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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We're back!

The regularly scheduled posts over the past few weeks probably tipped you off to our Europe trip, huh? I'm not very sneaky.

I have a lot to say about the trip-- it went beautifully, with only unavoidable glitches like the unseasonably warm weather in Rome. It was in the low 90's every day, instead of the upper 70's/ low 80's like we planned for. Lets just say my husband posted a lot of facebook comments about sweaty balls.

I'm still trying to process our trip photos, all 1,030 of them. I promise I won't subject you to all of them. In the mean time, I thought I'd start with the highlights and lowlights of the trip.

Highlight (for me): Day 1- D-Day Tour. I'll post more about it later, but a couple of quick images:
German guns overlooking the Normandy beaches. 

Omaha Beach, looking towards the east. 

Overlooking Omaha Beach. 

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. 

Really, I have so much more to say about this day. The short version of it is, GO THERE. If you can swing it. If you're in France. GO. 

Now, for the lowlight. I'll explain more of it later too, but the lowlight was the Vatican Museums/ Sistine Chapel. Check out these photos and tell me if you can figure out why:

Yeah... The Vatican Museums host 20-40,000 people in one day. We didn't know that. They also don't make you set up an appointment (like at the Borghese Gallery) so they can send everyone in waves. It was  a giant mass of people shuffling in one direction. It was alos 85 degrees outside, and either they don't have AC, or it couldn't keep up with the masses.  By the time we reached the Sistine Chapel I just wanted OUT. OUT OF THERE RIGHT THIS SECOND. OMFG GET ME OUT OF HERE. And someone brought a baby. And yes, I took a picture of the screaming kid, because I'm an asshole like that. The poor kid was expressing exactly how I felt at that exact moment too. 

If' you're in Rome, don't go to the Sistine Chapel. If you really want to see it in all it's beautiful detail, buy a coffee table book and enjoy it (for about the same price). 

Also: Jet lag is kind of awesome. I've been up since 3:45am (having gone to sleep at 8:30pm). I've gotten a ton done! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guilt over leaving the pupperoni

My friend Emily is house/ dog sitting for us while we're in Europe. It'll work well; Emily grew up with golden retrievers and she's headed home to the family farm for a long weekend while we're gone, so Harlow will get to be a temporary farm dog. Emily will also be able to haul in the bushels of ripe tomatoes  I'm sure to get while we're gone. I have big plans for those tomatoes. 

But in the meantime, I feel a certain sense of guilt for leaving our dear pupperoni. She's been getting extra loves and treats for the last few weeks. She's seen the suitcases out, and I think she know's something is up.

Cuddling this morning in bed; nothing like hanging out with your wang out.  

Muddy paws?

Favorite hanging out position.

Snoozing in the morning sun while Courtney works in the office.

Someday I'll catch that tail!

Oh gosh we love this doggie. 

Friday, September 9, 2011


The whole point of gardening, for me, is to be able to bring flowers inside. Check out my gladiolus! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Landscaping: What's not working

Overall I've been really pleased with our landscaping and veggie garden this year. Last year was so disappointing, but this year things are doing really well. I've even held off on purchasing new plants, which is amazing considering my obsession with perennials last year. 

There are, however, a number of things not working. 

Like this aster plant. I think it suffers from a number of maladies; including no water, being overtaken by weeds and being a favorite place for the cats to poop in (thus making yanking the weeds out not so fun). 

Or how about the plants near the back step? They have to be hand watered, and I forgot to point them out to our neighbor when he agreed to water our plants in later July. Darn.

The trellis-less sweet peas are also not really working. They kind of just build on themselves and then flop over.

Or how about this vacant spot on the north side of the garage?

The hanging baskets are just not thriving either. I have my doubts about the soil in the baskets (which we scavenged), and because there is no mulch on the top, the baskets dry out really quickly.  We'll see what we can do next year.

You know what's really had a rough summer? The Adirondak chairs on our front porch. A wind comes up and knocks them over, usually into a post, and off goes an arm. Damn.

So there's our dirty little secrets about what's not working in our landscaping. Anything you need to get off your chest?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Home made salsa

I love home made salsa. Having the ingredients out in the garden makes it so easy to throw together a batch of yumminess. 

First, tomatoes: Juliet and cherry tomatoes (left over from a pasta dish from last week).

Hungarian hot wax pepper. 


Cherry bomb pepper. 

Cilantro. For some reason I am unable to grow cilantro. I think it gets too hot and goes to seed before it really grows leaves. 

The big green bell pepper is also store-bought. Same with the red onion. 

Salsa is so easy to make! you just chop everything up, toss it in a seal-able container, throw in salt, pepper and a few squirts of lime and you have a delicious snack! 

I'll admit it, sometimes I have chips and salsa for breakfast in the summer. 

What's so wrong with that?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back in the game

This afternoon my dad retakes the football field as a collegiate head coach. After three years of being out of the game, he'll lead the Idaho State Bengals onto the field at Martin Stadium in Pullman, for an afternoon showdown against Washington State University. 

Man, there is so much emotion wrapped up in those two sentences. Dad is finally actually coaching again. He and my mom grew up 12 miles from Pullman. He was recruited by Washington State, but chose to start at the University of Idaho as a freshman. WSU drubbed Idaho so badly in 1975 that my dad's brother Pat, who was being recruited by WSU, refused to speak to the 'Cougs coaches. Pat signed with Notre Dame instead, married a girl from the east coast and has lived in Massachusetts since.  

Football is a game, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it has life-changing consequences.

Dad was on the staff at WSU last year. Let me make it clear: he made $24,000 as the glorified water boy. He couldn't interact with college athletes. He wasn't coaching. But he and my mom had fun being 'Coug fans. Even if the 'Cougs only won two games last year; one of them an overtime victory against Montana State. 

A long time assistant, and good friend of his, is the head football coach at WSU. Paul's WSU teams have won five games in three years- he's on the end of a one-year contract extension. Saying he's on the hot seat is like saying I've got small fingers. Duh. 

My sister and her boyfriend are seniors at WSU. It's amazing how much this university, which I didn't attend, has been in my life lately. Can I call myself a bandwagon 'Coug fan if I became a fan when they sucked? 

The sportswriter for the Spokesman Review out of Spokane has been a longtime favorite writer of mine. His article this week gets to the amazing irony and sometimes gut-wrenching coincidences that come with college athletics. You can, and should, read it here.

Don't get me wrong, it won't be a close game. The 'Cougs have been terrible, but the Bengals have been worse. But it's awesome to see dad get another chance to do what he loves, and is so damn good at.