Hard to believe but it’s already December…another year has blown by in the wink of an eye. The vegetable garden is still producing a trickle of items even now. But soon the harvest will be finished and we’ll wait till spring to crank it up again. Two weeks ago we got our first batch of sweet potatoes. They have been delicious.  I barbecued, pan fried and baked them.  And I guess by now everyone knows how great they are for you!

sweet pota


Last week we picked these nice aromatic herbs, ready for winter drying.

trimmed onion grassrosemary

Onion grass                             Rosemary


Parsley                                          Greek Oregano

We also spent some time adding ground leaves from our yard to the asparagus bed.


The leaves will slowly break down and add nutrients to the soil to keep the asparagus happy when the growing season begins anew. We also got some swiss chard and some kale.

swiss chard  ragged leaf kale

dinosaur kale

The garlic that we put in the ground in early October is now about 6 inches high.

young garlic

This week I’ll add some mulch to the area. We always try to plant in long rows whenever possible with about 10 inches between the rows so we can get in there with a tool and keep the weeds to a minimum. Once the plants get tall enough we mulch the areas with a good organic compost. The garlic will grow very slowly all winter in the cold and then will pick up a head of steam in the spring. This variety is called early Italian. We usually harvest the first week of July.

We also have a crop of beets still in the ground. They weren’t quite ready last week. Hopefully they’ll be ready to go next week.

late beets

We are cleaning and storing the equipment and replacing broken pots and hoses.

Time to close it all down for a long winter’s nap.

See you in the springtime!



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It’s October 29th and the NY METS are in the World Series.

Mets logo

Not only in the World Series but they are down 2 games to none.  MET fans are understandably concerned. To put a positive spin on things, the ’86 World Champion METS were down 2 to none heading to Boston and we know how that ended up. Having said that, past history in sports is a fun conversation angle but definitely has nothing to do with present day realities. Lenny Dykstra won’t be suiting up for this World Series, nor will Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry or Ray Knight.  HernandezDykstra Gooden

But we will be watching the most amazing Daniel Murphy. The electric Yoenis Cespedes and the dynamic arms of Harvey , DeGrom and Familia.

Murphy2015  Cespedes

Honestly I am impressed with the way the Kansas City lineup has handled the METpitching. Really wasn’t expectING that. They are a good lineup top to bottom but so were the Cubs and the MET pitching handled them.

The MET bats haven’t done much to help the situation.  Where oh where have you been David Wright?  Lucas Duda? Travis D’Arnaud?

In the final analysis I think the MET’s World Series outcome will come down to a single concept. Are they TOUGH ENOUGH? I’m usually never at a loss for words but I have to admit that I have no idea. They have been so dominant through the end of the regular season into their playoff run, there hasn’t been all that much to be tough about. Can these predominantly young players summon up the energy and persistence to prevail? They need to win 4 or the next five…a tall order against a very good team. Can they do it? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s why they PLAY the games.


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October in New York

It’s October 2015. The leaves are falling. The sun is waning and there is an unmistakable chill in the air. Usually at this time of year fans of the NY JETS, and the NY METS, (the “Ets” if you will) are sitting around talking about past glories and hopefully discussing “next year’. They are most likely thinking of possible draft picks and trades that might further their team.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.40.57 PM          Mets logo

Hmmmmmm. What’s happening here?

The “rebuilding” JETS are a tidy 4 and 1, after a solid victory over the team from DC. Shall we call them the ‘Skins? The JETS head coach Todd Bowles, is a former standout player and a tight lipped Parcells clone who says things like, “one play at a time, one game at a time” and even though they are enjoying some early success it’s nearly impossible to get this guy to crack a smile. Did someone say intense? He’s so low key many fans are wondering who the heck he is and how did he get here?

