Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Although I would love everyone to think that I have my act together, I would be remiss if I didn't share my failures along with my successes. So, as the summer is about to come to a close, I will take a moment to share with you "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" from this summer season. Since I like to end things on a positive note, I'll begin with "The Bad and the Ugly".

The Bad and The Ugly

Over the past few months, I've worked on a couple sewing projects, made a few new dishes in the kitchen, and worked in the garden. I have been pleased with a number of these projects; however, they came at the expense of experiencing a few setbacks. I definitely scorched a saucepan after burning peas when trying to make baby food, and I got excellent use out of the seam ripper during most of my sewing projects. But, I would really like to highlight the utter failure that my garden was this year. 

If I could sum up my garden this year with one word, it would be "defeat". Nothing seemed to go right (except the watermelons, which was discussed in my previous post). A variety of things happened: blight, tomato rot, pesky rodents (maybe moles, voles, field mice, rabbits -- who knows?), and an assortment of insects (cutworms, aphids, and perhaps cucumber beetles). After all that hard work, I felt like an utter failure. Each year the garden is blighted with a different disaster, and I scrounge around trying to figure out how to fix it. Most of the time, my attempts are futile, and the plants are past the point of no return. 

Stunted cherry tomato plant
eaten by rodents and/or birds
Tomato Rot
So, for all of you gardeners out there with anything but a green thumb, here is reassurance that we all struggle. Here are a few pictures of my "ugly" produce. 

Corn with kernels only growing
halfway up the cob

Yellow pepper with blight
Bug infested green beans
eaten by rabbits
I remind myself that not everything turns out the way I would like it to on the first try. I suppose these experiences "build character", right? I learn from my mistakes and figure out what to do differently next time. I won't let these experiences get me down and prevent me from trying again next year! 

If any of you have experiences with these problems and have any suggestions or solutions, please share them with the rest of us! 

The Good

Thankfully, I did have success with some other projects over the past few months, or else I may have given up entirely on sewing, cooking/baking, and gardening. I'll share a few highlights from the summer. 

Baby Bonnets

I found a really cute baby bonnet pattern from a website I enjoy perusing from time to time: The Cottage Mama. Even though I don't have any girls, I like to have baby gifts on hand when I am invited to a baby shower so I am not scurrying around for a gift at the last minute. I made a number of bonnets in a variety of fabrics. It was a fairly straight-forward pattern, and I think they turned out  quite adorable!

Blueberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust
and Lemon Curd Topping

A few years ago (when my husband and I just started dating), I made mini blueberry pies with a cornmeal crust and lemon curd for a topping. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I fell in love with this recipe, and my now husband fell in love with me. The old saying holds true...the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  A friend introduced me to this great u-pick blueberry farm. Needless to say, I loaded up on berries to make this delecable dessert! 


As my last post expounds upon, practically the only success of this year's garden was the watermelon. I may even be stretching that statement. We started with a dozen or so melons, and after disease and pests did their work, we ended up with three melons. I'll take what I can get and call the watermelons a smashing success! 

So there is a brutally honest glimpse into the reality of my sewing, gardening, and cooking/baking experiences. Not everything turns out as designed. I'm just a regular person making regular mistakes and celebrating my fortunate successes. I continually remind myself that perfection is not required. I want to enjoy the time I have to work on these hobbies and projects and not get worked up over the trial and errors. Besides, it makes those successes that more sweet. 


  1. Hi Leslie! Walter and I thoroughly enjoyed the garlic you gave us, so that was a success! Do you mind sharing your pie recipe?

    1. Glad the enjoyed the garlic! The recipe came from Bon Appetit magazine (July 2008). Here is the recipe: