Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Insider Trading

Collect your pennies, folks.  It's time for you to go out and buy stock on cheap pillows.

A certain little white dog has realized after eleven and half years that he's a terrier, and that terriers dig.  He's got a lot of catching up to do, and he's on a mission.

With the threat of being skinned to repair any of my furniture that he damages hanging over his head, our little white hero has concentrated on digging his own bed.  His crate, which is the preferred hangout, is the perfect size to house a standard pillow.  In the past, cheap $3 pillows from Zellers have lasted a year before being replaced due to *ahem* a certain doggy smell.

In the last couple of weeks, he's been digging through the pillow cover in a day.  Even if I flip them over - yes, I'm cheap - I can only get a couple of days out his pillows before the stuffing flies everywhere.

At this rate, I am going to single handedly finance a pillow factory.

I wonder if anybody makes chain link pillow cases?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Zadge Rocks

I posted a few days ago that I wanted a portrait of Cotton, but I wasn't thrilled with the photos that I have of him.  The Zadge and I got to talking, and she did some Photoshopping magic.

I was going to save it until I got it framed and on the wall, but this is me talking... I have to wait until there's a sale at the framing shop, and that could be a while.

So, without further ado, here's the photo.



Nobody's cuter than Cotton, but the Zadge's mad Photoshopping skills make him look even better.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hostile Work Environment







CAN YOU SEE THE ABUSE I TAKE?!?


Also, I don't know why all those pictures were different colours.  I think my flash kicked in for the middle two, and I didn't take the time to fiddle.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Portrait options

It's bugged me for a long time that I have portraits of all my pets on the wall except for Cotton.  Unfortunately, he's become afraid of the camera recently, so I doubt I'll have any opportunities to take any new portrait shots.

He's had periodic problems with gooby eyes  - like he does right now because Natural Balance changed their ingredients without telling anybody - so that narrows the selection of photos down by about half.   Most of the pictures that I have of him are in fairly low resolution as well, so that limits my options even more.  Eventually, I decided to go with this one.  I just can't decide if I should go with the SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot, or if I should brighten it.

I like the SOOC because the background is muted and the furniture doesn't stand out as much.


I like the brightened version because....well, it's brighter, but I find the armoir in the background to be somewhat distracting.



Which one do you think I should go with?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lemon pasta with blackberries

I'm not ready to give up on summer just yet, so I'm making a favorite hot weather meal for dinner tonight.

Carb heaven, this is.

Lemon pasta with blackberries, which is a Pioneer Woman recipe that I switched it up a bit.

In a pot of boiling water, toss in enough pasta to serve two people.  (I prefer spaghettini for this dish.)

In the meantime, drizzle some oil in a hot skillet, and toss in a few tablespoons of diced onion - green onion works well here too - and a clove or so of minced garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes, until they start to turn translucent, and then squeeze the juice of a lemon into the skillet.  Add a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs - I've used parsley, oregano, basil or chives here, and anything goes.  Sauté for a few more minutes, and then add about 1/4 cup of cream or half & half.  Once everything is well blended, take off the heat.  Toss your pasta into the sauce, and then add a cup or so of fresh blackberries.  Top with shredded parmesan and some freshly ground pepper, then serve.

This recipe serves two, but you'll want to taste it before you share.   I suspect you'll want it all for yourself...  Leftovers of this dish are good, either hot or cold.




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Say what??

Since my basement is a mess with everything piled in the middle, I decided to take the opportunity to have the space between the mud sills and the first floor spray foamed. The builder made a lame attempt to stuff that area with insulation, and hardly bothered with the vapour barrier. I'm sure it's been a huge source of heat loss in the winter.


I called two companies for quotes.  The guy that owned the second company called me back within a few minutes.  He immediately gave me the hard sell, and tried to convince me to spray foam the entire basement wall instead of just the top (exposed) portion.  I swallowed my annoyance with that, booked an appointment to have him come to give me a quote (that night!) and prepared myself to refuse the hard sell.

Later on, the guy arrived.  I showed him to the basement and right away he could see that I'd had problems.  He started to tell me that he was in the renovation business before, but got out of it because nobody ever did the job right.  But, he felt that he had to tell me that he could see that a number of things had been very clearly done wrong.  He started to lecture me about how they had to be repaired, and I had to interrupt him to remind him that he was there to give me a quote to spray foam the tops of the basement walls.

