Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FYI: Windows Update KB950582 problems have wrecked my life

Well, not quite, but our machine got trapped in an endless cycle of update / roll back / reboot / Windows not Genuine as described by another user here:
KB950582 killed my Vista machine
It downloaded, restarted tried to install, shut down, said it was "improperly configured" and tried to roll itself
back. Rebooted and got the "Windows not genuine" screen. Don't bother going to the activation process. That didn't work.

Booted to safe mode got to a restore point. Restoring
brought things back to normal. Rebooting from last known good configuration did not work.

I put that update in the "Ignore" file.
Thanks a bunch, Microsoft.  Warned Judy not to get a new machine with Vista because it's not stable yet.  But she's banking on it being stable 2 years down the line... and in the meantime, supported by Microsoft longer than XP will be.
Anyway, the only reason I'm blogging this is in the mad hope that somebody will google this malevolent update before blindly installing it.  BUT, of course, Vista will likely install it automatically, as it did on our system.  It took a call to Dell tech support and turning off auto-updates to get the system even remotely useable again.  And now that I've turned off auto-updates, of course, it warns me every 3 seconds because it's not secure.
If you've come here by googling Windows update KB950582, please feel free to stop by and read about my gardening and suppers!
Salmon with a bottle of General Tsao sauce - yummy
Rice pilaf with garden chard and lots of garlic to mask the chard taste - yummy
Garden green beans (a few)
Frozen peas (a lot)
<3 J

Wayback Machine? Old foodie post.

Here's a really, REALLY old post from about a million years ago... well, ten at least.
All about the food we eat & how I cook.  I had forgotten most of this.  The two kids referred to are, of course, the ones we now call the BIG kids.
I found this bc I told my old friend (now Facebook Friend) Emily I thought of her every time I make rice pilaf, because she taught me how from an old cookbook she bought me called Food 101.  She replied that she knew bc she'd googled herself and found this post. 
So here it is...


Everybody's always asking me, "how do you do it?". Being a single mother, working full-time, being frum, and all that...

Well, it's actually easy, as long as you have an extra twelve hours in your day. Which I don't, so I try to make an extra two or three extra hours in the day, and learn to cut corners.

My rules of thumb in the kitchen and around the house are:

  1. It's never easier in the morning / tomorrow.
  2. It's never easier when the kids are around.
  3. Remember that stuff psychologists say about how what's most important for kids is to feel loved, not to have a SuperMommy.
  4. Somebody is SuperMommy, but she is not me.
  5. Don't panic.
  6. I have a right to my feelings even if I am the only adult; I can be hungry/thirsty/tired if I need to be.
  7. If somebody will buy you a restaurant meal, accept it, even if you have to bring the kids along.
  8. Hashem Ya'azor (G-d will help); He never gives you a burden you cannot handle. We are all children to Him; we are all beautiful, cute, perfect, innocent (does this mean I can act as immature as I want???)... He is disappointed if we do something wrong, but is slow to anger and quick to forgive, just as we should be.

The food we eat around here:

What we eat is mostly what I call "moderate vegetarian". We don't eat a lot of meat, not on principle, but because it's more difficult to prepare in a small kitchen (most of my kitchen is milchik) and because I don't think the "one meat meal a day" philosophy I was raised on is necessarily the healthiest.

We DO eat meat on Shabbos, though I have a bunch of pareve standbys for vegetarian guests. My mother laughed a while ago when she suggested going out to eat. Yerachmiel Meir (my son, aged 3 at the time) asked, "are we having fleishiks?", and I replied that we would be. He said, "why, is it Shabbos today?". The kids just accept that this is the way things are.

Anyway, they don't seem to LIKE meat that much, even the chicken and hamburger things that I might have assumed kids WOULD like. And even though their father was an avid meat-eater. The foods they like are the simplest to prepare, served not too hot, so they can be eaten right away.

