Ask almost anybody who lives here and they will tell you.  Atlanta is awesome.  It is great place to be single or to raise a family.  You can live on a farm or have an exciting city life.  You can go shopping for anything, cheer on all kinds of teams at sporting events, and indulge in every kind of music, arts and theatre.  There are great public schools.  There are great private schools.  There are beautiful mountains, lakes and parks for almost every type of recreation.  And even in cities with huge populations, there are neighborhoods that provide a very strong sense of community (Go Crocs!).

It may be sMARTA, but it is scary as hell to ride at night.

But ask those same people and they will also tell you.  There are two main things that suck about Atlanta… traffic and the summer heat.  Traffic is inevitable because, “If you build it, they will come.”  Word is out that this place is great.  So plan accordingly and allow extra time to get places.  If you want less traffic then go live in South Dakota.  Or take MARTA (Sheepdog does).  But the heat?  Good Lord.  Some days I don’t want to leave my air-conditioned house.  And when I do it is only to spend the day at the pool.  It’s a good thing I don’t have a real job.

It is only the beginning of June and it is already stupid hot here in Atlanta.  We have had temperatures in the high nineties, and even into the triple digits, for a week now.  I am used to cross-winds and ocean breezes, so I have had a really hard time adjusting to summer weather in the South.  Even after almost ten years of living in Atlanta, I still pack up the family every summer and we head out of Dodge to somewhere that has air that moves.

The worst was a few years ago when we had the standard Summer Sauna Experience, but in addition we had state-wide water restrictions.  There was no new rain for weeks.  Under penalty of death you couldn’t water your grass or plants, wash your car, or hook up a Slip-N-Slide.  Conveniently, just before news of the drought broke we had just done some landscaping and wished to water the new plants.  I had to take a test online (similar to the S.A.T.s) and apply for a permit and make a deal with the devil in order to give each new shrub three droppers-full of water between 5 and 5:15 a.m. on the third Thursday after each new moon.

So, even though it is crazy hot here in Atlanta already, there is so much to do, both inside and out.  There are no water restrictions, so the swimming pools are full.  The lawns and plants are green and people are firing up their grills and Green Eggs.  Summer is here in Hotlanta, so let’s all take a turn on the Slip-N-Slide.

Have a great day!

Gardening Highs and Lows

Apparently my food gardening thumb is anything but green.  I have tried over the years to grow vegetables in a garden.  I mean, I grew up in the freakin’ Garden State.  I love fresh vegetables.  In our first house here in Atlanta, Sheepdog built me a beautiful raised garden bed that was twelve feet by twelve feet and I did acidity tests on the weird red clay dirt and I read all the way through Walter Reeves’ Guide to Gardening in Georgia and I tried to grow lettuce and carrots and cucumbers and zucchini and green beans and tomatoes.  I made pretty rows with labels and I talked to the seedlings and I watered them and I loved them.  Nothing but the beans survived.  But I had ginormous green beans out the wazoo, even after giving bags upon bags to neighbors.  So I froze them and we had beans every night for about a year.  Now I hate green beans.

A couple of years ago I tried to grow a deck garden with planters at the house we live in now but I wasn’t so successful.  Apparently this house is an anomaly that always faces the high-noon, hot sun on all four sides for more than six hours a day.   I think it rotates or something, on all three axises.  Whatever the cause, I can’t grow a food garden because everything gets fried in this hideous Hotlanta summer heat, and shade does not even matter because even on cloudy days you step outside even at eight in the morning and you can watch as living things just spontaneously combust around you.  We must live less than a mile from the sun.

The thing on the left needs a little more of the thing on the right

It actually is more efficient to grow and cook your peppers at the same time

Nevertheless, as is the case in most areas of my life, I follow the rules of insanity (doing the same things over and over again, while expecting a different outcome each time).  Except that I always tweak the plan so that this time I will get it right.  And this year I will beat the heat and find a spot that will allow them to thrive!  So today I will head out to a local garden center and pick up some plants and seedlings and I will plant them and talk to them and water them and love them.  I will enjoy working the soil with my hands and adding just the right amount of nutrients and tenderly repotting the tiny little plants one at a time and lovingly making each one a label that indicates my hopes for what they will be when they grow up.

And one day very soon I will step outside and see that my beautiful and lovingly cared for little deck garden has been completely fried like a drive-thru order at Popeye’s.  And I’ll have to once again go to the grocery store to get my lettuce and cucumbers and peppers and tomatoes.  And I’ll vow to try again next year, finally with just the right changes that will result in bountiful produce from our backyard.  And when you find a bag of ginormous green beans on your doorstep, you will know that I have finally succeeded.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…