Monday, July 21, 2008

Seinfeld, Batman, Roller Coasters, and Pickles

Being a teacher, I recently began freaking out because the beginning of school is just right around the corner. I realized that pretty soon, we could no longer just enjoy the summer and do adventurous things. Ryan and I kept trying to find a weekday to take off work and go to Six Flags, it never worked out so we finally decided that we would have to go over the weekend. I really wanted to do something adventurous on Saturday, but wasn't sure what. 

Friday night we had tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld.  We enjoyed a nice dinner downtown with Ryan and Kelly and headed to Seinfeld.   Jerry was of course hysterical and clean.  His act is so funny. I am still amazed how after so many years of reruns his show is still so successful.   We had  a wonderful evening of laughing and hanging out.  At the end he answered questions from the audience and did some classic lines from the show.  I really wanted him to go on and on, but of course he had to end sometime.

Saturday morning we woke up and I kept telling Ryan I wanted to do something adventurous, but wasn't quite sure what.  After breakfast, we headed off to the Y for our morning exercise.  On the way home we stopped by the library to return some stuff.  When we came outside, we found that my car would not start.  It had a little juice, but not enough to start the engine.  We called OnStar and they sent someone to come out and jump start us, as there really wasn't anyone near us at the time.  We needed gas, but wanted the battery to charge up for a little while, so we first got a car wash since we didn't have to turn off the car.  Well let me just say we spent the next 2 hours trying to get my car fixed and battery replaced.  After we got gas, the car would not start again.  Ryan pushed the car into a parking spot and we walked to Advance Auto Parts.  We didn't quite have the exact adventure I was looking for, but we made some good friends at Advance Auto Parts.
That afternoon we went to see the new Batman movie and Jennifer and Mitchell were there too.   It was a great movie.  Yall know I am not much of a movie person, but I thought this movie was great.  Heath Ledger did awesome and of course the whole clown thing made Ryan uneasy!! I recommend him for whatever that award is for movies actors.  I think it is the Oscar, but I'm not really sure, but he was really good as the Joker!!   

Sunday we finally decided to travel to Six Flags!!! We had so much fun!! We hadn't been there since we got married, so we had a blast riding all the new roller coasters.  My fair skinned husband got a little hot throughout the day. He was such a trooper though!!!!  Sorry, we did not feel like carrying a camera around, so we do not have any pictures.  I must say that Goliath was our most favorite roller coaster.  It was so much fun!!!! 

Sunday night I decided to pickle some cucumbers.   So, hopefully in the future we will have some wonderful pickles to share with everyone. I became very fascinated with how easy it is to can things. I realized how easy it was to can practically every vegetable from the garden for us to eat in the future.  I guess if we ever have a natural disaster I will be very prepared.  

Here is a picture of canned banana peppers and some dill pickle slices & spears.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Squash anyone...

Thank you mom, Nanny, and Nanny for showing me how to work in the garden. 

I must say that I have my grandmothers and mom to thank for my green thumb.  There is just something relaxing about digging around and getting some mud and dirt on your hands. 

As you can see from previous posts that I finally convinced Ryan that it was time to build a garden.   We have had a plethora of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.  I have had to be very very creative because Ryan doesn't really like those vegetables.   Well I found a recipe in this month's Cooking Light for Squash and Corn soup.  Yes, I did say soup.  For those of you that don't know... I LOVE SOUP.  I love it!!!  I think this love was developed in college when every meal had to be cooked in the dorm microwave and soup was just easy. I can eat soup 12 months of the year over and over and over.  I love it!!!  So, I was very excited to find this recipe.  It was really good, very very easy, and Ryan really liked it.  I recommend it to anyone. 

So, I need some help... I have grilled squash, make zucchini bread, steamed squash and zucchini,and made squash soup.  I am completely out of ideas of what else to do with squash and zucchini.  Help..... what else can I do?????

We also cut our first cantaloupe from the garden yesterday. It was good. Not the best tasting cantaloupe. I think I cut it too early, but I guess I'm learning.


This gardening thing is pretty fun.  I find it very satisfying to sit at the dinner table and say "hey we actually grew this... for free."   

Now if anyone would like any cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, or banana peppers please let me know. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Made In Italy

Our job site received some pretty cool crates containing the granite for our project recently. Sardinian Gray Granite to be exact. I guess it may not be that exciting other than what happens to be on the crates...

A little piece of Europe soon to be on permanent display in Bessemer, AL

Another fun fact: These crates had to be fumigated in customs before they could be delivered to us. I guess they thought critters may have hitchhiked from Italy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Snakes, Sandbars, & Fireworks

***Warning, this post is long!***

As many of you know, Emily and I love the lake. It lacks the stickiness that you get at the beach and you don't get sand everywhere afterwards (on yourself, in the car, etc.). We feel like it can often be more relaxing than the beach at times. We are lucky enough to have some family friends/god parents (God Bless Dan and Jere...mostly Jere for putting up with Dan's shenanigans) with a lake house on Lake Oconee between Atlanta and Augusta (a good 3hrs and 50 minutes from our driveway in Helena). We usually venture over there for a few days at Spring Break, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July. With the crew we have, there is no lack of comedy/drama every time. Whether it is an injury, a klutzy moment, or some crazy story from William/Dan/Wes, something always happens. In addition, it is Maggie's absolute favorite place on earth and we can not keep her out of the water. As we write this, she is still sleeping off her week of swimming.
Who knew a dog could climb up a ladder?

