Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

Happy Birthday, Daddy June 29, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,grace,thanks — Mary @ 11:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

We had the privilege of celebrating my dad’s birthday with him this weekend. I have a lovely picture of him blowing out his candle, but I won’t post it unless he says its okay.

We had roast chicken, roast potatoes, caprese salad, purslane salad, sauted zucchini, fresh almond/flax bread and of course, cake and ice cream. Much lovely conversation accompanied it all, as well as some nice wine.

So I’m not going to wax poetic about my dad tonight. It’s late and I might get sappy. But here is something I really, really want to say again:

We trust, as Christians, in God’s sovereign hand in our lives. (Sometimes I am better at this than others.) But my dad is, as was my mom, a constant reminder to me of the great love that God has shown me and continues to show me. What amazing parents I have. I can’t contemplate it without welling up.

My dad has loved me when I was utterly unloveable in the way I was living my life and behaving. He has helped me when I needed helping. And now, as we all deal with the loss of my mom, he has been an example to me of grace and courage. I love talking with him and just spending time with him whatever it is we are doing. He is my friend and I am honored to be his daughter.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you so very much.

Some pictures of the boys enjoying Grandpa’s birthday cake right off the beaters follow.

Josiah emulates Daddy’s questionable fashion sense by getting a mustache of his own. Only Josiah’s is made of chocolate so, really, it’s win-win:

Eamonn gets to eat icing off a beater. His Aunt Crista spoils him so wonderfully and he loves just about every second of it. Here’s to getting a beater on Grandpa’s birthday!


We Know How I Love Before and Afters

So here are two.

B10 the day I got it:

B10 today:

C10 the day I got it:

C10 today:


Holy cow…I got tagged! June 28, 2008

Filed under: family,garden,grace — Mary @ 11:41 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I sort of feel like this makes me a “real” blogger. And so, here we go…many thanks to Spatulahandle for the nod. Sadly, I’m not so artsy so I don’t think this is going to be as cute as yours.

Tag: Write a six-word memoir. Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like. Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere . Tag 5 more blogs with links . Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play. (I tagged 6, because I liked the breakdown. Don’t judge me. No, don’t.)

So here goes.

Crossing the street, I was saved.

// for the image.

I can’t figure out how to email the folks at Letter to America to ask permission to use the image so here is full credit and I’ll work on asking permission in the meantime.

Someday when I go back to Solvang, CA, I’ll take a picture of that actual street and tell the story.

My tag list (Two faith, two family, two garden…my interest trifecta):
Creed or Chaos
This Sure Real Life
The Root
Hit Pay Dirt


A Garden Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary @ 10:22 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve done a strictly garden update with pictures, and some really big things have happened out there.

I’m now getting about a pound of tomatoes every other day. I have peppers coming in and beginning to ripen finally. My corn is sprouting ears in both patches. I’d estimate about 80 ears before we’re through. I’ve also got 4 good sized watermelons and a bunch of babies. We’ve gotten several crops of potatoes thus far. I’m truly convinced now that you just can’t plant enough potatoes. I have okra buds now (amazing after so many lost plants!) that came from a second set of seeds I started about two months ago.

So anyway, here are some pictures. I’ll do a before-and-after of B10 and C10 in a post following.

My corn. Silver queen in the taller patch and Casino (I think, I have to re-check this. It also might be Bon Jour, but I don’t think so. It’s amazing what you forget. Anyway, the shorter guys I grew from seed.) corn patches with Jack of All Trades growing underneath in both, also started from seed.

Silver Queen corn patch

Sivler Queen cobs

Casino corn patch

Casino cobs

Here is my okra, trying hard to outgrow purslane (destined for a salad soon) and Sugar/Pie pumpkins. I have buds and teeeeny baby okra now. You can check them out in my Flickr photostream if you want.

Okra bed

And speaking of pumpkins…

One of my smaller Sugar pumpkins, followed by my ripening one, and a shot of my Jack of All Trades, which is now almost half again bigger one day after this photo was taken.

Small Sugar pumpkin

Ripening Sugar pumpkin

Jack of All Trades

My melons make me happy. Too bad I can’t remember which is which anymore and my plant tags faded. Note to self and anyone else: When you write on plant tags, don’t use girly colors like pink and light green. Use black. Truly. Or a soldering iron. For the sake of permanency, that is.

One of my littlest big'uns.

Not the biggest, but big

Another one

My bush beans, Bountiful and Cranberry, are having an identity crisis. They want to climb like pole beans! Well, I was rebellious, too. So I built them a teepee and they can climb if they want to. As long as they keep producing those gorgeous, tasty pods. Have at it little beans!


Bountiful bush bean pods

There are plenty more pictures on Flickr, as I mentioned. Feel free to take a gander. I won’t force you to look at them here, though.