This point was driven home one time, after a few weeks of my striving to make all sorts of fancy food for them (and me) that none of us was enjoying much. I had a rough day at work and decided to cave in and make macaroni and cheese, plain, straight from the box (a "luxury" item at nearly $1.50 Canadian!!). I made this up quickly and served it to the kids from a big pot in the centre of the table. Yerachmiel Meir started eating his and didn't look up from eating for quite a few minutes. When he finally did, he looked at me and said "this is good". Then a pause, then "it's VERY good". "Very, very good..." "mmmmmmm.....yummy!". The point was made. Keep it simple.

I haven't mentioned my daughter much here for the simple reason that her tastes in food are less developed than Yerachmiel's. BUT Elisheva Chaya has an uncanny knack for knowing what she likes and doesn't like before trying it. One time, I gave her a plate of salad and left her with it (Yerachmiel LOVES salad). I looked over to see that she was picking up each lettuce leaf daintily with her fingers and dropping it onto the floor, like it was something disgusting I'd accidentally left on her plate. She did the same thing with a piece of bologna-type sliced meat. Ironically, at less than 2 years of age, she knows quality; she will eagerly eat a similar slice of (expensive) smoked turkey breast!!

All of this silliness aside, however, she is usually quite easy to please, and is just now starting to get over a long-standing habit of referring to all food as a "cookie". This very evening we had quiche, which she called "cookie" ("egg cookie")... she eats meat cookies (if she has to), vegetable cookies, even COOKIE cookies (probably her favourite). Lately, I think she's been doing it just to tease me.

The way I cook:

Well, I've been told I'm an extremely DANGEROUS cook. To myself, anyway... I'm always sticking my fingers into knives, ovens, food processors, etc. My husband used to warn me to curl my fingers AWAY from the knife when cutting food instead of pushing them into its treacherous path, but now he's gone, so I try to remind myself instead....

I'm pretty casual about cooking, I don't always measure and sift every ingredient properly (unless I set out to cook something properly, in which case I try to). I usually make a big mess, which I don't always clean up right away. I guess I'm still a big kid, and this apartment is my room. And I don't have to clean it up if I don't want to. Unless it's erev Shabbos, of course!

In return for this lackadaisical attitude, I tell myself that my kids are more content than if I was SuperMom. I'll always have doubts, but I hope this is generally true.

I have a microwave, but I have really never learned how to cook in it, and am not interested in learning, so don't mail me to tell me how easy / rewarding / enriching / gratifying / fast it is... I like my little toaster oven, which I use for all milchik cooking. It's a deLonghi, and is just the right size to make dinner for a single-parent family of three. The microwave seems happy in its role as popcorn-popper, butter-melter, and yam-toaster (and smores-baker, see below).

Because the way I work in a kitchen is very informal, I'm not going to give many exact quantities or instructions in the recipes below. Instead, you can try these out to see what works for you. Most of these recipes are at least a little forgiving... there's a good margin for error in most things.

My favourite cookbooks:

  • The Joy of Cooking (gift from MYSELF!)

    There is none better in the realm of trayfe cookery...

    Tells you all about every possible ingredient, and is full of fancy-schmancy ideas about dinner parties and cocktails and which fork to use if you're visiting the Queen. I love it! Even if you keep kosher, be sure to stop by their sections on how to skin a rabbit, or cooking bear and other odd game meats... WARNING: pretty old-fashioned in terms of consumption of fats and oils, which are recommended in large quantities for all recipes. Try to cut down wherever possible!

  • Second Helpings, Please (gift from Allan and Liz Price)

    This is my staple "Jewish" cookbook.

    It has the basic Jewish things in it, but no exotic ideas, and most of the vegetables section is taken up with potatoes. Features menu suggestions for the yomim tovim and such scintillating household hints as the following gem: "...Have a lot of stamps to lick? Never fear. Cut a potato in half and the exposed surface is a perfect place to moisten them." This cookbook features the world's worst index; it's divided up by the chapters, so if you don't know where to find a recipe, you won't be able to find it in the index EITHER...

  • Food 101 (gift from Emily Peetoom)

    This was the cookbook I learned to cook from.

