BEFORE/AFTER

Hope everyone who was hit by the storm is ok.  As I’m sure you’ve seen on the news, Hurricane Sandy hit NYC and the East Coast pretty hard.  We were one of the lucky ones but many people weren’t this fortunate.  I’ve just been looking at pictures all morning and making sure all our friends and relatives are ok.  It’s going to be a sad day.  Give someone a hug if you see they need one!

Before:
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After:
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Matthew took this picture late last night, power out to lower Manhattan, crazy to see.
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Garden Update: Monday, 11AM

Well it doesn’t look good and we are hardly even hit yet, but the ongoing winds for the last 24 hours has not been friendly .  We found out last night that NYC is going to have gusts now up to 90MPH.  In much fear, we hit the roof last night at midnight with a flashlight to find more rope and tie everything we could possibly down, but really, what are you supposed to do?   At that much power, everyone’s roofs are going to be cleared.   The worst for us is tonight into the morning…

As of 11AM, this is the garden.  One of the pea fences are broken already and all the fabric is completely torn.  I really wish I would have picked all the green tomatoes! They are probably on the street now…
If you’re in the storm, be safe, stay inside. I took this picture in a doorway, zoomed incredibly in. 
This is getting pretty crazy.
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UPDATE: PEA FENCES ARE DOWN. We had to frantically push against 50mph winds to tear them out (I know I went against my advise, but I had to save possible lives), including ripping the peas out of the ground.  They were almost ready to produce.  Can’t believe we just ripped them out like that, my heart is broken, but the fence was ready to fall down and blow off the roof.  I also grabbed some green tomatoes as I ran back while crying.

The good thing: Last night in a panic of anxiety (which is going nonstop) I baked chocolate chip cookies which I stood in line for 45 minutes to buy supplies for earlier that day. I need to do something to keep my mind off this because every time I look out the window I just see trees shaking and hear the wind gusting everywhere from my windows to my front door.
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Storm Is Coming..

Well it  looks like Frankenstorm is going to get us, possibly real good.  The city has already put into a effect a mandatory evacuation of Zone A, all subway and buses are closed down starting tonight at 7PM.   With no transportation this basically means the city is shut down.  Already I know NYU cancelled their classes for tomorrow, so we’re predicting that since the worst of the storm isn’t going to hit us until Monday evening, classes (including the one we teach) will probably be cancelled Tuesday as well.   It’s predicted we’ll see wind from 35-50mph pretty steadily, and possibly gusts up to 80mph on elevated buildings (hello, rooftop garden).   It’s kinda crazy here now, just waiting..
As soon as we woke up this morning, we immediately found out about the transportation, so we knew to get up to the garden ASAP to get everything tied down.    Let’s be honest though..  if we’re seeing wind gusts at 80mph, the garden probably isn’t going to be our main concern.
To put in perspective.. this is the garden at 11AM on Sunday.. with the storm actually not hitting heavily until tonight/tomorrow.  It’s already this windy..


This is what I saw when we first went up today, our heavy tree has already blown over.
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And now it’s tied up..
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Every structure is tied and weighted down the best it can be..
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Be safe all.. it’s going to be a crazy next few days.
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Last Harvest For Many…

Yesterday was the last harvest for carrots, peppers and tomatoes.    We also got the green house out and built it to protect the broccoli, cauliflower and onions.  The storm is about to hit here, so I’m glad we got it done in time.
Carrots were picked.. these guys have been sitting for a while waiting for us.. that’s the amazing thing about carrots, they last forever.  Can we talk about how wide some of these are?  Good job carrots.
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My babies, the pepper plants, were knocked down.  There were many peppers to be picked which is great because I just ran out of peppers the night before!  Aren’t they gorgeous?
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More tomatoes.  You know, they never stop.  I think I’ve wrote this 10 times already, but they really don’t.  Even though I said they are done, I bet I will post one more time with more tomatoes this year.
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Greenhouse is up.. this year we are squeezing every last inch out of it..
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In the green house..
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We also cleaned up the entire garden, put supplies under tarps, etc.  It’s always a bit sad as we know this is one of the final steps of the year..
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~Frankenstorm~

The Northeast might be hit next week by “Frankenstorm”.  It’s hard not to love such a cutely named festive storm…  Today we will build the green house to get ready for a possible rain/snow storm of crazy measures.   If you are in the way of the storm, stay safe!  On a lighter note I will leave you with some predictions and favorite quotes I have found about this storm…

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“Mother Nature is not saying, ‘Trick or treat.’ It’s just going to give tricks.”

