Plenty of Peppermint

IMGP0627 B has written before on our gardening efforts this year.  We planted zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppermint.  (In pots, thanks in part to the low quality of the soil where we live.  Also because peppermint, if given half a chance, will take over your entire yard.)  While the cucumbers have yet to appear and the tomatoes and zucchinis aren’t ripe enough to eat yet, the peppermint is more than ready.

I’ve already broken off some sprigs and munched on the leaves.  NHL and I both loves doing this.  The taste is incredibly minty.  It doesn’t hurt the plant either as it just grows more faster than we can munch them.  We even gave a few sprigs to B’s parents and kept them alive in a cup of water for days.  Those peppermint pieces might just be appropriate for planting in a pot soon.

IMGP0631We’ve grown peppermint before.  A couple of years back, it was one of our only successful plants.  I used it’s leaves in hot water to make peppermint tea and even tried my hand at drying them (unsuccessfully).  I brought the pot into our porch during the cold winter months to try to save it for next year, but the cold must have been too much for the poor little thing.  It never did grow again.

This year, I have plenty of time to consider winter season options.  IMGP0628Until then, though, I need to consider what I should do with our plethora of peppermint leaves.  Most of the recipes I’ve found online call for peppermint candies or peppermint oil.  Never for the leaves themselves.  Perhaps I should puree them and mix them into brownies or into fudge.  Or add to our watermelon smoothies for a minty touch.  Or maybe I should break off a bunch of stems, grow them indoors in small pots and hand them out as gifts.

What would you do with a lot of peppermint leaves?  (And, if you live locally, do you want any?  I’ve got plenty!)

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Who Am I?

Yesterday, the rain held off.  It was the perfect time to catch up on some yard work that needed to be done.  I mowed the lawn, put down some grass seed (our lawn still hasn’t recovered from the burst water pipe last year), trimmed some hedges, and potted some plants we had purchased the previous day.

While I was doing this, the boys were inside with B.  They could have come out, but they don’t like the noise that the lawn mower puts out.  JSL, who came out for a little bit, freaked out that every small flying bug was a bee coming after him.  Besides, I had set up NHL on my computer and he was having a blast playing Angry Birds, Gravity Duck and other games online.

So I had the time to myself.  It was nice.  I had peace and quiet and could think while I lugged heavy bags of dirt or pushed our mower up and down the yard.  I began to enjoy my “Dad’s Day Out” until it hit me.  This *was* the closest thing to a dad’s day out that I’ve had in awhile and I was doing yard work.  Some day out.

I began to think about how I’d rather spend a day out by myself.  Suppose B came up to me and told me that, this coming Sunday, she would take the boys and I could do whatever I wanted.  What would I do?

I don’t have any family or friends here and it often feels like I switch between “Worker Mode” (where I’m in an office all day with little to no social interaction beyond “we need you to do this for us”) straight to “Dad Mode” (where I try to cook meals, take care of my wife and kids, clean up, etc).  If I’m not in “Worker Mode” or “Dad Mode”, who am I?  Who is TechyDad when he’s not coding web sites or being a dad?  I’m not sure I have an answer for that question and it scares me.  I love being a web developer and I love being a dad, I don’t think it is too much to ask to be able to be “just me” from time to time. 

The dream I had last night isn’t helping my mood, either.  I was with B and my parents visiting my grandparents’ grave site.  Only, I didn’t know exactly where it was.  Somehow, I got separated from everyone.  As I tried to find them and the gravesite, they visited the grave and then prepared to leave.  I tried to explain to them (via cell phone) that I still needed to visit the grave, but they told me they’d leave without me if I didn’t get to the car.  Then, B came by to bring me back to the car over my objections.  I was almost in tears over being denied the opportunity to visit my grandparents’ grave when I woke up.

I’m not sure if the dream is somehow related to the “Who am I” feelings from the previous day, but this wouldn’t be the first time that I dreamt about something bothering me.  Between yesterday’s identity crisis and this morning’s bad dream, you’ll excuse me if I’m feeling emotionally on edge today.

Aloha Friday: Harvest Time – The Devouring

Are you detecting a pattern yet? In my Wordless Wednesday post, I showed some photos of my harvest. In my Tell Me Thursday, I posted the story of my harvest. Well, today we devored our harvest. Ok, not the entire harvest. As I mentioned yesterday, I made Peanut Butter Jalepenos and Peppermint Tea. For the cucumber, we decided to go a simpler route. I sliced it up and had a taste test with a store bought cucumber we had on hand. We were pleasently surprised to find out that the home grown cucumber was sweeter than the store bought one. Alas, split amoung the four of us, the cucumber was gone all too fast. We’ll just have to keep an eye on our cucumber plant to see if any more cukes mature. Have you ever grown anything to eat in your garden? If so, what did you make with it?

Oh, and while you ponder your answer, here are some photos of the cucumber being prepared for devouring.

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Thank you Kailani at An Island Life for starting this. Please head over to her blog to say hi. Also, remember to sign the MckLinky there if you are participating.

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