01 June 2012

radishes, kale, and beets, oh my

Ah, a new blog post! What is this?! I figured I shouldn't let the blog lapse for a full year. Maybe your Google Reader or RSS feeds will be in shock with a new post.

Anyway, it's May, and that means it's time to ward off the neighborhood squirrels from taking all of my unripe tomatoes. They decided to start the war early this year and take my first 5 green ones, leaving me with 1 heirloom. Starting the season at 1-5 is not how I imagined it. But after last year's devastating 3-1,238,281,919 loss, I am already prepared with cayenne pepper and vinegar. So, needless to say, all new tomatoes, leaves, soil, porch, is covered in a light, red coating of cayenne. So far, so good.

In other news, after many years of deferring, I decided it was time to join a CSA.  And, I must say, the first week's shipment (below) was a bit overwhelming at first. But, at least I'm splitting each week's batch and also learning to eat veggies that I normally don't eat. Beets?! I actually didn't even know it was a beet at first. The CSA is from Riverview Farms.

I will also fully admit that I don't remember ever eating radishes unless they were hidden in a salad. Where have they been all my life? They are good raw, or with salt, or even dipped in pesto. I will put pesto on anything though. Even beets. But I still didn't like those as much.

I missed week 1 of the CSA, but week 2 brought beets, collards, radishes, 5 onions, 2 romaines, 2 cabbages, and a lot of kale. It's going to be a fun summer of experimental dinner.

12 September 2011

music to my ears

I've been slacking lately. So here are 4 songs/videos that I've had on repeat for a few weeks. Perhaps you'll like at least 1 of them.

4) The Avett Brothers - St. Joseph's (live from inside a gondola in Jackson Hole, nonetheless):

3) The Whiskey Gentry - The Preacher's Daughter (shameless plug; it's my video):

2) Gillian Welch - Hard Times (set to scenes from the film - Paper Moon):

1) The Head and the Heart - Lost in My Mind:

08 August 2011

at the speed of light

I ordered 2 large canvas prints of my photographs that were shipped via FedEx. Now, I'm not complaining at FedEx, nor am I sitting on the edge-of-my-seat waiting for them to arrive, but I have to share the tracking chart that I've been following for the past week. It's more humoring me if anything. But first, here's the route it had to take:

They have been on a journey from Durham, NC to Atlanta. A mere 6.5 hour journey in ideal driving conditions. It took me 4.5 hours to run a marathon once. I'm not sure if that helps my argument though. Wait, I forgot I'm not arguing because I'm not complaining. Anyway, I know that things don't ship fast, and that's fine, but this is the baffling part:

They both actually made it from Durham to Ellenwood (which is at the perimeter of Atlanta) in 24 hours. Not bad. Actually, impressive considering it was tagged in Charlotte and Greenville along the way. Maybe it even stopped for some Starbucks. Or for a #4 two cheeseburgers-with no cheese-deal at McDonald's. Who knows. Still impressive.

But then it falls apart. And jet lag obviously sat in. They both were bounced around Atlanta to these supposed "smartposts" (whatever those are) from Aug4 until Aug9.

But wait! Today's only Aug8! Very perceptive, readers!

It is with great honor that I announce to the world that FedEx delivers.. in the future! Alas, I actually have no idea if they are going to be on my doorstep when I get home or not at this point. I even had to look at the calendar to make sure it really wasn't Tuesday already also. And I had to make sure Ellenwood was a real city. The jury is still out on that. And does anyone else want something from McDonald's now?

07 August 2011

you're crazy

Today I decided that maybe I should alert the masses of my latest endeavor. This is more for accountability reasons.

Let me present, exhibit A:

It's a graph. And frankly it scares me. I've cropped the units off for the time being because it helps ease my mind. And it's this graph that has provided many folks to say exactly what the title of this post says: you're crazy. Actually, it's more along the lines of, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY CRAZY! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Well, all but a few have said that.

