I’ve been hearing ugly rumors that summer has ended; I choose not to believe this until I see snow falling on the ground. And this is Washington, DC, it snowed like mad a couple winters ago, so I’m pretty sure we are in endless summer mode.
What’s that Ned Stark? Winter is coming? You were beheaded so shut yer face.
Summer can’t be over, just the other night I made a delectably divine pasta dish of sautéed cherry tomatoes and broccoli from our garden, which I shall dub, Pasta Estate. You’ll note that I did not dub it, Pasta Autunno.
Birdseye view of the back garden.
Speaking of the garden, it’s still kicking pretty hard. Besides the cherry tomatoes and broccoli, there’s kale and eggplant still growing and the peppers are just starting to bud. My worms
met their untimely demise last spring. Don't fret! In their horrific death (cause of not determined) came life in the form of robust tomatoes, eggplant, basil, chives, carrots, radishes, strawberries, blueberries, and cabbage. Ugh…cabbage...12 heads of cabbage is too much, trust me. Thank you my hermaphroditic friends, the vermicompost you created worked miracles. We had tomato plants taller than an averagely sized short man and the tomatoes grew at a faster speed than the plant from Little Shop of Horrors
. They were all like, “Feed me, Seymour”.
Feast your eyes on that glorious bounty.
If summer really is over, why do I still get mosquito bites when I go out back? Why am I still wearing flip flops? Why did I see a baby bear while hiking in Shenandoah last weekend? Pretty sure it would be hibernating by now if all you naysayers were right.
Music in the French Quarter
Fun at Jazz Fest
Worms have now been eating my garbage now for four weeks. I have recently employed the guidance and wisdom of Mary Appelhof through her book, Worms Eat My Garbage
. The process so far is going as well as expected and I have made a few observations. The smell-
If you were to ask me what the bin smells like, the only description I can think to give is that it smells like a vermicompost bin. I noticed last week while taking out the trash that my garbage smells much worse than the bin. According to Appelhof’s book, this is because the bedding of torn up newspapers and cardboard helps airflow, which in turn creates an aerobic environment, compared to the anaerobic conditions usually found in a normal garbage pail. I never did too well in biology class, but I think that means something like, being an ecosystem with strong air circulation and the process of…ummmm…my brain hurts. It just doesn’t smell bad, okay? The worms-
Over the past week, I have been concerned that conditions in the bin were a little off because whenever I opened the lid I would noticed a few worms always near the top, trying to climb out. I wasn’t sure if there wasn’t enough oxygen, too much water, or something wrong with a certain food which created a toxic environment. I added a fresh top layer of bedding and when I opened the bin today only a couple worms were trying to escape.
The other day, I found two dead worms in the basement. My theory is that they managed to escape only to be picked up by my feline friend, looking for a little snack, except she quickly realized they were not nearly as decadent as her Wellness brand cat food and decided to spit them out in order to enjoy the dried pellets that have defined her meaningless and miserable existence for the past seven years.
Another thing that I noticed about the worms is that they are much bigger than a month ago and are also starting to reproduce in large numbers. While sifting through the castings, I found many cocoons. (There was a lot, those little horn balls are getting it on hard core. It’s like one big nasty food composting hermaphrodite orgy.) The food-
The worms have been getting fed about once a week. I don’t give them every single bit of food waste, but they do get the scrapes from two-three meals a week. I had originally read on the Internet that the worms won’t eat meat, but according to Appelhof, the do. A published book seems more credible than some idiots blog, so, I gave them a chicken leg this afternoon; we’ll see how that goes. I also finely ground six eggshells and added it to the bin. This helps create nitrates, which apparently the worms enjoy; who doesn't?
You can see in the below video what it looks like in the bin. It is filling up fast with disgusting worm crap precious worm castings.
In my old apartment building, there was a spot in the basement for tenants to leave behind items that were too good for the trash but not good enough to keep. Last summer there was a copy of Flogging Molly, Alive Behind the Green Door, that somebody had left for me to find. The band had been on my radar for years, but I foolishly had never taken the time to get to know them and since this fated discovery, Alive Behind the Green Door has barely been ejected from my cars CD player. The recording is a mere glimpse into what it must have been like to see the band play Molly Malone's every Monday night in Los Angeles all those years ago.
Flogging Molly played at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD last Friday night. I knew the concert was going to be crazy, I even went with the impudence of my 18-year-old self and mentally prepared to mosh for the first time in 12 years. As I stood way up front amongst the drunken crowd and waiting for the show to begin, the lights go out, the band takes the stage, the crowd is freaking out, the first notes are played and all hell breaks loose. I wanted to be in the mosh pit and somehow I was at its epicenter. Elbows were flying, bodies were bouncing, feet were kicking; shit was going down.
I was 18-years-old the last time I enjoyed the thrill of a mosh pit. It was at a Slash's Snake Pit concert and at that time, the thoughts in my head were something like this:
- This is awesome.
- I just touched Slash's guitar, this is really fucking awesome.
- Holy shit, I just got punched in the head, this is the greatest thing ever.
As a 30-year-old in a mosh pit, my thoughts were a bit different:
- Did I ever get around to updating the beneficiary information on my 401(k) when I got married?
- That 300 lb tattooed man with a mow-hawk is sweaty as fuck and I just touched his arm; what the hell is his problem?
