Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Update on the Vegetable Garden . . .

I've had a few requests to post some recent pictures on how the vegetable garden is evolving, so here they are! I finally settled on staining the gate to match our deck. I used a really great non-toxic stain that uses natural mineral pigments instead of dyes and no formaldehyde or other toxic ingredients called DuroStain by Safecoat. Unfortunately, you can't find this at your local Home Depot; I found it at the Center for Green Building in Bridgeport CT:


I added a little decoration to the gate; a metal honey bee to pay homage to these most necessary workers in the garden. Plus, I like how it looks against the honeycomb pattern of the chicken wire:

The veggies are starting to really pop; some rain and then warm days following have finally caused the cucumber plants to take off in earnest. Baby squash are appearing; I picked the first sugar peas yesterday. By now, the kale is old hat (not that I'm complaining); it's been producing it's nutrient-rich leaves for about a month now.

Here come the zucchini!!!
Oregon Sugar Pods - they taste amazing!
the kale is coming in strong as always . . .

Amongst the veggies, I planted a new variety of nasturtiums - "Alaska Variegated" to add a different look to the garden this year.  I'm excited to see these plants mature and their jewel-colored flowers appear:

In addition, we have a couple of tomato plants, collards (try wrapping a banana in a collard leaf - tasty and nutritious!), lettuce, garlic chives and cilantro. I'm planting some extra-dwarf pak choy this weekend. So the garden is well on it's way of providing us with some really good (organic) eating this summer.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flippin' For Flea Markets!

Flea Market Flip Taping at One of the Vendor's Booths
It's hard to resist a good flea market on a late Spring day; we had the good fortune of perusing the wares at the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market in New Milford CT last weekend. In addition to all the usual antiques and collectables the vendors bring, they happened to be shooting a few episodes of HGTV's Flea Market Flip that day on the grounds. 

We watch the show, so it was kind of neat to see the process, and to see the host Lara Spencer (you may know her from Good Morning America, or the Oscars Red Carpet etc). Anyway, evidently she's a big flea market/antiques/yard sale buff (you may even remember her from Antiques Roadshow some years back), and she seems genuinely nice, down-to-earth in person. 

Host Lara Spencer Chats With Spectators . . .
But we don't go to flea markets for Hollywood excitement; we go for the goodies! These days, I'm usually shopping for outdoor items, gardening stuff and lately, illustration art for inspiration.  A few flea market rules - go early (gates open at 7am), wear comfy shoes and sunscreen, be prepared to get dusty, make a few passes (you always miss things the first time through) and most of all have fun! 

The Elephant's Trunk Flea has a bit of everything, from antiques to mid-century modern, kitschy collectables, weird and wonderful, plants and veggies, etc. You name it, you can probably find it there:

Among our finds were some very pretty original greeting card illustrations (we picked a few out of a virtual boxload). These appear to be done in gouache, and are small - they were done in actual size to fit on a greeting card:

 And I was able snag a couple of garden-related things too - a handmade birdhouse (one of a collection to go on top of my trellis), a wrought-iron plant hanger, and a hose holder (which was a steal at five bucks. I saw the exact same one new at Lowe's for $29.95 later that day).

 So it was a pretty good day all around.  The appeal of the Flea is hard to resist; we will definitely be back at least a few more times this season. Thanks to global warming (or so it appears), the Elephant's Trunk now runs every Sunday (weather-permitting) through the first week of December, so there's plenty more opportunities to search for hidden treasures at the Trunk!