Thursday, August 12, 2010


Until lately we've been using old fashioned ice trays to keep our Cuba Libres cold. We had some cheap plastic ones from Target, one of which cracked almost immediately, and the other had a couple little leaks that diminished the cubes to half size. Hence, I could only make about two cocktails (I'm passionate about my ice; it should fill the cup to the brim), a real bummer when we host dinner for friends. I finally got sick of it and headed to Lowes to get supplies to hook up the ice maker. Luckily there was a hookup behind the fridge already, and the previous owner had left behind a hose. The hose coupled to the back of the fridge no problem, but not to the wall, so that required standing aimlessly in the hardware/plumbing aisle with my hose and a fitting that was the same size as my wall hookup until someone useful enough to help came along (a non-employee usually). With a little phone tutorial from me dad I got it hooked up and turned on and now we're in all the ice we can handle.

I know this isn't that impressive, but I'm pretty stoked about it. Now we're in all the ice we can handle. With the hot weather there is nothing so refreshing at the end of my sweaty workday like a chilly gin and tonic, or vodka cranberry, or rum and Coke, or rum and ginger ale, or screwdriver (with fresh squeezed OJ), or mojito, or vodka tonic.

It's the little things.


Three big changes indoors:
1) A third cat
2) Paint on the walls
3) Deep freezer

For those of you who might think I've turned into a crazy cat lady (ok, maybe I already am, but that's beside the point), I have not adopted another cat. Instead, I've taken temporary custody of a cat that used to be mine. I'll explain. When I was still in high school, my parents allowed me to get a kitten after one of my favorite of our family cats died at the hands of an awful, awful veterinarian (that's another story for another day). Zoey, the new cat, obviously couldn't come with me when I left for college a few years later, so she became mom and dad's charge. Parents do that kind of thing a lot : )

Now I'm returning the favor. Mom and dad have retired and are off on a three - perhaps more like four - month road trip. I'm taking care of Zoey while they gallivant around the country (much deserved). Since Zoey remembered me even though I only spent three or four weekends a year at mom and dad's house, I figured her adjustment here would be alright. For the most part it has been, but Bug, another female, seems pretty threatened by Zoey. Don't say it! I know you're thinking "Oh, just like a woman." Even cats want to confirm traditional gender roles. Bah!

Anyway, here's Zoey. She's twelve years old and a little arthritic, but she still plays a good bit and doesn't back down from a hissing-fit with either Vasco or Bug (both of which are at least three pounds heavier). She is lovable and talkative and I like having her here.

2) Paint on the walls. Our living room is now a very pretty sage green and the kitchen is a great cross between tropical aqua and french country blue. The hallway is a slate gray, which isn't gloomy like it might sound. Because there are a lot of white doors and molding, the hallway is inviting and calming, instead.


Living Room (the picture quality isn't great but it gives the best idea of the color of all the pictures I took - you can sorta tell a difference when you compare it to the white in the vase)

Kitchen window with the new paint color and drying peppers from our garden

A wider-angle view of the kitchen color

3) Deep freezer. Josh's parents generously got us a deep freezer. Josh and I refuse to eat mediocre food on a daily basis, but we are seriously poor (I would make more money on welfare!). I'm not complaining - I have a great lifestyle - but it does mean that a lot of planning goes into our meals. A big part of that planning involves buying lots of whatever meat, veggies, bread, etc. is on sale and freezing the majority of it. The sorry little freezer in our refrigerator just wasn't up to the task. So Tim and Renay took pity on us and got us this shiny new one:

Chicken, ground beef, french onion soup, pesto, broccoli, pierogies - we've got it all and the freezer still looks pitifully empty. What a nice problem to have.


August in Florida is like February in Michigan. In other words, it's the time of year you put your outdoor hobbies on hold, hurry from your car into the nearest climate-controlled building, assume your clothes will be inadequate for keeping you comfortable outside (I don't care if it's North Face gear - it's still not gonna help), and just generally hunker down inside. Our neighbors even "warm up" their cars before leaving for work, only it's the AC instead of the heat that's blasting. We did, however, manage to get some plants in the garden before Tallahassee turned into Hades and we've been enjoying the benefits since.

We've harvested two eggplants already and have a few small ones (like this) coming along.

We've only gotten a handful
of green beans so far, but they seem to like this god-forsaken weather so I think there are many more on the way.

We can't eat the okra fast enough (and it doesn't help our waistlines that the only way we like to eat it is fried).

You can see
here how much our banana tree has grown since last fall. It struggled with our hard winter - we chalked it up for dead when it was still a brown husk in April. I don't even like bananas but I was pretty bummed thinking it had died. I think I just like the idea of a banana tree in my yard.

You'll see these hot peppers drying in our kitchen window in the next post. Last Christmas my Uncle Bill gave us dried hot pepper flakes in a shaker jar (the peppers were from grandpa's garden). We blew through that in no time, so we're planning on making more with our own peppers.

This is the first bloom on our mandevilla. It's a pretty, tropical-looking vine; we have it growing up the metal stand for our herb garden.

Finally, this is our butterfly garden. Black swallowtails are the most common, though we've had a few monarchs and a giant swallowtail, too. Earlier this year we had around 30 swallowtail caterpillars on our fennel. This is one of them:

A couple days after this picture was taken, all the caterpillars were gone. We think a bird ate them. You may think it's sad, but just think how happy those birdies were when mama or dadda brought back these juicy guys.