Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wrap Your Head with Duct Tape

From the Washington Post

"He talked for a few more minutes beyond that, and he got, I'd say, increasingly hostile. And then he left, and I was still out here on this deck, where I'm sitting right now, when they took that picture for Facebook."

After Sarah Palin posted that photo Tuesday and wrote about McGinniss, radio host Mark Levin gave out the author's e-mail address and McGinniss got 5,000 messages in four hours, eventually shutting down the account. Wasilla police and state troopers are keeping a watchful eye on the place.

"The mayor said to me, when I chatted with him in his office a couple of days ago," McGinniss said. " 'You know, if Sarah had the brains that we like to think she has, Todd would have come back and said, do you know who's living next door? This son of a bitch McGinniss who wrote that Portfolio piece. He's writing a book about you. Sarah should have baked a plate of cookies, and come around the fence, and said hi, and laughed about this.' I would have happily accepted a cookie, and then in my book I would have had a lovely scene about how gracious she had been." He sighed. "She is, in many ways, a very gracious person."

McGinniss said he was offended by the way Palin described his presence next door. Contrary to what Palin wrote on Facebook, he said, he can't see into the windows of the family's home, and he can't hear the Palins' conversations.

Palin intimated that McGinniss could watch the family when it went swimming, but he said that only the edge of their land near the lake was visible from his property. He said he was deeply offended by the implication, not thinly veiled in Palin's note and subsequent interview with Beck, that he would be peering in on the children.

"These little kids, I couldn't care less about them," McGinniss said. "I have my own kids and grandkids to care about."

McGinniss added that he had been a responsible neighbor, shooing off a pair of Minnesota tourists who stepped onto his property to take photos of the Palins' home.


"Look, this is a pain in the ass for them," he said. "I understand that. If I were her, I'd be upset. I'd be annoyed. But I'd be an adult about it, and I would figure out, okay, how can we resolve this in a way that's not going to make this into something that everybody gets obsessive about? By being here, I have learned things, and I've gotten an insight into her character, into her ability to incite hatred, that before I only knew about in the abstract."

If you don't know what this is in reference to, let me bring you up to speed. Joe McGuiness, journalist, has moved next door; not down the street from, or in the same village as but NEXT DOOR, to Sarah Palin in Wasilla Alaska for a 5 month lease. He is in the process of writing a book about Sarah Palin and decided that living NEXT DOOR was perfectly fine for him and why not? It's a free country.

There was no warning "shot across the bow" or heads-up or "by the way.....". There he is one fine spring day and Palin takes a photo of him on his back deck, presumably minding his own business (did I mention he moved in next door and was overlooking HER backyard?) and posted it on Facebook with a neighborly "hello!" Complete with a suggestion of bringing over a blueberry pie as a way of welcome.
Within hours, a very tall fence was erected by her husband and friends. Good fences make, well, less observant, if not better neighbors. And now, in less than a heartbeat, look who's the victim!

1 "He", Todd Palin, the husband, "...increasingly hostile. And then he left".
Well, I didn't see THAT coming! Did you? "He" LEFT! Shazaamm! Didn't throw a punch or anything all macho and redneck-like...... I'm stunned.

2. "...they took that picture for Facebook."
Mmmm, don't think so. "They" (Joke!- How many Palins does it take to hold a camera?) took a photo for evidence. They then posted it on Facebook to let the readers know what they know: a snooping journalist moved next door. One that has let anyone interested know he is writing an expose on his new neighbor. Pretty creepy, huh? How would YOU like that?

3. He in turn gets 5000 emails blasting him and ta-da! WE have the victim! HE was offended about the way SHE describes HIM! Well, I thought all was fair in love and war? It was going to be okay for HIM to write what he thought about her and sell it as a biography but she writes and offensive missive as an autobiography in real time and gives it away. I think I need to think about this........*

4. Now the MAYOR of Wasilla tells him, "If she only had a brain........" but that's heresay from a journalist and I thought they protect sources......... "... SHE would have baked him cookies...and had a laugh....." (hahahhaa! this is a hoot!) because either, a.) she has nothing better to do with her time and it's a neighborly thing for a WOMAN to do or b). she was better off being sweet to him (not to mention conniving) and he'd write nice things about her as well as whatever dirt would rake in the bigger haul.

