Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Awesome Garden

I'm not sure if there is a more perfect food than the fresh, home-grown tomato. (Well, maybe smoothies. But since they aren't a single food item, it's not the same thing.) I love it when people bring bags of fresh-picked tomatoes from their garden in to the office later in the summer. I like the other things from the gardens, too--zucchini, beans, peppers--but you can keep all of those if I get the tomatoes.

Every year since I've owned a house I've thought about planting my own garden. I think I may have even attempted it once in my last house. I have just a vague memory of a few tomato plants and some chicken wire, but since that's literally all I can picture I don't think it went well. I must have blocked it out.

So finally, this is the year. Really, it is. I got smart about the whole thing. I had a landscaper put in a small (12x6) raised bed, fill it with lovely soil, and surround it with chicken wire.

Now since the hardest part is done, I am excited about getting the real gardening started. While I truly know virtually nothing about gardening, I think with the head start I have this year I should be able to do OK. I mean, how hard can it be?

I have a rough idea of what I want to grow, and I'm looking forward to picking out the plants. A few pepper plants (jalapeno, habanero, pablano) zucchini, cucumber, some herbs, and a few tomato plants.

We also have a giant cabbage plant that I was hoping to make room for, but after reading about it I think it's going to have to go in its own spot somewhere else. My daughter has named him "Tim" and thinks he is going to have a prime spot in the garden. But he needs 3 feet on each side and that would take up pretty much the whole garden, so he's going to need a separate home.

So wish me luck. I just hope that I have this same motivation when it's 90 degrees outside and humid and the garden needs to be weeded...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Doggie DNA

Both of my dogs are mutts. My definition of mutt is simply a dog that is not considered "purebred". I really take offense to the definition that says a mutt is "an inferior dog". My dogs may be goof-balls. They may not be the most well-behaved that you will ever encounter. They sometimes chew things they aren't supposed to, they bark too much, and they have poor table manners. But they are also affectionate, loyal, smart, laid-back, and happy.

Gypsy is a Shepherd and Elkhound mix. She weighs just over 50 lbs., but her ideal weight is probably closer to 40 lbs. When she was a puppy people always thought she was a full-bred...something. You look at her and you first see the shepherd, then you realize her tail is curled up, and upon closer inspection you realize you can't tell what she is exactly. When she was around 3 (and much closer to her ideal weight) people always thought that she was a young puppy because of the look she has, like she still had some growing to do. She's nearly 12 now and if it weren't for her girth she could still pass for a spry 3 year old. (In human years that's like saying she's 84 but could pass for 21. She would definitely get carded.)

Luna's picture should be next to "mutt" in the dictionary. When we got her last May she was only 3 months old and she looked like a black lab puppy, with just a little white on her chest. She's now 14 months old, and if you didn't know any better you'd still think she was a black lab puppy. She weighs about 33 lbs., she's still mostly all black, but her chest, belly and toes all have some white. Not a lot of white, just a coating. And that's what it looks like, too--like someone just brushed some white paint lightly over her just underneath. Underneath everywhere, including her tail and her chin. Her face actually looks like she stuck her snout into a bowl of milk, sort of a milk goatee. So based on the coloring and the size, there is no telling what she's mixed with. Lab for sure. Maybe beagle, maybe some dachshund too.

I have a friend who sent her dog's DNA to a lab to find out what breeds he comes from. It's been a few months and she is still waiting for the results. I thought about doing it for Luna. She used the Canine Heritage Breed Test, but there are several different products available. If her dog's results come back and are interesting I may do it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Got Carded!

It was a nearly empty bar in the Pittsburgh airport. My flight was delayed, so I decided to grab a beer to kill some time. I order some food and a Sam Adams, and without missing a beat the waitress asks to see my ID.


"Yes, I'm sorry. We have to check for anyone that looks close."

"No, it's no problem. No problem at all. Here you go."

It only takes a quick glance, and she raises her eyebrows, looks at me, then back to the ID.

"Oh, geez. Wow. Sorry."

So the shock at seeing my actual age was really unnecessary, don't you think? It almost undid the joy of her asking to see the ID in the first place. Almost.

Since 40 is right around the corner for me, I felt I had to document this event. This could very well be the last time EVER that I am legitimately mistaken for someone under the age of 21.

And I don't care what anyone says, she wasn't doing it just to get a good tip. I routinely tip 40% for the high-quality food you find in airport restaurants.