Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. ~May Sarton

I haven't written about my garden in a while. Mostly because I am confused.

My first plant to bear fruit was the "Beefy Boy" tomato. I was so excited. These tomatoes are to be the base for all the flavorful sauces I'll be "puttin' up" as they start rolling off the vines.

Either the plant was mis-labeled at the garden store, or I am doing something wrong. I think they are cherry tomatoes. Nobody in my house cares for cherry tomatoes.

My tender greens came up and grew enough that I could distinguish the varieties - red leaf, oak leaf, arugula. I could even taste the difference as I thinned the rows. I could not wait for salad.

Neither could the bugs. The greens are gone. I guess I know why there are never any tender baby greens for sale at the farmer's market.

There is still some arugula left which while ridden with bug holes is still pretty tasty. Not enough for a salad, so I hide it in sandwiches where the bug holes don't show.

In the bed where I'd planted radishes, all I could find was the pathetic remains of some radish leaves that the bugs had devoured.

Full of hope, I grabbed them and pulled. One perfect radish. It was delicious.

My "Mr. Stripey" tomato plant took off like gangbusters. This would be the showstopping heirloom as the focal point of a lovely capresi salad. It is currently over five feet tall.

It has yet to produce a single bloom.

The snow peas look sickly and are probably only alive just to taunt me.

The cucumbers look healthy, and while they refuse to climb the trellis, I guess I can let them ramble, as so many of the plants in the bed are dead - there's plenty of room for them now.

The green beans really knew how to do their job. They sent up runners that twined beautifully around the trellis. Up, up, up, they grew. They've given me a few beans, but not enough to do anything with. YET. I remain hopefull still.

I talk to better gardeners than I. They are an optimistic bunch. Enterprising, always looking for a better way, hoping for a better result.

I'm a rookie. I shouldn't expect immediate success with a task that is both literally and figuratively organic. I will remain hopeful and be grateful.

But can I still curse the bugs?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bird Nerd

My friend Cathy called me a Bird Nerd when I got all a-twitter about a rare bird sighting.

We have a motion-sensitive camera trained on one of our bird feeders.

One day, I was downloading the pictures from the camera and came upon this:

I was speechless. I didn't think any such bird existed except in the jungles. I emailed the photo to my Bird Nerd Husband and he identified it as a Painted Bunting. Apparently, these birds come to Texas and other southern states to breed. They are mostly monogamous. After breeding, they head south to Mexico where their breed is threatened as they are captured and sold to Europeans as cage birds. There are only a few confirmed sightings of this wonderful bird in Texas each year.

We now see him and his mate nearly every day. She is a pretty yellow-green color. The feeder is near a window and if anybody spots the Bunting, we all run to the window to watch this beautiful bird.

We also have had a lot of problems with squirrels. A couple of acrobatic squirrels can empty the feeder in less than a day. Through craftiness and weaponry, we've pretty much encouraged the squirrels to find their food elsewhere.

A variety of birds visit the feeder and are photographed every day. The photographs help us identify individuals. We get lots of cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, and wrens. And the birdcam has gotten some great shots! Check 'em out!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's what it's here for

If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is there, does it still make a sound?

I used to feel that way about this blog. Well, sometimes I still do.

My reasons for blogging aren't big or important. Mostly it is because I live far from family and old friends and felt it was a little presumptuous to send the constant stream of emails bragging on my kids with all the attendant photos. I figure of anyone wants to know what's up in our life, they can come here to find out and if they don't care, they don't have to keep getting my self-important emails.

I also like to write. Sometimes I wish I actually had something important to say.

It's not that I expect hoards of readers, or anything in the way of spirited discussion.

But, for the longest time, I sort of felt like it was throwing a party where nobody came. I guess I expected more people to post comments or something. I mean, Dooce gets like 900 comments a day on her blog, I usually get ZERO. But, I'm thinking that those 900 comments really translate into, oh, I dunno, maybe a bazillion readers or something, because the last week or two, I've heard a lot of this:

Girl Scout Mommy: "I read your post about evolution, and I thought to myself, 'I have to get to know Pam better!'" Wow- and I was actually worried about offending people with that one!

Baseball Coach: "I hope you don't mind, but I clicked on that 'my blog' link at the bottom of your email. Is it OK that I read that stuff?" Of course! That's why it's there!

Neighbor at a cocktail party: "I must confess, I feel like a voyeur when I read your blog, but I can SO relate to it, your post about Bridget's singing was JUST LIKE what happened with my 20-year old 10 years ago..." Which sparked a lovely discussion from which I learned a lot about how to support Bridget in this potentially new activity which I'd never before considered.

So, to my bazillion anonymous readers out there in the bloggosphere: yes you are allowed to be here, and most importantly thanks for coming. Enjoy!