The Den of Slack

Tag: Great outdoors

Veggie growth, and the dreaded black spots

Haven’t felt much like blogging lately. Case in point: my tomato and pepper plants have gotten much bigger since I last posted pictures a month ago. In late April / early May we had some crazy hot days and the tomato plants shot up. Here they are on May 4, roughly four weeks after planting.… Keep reading »

Lemon Boy and Early Girl, sitting in a tree…

No, they’re not really lame superheroes. They’re tomatoes! Of the five varieties of tomatoes I’m attempting to grow, two of them are “real” tomatoes—the kind you buy by the pound at the supermarket, rather than by the pint. The varieties in question are Lemon Boy and Early Girl, and for most of the summer I’ve… Keep reading »

The incredible edible egg

My neighbors are on vacation, and they asked me to take care of their chickens while they’re away. In my youth I spent summers working at the Natick Community Organic Farm, so this isn’t my first experience herding chickens into a coop or collecting eggs. (Little known fact: if you need to pick up a… Keep reading »

New tomatoes, week 1

Although I have some lingering guilt over last week’s tomato euthanasia, the new plants seem to be doing well. They’ve all gotten bigger and bushier—in particular the Early Girl, which seemed to go from one slender stalk to a real live tomato plant overnight. Still only a handful of flowers, but I’m optimistic. Also the… Keep reading »

A sad tomato tale

Soon after I planted my tomatoes, it started raining. Then it stopped. Then it started again. It was unseasonably rainy and kind of miserable. I pulled the pepper plants under the porch roof because I remembered from last year that they don’t do well with lots of water, but thought the tomatoes would be okay.… Keep reading »

D’oh, a deer!

Last week Geoff spotted this little guy huddled on the other side of our fence. Its eyes and nose looked kind of mucusy, which made us wonder if it was newly born. The mom wasn’t anywhere around, but when we looked again a few hours later, the fawn was gone, so presumably she came back… Keep reading »

The mystery of the Blue-Tailed Squiggle

Anyone know what this is?* We keep spotting this guy (maybe more than one of them) in the back yard. When it moves it looks like a snake, but it has legs. In other backyard news, the vegetables have grown quite a bit since they were planted a month ago… The biggest tomato plant (back… Keep reading »

The Fairfield’s garden, in full bloom

My Fairfield has been in progress for six and a half years, and it’s *this* close to being complete. I have some details to finish (a few baseboards, the upper porch railings), plus I’m still working on furniture for some of the rooms. But even though it’s not quite done, the house has been placed… Keep reading »

Spring has sprung (in multiple scales!)

I’m not much of a gardener, but last summer I discovered that growing vegetables is a lot of fun. (And yummy!) This week Geoff’s mom helped me pick out and plant veggies for a second round. This year’s garden includes three types of tomatoes: one plant each of Juliet grape and “brown berry” tomatoes, plus… Keep reading »

Sunbathing with a bone

Am I going to turn into one of those people who shows off pictures of her dog at every opportunity? Yes, it would appear that I am. It’s rained almost constantly since we brought Rosy home, but yesterday during a few rare hours of sunlight, we brought her outside for a warm nap. This dog… Keep reading »

Pickle update

Back in November I picked the rest of my tomatoes and attempted to pickle them. Turns out I kind of screwed it up. For anyone who decides to try pickling at home, don’t mess around with the ingredients. As I learned from some nice people at the GardenWeb forums, when you’re pickling, as a rule… Keep reading »

Nature continues to be gross (yet fascinating)

While doing an oil change on my car this afternoon, Geoff discovered that a critter had taken up residence under the hood and gnawed through an ignition wire. (Not sure what you’re looking at? Click here for an establishing shot.) Note the little string nest behind the wires. Apparently some sort of rodent was in… Keep reading »

Final harvest (a pickling adventure)

Yesterday I decided it was finally time to put my faithful tomato plants out of their misery. I’m frankly surprised they lived this long, but I guess that’s a benefit of living in California. (It doesn’t balance out the crappy 9.5% sales tax, but what can you do?) The past two months of their lives,… Keep reading »

Nature is gross

The Sunday before Halloween, Geoff and I carved a pumpkin. I haven’t carved a pumpkin in about ten years. We carved a basic Jack-o-Lantern face, with gap teeth and turned down eyebrows. I didn’t want the deer that roam the neighborhood to mess it up so I kept it inside until Saturday morning, when I… Keep reading »

Plants large and small

As previously mentioned, it took a good three months for my pepper plants to bear fruit. Two months later, they’re finally turning the bright colors you see at the grocery store. The red serrano peppers are pleasantly spicy. The orange habaneros are a little… less pleasant. So now the race begins… how many hot pepper… Keep reading »

Is it Thanksgiving already?

This gang of wild turkeys was loitering in our driveway when Geoff got home from work the other day. They’d wandered into the neighbor’s yard by the time we grabbed the camera. Anybody have a shotgun?* * Joke. I am a vegetarian after all.


These are serrano peppers. I have a habanero plant in the same pot and found a few small pepper buds on that as well. Just yesterday, Geoff commented that the pepper plant looked like it was wilting. I had noticed the same thing. The white flowers were turning brown and dropping off, the branches seemed… Keep reading »

My big backyard

All sorts of critters turning up in the yard these days… The little lizard came scurrying out from under a pot this morning while I was watering the tomatoes. The deer was hanging out in our neighbor’s yard last week with a few friends. We have a fence that keeps them out, but they do… Keep reading »


When my parents visited in April, my mom set me up with a little victory garden: cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, parsley, cilantro, and dill. Three months later, the herbs have gone to seed and the peppers are only producing flowers, but the tomatoes are growing out of control! I’m snacking on these beauties constantly.… Keep reading »

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