“pre-Halloween hybrid weather monster….”

“Just remember — when the zombies emerge from their graves after the cemeteries are flooded, aim for the head.”

“The poor kids! This is the second year of crummy Halloweens in a row.” (last year we got snow!)

“I already heisted a Wonderbread truck.  I’m expecting the Welsh Farms truck any minute….”

Tomatoes Are Down

Our beloved tomatoes, the monsters and protectors of the garden, were cut down this week.  Every year we say “the tomatoes were the best this year” so I will say.. the tomatoes were the best this year!  We easily yielded over 100 pounds of tomatoes and my freezer will forever be grateful for the sauces these tomatoes will provide us for the rest  of our lives.
The tomatoes gave us one last harvest.. even in the middle of October.. couldn’t have asked for more productive tomato plants this year!
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Before:
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After:  (*weep weep*)
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The garden is looking a little empty without them.  Don’t worry, they will be back next year.. better than ever?
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Goodbye Corn

Today I picked the 2nd round of corn and chopped down all the corn plants.  The plants will be cut up, buried and eventually turn into great compost soil.  If you remember we had great success with corn this year and picked the most delicious ears in August.  Because we are risk takers we decided to try for a second round of corn and attempt to beat the weather clock.  Although these corns aren’t as big as the first round because they didn’t have the hot weather corn loves, they still grew really well for being Fall.
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Goodbye corn, I love you so very much.
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It kills me to chop you guys down but you will always be special to me.
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Here’s all the ears, almost every single plant had one to pick.
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See you next year corn!

Tabatchnick Cabbage Soup = NOM

I found these soups made by Tabatchnick in the frozen food department a few days ago. Wikipedia tells me the  brand Tabatchnick has been around since 1905 but they are new to me.  The soup was on sale so I thought let’s try them because I LOVE SOUP.  I got a cabbage soup and a chicken broth with noodles and dumplings.  I can’t speak for the chicken noodle one yet as I haven’t tried it but I had the cabbage soup and I’m in love!  I was surprised when I opened it up and actually found 2 pouches of cabbage soup, each only 90 calories, so you get 2 servings of soup!   I admit it doesn’t look exactly like the front of the box (what does?), but it’s really delicious and much thicker than I thought it would be.  If you love cabbage soup, try it!
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Here it is.
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When you open it up, you will find a big slab of frozen soup.  It doesn’t exactly fit into a small bowl, so I microwave it for 30 seconds and then crush it a bit so it all does fit into a bowl.  Then it gets microwaved for another 3 minutes, 30 seconds.
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It comes out thick.  I also should note it has a strong good smell to it.  While in the microwave Matthew called to me “What are you cooking that smells so good”.  Microwavable frozen soup!
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Lots of cabbage.. highly recommended, try it!
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And just to show you here’s the chicken noodle one.  The brand sells lots of other kinds which I’m going to check out soon.

Garden Update

Here’s a quick update on where the garden is at right now.  A few boxes have been cleared,  many boxes need to be cleared. We are waiting for the harvest to stop before pulling them..
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For example, the tomato plants are brown and are seeing it’s last days.  But check out all the red tomatoes it’s still producing. I feel like they will never stop.
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The pepper plants are still doing great.. they’re always the warriors of the garden:
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Update on the broccoli. 
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And the surprise! Cauliflower.  We have not had great/any success with cauliflower.  To be fair we only tried growing it in the first year of our garden, so we hope now things will be different.  This is a good sign to see a few baby heads start to appear…  Also, I’m missing nail polish, I’m totally aware of this.
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Remember when I chopped down the kale a few weeks ago? Well the kale really doesn’t want to end it’s season because this mini kale plant suddenly appeared in it’s place.
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Happy Monday!

