As I posted early in the summer, the number of updates has diminished as life got busy during the warm weather. It's still warm out, but life is settling down a little and I wanted to take a few minutes to post some random stuff that's been floating around my head lately.

To begin with, my first ever gardening attempt was a modest success! I started several varieties of peppers and tomatoes from seed this spring. I went back and forth on whether or not to give it a try this year, and as a result, I started a little later than I should have. As a result I rushed the construction of the beds and didn't get the soil conditioned right, and my yields suffered. I chose to try the "Square Foot Gardening" method and built two raised beds in the back yard, each about 2'x6', with removable chicken-wire fence around each as I have lots of bunnies and chipmunks in my yard that would have a feast otherwise. Early on, my cat knocked the seedlings off the windowsill when they were a couple of weeks old. Many didn't make it and the ones that did were all mixed up so I lost track of what was what. I planted the heartiest looking seedlings and I wound up with nothing but tomatoes, but two different varieties: an heirloom "Yellow Perfection" and a red beefsteak (such an unfortunate name). Of those 16 plants, about half are producing tomatoes and I've been getting 4-5 every couple days for a few weeks now. Between that and the huge boxes I've been getting from my CSA every week, I'm swimming in vegetables. I want to learn how to preserve/can vegetables, but for now I've been cooking up a lot of stews and chilis, eating what I can and freezing the extras. I'm also using my dehydrator to dry a lot of the herbs and tomatoes. Next year, I hope to get serious about food preservation and want to use the local farmers market, my garden and the CSA to stock up my pantry for the winter, so I'm not eating so many 'imported' fresh food and commercially canned foods. I've eaten better this season than I probably ever have and it feels great to know that I'm both doing it myself and supporting local agriculture.

On another note, I've been hiking. I spent four days in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore over Labor Day weekend. It was my second time there, but this time we hiked the full length of the park and I'm just as in love with the place now as I was last year when I first laid eyes on it. It is a place of such supreme beauty, it defies description. Here's a few samples:
From 2009 - 9/4-9/7 Pictured Rocks

From 2009 - 9/4-9/7 Pictured Rocks

From 2009 - 9/4-9/7 Pictured Rocks


I'm working on some new posts and hope to get back into the swing of weekly+ postings soon.

Thanks for reading!