BTW, don't you love this: "I would have happily accepted a cookie, and then in my book I would have had a lovely scene about how gracious she had been." He sighed. "She is, in many ways, a very gracious person." "

5. He was being neighborly when he shooed off tourists poaching on his prey. Good for him! and give him another cookie, dontcha know!

6. He freely admits he understands her frustrations and wouldn't be pleased himself if the tables were turned (in fact, he threatened a fellow journalist that he was calling the police to help protect him from a journalist who trespassed on his front door for an interview, Weird...... ironic even). He would even be annoyed! But he'd be an adult and try to resolve it amicably. Unlike I suppose building a really tall fence to block his view of NOT HIS portion of the lake, mind you, just THEIR backyard's view of said lake.

7. He didn't want this to escalate into something that "everybody " would get obsessive about. It's fine for HIM to obsess. You and me should butt out and buy the book if we want to read all about his experience delving into the"character" of Sarah Palin. I wonder if he has a minor in short-distance psychology......

8. After all, he learned about "her ability to incite hatred"; something he knew only peripherally "in the abstract" prior to moving next door and needing to be able to witness first-hand after inciting it himself.

Isn't this just amazing? I really feel so sorry for this man. I think I might have to bake him a plate of cookies....... There is MUCH more written in that David Weigel article but it is so much horse manure I really can't stomach it. Go read it yourself and boggle.

*thought about it some more.....I wonder if this is what peeved him off..... she wrote on Facebook:
".....including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered"

Ah.... "yellow journalist". Can you build a tall fence to shield that?

ONE MORE THING! Here we have a journalist (David Weigel-Washington Post) writing about the travails of a journalist (Joe McGuiness) trying to write a book about the life of a former journalist (Sarah Palin). This is just weird beyond words. Someone ought to write a book about it..........

Friday, May 28, 2010

Leslie Bom RW&B

After completing all 6 centers for that Block of the Month we started back in January, I decided as long as I had the red, white and blue fabric out, I might as well finish all the blocks for that quilt. So I got busy and knocked these 6 blocks out last week. I am not totally happy with the lot of them but I think the balance of red to blue is working.
There is ALWAYS room for improvement.

This one is effective but alittle heavy with the red. (TMWOT)

LOVED this one. Again, check out all the Y-seams. HELLO!

Mmmmmm. Ok. I guess

Again, Red heavy. What is UP with that?

Good balance but hard to grasp what it is. I think it's a flower.

Liked this on.......BLUEEEEEE! (note to self: should have put red cornerstones. Oh Well)

So now I have to decide whether to pull the quilt together and sash it or set it aside and work on the other 5 quilts. There will be 6 when the project is over and I would like to see them all together in one room and compare.

I am getting better at Y-seams. Not a professional but a competent.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Once Again, It Begins

A year ago, we closed on this house and drove over with our first load of stuff. We walked out back to see how the garden was growing. The previous owners had planted quite a lot and we saw immediately that potatoes needed digging. In rapid succession, the tomatoes, corn, okra, peppers and squash all ripened and it was a month of work canning, freezing, eating and giving vegetables away.

One year later, here we are again.

Zucs and crooks, the cherry tomatoes are SO sweet! Tomatillos and I have a recipe to share below. Our first cucmber at 3 o'clock and just above it is a mystery squash that volunteered over by the compost bins. (we have tomatoes and butternut squash growing there as well) It looks like a hybrid cross and I'll cut it open tonight to see what we shall see.

Green beans. Now we cut the crop in half from last year and I don't think I am being hasty in declaring that once more, they shall win the war. The stalks are massive and the flowers abundant. I fear we cannot keep pace with them. If they were all that were out there, perhaps we'd stand a chance.
Yesterday we had a terrific storm blow through and it knocked alot of the plants around so this morning I spend time repairing damage and cutting back the caged tomatoes. The ones out back are staked but the ones in the raised beds have cages and I really didn't space them far enough apart, I think. There are hundreds of tomatoes out there and the Cherry 100s have grown well over the tops of the cages and this what suffered the most in the storm. So I cut them back, plunked a few in the ground to see if they root themselves and tied up stems too heavy to support themselves. The romas are just starting to blush. I wonder how diff it is to make catsup.

