Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pea Poll

I've never grown pole peas before, so I decided to experiment with some Golden Sweets this year.  Aren't they pretty?  Elegant violet blossoms produce flat, pale yellow pods.  And they are tasty, too.  But are they worth the bother?  Here are some of the pros and cons:
They have not really clung to the tent poles I had handy.  They grew so quickly that, as soon as I had tied them, they were flopping over again.  Now their tendrils can reach each other, so they are almost self-supporting.  Almost.
Training the vines upward has left plenty of room for lettuce underneath.
They are tall enough for the fruits to be out of reach of the slugs that are plaguing my bush peas.
They are also nearly out of my reach.  I guess I'll have to send out the taller troops.  Maybe next year I should plant them in a trench instead of a raised bed. 
Which leaves me undecided as to pole v. bush in general.  What do you think?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Swimsuit Issue

Summer is finally here!  Not knowing how long it will last, we spent the first possibly-90-degree day at the beach.
Of course, a state park on the Puget Sound is nothing like the smooth white sand of Honolulu or even the Isle of Palms.  When we arrived, the shallow waves washed over weedy mud.
The mud felt pretty good on our feet, compared to the rocks above them.  But we had a great time. 
The scene was a study in contrasts: 
hard, hot rocks; leafy, squishy mud
faded driftwood; evergreen trees
warm sunshine; pleasant breeze; cold water that felt pretty good
sparkling sea water; distant views of icy peaks
And I got to wear my new swimsuit.  Just before our wedding, Dandelionslayer and I, unbeknownst to each other, purchased ourselves new swimsuits.  They happened to be in a matching shade of blue.  He still wears his.  I wore out my blue one, and two more since.  This is the latest, and the first two-piece suit I've worn since I was about five years old.  Why two pieces?  I happen to need different sizes above and below the waist.  This way I could fit both.  In fact, I bought the two pieces from two different companies.  After extensive research, I settled on the Black Boy Shorts from Lime Ricki, and the Red Aloha Sport Tankini from Hapari.  Both companies specialize in tops and bottoms that overlap and provide the type of coverage for which I was looking.  I also admired Rey Swimwear's selection.  Diviine Modestee had some good choices, too, but it is not easy to navigate through their site.  Anyway, I'm glad I found these resources.  I feel comfortable and confident in my new suit.
The Caterpillar needed a new suit this year, too.  He took about ten minutes to choose this one at Old Navy, and it cost about a tenth of my price tag.  Boys have it so easy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Highland Laddies

Recently we headed toward the highest land around here for the Tacoma Highland Games.  We haven't been to one of these gatherings since we moved here, but it seemed pretty familiar.
There were the usual pipe bands playing the traditional airs, vendors of blades and kilt pins, and clan tents.  Unusually, we met up with representatives of Clan Menzies. (They preferred the Scottish pronunciation of the name--they probably don't have to live with it.)  The Caterpillar neglected to wear his tartan tie, but he would have matched them perfectly.
We admired the coos, and I took in a bit of dancing and harping.  Then we went to the arena for the heavy events, where massive kilted males and females were tossing massive objects around.  We settled down at one end of the arena, where children could participate in some not-so-heavy events.  At previous games we've attended, the children's events were pretty casual. Come over, try it out, whenever. Here they actually registered, grouped, and scored them all. It took longer than we expected, and we got sunburns to show for it.
The men in kilts made the Caterpillar and his group of oldest boys pick up the caber by themselves, though they handed it to members of the other groups.
Rollo helped the judge practice his dance steps with a well-placed rolling pin.
Scoot flung the rolling pin so gracefully.  Too bad they didn't award points for style.
They also did the backwards hammer throw.
Then there were prizes, for each event in each group, and overall.  The Caterpillar's modesty dictated that he not appear in this picture, but Scoot and Rollo were happy to display their ribbons.  Probably the surprise of the day was that blue ribbon on Rollo's chest.  But really, no one could beat two perfect 12 o'clocks in the caber toss.
It were a braw time!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Before heading off for the famous July 3rd fireworks in Poulsbo, we enjoyed this patriotic menu:
RED Meat: Grilled Steaks with Toasted Garlic Butter
WHITE Corn: on the cob, also good with Toasted Garlic Butter
I probably didn't get it quite right.  I am rather impatient with unflavored gelatin.  And I didn't think it needed any more whipped cream on top.  But, oh, it was so delicious!  A perfect blend of cooked and fresh blueberry flavor, with fruity and creamy textures.  I look forward to finishing the leftovers tonight.
Enjoy this day with thanksgiving!