The Mojito Garden

A few weekends ago, I learned that I can make a mean mojito.  So, inspired by my 2 large patches of mint out front, I started a “mojito garden” – which basically means I planted a few varieties of mint outside my back porch.  Rumor has it these plants also repel bugs like ants and mosquitos – even better.  Once everything fills in a bit more, I’ll post a picture of it….right now it’s just a few plants that are struggling to make it.

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Orange Mint

And I know – this is the cardinal sin of gardening.  “Wo to those who plant mint, for they lose their land.”  Mint is a bit like a 2 year old child.  And by planting said mint in the fashion I did, is like giving the 2 year old everything it wants when it wants it — aww, it’s cute at 1st, but then that 2 year old gets older….and you have a brat of epic proportions on your hands.  Give mint a inch, it’ll take over the next quarter mile….but with it in my sandy soil and lighting conditions from my yard of long leaf pines, I do have a bit of room for it to wander…..I think it’ll be okay.  I’ll have to cull the herd in a few years…..or have a mojito party for the whole neighborhood.

Currently, I have 3 varieties of mint growing:
* Spearmint (straight up, unadulterated mint)
* Chocolate mint (it smells heavenly)
* Citrus “Orange” mint (think mint and an orange had a love child)

They work amazing in a mojito….or tea.  When I bought the mint at Home Depot, the lady at the register said if I were to boil the mint in water on a stove with cinnamon sticks, it would make the house smell heavenly.  Haven’t tried it yet, but I will soon!

Here’s my secret recipe for the mojitos, compliments of the International Bartenders Association:
((you can make them virgin, just omit the rum – it won’t change the taste))

The General’s Wife Mojito via IBA
~1 shot of rum
1 shot of lime juice (I used store bought lime juice, but I plan on juicing some limes next time)
~7 mint leaves, any variety
1 tsp white sugar
sparkling water or soda water

Muddle (bruise) mint leaves in the lime juice in a tall glass – I used a wooden spoon.  Add sugar.  Stir.  Add rum.  Top with soda water (I also add ice).  Serve.

It’s perfect for a summer afternoon.  So refreshing and bikini friendly!

Faith of a stargazer lily

My favorite flower in the world is a stargazer lily.  I had them in my bouquet at my wedding.

And last year, I planted some stargazer lily bulbs around my mailbox. They were small little things with giant blooms.  They only flowered once and were gone.  As the warm spring approached this year, I was very excited to see if my bulbs would come back.  We have lot of crazy squirrels in the neighborhood.

I waited and waited.  Nothing.  Sometimes my logical side overrules my faith, and so I began to dig.  I dug down to where I had planted them last year to see if the bulb was still there and if it was waking up.  Still nothing.  The bulbs were gone!  I was a bit sad.  The next time I was at the store, I picked up pot of blooming stargazers.  They were perfect and graced the pots on my back deck, right outside our bedroom.  They stayed like this until the squirrels destroyed them.  Stupid squirrels.

Pretty nifty, eh?  I loved the vibrant color – they speak to me.  Despite the fact that I wasn’t really pleased with the whole wedding day bit (but am super happy with the outcome!), this flower symbolizes that union between The General and I.  ::happy sigh::

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  I was walking around the property when I saw it:  right smack dab in the middle of a rehabbing pansy (pansies didn’t like the 1st place they were planted) was a stargazer lily.  WTH!?!?!?  I LOOKED for this, physically got out my trowel and dug deep for signs of bulbs.  But sure enough, it’s one from last year.  It’s the only one that came up, well, so far.  It made me laugh with joy.

This made me smile.  The Lord’s blessings turn up when we don’t expect them; right when we move on, thinking it wasn’t meant to be, BAM! it appears.  Why does He do that?  Maybe so He will get the glory and that it wasn’t of our own doing.  I wondered what kind of metaphor this is for my life.  In what places am I placing a sick pansy when the flower of all flowers will grow?  How much faith do I really have if I must see something?  Or try to replace it?  I stand in awe.  How amazing is the Lord we serve!

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30)

How does your garden grow?

My One Word this year is “grow” — or rather wachsen, which means “to grow” in German.

And grow it has!

