Tag Archives: Garden Nazis

An odd couple and keeping up with the Times …

What goes together better than diamonds and container gardens? Truly an odd couple but such disparate topics and more are all in play for the weekly letters.

As it is, the kids read all the news that’s fit to print (with apologies to the New York Times). Speaking of the Times, it is all it’s cracked up to be. I can hardly get through the weekend editions. In fact, I’m not. Sections yet to be perused are stacked up like cordwood next to the couch. I wish the kids would subscribe to the paper versions of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune. It would do them good. 

March 27, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Our collective karma didn’t seem to work too well for the Bulldogs last week. North Carolina rolled them and I thought Butler would be the one team that might be peaky enough to give them a go. But for a small school to reach that far says something about the basketball culture in Indianapolis. I watched the games yesterday on ESPN which had a link to the CBS broadcast. It’s really the one time of year I wish I had a TV. Otherwise, I’m good without it. In secret, I am a Carolina fan among all the teams down in these parts so here’s hoping the Tar Heels can go all the way.

The container garden is already going great guns. The romaine and arugula are already sprouted and growing nicely. The cilantro has yet to emerge. If the temps hold true (and warm) later this week the basil and maybe a small tomato plant will go in the ground. While golfing this weekend, there was a stand of bamboo adjacent to one of the tee boxes and I plucked a bunch of dried stalks and stuck them in next to my golf bag. Those will make good guides for the tomato.


A couple of years ago, the HOA ‘Garden Nazis’ called me out about the evil of veggie plants on the front porch. This year the container garden next to the back driveway got an upgrade.

It took me most of the day yesterday to wade through the New York Times. It really is one hell of a newspaper. The conservative side rags on it as a ‘liberal’ paper, but it’s not liberal, it’s just straight forward, honest reportage. I don’t see much of a reportage bias in it at all. The editorials thump Trump but that’s the role of the Times and other papers; play the devil’s advocate and be a counterweight to the BS that’s spewing out of this White House – or any White House for that matter. What people don’t associate with it is the arts coverage, the food, the culture and other national reporting. They had a great, great piece on Mt. Rushmore from a tangent I’d never seen before. Ellen, I should send you the book review section. It’s stellar.

It’s pretty early in the day right now, and the coffee is strong. I’ve been getting up a bit later, perhaps as my body clock adjusts to the retirement regimen. It doesn’t mean I’m sleeping solidly through the night but it is what it is.

There shall be no mention of the Continue reading


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You mess with my tomatoes, I mess with you …

There is still some Midwestern gardener in me (sadly minus the good black soil). I covet even a small plot to obsess over. Alas, the best I can do is tend to a couple container pots. It’s not the same as tilling the earth, but it’s an any-port-in-a-storm deal.

Yet I watch over those pots religiously; so do ground squirrels who have taken a liking to my meager produce. But the rodents have a crossed a fine line and must be dealt with – harshly. At stake is my annual tomato crop. There is a silver lining: at least the Garden Nazis aren’t coming after me this year.

June 20, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Okay, for all the supposed naturalist in me, there comes a time when enough is enough. A ground squirrel has been munching on my tomatoes and now is the time for all-out war. He/she ruined three nearly ripened tomatoes in the past two days. As I pulled out of the garage this morning to head to the Y, I told the beast out the car window ‘I’m gonna go Lee Harvey Oswald on your ass’ from the strategic vantage point of the upper kitchen window. My pellet gun is locked-and-loaded. The thing can eat whatever it wants as long as it’s not the fucking tomatoes. Not after all these years of trying to grow the things.

So it’s settled; one or two nights in Chicago, a couple two or three in St. Paul, then down to Des Moines for several days, on to Grand Island for one, then up through the Sand Hills on Hwy. 2 to Sundance, Wyoming then traverse on west to Jackson. What a road trip it should be. I know it’s kind of odd to head out in the car but there is a sense of adventure to it. I’m looking forward to a strong cup of coffee as I hit the road in the early morning. Avoided, too, will be two expensive weeks of rental cars not to mention the nearly $800 airfare.


This is what the Week One lunch looks like for Liz, Reid and me. Not high cuisine, but good enough for the high country. I’d better get used to peanut butter and tostada shells; it’s the same lunch fare I’ll endure the second week in the Bridger Wilderness.