    Explains basic cooking terms, gives lists of what you will need (groceries & kitchen implements) to "stock the untamed shelves". Explains all cooking terms used and most recipes are no-fail. Many are trayfe, or fleishik, but some can be adapted.

  • Recipes for a Small Planet (bought it myself a long time ago...)

    Basic vegetarian concepts and recipes.

    This book is very POLITICALLY vegetarian, so it makes difficult reading, but if you're going to eat a diet with limited meat products, you should know how various non-meat foods and food combinations rank in terms of calories vs fat, etc. This cookbook is rather sobering compared to my others, but some of the recipes can be "funned-up" slightly without losing much nutritional value.

  • Kinnereth Cookbook (gift from Dov Paquette)
    (published by Hadassah-WIZO, Toronto)

    Jewish cookbook with pretensions to elegance.

    A more sophisticated Kosher cookbook with a nice Pesach section (if you eat matzo-meal products, which we don't). Not to be missed: Although my grandmother, Rebecca Brenzel Posluns (Rivke Keyndel) A"H passed away four years ago, her Neopolitan cake (it was so well known as to have been mentioned in her eulogy!) lives on on page 305. I'm sure it doesn't taste the same as if she made it herself, but it might be close... This cake involves a lot of effort, four layers of buttery cake and a generous helping of chocolate pudding.... Mmmmm......

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fw: Vileda Bee mop problem

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 3:48 PM
Subject: Vileda Bee mop problem

> Two or three months ago, unable to find a refill for our previous mop,
> we purchased a new Bee Mop (multi).
> Somehow, after only a few uses, the handle seems to have become
> "detached" inside the bumpy black handle grip. This has made the
> handle very easily bendable and means the mop is almost useless for
> cleaning floors (you can't apply any pressure or the handle will
> wobble!).
> I'm attaching a couple of pictures where I'm applying pressure to the
> handle so you can see how easily it bends - you only need to push a
> little bit; it feels very flimsy now.
> This has never happened to me with any type of mop before - even bee
> mops, which I have used very happily in past. I do enjoy the
> "scrubber" feature of the new mop head, but that feature is virtually
> unusable unless we grasp only the lower portion of the mop, which
> means bending over into a VERY uncomfortable position.
> I would appreciate receiving a new mop or some type of credit which we
> can use towards the purchase of another Bee Mop (which will hopefully
> not break in the middle again!). I'd be happy to return the broken
> mop to any convenient location.
> Thanks in advance!
> whoops - name & address deleted!

Too bad it's only got 3 leaves.

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Drat - overfilled the pool AGAIN! And thoughts on hair, my no-'poo secret, etc.

I always resolve to remember to turn off the hose and then I always forget! Well, okay, this is just the second time it's actually overflowed... and it is kind of pretty in a zen-garden kind of way. Except for the bright blue colour.

Funny. My hair was getting kind of greasy the last couple of days and I actually started feeling annoyed - like, maybe this "no-'poo" ('poo = shampoo) thing isn't working anymore - because, after all, I just washed my hair last month when I went to the mikveh!

And then I was, like, uh-oh... need a sense of perspective here. Remember when I used to have to wash my hair every single DAY?

So, the no-'poo thing. I use two squirt bottles, from the dollar store. They're yellow and red, for mustard and ketchup, but never used for that at all. I fill the yellow bottle with hottish water and add 3 tsp or so of baking soda. In the red bottle, I put a bit of apple cider vinegar, maybe 1/3 of a cup, then fill the bottle all the way to the top with hottish water. I also add a drop of orange essential oil, just for the nice smell. Highly optional. Then, put on the lids and shake, shake, shake. And you're ready to go!

In case that seems like a lot of prep, keep in mind that:
a) you probably won't need to no-'poo as often as you sham-'poo, so just set aside a couple of extra minutes every however-often - it's no big deal, and also...
b) I don't use all the vinegar mixture at a time - the bottle lasts through several no-'poos. Though I do have to remix the baking soda every time; you want it nice and fizzy. The vinegar stuff, as far as I know, can sit and sit in the ketchup bottle and remain effective forever.

