Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG
Sometimes… no, strike that… all the time I feel like I’m the only person who sets out to work every morning and returns home each evening and actually looks at the amazing light shows that we’ve been blessed with seemingly every day this summer. One reason I think this is that I simply never see people looking at the sky when this stuff is going on; just people scurrying about in their usual dazes. Another reason is the following: I was taking a picture of the sunrise a few days ago at the bus stop and the lady standing there next to me seemed puzzled as to what I was doing, until I pointed above her head eastward. Our habits of ignoring the gifts of nature are so ingrained that we’ve fallen into some kind of groundward-glancing sleep that keeps our eyes below the horizon. This lady was pleasantly surprised at what she saw. Sadly, looking up would never have occurred to her, so inculcated was she into this societal mindset. This is a lady who reads corporate management books in transit, so her bafflement at what is real and important in this life should not surprise me.
While most of you people were getting your fix on the latest comic book movie or first-person computer/video shooter or corporate management books or whatever petty diversions you’ve sequestered yourselves into, this is the kind of stuff I’ve been looking at. Free special effects from nature or God or from whatever origin you like. These are some sunrises and sunsets from just the past few days. The last item here was a very transitory “atomic bomb” cloud effect of the setting sun shooting rays upward through a cloud top, which happened about two minutes before disappearing on the night of July 22, 2008. (See also previous posting: That Sunset Last Night in Louisville, Ky.)
Biking to the Hurstbourne Green Office Park in eastern Jefferson County, Louisville, Kentucky, is a common ritual for me at dusk. There are lots of empty parking spaces and fun obstacles to swerve around relatively safely, not to mention the weird Omega Man feeling of being alone among all those abandoned glass box buildings. On the way out of my neighborhood toward the park I heard something grind into my tire. Stopping to rotate and look at the back tire I didn’t see anything, so proceeded on to my destination. Arriving at one of the highest elevations in the office park I was greeting by a spectacular sunset and then, after the sun had set, the subsequent light show of rays lending a pink hue to the clouds’ underbellies. After taking these snaps I found that my back tire was completely flat. Mind you, I had just changed this tire about a month ago. This is about the eighth time in two years that I’ve managed to get a hole in the back inner tube. The culprit this time was a one-inch nail similar to a paneling nail. Trying to take a short cut home through the neighbor’s yard after carrying the bike for about a mile I managed to step into a pile of dog shit, thus necessitating the cleaning of said dog shit off my shoe after changing the tire. On the whole, given the sights I saw and the shots I managed to get, the trouble was worth it. The final shot in this sequence is of the sky this morning at about 7:20 a.m. -EG
I planted my backyard tomato and jalapeno pepper garden on Sunday May 11, a week and a day after the Kentucky Derby, and predicted a couple of weeks after that upon seeing the fast progress of the growth that I would be harvesting the first ripenings by July 20, but a number of factors seem to bode well for a harvest well before that date. First of all, the climate this summer in Kentucky, so far, has been superb for gardening – not too hot, adequate rainfall, relatively low humidity. Second, I really put a lot of work into proper soil preparation this time. Last year my first batch of tomatoes had to be tossed away due to rot, due to poor soil and underwatering. This past winter I composted a thick pile of leaves and pine needles from my yard and my next door neighbors’ and plowed as much of that under this spring as I could. Excess amounts were shoveled out into a compost pile outside the garden fence. Prior to the first turning of the soil by spade I added a few hundred pounds of peat humus and cow manure ($1.50 a bag at Meijer x how ever many bags) and then turned the soil over three times, once each weekend, before planting. Ever since I have been diligent about daily watering and weeding as much as possible. My weeding methodology is simple and organic and time-consuming: I pull the roots of the errant grass and clover and other undergrowth by hand. As of last week my first grape tomato was turning red and probably will be ready to pick by tomorrow or so, more than a week before my prediction. But let’s see how we do where it really counts: with the regular, full-sized tomatoes. I have some romas that are three inches long and looking about ready to turn. I have a good variety of tomato types: Mr. Stripey, Early Girl, Better Boy, Roma, grape and maybe a couple more. Also, the jalapeno peppers are coming along nicely. The mole who had dug a hole on the eastern edge of the garden has not been seen and evidently has not hurt the garden at all. Here are some pix of the lush garden. There won’t be any salmonella or pesticides in this harvest – just good eatin.’ -EG