He then went about telling me about the complex job of spray foaming, and why my basement in particular would be a big challenge.  In the next ten minutes, he said - and I kid you not - "how do I tell this so that you'll understand" 13 times.  Or more.  I started counting that particularly endearing phrase after I'd heard it two or three times too many.  I did try at one point to tell him that I am a somewhat intelligent human being  Another time, I explained to him that I had managed to do a lot of the work around the house myself.  He ignored that, and continued to talk down to me as though I was a complete and total twit.

The kicker came when I informed him that I would not be hiring him if my basement was 'so complicated' that he could only spray 2/3 of what I wanted done.   We discussed temporarily removing two vents that were blocking his way, for which he suggested I hire somebody to do it for me.  That way - and I quote - I can sit back with my feet up and watch my favorite soap opera.

He left shortly after that.  I suspect the look in my eyes may have encouraged him to go.  I doubt he noticed the relation to his statements and my walking to the door at the bottom of the stairs and waving him upstairs and out.  Either way, he'll not be getting the job.

The other company ended up calling me back.  They'll come out to give me a quote soon, and I'm wondering if I need to ask a male friend to be with me when they come. Apparently I'm too dumb to know what I want without one.  Instead, I suspect I'm going to skip hiring this job out.  I'm heading over to the Mecca (AKA Home Depot) tonight to inquire about the rental tools and materials that I'd need to do it myself.






Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Odds and Sods - working from home

  • I need a bigger desk.  3 monitors (one Apple for personal use, and 2 Dels for work) and a laptop don't fit on my tiny 2' by 4' desk.
  • I have pushed or lifted a certain white cat off my lap 13864 13865 times today.
  • It's surprising how many people really don't get the concept of my 'working' from home.  Yes, I'm home.  No, I'm not available to socialize.
  • At first, I had one simple rule that I gave myself for working from home - work during business hours.  I've added a few that I've decided are non-negotiable: wear a bra, brush your teeth before signing in for the day.  I discovered that if I didn't do that, I ended up spending most of my days in PJs with fuzzy teeth and foul breath.  Now, I get up, get dressed (usually in normal business attire) and sign in as though I'd driven into the office.  I'm surprised at how much the clothes I'm wearing impact my productivity.
  • I need to block my view from the front window.  It really is better for my blood pressure to not know how many children swipe rocks from my rock gardens every day. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I can't decide

Due to the recent house flood, I am shopping for a new chair or love seat.  Insurance will pay for whatever I buy (within reason).  I've narrowed my choices down to two chairs:

A Nest Chair, which is a huge circle (4' diameter).  When you climb in, you have to push yourself to the back, as though you'd just climbed into a bed from the end.  Ie - it's too deep sit on it with your feet on the floor and your back against the pillows.

Or a tufted chair (I can't find the exact model, but it's something like this one.)
Whatever I get, I want to use now.  I don't want to buy something, only to store it in the basement.

The Nest chair is the perfect chair for what I have planned when I finish the basement, but I don't expect to finish the basement any time soon.  It's sink in, curl up and read a whole book comfy.  It does not go with my current decor.  Until I finish the basement, I could leave it in the living room (where it would clash in style) or I could rearrange the furniture in my office to make room in there (putting my desk back to the "neighbourhood watch" position at the window).   This is not a Classic.  Chances are, it'll be an unwanted piece of furniture at some point.

The tufted chair is a style that I've always loved.  It's a classic style that I doubt I'd ever regret buying.  It would fit in with my current decor as well as just about anything in the future.   There's a space in the living room, calling its name.

Whichever chair I got, it would be in a neutral solid-coloured fabric.  If I got the Nest chair, I would have the option of of ordering the pillows in various coordinated colours and patterns.

