Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Retrospective

Habaneros from the deck garden (taken 10/5/09).

When I was young, my dad used to plant bulbs in the Fall that would come up every year, out in the backyard. And I remember the distinct smell of my homegrown tomatoes, picked from my grandparents' giant garden. That was really, as close as I had ever been to 'gardening.'

This year's deck garden was a first attempt to grow anything other than a house plant. I have to thank my friend Elizabeth for getting me started with so many lended pots and buckets, gifted spinach starters, sweet pea seeds, and guidance for how to get things growing. I had no idea how much I would enjoy the process (or that Chris and I both would appreciate eating things we had grown). And oh the tomatoes.
April 14, 2009 (above): In my mind, the garden is finished already. I've planted a few things and I don't know what I'm doing, so I figure I should start off small.
May 17, 2009 (above): A month passes and things are growing. Maybe this won't be as difficult as I imagined? The spinach explodes and we eat it. The peas are climbing the banister and all of our starters from Casey Farms are doing great. I'm hooked. I go back to Elizabeth for more containers -- this time, giant buckets for the tomatoes. I convert one of our laundry bins into a container for the last tomato plant.
June 28, 2009 (above): Another month passes and the back deck is nothing but green. Veggies growing full blast and we can't seem to use the basil fast enough. We'll have enough pesto in the freezer for the whole winter. Chris plants hot peppers and I learn about bolting. At some point I start collecting & drying spinach and cilantro seeds (below), for next spring.
Cilantro Seeds (7/25/09).
August 16, 2009 (above & below): In July and August the deck looks more like a jungle than a deck, and we're overwhelmed with incredibly dense and flavorful tomatoes. I resort to freezing tomatoes whole, to make sauce at a later date.
Jungle Deck, 8/16/09.
September 5, 2009 (above): Even in September and October, new veggies are appearing -- a single regular pepper (the jalapenos don't survive) and as of 10/31, we're still getting little fat crisp habaneros (top photo). The red onions look great, but I have no idea when to pull them up.
October 5, 2009 (above): We finally pull up the red onions and they're perfect. They went right into a salad - it would've been a shame to cook onions grown in the garden. I assume it's over - there's nothing left, right?
October 31,2009 (above): Can you believe I took this picture today? Our last tomatoes, still making a go for it, despite the freezing temps this month. As soon as they loosen up on the vine, I'll bring them in, to ripen indoors. Truly amazing. And this may be the only time I've ever said, I can't wait until spring.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gato Elegante

Cat, wanting to be close. Taken, 10/16/09.

One of my other favorites of Cat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthday Visit

We had a nice visit from Chris' parents & grandma yesterday, for his birthday. They were kind enough to drive up from New York and drive back in the same day -- just so that grandma could join us as well. And grandma is such a was great to see her. While we didn't break out the karaoke, we did get to a Spanish restaurant that included tequila shots, the birthday sombrero, & playing happy b-day over the loud speakers of the restaurant. Here's to many years ahead of you, you old man.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I've added a list of all the recipes from Red Pepper Flakes to the right side of the blog. Find the cupcake over there ---> & click it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Surprise Flower

My friend Elizabeth helped start my garden by sharing many of her already-filled-with-soil pots from her previous roof garden. One of the donated pots is this round, black pot (below), that I used for cilantro, and eventually for my re-potted cauliflower. Twice now I have stumbled out onto the deck to be surprised by a pretty striped flower on a rogue vine growing from the bottom of the pot. The first one had red stripes like a peppermint and this one had lavender stripes. They seem to only last a day, but I loved having them! I'm so glad I didn't pull the 'weed'.
Surprise flower, taken 9/22/09.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

8 Years and Counting...

Victoria's in Boston, taken 10/4/09.

After many years of debate, Chris and I settled on October 3rd as an 'anniversary' date for us to celebrate. Chris and I were friends before we were dating and neither of us have much interest in formalities... While there was never a specific day when we 'started dating,' last year we pinned down October 3rd as an important day in our history.
Figs, taken 10/3/09.
It was only this past Friday that we actually added up the years and realized we're celebrating our 8th anniversary. And since an anniversary is a great excuse to leave town or unplug the phone, I'm very much on-board. This year, Chris and I headed to Boston to celebrate and spent the weekend in Beacon Hill and the South End. I could walk those streets for hours. My HHonors Amex covered the hotel (free!).
Figs 10/3/09.
Victoria's 10/4/09.
The whole weekend made me feel very fortunate--to be spending my life with Chris. Here's to the unexpected and to many more years of happiness.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Up the Creek...

We've had so much going on recently--a friend's wedding, concerts (including U2!), a co-worker's art show, tenure celebrations, trips to see family, and it just keeps going. Oh, and a moonlit paddle! I wish I had pictures of it...Chris and I tried out a moonlit paddle this past Thursday in Johnston. Chris' first time in a canoe and the weather was perfect (though no moon). And after an hour, we got the hang of the canoe. With Chris in the driver's seat (the back), he [woops, I meant I!!!] had to paddle two strokes for every one of mine. It was an upper-body strength issue, I guess.

The very cool evening paddle was sponsored by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and I would recommend the outings to anyone. The next two go through downtown Providence and the Woonasquatucket Resevoir.