Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's happening in the garden

Whew, I finally found the right USB cord and uploaded several, er, months worth of photos.

I suppose I'm just as excited and proud as any other rookie gardener about what's been peeping out from under the leaves and I thought I'd share some pictures here.

Here's part of the 2nd cucumber patch. The first one, which I'd started too early so not too much of it germinated, was mostly turned into bread & butter pickles a couple of weeks ago. I think some of these new ones will be destined for dills.
Then there's the eggplants. I'm amazed these ever got to this stage. I had started them in the greenhouse, where they did wonderfully, and then transplanted them outside where they pined away doing nothing at all for 6 weeks. Sometime in mid July they started growing just a teensy bit and now they are just about to fruit I think.

On to squash. I have to say I was really intimidated when Chaidie first came running and told me about the enormous zucchini lurking under the leaves. We had a fridgeful in no time and I was scratching my head over what I was going to do when all the other types of squash started ripening. Fortunately, zucchini cook down, way, way down and I've been making greek pita from them, and I've also learned to check ALL squash EVERY day to make sure they don't get out of hand. And I will put some of the blossoms to another use so we don't get too many. This is the time of year when I want to stuff every vegetable I see Greek-style, and stuffed squash blossoms are really lovely.

Here's some summer squash:

and Panos just spotted the first spaghetti squash today:

I bought all my seeds last December at and I am really, really loving everything so far. There were a few disappointments - the onions and carrots never came up at all, and the okra - ok, this was not surprising - hasn't done anything. But everything else is gorgeous and thriving in spite of my laissez-faire approach to gardening. Naturally, tomatoes are top of the list for pleasure. I have six different varieties out there. The very earliest were Italian heirlooms that I transplanted in early May - I left all the rest till mid or late May and later, staggering them a bit because we were still having sub-freezing nights till about the middle of May. But the Italians started ripening about the end of July and are wonderful eating. I couldn't get any pics of anything ripe today because I'd cleaned them out yesterday but here's a few of the other types:

The German pinks are doing better than anything else. The plants are taller than I am and without any fertilizing or pruning or anything at all really other than somewhat inadequate staking, they seem as happy as anything. Some of the tomatoes on the vines right now are about the size of small cantaloupes. The picture doesn't really do it justice but some of these are going to be awesome slicing tomatoes:

I've been so happy with those that I started some more recently in the greenhouse. I don't know anything about pollination needs but I'm hoping somehow to be able to keep those going in the greenhouse this fall since they're getting a nice head start with our warm weather now:

I'll stop now - I haven't got much experience blogging with pix so I want to make sure this works, then I'll come back with a few more from the orchard and garden and my first-time canning results, and hopefully some more pics from back in the spring.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Abstract: Mascara and your eyes....

In our 'hardcore' dry eye crowd on DryEyeTalk, I think an awful lot of us have simply relegated eye makeup to 'special occasions only' status at most. But amongst newbies and those with mild to moderate conditions I know there are many using mascara regularly - and in fact there's a lot of information sharing going on about which products are most friendly to dry, sensitive eyes.

Anyway, I thought you'd be interested in the blurb about this study, which is the first of its kind I've run across. Always fun to see new words coined ("dacryomascarolith"?!)

Ocular manifestations of long-term mascara use.
Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Jul-Aug;25(4):339-41.
Ciolino JB, Mills DM, Meyer DR.

Mascara, a widely used cosmetic, is associated with eye pathology. The authors report 3 cases of eye problems secondary to long-term mascara use. Two patients had multiple pigmented conjunctival lesions; one of these had a history of melanoma of the hand. Conjunctival biopsy revealed nonmelanocytic pigment granules within conjunctival stroma cells in both cases. The other patient had a history of dry eye, and also showed pigment clumping around a punctal plug. The third patient had canalicular obstruction from a mascara-laden dacryolith ("dacryomascaralith"), the first such case reported. A literature review revealed cases of eyelid dermatitis, infectious keratitis, a conjunctival mass ("mascaroma"), and others. Ophthalmologists should be aware of mascara's associated eye problems. The physical findings combined with a high index of suspicion, especially in cases of heavy mascara use, may allow for an accurate diagnosis and spare the patient an otherwise unnecessary invasive procedure.