What the title says – Happy Monday! I love waking up early.  Well, I don’t like waking up early.. but when I do, I get so much accomplished and feel better about that.  But I don’t like the actual act of waking up early.  It’s not even noon yet and I’ve worked out, ate breakfast, got a shower, did a million work emails, fed Essy 8 times, woke Matthew up twice to ask him questions, drank many cups of tea.
Speaking of Essy, how beautiful is this mom bear?  18 years old and still 100% trouble. 
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We are working on a fun Christmas project..  
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This is my current favorite tea in the world.  If you drink tea, please try this.  I find it a bit pricy ($6 for 20 bags at my grocery store) but it’s one of the best black teas.  It has a strong smell to it and reminds me of Fruity Pebbles which is a good comparision.
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Here’s a update on the broccoli and cauliflower plants. Yesterday and today have  been 70 degrees which is unfortunate, but tomorrow is back to being chilly which everyone prefers.  Everyone being me and the broccoli plants.  We are having issues with aphids this year, they are ruining our lives.  We have tried every type of spray, we have tried jetting them off full force with the hose, but they come back.  Everyday.  We started using this spray a few days ago and it’s seemed to have a positive impact as the bottom of the broccoli leaves now lie hundreds of dead aphids.   I never wanted something to die as much as I want these aphids dead.  I feel like a horrible person saying this, but seriously.  Please leave our broccoli alone!
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It seems like round 2 of corn is happening.  We are racing against the weather (I know, I can’t have it both ways), but every plant has a ear of corn on it now!
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We tore down the back box of red beans, they did good this year.  We also cleaned up the cucumber (did amazing this year!) and pumpkin plants but I didn’t take pictures.  The season is winding down…
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Sunday Afternoon

2 amazing things happened this afternoon. 

1.  I browned a beautiful pot roast in rosemary then slow cooked it for 8 hours.  It will be devoured alongside creamy mashed potatoes.  There’s one hour left as I write this.  I wish I could let you smell my home right now.
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Beautiful raw roast.
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Flour + Rosemary.
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Browned to perfection.

2.   A man fell from the sky, 24 miles up, traveling at 833.9 mph.
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Flea Market Thursday

Yesterday we rented a car and drove to Columbus, New Jersey to go to one of the biggest flea markets I’ve ever been to.  Besides the usual inside booths, the outside was filled with never ending rows of people selling their junk and treasures.  It seemed everytime we rounded a corner thinking it was done, there was another field filled with tables and items to root through.  Going to flea markets was a big thing in my childhood, we would go to the local one every Sunday and some other ones during the week.  Right before vacation every year we would even set up our own stand and sell to make some extra money.  I was always the kid selling the RL Stine Goosebumps books who was not going to give you a deal because did you have any idea how good these books were?  I remember sometimes my parents would leave me alone at the stand and I would have to sell tables worth of their goods.  Folks would come up to me asking how much my parents items cost or questions about them.  I would glance up from my Nintendo Gameboy and shrug, 50 cents for that kitchen table, sure take it.  But those RL Stines – no deal is being made.

It was a fun journey.  We found some items that we wanted, and some that we didn’t really need but had to buy.  Road trips are always supposed to be filled with eating horribly, so there was some treats to be had along the way too.