I want the Nest chair.  
I think the tufted chair is the more responsible choice.  
Please tell me what to do.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Questions - of the etiquette variety

  • You are invited to a new friend's baby shower.  You don't know the host at all, or most of the other guests.  When you offered to bring something, the host requested an appetizer - but not a fruit or veggie plate (ie - something hot would be nice).  You'll also be driving the pregnant friend to the shower, which is being held a half hour away, so can't arrive early.  Knowing this, is it an unreasonable imposition to ask to use the host's oven to heat your appetizer? Or, is better to heat it right before you leave and hope that it doesn't cool too much?
  • Speaking of baby showers.  Say you're woefully unprepared.  Say that you've hit no less than 5 stores in the search for the right gift over the last week, but remain unsuccessful.  Say you finally find something that you think she'll like, but it's a generic brand at a discount department store.    Do you: a) cut off all the tags and pretend like it's haut couture, b) leave the tags, but hope nobody notices, c) confess loud and proud - there's no shame in stretching your dollar, or d) find something else.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Cast Iron is Forever

    I've wanted an enamelled cast iron Le Creuset pot for ages, but can't bring myself to spend the money.  They cost over $300 each, so I suspect I'll never have one.  Luckily, I came upon a knockoff at Costco that cost ten percent that amount about a year ago.  I snapped it up, and have loved it ever since.  My only complaint has been that the large size.  More often than not, it's way more pot than I need.

    Jump forward to a happy day last week, when I made a rare appearance at Costco again and found a skillet version of the not-a-real Le Crueset.  I was there to replace an electric fry pan that was at the end of its lifespan, and decided that this would do just the the trick.  It's better actually because, unlike electric fry pans, it doesn't have any teflon.  I've looked high and low, and I'll be darned if I can find an electric fry pan that isn't coated in the stuff.  (Teflon off-gases, scratches and eventually peels off.  It doesn't last.  Enamelled or well seasoned cast iron will last forever and is so much better for the environment.)

    I've been cooking with my new skillet regularly since it came home, and all I can say is that you need one.   Everybody needs one.   Every kitchen should have these things.  Food is better (crispier) coming out of it, with less oil... although, that might be the cooking with gas vs electric.   It can take high temperatures without smoking.  It's super easy to clean.  And, as a bonus, it weighs a tonne and will double as a weapon, in case of intruders.




    Get thee to Costco.  You need a Not-a-real Le Crueset skillet.  And a not-a-real Le Crueset pot wouldn't hurt you either.


    PS - Don't judge my splatters.  This is a working kitchen.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Want to See My Drawers?

    When I'm stressed, I organize... everything but what I should be organizing.  Technical difficulties continue at work.  The basement is still a gong show.  So, I attacked the kitchen drawers.    Believe me, if I'd have thought to take before pictures, you'd have been impressed with these after shots.


     This next one's a work in progress, but I ran out of steam.


    My question to you is, why are all drawer organizers exactly a half inch too big, or two inches too small for every one of my drawers?  Does everybody have this problem, or is this yet another way that my builder screwed up?

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Second Home

    is a term that means something else entirely on my street.

    Objects in picture are larger than they appear.



    Used to be, most of my neighbours had small trailers, a little bigger than their vans.  Then one of these monstrosities showed up in the spring.  Now everybody has to keep up with the Jones and trailers are as long and tall as a city bus.  

    To go camping.    

    Huh.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Day off today

    I haven't been able to get much done at work lately because of technical difficulties, so I decided to take the day off.  I actually get a stupid amount of vacation days now.   I carried forward quite a few that I didn't use last year, and when I went back to work after the surgery, my boss reminded me that I should aim to take 7 weeks of vacation.   Between May - Dec.  Now, I suspect you're all thinking that I'd be crazy not to take that time off, but we have a pretty big project going on at the office.  If I'm away, my backup has to do my job as well as her own, and the project gets behind.  So, I've been trying to fit them in here and there when things slow down.

    Like now.

    Also, I wanted a do-over on my sucky long weekend.

    Why did my long weekend suck, you ask?  Because the saga of the house flood continues.  The restoration company that the insurance company sent out struggled to get the job done.  Each time that they came, they had a list of tasks to complete and every single time that they left, they failed to complete some of the tasks.  Primarily, I want the dang list of my items that were damaged.

    The first day that the crew was here, the lady leading the crew took my list to make photo copy for herself - I don't know why - and left my copy in the truck when she came back.  I asked her to bring it in for me, but she got distracted and forgot.  The next day, something happened and she was fired.

    I called the owner of the company, asking him for my list.  He said he'd have the next crew to come out bring it to me.  They forgot.  They had to go back to the office part way through the day.  I asked for the list, but they forgot.  I called the owner, asking him for my list.  He said he'd have the next crew to come out bring it to me.  They forgot.   Repeat the cycle another 5 times over a three week period, except make the owner of the company more belligerent with each call.

