Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Takes Some Getting Used To

Naturally, moving to the south from the northeast takes some getting used to. 

If you move in the summer like we did, there is the heat. It might surprise you how quickly 89 degrees begins to feel temperate. The hardest part of this season to get used to is that it looks so nice outside. It's not like winter was back home when I'd look out to three-foot deep snow drifts and return promptly to the comfort of my couch. I look out here to a sunny sky and green trees and I always test it...I go outside to rake, or to water the plants, or sit on the patio...until five minutes later I am airing out pit stains and swatting away swarms of misquitoes. It's an evil mirage, and it tricks me every time.
There is the swearing--or I should say, the lack of "cursing" (that's what they call it here). I'm all for PG language, but every once in a while you have to let out a shit. (Pun intended.) On the "rule board" at one of the parks we walk the dog, profane language is just as restricted as firearms.
Along those same lines, people are very polite. I know, I know--that sounds horrible. It's not really a problem unless you are like us and you make fun of yourselves and others a lot. If I say something funny about my sister (which I never do, Eva), they don't laugh about it--that would be rude. They also get concerned when Tommie and I poke fun at each other--like we're going to get divorced because he called me a bug-eyed freak with man shoulders.
Lastly, there's God. He's big down here in case you didn't know. Sometimes young people pray before meals...and it's not Thanksgiving. That's just odd. Religion is more a part of every day life for people than it is where we are from and have lived before. Does that scare me? A little. I'm sure there are already multiple people praying for my soul and I haven't even mentioned my theories on reincarnation. I think we need to start making friends at Weaver Street.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fresh from the Market

Farmer's markets are becoming part of our weekend routine again. The farmer's markets in North Carolina are year round because they can be. Amazing.
This one is in Carrboro, but we also go to downtown Durham's a lot.
To put our produce to good use, I decided to start making a conscious effort to make some of the recipes I post on Pinterest. That is the point of it after all, isn't it?

I started with this basic pasta dish from Alexandra's Kitchen. I used my basil plants and sweet Italian red peppers from the farmer's market. I had to skimp with cheap canned crab meat, but it came out well. I also sautéed the peppers instead of roasting them. Roasting in my oven just didn't seem like much fun after watching this guy do it with a spinning flame-throwing roaster at the market. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Feet on the Ground

When we moved into our new place in North Carolina this June, the entire yard was covered in several inches of leaves, sticks, acorns, vines, beetles, name it. 

After weeks of sweaty determination, about 300 mosquito bites, and breaking out into hives after brushing up against some kind of poisonous plant, I can finally see most of the ground in the backyard. 
I wish all that raking revealed something beautiful underneath, but really, it's just dirt. 
On the bright side, every pile we rake displaces the bugs that were getting a little too comfortable around the perimeter of the house. Less wet leaves also (I hope) means less misquotes. And it just looks a lot "cleaner" back there.

Even though it's currently too hot and buggy to sit outside, getting the deck set up with furniture and lights was, naturally, one of the first projects I worked on. You know I love my lights and lanterns.

The next step for the yard is determining if I can figure out some kind of groundcover in certain areas. I actually like that some of it has patches of moss (albeit, dried out moss until it rains). Maybe I'll plant shade tolerant flowers in the circle around the tree, or try to get a patch of grass for Maya so she stops rolling in the dirt with her ball. 

It's all new to me...the climate, gardening, and having to soak myself in calamine lotion every night.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day at Duke Gardens

During past trips to Durham we would make a stop at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens--a beautiful, vast park/garden on the Duke campus that does not charge an entry fee (only pay to park during some daytime hours). It's weird to know that we are now living five minutes away!
The garden has made a lot of cosmetic and structural improvements since the last time we visited. There are more stone walls, maintained pathways, and shady benches. There is a Japanese Tea House now, and an overlook above the expanded terrace and koi pond.
One lucky couple was getting married there today. As with our garden wedding, I think about the pretty photo ops they have.
These lily pads are about five feet wide...I wish I could sit in them.

Maya is even allowed in the garden on a leash. She loves gardens...buses never drive through them.
I can see us spending some time in this place.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day Trip to Little Washington

We didn't do anything crazy for our one-year wedding anniversary...we figured moving to North Carolina this summer was crazy enough. Plus, we've been together something like 13 years (I've lost count), so we've had many an anniversary already. 
I did manage to drag Tommie away from work on Sunday to take a day trip to Washington, North Carolina. It's a small town about two hours from Durham on the Pamlico River. They call it "the heart of the inner banks," and people in Durham call it "Little Washington"...I'm guessing because DC is "Big Washington."
We decided to bring Maya with us, and thankfully she was on her best behavior. I had read that Washington had a nice fenced-in dog park so we made our first stop there. Maya had the entire park to herself. It was Sunday morning and I guess all the other dogs were at church.
Afterwards, we grabbed brunch at a little cafe/restaurant by the river. We sat out on the back porch with Maya who poked her head out from under the table when people walked by in their Sunday best. She shared the deck cordially with another dog, and a lizard who contemplated jumping on her head.
On a cooler day, we would have liked to take a walk along the waterfront. We stopped by Goose Creek State Park on our way out and I waded in the water with Maya. We didn't stay long--children were screaming and it made the peaceful park, well, less peaceful. It did seem like a nice, well-kept park for families camping and hanging out along the river.
It was a beautiful day and good to get out and be along the water for a little bit. There are so many big and little places to check out around here.