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This was at a rest stop along the way.  My sunglasses were just found broken in my bag but I decided to wear them anyways. 
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For breakfast we split a Cinnabon.   I also got tea, they didn’t even ask me what kind of tea I wanted out of 20 options.  Instead they just gave me a Lipton tea bag and told me to take it over to the hot water station.  I was not in New York anymore. 
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There we arrived! This picture was taken at the end of the day, at the beginning, there was cars to be found everywhere.  We had to park very far away which was good because of the amount of fudge I would soon eat.
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Once inside the flea we came across a store that sold almost every game you could think of.  We love board games so we just stood and stare in amazement.  Two games I didn’t see: Ask Zandar, a classic in my opinion, and Candy Land Lotto which was my childhood favorite.
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I found what I believe is the best pie dish ever.  This gem here cost me $5 and was sold by a very stylish older woman who I had to promise I would take good care of this for her.   It’s one of those things that you know you’ll always love and will always make you smile.  I’m in love with it.  I’m pretty sure it was made for me.
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We bought 2 baseball gloves.  Matthew has brought up the idea of going to the park and catching baseballs for years so at $10 for 2 gloves, we found this to be a great deal.  The guy who sold them (who I believe is Joseph Galm’s father?) was very nice and gave me encouraging words that I could participate in this sport and not get hurt.   The baseball though.. that’s another story.
We were trying to find a cheap baseball after buying the gloves.  Matthew thought he saw some earlier in the day so we went back to these stands but couldn’t find any.  Eventually we came across one baseball that had signatures all over – who was it signed by? Babe Ruth? Little League team? No idea.  The booth belonged to a older man who when he saw us popped out of his pickup truck.  “How much for this?” Matthew asked him.  “One dollar” the man said.  Now it’ gets tricky.  Matthew shook his head and put the ball down.  Matthew thought $1 was too much.  I wasn’t sure what to do so just looked at Matthew to the older man and back and forth again. Then the older gentleman started to yell at Matthew “OH! ONE DOLLAR TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN HERE! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS. ONE DOLLAR, TOO MUCH MONEY”.  Then I grabbed Matthew’s arm and tried to push us away.  We walked off as the man continued to yell at us down the rows “ONE DOLLAR IS TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN THERE.  ONE DOLLAR. ONE DOLLAR”.  By that time I was crying with laughter.   Eventually we found this baseball.. and paid $2.50 for it.
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After the stress of the baseball man, we needed lunch.  We got a pepperoni pizza pretzel roll from the Amish market stand.  It was delicious.
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Matthew got this winter coat at a military store that also sold guns.  Would you like to see someone awkwardly standing in a store while her other half poses in front of a mirror with a complete wall full of guns behind her? That was me.
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I needed a piece of fudge, so I got some chocolate peanut butter. I love fudge so much. It’s dangerous.  It’s delicious.  This was amazing.  I asked for a quarter pound, but the 8 year old (seriously) who rang me out said it was a bit over.  Ok, I guess, pull my arm, I will eat half a pound of fudge instead.  Ok, Ok.
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Do you know Whoopie pies?  This is a childhood favorite from always visiting the Amish markets.  The Amish know how to make their pies.  These can be described as one of the sweetest pastries you will ever eat.  It’s full of cream with a cake like top and bottom.  I got this pack of chocolate, pumpkin and oatmeal.  I took it to a debate party we were attending later that night and basically whoopied everyone else, we were in a sugar comatose. I made a horrible choice of this morning eating a piece of a leftover pie, now my day is moving very slowly.  I’m going to eat broccoli for the rest of the day.
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Also bought from the Amish, the best sour dough bread ever.  The smell of it – oh god.  I also got organic freshly ground peanut butter. I never had fresh peanut butter, I don’t think I can go back to the stuff in the jar now. I wanted a jar of red raspberry jam as it’s a favorite. I bought this thinking it was local freshly made, then when I got home i realized it said “Made in Ohio”.  I was fooled!
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On the way home we stopped in a Cracker Barrel to have a early dinner.   I never ate in a Cracker Barrel, only heard about their large portions.  I got a baked potato, a side order of mac and cheese and a cup of cabbage stew. I ate about 25% of it.  Matthew said he was disappointed in my ability to finish a full American meal like this, but there was no way.  How can potatoes grow that big?
Anyways, to my surprise Cracker Barrel has a gift store full of cute  holiday items!  What a great idea, after I finish dinner with a full belly, have me walk past Christmas trees decorated with my favorite people: snowmen.  Just give me one of everything, I need to go to the car and lie down.  I got these Snowmen Christmas ornaments, and Peppermint Bark because it’s a favorite.  We are ready for Christmas.  It’s October 12th. Bring it on!

Halloween Decorated!

This weekend we finally got down all the decorations.  It’s looking very spooky in here!   We love it.  Also, I can’t believe the amount of Halloween dish towels I have, seriously.
As you can see the entire Halloween brigade is out and smiling.  We also hung up all the ghosts that shake and make noise. There’s one ghost who is very sensitive and basically goes off 500 times a day.  You have to whisper around him.
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Pumpkins everywhere you look.
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Robot is in the spirit.
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Big Mr. Pumpkin and some lights in the window.
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Skeleton lights in the window to be exact.
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Mr. Cloud should watch out, there’s a ghost behind him.
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We put up ghosts very close to the ceiling fan, so if it was turned on, it would be a very bad experience for everyone involved. Even though we promised not to turn on the fan this month, we fear we will forget, so this is now taped over the ceiling fan switch.
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And Brother Bear is in the spirit.  Kinda.  I put braids on him after this and he ran away.
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