    I really think that they lost my list.  Or, they lost some of my stuff and they're hoping that if I don't have my list I won't notice.  (They bring everything to the warehouse so that the insurance adjuster can double check my list to make sure I'm not claiming things I didn't have).  For one thing, the guy who replaced the lady who was fired "accidentally" informed me that they had lost my couch.    Seriously, they lost my couch.  Maybe the lady that got fired is sleeping on it???  Luckily, I have pictures of it floating in the water, in case the insurance company needs proof that it was destroyed.  Which is good, because without pictures or a list, I can claim for bupkis.

    I called my insurance adjuster yesterday, and she said she'd follow up with the restoration company. So far, I haven't heard any more, but I'm sure you can understand why I'd be a little worried.

    Today my plan was to sort out the gigantic pile of stuff that had been salvaged and try to put it away.  (If more than half of the basement contents were thrown away, where did all that crap come from??? )  It's a daunting task, though, and I can't go downstairs without thinking about the gong show that is going on with the list.

    So, instead, I'm making jam.  There's nothing complicated about jam.


    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Horrible, horrible thoughts

    Lately, I've been working on getting my will in place.  I'm feeling fine and have no expectations of expiring anytime soon; it's just been bothering me for some time that I don't have a will in place.  I'm doing this  because I worry about the arrangements for my pets.  If I can't take care of them, I want to make darned sure that they go somewhere that they'll get the same level of care that they get from me.

    Tallulah's easy.  She' goes back to the breeder, who I've stayed in contact with and trust very much.  Winter will go live with a friend and her family.  I've seen them with their own pets, so I know they'd take excellent care of him.  Cotton is the problem.   I've been thinking about it for weeks, and I can't think of anybody that I'd trust who is in the position to take on an aging maltese that's going blind, has panic attacks and a raging case of canine dementia.  Oh, and he's cat, dog and child aggressive too.

    I haven't wanted to put the option that I'm leaning towards into words, but last night made me make up my mind.

    Last night, there was an electrical storm that lasted for about 2 hours.  Lately, Cotton's dementia has been causing him a lot of grief at night (he wakes up, gets disoriented in the dark and then gets upset) but he's always been fine with storms.  Storms were the one thing that never phased him.  Last night however, the constant flashing of lightning and booms of thunder pushed him over the edge and sent him into a doozy of a panic attack.

    During panic attacks, Cotton thinks he needs to be as close to me as possible, but at the same time, he tries his hardest to escape.  (I haven't figured out what he's escaping... the room he's in, his crate, the yard if he's outside.  He just needs to run away.)  He pants, and he drools copious amounts.  He also digs.  If I confine him in any way, he'll dig and chew until his nails and teeth are bloody nubs.

    At first, I tried to sooth him.  Then I got angry because it was 1:00am and I had to get up in the morning, so I locked him out of my room. Then I reminded myself that he can't help it, and swaddled him up in a blanket and held him as tight as I could for an hour.  That kind of worked for a while, but then he started escalating again.  When he started digging and biting at me, I put him on the floor.  He went ballistic.  I picked him up again and paced the house, trying to calm him down.

    The light and sound from the storm was freaking him out.  I couldn't take him to the basement to get away from it, because he gets too worried in unfamiliar spaces.  We couldn't go to the garage, because the garage means a car ride, and car rides are the source of all horror.  So, I put him in his crate in the bathroom with the door closed.  He dug to get out until I thought he was going to lose a nail, so I let him loose.  He ran to the backdoor, begging me to take him out into the storm - but I knew he'd then dig out of the dog pen and eventually the yard if I let him.  It was now 2:30am, and all I could think to do was to curse, swear or cry.

    Then I came to my senses and rooted deep into the drawer where I keep meds.  I found a bottle of diazepam (previously prescribed to him for extreme situations like this, but avoided as much as possible, as per vet's instructions).  It was a battle, but eventually I got most of it down his throat.  I swaddled him up and went back to bed, where I held him tight until the pill kicked in.  An hour or so later, the alarm went off and I had a happy, mellow old dog in my bed.  He was pretty wobbly for the rest of the day, but you'd otherwise never have known that anything was wrong.