It has been awhile since our last Unseen Louisville posting. That our latest entry should be relatively unknown should not be surprising, since it is new, or rather, is a newly monikered way to present a setting that was already there. In a low-lying heavily wooded area adjacent to the ever-growing office sprawl in the Hurstbourne Lane and Ormsby Station Road area of Eastern Jefferson County is a graveled fitness trail cut through some of the last (relatively) untouched deep woods in that part of town. The Forest Green Fitness trail begins at the back edge of a vast parking lot for several new post-modern glass boxes a few hundred yards south of a McDonalds. (Specifically the parcel is bounded to the north by Forest Green Blvd which parallels the slightly more northerly Hurstbourne Lane and to the west by the head of Dorsey Way and to the east by Dorsey Lane). The woods there seem to have been set aside as part of mitigation, I suspect, required by planning and zoning to ensure that some green space remains in the area. I visited the trail this past weekend, and a nice day it was too, as the following pictures will show. On the way there I checked out another bit of unseen Louisville that I only recently discovered—a wide tunnel that passes directly under Hurstbourne Lane adjacent to the McDonalds. I’ve biked through this tunnel several times in the last few weeks without ever encountering one soul there. If you go there, be careful, it gets mighty dark; the lights do not appear to be working. If you bike, be careful not to hit anyone that might pop up while you’re going through there. Use a headlight. The fitness trail to the south is officially closed after dusk, which only makes sense. You probably don’t want to be down there after hours. During the day the dense foliage makes the air noticeably cooler. While I was visiting, a group of kids were sitting at a picnic table in a clearing, resting from doing whatever it is that kids do in the woods. Make sure you have good heavy mountain bike treads if you try to bike the gravel, as it gets fairly thick and loose in spots. The sign at the ‘official’ entrance (although there are several places to enter the trail) says the path is a mile long, but it only seemed to me to be at best a half mile, at least on the parts passable by bike. I know it only took me a couple minutes to bike it from west to east. There are some wooden steps to the east that were impassable by bike, so maybe that constitutes the rest. A walking trip in the future will tell or not. The creek water that runs alongside some of the trail is contaminated by suburban runoff, as several ‘no swimming’ signs note. I ran into at least three spider webs across the path, indication that not too many people walk through here much. Anyway, here are some views of the trail and of some of the office park area surrounding. You’ll notice my old Roadmaster pressed into service in some of these shots; that’s because my regular bike is in the shop for repairs (broken axle; happens to me all the time). Also, at the end of this series is depicted an awesome perfect anvil-shaped cloud that I captured just before it dissipated at dusk. -EG
Sunday June 8 provided your buddy Gravy a chance for some afternoon lazing about on the ole deck with an old Realistic Patrolman radio tuned to Mexican-style music on AM 620 WTMT Louisville and some bottles of Jamaican Red Stripe at the ready. After many years of experience with the sun I knew very well that sunscreen was called for with the blazing rays piercing through the midday blue sky, but overconfidence won out and I decided to go au naturale. I stupidly assumed that I would be OK as long as I wasn’t exposed for very long, but as it turned out it was long enough. So it was that an hour or so later the tops of my legs and my shoulders were reddened. Later that day I went to Kroger and got some moisturizing relief in the form of Burt’s Bees all natural lotion, aka “After Sun Soother” made with aloe and Linden flower and bee extract of some kind, and that did the trick nicely. It was $10 a bottle but worth it to know that I wasn’t slathering my skin in the industrial chemicals that make up most commercial lotions. The following are some pix from the day.