Todd Bowles

But as a reporter in the locker room of yesterday’s game at Metlife Stadium put it, Bowles got his message across loud and clear after a lackluster first half. When the JETS took the field for the third quarter they blasted the ‘Skins out of the stadium. The 34-20 final score didn’t reflect the JETS defensive domination. Next week a trip to New England…the land of the infamous BELICHEATS. It should be an interesting two proponents of the Parcells philosophy. One is a four time Super Bowl winner and the other just getting his head coaching career off on the right foot. The Jets and the Pats have had many tough and close battles the last few years. If nothing else, it will be entertaining.

Heading across the river over to Flushing by the Bay…

Usually at this time of the year their lockers are cleaned out and most of the players have scattrered across North America…playing golf…laying in the sun…making plans for extended vacations. Things are quite a bit different this year. Honestly I had no illusions at the beginning of this season. They would be a pesky little time that could possible contend for the second wild card spot.


Then something really amazing happened. The Wilponzies decided to allow Sandy Alderson to spend some money and make some deals to improve the offense, for the a team loaded with spectacular pitching.


The rest is history as they say. Enter Uribe…Johnson…Clippard…and Cespedes. Real major league players. Enter the Captain off the DL. Enter D’Arnaud off the DL. Bang zoom. A new team with power and grit. It’s been epic.  Daniel Murphy, he of the zillion trade rumors has taken the team on his back and lead the way. How do ya like me now???


I predicted 86 wins before the season began. They ended up with 90. Pretty close.

Of course my prediction was aided by the mini swoon the last week of the year.

So let me be the first to say that these METS will be in the World Series, and I believe their chances of wining it all are quite realistic and maybe even probable.

If good pitching beats good hitting why not?

It should be great to watch!


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Summer Vegetables Winding Down…

Wow! Where did the spring go?! And now the summer has passed as well.  A growing garden points out the never ending cycles of the natural world in a unique and intimate fashion to those of us who work the garden.  We’re through September now and we’ve picked the last of the tomatoes. We like TOMATO PIE and TOMATO BISQUE and we’ve made lots of sauce from the SAN MARZANO tomatoes we grew.  Now it’s in the freezer waiting for winter meals.

latesummer-tomatoes  Tomatoes & Peppers-2015

At this time of year the peppers are still arriving though it’s slowing down a little bit. As long as the sun shines and the temps are in the 70’s and sometimes 80’s, the peppers will keep producing. Our plants are of the California Wonder, Yellow, Lime and Green Bell varieties.

latesummer-tomatoes&peppers  latesummer-peppers

The eggplants are also on their way and by end of September there should be a good harvest. Not as awesome as last year’s crop, but we’ll get enough to eat and freeze for the winter. We are growing them in pots on our deck. The deck heats up in the hot sun which keeps the roots of the plants warm all evening. The small black mites that plague the eggplants at the farm plot are not present here in my yard. That’s a major plus too!

Eggplant 1  Eggplant 2

The cooler weather is great for SIMPSON LETTUCE and an additional planting of beets. We love beets! I cook ‘em and pickle them for a tasty spicy treat all winter.

simpson lettuce

AThis year after we picked the garlic, we added organic fertilizer to the soil and put in zuchinni. Though the plants and the flowers looked awesome, so far we’ve only taken a few.


We have a patch of sweet potatoes that’s looking good. We’ve never grown them before and we’ve been told that when the leaves turn brown they are ready to dig. The vines look strong and full and I’ve trimmed them a few times so we are hoping for a good yield. With all potatoes, we bury the leaves in hay and peat moss,  which make the plants produce a crop closer to the surface and easier to pick.

ragged leaf kale

The kale will continue to produce well into October. We eat as much as we can and freeze the rest. Also give away quite a bit as the plants produce a huge amount of edible leaves.


This year we decided to do some cabbage. The heads we got were smaller that what you can get in the grocery but they tasted good when we made the Polish dish Haluski with them.

In the next few weeks as the remaining plants begin to die away we’ll be cleaning up the plot and getting ready for winter. This week we’ll be planting next summer’s garlic crop. In a couple of weeks when the shoots come up, we’ll do a light mulching. nLast year’s winter was really tough on the environment but the garlic crop turned out to be a good one with nice large bulbs.