And just to show that I am not all work and no fun, I also underwent a root canal yesterday.

Recipe: Pulled Pork with salsa

I was typing this recipe when i dawned on me that I already did this.
Look on the last post.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomatoes On The Rebound

Well, I didn't actually kill those plants after all. They still hold their fruit and we have now picked three of the first tomatoes of the year. Early Girls, just as I suspected. They were the first to set fruit and oh BOY are they delish. I am eager to try a Cherokee Purple and one of those Razzleberries, which BTW, are beautifully shaped tomatoes. From the photo in the catalog, I believe they will have a pinkish-rose blush color.

They squash is belching out everyday and I still dig around 4-6 potato plants in the evening when the weather is cooler. The Kentucky Wonders are now ready and I wish the rows were slightly farther apart. As it is, they are trying to create an arbor effect by growing up and over to the other fence. The Black-eyed Peas are getting tall and the butternut squash has totally stopped producing any more fruit so now we sit back and watch the nuts grow and thicken. I will do a count this morning. We have one raised bed filled with them as well but they don't produce nearly as many fruits as the two out back did.

The cantaloupe is flowering and vining and the corn is over six feet tall with the ears showing. And the jalapeno plants are loaded. All in all, I would say so far it's going to be a successful harvest

The tomatillos made a great pulled-pork recipe. Take a hunk of pork and sear it in a small amount of olive oil. Place in a deep casserole and cover with fresh tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic and pepper, I added jalapenos as well. Now slow cook it for hours (you can do this in crock-pot as well). I let the whole thing rest in the fridge for a day afterwards. Then popped it back in the oven to reheat thoroughly. Pull the pork and cover with the gravy. There's going to be a lot of that and I would say it tastes like a spicy spaghetti sauce. The pulled pork is terrific on corn tortillas but I could see it over polenta or plain rice as well. My cousin gave me the recipe.

Friday, May 21, 2010

BzzzzzBzzzzabzzzzz Youch!

I was being the bee yesterday and unBEEknownst to me, a bee was in one of the flowers when I pinched it off to pollinate with.

Not a good idea.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Middle of May

Here are a few shots of the garden areas to show how productive the crops are proving to be.
I never expected the tomatillos to grow so tall! and WIDE! I pulled a few fruit off and will make a salsa. The bed tot he right is loaded with Roma, Celebrity, Razzleberry and Cherokee Purple tomatoes and I didn't realize they should not be planted to close to the tomatillos. Oh well.....

Three shorts rows of Silver Queen corn. They are 4' tall and the tassels are blooming out.

Kentucky Wonder beans on 2 trellises and although there are lots of flowers, so far no beans to show. Bees yes. No beans.

OKAY now, Be the Bee is my mantra every morning... I buzz around looking for blossoms that need fertilizing because altought I see plenty of bee activity (and other crawlers) I choose to not trust them to do their jobs.

Here is a close up of both a male and female zucchini. The male is on the right. Click for a closer view, you'll see there is a BIG difference in the center area of the flower.

Here is a shot of what they look like emerging from the base of the plant itself. The female is the one on the bottom and the male right above. You should click on the photo to see a closeup. That way you can really distinguish the stems. The female stem, just below that flower, looks exactly like a zucchini. The other stem is much more slender.

I pinch off the MALE flower and remove the petals to expose the seed pollen better and gently brush the tip to the female.
That's it.
Now, there are lots of times you will see only males. Other times, only females. That is frustrating, but I think nature's way for controlling what she can support.

For example, for two weeks now I have been pollinating two butternut squash plants out back and I must have around 2 dozen squashes growing on the 2 vines.
This morning, I went out there to Be the Bee and found around 10 male flowers in full bloom and not a single female. I think the vines have decided they can support the fruit that's out there and no more and won't allow the females to produce the flower. There are plenty of tiny tiny butternut squashes but they have no flowers attached. No flower= no pollination and the fruit will simply drop off. Now if you happen to get only females (this happens A LOT in the beginning of the season I have found) and no males to fertile with, they too will grow slightly and then shrivel up and fall off the vine.


