Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Resolutions Update

I drafted a list of Summer Resolutions back in April... and I've pretty much crapped out on the list. Nathan and I did have our beach day, but I have not played with sparklers, busted out the croquet set, or learned to grill. 

The sparklers are buried somewhere in the basement. I'm not exactly certain where. At this point, they are probably too damp to ignite anyway.

The croquet set is also in the basement, but it's too damn hot to voluntarily linger outside, unless one is submerged in the pool. Maybe croquet is more of a fall sport in Pasadena? I could set up a Halloween themed croquet course with pumpkins and fake spiders.

As for grilling, well, Nathan is already the Grill Master. Why should I learn how to grill the chicken when he already does it so perfectly? But, I did learn how to turn on the grill, which is a major improvement over last summer. Also, I did attempt to grill pork loin for dinner... but when I tore the plastic off the meat, I was overwhelmed by a stench of death farts. Rancid meat! The Universe was obviously trying to tell me to leave the grilling to Nathan.

But I did start a vegetable and herb garden! For reals! I meant to blog about it weeks ago, but the photographs I took of my garden were depressing. Let's just say my vegetable and herb gardens are not going to be gracing the pages of a magazine spread anytime soon.

For the herb garden, I planted basil, chives, sage, thyme, parsley, mint, chocolate mint, rosemary and a few other things that died. The basil thrived, and we had several glorious batches of homemade pesto. I was eating pesto with every meal: pesto with my scrambled egg whites; pesto spread on my sandwich; pesto with pasta; pesto as pizza sauce. I could have bathed in pesto, it was so yummy. Then I got too busy to harvest my basil, and the plants got unruly... but the basil was still a huge success. I expect I'll be planting basil every year for the rest of my life.

The chives did well, and the rest of the herbs died. The chocolate mint won the title of Summer 2012 Most Spectacular Plant Death. Most of the herbs wilted and faded, but the chocolate mint literally died overnight. One evening, it was blooming merrily and I was clipping recipes for chocolate mint ice cream; the next morning, it had turned to plant ash. It made my heart feel sad.

As for vegetables, I planted cherry tomatoes, corn and a red bell pepper plant. Everything was planted in containers, so the corn was a really stupid idea. I knew I was being ridiculous when I picked out the corn at the nursery, but my father-in-law is a farmer who grows corn. How could I not give the corn a shot?

The corn grew several feet and a few ears of corn started sprouting, but then the corn realized it was growing in a container in my Pasadena backyard and died. I guess I'll leave the corn growing to my in-laws.

The red bell pepper plant grew, but very slowly, and now the August heat is overwhelming it. I don't think we'll be eating fresh bell pepper this summer.

The cherry tomatoes have been a huge success. I bought three different plants, and they have each produced dozens of tomatoes. I usually eat the tomatoes like candy when I'm watering the plants.

Two summers ago, I tried to grow full-sized tomatoes and stationed the containers on our concrete patio. Those tomatoes all shriveled on the vine. This time, I stuck to cherry tomatoes and positioned the containers on the dirt patch by our lemon tree. Lesson learned.

Lastly, I bought two strawberry plants. I had visions of eating sun warmed strawberries for dessert with a dollop of whipped cream... But the plants have only produced a few strawberries, about the size of my thumbnail, and they taste like dirt. Next summer I'll definitely have another vegetable and herb garden, but I'll skip the strawberries.