- Does my PPO cover head trauma?
After a couple of songs, I decided to work my way to the edge of the mosh pit and try to enjoy the band while simultaneously pushing back against the bounty of sweaty bodies graciously throwing themselves into the nearest thing on two feet. A few more songs were played before I fought my way to the back of the crowd to replace the five dollar PBR that was sacrificed to the mosh gods about five songs earlier.
With fresh beer in hand, I squeezed my way back into the crowd and was able to circumvent the moshers as I got two rows from the stage. From my new vantage point, I tried to get a free Guinness from the bassist and almost caught a drumstick.
After the encore, the house lights came up and over the PA, the sound of Eric Idle, "Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say..." I couldn't believe it. The band was on stage, dancing to Monty Python's, Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. The crowd whistled along at the appropriate times and not a face was without a smile. As the song ended, some of the band mates came down from the stage to chat with the crowd. As I do with most people, I made awkward small talk with bassist, Nathen Maxwell and accordion player, Matthew Hensley. At this point. I was feeling like a 15-year-old boy and on my way out had to make a stop at the merchandise table to buy a sticker for my bike and a t-shirt of Dave King flipping off the camera, Johnny Cash style.
Flogging Molly played at the Fillmore in Silver Spring last night and they were so very good. Here is a video I took with my phone of them performing Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changing". A full report and more videos will be coming soon.
Found near my work in northern Virginia.
Karen and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day as man and wife in our favorite fashion, eating delicious food. Hoping to break into the lucrative realm of food blogging, I took pictures with Hipstamatic.
Our first course was grilled scallops wrapped in bacon.
Because scallops aren't delicious enough without bacon.
Karen made a side salad of sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes.
We have to be kind of healthy sometimes.
She also made my favorite kind of french fry, sweet potato.
I peeled the potatoes myself.
For the main course, I felt the primal urge to kill my own food.
You'd look sexier in 24 quarts of boiling water.
Over three pounds of lobster. It was glorious.
Dessert was chocolate dipped strawberry's. They were too delicious to photograph.
Lens- John S
Film- Kodot XGrizzled
For our honeymoon, Karen and I wanted the perfect mix of wild adventure (read: getting drunk in the woods) and serene relaxation (read: getting drunk on a beach). We envisioned long days of hiking on the ridge of a fiery volcano, snorkeling in exotic waters with deadly marine life, sea kayaking fierce waves in the Pacific Ocean, horseback riding wild stallions in forgotten river valleys, and surfing large waves on some of the world's most beautiful beaches. All this topped with evenings of gut-stuffing dinners of fresh seafood, washed down with local wines, followed by sitting in a hot tub under the moonlit sky, drinking vodka mixed with the freshest of exotic juices. And beer, lots of beer.
The obvious choice was Hawaii. A far-off exotic land with everything we could hope for. And, we wouldn't t have to journey there by canoe.
Plus, it's f_ _ _ing Hawaii.
We had two weeks of incredible adventures and laughed in the face of death on several occasions. We hiked active volcanoes at Volcano National Park, we snorkeled with a sea turtle nicknamed "Volkswagen", we rode on the backs of wild stallions in Waipio Valley, we sea kayaked the bays of Kona, we did it all. The greatest and most terrifyingly fun thing on the list was zip-lining 450 feet in the air over Akaka Falls with Skyline Eco Adventures. The zip line course was on a banana plantation and we feasted on fruit fresh from the tree.
Being more courageous than myself, and having a complete disregard for her iPhone, Karen took this video of the death-defying run:
Considering the fact that, in this relationship, I am the life-long Boy Scout with an extensive background in television production, I probably should have offered my wilderness survival skills and broadcast expertise to shoot the video. I could have used my professional know-how to perfectly frame the shot and maybe capture the natural light as it glistened off the falls while slowly panning to the ground so far below, sharing with the viewer the shear terror that ran through my veins as certain death was a mere cable snap away. But, I probably would have dropped the phone.
And seriously, she took an amazing video and it is one of my favorite memories of our journey together.
In the land of the hermaphroditic, the man with only one set of reproductive organs is king.
After much anticipation, my pound of red wiggler worms arrived via US Post yesterday, making an epic journey all the way from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm in Spring Grove, PA.
Having ~1,000 live worms delivered to my doorstep felt god-like. It was as if I summoned my minions from a far-off land to come do my biding. I was all like, "Come, worms. Come and eat my organic food waste and old newspapers and turn it into nutrient rich worm castings for my backyard garden." (Followed by a baritone laugh.) And then the worms were all like, "Oh nice, food and a bit of water. This is just what we needed after our long journey being cooped up in that nasty satchel for four days."
The worm bin has been ready for just about a week now. I wanted to get the decomposing process started early, so I filled it last week with alternating layers of paper and food waste.
It was starting to get a slight odor, nothing terrible, you really had to get your nose in there to smell it, but the worms got here just in time none-the-less. I'm hoping as they start chomping down, the odor will go away in a couple of days.
I am interested to see how fast these little bastards eat the food that's in there and how often I will have to add more. I've read that it can't be too dry or too, otherwise the worms will try to escape and ultimately die.
Like I said in my last post, I really hope this doesn't turn into worm genocide.
See Related: Trash Goes In, Magical Deliciousness Comes Out
Welcome home, my composting friends. Just a heads up, I might use some of you for fishing this summer.