First Haul of the Season

Here we have 3 potato plants-worth of spuds, an hour of blackberry pickings and the first squash of the year (they were delish!)
Not a bad start.

This afternoon I will start really pulling potatoes (I think) after I pickle and can the beets and make the blackberry jelly.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Grew Shallots!

and you can too!

So here is the down-low on the shallots. I understand they are in the onion family and are slow to grow and taste like a cross between a garlic and an onion and are fairly pricey at the grocery store. WHY is now the mystery.

I planted 6 shallot bulbs back in September, I think. Definitely in the fall and before it got cool. So September sounds about right. And they immediately started growing and dividing. I used the green leaves in salads instead of buying green pencil (scallions) at the store. In fact I bought seeds for those and planted them and am still eating on them.

(back to shallots) We watched them grow and as I didn't know anything more about them other the info above, I thought "look! they divided!. Let's dig it up and see the shallots!" and I did and they looked JUST like scallions! Well, that left me scratching my head, "huh?"

So I divided those out and replanted each onion (and they have NOT divided. They have merely grown, period.) We continued to eat the greens all winter and I cooked with them. They grew "hotter" as in spicy as they grew older and in the EARLY spring, they went to seed. They grew those large "sun" flowers I wrote about..... the bees loved them as much as I. However, when I tried to chop that stalk up to cook with, I found it to be woody and hard to chew so I worried that I had left them too long and ruined the whole crop. Oh well, the flowers were beautiful and the bees loved them. And I continued to use the leaves chopped up in salad until they eventually disappeared. (did I eat them ALL? hmmmmm that just occurred to me)

Last week I was ready to give them the old heave ho and dug up one huge bunch and started to break off the seed stalks to make them more manageable. I dug up another huge bunch and slowed down long enough to really look at the root area. What do you think I noticed? Shallots.

Here you can see the "suns" still attached

Just like in the grocery store, except still green and white in color, naturally. (a friend said onions are sold by the pound, shallots by the ounce! That's a pretty good summation!) So I dug all the bunches up and left them out in the sun to dry for the week and took in only that first bunch where the rootball was the only thing attached. This I took inside and cooked many dishes with and liked the result.

Today I see it is forecast to rain now for several days so I have separated the stalks from the suns and taken the shallot-end under the car-cover to dry out further and I have this to show:After drying in the sun for a week

A close-up of the "toe" attached to the stalk

And a whole plate of shallots for cooking

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Good Things

Yesterday was a repeat with pruning more dead and dying leaves off the tomato plants and I do see new growth appearing at the crown.

So I decided to go be productive in other areas. Like the sewing room. I had finished 5 of the center blocks of the Leslie BOM and chose the Red White and Blue fabric for the last one. Here are two that I have not yet posted. I like the one below!

This one is good too but I like the fussy-cut center of the other best. So as long as I was behind the sewing machine, I picked out the fabrics for the nesxt set of blocks and am working on making the second. I am happy to report I can sew a Y-seam with accuracy 87% of the time. I do my share of ripping stitches as well but not as often as I once did. LOOK at all of them in that block! When I asked for a challenging BOM, I sure didn't know I'd get this MANY. It's been a real treat.
I think next year I will devote to circles and get a good grip on them. Like New York Beauty.

I boiled down some blackberries John picked and made jam. Then in the late afternoon we slouched out to look at the corn. I saw the beginning of the seed tassels appear at the top of the stalks and wanted to show John. We noticed one potato plant looking yellow and said, let's dig! (hey, any excuse, right?) Here is John standing in front of one of his asparagus beds with our first bounty of red potatoes!!!!! 7 medium potatoes from one plant and I think, as that one was the last in a row, it didn't get as much water as perhaps the others have gotten. I hope the others produce more than 7 but even so! That is a meal for three people!

As I told John, I really needed to see that as I have been so down about the tomatoes. So far, on that score, I haven't seen any fruit drop off. I lost plenty of blooms and leaves, and stems are brown but so far only one plant looks like it is actually dying. Out of 28. Thank God I didn't go "save" the ones in the raised beds that day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A (much) Better Day

My rump hurts from all the kicking I've been giving it these past few days so I thought I'd give it a rest and do something that is both constructive AND make me feel better.

