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The Mystery of the Missing Squash

Damaged, diseased, and rotten produce is often a problem in a vegetable garden. As a gardener I am have resigned myself to the fact that there will be a certain amount of loss during the growing season. The tomato that looks wonderful while green may ripen into a bug infested mess. The carrots may grow to be brown and cracked.

One does not, however, anticipate the wholesale disappearance of spaghetti squash.

Sadly, this tragedy has struck the Eichenlaub Garden. The squash plant itself remains mostly intact, bearing several more squash of reasonable size. One squash, however, which made its home just outside of the garden, has gone missing.

For the purposes of completeness I have recorded the evidence.

Img:  Debris

A short distance from the garden lies a small collection of squashy debris

Img:  A Missing Squash

The former resting place of a squash. The branch looks almost as if someone violently ripped the squash from it’s stem.

With so little evidence it has been difficult to narrow down the list of suspects. Witness accounts indicate that there were three suspects on the scene around the time of the crime.

Img:  Fred

Suspect 1: Fred. Loves his vegetables. No criminal history, though he is also suspected in a series of recent mass banana disappearances.

Img:  Charlie the Weather Gnome

Suspect 2: Charlie the Weather Gnome. History of eggplant abuse. Doesn’t move much.

Img:  Isaac

Suspect 3: Isaac Eichenlaub. Wasn’t actually in town during the crime. Just wanted to post a cute picture.

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There is some pretty exciting news for Fred today. A couple days ago Carol and her mother took Fred to Dairy Queen, not knowing exactly what they were getting into. They left the house intending to get ice cream on a hot summer day. What they got was a trip to The Norman Rockwell Zone.

A man driving a truck backed into a garbage can because he was concentrating on his ice cream cone. A man buys his five year old daughter an ice cream cone, a cone which is too big for such a small person. The Man From the Paper pauses in the sweltering heat to take a picture of a giant dog eating an ice cream cone after the girl convinces her father to feed it to the dog. This is The Norman Rockwell Zone.

So, anyway, Fred’s picture was in the paper. You can see the online version of the photo here or here.

In case those links go away I’ve saved his picture minus the article:
Fred finds a new best friend.

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Holding Pattern

Carol and I had another appointment with our midwife this morning. We got to experience a Non-Stress Test, which basically involves Carol sitting in a comfortable chair for half of an hour. Monitors told us that Tony, Son of Tony’s heartbeat is normal and that he is reacting appropriately to contractions. His heartrate increases a bit, showing that he has plenty of oxygen. Also, Carol’s blood pressure has come down, showing that she is responding appropriately to Bed Rest. Even after attending two parties this weekend her stress levels have dropped considerably. She so far is having no trouble with the prescribed treatments.

The next appointment will be Friday morning. We are expected to go in twice a week now.

One benefit to the Non-Stress Test is that they do an ultrasound. We haven’t had one of these since week 18 or so. Back then I remember I could see a head, face, hands, liver, and various other recognizable body parts. It was very exciting. This time was also exciting, but he’s kinda big for the whole baby shot.

Img:  A blurry ultrasound

Is that.. a foot?

Img:  Carol Resting

Proof that she takes her Bed Rest seriously

Img:  Jenny and Carol

Proof that she still gets to have fun

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Fred Ate the Baby

That’s right, Fred’s gone and done it. The hunger cravings have taken control. He finally snapped and.. wait.. the baby hasn’t been born yet.. Fred actually ate the substitute baby.

See, as a joke when I set up the carseat in Carol’s car I went through the trouble of strapping in a bag of flour. I figure, hey, we’ll have that there until the real baby shows up and then maybe we’ll bake some bread. Well, last week Carol decided to take Fredly to her parent’s house. He seemed to be well behaved, until she happened to glance in the back seat do discover that Oh My Gosh Fred Was Eating the Baby!

Fred With Flour on his Face

Does he look guilty to you?

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Kiki vs Zelda

Kiki met a new friend this past weekend. Brian and Meaghan’s new puppy Zelda came for a visit while the rest of us went over to Mike and Kim’s house for the party. As per standard protocol Kiki volunteered to be on the welcoming committee.

It started off a bit rough.

Img:  The Smackdown

Oh My Gosh!

It turns out Kiki doesn’t have front claws. What are you going to do, huh, Kiki? Are you planning on smothering her with your felty soft white paws? And, come on, you missed by like five feet! We know you’re not serious about it. If you were you’d be using your teeth and there would be blood.

Img:  It was just a spat

Notice Penelope and The Oblivious Lump outside.

So I guess they get along fine. It might not be as much fun as a all out brawl, but I guess this way I don’t have to try to get blood out of the carpet.

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The Shower

This past weekend our friends were kind enough to throw us a Baby Celebration. This was very similar to a Baby Shower, but didn’t have any silly games and was actually a lot of fun. It was really great to get all of our friends together for a party. It’s been far too long.

People gave us all sorts of wonderful gifts, a dragon’s hoard of toys for Tony, Son of Tony. A train set, building block, leggos, and plastic keychain shaped nylabones were among the favorites. There were also more practical gifts, which Tony, Son of Tony may not appreciate, but that Tony, Father of Tony, Son of Tony will defintely use.

Of course, then there were the other presents like the bottle of wine for Son of Tony’s 21st birthday and God of War. The wine I’ll be sure to keep stored for 21 years, but I don’t think God of War can wait until he’s old enough to play it. Maybe I’ll write more about that one once I’ve had some time to clock some real video game hours against it. Preliminary experiments indicate high levels of both violence and fun, so I’m looking forward to the Video Game Weekend coming up.

We got to play Kube. I don’t know if I spelled that correctly. It’s a Swedish lawn game. It involves throwing sticks to knock down wooden blocks. It really is a lot of fun. My team lost, but we put up a pretty good fight.

Thanks to Mike and Kim for throwing the party. I hope that Carol and I can return the favor sometime soon. Next year maybe? Eh?

Yeah, so I took a few pictures. I didn’t really get a shot of the whole crowd, but trust me, there were a lot of people there.

Img:  The Aftermath of Kube

Wrath of Kube

Img:  Lots of Loot


Img:  The Happy Couple

The Two Who Shall Soon Be Three

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The Best Beer I’ve Ever Brewed

That’s right, after mowing the lawn it was decided by a power much greater than my self that it is time to partake in the first batch of Eichenlager. I have to say, I’m very pleased with the results. The brew is flavorful and smooth, but not terribly heavy. It doesn’t have the bitter beeryness that many beers have. Overall I’d have to rank this right up there with my top ten beers of all time. It’s too bad there is a limited supply.

This beer was pretty much your standard European style lager. It also happens to be the beer that one makes after purchasing a home brew kit from Von Klopp’s Brew Shop.

Here are my notes:

1 can Laaglander Dutch Light Lager liquid malt extract
2 1# bags Munton’s extra light dry malt extract (DME)
1 7-gram packet Irish Moss
1 7-gram packet dry yeast (comes with the can of liquid malt extract)

I used tap water for this batch. I don’t notice any problem with the flavor, but in the future I would like to use bottled water from the grocery store. That will let me cool down the extra water before mixing with the boiling wort. This means less time waiting for the mixture to reach 90 degrees, and therefore a smaller chance of contamination. (it has to be 90 degrees before you add the yeast or your yeast dies a horrible death)