SO, then, you just use them like shampoo and conditioner.
1) Wet hair.
2) Pour in the baking soda mixture (yellow bottle). Rub hair and scalp thoroughly. It may fizz! I use this opportunity to pull out loose hairs... I usually get a good handful because I don't wash my hair very often.
3) Rinse hair well.
4) Apply vinegar mixture (red bottle). Rub hair and scalp thoroughly. Run fingers through to detangle.
5) Rinse hair well.

OK, if the rinsing wasn't listed as an extra step, it really would be just 3 steps... so no big deal, right? And I will tell you honestly - there is NO conditioner in the world that has been as effective at letting me brush through my dense, prone-to-dreadlocks tangly hair the way this simple, two-ingredient combo has. My hair feels softer and silkier than ever before, and at the aforementioned mikveh visit, I was even able to COMB through it for the first time in I have no idea how long.

How often you'll need to no-'poo really depends on your own personal chemistry. At one point, I was going a couple of months, but being on Mirena now has, I suspect, made me more pimply in general and perhaps because of this, my hair seems slightly greasier as well. Which is a reasonable trade-off because, in case you're curious, it has not affected my milk supply in the slightest. Considering that was my Number One biggest fear, I will happily accept more frequent no-'pooing (like maybe every 3 weeks) and a couple of zits.

So there you have it. Hair-care secrets from the woman with the covered hair. You'll just have to take my word for it that beneath this tichel lie the most gorgeous silky tresses.

Oh, yeah - the vinegar smells yuck until you get used to it, but it dries completely ODOURLESS. I promise! I started using the orange essential oil to mask the scent, but there is no need. I have skipped it on occasion and Ted cannot detect the smell of vinegar once my hair is dry. So there. Try it and see!

Hey, why did that "thumbs" post come up twice?

Weird... I tried to post and it crashed. Guess it hadn't crashed after all.

Here's the result of all the laundry I've been doing the last few days: almost all the serviettes are clean, sorted & stacked up. What a hodge-podge! But believe it or not, we go through almost all of these in a typical week. If only they all matched... Elisheva would certainly be happy.

Rabbi Posen had a heart attack. Say Tehillim for Yosef Ezriel ben Chava Rus.
I'm shocked - he's been walking from Lawrence down to Eglinton every single Shabbos, Yom Tov, etc, for I don't know how long. So youngish, healthyish... well, of course, that happens. But still: saddened. I should say tehillim instead of posting here. :-(
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Ad in Now Magazine - The Batty Old Lady strikes again!

----- Original Message -----
To: visitorservices@harbourfrontcentre.com
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 11:26 AM
Subject: Ad in Now Magazine
First of all, I'm thrilled that the free films are back at Harbourfront! However, I was appalled at a recent ad in Now Magazine that indicated that these free movies make Tuesdays "suck less."

I don't believe there's any need to stoop to that level - the inarticulate vocabulary of pre-teens - to make the prospect of a free movie sound inviting. It's a FREE MOVIE; you could probably just say "FREE MOVIE" and fill the seats on a decent-weather evening. You don't have to make it sound fun, or hip, or relevant; if it's a decent movie, it will do its own promotion.

I'm also not sure, to address the underlying message of the ad, that Tuesdays actually DO suck. Isn't every moment of life supposed to be precious? Okay, it may sound trite, but our culture's widespread message that every single hour, every single day, every single week is some kind of trial to be "tolerated", "survived" or "gotten through" is a depressing one at best.

Hey, it's Monday today - there's a whole new week ahead! And tomorrow is Tuesday, with a free movie to look forward to (though I probably won't make it - I'd love to see more family-oriented picks in future).

Thanks again for the free films; hope you consider straightening up the ads a bit.

Have a great week! :-)

Jennifer M. MacLeod
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

And by the way...

YOU try taking pictures of both your thumbs - it's a challenge, let me tell you. :-)
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Blisters on thumbs from the new broom!

