Beauty in the Commonplace

Photography is teaching me to really observe and find the beautiful in the ordinary.  I believe I could go almost anywhere and zoom in (STS–I can’t technically do that with my dumb-cellcam) on something extraordinary amidst the mundane.  I don’t have the tools or the techniques, but I see things that jump out and never get old or boring (unlike myself).

Here is our same old garden, after the storm.  Bees are everywhere, pollinating, and flower colors explode.  Note the grape clusters hanging from electric wires overhead.

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Locavore Erev Menu

I’m happy to report much (though not all yet) of our menu comes from our garden or locally.  We have: cucumber tomato basil salad, fresh peach pineapple mint fruit salad, fresh local steamed corn, and a not-so-local, fusion smoky chipotle apricot tandoori spiced chicken, with local sweet potatoes and yellow potatoes.  Getting hungry yet?

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News from our Floral and Bakery Depts

We definitely have our specialties here!  I’m the Hort/Bot. Dept. and E is the Bakery.  While I was out puttering around in the garden, she came up with more of her famous basic whole wheat bread.  It’s so hot on the landing, she just raises it there, so the whole place smells bready.  Then I made a veggie stir-fry incorporating homegrown squashes and local produce, with jasmine rice.  We hope in our future TN home to do the same on a bigger scale, with perhaps a summer kitchen for canning and drying (and sharing with the family).

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Little Big Things

It doesn’t take much to excite me in the garden.  Here we have a Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, who likes to eat things in the wild carrot family (Queen Anne’s lace, parsley, dill, etc.), which I purposely keep letting go to seed to attract pollinators.  It’s working!  Now I’m just waiting to see if my native swamp milkweed will bloom and attract Monarchs.  Meanwhile my other butterfly and bee flowers are doing their job, which is always gratifying.  And I have hummer flowers to attract those elusive little guys as well.


The sunflowers and corn are towering and really busting out!  It’s just a matter of time to see which critters (other than us) get some use out of them!

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I’m really excited about finally having some Echinacea (coneflower) to photograph.  It’s happy right next to its cousins the Rudbeckia (black-eyed susans).  Now I feel as complete as I can be, living in a temporary place until we can move to a more permanent garden.

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Here are some other colorful specimens.

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Out in the Oven

It’s like a broiler out there, but the garden is soaking it up and putting out!  We’re thankful for the luxury of AC in our otherwise stifling apartment, and never take it for granted.  On days like these, I’m glad I’m retired from working outdoors, and can choose to go out there or not.  I always feel for those who have no choice.


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Weird Ohio Trivia

Here are some strange Ohio items:

In the dark of night, scrappers (guys who scavenge for scrap metal and other sellable junk) skulk silently down the street with their truck lights off and flashlights, going through everyone’s trash.  E witnessed this in the middle of the night, and even she was surprised.  It sounds like a creepy scene from Buffy, but apparently it’s a common occurrence here.

Here in the middle of vast farm country, there are very few farm markets or fruit/veg. stands anywhere.  You’d think this would be local produce heaven, but you’d be wrong.  There are acres of commercial industrial feed corn and soy as far as the eye can see, but ironically, most of the “local” tomatoes, peaches, melons, and other crops are shipped up from, wait for it, Tennessee!  Tomatoes not grown locally?!  No peach orchards?!  It boggles the mind.  The industry has put all the small farms out of business.  You can get more local produce in urban NJ, PA, MD, etc. than you can in the whole Midwest corn belt.

This poor gigantic pig was wallowing in mud in a pen in the broiling sun at one of the few farm markets around (we have to drive miles to get there, when it finally opens for the season).  We felt bad for it.  I guess they were trying to roast it alive.  A weird way to BBQ.


They do have some good sweet white corn that they actually grow at Fulton Farms, so I was outside shucking a dozen ears in the broiling heat.  You could almost just leave it out there in the sun to grill!  Just call me Farmer Zeke.  Our own cornstalks, the classic Country Gentleman and Golden Bantam, are busily silking up out back.

Needless to say, there are many Trump signs around here.  This is the heartland of angry poor uneducated white guy territory.  How much worse could it be in the south?  At least they grow their own produce in TN!  😉