Watch My Garden Grow

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I can’t believe it’s already the end of July. The summer is passing in front of my eyes and I’m not even sure where the days are going; I’ve been juggling additional fact-checking work at the magazine I copy edit for with trying to be outdoors as much as possible, squeezing in time for family (my grandparents just visited from Florida) and friends (we had a board game day, a restaurant-week dinner, Todd’s coworkers’ wedding, and a trip to Mystic, CT). And of course, I’ve also been gardening.

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Garden haul, early July 2017

This year we wanted to focus more on veggies, less on herbs, and so far we’ve been pretty successful (though our lettuce hasn’t been as abundant as in past years, possible because we started them from seed rather than buying the already semi-grown plants sold in Home Depot like we normally do. My dad rigged up a growth lamp in the garage, and it was a lot of fun to watch them sprout up a little more each week; unfortunately, that process also left them a little weak and they’ve been struggling to produce.

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Lettuce (far left), with various herbs, peppers, and beans in the beds, and cucumbers and squash climbing along the top.

I also think we may have gone a little overboard on squash. We love to roast and grill the butternut squash our garden produces every year, and this year we tried some other varieties as well, like yellow summer squash and orange-y crook-neck squash. In fact, I just picked a crook-neck this morning and am planning to make crisps out of it—that’s my healthier alternative to snack on potato chips!

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A still-growing butternut squash

We also have cucumber, which I’ll use a bit later today in a tomato-watermelon gazpacho, eggplant (though they haven’t fully matured yet), peppers (accidentally bought hot banana peppers instead of mild—eek!), tomatoes (the yellow cherry tomatoes are coming along best; our bigger plants seem to be yellowing for some reason), snap peas and green beans, and some kind of fuzzy bean that must have been mislabeled when I bought the plants. I could have sworn that sprout was a Japanese eggplant when I planted it! And don’t forget our fruits: strawberries, blueberries (though they refuse to ripen; I have to research why), and blackberries (we didn’t get as many this year as in past years).

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Garden bounty, picked this morning!

I also have a pumpkin plant, which is really stretching its roots along the backyard fence. I know it’s a long shot, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a little pumpkin in the fall.

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My pumpkin patch

 

Music: Calendar Year Album Release

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Todd’s latest music endeavor is a duo called Calendar Year, formed with his friend Rob—and they’ve just released their first album, Jaded, Apathetic, with No Hope for the Future! It’s a sort of indie-rock blend that has punk and emo influences and describes their attempts to “determine their place in the world.” Todd’s on drums and backup singing/shouting; Rob’s on guitar and vocals. Please check it out. The album is free (donation-based) to download from Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify, or you can just listen below:

 

My First Ever (Hopefully My Only) Engagement Party

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Nothing beats celebrating life milestones with family and friends, and that’s what I did this past Saturday. My parents hosted an engagement party for me and Todd in our backyard and decorated with balloons and streamers. My mom and Todd’s mom cooked all of the food; although I forgot to take pictures of it, I can tell you that it all tasted delicious, from the baked ziti and eggplant parmigiana to the glazed corn beef and roasted Brussels sprouts. We finished the celebration with a huge napoleon cake—my favorite! Because it gives me so much joy to think about how many people care about us and how nice it was to spend time with all of those people, I wanted to share some photos from the event with all of you.

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Friday’s Nightmare Dreams Big with New Music and Merch

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Since 2009, Staten Island band Friday’s Nightmare has dabbled in the local music scene, playing small-scale shows and focusing on their most popular songs. But recently they stepped up their efforts, releasing a seven-song EP in 2013 and a double A-side single, Animals, in 2014 on Shoreline Records. Their DIY ethos has spurred the creation of super cute t-shirts and an upcoming music video to help build their fan base, get booked at bigger venues, and have some fun.

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