A Good Week in Suburbutopia

It’s been an embarrassingly ridiculously long time since I posted last. Evidently, living in a rented room writing about your husband’s gardening adventures is not quite the same as actually living with and sharing said adventures. It took a while (over two and a half years) for me to be able to quit my day job and move the 500 miles between said job and said husband.

That said, This Week in Suburbutopia:

solar

Saturday: The guys from Solar City woke us up. “I know we’re not scheduled to come until Monday, but can we stop by and install your solar panels today?”

Hell, yes!

They were nice, very friendly and helpful, and it’s a good thing that they came a couple of days early. We’d showered the night before and pulled one of those “I thought you emptied the graywater barrel.” “What? No, I thought you emptied the graywater barrel.” The nice electrician from Solar City went down to the basement and came up quickly with the news that there was water all over the basement floor.

Many happy hours later, we had a dry only slightly damp basement and solar panels on the roof. The crew even drank some of my sun tea, although they said, “Sun tea?” in That Sort of Voice and I had to explain that it was regular black tea, not some kind of weird herbal thing, just that the hot water came directly from the sun rather than being run through a photovoltaic system and a stove burner. They may be the bringers of the Post-Oil Future, but they’re still construction workers.

Sunday: We actually rested. Between staying up late Friday for my son’s birthday party (That’s a quarter of a century, Zeke!) and the unexpected early wakeup from Solar City, we were bushed. Oh, and crawling around the basement with the wet vac apparently takes a toll.

Monday: Harvested the first cabbage, sliced it up and layered it with salt in a crock for sauerkraut. Zuke Oops: Was making zucchini bread and asked Ralph to grate the zucchini while I mixed up the batter. Our kitchen counter is L-shaped, so my back was to him. He left the grated squash over where he worked and I blithely put the batter in the pans and the pans in the oven sans zucchini. Turns out that Zucchini Bread tastes just as good without the Zucchini. Made another batch anyway, since what good is a big bowl of grated zucchini without the Bread part? (Yes, you can make zucchini fritters, but two dozen? For two people? At 10 pm? Unlike Zucchini Bread, they just aren’t the same after they’ve been frozen.)

Tuesday: Shed window. Ralph cut the hole weeks ago, and after saying, “We should put up the screen and trim,” repeatedly, I just went ahead and did it. He keeps saying it looks crooked. I used the level, dammit, which is more than I can say for the hole he cut.

Wednesday: Squashapalooza. I should probably mention that we have one yellow squash, one zucchini plant and a total of 3 cucumber vines. Took the last couple of day’s pickings, froze most of them, and mashed up the rest for squash fritters. Not quite as tasty as corm fritters, but quite acceptable. Just to let you know, that tub below holds over 1 cubic foot of squash. God help me, it’s only July.

actual dimensions 12 x 12 x 14 inches

Thursday: Senior Day at the Delaware State Fair. I got in free. Hubby still has a year to go for that perk. We watched them judge the ponies and miniature horses.

 

Miniature horse, actually.

Miniature horse, actually.

Silly me, I always thought that the difference between a pony and a horse was size: over 14 hands 2 inches = horse, under = pony. However, miniature horses are smaller than ponies. Way beyond cute, too. Then we wandered over to the Poultry Barn to check out the fancy birds. They had an incubator full of hatching eggs with a sign beside it so unintentionally hilarious I had to film it. Alas, WordPress wants me to pay them money to show it to you, so I’ll just have to describe it. At the Bottom of a sign covered in baby chick facts is the directive, “Quiet, chicks are resting.” This, in a barn full of roosters crowing non-stop.

I have no idea what breed this is, but it is clearly on acid.

I have no idea what breed this is, but it is clearly on acid.

Next adventure, the Dover Building, full of food and crafts. Apparently, if a human can do it, there’s a State Fair competition for it.

legos

Yes, that is the Delaware State Grand Champion Lego structure.

 I got a lead on a local quilt group, the Helping Hands. Need to amble over to the Amish quilt store to connect with them.

Friday: Second cabbage harvested, sliced up, seasoned with vinegar, and sitting in the fridge waiting for tomorrow’s potluck. Coleslaw is always better the second day. Made broth out of the leftover cabbage bits and put three pints in the freezer. Put up four jars of hot pepper jelly using Anaheim peppers and dragon cayenne from the garden, using only the non-seeded tips of the cayenne.

pickles

Then I took the rest of the cayenne, including the seeds, mixed it up with vinegar, salt, sugar, ginger, an entire bulb of homegrown garlic, half an onion, and a handful a Thai basil, ran it through the blender, and put it in the basement to ferment alongside the kraut crock. Tasted a little dot on the tip of my tongue and can certify that it is hot. Not OMG I’m-going-to-die hot, but hot enough that after five minutes I decided that it wasn’t going away by itself and drank some milk. Put up three pints of pickle relish and made a big bowl of cucumber salad with 1-2-3 dressing. Then Ralph found two more pickling cukes that I’d missed and notified me that there were 4 salad cukes almost ready to pick. It’s almost enough to make me look forward to frost. Got any good pickle recipes? 

1-2-3 Dressing

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons water

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, Stir or shake until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour over 1 peeled, (or not, your choice) sliced cucumber. Let stand, refrigerated at least 1 hour. Serve cold. You can add a little sliced onion, if you like.

Ralph took five yellow squash over to Mrs. Stanton. I still have four of the little suckers sitting on the kitchen counter. Did I mention we only have one yellow squash plant?

 

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