The long and winding road to fitness, day 62

Salad with vinaigrette dressing

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Whew!!  What a crazy day at work…I’m exhausted, sleepy, in pain and in a bad mood…not a good combination, huh?  I just could not get to sleep last night so ended up with a little over four hours of sleep.  We went in to work at 5:30, the truck came at 7:30 and everything was hectic from that time forward.  I ended up working 10 hours…just go, go, go all day long.

My eating was  good…had a really good cucumber, tomato and onion salad with my favorite Hendrickson’s sweet vinegar and olive oil dressing…yum!  I’m thinking about having the same thing tomorrow.  It’s nice to be able to go outside and pick the cucumbers and tomatoes for that salad…handy and tasty!

I got in an hour’s walk today and did lower body strength training…oh yeah, and worked like a maniac on that truck…fun times!

I’m planning to get to bed really, really early tonight…I’ve got to try for eight hours of sleep.  When I combine lack of sleep and hunger, like I did at work today, it’s not a good thing.  I get just a tad grouchy…what’s that you say?  More than a tad…much more than a tad?  Hmm…okay, I’ll give you that one.  So, to any of my co-workers who I may have offended with my grouchiness, I’m sorry…one thing I know for sure, I need to stop and eat when I start feeling like that.

How does being really hungry, sleepy and tired affect you?

My little garden in mid July

As with most gardens, there are some hits and some misses.  Some things in my garden are performing wonderfully.  I’ve got plenty of cucumbers…

Only one pepper plant has actually produced any peppers so far, although the jalapeno plant is now blooming, my fault, I transplanted it late.

The zucchini plant has taken over…

See how huge the plant is relative to the terra-cotta bird bath?  This thing is gigantic. I have plenty of zucchini even with picking them small.

The sunflowers are still blooming although the little gold finches are eating all the seeds.

Now the black-eyed Susans are blooming…

Unfortunately, the tomatoes have been hit with blight again this year…darn it, darn it, darn it! I’m hoping the ones that have come up on their own will manage to avoid it, they did fine last year even though the others all succumbed to the dreaded blight.   In the mean time, thank goodness for the farmers market.

The garden outside my back door

The Great Seal of the State of Indiana

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Here it is, early July, and it certainly feels like it.  Hot and humid here in Indiana, just about what we expect for the July 4th holiday.  While this weather can be uncomfortable for us humans, as long as we provide them with plenty of water, the garden plants (for the most part) love it.  Okay, sure, the lettuce and spinach can’t take the heat, but the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers love it.

I’m getting plenty of peppers from this one Cubanelle plant…I planted my jalapeno plant late, but it’s now blooming, so it won’t be long…

There are several small cucumbers almost ready to pick…the taste of a home-grown cucumber is nothing like what you buy at the grocery store.  I’m not really sure what those things they sell as cucumbers at the grocery store actually are…definitely not the super tasty, crunchy cucurbits that I grow.  When I raise my own cukes, I eat them in their entireity…skin, seeds and flesh.  No bitterness, just yummy cool cucumber taste.

The zucchini plant, as zucchini plants tend to do, is growing like crazy….

There are tiny little zucchini squash on the plant…at least they were tiny yesterday, by tomorrow they may be baseball bat sized!!

And I was surprised to see a red tomato on the Amish paste tomato plant…almost ready to pick!

And how can you resist smiling when you see these cheery flowers?  Gardening is good for you, body and soul!

Farmers Market in early July

I finally made it to our local farmers market this morning.  I have every other weekend off work and it seems like it’s always either raining or I’ve got other plans.  But today I got up early, gathered my totes, put on comfortable shoes and made my way down town.  I got there just a few minutes after it opened (operating hours are Saturdays, 8 am until 1 pm) while the crowd was still navigable.  Believe me, with this particular farmers market, that’s the only way to do it.  On occasion, I’ve gone at around 11 am and could hardly see the vendors’ booths through the mass of humanity.  By going early, I was able to find my favorite vendors (there are several organic farmers who sell their produce and plants at the market, one of my favorites is a farm that is owned by a woman…one of these days I’ll remember to take a picture of her at her booth, but that didn’t happen today.  It’s nice to be able to talk with the farmers who actually do the work to bring us all the fresh fruit and veggies.  I like to hobby garden, but to do it on a large enough scale to earn money is a huge undertaking, not to mention, a lot of hard work!  I have total respect for these people and thankfully,  I get to enjoy the fruit of their labors.  In addition to the produce, you can find honey, eggs, meat, freshly ground flour and cornmeal, all kinds of live plants, cut flowers, coffee, prepared food and lots of live entertainment.  It’s really a social event for a lot of people here in my home town.

I came away with several baby zucchini, some juicy peaches (I ate one as soon as I got home), some red leaf lettuce, a Patty pan squash, a yellow tomato, and a red tomato.  I think I’m going to grill the zucchini and the Patty pan squash, brushing them with olive oil first.  The red tomato will likely go into a nice fresh salsa, one of my favorite summer foods.  The lettuce?  Well, salad for work with tomato, cucumbers and peppers.  And the peaches, really, do I have to explain?  I will eat them out of hand…although I have read various blogs about grilling peaches and watermelon…should I give it a whirl?

By the time I got home, it was beginning to get hot (we’re under a heat advisory today) and the humidity was making it a little difficult for me to breathe.  I went out to look at my own little garden where I have several cucumbers ready to pick.  And I noticed one of my Amish paste tomatoes is turning…ahh…to be able to walk out of my kitchen door and pick my own produce right before I eat it, it doesn’t get any better than that!!  But the convenience and ambience of the farmers market comes in a close second!

Container garden, mid-June

My little patio garden is looking good…

As long as I’ve been gardening, it still amazes me every year to see how quickly the garden grows.

From this in mid-May…to this in mid-June

Cucumber in mid-May…to cucumber in mid-June

Tomatoes setting on…

Cubanelle peppers, looking forward to these…

And looking forward to watching my garden continue to grow!


Early summer gardening

I grew up gardening…the only difference is now I do it out of choice, not because I’m being forced to do it.  Okay, that’s not really the only difference…we had a huge garden when I was a kid.  Now I do most of my gardening in pots on my patio, with only a small space for a bed in the yard.  I also lean more toward organic gardening now.  Back in the day, when I was a kid, my grandmother used who knows what to keep bugs away…I honestly don’t remember what it was, just some kind of powder that she sprinkled on her plants.  Now I shudder to think that we ate the fruits and veggies that had been sprinkled with poison…

You can see that I’ve just watered the plants on my patio.

Little sausage tomatoes (an heirloom variety) setting on…good for paste, but I usually use them for salsa…not as watery as slicing tomatoes.

Cucumbers…I love to eat these fresh from the garden.  Like all produce, what you grow in your back yard is so much tastier than what you can buy at the store.

Radishes, ready to pull.  I’ve read that people actually cook radishes, but I’ve never tried that…raw is good!

Cubanelle pepper plant…have to have fresh peppers for homemade salsa…I have several other smaller pepper plants that I have yet to pot in their permanent home…probably ought to be doing that, it is June.

What are you growing this summer?