Monday, March 31, 2008

Fig Trees

This post is for the woman (Blackfeet75) who left a comment about where I got my fig tree. I have no way to respond to your comment other than here.

I bought my fig from Stark Brothers ( It looked like a stick when I planted it but I have to keep cutting it back now. If you have an unheated garage or porch you can roll the container in there for the winter. I just wrap mine. I'm going to unwrap it next weekend and see how it looks. Feel free to leave questions in comments and I'll be happy to share my experiences, although they are limited.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Such a big girl!

I drove through 5 states in under 5 hours on Friday (PA, NJ, NY, CT, MA) on my way to a meeting at the Alma mater. As always, it is really wonderful to spend time with fellow alums and it makes me wish I hadn't been such a complete fuck while I was a student. Anyway, I spent the night in CT with friends and then went to New Rochelle, NY to a high school rugby match on my way home. Because of New Rochelle's proximity to NYC there was no point in going north to the Tappan Zee bridge like I normally do to/from New England. Instead, I went down the Hutchinson Parkway to 87 S into the Bronx and across the George Washington Bridge. I am the fuckin' master. I realize this seems like such a pathetic thing to be proud of, especially for people who drive into NYC all the time but for me this is HUGE. I have avoided driving anywhere near NYC for my entire life until recently when The Wife and I drove into Manhattan to see a show. I even called The Wife to tell her that I had managed to navigate through NY and was safely back in NJ.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cheese, Glorious Cheese

I've finally gotten back to making cheese. I bought a new cheese press recently and made a point of using it the weekend after I got it. I made a farmhouse cheddar using the home cheesemaker's bible. The cheese took a few days to develop the necessary rind (and I made the mistake of leaving it uncovered overnight once and one of the cats made quite an indentation with her tongue). I was finally able to wax it on Sunday. We can try it in about a month. I had to move The Wife's meds into the regular fridge so I could reclaim the "cheese fridge." The cheese fridge has a separate external thermostat so I can get any temp from freezing to about 70. Most cheeses need to age at 50-60 degrees (ie, too cold for a regular fridge and too warm for room temp) so if you want to make cheese at home you have to make your own "cheese cave." My first cheddar was disastrous (tried to age it in the basement during the summer). We also tried to make an italian table cheese but we were never thrilled with it. My co-workers thought it was pretty good though. The Wife wants me to make a gouda next. I also want to try to make a provolone for my dad - I tried once but it never came together. Any other home cheesemakers out there?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The L Word

I have discovered The L Word. OMG! We got Showtime plus lots of other movie channels recently and last night when The Wife was in the hospital I started watching episodes on demand. I am completely hooked. There is absolutely nowhere else to see lesbians actually having a complete relationship, including sex. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the actresses playing the lesbians are smokin' hot. Today when I brought The Wife home from the hospital I had her watch an episode with me. She is also very glad we got Showtime.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have a secret

I'm going to share a secret with you. I'm the Easter Bunny. Lest you think I'm completely delusional, let me explain. When I was a child, a friend of my parents would leave chocolate eggs on our front walk every year at Easter. I still remember it so when we moved here and there was a family with little kids next door I started doing it for them. I didn't think the kids really cared but last year their mother told me that they remember and they run for the front door on Easter morning to see what the Easter Bunny left outside for them. It's a silly little thing but it makes me happy.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More water

Once again we have water in the basement. However, the alarm did its job (and fortunately the worst happened during the day and on a weekend) so we had plenty of warning that the water was going to overwhelm the pumps. A friend had stopped by to pick up some things so the three of us set up the extra pump. Now the sun is out but there is a very odd band of clouds off in the distance so I suspect we are going to get more rain before all of this is over. In the grand scheme of things this is not a big deal - our basement will be dry in a day or so. Because of our experience with this we have to get 3+ FEET of water for anything that is even remotely sensitive to water to even get damp. But still it did put a damper on plans for the day (movie outing, grocery shopping, etc) because we suspected that we would get water at some point during the day and we wanted to be here to drop the extra pump. Now I have to do work - BLAH!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Yesterday I hosted a party (followed by a family dinner) for The Wife's 39th birthday. I hired a caterer (to drop off the food, not to actually serve) which I have never done before. I am now completely sold on the concept. It would have been a little harder if it were warm out but because it is cold we were able to put the covered trays in the garage overnight and then today I packed them up (and composted the garnish). We had a fair amount of food left over from dinner but we didn't have a lot left over from the party. Notes to self: grape leaves and roasted veggies not a hit; shrimp a must have for the next party; must label pumpkin dip or people think it is mustard. I packaged the beef and chicken into 8 oz containers and put it in the freezer. The Wife and I will be eating leftovers for the next 2 months - that is not necessarily a bad thing. I do have a GIANT tray of bowtie pasta with bacon and peas in alfredo sauce that is going to work with me. I don't think it will freeze well and there is no way The Wife and I can even make a dent in it before it goes bad. We did discover that we can get 12 people (including toddler in portable high chair) into our family room for dinner. A few of us used the kitchen table (including an uncle who just pulled up the cooler and had a seat) because I needed a stable place for my plate and there were no more spots by the time I got my dinner. More tray tables would have been helpful. Even though it was a pretty casual dinner we used the china and silver, it is almost as easy to clean up as paper and doesn't generate any trash. During the afternoon portion of the pary, we discovered we can comfortably get nearly 35 people (including 8 kids and 2 teenagers) in our downstairs. I am far more likely to have parties in the future now that we know this. Everyone got along, our friends' kids played together, and neither The Wife nor I was a complete stress ball. It also gave us a really good reason to clean/organize the house and get various pictures hung. All in all, a fine day.

and everyone who tried it said they liked the home-brewed beer. They seemed surprised that it was tasty.