Last Night, We Had Our First Frost

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Combs Canyon in August

I woke up to frosty cold temperatures this morning. I knew it was coming. That’s why yesterday evening, I harvested 6 more okras and 3 impossibly small jalapeños. Folks, I’m calling it. The gardening season is over.

A few weekends ago, we had put away the tomato containers and pulled up the smaller okra plants and bell pepper plants. We left the 3 big okra plants and the jalapeño plant because they were still blooming and producing. I also made the decision to leave in my zucchini plants. They were planted late and I had hopes of getting at least one small zuke from them. This weekend we’ll probably pull up these lingering plants.

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The last of the cherry tomatoes.

I started recording my harvest this year. My hope is that I can be a better garden planner–actually put in the right number of plants so I get enough cucumbers, peppers or okras at once to pickle. I just spent some quality time with my calculator and now I have the totals for our 2017 garden.

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I bet there’s an app for this, but there’s something satisfying about a physical chart.

Cherry Tomatoes (5 plants): 1,457 (a little less than 300 of these were picked green, but are ripening in a brown paper bag on our counter)

Yellow Squash (2 plants): 10

Bell Peppers (3 plants): 2

Okra (6 plants): 93

Pickling Cucumbers (4 plants): 84

Jalapeños (1 plant): 18

 

Lessons Learned, Ideas for Next Year & Thoughts:

+I’m so glad we only planted cherry tomatoes this year. I’m trying to convince my husband that we need another container (2 plants) of cherry tomatoes so that we can have a surplus and then I can be the “tomato lady” of the neighborhood. I’d sell fresh-picked pints of tomatoes and even deliver them. Who wouldn’t want to buy homegrown tomatoes from a neighbor? Not much tastes better!

+I’m planting zucchini earlier.

+No more bell peppers. These did not do well at all. I have some seeds for lunchbox peppers, which may do better since they’re a smaller pepper. I may try those next year before I decide to not bother with peppers altogether.

+Half of my okra plants were powerhouses. I saved the insert-thingy from them so I can remember the variety. I’m going to hold out for that particular variety next year.

+While I never harvested enough okras at once to pickle them (my dream) I have a bunch in my freezer and I’ve already made a batch of gumbo!

+Ditto with pickling cucumbers. I never had enough at once to pickle, but we pretty much ate these as we harvested. They’re really tasty. Next year, I’ll plant more and have something ready to replace them once they’re done.

+My first batch of jalapeños I made into refrigerator pickles. They were so good! I did the same thing with my second harvest and they were unbearably hot. What? I like spicy, but I don’t like food so hot that I can’t enjoy it. What to do? I just may put in another jalapeño plant next year because this year’s did so well and I really want pickled slices! Maybe I’ll figure out how to “tame” them.

Overall, this year’s garden was successful. If I didn’t get a good yield, I at least learned a lot and have notes for next year.

 

 

40 Before Forty Update: No. 06

6. Complete my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt top…and then put it all together.

I don’t even know what month of this I’m on, because I’m behind. I did hand applique my sunflower corners, though!

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Sarah Fielke Block of the Month Quilt 2017

I count this as progress. I’m also cutting out pieces for the next border as fast as I can. But, there are a lot of little pieces to cut.

SarahFielkeBlockoftheMonthBorder
For reference, there are a total of 80 of those hexagon pieces. And, I need 152 triangles out of the blue.

I’m learning so much with this quilt, especially just how long it takes me to do quilty tasks!

While I’m loving this quilt and I WILL get it finished, I’m pretty sure that I will not be doing a structured or group block of the month quilt next year. Mostly because I have an idea for doing my own block of the month. I’ve got a theme, I just need to work out the details. Although, I think those details will be defined as I go! I’m going to come up with a nifty hashtag for the project, but for now, I’m going with #TBudCoBOMQuilt2018. Stay tuned, as I’ll share more as we get closer to 2018. Of course, stay tuned to see the progress on my 2017 BOM quilt!

Gurus vs. Role Models

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Perfect weather on the lake.

I freely admit that I’m familiar with the self-help genre. I also am pulled toward gurus, especially in the marketing/branding industry. A guru (per one definition in my go-to dictionary) is “a person with knowledge or expertise: expert.” You know who I’m talking about. That personality doing TED talks. They have a large following on social media. They always have some tidbit of information that is so attractive and helpful. “Start here…” “You can’t do this unless…” “Remove the obstacles and then…” It’s all very, very smart. And, very, very inspirational. They know what they’re talking about. Wisdom oozes from their pores.