If any of you have good experience with peppers, I keep losing mine to sunburn…but they are full sun plants. Do the peppers themselves need some shade?


Pot-Heads Flock to My Blog June 26, 2008

So, apparently my rapture over eating weeds — purslane, specifically — has led some people to my blog for very interesting reasons.

I really adore the “Blog Stats” page. I refresh it obsessively. But it’s not, as my husband accused to our family friend Joseph, because I love tallying up all my page hits. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are even remotely interested in what I say on here and am really honored that anyone would read more than a sentence deep into this thing.) But it’s not the ego factor. I swear it. (Mostly — what a sad, sad person I am.)

It’s my utter fascination with how people get here and where they go from here. I love it!

So I get a lot of hits from people who want purslane recipes. I also get a lot of hits from people interested in things like blueberries and caterpillars or zucchini overloads and a lot of bell pepper hits for some reason. But what I get at least as much as everything else people search for, and usually more, is people looking for recipes for weed. They want to know if they can eat it straight, cook it into food, how much they should use and how often they can do it. I also really got a kick out of someone wondering “How to say ‘hi’ with weed?” I’d honestly never considered such a possibility before. What a let-down I must have seemed.

Anyway — sorry folks. Even if I wanted some pot I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to go about getting it and I lived long enough in Pacific Beach to know the smell well enough to be fairly certain it wouldn’t taste good eaten straight. And other than waving pot at another person and yelling, “Hello!” I’m also not quite sure how one would say hi with weed.

But I’m fairly certain that by sharing my fascination and amusement with all of you will also lead to my being auto-linked to a bunch of pot-related sites again and gosh, that just cracks me up in ways I can’t even begin to explain. Maybe I am too easily amused. Who knows? But it sure is funny and I love checking those stats every day as a result.

Actual real and possibly profound things to come. Thank you for putting up with my babbling. (Oh who am I kidding? I haven’t achieved profound yet, so what could possibly make me think my next post will be any different??)


The Good, the Bad, and the Bunny

There are a lot of pests I have no issue dispatching into the sweet hereafter when I find them gnawing on my food plants. Corn rootworm and snails come to mind immediately. This is the sort of fuzzy line I have regarding snails: If I find them on pavement after the rain, I’ll pick them up, all worried-like and bring them to whatever non-edible-to-us batch of plants I have handy and safely deliver them to a life of veggie-munching without a second thought. “Ooooh little snail!” I’ve been known to cry with my friend Jocey as we do shell-bearing-being triage. However, the same snail found eating my corn? Splat. ‘Nuf said.

I’ve also been having to do battle with lots of mice who have quite a taste for tomatoes, I find. Really, they’ll hop right over zucchini, lavender and peppers if a tomato has started to ripen, I find. I won’t go into details on my mouse war. Let’s say measures were taken and now that I have enough tomatoes to share and my plants are too thick for gnawing through, I’ve called truce.

But last week I discovered that a certain bunny person has taken a liking to my squash patch.

Really, I draw the line at bunny war. There are quite a few gardeners, I know, who would have no compunction about dispatching bunnies. And I was aware as I sprayed a little extra water into the squash with the thought that it was extra hot that day, that some of my fellow gardeners would not take kindly to my instincts if said bunny took a liking to some things in their patches too…but…really. A BUNNY!

My bunny is very polite. He works on one zucchini giant at a time rather than going around and rudely taking bites out of a bunch of them. And he leaves the baby squash alone. Perhaps he knows those are my favorite?

But essentially this is the truce bunny and I have come to: I don’t chase him off and he respectfully keeps his little paws on only one gargantuan zucchini at a time. I can live with this. I, who have been bemoaning the zucchini plethora for weeks now cannot justify fighting with a bunny who only wants one or two for his own.

Boy, I do hope he doesn’t have any bunny parties that the other gardeners notice because they might not be so accommodating.

Forgive the lull in posts. We spent a lovely weekend in LA in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave visiting family and generally being irresponsible and quite pleased with a few lazy days. Pictures to come as much has happily grown in my garden due to the heat.


I’m Just Not Crafty June 18, 2008

Really…I think I’m one of the least creative and crafty people you have ever met. It’s just sad. It’s so bad in fact that last year my 5-year-old niece asked me to draw a house and while watching me got a concerned look on her face. When I was done she said, “Aunt Mary, don’t worry. If you practice you can get better at anything!”


Anyway, I saw this craft idea on You Grow Girl and I just had to try it.

Here is the first result:
Crochet necklace

It was really fun and fast to make and I think I’m hooked, as it were. I’m going to keep practicing flower techniques and see what else I can come up with. How cool to be inspired by something so simple.


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