    So, I've decided.  I can't take the chance that Cotton would go through anything like that alone.  If I die before he does, he's going to be cremated with me.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Randomosity

    • There's a major brand of laundry detergent that has a new ad out.  It says that 36% of women admit to washing their sheets less than once a month.  That grosses me out.  (I wash mine once or twice a week.)
    • I just found out that the Electrolux vacuum shop downtown ripped me off big time last year. What they told me was a complete engine failure ($400+ repair) was actually straightening out the belt on the powerhead ($50 max). They talked me out of the repair, and sold me a built-in instead, which cost significantly more than the expensive repair. I'm happy with the new vacuum, but pissed that they snowed me. Not sure if I should say or do anything, or if I should just let it go.
    • I am on week two of *almost* only whole foods.  I've given up processed foods.   (I still eat things like canned beans for now, and am finishing off the food that I already had in the house) It's not so bad, and I'm sure it'll be easier when I finish weaning myself off of chocolate.  Although, it'll be more difficult in the winter when there aren't any local producers.
    • I also gave up eating at Subway about a month ago, which is where I used to buy my lunch at least 4 days a week.  This is made easier by my working at home and having easy access to food, but I needed to stop going there.  I can't justify supporting a company that chooses Michael Vick as their spokesperson.
    • I figured out that by working from home, I'm saving $40/week in lunch money.  That doesn't take into account my gas money, or impulse shopping that happens when I run to the mall for a change in scenery over lunch.
    • I'm going to set up my bank to automatically apply that $40 to my line of credit every week.  I was working to pay off the renovation loan within 3 years, but this will help me pay it off that much earlier.  Then it's going into a travel fund. 

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    It isn't always a bad thing,

    ... to be forgetful.

    This spring, I mixed sugar peas in with the sweet peas (flowers) along the trellis on the side of the deck.  And then I forgot.

    I went outside this afternoon to pick some sweet peas for my kitchen, and was surprised to find enough fresh peas for dinner tonight.

    Well, there would have been enough peas for dinner tonight if I hadn't eaten them already.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Nooks and Crannies

    Working from home this morning, I realized that I hadn't seen Himself for a while.  Generally, all three of the animals tend to stay in the same room as me, so while it's not a problem, it's noteworthy when we're not all four tucked into the my little office room together.

    When I did go looking, I almost didn't see him.




    I put the baby gate in front of the screen door so that I can cover it up and block the view of a certain yappy little dog.  Winter must have figured he'd found an excellent little spot - hot from the sun on the dark towel, but in the direct path of the cool summer breeze.









    As an aside, and a continuation from my last post, I thought I better reassure anybody who knows about him that the Blue Footed Booby is safe.  He's too important to be housed in garbage bags in the basement.



    For those who don't know, this guy's extra special because my dad gave him to me when I got out of the ICU after my car accident (when being a pilot was all that I cared about).  
    Apparently, we both crash spectacularly.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Bye Bye

    I love stuffed animals, always have.  When I was a kid, I collected them; and I don't mean that I had a bunch piled in the corner or the closet.  I had hundreds of stuffed animals, that I practically treated with kid gloves.  Early on, my dad put up a shelf on my wall to hold them, and he had to add more shelves every year.  By the time I was a teenager, I had shelves on all walls, circumventing the entire room twice.  There were at least a few hundred of them, from all over the world.

    Somehow, when I grew up, I skipped the step where I stopped loving stuffed animals.  For the most part, I've stopped buying them, but that doesn't mean that I'm any less attached.

    A few years ago, I went through the collection and sorted out the stuffed animals that weren't top notch, high quality animals in perfect condition.  Those ones went to the Edmonton SPCA.  That left me with about 12 bags of stuffed animals - Gund quality or better and in mint condition.

    Now, I do realize that I'm pushing forty, and that a single woman of my age with a house full of stuffed animals could raise some red flags.  It's occurred to me a number of times that I should get rid of them, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I kept telling myself that I'd find a charity who could put them to good use, but I never did.   ...You guessed it, they were in the flood.

    While they were all in garbage bags, the bags were old.  Many of the bags had holes, and the animals got wet and then sat in plastic bags for over a week.  I can't in good conscience give them away.  I thought of sorting through them, but I knew if I did that I'd try to keep too many.  So, I tracked down two of my favorites (still dry), and I put the rest of them out for the garbage men to take.  As trivial as this seems, doing that tonight was harder than helping my parents move out of the house where I was raised.