Gack. I didn't notice the damage until I was finished... this broom really is heavy-duty. Yes, it was Shabbos. I just figured I was sweeping and it didn't hurt or anything until I looked down and realized my skin was off. :-(((
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Thumb blisters from the new broom!

Gack. This new heavy-duty broom sure did some damage when I thoroughly swept the driveway... YES, it was Shabbos. I just figured I was sweeping, and didn't notice the injury until I was finished. :-(
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If Gavriel Zev was a triplet...

Cute, yes???
Visited friends Charlene & Jeremy and their twinnies today. It was a celebration of the twins' first birthday and also their new house. Well, kind of new... they moved in back in May, but this was literally my first chance to get there and see it!

Later on, GZ & I walked to Blockbuster, chose a bunch of videos, then stopped at the park to swing at which point we got rained on. Came home, thoroughly drenched... gack.

Now he's sleeping, and theoretically, that means I have work to do. But I'm feeling soaked through and lazy now!

<3 J
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Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's grass, man...

OK, first of all... what the HECK is going on here??? In the time it took me to type this, I have sneezed FOUR times. Just sitting in the computer corner of the room, apparently, is enough to make me violently sneezy. I have opened the front door wide - at the risk of letting in the annoying mewing neighbourhood cat (Ted found her in our room one day last week and downstairs another time, so this is a very real risk). I just cannot stand being here another second. I'm all hot & flushed and sneezing my bloody head off.

Speaking of which, I can't seem to stop myself saying "bloody hell," an annoying Britishy affectation that prompted Naomi last week to mimic it as "bloody who." So now, of course, I'm trying to cut back.

<----- This is grass. Eco-lawn grass in little trial-sized growing pots. It's my attempt to salvage our lawn area. So far, so good. My plan is to transplant each of the four pots as a "plug" in a different area of the lawn: two front, two back... one sunny & one more shady in each "zone."

I was very optimistic until I found this blog of someone actually fairly near to here who tried it and it looked great for one season but then didn't grow in again the following spring. Disappointing... and now I'm worried!

And for anyone hoping to make a pilgrimage out to Wildflower Farms, who makes & distributes the Eco-Lawn fescue mix... don't even think about buying perennials unless you have a TON of money to spend. They start at around $5.99 for a single-stemmed plant, so unless you really believe the plants are so much healthy, more organic, etc., save your cash and arrange for a plant swap closer to home. Most species are pretty run-of-the-mill, though I admit there is a good selection. I caved and spent $12 - insane! - for a nodding wild onion and an upright Goldenrod (solidago) variety. For that price, they'd better make it, which is the other problem with spending money for plants... with giveaways, you can be a little more philosophical if they fail (though I guess some would say you get your money's worth!).

Oy... still so sick and miserable. Coughing and now wheezing. What the HECK is in this corner that's killing me??? It must be this corner because I don't remember being so sneezy even when I was sitting in the other corner on Shabbos, reading. Just four feet away, but a world healthier...

<3 J
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ville de ma naissance! Avec ma famille!

Which means... hey, welcome back to Montreal! It's so rare that four pictures of me taken in a row look half-decent, I pretty much HAD to post them, non?
Moi, ma fille et mes deux grands garcons.

Moi et mon garcon.

Moi, forgetting how to say husband (mari?), ma fille, garcon et autre garcon.

Moi, demonstrating mes bras [arms] tres, tres grands. Et les arbres. Et tout l'extent de ma vocabulaire francaise. Luckily, we came down the mountain then before I actually had to say anything French.

Supper at the world-famous Ernie & Ellie's Place on Decarie in the run-down depressing Mall of Broken Dreams that also includes our second-favourite Montreal place, the ever-more depressing Dollar Cinema. Despite the name, they have raised the rates to $2 per movie per person... but the snack bar items remain $1 as ever.

We saw Wallace & Gromit again - saw it in theatres a couple of years ago, but Naomi never saw it, I think, or maybe she was a baby. Then we met Abigail for the aforementioned supper, which was lovely.

