Sunday, September 28, 2014


My mom peeking out of our apartment window in Florence.

I have 2 confessions for you:

Confession 1: I went to Italy for 2 weeks and I just got back last night! I didn't tell you I was leaving so I hope you will forgive me. The trip was planned a long time in advance but the time immediately leading up to the trip flew by and I had to keep my eye on the prize (a finished task list before departure).

Confession 2: I went to Italy and I didn't set foot in a single church and only visited 2 small museums. I studied abroad in Italy during my undergrad and spent countless hours/days/weeks/months studying the art and architecture of Italy. I enjoyed my semester abroad but this time I wanted to focus on other experiences so I skipped the churches and museums. My traveling partner (my mom!) and I had the same interests so we were a well matched traveling duo. I look forward to sharing more about our trip soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Competing Interests

As the sun sets on summer, I am thinking about how full of a season it was. I was unexpectedly really busy at work, which meant extra hours and less time and energy for gardening, cooking, preserving and, well, everything! I still fit in a lot of fulfilling seasonal activities but it just seems like summer always has so much more to offer than can fit into the days.

It was probably a good thing that I wasn't hyper-focused on my garden this year because I had a lot of competition in that arena. Squirrels, birds, rabbits and chickens all feasted in the garden on a regular basis.  I fault some weak areas in our garden fence, the lack of dogs guarding the yard and the cleverness of chickens who figured out how to eat through the chicken wire and stand atop the garden fence to get at the plants. 

This combination of critters going after our garden resulted in hop rhizomes uprooted before they even had a chance to grow, hardy greens and brussels sprouts eaten down to the ribs, pole beans plants chomped off at the base, just-about-ripe tomatoes with bites taken out of them, every single apple stolen from the trees before they grew to full size and many more casualties.

 Really, it is ok, though.  I probably wouldn't have had time to process everything, so I guess I had some to spare. I did get some preserving done, we had a lot of fresh vegetables on hand for cooking and Paul did get 1 hop plant to grow.  So, it was worth the effort, just not as big of a return on investment than in past years.

We put "fence repair" on our fall to-do list so hopefully next year I will have at least eliminated the rabbit issue.  And, the dogs?  There is much talk about a puppy around here so that might be addressed by next summer, too.  Not sure what we'll do about those clever chickens, though.

Speaking of chickens, still no eggs but I feel like it will happen soon.  Fanny has become quite intrigued by them and they feed her curiosity by lingering near the door. They have become more bold around us, frequently coming up to the back door, lurking there just in case we might appear with a treat for them. In fact, I feel a bit like I am being stalked whenever I am out in the yard.  I guess they have made the connection about who provides their food!
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