Wednesday, July 29, 2009


There are few comfort foods on this planet I love more than potatoes... I love all kinds - red, yellow, blue, Yukon gold, itty-bitty fingerlings, huge honkin' russets... any kind you can think of. I like 'em mashed, broiled, skillet fried, latke-ed, french fried, scalloped, hash browned, chipped, baked, twice-baked, roasted, steamed, as a crust for a savory tart, O'Brien-ed, sliced thin and fried on my sandwich grill, and, Goddess help me, even boiled. Out of curiosity, one day I Googled "varieties of potatoes" and found the Washington State University Research & Extension site has a list of 575 varieties! My idea of heaven would be to eat my way through the entire list - one variety a day - until I either croaked or decided I hate potatoes.

This year's potato crop was a pure accident. In early February, I started receiving potatoes in my weekly veggie box from Riverdog Farm. After several weeks, I had tons of potatoes on hand, and one sack of them got forgotten in the back of my veggie bin. In early April, I noticed some strange tendrils growing out of the veggie bin, and found, to my dismay, the forgotten spuds. By that time they looked terrible - wrinkled, shriveled, soft and sprouting ten-inch tendrils, that were threatening to take over the pantry closet as well as the veggie bin. I was about to relegate them to the yard waste container, when my husband suggested I plant them in a spare planter and "see what happens". Long story short... they sprouted, then grew into a gorgeous array of bright green plants, then, after 6-7 weeks, faded and dried up and started looking terrible. I'd read on the internet that potatoes are ready to harvest when the bushes start producing blossoms. I waited and waited, and... no blossoms. About a week ago I noticed some lumps poking out of the soil, and realized they were potatoes! I decided to wait a while longer, but when no blossoms appeared by this morning, I decided to go for it, and started rutting around in the dirt under two of the plants. Wow...!!! Bunches of potatoes appeared - some the size of tiny cherry tomatoes, and others the size of a small fist. So, here they are - fresh from the dirt and ready for breakfast! They were the best home fries I've ever had - tender and fluffy, and fantastic tasting. The best part is, there are still another eight plants I haven't dug up yet!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diana - Still a half dozen lives left...

Diana spent ten days earlier this month at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center being treated for severe kidney failure. We drove up to Davis nearly every day to visit her and consult with doctors, and went through fifteen kinds of hell along the way - watching her get better, then get worse, then get better, etc. I'm sure some people would have pulled the plug long ago, but we simply couldn't do it. We've had some serious ups and downs since she came home, but for the last few days she's been doing very well. She requires buckets of time for her nursing care - tube feeding, sub-cutaneous fluids, various meds, dressing changes, yada, yada. Is it worth it? How much pain is she in? Is she happy with her lot? Is she miserable and wishing we'd just let go? Unanswerable questions, of course, and I wonder, hour by hour, if we're doing the right thing(s). Then, there's days like today and yesterday, where she runs around the house, jumps on the furniture, sprawls in the sunlight, does a really cool "elevator butt" every time we pet her, is conversational, and is interactive with us and some of the other cats. Time will tell, and maybe we'll never know what's "the right thing" to do. In the meantime, we're giving her all the love we can muster, and hoping that amounts to something in her little kitty mind.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life in the Garden

All seventeen of my new roses are blooming, and some of them are real block-busters. Here's a couple:

Queen Mary
Just Joey In fact, they're blooming so bloomin' fast and furiously, they've gotten waaaaay ahead of me, and for the past couple of days, I've had to dive in and do some serious dead-heading and pruning back.

My succulent garden is going nuts...
...and a couple of my violets are really struttin' their stuff.

I recently joined an African Violet group on Yahoo!, and have realized the error of my ways these many years, in which I've never paid much attention to the names of the violets and orchids I buy. Thus, these two beauties are "Sine nomine" (without a name)... but I love them anyway! The lesson has been learned, however, and I resolve never again to buy another plant without knowing it's name first!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jenny

Jenny just had her 18th birthday! That makes her the longest-lived cat ever to grace our lives. She's still a healthy, active, and often feisty Princess, who shows no sign of slowing down except for a mild touch of kidney disease, which we're managing to keep under control. She can hold her own in a fist-fight, and has been known to punch the crap out of another cat who isn't behaving toward her in a manner befitting someone in the presence of Royalty. She's truly a credit to her race!

None of our other kids - 23 current and 24 who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, have lived beyond 17 years and a couple of months. One of the truths we've had to accept along the way, is that one almost always outlives their companion animals. Losing one is never easy, but we have lots of fun memories and at least 4 or 5 boocoodle photographs with which to ease the pain of loss when it occurs.

Here's to our former kids: Misty, Odyssey, Felicity, Felix, Fanny, George, Ira, Sarek, Amanda, Julian, Andrew, Josef, Michael, Borris, Erroll, Clara, Hildegarde, Winston, Tiger, Alicia, Darius Meow, Igor, Johann...

And our current kids: Dmitri, Yoda, Beverly, Gerald, Wanda, Amy, Lucia, Alessandro, Domenico, Carmen, Cecilia, Frederick the Grey, Elvis, Ralph, Diana, Robert, Lavernne, Patty, Maxene, Jenny, Nikolai, Martina, Sarah...