Road Trip Recap and a Garden Update

Hey everyone!  It’s been a busy week!  Since I posted about my new ice cream toy, I was on an adventure!  Last week I went on an epic cross-country road trip {no big deal, just seven states in eight days}.  I didn’t do any cooking, but I do have pictures of deliciousness from the Midwest.  Possibly even better than the food I ate out and about is how much my veggie garden grew by the time I came home!  I did a lot of driving last week, and it really was a treat to come home to things growing on my plants that actually vaguely resembled real vegetables.  That’s never happened for me before!

Saturday morning we left butt-early {that is the technical term for any time before the sun is up} and drove through Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana before stopping in Illinois outside of Chicago and stumbling into a neighborhood Jimmy Buffet party.  Our home base in the Midwest was with family in Illinois, but there were smaller day trips to Wisconsin and an overnight in Minneapolis.  Lots of driving!  It was really good to see family and friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like!

I saw my first in-person skunks and almost got skunked for the first time.  Seeing the tail end of a skunk is a scary sight!  I played the bean bag toss game for the first time – and lost every game I played, but had a lot of fun!  I also ate an insane amount of cheese and ice cream, and loved every minute of it!  I ate some pie, and some Kringle {I think it’s a southern Wisconsin thing – it’s a filled pastry that they heat up and butter!}, which was really good.

I also finally got to pet a cow!  It’s been a while, and I don’t know what exactly it is about them that I love, but I think cows are the ultimate cute.  Not only was the farmer at the random farm we stopped at nice enough to take me to the calf barn, but even took a calf out of its stall so I could pet it and take pictures.  I’ve never had a calf suck my fingers before, but it was the best.  In the least weird way, I just think they’re super calm animals, and I love the mooing.

Minneapolis was cool in its own chill way.  I was just there for an overnight, so I didn’t get to explore as much as I would like, but from my walk to the Mississippi River from the hotel, it looks like they have an awesome library and Whole Foods, and a shared bike system (think Bixi for the Montrealers, or Citibike for NYC).  All super-neat!

I also met some players from Manchester United who were staying at the same hotel.  We happened to be working out at the hotel gym at the same time.  Not only were they tall and gorgeous – with British accents – but they were truly the nicest guys and stopped to talk to me even when it was obvious that I am the Soccer Ignoramus.  I don’t have pictures of them because I didn’t want to rudely fangirl when I clearly had to ask to know who they were, but they definitely made a new fan for their team.

Hours and hours and many states later, back in Jersey the veggies have grown!  The corn was getting tall before I left, but when I came back, the ears had started to resemble something I might actually want to eat.  The eggplant got bigger, and the eggplant plants got bigger, and the squash/zucchini has spread out everywhere.  It’s truly amazing!  I’m amazed, at least, because nothing has grown this well before in our rocky claylike soil.

I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon weeding, even though it was too hot to wear my new farming overalls from Wisconsin {I’m just as excited about those as I am about the cows}, and it was strangely relaxing.  What kind of weeds do you have in your garden?  I don’t know the names, but aside from the clover, which is obvious and I actually kind of like to look at, all the weeds are so small that they’re more of a pain to pull out than they would be if they were a little bit bigger.

I went to a vegetable garden demonstration in town about a month ago, and the woman whose garden it was suggested using grass clippings as mulch around your veggies.  It’s supposed to cut down on weeding and watering because it holds moisture in.  I still water every day, because I’m confused as to how the grass can keep the water in but not also keep it out, but I’d like to think that I have fewer weeds than before.  I also like the fact that as the grass decomposes, it will continue to fertilize the veggies and make the soil more habitable.

How is everyone’s summer going?  I’m sad at how quickly it’s disappearing and that we haven’t had a heatwave yet.  It hasn’t felt properly summery!  Most of August still stretches before us though, and I plan on laying low, but what are your plans?  I want to hear about your getaways and your staycations!  Stay cool and keep me posted 🙂


real Wisconsin ice cream – Round One


a tuna melt with Cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun!


grilled cheese with tomato and corn


Wisconsin ducks


I finally got to play with the cows!




more calf love


Wisconsin ice cream from a gas station. I would judge me too if it wasn’t so good!


giant mouse on the way to Minnesota


giant orange moose on the way to Minnesota


the Mississippi River as seen from Minneapolis


mini grilled cheese and tomato soup!


mini desserts!


Ice cream from the Babcock Dairy. Some of my favorite ice cream in the world!


Cows from the highway.  They’re kind of far, but I just think they’re so cute!


Camomile flowers


Remarkably tall corn with tassels and ears!  The ones in back are about 6′ tall now.


close-up of the ears


My lone eggplant. Maybe three inches long, but it’s going to taste so good!


The squash. I’m not sure if it’s going to produce anything, but it’s definitely spreading out and growing, which makes me happy.


omelette with fresh basil from the garden


baby ducks down the shore in NJ, but so cute I had to share


4 thoughts on “Road Trip Recap and a Garden Update

  1. Pingback: Another Weekend in the Books | sophisticatedjerseygirl

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