Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Paying Gig!

I worked with fellow alum Nancy on a Graduation Party.  Eight hours of prep and a nine hour day for the party.  Nice people at the party and lots of referrals coming our way.

Me and Nancy
All Cold Dishes

How Does My Garden Grow

After working two days prepping for the catering event, I had a chance to stop by the plot last evening to check out the veggies.  Wow!   Stuff grows fast.  Thought I'd share some before and after photo's.


After One Month
Nothing like getting back to the land.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Some of you may remember before "Gilligan's Island," Maynard G. Crebs (aka Bob Denver) was the beatnik buddy of "Dobie Gillis".

If I'm spouting names you have no recollection of, you can stop reading now.  

Maynard was lazy, philosophical and the prequel to the hippie generation that showed up about 7 years later.  He had one word that would make him go nutz.  Well, I'm just about to embark on that word that has escaped me for 2 1/2 years.

Catering a gig in Palos Verdes for 70 folks celebrating a high school graduation starts today with two days of prep and working the party on Saturday.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Harvest Begins, sort of

Yesterday, Chris picked our first vegetable from The Garden.  It was a somewhat mis-shaped zucchini.   Now I'm not complaining about the shape, or the fact that after hours of labor, I didn't get to pick the first vegetable.  I was there early that morning and it wasn't as big as it shows.  In 8 hours it grew about an inch.   If allowed to grow too big, they become woody tasting and tough.

There will be so much more coming our way, I'll be giving alot of it to friends and fellow gardners.  I have tomatoes coming, tomatillos, and yellow squash.  The beans are about 6 inches tall now and I have already picked some chives and lemon thyme.  Plus, we have already received summer squash, two zucchinis, green beans and a bunch of beets from neighboring gardens.  And, I have given up some seeds of heirloom pumpkins I brought back from Casperia, Italy to two neighbors.

One picked zucchini does not make a harvest.  But, its a start.

And there was one!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It Hertz to drive in Italy

Since being back from Italy, we have been noticing charges to my American Express card,  one in May and another in June.
Italiano.  Seeking explanation after alerting AE that there are fraudulent charges being attached to my card, we called Hertz.  Seems that these charges are traffic violations that are caught on film and then forwarded to Hertz to pay.  Who in-turn charged me.  $110 to be precise.

Driving in Italy is already a violation to sensible motoring.  But I couldn't tell you what the hell I did that wasn't in the spirit of driving like an Italian.  One in Milan, the worlds worst city to have a vehicle that isn't attached to a rail and one in Florence.  The one in Florence I believe was because we drove down a pedestrian only street with permission from the local police.  They couldn't get me to my hotel without having to drive down this road.  It may be a ruse to acquire funds for road improvement, that goes right into the pocket of local officials.  It's the Italian way.  Gotta love them guys.

Driving in Italy, the gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Romanesco Natalino

This is so huge.  I don't usually get all wigged out over vegetable seeds.  But, Broccoli, not just Broccoli, Romanesco Natalino. or Roman Broccoli from Conad arrived today and it is the best.  Paola, my chef from Italy, grew these and we picked them from her garden and made wonderful dishes with this simple vegetable.  Our new friends Steve and Denise Haerr from Spoleto, Italy by way of Temecula, Ca. were kind enough to send these all the way to the USA.

The directions are all in Italian, but how hard can putting seeds in the ground be?

Grazie a voi, miei buoni amici
 Steve e Denise.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The "Garden"

Saturday, the "Garden" held elections for their board postions.  Everyone gathered under a gazebo and got to vote.  Very democratic.  Only thing, nobody other than current board members ran.  The president did step down and a new person took over her role.  Nobody ran against him.  Then the Q&A time came.  It was the most entertaining 30 minutes you could imagine.   Gripes, thank yous, shout downs, stand ups, and a lawsuit were all discussed intently and with purpose.  Oh, one lady wanted everyone to go organic.  I thought that was the standard.  Seems it isn't.  Even she got shouted at.  Then everyone got up and went back to gardening.  The outgoing president came over to my plot and commented on how nice my garden looked.  Then she told me my netting wasn't being held up with garden implements.  "I used 99 cent plate racks as they work perfectly for propping up netting."  If I don't change it, I'll get a write-up.  Three write ups and your out, sort of like baseball.

So the result of all this is this; gardening is not democratic...if you get up to speak, be prepared to get shouted at...and if you file a lawsuit against the "Garden," you are considered a stinker, more than manurer on a hot day.

Finally, organic is what is found in the grocery store and costs more money.  Not to be confused with going organic in the "Garden".
Gazebo in background, scene of the election. Netting over the orange bucket, illegal.

Me and my Organic Garden

Thursday, June 2, 2011

BARK for ME!

Spent the better part of the afternoon at the campus of UCI with Maggie and other fine folks from BARK (Beach Animals Reading with Kids) Students of any age seem to like the presence of dogs on their campus.  We even got free pizza.  We were there to benefit an on-campus Mental Health booth.  What could be better for your mental health than a dog lick?
BARK in mass

Bella with Linda and Maggie and me

O yah!

Color Coordinated.