Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cantaloupes In the Window - 2012

I planted a tiny little cantaloupe vine in the small raised bed that is against our house in late May and mostly forgot about it.  But this morning, as I walked by our basement window, I noticed for the first time that the fruits were starting to form.  There's one tiny one in the middle of the photo and a slightly larger one on the left side.  Melons (apparently) love heat, so we've had a good summer to grow them, but I'm wondering how long it will take until these will mature.  Ready by Labor Day?  I sure hope so.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Huge Zucchini - 2012

This zucchini somehow got lost in the garden and I let it get away from us a bit.  I used this morning's Sun-Times as a comparison point so that you could understand just exactly how huge this thing is.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Driving the Tractor @ MSI

The Babe behind the wheel at The Farm at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I think I have my New Avatar...

I'll have to go around to all the various social network places and swap out my old avatar image with this one, right?  Found it on Illinois Loyalty.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Home Run Inn Kid Pizza Chefs

The Babe and her cousin got busy making their own pizza pies at the Addison Home Run Inn restaurant.  Once a week, they run a special that allows kids to put on chef hats and build their own pizza pies.  The dough comes out already rolled in the pan and they give you a tin cup of cheese, sauce and your toppings.  We had sausage and pepperoni in these two pies.  Couldn't have been more fun.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gold Hops Lead Vine - Doubled in Less than a Week

It was just a few days ago that I posted a photo of our Golden Hops vine shooting upwards on the trellis.  Taking a look at the photo above, you can see that the vine has almost doubled in height.  Just counting the number of whole 'diamonds' just to left of the center point on the trellis, we can see that the vine has shot up the height of five full 'diamonds'.  It was at 3 full 'diamonds' on Monday.  It is listed as a fast-grower, but the conditions must be right this week.

The only disappointing part of this whole experience is that the gratification is going to be delayed.  FOR A YEAR.  That's right....everything I've read says that we shouldn't expect to see any hops until the 2nd year after the vine has been established.  Coupled with the very late planting date I put this in the ground, and we have to cross our fingers that by late next summer, we'll be swimming in golden green hops.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mulch in Place - 2012

The mulch has been placed.  About 2 months late by our neighor's standards, but....at least it is in place.  That's what I'm telling myself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aloe Plant & McCoy Pot: Casualties of the Storm

Came home to find my aloe plant had taken a tumble and the pot cracked down around the rim.  The pot was a McCoy and I *think* came out of my Dad's collection.  Bummer.

Now...Nat's never been a huge fan of my Aloe plant, but I don't think she had any hard feelings toward the pot.  If she did and there never was a storm, we could have had a "Ralphie's mother breaks the Leg Lamp" type of situation here.

"Not a Finger!"


Monday, July 23, 2012

Golden Hops Vine Shooting Upward - 2012

Less than one month ago, I planted a Golden Hops vine on the north side of our house right under a new trellis.  Then we went on vacation for more than a week to Michigan while we were in the hottest part of the summer.  When we came back home, the Hops vine was sad and brittle.  I've since given it a  lot of love (and water!) and we're now seeing it climb right up the center of the trellis.

Everything I've read says that we won't get much in terms of a Hops harvest this fall, but in year two, we'll be loaded with some green beauties that my brother-in-laws can turn into a Christmas Ale.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ever Hear of a Brookster?

We were in Williams Sonoma yesterday and came across these Brookster Pans.  I consider myself to be someone who somewhat keeps up with baking blogs and the like and I had never heard of these things.  A quick search on the web and it looks like everyone is pointing to the same place that I am - Williams Sonoma where they sell a Brookster mix and - as you can see above - a Brookster pan.

So, did W-S create the Brookster?  Are they trying to build something of their own like the Whoopie Pie?  Pretty neat idea, if that's the way this shook out.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The White Mark of Death on Our Tree

The City of Elmhurst came by and marked our tree with a big white "X" signifying that they intended to take our tree down and replace it with some little tiny baby tree.

I've been in touch with the Forestry Division of the City of Elmhurst and it looks like we might be able to find a way to move forward without killing the tree.

Friday, July 20, 2012

First (Real) Garden Haul - 2012

Hauled in the first *real* tomato that wasn't an early variety or grape/cherry with that very pretty Golden Jubilee.   Those medium-sized red ones are from a plant that The Babe picked out herself called "4th of July" that is breed to ripen early.  Although we didn't get them by the 4th, I blame the fact that I got them in the ground in late May to be the cause, not the plant.