This past Memorial Day we had the added bonus of killing 3 snakes at the lake. I shot 2 with my shotgun and the 3rd small one was killed with a gig. Up to this point, this has been the major downside to the lake for Emily, since several people had spotted a few in past visits. The killing trifecta brought smiles to the faces of us and the neighbors alike, but a large moccasin that had been spotted was not among the members of the death list. He/she remained loose and on the prowl.

Well lucky for us, he reared his big ugly triangular head again the morning of the 4th. Jere spotted him in the early morning and raised the threat level to orange (is that elevated?). Ryan and Emily tried unsuccessfully to kill him under the dock as he was trying to eat a large catfish he had killed. He managed to avoid all attempts, even surving a "shock and awe" attack using bottle rockets. Everyone took turns on patrol, and we often found him staring at us from crevices, just beyond the reach of our death blows.. About the time most of us were taking our after lunch nap, Jere spotted ole no shoulders again trying to feast on his earlier catfish kill. Fran was able to pin him with the gig behind the neck which sent Emily into alarm mode, waking everyone up from their naps. Soon everyone was headed to the dock. Dan used the other gig to pry him from the water where he had wrapped around the sprinkler control wire. Once free, Emily provided 3 instruments of execution (2 hoes and a shovel) with which his head was cut off and Dan & Ryan buried him. Little did we know that the snake would curse us a few times the rest of the weekend...

The hunters

The headless beast

The afternoon of the 4th was spent at the redneck yacht club/sand bar area on Oconnee. Lots of boats and people hang out in the middle of the lake where the water is waist deep and we all joined in. It is usually uneventful, but as Ryan and Fran were tossing the football, injury #1 took place. Fran took a bottle/rock to the foot and was bleeding profusely between his toes. After a visit to the Putnam County General where Fran needed 8 stitches, we all learned that shoes are not optional at the sandbar anymore. Due to nature of the emergency room visit we decided to not make the trip to the Reynolds fireworks. Some were relieved that there would be no opportunity for Captain Nemo moments where the pontoon gets swamped from the 100s of boats rushing home after the show. Safety was all in the eye of the beholder this night though...

On the way to the lake we stopped to buy fireworks in Lineville off I-20, since large fireworks are hard to find in Georgia. We got a great supply and were sure that we could put on quite the show in the slew this year. We were unable to find our notes where we rated what we had bought last year. One of the ones we did recognize as being good when we were buying was "Hard to Beat", so we bought 2 of them. Last year we set a piece of plywood on the dock to serve as a launch pad to protect the dock. This year Dan could not find the plywood, but did have a piece of Freesia carpet that he thought would work. We found out it was not near sturdy enough and the "Hard to Beat" fell over and started shooting across the lake. At first everyone thought it was pretty cool to witness some horizontal fireworks. However, they soon started heading closer and closer towards the bank where everyone was sitting. Mass hysteria ensued with people running for cover. Dan, being the good Army Ranger he was, took a direct hit in the arm and jumped in the lake yelling his arm was "eat up with fire". Luckily, Matthew caught the whole thing on tape and we will upload the video when they get back from Alaska. Sure enough Dan has 3 pretty good welts to remind him of his 4th experience. This lesson taught us the importance of a sturdy launch pad on the dock. Nonetheless, after some neosporin, the show continued and we did not have to revisit Putnam County General Hospital.

Dan proving he was master over the fireworks by lighting the same one that hit him the night before

Yes, this is a firework we shot off, not done by a professional
The gang assembled on the bank for the show

Injury #3 and Avoided Injury #4
The other drama occurred when a storm happened on Saturday afternoon. The winds were so strong that they blew the anchored seadoos away from the dock, and one even completely escaped and started floating across the lake. It was lightning pretty bad so all we could do was keep an eye on it and wait to undertake our recovery mission. Ryan, Dan, and Matthew were elected to go get the seadoo and reposition the one that had drifted. As the storm let up, Ryan and Dan headed down from the house. Matthew was not paying attention and was being left behind. Naturally he was egged on by the people in the house to hurry up and get down to the dock with Dan and Ryan. In his haste to get out of the house, he ran right through the screen doors. Of course in this group, that provided quite the laughs and ribbing. Anyway, as we were out retrieving the jetski the lightning started again, but luckily we were not electrocuted.

All in all it was a great 4th. Thank God we live in a country where we are free to travel and celebrate however we want. Lets hope it remains that way after this election. This reminds me of a quote we saw recently, true or not, it does sound like something he might say:

"My friends we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it."
-- A Foolish Senator from Chicago...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AU Football & Miller Family Farm

Auburn Football
Only 53 days till the kickoff of Auburn's football season and we are definitely looking forward to it!

Miller Family Farm
Emily convinced me to create a raised bed vegetable garden in our backyard back in the spring. It was quite the project for the both of us, but it is paying off. For the past month or so we have started reaping the benefits, mostly in the pepper department, but have had some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. In the middle of June things started popping (squash, zucchini, herbs, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, etc.). Emily is proving to have quite the green thumb when it comes to veggies and luckily Maggie has not gotten into the box (the pie tin deterrent is working). We think we put too many plants in the box, as you can see from the picture of our "vegetable jungle". Even with the crowdedness, things are flourishing as you can tell...

Here are two massive zucchini
Here is the large squash (note the Vanna White presentation skills)

Here is one of the cantaloupes (1 of 4 we have) and a watermelon (1 of 2 we have). Next time we will plant them earlier I guess.