tool shed miscellaneous

lock on garden shed

Last week, my mister built a garden shed for me.

He made it from a shipping crate, although he had to take off a few feet because it was too tall. Afterwards, he positioned it between the Mock-Orange Dogwood tree, the south wall of the large shed, and to the east of where the greenhouse will soon be built. (We found free windows for that project on Craigslist.) He whitewashed the outside. Inside, there is a kicker on the floor where I can keep my larger tools, and there is a wee shelf on the door for small tools. In the future, there will be a shelf near the top and maybe a couple of hooks for hanging things.

There is a better shot of the garden shed on Flickr. He also donated three more shipping crates to the group that does the annual haunted house in our village.

 garden shed shelf

garden shed kicker for tools

open garden shed

little things

chili con carne + kin

Small accomplishments and observations don’t seem to get their justice here lately. I tend to log the larger endeavors, but who raises a flag for the little things in this journal?

Not me lately.

Time has now passed, as have the mental lists of things that I wanted to get down here. Things like vegetables other than tomatoes, riding my bicycle twice a day, meeting more online friends offline (at around 20 now, I think), Polka Fest, my obsession with a few new-to-me cookbooks, so many different recipes, Gosford Park, learning embroidery, cleaning out lots of corners, and much wonderful mundane moments that add up to a happy whole.

Most importantly, I have learned to love summer.


Winter will always be my favorite season (and I will never be fond of sweaty undergarments), but I decided that life is too short to opt out of one-quarter of it. I don’t think that I complained about the heat or humidity at all. Maybe once. That said, I could have straightened my bangs more than once a day on some occasions, while I totally submitted to my hair on others. Each time that I felt uncomfortable, each time that I wanted to complain, I instead found gratitude. I learned to like the warmth of the sun, even when I’m already too warm.

(An aside: I watch THIS LITTLE VIDEO a lot.)

Also, it’s beginning to look a bit like autumn already, mid-August 2011. Little thing, I want to remember you.

mid august 2011

eat your heart out

eat your heart out

Tomatoes have taken over my life, the eating of and/or producing them into preservable food is the pivotal point in all of my days right now.

And I only have nine tomato plants.

Everyone probably fears seeing me because I come bearing fruit. Tomatoes for both of my grandmas and tomatoes for friends (this one too, I hope, tomorrow).

Side note: I have probably thrown away five dozen Hungarian Hearts and three German Pinks due to blossom end rot. (I think the issue lies in the topsoil that we had trucked in for the newer beds, and probably a presence of ammonia, so they will be heavily fortified this autumn and spring.) I can’t imagine what in the heck I would have done with 63 more tomatoes.

any given day

any given day

This has become less like a household journal and more of a tomato blog.

summer tomato recipes

tomatoes provencal

I’m pulling around a dozen tomatoes daily, eating them at two, sometimes three, meals. I realize that is not much compared to many of my gardening friends. Still, they keep me busy trying to keep up with all of their growing and blushing.

In the morning, besides the obvious frittatas and omelets, I love to just toss a handful of cherry tomatoes in the pan when the potatoes are just about done browning. The little girls love a few minutes in a hot pan and brighten up my morning in return. (Speaking of frittatas and omelets, this has totally been the summer of the egg. I must remember to document some of my favorite of those recipes soon. Oh, yum… breakfast food.)

It is important for me to have an arsenal of good recipes, both the quick and the slow, so that we can enjoy the tomatoes fresh and with minimal waste. Today, for instance, I had three dozen fat babies on my dining room table, not counting Mexican Midgets, and some were approaching the too soft stage. I decided to make roasted tomato sauce (link below) to get about four pounds of them handled, and I will serve that with dinner tomorrow night. This evening, we are having Tomatoes Provencal (pictured above) because my guy wasn’t home when I made it for myself last week. It tasted so fresh, like summer.

I recently tried these new-to-me tomato recipes and I’m totally adding them to the recipe link page. It is clear that I have been spending a lot of time with Jamie and Martha. Three’s company.

quiet scenes + tool shed sneak peek

chopped tomato salad + toasted garlic

sunday lunch

i want to go to there

tool shed sneak peek

Recipes, plus more on the shed, coming soon…

P.S. I hate to honk my own horn, but if you’re interested, I do have a Facebook page HERE.

heirloom tomato portraits

mexican midget tomato
Mexican Midget [Solanum lycopersicum]

cherokee purple tomato
Cherokee Purple [Solanum lycopersicum]

brandywine sudduth strain tomato
Brandywine (Sudduth’s Strain aka Pink Brandywine) [Solanum lycopersicum]

amish paste tomato
Amish Paste [Solanum lycopersicum]

hungarian heart tomato
Hungarian Heart [Solanum lycopersicum]

italian heirloom tomato
Italian Heirloom [Solanum lycopersicum]

german pink tomato
German Pink (see her bum here; she weighed in at 1.165 pounds) [Solanum lycopersicum]

creating a sense of space


Five days ago, I stood and looked at this ghastly sight, and I knew that something had to be done. I wanted a cleaner line of vision. I mentioned it to my husband and I used words like “trellis wall” and “privacy barrier”.

The next day, he dropped off some random supplies by the shed, including a metal piece from a deconstructed communications tower that I will eventually use for a permanent trellis. That was on the 22nd. On July 23, he built the fence and I purchased some clearance perennials: Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush), and Astilbe Arendsii (might have to correct the genus on that one).

On the 24th, we went to Craftacular and I did no work in the garden. I might have drank mimosas while browsing the vendors. I eventually purchased a ring made from a vintage cash register key. [Note: Ring from Kim at You can find the rings HERE.]

Monday taught me patience. Also, I never want to paint a trellis fence by hand again.

Today, I spiffed up the paint a bit and planted the perennials. I also dug up four small Hostas and divided a Bleeding Heart from the northeast corner of the property and put it along the shadier part of the … privacy barrier.

I’m going to take a shower and put my feet up now.







dreamy diana garden peek




time-lapse lilac pruning


During the third week of June, we trimmed our decades-overgrown lilac bushes. I don’t have good footage of the final hack job look, but needless to say, I’m curious to see how it grows out next spring. I do have faith that they will look good, just perhaps with a few less blossoms for the first year or two. They were in dire need of a fierce haircut. My man did the main chainsaw stuff and high pruning, and then I went in and shaped them (post video).

I’m off for the weekend to Pitchfork with X, her to see Animal Collective and me to see Battles.