After putting it off for the past several years, we decided to grow a garden.  Our 1st 2 attempts were not…..shall I say, fruitful?  This time we did it right: compost, actual dirt, a system to keep the dirt in place — basic stuff.  That part of the Bible that says, “Do not build your house on sand” (Matt 7:26) – they meant it.  All your nutrients/dirt/plants/dreams will eventually be swallowed up by the ever shifting sands, as I learned a couple of years ago the hard way.

Up front we have our “tomato box” filled with what I believe are cherry tomatoes.  In the back we’re growing green peppers, basil, radishes (we’ve made so many so far we’re giving them away!), spinach, and zucchini.  The zucchini is inhibiting our spinach growth by hoarding the sunlight.  Because we used our compost, we’ve had some random plants growing spontaneously.  The one we’ve allowed to grow is a vine and we’re not sure what it is.  The General and I have a $10 bet on it.  I say it’s a watermelon.  He thinks it’s some sort of squash.  (If it does not fruit to the point  where we can tell what it is, all bets are off).  Whatever it is, it is taking over valuable real estate, so we guided it to grow out into the yard.

Speaking of watermelons, I have some growing in a pot on my deck.  All the seeds germinated (!!!!!), so now I have to figure out where I’m going to replant some of them.  Last time I grew watermelons it was right before I left for college and I had a couple dozen of them.

Because we have squirrels that love to mess with our plants, we put bird netting over our garden and it’s held down by staples and the square wood poles.  It’s worked out wonderfully.  The only problem I’ve had with the bird netting were the snakes that kept getting themselves tangled in it.  I had to cut out a corn snake who got himself wedged in there pretty well.  Once we trimmed the excess netting, no more snakes have been harmed.  I’d much rather have a snake problem than a rodent problem.

And so it grows: I can feel the sands of change across my life as I’m trying to grow in this sandy compost mix of dirt I find myself in.  I have no idea where the Lord is leading me or what’s going to happen next.  In some ways, I love the adventure.  Other times, I want an outline.

I wish I could talk to myself in the future.  What will the future me think of what is going on now?

Linx

I also made it to Sugar on Front Street – finally!  OMG, their frappuccino is to die for!  I think I will dream about it tonight.

And if you happen to be in Carolina Beach, check out this place on the south end of the Boardwalk.  It’s a great place to balance out all the saltiness of spending the afternoon on the beach.

I also picked up some of these for my flower bed at the farmer’s market.  My goal this week it get them planted and finish the last battle against greenbriers and stubborn shrubs along the driveway.

Late afternoon ramblings under the influence of green tea

I spent the 1st part of the afternoon at Kure Beach — the water is starting to actually be warm.  It’s not that biting cold it was a month ago and now it’s just refreshing.  It also helped that today’s high was 33.

I came home for a quick bite of kaesebroet, German for cheese bread (i.e. a French baguette with shredded mozzarella) and then decided to head out into the homeward stretch of reclaiming my yard from the onslaught of green-briers.  I wasn’t all that successful.  I got the last flowerbed cleared out of brush from the past decade, but was thwarted by the mosquitos. One bit me on the face, just below my left eye so I can actually see my cheek when I look straight ahead…..I mean really!  Bug spray does not affect these creatures.  I was willing to let it go until I saw a snake slither into bushes.  It was just a garter snake – as I say, I’d much rather have a snake problem than a rodent problem – but I figured that was a good stopping point.  Garter snakes are harmless, but we just killed a baby water moccasin the other day, so I’m a bit on edge still.

There is a neighborhood block meeting tonight about the neighborhood watch program they are starting.  I should go.  I need to meet more people in the neighborhood.  The General and I went to a HOA meeting last week and I am by far the youngest homeowner here.  They went over a lot of the info there and I really don’t see how another meeting about it would help.  I’m not going simply because I just don’t feel like it.

I’m making this for dinner.

I need to clean up the kitchen.  I need to do laundry.  I work 16 hour shifts both Saturday and Sunday so I need to have not only my game face on, but clean socks.

Rhett, my tabby cat, is watching me type all this by sitting on my printer and staring at me.  He wants to go out on our enclosed deck and I won’t let him because I have the AC on.  He fails to understand how expensive it is, especially when you have the door open.  Why not just close the door, you wonder?  Because in addition to being a scardy cat, he’s also claustrophobic and will rip out the weather stripping on the door if in feeble attempts to open it.  Speaking of which, I need to replace it.  He ripped through it again.  If he only he paid rent….

