Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Short break between classes

When you're the chief cook and bottle washer of a small business, everything falls on your shoulders. That's one of the reasons I've been absent from this blog for a few days, it's been a little crazy here.

The good news is that a few days ago, the first class in my new woodworking school "graduated". And I have to say that every single student produced some very nice work while studying with me. Of course, it would have been great to be able to post a few photos here of some of their pieces, but I forgot to shoot some pictures. What's even sadder - I had my camera with me, I just forgot to take it out!

So I have a couple of weeks off, with lots of plans for upgrades and renovations to the school. I plan on blogging this coming week (OK, maybe next week) about something verrry interesting - an eco-friendly concrete staining system that I am using on the office and small gallery in the school. I started stripping the floors today with a stripper that's so safe, you can apply it with your bare hands. Try that with muriatic acid! I was amazed at how well the stuff works, and plan on writing about it here. I think it'll be fascinating.

Well, that's if if your idea of "fascinating" includes stripping concrete.

Meanwhile, my garden at home has exploded. There's a nectarine tree with (I'm not exaggerating) about 200+ pieces of fruit on it. I can barely keep up with it, and the dogs just love picking up and gnawing on the rotten ones that have fallen off. For a truly different experience - try pulling a soggy smashed nectarine out of a puppy's mouth.

I've said it before - I never seriously gardened before I moved here. There was wasn't enough time to get a garden started in Ohio. By the time you put it in, you're lucky if you have 40 days of warm weather before the frosts of Fall start. Why bother?

But here in the desert, I started planting in March. March 13, to be exact. Yes, I'm anal about it and I wrote it on my calendar. And no, I don't draw a "map" and lay out the garden. The stuff goes where I can fit it. We like peppers, zucchini and tomatoes, so those are "givens", but this year, I added a few interesting things to the mix.

Like these gorgeous eggplant.

I've already started giving the eggplant to friends - there are so many on this plant that I am running out of friends who want them!

And I made a conscious decision this year to only plant two tomato plants. Last year, we simply had too many. So ... imagine my surprise when FOUR MORE tomato plants popped up on their own.

There aren't enough neighbors on the block to take all the excess.

And yes, if you read my blog last year and remember my insanity, those damn hornworms are back.

These bad boys creep me out, but I'm trying to stay on top of it by spraying the plants regularly. I swear, if someone ever spied on me in the back yard, they would witness a crazy woman staring intently at her tomato plant, trying to find these worms. They're so stealth, it's amazing. I can be inches from one, and not even see it. Then all of a sudden, I'll realize it's right there in front of me. What's up with that? I can't tell you how many hours I've spent searching for these damn worms.


Finally, the peppers... ah, peppers. Is there anything better than roasting and peeling them, and putting them on a piece of fresh bread? (With salt and a drop of olive oil, or course) I planted about a dozen plants this year, and right about now, I choke back the water to them, which makes them all the hotter.

By the end of the summer, I'll have about a half dozen or more huge bags of frozen peppers put away for the winter. I just clean and freeze them, and can cook with them for the next few months, until I start the garden back up. Nice. I've got a killer recipe for salmon that calls for peppers, it's our favorite way of using them.

That's all for now. I'm heading out to hunt for some of those damn worms now...

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