So, what IS it? I mean, after all it doesn't look that bad. It could just be rain patterns for the Atlanta area over a year. It could be how loud the cicadas have been over the course of 12 hours during the night. It could be a graph of what time I've actually made it into work over the past month. Give up? How about we throw the units back on there. Exhibit B:

It's a graph for a 50k. YOU'RE CRAZY! Ah, I heard someone just say it. Elevation and distance. Meters and miles. 31.1 miles to be exact. I have signed up to run my very first ultramarathon. And from what everyone is saying, it's a tough one. And finally, it's a trail race. And it's in North Georgia, home to some nice hills. Ok, they even call them mountains. But I'm going to stick with calling them hills for now.

And for the record, that hill from mile 3.5 to mile 7 is 2000+ feet straight up. On the plus side, I'll get to descend it at mile 24.

Things that are great about training 5 days a week: the amount of Oreos and potato chips I eat are inconsequential, I seem to eat every 3 hours, and I have become a morning runner and really enjoy it.

What have I done? Many updates to follow. Race day is Nov19.

27 July 2011

when the crop comes in

One day, when I'm old, I want to be in a bluegrass band.

These are great tracks from Chatham County Line if you're in need of a bluegrass fix. They are an up and coming band from the bluegrass-infected eastern NC. Great tunes.

19 July 2011

not for the faint

If you have a trouble reading a true story about animal cruelty (that has a somewhat peaceful conclusion), then stop reading now.

This morning I was running along a short segment of Ponce de Leon Ave (for those not familiar, it's a 4-lane artery near Decatur) before breaking back into the winding neighborhood streets. I hadn't intended to run on that route, nor had I run on it in a while, but at the last second today, I made a left turn instead of a right because I wanted a change in routes.

As I ran on that segment of Ponce, I encountered 2 women/runners who had stopped on the sidewalk. One was on her cell phone, the other was crouched beside a 4-ft tall trashcan that had been wheeled to the curb. They yelled at me to stop. I discovered that someone had placed a full-grown dog in a heavy duty trash bag, tied it off and threw it in the trashcan like it was a piece of useless trash. All we could see were its paws stretched out through the bag. And the dog was alive.


I kept saying that over and over out loud.

The woman on the phone called 911 and left. It's unclear if she actually ever called and just wanted to leave the scene. This left the other woman and myself standing along the busy road at 730am with a dog in shock. We drug the trashcan up the hill into a grassy area and ripped the bag open to find a helpless mutt with a badly injured eye, blood all over its neck and face, and a limp. We tried to get the dog to not move, but she wanted to wander around into other yards, slowly. After futile attempts at knocking on many doors, we found some great neighbors who called animal control for us.

Upon returning to the dog, we discovered she had made her way to the front porch of a house--incidentally the same house of the trashcan owners. Things started to make less and less sense. We weren't able to check the collar for information, but clearly the dog knew where she was and she was at her owners. Still no one would come to the door. Around 830am the Dekalb County Animal Services and Enforcement arrived and the woman that helped me decided to leave in a hurry. The dog was put inside the truck and the officer finally got the owner to answer the door. I wrote down my witness statement as he interviewed the owner. A few minutes later, the officer came to tell me that he was calling the police because he "pretty much confessed to putting the dog in the bag and said he thought she was dead by that point" and then they started looking for evidence that the dog had been shot.


They didn't arrest him on the spot because they needed to see the extent of the dog's injuries first so I assume they would need more evidence. The dog was becoming restless in the truck at that point so they were off to the vet hospital. In my head, I left knowing that the dog was alive and that the man would more than likely be charged with animal cruelty soon so that helped calm the morning down a bit. I could say a lot more of what I was feeling about the whole thing and how I wanted to throw that man in the trash can for a day to see how it felt, but I'll refrain. I'm really hoping to testify in court so that guy can get the punishment he deserves. Then maybe I can yell at that $*&#%$! idiot.

