Independence Day, Veggie Garden, and Grocery Store Auditions

Even though the 4th isn’t until Wednesday, this is our holiday weekend.  Fly Old Glory.  Wear red, white, and blue.  Grill something yummy for dinner.  Watch fireworks.  Have fun!

Yesterday, we went to visit my mom.  On Friday, she called to say she wanted to take us out to some diner she’d wanted to try, and ask us to pick up a couple of cases of water for her.  Since our favorite local grocery store closed at the end of April when corporate decided not to renew the lease at the new exhoritant rate, we’ve been auditioning other grocery stores in the area.  Weis is okay, but it plays games with pricing, so the price you see posted is often higher than it rings up at the checkout counter.  Acme doesn’t play those games, but the aisles are narrower, and it’s not as well lit inside.

This time, we tried Giant, because we wanted to pick up a few things for ourselves.  Of the three, we agree we like Giant the best.  The produce and meat departments are quite good, for fair prices.  Giant does, however, also play the pricing games that Weis does.  A huge bag of Martin’s potato chips might have a manufacturer’s price of $4.99 on the bag, be labeled $3.99 on the shelf, and ring up at $2.99.  Just mark them $2.99, FFS, and don’t waste the extra paper for the receipt telling me how much I “saved” on that item.

Mom called again on Saturday to say she wasn’t up to going out in the heat, and wanted us to buy sandwiches to bring over.  We couldn’t simply make them; we had to buy them.  Fine, I was going to go to a local farm market that has a fantastic deli counter, which is always open on Sundays.  Evidently, it was closed for the holiday.  So was another nearby deli.  Two strikes.

We ended up stopping at a Wegman’s to get sandwiches instead.  It wasn’t the one about 10 miles from us, but it was on the way.  The place was a zoo with people stocking up for their holiday BBQs and parties.  Didn’t feel like waiting on line to have subs made to order, and found pre-made sandwiches.  Got one roast turkey (real roasted turkey, not something like Boar’s Head wonder turkey), one tuna salad, and one roast beef.  Absolutely delicious, all on various artisan breads, and surprisingly, no more expensive than your average deli, or even the deli department at a Kings grocery store.  Wegman’s has fantastic bakery, deli, fish, and meat departments, but is quite expensive compared to other chains.  Mom was thrilled. We left her the leftovers, so she’s got food for another few meals if she still doesn’t feel like going out in the heat.

As to our veggie garden, we’re finally seeing some produce.  Everything got off to a late start this year.  We’re getting zucchini (or courgettes, if you prefer), the heirloom tomatoes are blooming up a storm, and the peppers are doing very well in this heat and humidity.  I’m amazed our lettuce is still doing fine.  By all rights, it should have bolted by now, in the summer heat.  It’s been in the mid-upper 90s Farenheit for days.

Aside from the basil seedlings I bought and planted earlier this year, the volunteers that must have self-sown from last year’s crop are maturing nicely.  Maybe I can palm some of it off on my neighbor, or at least offer to let him come pick whatever he wants from it.  Unless we turn it into pesto, there’s way more than we could possibly use.  I’m already pinching flower heads off it, so it doesn’t go to seed and die on me.

I miss my neighbor’s chickens.  Sure, the free-range eggs were a bonus simply gave us for letting them forage on our property, but I miss them following me around the yard like puppies, and shooing them out of the garden if one or two managed to get into it.  I swear those girls would taunt me, refusing to leave until I did, then would follow me out, so I could shut the gate behind us all, to lock them out, so to speak.

In closing, have a fantastic Independence Day, everyone!

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