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Friday, July 27, 2007


Another random-thoughts post, vacation-related and otherwise…

While in Michigan, I saw a couple of Confederate flag symbols and an actual flag out front of someone’s house. Up north, you can’t seriously pretend to “heritage” though. The thing is, while there are goobers and racists up north, they don’t run the show.

Speaking of “up north,” that’s a phrase you don‘t hear “down south.” I remember my parents saying things like, “we’re going up north to Traverse City for vacation this year.” Some other words and phrases I don’t hear on Planet Georgia: wet burrito (the food), smelt (a kind of small fish), snowmobile, ice fishing, dune buggy, or “Harding’s sack.” That last one is localized to southwest Michigan, where there’s a supermarket chain called Harding’s. You can imagine the puzzled look Mrs. Fetched gave me the first time I asked her for one.

Every time I go to Michigan, I learn all over again the rhythm of frost heave strips across the highways: thunk-thunk, thunk-thunk, like a heartbeat. It’s almost hypnotic. While paved roads aren’t as smooth as they are in the south, the road commissions in Michigan really know how to maintain a gravel road. The very best ones are at least as wide as a two-lane state highway; when they’re oiled (to keep the dust down), they pack into something nearly as hard as pavement. Then again, they often develop fine washboards that can rattle your teeth unless you have good suspension. At worst, they’re still better than any unpaved road I’ve seen here. You can usually find a good strip of hard smooth surface if you’re bicycling.

Mrs. Fetched’s mom is going to take some of her cucumbers, and a bunch of my jalapeños, to the farmer’s market on Wednesday. Some of them will probably be red by then; I might keep one of those for seeds next year.

We had some great pizza last night. I made a parsley-pepper crust, Mrs. Fetched supplied the sauce, we added onion, bell pepper (from my supply), and chicken. On the second one, she made a cheese sauce that was really good… I hope she remembers how she did it. For what bell peppers cost at the supermarket, I think I’ve recouped the cost of the plants already, and have a bunch more coming.

The weed-eater is dead at the moment, probably the fuel line. Family Man, if you want to trade, let me know. :-) I was reading something on Kunstler’s blog from a guy who ditched his weed-eater and switched to a scythe — he gets some real exercise and doesn’t have to worry about fuel and so forth. Mrs. Fetched’s dad has two scythes in his shed, but both of them have rusty blades & it would probably take more time to get one cleaned up and sharpened than it would to replace the fuel line in the weed-eater. But I’ve got to do something about the growth approaching and surrounding the jalapeno bed and mulch pile… I’ll probably borrow a weed-eater tomorrow and be done with it in 20 minutes. Maybe I’ll get a piece of fuel line tomorrow and fix mine.

I IM’ed M.A.E. today to see what she’s been up to. Seeing as she’s 3 weeks “along,” I pretty much know. She sounds pretty happy about it; the expectant couple is going to Alabama next week with his construction job and told me she wants us to come to their wedding (whenever it happens). She also told me she saw The Boy’s girlfriend and opined “she looks like she’s 12.” I wouldn’t go that far, but I’d be a bit less pensive about it if she were 18 instead of 16.

What little bits and bobs are happening in your corner of the world?


  1. Hey FAR I've been ice fishing and we were fishing for smelt. Hah! Of course I wouldn't get on the ice until a saw a big 4 X 4 truck driving behind the cabins on the ice. I had a great time doing that though.

    I've got a good friend up in MI. that wants me to visit him. I told him one day I would get up there.

    What part of AL is M.A.E going to be in? the northern parts are pretty good unless you like hurricanes and beaches.

  2. You must let me in your abundant jalapeño secret... peppars have not done well for me the last few years, so this year I just gave up temporarily. I miss em though, though hopefully my sister will be generous with her tomatoes and peppers since I slacked out on them this year. We'll see...

  3. FARf, was it scary to start a garden? Our neighborhood is haunted by the gardens-of-days-gone. You can tell where they are these big or small squares of weeds surrounded by lawn.

    And I'm afraid to join them. Maybe if I start small with zucchini and tomatoes or something.

    Hi, FamilyMan & IVG, I hope everyone's having a good weekend!

  4. Hey everyone! I took a blog-break yesterday, which is one way of saying I got caught up in Nancy's book....

    FM: where in Michigan? Each section has its own things to offer. Ice fishing can be fun, as long as you have the boots for it. I made a ice pole out of a busted flyrod and bent a piece of hanger wire to make a cleat for the line. We used to fish double jigs; once in a while you'd catch two fish at the same time.

    Not sure where in AL that M.A.E. is going. She said she wants to come by this afternoon to see us, since they're leaving tomorrow — I'll try to remember to ask her.

  5. IVG: I'm not sure there's much of a secret here. I dumped a couple bags of garden soil into a 4x6 foot bed, outlined it with rocks, stuck six plants in it, and kept it watered every other day until it started raining again. After that, I've pretty much left it alone except to harvest the peppers. And harvest. And harvest. :-) Once they get going, they don't stop until they get frost-killed.

    KB: If you start gardening with containers or beds, it's not nearly as scary to get going. I'm planting stuff a little closer than recommended, so the plants run into each other and keep the soil mostly shaded ("living mulch"). It helps with water retention & weeding

    I planted my tomatoes according to instructions from my mother-in-law: use a post-hole digger to dig out a 2-foot core. Mix chicken litter (plenty of that around here!) and garden soil, about 1:3, to fill the hole halfway up. Put the plants in, fill in around it, water well. If your soil isn't acidic, add a handful of fresh pine chips or a tablespoon or so of fireplace ashes.

    Tomato plants supposedly like to be buried deep, up to the first branch, but that doesn't explain volunteers like the Roma I wrote about earlier this month, coming up at random.

  6. Containers and Beds -- that's a good idea.

    I'm planning projects for next year. I want to make sure I don't spend all my time indoors at the computer.

    Planning a garden (both flower and food) that isn't overly ambitious is something to think about these next few months.

  7. Hey everyone ... Just got back from the cottage, so catching up again ... :)

  8. Hey everyone...

    KB, a small garden area is a good way to get out of the house for sure! And the chow you grow yourself *has* to be better than what you get at the store.

    Olivia, welcome back to the cyberworld. I'm sure we'll be seeing some awesome photos from the cottage this week....

  9. I've only traveled around Michigan a couple of times, once going up into the UP. I loved it. It seemed like a whole different world to me.

  10. Hey Nancy. I went to Michigan Tech, so I got pretty well acquainted with at least one corner of the UP. You're right, it's a place all its own. I grew up on the southwest section of the state, and kept thinking about my own attitudes toward my home town when I saw Mitch struggling with his own homecoming.


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