Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zucchini Anyone?

Today's Riddle:  So if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what will a zucchini a day do?

Can we say zucchini explosion anyone?  It seems that every day I go out to the garden I have a new zucchini waiting to be picked.  If you're in the area and would like some, by all means let me know.

Now what to do with it all . . . sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini, stuffed zucchini boats, chocolate zucchini cake . . . hmm.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Every year we try to grow something new in our vegetable garden, and this year was no exception.  Since this is our first "Arizona" garden we thought we would try something more indigenous to the area.  

So determined with cash in hand, we headed out to peruse the local gardening stores, and low and behold there in a corner we spotted a homely little fellow beckoning to us with its spiky leaves.  Intrigued, we cautiously approached.  Upon further inspection, we found this plant to be, the artichoke.  Oh what fun!  Why not, we thought and quickly scooped him up placing him in the cart alongside our tomato plants.  You could almost see the tomatoes cringe, staring at this ugly duckling and scoot to the far side of the cart.  But we wanted this little fellow to succeed.  We cared for it, watered it, gave it a home in our garden and gave it a little love.  We excitedly watched as it sprouted new growth.  And then one day it gave us flower buds. 

Now apparently you are supposed to harvest these buds when they are tight if you are using them for consumption.  We had heard that some people grow them just for their flowers.  We puzzled, these little spiky critters are grown for their flowers?  Well, we had fully intended to consume these chokes with a little melted butter and a glass of crisp white wine.  However, being new at identifying when a choke was ready to harvest, I allowed them to remain on their stalks for a wee bit too long.  Their buds started to loosen.  I figured, well okay, let's see what you've got.  This misfortune however was in fact a surprise.  

I therefore am sharing with you the “Art”ichoke.  Behold, the ugly duckling has morphed into a beautiful swan . . . . 

Flowering Artichoke plant

Flowering Artichoke Plant

Flowering Artichoke Plant

Green beetle on flowering Artichoke plant
Apparently we are not the only ones enamored by these beauties.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review Time - "The Beach House" by James Patterson & Peter De Jonge

I had no idea what to expect with this book, but having enjoyed the movies, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, and having read When the Wind Blows and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, I was game to read another James Patterson book.

First, I thoroughly enjoyed Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, a really touching love story that was uncharacteristic for Patterson at the time.  Now, When the Wind Blows I found to be a little strange (people that could fly), but what the heck, it took place in the foothills of Colorado (Boulder and Idaho Springs) and since I was living in Colorado at the time, I was interested in reading that book.

The Beach House was different from these others.  Taking place in the Hamptons, a murder occurs in the exclusive community that has the locals crying foul.  It was an extremely quick read for me, which means that it kept my interest and made me want to turn the page to find out what was going to happen next.  That being said, I found it a little bit of a let down.  It was "okay".  I don't know, but for me I could take it or leave it.  It's not a book that I'm going to say, "Oh, you have to read this."  This disappoints me a bit because When the Wind Blows didn't blow me away either, no pun intended.  I guess I'd have to say that these were beach reads and nothing more.  It is commercial fiction after all, not literary genius.  So I give this neither a thumbs up or thumbs down.  To me, it was average.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."
-- Terry Pratchett, Diggers

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Try Kiva for Free!


Once again Kiva is extending an offer to try them out for free, and for a limited time they are giving $25 to new users. If you are unfamiliar with Kiva, it is an organization that allows you to lend money to borrowers all over the world.  The borrowers consist of both individuals trying to improve their lives and small businesses.  You can view multiple profiles to find out how they are going to use the money, see their payback stats and choose who you'd like to lend money to.  Go to to find out more. When you are ready to try them out for free, go to:  and feel good about helping someone improve their lives.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review Time – “The Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold

Okay, I don’t quite know where to begin with this one, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.  No, strike that, let’s say short and simple because sweet definitely is not the correct term to use here – no warm fuzzies hiding inside this book jacket.  

First, let me say that this is the author of The Lovely Bones, so I was eager to read another book written by her.  And although I felt unsettled reading this book, I do respect the author and her craft.  That being said, this book deals with some very difficult topics, namely matricide (killing one’s mother), mental illness and suicide, so definitely not light reading.  It is a fast-paced book starting immediately with “the act”.  The entire book takes place over a 24 hour time span during which the narrator takes you through childhood, bringing you to her current day calamity.   I will say that I liked the explanation the main character’s father used when describing her mother as the almost moon, meaning that she was almost whole, unlike the moon which is always full even if we don’t always see it.

A reviewer of this book likened Sebold’s writing to Edgar Allan Poe, and although it has been many, many years since I’ve read Poe, I’d have to say from what I remember, that it’s probably an accurate description.   Words that come to mind for me after reading it are:  disturbing, haunting and yes, well-written.  I suspect that some will abhor this book while others will find it successful.   Should you choose to read it, I’ll leave that up to you.

Now, on to the exciting part of finishing a book -- what do I read next?  Something a little more lighthearted perhaps?   Well, let me see . . .