One of my favorite bands, Halestorm, just released an album of cover songs they did…..wow.  Here’s one of my favorite Beatles’ songs they did:

And Lady GaGa:

And in some really good news, the crepe myrtle tree we moved is making new leaves after some TLC.  If there were an ICU for plants, it was there.  It’s condition has been moved from critical to stable.  Yay.  Water an compost seems to fix most problems around here.

And now for some more tea.  But 1st, a shower to get all the salt and mud off of me.  Ah, summertime in North Carolina.  How I missed ye.

An awesome weekend (besides the work part)

I ate and drank like I was a sailor on shore leave this weekend.  And I’m not apologizing.

There’s nothing quite like spending a Friday night on a deserted beach, drinking wine out of travel coffee mugs (illegally) with 2 very awesome friends, talking and laughing about random stuff.

This weekend was Mirandapalooza, as Miranda returned to the Port City for Azalea Fest – we had a blast!  We went on the garden tour; I was slightly disappointed there were not more eye candy in terms of plants.  It was all very nice, but very plain.  I have big plans for my yard, and if I want to be on the 2025 Garden Tour, I need to get started.

It started with mimosas at 1030 and ended that night with 2 empty wine bottles and polishing off the rest of the champagne from the morning.  I wasn’t drunk, but I certainly could not have driven a car.

The Sex and the City girls ride again!

And then were was that work part.  Luckily, it was cut short by muscadine wine and more Miranda/Samantha/Charlotte time!  Sweet.

The oddest thing: I looked at the pictures of me from  the weekend, and despite the fact I lost weight (maybe it was all the M&Ms I consumed this weekend?), my face looks really fat.  Like I have chipmunk cheeks.  I don’t know if it’s my weight or just my German facial features and my ridiculously deep set eyes.  I hate pictures of myself.

More adventures are on the horizon in terms of painting and roadtrips and friends and family and oh my!

The adventures are never ending here, just how I like it 🙂

Randomness

You know your yard is need of some work when you section it off in theaters of war.  My hands look like I’ve been picking cotton.  The weeds/rouge trees still reign, but I’m getting closer to victory.

I found a blog I wrote online when I was in college.  I kept a lot of things vague, and even now 6 year later, had a difficult time figuring out what I was referring to.  I feel like I had a better writing style back then, it was more organic than what I do now.  Granted, I was in a completely different place in life with a lot of emotionally charged events.  It was interesting to look back.

I’m really trying to cut back on sweets.  And it’s not working very well.

I started doing yoga poses to straighten/tone/relax.  I found this awesome book that has changed my whole outlook.  No chanting, no weird names for stuff — just as exercise.  Love it.  I’m sore.  And I haven’t lost any weight yet because I still am eating too many sweets.  Grrr.

My dad is a crazy man and I apparently, have inherited the crazy allele.  Every year he does RAGBRAI, which is a week-long bike ride across the state of Iowa in July (read: hot).  While he rides ~1,500 miles per year on a bike, I went for a 15 mile bike ride the other day and really enjoyed it.  So I figured I could do the ride across Iowa – and it’d be something to do with my dad.  The General may even join.  I’m in the mood for an adventure.  This could be the ticket.

My Sex and the City girls are coming over for Thanksgiving the day before because the General and I are on active duty.  I’m really looking forward to it!  It will be nice to have a houseful and enjoy a feast.  I hope the General can handle having dinner with 4 amazingly beautiful women.

I am in need of a Christmas-flavored tea.  Any suggestions?

You say tomato, I say epic FAIL

Since I had inherited my grandmother’s green thumb (I got at least 1 allele), I decided to do a garden again this year.  Since we just moved, I hadn’t had time to get my compost seasoned — it’s still in the decaying process — and so my garden suffered.

These are suppose to be cherry tomato plants.  ::sigh::   I think my problem is not enough nitrogen.  At least that’s what some gardening forums said online.  It might be because my house is build on sand.  (I know, I know, the Bible says differently but we’re in a coastal plain!  With pine trees and turkey oaks which are nature’s way of saying, “Your soil has zero nutrients, ha ha.”)  Well, there’s always next year.  In the meantime, I’m trying to keep ’em watered and fertilized.