Also, our Zucchini plant continues to throw off enormous fruits that we can't keep up with.  I put a few of these outside on our curb with a sign that said "Free Zucchini" and they were snatched up within the hour.  And, those of you with sharp eyes will spot the two cucumbers.  With salads being made around here all the time - and my mom's adoration for cukes - those will be eaten up in short order. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shame on You, ComEd

Like the rest of Elmhurst, we suffered a power outage from a massive storm that lasted multiple days starting on July 1, 2012.  The entire contents of our fridge were spoiled.  ComEd has a form that they 'tout' in the press and with elected officials that residents can fill out to try to get reimbursed for some of their food spoilage.  In fact, the form, found here, specifically says:
A customer may have a claim for actual damages and a unit of local government may have a claim for reimbursement for emergency and contingency expenses under Section 16-125(e) in the event that more than 30,000 customers are subjected to a continuous power interruption of four hours or more that results in the transmission of power at less than 50% of the standard voltage, or that results in the total loss of power transmission. 

So, I dutifully filled out the form, included a receipt and itemized *some* of the items we lost in our fridge.  The total was just under $115.

Today, in the mail, I received this letter from Karen Whirity a Claims Adjuster with ComEd which says that after investigating my service problems, they're NOT going to pay my claim.  You can see the note above that they say that they do NOT pay for losses resulting from "service problems caused by weather and other events beyond their control."

So...when, exactly do they pay?  I'm guessing never.  I'm guessing that this spoilage form is a ruse.  A clever ruse by a bunch of folks who want to play the public relations game of saying their standing by their customers all the while peddling influence in Springfield at the Capitol to get their rates raised.

I can hear it now:
ComEd PR Team member:  "Hey...you know how we always get complaints and have a bad reputation whenever power goes out in Suburban Chicago?  What if we put out a press release and posted a 'spoilage form' where customers can submit their list of spoiled food and what it cost?" 
ComEd PR Team Leader: "But...we don't want to do that.  We don't want to actually pay back these customers for their losses."
ComEd PR Team member:  "That's the beauty, boss!  The whole thing is a ruse.  We're never going to *actually* reimburse them.  But, we can use the form as something to point out whenever we're in crisis mode or when we're trying to get a legislator to vote for one of our rake hikes."
ComEd PR Team Leader:  "Brilliant!  You get promoted!"

So...I have to wonder:  Why even have the form, ComEd?  If you're NOT going to pay a claim when more than 100,000 customers were without power, when are you going to pay?

I think we all know the answer to that question:  Never.

Shame on you ComEd.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Couch Garage

This is our couch.  And...yes...it is currently located in our garage.  That's a thing, right?  A garage couch?  I hope so.  Because, we bought a new couch for our family room thinking that we'd take this couch downstairs to our recently-finished basement.  Only to find out that it won't fit down the stairs.  Hence, why it is currently sitting in our garage.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where are those other five calories, Gatorade?

There's 20 ounces in a G2.  They list a serving size as 8 ounces.  Meaning there's 2.5 servings per each bottle.  8+8+4=20.   But, somewhere, their calorie math got lost.

If there's 20 calories per 8 ounce serving, that leads me to believe that there would be 10 calories per every 4 ounces, right?  So...the first 8 ounces has 20 calories.  The second 8 ounces has another 20 ounces and the last 4 ounces *should* have 10 calories.  That adds up to 50, right?

Not according to Gatorade.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Landscape Beds Edged - 2012

Although it is a bit late in the season, we're finally getting our yard in shape for the year.  All my focus has been on the garden while Nat has had her hands full with our two girls.  The beds will be getting mulch in short order and we'll have two expanded beds in the back to fill out with some new plants and shrubs.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nat's Birthday Celebration - 2012

Today we celebrated my dear wife on the occasion of her birthday.  We also got together on Thursday (her actual Birthday) to celebrate along with my Mother who shares the same day, but these celebrations at the Moran Household are always very special.  I certainly don't say it enough, but my God, this is one special woman.  She's an amazing wife, a heroic Momma, and a spectacular Best Friend.  Love her more every single day.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Cucumber - 2012

This curvy cuke is the first one off the vine this year.  It was in an odd spot hanging off the net trellis and wedged in against the raised bed barrier.  There plants are loaded with little tiny cukes and they mostly look straight as an arrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fish-Sitting for Goldie - 2012

We're sitting on my niece & nephew's goldfish they've named "Goldie" for a few days.  He's sitting on our counter in his (apparently from this photo) not terribly clean bowl.

