Monthly Archive:July, 2008

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Summer Girl

Summer has always been my favorite season.

I love the sun. The late bedtimes. The feeling that it’s always almost time to relax and have a barbeque. But, I must say, tomatoes have become one of my favorite things about summer:


All but the three huge professional-looking heirlooms came from our garden. I am SO proud.

Also, the one lonely okra on the left is to show that our okra from seeds experiment was successful. We managed to grow at least one, and if the buds are to be believed, several more are in the wings.

Foodwise, I may love autumn harvest more than summer foods, but seasonally speaking — I love the heat, the sun and the tomatoes. And, in the midst of family drama, work drama, and all of that jazz, the calm and slowly evolving life of our garden (especially the tomatoes) brings me more joy this summer than I could have imagined.

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First Harvest

E says the word “Harvest” sounds like “genocide” to our plants. He’s probably right.

Regardless, I don’t feel the tiniest twinge of guilt despite eating about 10 cherry tomatoes and eagerly awaiting the final ripening of Mr. Stripey’s firstborn:


As of last week, the garden as a whole looked like this:


Which is good, because we’ve successfully managed to control the fungus that infected 6 of our 7 tomato plants. We trimmed leaves. We fertilized. We sprayed antifungal. We switched to an every-other-day watering plan. And, thankfully, although they are a bit sparse for the wear, they seem to be doing much better. At last count we have somewhere around 150 tomatoes waiting to ripen. How exciting!!!

The earliest producer of the group was the squash. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve picked about 7 great fruits like these:


The first meal was sautéed squash in a sage in browned butter sauce over whole wheat penne topped with black pepper and grated parmigiano reggiano:


And the lesson we’ve learned is that it’s best to pick them when they are still pale yellow. Apparently, the darker the rind, the thicker the rind.

Speaking of thick rinds, this dark yellow rind (an early developing fruit before we realized we should pick earlier) did a reasonable job of protecting its important reproductive portions from our local raccoon (I was still grumpy that we wouldn’t get to eat it):


Remember the Okra from seeds experiment? Well, several of the non-culled survivors have grown to full-fledged plants that have and will continue to flower, and should (hopefully) bear many fruits:


And finally, my fascination with the biology of the cucumber continues, unabated. It has grown from the tiny seedling, to the clutching, wrapping vining monster, to a fully trellised plant with a wingspan greater than 5 feet:


E and I shared the first cucumber with some store-bought tomatoes and we agreed it was amazing and we couldn’t wait for its siblings. Thankfully, after a few weeks of fallen flowers, the female flowers are now producing over-grown ovaries like no-one’s business. The babies look like this (look at the appendage attached to the unbloomed flower on the left):


And, they grow, very quickly to look like this (note the fully bloomed and wilted flower at the far end for scale):


We’ve got several proto-cukes and we can’t wait to enjoy them with the tomatoes, which are coming ever-so-slowly closer to being ripe each day.

Tonight’s garden-inspired dinner was a first course of sliced black krim (from the farmer’s market, ours are not yet ready) topped with olive oil, aged balsamic, basil and lemon thyme; followed by a second course of habanero, yellow crook-neck squash bisque that cleared my sinuses but was quite a delicious non-recipe invention, if I do say so myself.

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Black Letter Law

A client asked a question that has me reading cases tonight.

And there, at page 29 of Kozinski’s majority en banc opinion in Fair Housing Council v. (April 3, 2008), I find this jewel on CDA Section 230 (c) immunity for website operators:

The message is clear: if you don’t encourage illegal content, or design your website to require users to input illegal content, you will be immune.

Where were the gloriously clear black-letter holdings like this, when I was in law school?

Sure, I’m gonna finish the full 54 page opinion and try to struggle through the nuances. And, yes, I will know more about this area of the law than I did when I started reading this thing. But, a clear concise statement of the take-home message that can fit in a fortune cookie — if I were in charge, this would be required in all published cases.