Monday, September 23, 2013

My Favorite Colorful Culinary Creation (and NO this is not becoming a Foodie Blog)

At the risk of making this seem like a foodie blog, I have to write again about yummy food I had this weekend. Every year I plant mini-sweet peppers. The first year I watched them grow and said, “They’re so adorable,” but then never figured out what to do with them and they mostly rotted on the plant. But the next year I was determined to do something with them so when my hubby’s best friend and undiscovered chef, Nate, came to visit the two of us created mini-stuffed peppers.

Now each year about this time, I make stuffed mini peps. The recipe has changed only slightly over the years. I try to pull them out for a special occasion. Last year I made them for my book club ladies who loved them (let’s hear it ladies!). This year, with the Tomato Pie stealing the show at the few occasions we’ve had, I couldn’t find the right time for the mini-peps. So last night, on an ordinary Sunday night for no particular reason I created perhaps the yummiest version yet of my mini-peps. Here's what how it went down.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

There Are Nematodes in My Wine Fridge (what?)

There are fifty million nematodes in my wine fridge. That’s not a sentence I ever imagined writing in this lifetime. The nematodes arrived in the mail yesterday and as the weatherman is predicting a lengthy dry spell it seemed best to store the little beauties in an appropriate place until the forecast changes. That only makes sense to you if you’re a biologist or a nerd-gardener. I’m decidedly not a biologist, I might be the latter.

On the off chance that you are neither a biologist or a nerd-gardener, but you are a person interested in eradicating Japanese beetles from your garden, let me explain. Nematodes are beneficial insects. In the world of organic gardening, beneficial insects are tiny friends that can save your garden.

They can silently, effectively, and non-toxically control the grubs of Japanese beetles and masked chafer beetles. They attack soil-dwelling pests like cutworms, corn earworms, cabbage root maggots, weevils, wireworms, armyworms, and even flea larvae. What’s not to love?

The reason I did not immediately rip open the package and set them loose, is that their application is important. They need to be applied just before a rain so that they can get down into the ground and do their dirty work. Sure, you could use a hose to simulate rain, but that is only practical if you’re just applying five million. We’re talking about 50 million. I don’t want to lose a single tode, so ours are residing in the wine fridge where they can enjoy their optimum storage temperature of 55 degrees until the weather cooperates.

If you’re looking for a source for nematodes, I recommend Gardens Alive. But don’t pay full price, sign up for their newsletter and get the $25 off coupon or bid your time and wait for them to make an offer (they will).

Milky Spore is another option if Japanese beetles are your issue, but it’s a little more pricey. We’ve seen better results with nematodes. A quick search on Organic Gardening website found only nematodes recommended rather than Milky Spore. One other benefit is that nematodes go after even more bad guys than Milky Spore.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spam and the Art of Carpet Cleaning

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs. I probably shouldn’t write that since it’s not something to brag about and might cause a reader to think my blog isn’t worth reading. While comments directly on the blog may be lacking, I do get a lot of hits (in fact this summer I passed 100,000!!). Most people who comment on my blog do it through facebook, pinterest, or e-mail me direct if they are subscribers. Sure, I wish they’d write on the blog itself so it would make me look good, or at least popular, but honestly I’m happy to hear from people no matter how they reach me. It gives me comfort that I’m not writing in a vacuum.

Periodically, there are some comments on my blog that puzzle me. One post in particular generated a wealth of comments. It wasn’t my best post or a particularly provocative topic, but it gained momentum and had 397 hits beyond my regular subscribers. It was titled, Natural Carpet Cleaning (or the Cat’s New Digs). I suppose it was the words Carpet Cleaning that attracted the wealth of readers. At any rate, many of the comments were bizarre. Some seemed to be from people who don’t claim English as their native tongue. Some made no sense at all. I regret that I deleted the first dozen or so. After awhile it became amusing and I left them posted. Here are a few samples:

This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind. It is the first time I visit your blog, but I was extremely impressed. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday!

The post is talking about natural carpet cleaning or the cats new place to live. Useful post

I am very thankful to all or any your group to share specific heartening stuff.

congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!! 

Impressive will useful for any carpet cleaning consumers.!!!!!

Many of the comments were signed by Carpet Cleaning companies. Which made me wonder, what was the point? Would commenting on my little blog actually garner more carpet cleaning business? Is there a program out there that generates comments on blogs that cover certain topics like carpet cleaning? My site’s host, Blogger, makes it so difficult for a well-meaning normal person to write a relevant comment on my blogs that I find it amazing that spammers can get around their frustrating system. Or maybe you have to be a carpet cleaning spammer to be able to circumnavigate it in the first place.

A slew of comments came from carpet cleaning companies in Australia and New Zealand. This amused me to no end. I love that my post was being flung around on the far end of the earth. Here’s a little more publicity for them:

“Your blogs are totally worth giving time and energy.” -carpet cleaning Auckland

“The is a great article  -Bond Cleaning Brisbane

“You completely duplication our mean and the difference of our information.” -professional carpet cleaning auckland   (That’s actually exactly what was written. They do speak English in New Zealand don’t they?)

You have to admire this commenter who went for the really obvious and stuck their advertisement smack in the middle of their complimentary comments about my blog:

“I enjoyed the tips you are providing on your website. Az Carpet and Tile Cleaning is the best carpet cleaner in Phoenix Arizona. It is remove of stains, dirt, grit and sand for long term cleaning. Thanks for the the information……(again, I copied the comment exactly as it was written.)

I do realize that re-posting these silly comments is just rewarding odd behavior, but I couldn’t resist, especially since one of the last comments was from someone so famous.

“Asd”  -Angelina Jullie

I looked up “asd” in the urban/internet dictionaries and here’s what I found:

1. A spam word that doesn't mean anything, but more than often typed in a spamming frenzy. 
2. American Sign-language for the Deaf.

In the hopes of inciting another “spamming frenzy” I’ve tried to type CARPET CLEANING as many times as possible in this post.

If you can shed some light on all this, feel free to comment on my comments but first you have to get past the stiff security of Blogger. I'm assuming some of you out there can explain all this - I'm not gonna ask how you know this information. The deep, dark recesses of the internet remain a mystery to me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Best Taste of Summer

I had other plans for this week’s post, but then this past weekend I had Tomato Pie. Wow. Tomato Pie is quite possibly the best taste of summer. There is an adorable little town just north east of here called, Lititz. I’m not the only person who likes this town as it was voted the“Coolest Small Town in America” this year by Visiting Lititz is always fun, but the only place I ever eat lunch when I’m there is The Tomato Pie Café. If you’ve ever had their tomato pie you understand why they named an entire restaurant after it.

I spent most of Labor Day weekend laboring over my tomatoes. Canning nearly 50 jars of sauce and salsa. I was dreaming about tomatoes and picking tomato seeds off of every surface in my kitchen and on my person by the time it was over. And yet, there still sat a carton of tomatoes on my porch and plenty more ripening on the vines that will not die (despite being besieged by the late blight!). I thought of Lititz and the café and tomato pie. I deserved tomato pie after my weekend of tomatodom. But there was no time to drive to Lititz, besides company was coming for dinner.

Luckily, I’d recently seen an obscene recipe for Tomato Pie on one of my favorite blogs (A Garden for the House). I printed out the recipe and ascertained that I had all the ingredients necessary. I even had a few more tomato eaters coming for dinner that would appreciate my efforts. My children were horrified at the idea of Tomato Pie. I asked them what they thought pizza was and they scowled and said, “Not tomato pie!” For once they could agree on something.