March was a busy month

I made an incredible pizza last night. The toppings were cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic and swiss chard marinated for a few hours in olive oil. Used a hearty 5 grain crust coated lightly with Nancy’s pasta sauce, a few sprinkles of cheeses and then the toppings. All of that topped with Mozzarella and then, off to the Holland grill. This finishes off the cherry tomatoes for the season but the new ones are nearly ready to make the move to the garden. Also in garden news – the first zucchini is on the vine and will probably be on the table before March is over. (do I see a zucchini pizza in our future/) That’s the earliest we’ve ever had squash and I attribute that to the weather and planting the seeds much earlier than usual. We keep getting cold snaps down into the 40’s and I’m convinced that keeps the insect hatches way down – apparently including those that normally attack the zucchini.

I’m fairly well finished with the spring jungle cleanup . As part of the project I decided to redo the clothesline. I needed about 10’ more linear space and I could see where I could get it by cutting off a few tree branches and changing the path a little. The old line – probably over 10 years old – was getting stretched out and sagged deeply when I loaded it up with wet sheets. I did the tree work first and restrung the old line just to see if I really picked up as much as I thought. Perfect. Now I need to pick up some wire core line to restring it.

Glad this week is over. We had meetings with lawyers, accountants, and doctors. Topped off by a visit to the car dealer to get a “check engine” light taken care of. Interestingly, with Onstar they send an email telling you that you have a problem. When I read it, something about the emission system, I hadn’t noticed the check engine light and thought they had made a mistake. I went out and cranked it up and sure enough the light was on. Not nearly enough fishing, walking, or brew time. Right now April looks fairly clear for me – a little more activity for Nancy but still much better than March.

My New Clippers

The corn beef and cabbage was particularly great this year. The cabbage (Early Jersey Wakefield) and the carrots (Yaya) were only minutes from garden to pot so they couldn’t have been fresher. After a hot week where stuff started bolting, it’s cooled off and probably gives us another couple weeks to pick greens, cabbage and most other winter veggies. Nancy dropped the Crescent City bridge game which has impacted the garden. Every Wednesday morning I’d pick large bags of greens – collards, swiss chard, kale, lettuce – for the ladies in the club. I planted plenty knowing that would be a consistent demand. Now, my customer base has shrunk. George loved the veggies but Barbara, not so much. So I’m really in an overload mode and probably should cut back on the planting. Problem with that is the soil is so fertile that any spot not occupied by a plant is quickly populated with weeds. Nancy’s crochet ladies may pick up some of the slack but it’s a small group.

Tom and Tina spent last week in Europe – as tourists. They brought us some pasta from Italy which will be starting on the table tonight. We’re really becoming pasta nazi’s and try new brands and styles regularly. The one’s they brought are completely new to us. The danger is that we fall in love with one and can’t ever find it again.

Doing my bi- annual jungle cleanout which occurs now and again in November when it’s cool and when the wasps aren’t nesting in the palmettos. I widen all the paths and driveways, taking a few days to complete. And especially down at the lake. I started and was having some difficulty cutting with my old clippers. These were cheap junky ones to start with – I think I paid about $4 for them at a Dollar store – but I keep sharpening and oiling them so they get the job done albeit with much cursing. I have a propensity to lose clippers so it doesn’t cause heartburn when they’re junky. About 2 or 3 years ago Joey bought me a pair of really high class super trimmers but I put them away as just too good to use/lose. Yeah I know – that’s stupid. The old one’s were giving me fits so I decided to bite the bullet and break out the high class model. Wow, double Wow! They cut through everything with minimal effort on my part. After trimming with the old ones for a half hour, my hand was sore but not now. Thanks Joey.

Getting another Petscan tomorrow. Hope it turns out better than the last one.