16 July 2011


Squirrels - 35,  Rob - 4

Seems that rain washes off cayenne pepper from my tomatoes. And this leads to squirrels eating every last one of them. So, now I'm onto the next generation of green ones. And in a last ditch effort, I've moved my heirloom tomato plant inside to my screened in porch where it will receive, oh, about 4 hours of direct sunlight. All for the ONE remaining heirloom green tomato. The rest of my garden is left to fiend for itself.

Luckily, squirrels don't like green bell peppers or basil and those have paid for themselves by now.

My two cucumber plants have yielded more cucumbers than I currently know what to do with (though many have suggested pickling--we'll see how adventurous I'll be).

29 June 2011

pepper squirrel

Tomato update #21:


It's as simple as that. For a while, I was ok with the squirrel population around my hood. But the past few weeks have been brutal on my tomato population. My count of 30 has drastically been undercut to 10. It started with one or two bright red tomatoes just going MIA. No trace at all. At first I thought maybe my neighbors had helped themselves because they thought I wasn't back from my trip. So, I let it slide.

Then, slowly I started noticing green ones were missing. Surely they couldn't be making that many fried green tomato sandwiches?

And then, as if being taunted, I began to notice half eaten green tomatoes left behind on the porch. And finally, after much speculation, I came home to find a squirrel IN one of my tomato cages eating away at the fruits of my labor. Blasted things!

So all week I have been yelling about squirrels and not really doing anything about them. Thinking maybe they would just go away. But that is obviously not the case. So, tonight I armed myself with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, vinegar, cheesecloth and a spray bottle (evidence below).

Everything I read said that mixing some ground red pepper and water together and spraying it all over the tomatoes would take care of it. So I took it one step further and doubled the amount of pepper and proceeded to spray so much of it that I failed to realize I was breathing in the mist and subsequently burning my throat. Go figure.

And vinegar and cheesecloth, you might be wondering? Definitely cut it all up, doused it immensely with the vinegar and hung them all over the tomato cages.

Oh and then proceeded to dump coffee grounds all over the containers.

I. Will. Win. This. Battle.

17 June 2011

tomatoes, again

Get out your bartering for dummies book! I've got 24 green/green-ish red/almost fully red tomatoes on the vines (stalks?) currently ripening in a thunderstorm.

Suddenly my container garden has decided to take off all at once. And earlier this week, I picked my first ever grown tomatoes. Not sure why I've never grown them before. I guess in order to make up for it, I planted 9 plants (ok, so I thought half of them would be dead by now so it would be a good risk). The great news comes in pic 2 below.

Heirloom tomatoes!!

so there was this roadtrip to Utah, part 1

Here's a random selection of Utah. I came back with 850+ photos. After culling the weak ones, I've got it down to 602. There's 120 on my Flickr page for your enjoyment. So. Enjoy. Anticipate a detailed post in the future.

25 May 2011

attack of the killer tomatoes

Last year I received some heirloom tomatoes from Kris and Will's garden. They were, by far, the best tomatoes I've ever eaten. I'm not sure where heirlooms have been hiding for all those years prior. I'm also not sure why when I was growing up and Mom would make BLT sandwiches, I'd only eat B sandwiches. Seriously just two pieces of bread (right out of the bag) and a lot of crispy bacon. Weird kid.

Anyway, back to the point here. This year I decided to have a garden. My "garden" is a container garden. And it seems to be working out well. I originally just wanted 1 tomato plant and 1 pepper plant. And slowly over the past 2 months, I somehow noticed an addiction to wanting to grow my own vegetables. And now I have 9 tomato plants, 4 pepper plants, 2 cucumber plants, 2 basils, 1 rosemary, 1 sage, and 5 herb seedlings that I mistakingly forgot to label.

The first pic is about 2 weeks after I planted about 3/4 of the plants (well, this is just tomatoes and peppers).

