Monday, August 30, 2010

Cucumber hog

The bottom cucumber is a normal-sized cucumber. The other is a freakish accident of nature wrought by a cucumber that was obviously purposely hiding from me so that it could hog all the plant's energy for itself.

And it probably isn't even going to taste good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In which I rescue a small dog

That's what my legs looked like after I saved Zoe's life this weekend. (Actually, this is about an hour afterwards; unfortunately, there was no camera available to document the extent of the muck that went up to my knees.)

You remember, Zoe, right?

One of our favorite weekend things to do is to put Zoe on the bike, bike a few miles on the Genesee Valley Greenway, lock the bikes up (probably unnecessary since it's very rural and there's practically no one around, but having had multiple run-ins with bike thieves, I never leave my bike unlocked) and then take a walk and let her run.

Well, T. and I were walking along, chatting about how it felt to have both kids back at college, when we realized that Zoe was nowhere to be seen. Generally this means she has stopped to roll in something that smells like it's been dead and rotting for at least two weeks, so we walked back to find her, calling her all the while. Usually she then comes running, but this time, we still didn't see or hear her.

Finally we realized that she had gone off the trail, into a swamp-like area, looking for water. Unfortunately there was mud that looked like it would swallow a rhinoceros whole between her and us. She was muddy all the way up to her belly, which tells me she had gone through it and wasn't about to come back.

We called for a few minutes and tried to get her to come back, but she was not budging. Before I go any further, I should tell you that another member of our household, our sweet kitty, died this week at the age of 17. It has hit T. hard.

As I was looking at Zoe on the other side of the muck, all I could think was, "I don't think Tanya could take it if we lost another animal this week." I had this image of Zoe moving further away from us and into more muck, and maybe drowning in it.

Way too dramatic, I know. But enough to motivate me to step into the muck to get Zoe. I imagined myself as one of those cartoon characters that disappears into the quicksand. I sunk in up to my knees, went a few steps, grabbed Zoe and handed her to T.

With a great deal of force, and grateful that I was not wearing open-heeled shoes which undoubtedly would still be back in the mud, I lifted my feet out and got back on the trail.

And promptly walked back to the bike so I could get home and clean up!

I suppose I should now thank our kids for merely leaving dirty dishes out and the gas tank empty. I'm glad I didn't have to haul you out of muddy quicksand.

Now, don't go getting any ideas...

Thursday, August 19, 2010



A local suburb has transformed a little segment of the Erie Canal from warehouses and a coal tower into a tony shopping and eating destination.


It's truly picturesque, and part of its charm is that some of the buildings still look like this.



The tall building below has been transformed into office space, and the glass elevator is quite impressive looking.


The Erie Canal is a noted cycling/walking/paddling/boating attraction as well.


I highly recommend an evening stroll along the canal. For restaurant and retail recommendations (including a good bike shop!), check it out at RocWiki.

Food, glorious food


I bought a trifle bowl this summer, just so I could make fruit trifles, using whatever fruit is in season, and the vanilla cake recipe from Warren Brown's "United Cakes of America." I love this cookbook. He also includes Puerto Rico and D.C., citing their deserved constitutional rights! This trifle has fresh local peaches and huge blackberries.


I planted about 10 varieties of beans this year. This is the Yin-Yang bean from Territorial Seeds. Gorgeous.

Here are some of the fresh bean varieties.


This one is called Violet Podded Stringless.


Here's one day's harvest: tomatilloes, beans, cucumbers, peppers, more dried beans, and cherry tomatoes.


Meanwhile, my neighbor's squash is taking over my driveway. It's all good, though. We are both curious to see what kind of fruit there is. There are at least 2 varieties, and one appears to be a gourd variety, and the other might be zucchini.


More updates to come! I hope you are enjoying the joys of late summer!


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