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Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris

It wasn’t until I started reading David Sedaris’s Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), that I remembered just how much I enjoy his writing and perspective. I love that he writes mostly personal essays and some funny short stories. He is probably the author that ignited my interest in memoirs. And, it wasn’t until I was reading Sedaris’s latest book, that I realized he is a great source of inspiration for me. I don’t read his work because it’s full of truisms about “the craft of writing.” I read it because it’s interesting and well-written. For this, Sedaris is somewhat of a role model. A role model is “a person whose behavior [skill, talent?] in a particular role is imitated by others.

I spend an embarrassing amount of time thumbing through Facebook and Instagram. I have followed multiple blogs regularly (before bloggers just focused on Facebook and Instagram). There are a lot of people out there defining themselves as gurus. (I’m guilty of posting aspiring guru-esque content.) It’s so tempting to write and post because it seems to be what gets liked and clicked and shared—social media currency. Maybe because I’m already tuned into self-help and marketing/branding gurus, my feeds are just a reflection. But, I also see people who are successful bloggers or have a large social media following take time away from their normal subjects and post something like “how to get more followers” or “3 ideas for creating an editorial calendar” or even, “here’s how I really do this—my life isn’t as glamorous as you think.” I get it, because I click through and, like I said, I, too, have written similar pieces. But, goodness, I’m yearning for something different.

The guru and the role model. They’re very similar. A role model could be a guru and a guru could be a role model, but that’s not necessarily the case. I want to follow fewer gurus and more role models. I want to know people who are just doing really cool things and creating really beautiful art and are really good citizens of this universe. I don’t want to know how they do what they do in 5 steps. I want them to just be role models. I want to imitate. I’ll figure out the particulars on my own.

My Pineapple Obsession Continues, Still

I mean, at this point, I’m not even trying to find pineapples. They’re coming to me. Seriously.

First, this costume:

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Pineapple Halloween Costume

I don’t know if this means pineapples have finally reached superstar status, or if they’ve jumped the shark. For $20, I was tempted, but then, this is a one-size-fits-most…children. I am most definitely not child-size. My head wouldn’t fit into that pineapple crown. Plus, I already own a banana costume. Heads might turn and rumors roll if I start dressing up as other fruits. (ONLY ON HALLOWEEN, people.)

Then, Real Simple came through for me, again!

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Pineapple Jack-o’-Lantern. Pineapple-o’-Lantern? Pine-o’-Lantern?

I can NOT wait to #IRL (@WomenIRL) this. That is, I can’t wait to make this myself. (IRL=in real life.) I have a hunch, just a little one, that it isn’t going to turn out as spectacular as the picture in the magazine (it never does, right?). The pineapple Jack-o’-Lantern is just so intriguing, I had to Google Dawn Perry. She’s the food director at Real Simple. I was kind of hoping she was a freelance writer cooped up in the Midwest and I could slowly befriend her, starting with following her on Instagram. Because, dreaming up kooky shit like a carved pineapple and writing about it for a national magazine is kind of my dream. Does such a reality exist for the freelancer?

I wonder what other pineapples the Universe is going to send my way. Stay tuned.

Cat Litter Pineapples

That title doesn’t seem to make sense. Cat litter pineapples. Pineapples in the cat litter? Cat litter made of pineapples? I know. My pineapple obsession has finally led me to cat litter. Fresh Step cat litter, to be exact.

I was flipping through the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, when I happened upon this:

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Fresh Step, now with the Power of Febreeze Hawaiian Aloha scent!

Oh, just your average cat litter ad, right? WRONG! Do you see it? And, I’m not talking about the 3 kitty cats the art director “hid” in the ad. I’m talking about that BEAUTIFUL modern pineapple with the golden crown on the left!

FreshStep_02
I bet one of those cats is going to knock over that pineapple out of spite. Because, cats are like that.

Gasp! What a beauty! And, I have to say, the plants are pretty impressive, too. (I’m a self-proclaimed indoor leaf-peeper, remember).

On a non-pineapple-related note, I bet creating cat litter–any cat product, really–ads are akin to beer and condom ads. When I was in ad school, beer and condoms were strictly off limits. Not because we were prudes, but because supposedly coming up with cool, clever ads for these categories was too easy. Ditto for cats, right? I mean, throw in a cat pun and you’re done. I’m not kitten!