They have a $25 tasting menu now, which is ridiculously expensive, but nicer than a buffet because you don't have to get up. Abi acted horrified about the cost, then ordered it and ate a ton. She also acted like she'd never been in a restaurant before, and asked us a bunch of questions about the tasting menu, even though we'd never gotten it before. They do make it complicated, but even I could tell her you are NOT allowed to get the all-you-can-eat menu "to go."

So basically, that was it: arrive, mountain, movie, supper, drive back to Ottawa.

The kids were monsters, all but YM. So I guess that's two monsters and one good kid. I have vowed never to take them on a road trip, or to a restaurant, ever again. Or a movie. I was actually hoping Naomi would sleep through the movie... nice, dark, animated... well, ha ha ha; of course she didn't. She was so hyper and overtired, having napped maybe thirty seconds in the car. The way back was just as much fun; the baby didn't sleep at all and Naomi only slept for the 30 seconds it took for him to start kvetching and crying, and then he woke her up & they both kvetched and cried.

Then, yesterday, we did it again, only for FIVE hours instead of just one. Actually, we made great time. I drove straight through for about 3 hours before we stopped for a potty break and Ted took over the driving, just in time for the heavy rain.
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We're Back! From Ottawa/Montreal!

For ten minutes, at least, and then Ted turned around & took everybody le camping. ;-)
And now I'm blessedly child-free (well, 3 out of 4) for the rest of the week and on into Monday!!! <3 J
Supper: Who knows? Who cares!?!?? I'm FREE!
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

New car pics!

These and more new car pics at my picasaweb page here!

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What are you doing with her in the fall???

Already it's starting... people asking if Miss Chooch here is ready for kindergarten yet. They assume she is, since she's almost 3 and a half, but with a February birthday, she's past the cutoff.

Nobody seems to like my answer of "just hanging out" in response to what I'm "doing" with her.

And definitely nobody likes my answer of "waiting till the baby is big enough and then the 3 of us are going to just hang out and go cool places together."

OK, maybe I'm overcompensating a bit for sticking the older 2 kids in daycare... but okay. I mean, if you were given a chance to redeem yourself, even if the previous situation was completely not your fault (which I don't completely buy anymore anyway), wouldn't you take it?

If I think daycare / preschool / etc is such a horrible mistake, why wouldn't I take the opportunity to relish the couple of years I have with my children before they will be in other people's care forever?

Hmm... I wonder why it seems to make people uneasy that I'm not ready to stick her in an institution.

Interesting argument from someone today: since Grade One is full-day and Kindergarten is half-day, the kindergarten year is actually essential to build up their tolerance for going to school all day. OK, the person only insinuated that... but still; doesn't sound like a great argument to me. If a five-year-old is not ready to sit in a seat for 8 hours a day or however-long, why would you send them???
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

I believe the technical term...

is RIOT. As in this is a RIOT of colour here in this disorganized garden bed. Just for contrast, here's how neat and tidy it looked right when I first planted the alyssum a couple of months ago...
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Einstein? Or Down Syndrome child?

She either looks brilliant or retarded in this picture. Not sure which. She has "borrowed" YM's glasses and kippah, which he's technically not allowed to permit her to even touch (yes, it's HIS responsibility to keep his stuff away from babies, to a certain extent). But in the end it was so cute I had to take a picture. She looks like a squished-up nerdy ten-year-old boy.

So we're off to Ottawa - somehow - tomorrow. No music for the road trip - waah!!

And did I mention that I had to do a dvar Torah at the ladies' Shalosh Seudos today??? I was asked a few weeks ago, but then they found another speaker, who was listed in the Shabbos bulletin this morning. Naturally, I spent all of yesterday anxiously preparing and was thus somewhat peeved that nobody told me I wouldn't be speaking after all.

BUT - I was also relieved because my DT wasn't finished yet and so I basically printed a bunch of rough ideas that I'd planned to polish up at the last minute - my usual teaching strategy, basically. I prepped and found a few sources this morning before going to shul, but then when I saw the bulletin listing someone else as the speaker, like I said, I was relieved.