Plus, I get to see the girls and you guys on the way (and I’ll see you and Liz on the way back, Reid). The prospect of two-plus weeks in the high country is beyond exciting. The gear is being assembled on the guest room bed. If I get out toward Pinedale early, I may camp by the Hoback to see what might be foolish enough to take my iffily presented flies. It’s a stretch of big water that flows out of the Gros Ventre range just to the north of the Northern half of the Bridger. Ellen, ask Tim what sort of flies/sinking line I might need because it’s a lot more water than I’m used to fishing.

Since my golf game is in the tank and because it cannot possibly be the fault of the Indian rather than the arrow, I splurged on some new irons for the first time in 10 years. We’ll see what impact it has on my game although the impact on the bank account is already noticeable. My clubs won’t make the trip to Wyoming although there is that temptation.

A can of ceiling paint awaiting use is sitting in the corner of the living room. It’s just a matter of mustering the organization to get going on things. There’s a bit of drywall to patch behind the tub faucet in the new bathroom plus some painting here and there. Hopefully it sees more activity than the Harley; the price has been dropped Continue reading

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Hereby named ‘Miss Emma’…

Well, it’s time to put up or shut up. The kayak is here. The ocean is there. The kids now know I’ve got to get off my duff to make this happen. There are a few loose ends to tie up – more on that next week – but a maiden voyage should be in the offing. Maybe the christening will include a bottle of Guinness broken – okay, make that a gentle, non-breakable tapping – over the bow.


May 27, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Whoa. The fishing kayak is already here, still encased in the bubble wrap. It’s exciting. I ordered a few bells and whistles with it – rod holders, paddle holder, etc. – but this will be pretty much a learn-as-you-go proposition. The roof rack installation process was a two beer affair – Ted thought it might be a three beer thing – but it’s amazing how smoothly it can go if you simply follow the directions and have the Boze system cranked up in the garage. John Mayer and Dave Matthews had a calming effect on the process. I know it’s kind of whack since I’ve never been in a kayak before but I’m anxious to get it on the salt water. Now it’s on to Bass Pro Shops (does this make me a ‘neck?) for the basic rod and reel and hooks and stuff. The paper this morning mentioned how the precious blue crab catch is way down in North Carolina largely due to the massive numbers of redfish. Music to my ears. I cannot wait to get the craft – hereby named the ‘Miss Emma’ – on the salt flats. Even if I don’t catch anything, other than a sunburn, it will still be a grand adventure.

Sitting on cardboard is not the same as sitting on salt water. It's time to make a maiden voyage.

Sitting on cardboard is not the same as sitting on salt water. It’s time to make a maiden voyage.

My flowers are finally in on the porch planters, along with a container tomato and some sweet basil. I can only hope the HOA garden Nazis leave me alone this year. For crying out loud it’s only a tomato plant and some herbs. Call of the dogs. Ellen, tell Tim thanks for the shot of the seedlings sprouting in your garden. That’s good to see.

Made risotto for the first time the other night with some sautéed shrimp. It was really good although it takes a while to make. Two cups of the grain needed 8 cups of chicken stock to make, with near-constant stirring for almost 40 minutes. The downside is it appears to pack the same dietary wallop as ice cream because it fills you up and out. The post-meal scale was not as nice to me as it might have been. It is good, though, to spread the culinary expertise to a new dish.

It was a wonderful three day weekend. Played golf two of the three days, rode the Harley two nights (just went over 50,000 miles on the way home from Macs) and of course the roof rack went on. This is what three day weekends were meant to be. The weather was almost perfect. John played with me on Saturday and it was great to see him relax on the course for a change. Walked the course yesterday and this morning my legs are just plain dead. Not sure why that is. Maybe it’s been all the intense work getting ready for Wyoming. I don’t know.

They continue to demolish the landscape next door in preparation for the construction of 50-some housing units. They’ve kept the tree canopy (knock on wood) so far toward the rear portion of the property and that shields the work from my view but not the noise. I need them to keep that greenery in place. It is hard to see them cut down very large oak trees that have been there for who knows how long. The guy next door who is marketing his condo for $379,000 has had some lookers but apparently nothing really serious. I took a break on the roof rack install to have a beer with neighbors who are also selling their unit for an aggressive price but they say their Realtor is very optimistic about their sale. A rising tide lifts all ships and perhaps that might make it easier for me to part ways with my unit, too.

Well, that’s about it from Papa central. You guys be good and keep me posted on your comings and goings. Reid, tell Liz I’m sorry about the Blackhawks. They seem to be going down, down, down.

Love, Dad

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