The Babe has been feeding Goldie every morning and has taken to talking to him.  From a parent's perspective, me thinks this might be enough to tell me that taking on a huge fish tank is just not the right move for us right now.  Who knows...maybe I'll get impulsive, but for now I'm going to stay out of the Petco's around town.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Here Goes Nothing: Changing our Electric Supplier

Like everybody else in Elmhurst, we've opted into the switch from ComEd to a different electric supplier through the City of Elmhurst.  They've promised some savings, which would be very nice, but I have a feeling that cities and towns that *don't* switch away from ComEd might get their power back on faster than those of us who've spurned them for cheaper rates on power.  I'll be watching my bill for the savings and bracing for the next outage!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pumpkin Seedlings - 2012

Just two and a half weeks ago, I stuck a variety of pumpkin/gourd seeds into the ground in the far reaches of our yard.  After some TLC (once we got back from vacation), we finally have some nice seedlings that have popped up.  I *believe* these are the Boston Marrows, but all three varieties have sprung up seedlings.  Mid-October is going to come fast and we're not getting any luck with rain, so I'm going to have to babysit these with the hose every few days.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Al's Hobby Shop Elmhurst Shrinking

Al's Hobby Shop, a mainstay in Downtown Elmhurst is shrinking a bit.  The store's awnings currently cover three store fronts.  121, 123 and 125 Addison Street.  They kept their model trains in the 125 store - separate from other things - but that space is now vacant.  When I walked by this morning, I couldn't tell if the trains had moved into the other stores, but I've been in there before and they were packed then, so it will be tight if they consolidate.  I have to believe that the Lionel and MTH stuff sells.  Maybe just at Christmastime, but there aren't many places where you can find it, so I'm assuming that Al's cleans up from those involved in the hobby.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Wilco at the Ballpark - 2012

Last night, along with my sister and Equation Boy/Man, we took our five kids to see Wilco at the Kane County Cougars Ballpark.  We started in the bleachers, but after a few hours, the kids grew pretty restless and we made our way down to the field for some frolicking and running about.  We all got pretty tired, and thanks to WXRT we were able to listen to the second encore from the car.  The first one, we listened to while we hustled to our cars to beat the mad crush of Volkswagons and Suburus out of the parking lot.  

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Huge Zucchini - 2012

When we got back from Michigan after being away for more than a week, I pulled this enormous zucchini from the garden.  The bananas - which I should note are pretty big themselves - should give you some idea of the size of this thing.  I've had mixed results with big vegetables.  Sometimes they taste good, other times the size works against the vegetable and loses some of it's flavor.

Too bad the Bird isn't eating quite yet.  Back a few years, the Babe was getting into soft foods like pureed vegetables right around the time we were pulling these things from the garden.  She ate home-grown for a while.  We'll have to wait until next summer for her younger sister.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

First Tomato Harvest - 2012

Just these two little guys that came from a volunteer plant.  Last year, I had a huge over-grown mess of a plant that carried these little yellow fruits.  I (apparently) didn't clean up too well in the fall because I have two or three plants that sprung up from seeds that are fruiting already.

Friday, July 06, 2012

131 N. Addison Street Elmhurst - Vacant - 2012

After (what her site says is) 29 years in the Day Spa business, Deborah Davis has hung up her tools.  The storefront at 131 N. Addison is empty and the sign in the window says that she retired on June 30th, 2012.  This storefront is right next to the proposed Addison Street Development which looks to be a massive structure that will bring a lot of life to Addison Street.  Wonder if that had anything to do with her retirement?  Either way, there's at least one new empty storefront on Addison Street.  With Rouse opening across the street, maybe there's hope that this new space can help lead the way to bring action to this quiet street?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Competent" Supervision Only, Please...


One of the rafts up in Michigan is marked thusly.  Guess that rules out taking the girls to the pool by myself, eh?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tasty Fresh Eggs from Michigan

I picked up these eggs at the Wesco Gas station.  Cute package, eh?  And, another local Michigan product we've added to our usage up in Michigan along with Pioneer Sugar and Koegel's Hot Dogs.

Yes...I bought my family breakfast from the gas station.  Along with a half-dozen doughnuts, too!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Our Poor Tree...

She looks to be a goner.  So, so, so sad.    The front of our house/curb appeal is forever changed.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Just a couple of Catfish Minnows

We captured these two guys with a bucket right at the edge of our beach on Paw Paw Lake.  The Babe is into fishies so she got a kick out of seeing these guys on our countertop.  They stayed there for about 20 minutes and somehow "escaped" back into the lake when the Babe was getting ready for bed.
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