George’s Memorial Party

Today had some highs and some lows. I had an MRI scheduled at an imaging center in Palm Coast so the plan was to visit Wilma then get the MRI followed by introducing Nancy to my regular Friday afternoons. That means taking her to Waterfront Park and then to Moonrise brewery in the European Village. We’d then cap it off with a trip to Sky Jacker’s for the boiled shrimp special. Started out ok but hit a bump in the road with my MRI. It’s a test where I’m injected with some special brew and then scanned for 20 minutes or so while remaining totally motionless. They installed an injection port with no apparent problem and then injected the juice. Very painful which the gal told me probably meant it wasn’t going to work. In other words she missed the vein and tapped into something else. But you can’t tell and the test, once started, can’t be stopped. Apparently the stuff injected is time sensitive and very expensive. At the end of the test they warned me that they wouldn’t know for a few hours but the likelihood was that I would have to do it again. That was the bad part. We then headed over to waterfront park and on to Moonrise. That was certainly an uptick. As was the shrimp and Yeungling at Sky Jacker’s. I’m supposed to get a call from the hospital after they’ve analyzed the results of the MRI but they’re pretty sure we’re going have to do it again. Bummer.

George’s memorial happened on Saturday. It was a nice crowd – maybe 50 people – in an interesting mix of Churchy folks and bikers. The churchers’ outnumbered the bikers so it was a coke and water event – no alcohol. Our local barbecue roadside guy catered it (as he’s done for several of our gatherings over the years) with ribs, chicken, pulled pork, beans and coleslaw plus about half the attendees brought dishes. We knew about half the people and got to meet several new ones including George’s cousin Teresa who has macular on the same scale as Nancy’s so those two hit it off real well. I actually got up the courage to say a few words to the crowd. I guess I did ok since nobody booed or thru tomatoes. Interestingly, the garden turned out to be a big attraction with lots of oohs and aahs and good questions. Several claimed to have given up trying and couldn’t believe what they were seeing. I’ll have to admit that it looks about as good as it possibly could and I’m glad I took a few hours last week and pulled weeds.

One of my oldest pineapple plants is “with child”. It’s one I planted in a large container a few years back and has produced offspring before. I suspect it’ll be on the table near the end of April.  Just like I’m surprised that we’re making another large pot of tomato sauce this late in the season.   The tomatoes just keep coming.

Cleaning the Driveway

About this time of year, the oak trees lose all their leaves and start pollinating.   Actually this year it all happened early and our driveway was inches deep in leaves.   The driveway is a couple hundred feet long and 8’ wide and the leaves were inches deep this year.   If you clear it too soon, you just have to repeat the process several times throughout the season so I usually wait until I’m sure the leaves have all fallen before taking action.  Actually I usually wait for Joey to come up with his high velocity blower and let him deal with it but he’s been too busy traveling this season so I decided to do it myself.  Also weeds had started growing under the leaves so the driveway needed both a good blowing and application of a herbicide.   All in all it took about 3 hours but it’s done.   The other driving force for getting it done was that Nancy can move the cars in the driveway if she can see it better – oak leaves blur her view.   So why do I want her to drive?  Remember I mentioned pollination – even with the cars in the carport about halfway up the driveway, they become quickly coated with pollen making it really hard to see out the windows and especially difficult to deal with when damp.   So before we take off in a car, it has to be hosed off.  That’s where Nancy comes in.   She’s legally blind and with no drivers license but she was confident she could drive the car down the driveway while I sprayed it.   I did a large trim job on all the brush along side the driveway to make it as wide as possible and then gave her the keys.   Worked perfectly.  

Can’t wait for the change to daylight savings time.  Works much better for my fishing in the lake.   I can fish at day break without getting up so early and can go out after dinner and still have plenty of daylight for a couple hours on the lake.   Florida is making noises about staying on it permanently which works for me.   

Got seedlings started for all the summer crop so now just waiting for garden space as the winter crops are harvested.  The only stuff that’s done for the year is the broccoli, lettuce and spinach. Still have lots of cabbage, kale, and Swiss chardf.   The way the weather shaped up this year, I still have quite a load in the garden -including last year’s summer stuff – tomatoes, green peppers, and egg plants.   I’ve never had those last so long and still producing.  They’ve been putting out goodies since last June and there are still new blossoms coming on.   Normally they give up the ghost in November but for some reason, these annuals are behaving like perennials.   I also have a few zucchini’s bushes out there, earlier than normal.   Every year is different.

Olivia seems to be having a great time in Guatemala with her language studies and Tom/Tina are touring  Europe. With stops in the Netherlands, Italy, and Switzerland.   And Chris just got a promotion in the job he’s only had since November.