    Being a grown up sucks.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Things I Know to be True

    As soon as you open the door tonight to head out to walk your dogs, already feeling cranky because of the lack of progress in restoring your home to its usual controlled chaos after an ever-so-exciting flood, you might see a jack rabbit that's twice the size of  your smallest dog in your front yard.  That dog will do his terrier best to attack and kill said rabbit.  The rabbit will bound around the yard, unable to decide which way to go, and just when your dog seems like he might settle down within this century, the SUV turning the corner will miss the rabbit by *this* much, which causes it to turn around and run straight back towards you and your dogs. The little dog will, of course, fire up again.  Meanwhile, your poodle will realize that she should act excited, even if she hasn't got a clue what's going on, and she'll start to bound around like she's riding a pogo stick.   It won't be long before she'll bounce right on top of the little dog, splattering him on the ground like something from the Bug's Bunny show.  Not to worry, though, because he'll bounce back up like Mohammed Ali, ready to take on the jack russell terrier puppy that he's just seen crossing the middle of your lawn on a fully extended flexi leash.  The puppy will be oblivious to your jerk-wad of a dog, who is pulling on his leash as hard as he can and barking at the top of his very high pitched but loud lungs.   That's right - the puppy will be too busy walking through your gardens on his fully extended leash, and then assuming the position to  drop a load while his unconcerned owner continues on, showing no inclination to clean up after her dog.

    Note to self:  This is not the time to approach or talk to the new neighbour who moved in a few houses down over the weekend as they take their new puppy for a stroll.    Pick up your little dog and go back inside.  Take your big dog with you.  Tonight is not a good night to go for a walk in the neighbourhood.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Farm Tour

    The local farmers co-op that I like to get my produce from had a customer appreciation day yesterday.   Not knowing what to expect, a bunch of friends and I went out.  We knew there were five farms involved, but not what would happen.  What we expected to last a couple of hours ended up lasting most of a very informative and enjoyable day.  I was beat by the time we got home - but it was a good 'out all day in the sun' kind of tired.

    I didn't think to bring my camera with me.  I had my blackberry, but it didn't seem to want to take more than 25 pictures (which almost felt like I was back to using film.  Man, it's been a long time since I've been restricted to how many pictures I could take.)  Anywho, before I ran out of pictures, I took these:

    The first farm was the only stop where they used green houses.  Everything else was grown in the fields.    In this case, their tomato plants are seeded in January, and by November when they shut the place down, will be 23' long.    They tie them to the ceiling, and as they get longer and longer, lower the string holding them up, and wrap the base of the plant around the pot.  Eventually, it gets so that there is no floor space between the rows.





    The next stop was at the farm where I love to buy baby carrots.  Little did I know that they grow other things too.

    Broccoli


    Cauliflower

    Cabbage

    *other* kind of cabbage
     and kale, parsnips, kohlrabi & peas too.

    The third farm does mostly peas, but they grow asparagus too.  These are asparagus plants, after the picking season, when they are allowed to go to fern to build up their root system.


    They took us out on a hay ride to one of their pea fields, and gave us a few minutes to pick peas.  I was the only one in my group (or, apparently among anybody on the tour at the time) who grew up in the country with a huge vegetable garden.   Without thinking, I hopped off the wagon, grabbed my bag and started picking.    It turns out, I am without a doubt the undefeated pea picking champion.  When we were done and it was time to head back, I was pretty embarrassed to see that I was the only one among the group of twenty or so whose bag was even close to being full.    Everybody else had a small handful.  But I kept my peas.  (The farmer said they'd be hard to sell at the market because of the damage from the recent hail storm.)

    This family also has humanely raised, antibiotic-free cattle, so we picked up some fresh meat there too.

    And some asparagus relish that's to die for.  YUM.

    After that, I couldn't take pictures.  Our next stop was at a potato farm, where they took us out to the field to dig up some baby red potatoes.  

    Finally, we went to a strawberry farm, which was the only U-pick farm of the bunch.  I think I might go back there tomorrow and get some more.  I think there's some homemade strawberry jam in my future.



    Don't judge me for all those peas.

    Also, please pretend that I remembered to include the orange tomatoes and the beefsteak tomatoes I took home.  I also suspect that there will be fresh tomato sauce in my near future.