Got some good gardening tips for growing organic veggies on Long island? We’d love to hear from you.

Almost time to rake leaves and then soon after…dare I say it…shovel snow!

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Talkin’ ‘Bout Whatever…Summer 2015

Summer 2015…more than half over. Wow. Where did that go? Sometimes I find myself contemplating the speed at which my life is blowing by. It’s amazing and more than a bit scary too. Remember when you were a kid? The summer went on FOREVER. Alas…those days are gone.

So we went to see a couple of real “summertime” movies. JURASSIC WORLD was the continuation of the JURASSIC PARK franchise and as far as I was concerned it was quite entertaining. It was sort of a parody of itself. In the film the woman who is running the deal makes her pitch to investors. She explains that the public wants BIGGER…NASTIER…MORE FEROCIOUS dinosaurs in the park.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 8.21.25 PM

It’s funny because the movie gives us just that. They were bigger, faster, more ferocious and violent than anything we’d seen before. The special effects are awesome and the sound quality is CRAZY! I really liked the film even though the story and ending were quite predictable. Wonder what they’ll dream up next? The second movie we saw was MISSION IMPOSSIBLE : Rogue Nation.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 8.23.07 PM

We’ve seen all the other Tom Cruise Mission Impossible flicks and this one delivered the entertainment same as all of the previous works in this franchise. Special effects – great. Tom Cruise’ acting skills – great. A real shoot em’ up blow em’ up saga but with a cool story and nice twists. I’m not a big fan of Scientology but I like Cruise on the screen. It was a fun diversion for sure.

So The Donald is running away with the polls for Republican Presidential hopefuls.


Really? Some of the things he has said and done are truly epic in the absurd…but maybe that’s what the right wing public is looking for?  The Republican establishment is being rebuked in a most loud fashion. Trump scores high with everyone but the evangelicals so now he’s cozy-ing up to Ted “I’m gonna shut it all down” Cruz in an effort to woo the Endtimers. That would be some ticket. Can they win the national election? Hell no but the debates would be hilarious! I can hear them telling Mike Huckabee that they go to church more often than he does! And Hillary is still trying to outrun her arrogant email situation. Hey…anyone voting for Bernie Sanders?

Mets logo

This summer has also brought us the Amazing Mets 2.0. The pitching is young and talented and the moves made by Sandy Alderson seem to be kickin’ things into high gear. Can they win the division? Yes they can. Will they? Who knows but it will be fun watching them try! Seinfelld’s “Cespedes for the rest of us” line was a classic. Too bad the Wilponzies will never shell out the 120 million it will probably take to keep him here for the next 5 or 6 years. If the Yankees were involved, he’d already be signed till 2021 !

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 8.29.45 PM

Now this dude has a good job! Has anyone been following the nudie controversy in New York City? Naked, but painted woman, pose with tourists for money. What a concept! Seems harmless enough but it is causing quite a shit stir with both politicians and business owners in the Times Square area. Not sure how I feel about this but I did think it was funny when a politician suggested that if we outlaw female topless-ness then we should outlaw make topless-ness as well. Really ? LOL. Funny how the moral compass of this nation was set by approximately 300 people some 400 years ago. What makes their ideas right and everyone who came after them wrong? In Europe the naked human body is just that. A perfectly normal and natural part of life. I agree with that observation but I don’t think Times Square needs to be parading those naked bodies in the street and certainly not for profit! Having we been there before?

BowlesScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 8.32.26 PM

The JET-GIANT game was downplayed by everyone…the media…the players…the coaches. The game was actually fairly entertaining for a change as the JETS smacked the Giants around pretty good. Probably doesn’t mean much but the Jet offense looked pretty competent and the first team Giant defense not so much. Could this be the end of the Geno Smith era in New York? If Fitzpatrick plays well I wouldn’t be surprised if Geno is backing up the Sanchize in Philly next year. I expect Eli Manning to have a good year and I think both teams have pretty good shots at playoff football.

