.

Below is an overall shot of the garden with some labels. Behind the broccoli are some tomatillo plants, and behind those and the tomatoes is an entire row of bush beans. The little pepper plants aren't even visible. They are on either side of the sunflowers. Click to enlarge for easier label reading:

Here is a close up of the Mystery Squash. My educated guess is that it's a pumpkin. I planted some of the squash plants from seeds and some from plants that I got from my parents. Not sure which one was labeled wrong, but this is obviously not yellow summer squash:

This is yellow summer squash:

This is the arugula that I harvested last week. It was really peppery and delicious with roasted beets and goat cheese. I had some sandwiches and some salads with all of those ingredients. I still have some arugula in the garden that I'm hoping to pick next week. I was so happy with the results here.

And today Sebastian got to help me water the garden. These are the two rows of bush beans that were hidden behind the broccoli and tomatoes. I'm really looking forward to getting some late-summer harvest from them. I planted them on the later side, but I think it's going to work out well.

This garden has been quite an adventure. I'm really happy with the results and I'm looking forward to a delicious rest of the summer. I really can't wait for the tomatoes to come in! I have 4 varieties going, and they all seem to be doing well: Mr. Stripey, which has a medium sized yellow striped fruit, red early girls (which don't seem to be too much earlier than the other tomatoes), a yellow cherry and a red grape. Can't wait to match it up with some of the basil that's growing on my front porch!