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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

YMC Car Show

Every Monday evening from spring through autumn, the Young Men's Club of Hadley has a car show.  Finally, after months (years, really) of seeing the signs and driving past the fields, Mr Madley, Little Madley, and I finally went.  Below, you will see (unmodified) pics from the show (click to expand).

This, of course, is just a sampling of the delights found at the car show -- so much classic beauty to be seen in everything from headlights to dashboards.

Do you have a favourite classic car?  Our favourites are as follow:
Mr. Madley: Jeep Station Wagon, followed closely by the cream Corvette
Little Madley: Big Green Muscle Car, followed closely by the Viper
Me: Kaiser Darrin, followed closely by the Cobra

Friday, July 26, 2013

Garden Update 2: Fruits of My Labours

Today I harvested the garlic I planted last October (or was it November?).  And they are beautiful.  I can't exactly remember if I planted 2 or 3 kinds last year.  At least one kind from the Garlic Fest and a generic grocery-store garlic, but I think I may have purchased 2 small bulbs from the Fest (they were remarkably expensive and I had very little cash that day).  After the success of my first planting, I am excited to purchase more garlic this year to try -- at least 3 bulbs!

Aren't they beautiful?  I wish I could remember the garlic varieties, but I will do better with that this year.  And, like so many things, there are hundreds of garlic varieties, though in American groceries, there is usually only one type offered.  I'm glad to have the option of propagating and trying more varieties.  (This is where I plug supporting local farmers and heirloom seed suppliers.)

I also was able to pick my first tomatoes this afternoon.  Three small currant tomatoes and two yellow pear.  Gorgeous and delicious.  Mister Madley, Little Madley, and I downed the five within seconds and marveled at their sweetness.
Such colour!  Such shine!  Such form!  I eagerly anticipate the ripening of more tomatoes.  If all the fruits on the vine ripen, we should have quite a happy harvest, even if the majority of them are tiny.

One of my cocozelle plants, sadly, took on some rot and passed it on to each of its young ones, so I had to rip it out.  At the same time, I transplanted one of the other cocozelle to another part of the garden and am hoping it will take root and produce happier squash.  For someone who had 4 plants (now only 3), I have picked surprisingly few cocozelle squash.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Garden Update

Way back when I dug that cubic yard of compost into my garden, I promised an update on the state of the garden.  And here it is.
This past week, I pulled these carrots (and one white beet) out of the garden:
My root veggie section was overrun by weeds that I didn't get pulled because of a sudden lack of time, and I didn't pluck these until they were past their prime, so they weren't particularly tasty.  But I was impressed that they actually grew, considering all the problems I have had growing root vegetables in my garden.  It's a good start, but I'm thinking I won't try root vegetables again for a couple of years.  Too much work and too much space for vegetables I can buy locally that will taste sweeter.

Then, of course, there is my tomato jungle:
These tomato plants (and there are likely too many of them) are as tall as me (I'm 5'8) and are producing little green tomatoes by the dozens.  I can't wait for them to turn red/yellow.
 Yellow pear tomatoes, which I certainly hope to try in preserves...
And Rutgers tomatoes, which I look forward to canning.
I also have quite a showing of currant tomatoes (the picture was a bit blurry), on which I'm happily anticipating snacking.
They are all so beautiful and smell so good.

You may notice some slender corn stalks in the background.  On a whim I decided to plant some kernals of mandan bride corn from the Wheatberry CSA I participated in last year.  All the stalks are coming up and some are even showing ears.  I certainly hope they produce, because I love that corn!

I have some very enthusiastic basil and cocozelle; this humid & wet weather, however, have been causing the cocozelle to rot on the vine.  However, I have been working on some solutions, and if they work I will share them with you.  The cocozelle are lovely, and I hope I finally get some squash I can eat:

The tendergreen beans are plentiful, though not really straight....  I picked the first harvest today and am excited to eat them.  I also have some Boston pickling cucumbers blossoming and climbing the trellis; I would be totally thrilled to get enough to actually pickle.

Snap pea season is long past, but we had so many we couldn't quite eat them all; the brussels sprouts are having some problems (probably bugs and weather), but a few plants are still growing.  The lettuce was beautiful until the second major heat wave when it all bolted.  None of the melons survived -- most of the seeds didn't even sprout, as far as I could tell.

Perhaps the most fun thing in the garden, though, is the little toad I keep seeing and all his friends.  I'm more than happy to have them there, enjoying the shade of tomato jungle canopy and eating the bothersome little insects.

So, all in all, it's been a very educational and interesting gardening season, and I'm just in the middle of it (I've discovered that the season is a bit delayed in my yard compared to others).  I'm looking forward to seeing what everything is like in another month.  (I'm already planning next year's garden....)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's Talk

Coming in just over a week -- this conversation with local therapist about the emotional needs of our sons:

FROM ACTING OUT TO TUNING IN: Building Emotional Awareness in Your School-age Son.

Join therapist Harry Remer, LMHC, in discussing how parents can help sons recognize and express all of their feelings in healthy ways.
When  boys are comfortable with their own emotions, their behavior and mood stabilizes, they resist mental illness, and they grow into strong, compassionate men.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:30 p.m.
Jones Library (Amherst), Amherst Room (2nd Floor)
• FREE • 

For more information: or 781-883-5675; see also his website.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Barstow's Anniversary Party

In case you're looking for a great way to spend the day tomorrow, here's an idea to get you started:

The ice cream is delicious, the cows are mighty, and farm tour is interesting and informative -- a highly recommended event for the family!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Free Summer Concerts

Some of the communities surrounding Hadley are offering free summer concerts for the family this year.  I would LOVE to see Hadley do something like this and actually use that glorious common we have available, but in the meantime, I will probably attend in the other towns.

Northampton has a great lineup on Fridays in Pulaski Park starting July 12.  The music is free, is played during the family-friendly hours of 6-8, and features local bands & musicians.  Check out the info here.

South Hadley has music on their common every Thursday night starting July 11 (they also had a concert in June, but it's past) from 6:30-8:00, and also promises a number of fun shows.  You can see their lineup here.

If you know of other free local concerts, add a comment below.

The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley also offers a summer concert series on Wednesday nights -- their Wednesday Folk Traditions -- and series on Saturdays during their Perfect Spot of Tea.  Please note that these do have an entrance fee.