This summer I discovered my new fave drink…the BEER-ITA. Shot of tequila (Pisco Porton works well too) ½ shot Triple Sec (or Contreau for you hardcore types) 2 ounces approximately of Margarita mix, preferably sweet and lime-y tart and lastly 2 ounces of Landshark lager. Pour over ice cubes in a tall glass. Add a slice of lime if you like. Man this is sooooooo good. Wanna be adventurous? Add 1 ounce of POM pomegranate juice. Refreshing and quite mind altering as well. Don’t drink and drive ! ! ! Hang out in your backyard contemplating the mysteries of your fleeting time. 😉




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The METS are amazing again thanks to a few simple yet momentous moves made this summer. Here were Mike Francesca’s pre trade deadline remarks to which I subscribed with gusto (but never really thought the Wilponzies would follow through on)

Mets logo

1-Platoon Duda and Cuddyer at first. Duda is now hurt but Cuddyer has had a rebirth of sorts and his platoon with Murphy at first has been successful. Hopefully Duda returns for the playoff push at some point soon.


2-Go get a slugging outfielder and put him in left (or in right and put Granderson in left). Enter Cespedes who has become the best position player on the team in the short time he’s been here. Thank you Sandy Alderson!


3-Put Murphy at third (if he can stay healthy long enough) Along came Juan Uribe who has done a fine job platooning at third with Murphy. Now that the Captain David Wright has returned, and has looked pretty good at that, things are OK at third.

David Wright

4-Put Tejada at short. He’s there mix and match with Flores.

5-Put Flores at second. He’s been in a platoon with Kelly Johnson and once again all is well in the infield.

During the last month The METS have gone from a team with little in the way of major league starters and a disgraceful bench to one of the deeper teams in the league. They have options at many positions that were nowhere to be found just a few short weeks ago.

Their acquisition of Tyler Clippard hasn’t hurt either.  he has been a great setup man for Familia and even closed a game or two.

So are The Mets rolling towards a division title or is this another in a series of cruel heat mirages that seem to roll through Flushing this time of year?   Only time will tell but I have to admit I’m having more fun watching this team than just about any other since the 80’s. I’m even watching the games on TV in the evenings….something I really haven’t done in many years. Hey and why not? They are FUN to watch as they bash their way through the schedule like a battering ram. After a hiccup against the Pirates, what the Mets have done to the Rockies and the Phillies the last week or so has been nothing short of dominant. They have demonstrated an ability to comeback from nearly any deficit with home run power and clutch hitting. The pitching has continued to be solid but I doubt ANYONE thought the Mets lineup, even with the trade deadline additions, would create statistics like these. They are producing runs at an historic rate!  As of today the Mets are leading the East by 6.5 games with a limping Nats team trailing along. I predicted an 86 win season. If things continue along the way they have a 90+ win season is certainly possible… and within reach.

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Summer Vegetables 2015

Wow! Where did the spring go?! And now the summer is cruising along…July a memory and a warm August upon us.  We had a nice garlic crop which we picked the first week of July. They’ve had a few wee

IGarlic 2   Garlic-2015

The tomatoes are in full swing and we are picking about 20 per week. We are growing Yellow Mama, San Marzano and Big Red Mama.

Tomatoes & Peppers-2015

At this time of year the peppers are also arriving. Our plants are full of California Wonder, Lime Peppers and a few Yellow/Red varieties. Peppers are easy to grow and extremely resistant to disease and insects. Give them a bit of space and full sun. Water them liberally at least every other day, and every day if the temps rise over 85F. They begin producing slowly in August but by end of month we are inundated.  We slice them up and freeze what we can’t eat.

And basil completes the scene.  We are growing it in our home and also at the farm. In both places the plants are nearly three feet high!