The second pic was yesterday. And they are usually a lot more alive than this, but it hasn't rained in Atlanta in what seems like a month. As you can see, one pepper runt has decided to take its time. While the tomato plants have decided to wage war on anything that comes near it--including the ones that I planted too close together. And as of now, I have a handful of small green tomatoes already out there. It just fascinates me. I have a feeling by late June I'll be eating more tomatoes than I know what to do with. Fried green tomato BLTs, anyone?

16 April 2011

3 down, 27 to go

Yesterday was so great that I not only knocked out the lotto tix but I also accomplished another item on the ol' 30 before 30 list.

#20: join a gym

I'm now a paying member of the local YMCA. Two things are funny about this membership:

1) A friend received an email in JANUARY that said memberships would be 20% off for both the new member and referrer. So, back in January during the snowstorm, this sounded like a great idea. But I procrastinated and said "I'll do that next week." So the weeks passed and finally in APRIL we both get follow up emails saying that the new member has to enroll before April 15 in order to get the 20% off membership. So, naturally I wait until the afternoon of the 15th and I head over there. Not to be outdone, I bought my lotto tickets on the way to joining the gym in the off-chance that I might win thousands and could just outright buy the gym instead.

2) I paid the new member fee and paid for my first month of the gym and promptly got back in my car and went home so I could quickly make it to day one of the three day festival that is nearly in my backyard. So, "I'll start next week" I suppose.

Ever onward (next week)..

15 April 2011

2 down, 28 to go

Today I present you with my winnings in my latest quest of 30 before 30.

#9: buy 30 lotto tickets in one day

It actually started back on my birthday weekend where I found myself in a liquor store buying a bottle of Tequila and I decided I needed to buy 3 scratch off tickets at a $1 a piece. So that little $3 investment yielded me $24 in return winnings. I quickly saw how playing the lottery was addicting. So that winning ticket sat on my kitchen counter for nearly 2.5 months until today when I realized I would be driving by that same liquor store. Not sure why I decided I needed to return to the same one, but nevertheless, I did.

I was disappointed when I realized the same scratch-offs were no longer available, but I settled for buying 30 $1 tickets of the first roll I saw--something with a leprechaun on it. I was also feeling rushed because someone was in line behind me.

So, I bought $30 worth of 30 lottery tickets, paid for it with my $24 earnings, and really spent $6. My winnings, however, equaled $15 plus 5 free new tickets ($1 value). So technically I won $20 in return! This is where math gets hazy. If I were traveling on an airplane east with these tickets and someone else was traveling on a train headed west, what is the average velocity that my tickets would make it to Dallas before the train--ah! word problems!--regardless, I consider myself a winner.

Ever onward..

14 March 2011

1 down, 29 to go

In my 30 before 30 list, I definitely used a few 'fillers' to get my list to 30 things. Despite #28 being one of those, I have to say it was more difficult than I thought. But, without any delay, I have officially knocked 1 item off the list with 11 months remaining.

#28: 30 days without pizza

For those that know my pizza addiction, you'll know it was a big deal. I've apparently blogged about pizza quite a few times in the past years. Meaningful posts include: falling up a stairwell with pizza in hand and failing to remove the cardboard under the pizza prior to baking it. Fail. But alas, 30 days have passed and I'm sadly not craving pizza as I thought I would be. I think it was because I was eager to check off an item on the list.

That's not to say that I haven't saved pizza restaurant coupons or purposefully run by Fellini's on several occasions to see the folks eating their giant slices on the patio.

Secret to my success: filling the void with potato chips. Should've put 30 days without potato chips on this list. I had 4 different bags of chips in my cupboard last week.

Ever onward!

08 March 2011

tossed like a flapjack

In a return to my normal posting about how the Atlanta newspaper (the AJC) continues to keep me on my toes, here's the latest. Today while perusing the major headlines, I saw this great photo with the headline that students were tossed from a debate.

Only, the pic they chose makes it look like they were literally tossed--over the steps inside the Capitol. I genuinely clicked on the article to see how far they had fallen.