Knowing I wouldn't have to speak, I left those notes at home, though I did give a little something over at lunch. And then, due to heavy rain or whatever, the speaker didn't make it and I had to give a "talk." Ha ha. Short, unprepared piece on the bnos Tzelofchad.

I have no idea what kind of thing I said, though people seemed moderately appreciative afterwards, despite my undoubtedly beet-red colouration throughout and sweaty sheen of mortification during & afterwards. Luckily, there were two other people who were able to say something slightly more sensible. So much material there, and still, I fumbled. Drat!

To do tomorrow while Ted's at work & I'm stuck here with 3 unhelpful children:
Pack 3 duffles
Load up car with duffles, supplies, entertainment, food
Buy guinea pig food
Buy CD of 3-weeks music, a cappella stuff mostly.

Oh, and I invited Rachel from the next street over to come with her kids and splash in our wading pool. Ulterior motive: keep my kids behaving decently and maybe giving me a bit of a break from watching them while I fold laundry! >:-)))


<3 J
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Aha! The fungus among us!

The patch of yuck in the garden the other day has been identified by
astute Web helpers as a non-fungal life form known affectionately as

In case you haven't seen enough of it, here are more pictures:

Apparently, the slime mold is a completely separate type of organism -
not a plant or a fungus... WHO KNEW?

Gut voch!

<3 J

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ringed with stones!

Here, at last, the pictures of the stones going around the garden bed. Just came inside to shut down for Shabbos. It's an inferno in here, and here's what we're eating for Shabbos food!

Supper: BBQ sos chicken, oven fried rice, garden vegs roasted
Lunch: milchigs - don't remember what.
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Gack. Dying. Heat.

What IS this stuff?!?

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Never did take a picture of the rocks!

Will try to remember in the morning, once again.  :-)

Garden High: Golden Tansy

OK, this plant deserves some credit. It grows like a weed, tall with graceful, ferny foliage in an astonishing lime shade (I wouldn't call it gold, but there you go), attracts wonderful beneficial insects and now it's gonna have flowers, too.

It may not look like much, but it's my Golden Tansy and it happens to be my Garden High for today. I cannot tell you how many hours have passed with me just sitting there, sighing as I stare at this thing contentedly.


<3 J
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Tomato hubris & downfall

Supper: Sausages (Lazer Yitzchok, Mexican-style) with Ace Bakery Bread and garden beans steamed with corn. Not even lightly steamed... oops. But very, very yummy (although texturally no different from tinned).

So... last week's tomato hubris, my gardener's pride in ripening tomatoes on my super-strong, ultra-vigourous tomato plants has been replaced by...


Yes, like I said last night:
Blossom-End Rot.

I dunno. Three possible causes:
~ Inconsistent watering (check!)
~ Excess nitrogen (umm... maybe, because of all that good worm-casting stuff!)
~ Calcium deficiency (quite likely - check!)

I have never seen it so bad, or widespread, although the cherries (like the ones seen above) still don't seem to be affected.

Anyway, I didn't know whether it was better to leave the rotting tomatoes on the plants or pull them off so it could refocus on making better tomatoes. In the end, I couldn't stand to look at them, so pathetic, and I figured it would make a great picture. So here it is. Twelve (a dozen!) blossom-end-rotted tomatoes, rotting away at the top of the compost pile. I didn't even know there were that many - I couldn't bring myself to count them as I picked. So that's definitely my garden low, once again, for today.

There are still some unaffected tomatoes on a couple of the plants. I watered with milk-water (swish warm dishwater inside the "empty" 2l milk jug) today and will hopefully get to kelp-spray the foliage & floweres in the next day or two in the hopes of providing a boost. Although not a nitrogen boost, hopefully - see cause #2 above.

We all went to see As You Like It tonight at U of T's Philosopher's Walk. It was opening night and PWYC night. Excellent production. Professional-calibre acting, fun musical touches - very near perfect. Ruined, of course, by whiny kids. Gavriel Zev is lousy at this outdoor-theatre thing. He's either miserable, and crying, or thrilled to bits and screaming at the actors. Maybe he'll be an actor himself someday.

<3 J
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