The eggplants are also on their way and by end of month there should be a good harvest. We are growing them in pots on our deck. The deck heats up in the hot sun which keeps the roots of the plants warm all evening. The small black mites that plague the eggplants at the farm plot are not present here in my yard. That’s a major plus too!

Eggplant 2  Eggplant 1

Next up…the late zuchinni, sweet potatoes and more lettuce!

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Mets logo

A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece about how sick I was of hearing about what the Mets needed to do. Here’s what I said at that time. Let’s see if anything I said came true.

I was listening to Mike Francesca. He being the well known WFAN afternoon host and Yankee fan. He has had his moments with the METS for sure but in a recent discussion of the many woes out in Flushing, Mr. Rant and Rave laid out the simplest and most perfect plan for the Mets to make a run in 2015 and bolster the team for future years.

1-Platoon Duda and Cuddyer at first.

 OK…Duda came out of his somnambulist summer and started to look sort of like what we hoped he would be. Cuddyer? Still out with an injury but hopefully back soon.

 2-Go get a slugging outfielder and put him in left (or in right and put Granderson in left)

Can you say Yeonis Cespedes? Thank you Detroit Tigers…Thank you Sandy Alderson.


 3-Put Murphy at third (if he can stay healthy long enough)

 He’s been all over the place but third mostly.

4-Put Tejada at short.

 He’s there.

 5-Put Flores at second.

He’s there and playing much better albeit in the wake of the near trade.

 So simple it seems almost impossible but is it? There are going to be plenty of bats available as teams begin to fall out of contention. The problem that the Willnots, uhh I mean the Wilponzies, I mean the Wilpons WILL NOT pull the trigger on a deal that would give the team a chance to contend THIS YEAR because they won’t, don’t, can’t spend the money needed to make this happen.

OK I was wrong. The Wilponzies decided that if they didn’t make a run at the post season, their fans would making a run for the exits.

I’m not asking for miracles. Just get a couple of MAJOR LEAGUE players on the roster. This ragtag bunch of Double A guys is a joke of a lineup. Everyone knows it from Alderson down to Terry Collins down to the bat boy. Look at the numbers.

Enter Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and Tyler Clippard. Pretty darn good job Mr, Alderson…good job.


So what does the future portend? At the beginning of this season I thought with a break here or there the Mets could win 86 games. Then Blevens got hurt, Wheeler out for the season, Wright out for many months, Murphy hurt, Parnell slow to return, Dillion, Gee are you that bad, really? But now with the new additions,  the resurgence of a couple of the regulars, plus the return of D’Arnaud and hopefully Wright and Cuddyer, these Mets suddenly look like contenders.

They’ve fooled us before. Let’s all just sit back and enjoy a pennant race for a change and let the chips fall where they may.

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Trump Can’t Be Serious…Can He?

Let me say right upfront…out loud and with no pretense. I don’t particularly like Donald Trump. Never have. I find him to be a rather pompous, self serving, oft times ridiculous caricature of a capitalist blowhard doing whatever it takes to advance his own absurd agenda, which frankly I’m still trying to understand.


This is a man who wants to be known as the world’s greatest businessman. A self made tycoon of immeasurable success and stature. Sounds great. Too bad it’s not quite the true story.  Trump’s father was instrumental in Trump’s early successes and though it is true that his personal wealth has ballooned in recent years (more due to his TV show and other investments rather than his real estate acumen) his Dad was a successful builder in New York City. He built housing projects in Brooklyn and Queens (many times with government support) and made his company worth hundreds of millions. He helped the young Trump get rolling with money, influence and connections. Had my father backed me with a few hundred million dollars, and a name known to many in the finance and construction world could I have been equally successful? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think my life path probably would have been a whole lot easier on my way to wherever.


Trump likes to make it seem like he is the perennial winner in an arena of losers. He never seems to mention the various companies he has been heavily involved with that failed…he’s gone through bankruptcy four times. He borrowed massive amounts of money and then saw several of his big deals go bust, most notably the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He is quite skilled at working the system. That’s fine. The laws were created to protect individuals and to keep businesses growing. But this image of his career and life as a perfect, unblemished smooth sail to unprecedented wealth and success is more fairy tale than reality. Basically he did what he had to do to succeed in his various endeavors. Once again that’s fine. He is a shark amongst the mackerel and he survived. Are these the qualifications for running the country? Maybe. Maybe not. In the first few weeks of his fledgling campaign, what has he done to give anyone the idea that he might be fit and able to run the country?


Of course that’s not counting insulting Mexicans and Hispanics.. Or having an “I’m richer than he is” contest with Mitt Romney. It could be calling one of his opponents in Lindsey Graham “an idiot”. Or his amazing attack on John McCain, denigrating not only McCain’s military service, but basically anyone’s service who was a POW. Trump asked the question, “He’s a war hero because he was captured?” Then he answered his own question. “I like people who weren’t captured.”


Wow. Very Presidential.

He sure showed me.

I always try and see all sides. I have my biases and opinions like anyone but I want to be fair and balanced to borrow a line from FAUX NEWS….but my word, what could Trump possibly have been thinking when he made these absurd remarks? And what’s even more distressing is that thousands of people have put Trump at the top of the Republican polls for President in spite of them. I guess his successful “tough guy” businessman image has some people thinking he can somehow straighten out all of the country’s problems. Trump 4

But a businessman can straighten out the country you say. I think there is a basic flaw in this thinking. Businessmen play by a different set of rules, a different mindset. When the most important goals are increasing profits and the gathering of wealth, decisions are made in business on a daily basis that simply cannot be extrapolated to running the government. In business it’s survival of the fittest. It’s dog eat dog and damn the torpedoes. How does this apply to the government? Government is beholden to millions of people with a million different viewpoints, needs and wants. Government must provide a myriad of complex services to the people. Most businesses have a very narrow scope. They provide a few products. Maybe a few different services. Maybe both. But in the event a product or service is not generating enough income it is eliminated and replaced with another profit inducing scheme. Business turn on a dime because they are “governed” by a small group of like minded people. What the many problems facing the government from defense spending to social programs, eliminating or enacting programs becomes a monumental job because so many people, not of a like mind, are involved in making the decisions, each with their own small agenda. No one man can control all of the parameters and variables. Trump might have been able to negotiate and navigate his way in business…business that HE OWNED. No one owns the government but the people…and Americans have a rich history of not being controlled by anyone or any one thing. Cut the budget, cut the services, cut the taxes are the mantras of people like Trump. But one man does not rule the government with an iron fist the way CEO’s run their companies.

McCain 1

I have had my ups and downs with John McCain over the years but I have long respected his commitment to do what he thinks is right. His battles to keep money from corrupting our political system are to honored and celebrated. He did what he could. But politics aside, this man was held in a tiny, filthy prison cell and tortured on and off for five long years. Why? Because he refused early release by his captors in return for being complicit in propaganda beneficial to the North Vietnamese. How in the world can Trump, or anyone make these kinds of statements about John McCain? Could anyone expect anything but a loud, disgusted reaction from fair minded people? Trump is the classic example of why the GOP has little or no chance of winning a national election in the near future if they persist in selecting candidates with truly twisted views..

Trump is following in the footsteps of so many other divisive politicos. People who gather their own strength by dividing the people, misleading the people and enraging the people against some imaginary enemy with strong, loud and controversial remarks. This sort of thing always appeals to the lowest common denominator. Let’s make the Mexicans our enemies by referring to them as drug dealers and rapists. This way he rallies support with anyone who has strong feelings about illegal immigration. I do notice that not once has he come up with a reasonable plan to deal with this problem except to say he’s against “those” people.

Let’s paint John McCain as a make believe hero because he didn’t do enough to help veterans. And what exactly is Trump’s plan to help veterans?

With the majority of the Republicans running for President denouncing Trump’s remarks, his campaign may be doomed with failure before it even gets off the ground only to be remembered as a strange anomaly in this already strange political landscape.


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