Like tackling the List-of-Things-to-Do-Around-the-House and Resolutions. Remember that one about baking bread at least once a month. So far I have held true to the pledge and I thought why not today?

I love the smell of dough with yeast. I was pondering making an herbal bread recipe when Rachel called to tell me she was making pistachio bread! Well, that did it. Here we are, two generations four states apart comparing recipes and expounding on the joy of kneading. I prefer to use my KitchenAid mixer but she's a massage therapist with strong arm muscles (and no mixer of her own) (yet), and did the old-fashion way.

My bread is cheddar sage bread recipe I got off of GardenWeb and changed a few things around.

Cheddar Sage Bread

1/2 tsp dry mustard
3 tbls fresh sage, minced
2 - 2 1/2 cups flour (I prefer bread flour, but all purpose will work just fine)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 cup milk
3 oz shredded sharp cheddar
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tbls sugar
1 tbls oil
1 egg
2 tbls butter (optional)

Dissolve mustard in 1 tsp. warm water. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup wheat flour with salt, pepper, and sage. Warm the milk.
In a large mixing bowl combine the milk, yeast, (I always proof yeast PRIOR to adding it*) sugar, and oil. Stir or process to combine. Add the egg and mix well. Add cheese. Add mustard and flour mixtures, adding more white flour as necessary so mixture forms a stiff dough and comes together in a ball.
Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary, about 10 minutes. (or use a mixer master)
Put dough in a lightly buttered bowl and turn to coat top. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch down, shape in a loaf, place on baking paper on cookie sheet (or in a form if you want a specific shape) let rise until doubled, another hour.
Heat oven to 375. (optional- Melt butter. Brush loaf with melted butter) and bake until loaf is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool on rack.
Oh heck, don't bother cooling it. Just slice in and try not to eat the whole loaf.

I started this morning off by marching my bruised rump down to the scene of the crime and pruning all the dead leaves away from the affected tomato plants. I just couldn't stand the reminders of my folly taunting me. They look better now. And at LEAST I didn't douse all of them with the spray to the point of no return. But SOME of them are dreadful. Ah me.

The chickens cheered me up. Rooster Stu may well have earned a stay of eviction. For now at least. I watered the raised beds well and came away with 4 tomatillos. I may have picked them a little too early but I'll leave them on the counter for a day or two and see if they ripen like a tomato. Anyone out there know something about tomatillos?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shallots ZOMGosh!

Okay, remember when I posted about trying to discern how to grow shallots etc? Remember how I wrote the ones I planted had divided and grown and had gone to seed and looked like suns on stalks? I learned THEN that allowing the seedstalk to grow on an onion was frowned upon because that would grow thru the center and basically ruin the onion altogether.

However.... it was too late for my shallots and so I just let the bees go nuts buzzing on the suns and I enjoyed looking at their happy faces when I was out there pottering around. Until this morning.

It's a splendid morning here in SE LA and I decided that today I would dig out old growth and get ready to plant sunflowers out there in the raised beds. So I tackled the broccoli first and moved over to the kale, leaving the shallots for last.

I broke off the stalks from the first bunch of four and dug the rootball up..... I looked at it and thought, huh...?! I dug the next bunch, leaving the suns on the stalks and the third and four...... That's interesting.... it looks like ...... are those shallot thumbs? I thought the seed stalk rendered the onion useless? So I pulled the three complete bunches over and have let them set out in the sun to cure a little and I rinsed off the first bunch to really look at it. It appears as though almost every sunstalk has a "toe' of shallot attached to it and I have rinsed them well and separated the stalk from the toe. I will try cooking with it tonight.

I very well may have accidentally learned how to grow shallots in the south.

Mother's Day Revisited

I had a very nice one actually. Aside for that one pesky issue of missing MY mother. Naturally.

I never put on anything more constricting than a pair of yoga pants and pottered around the garden, harvested and shelled peas, made indi pizzas for the three of us for dinner.

Kathryn came home with a beautiful orchid plant and Polo in the afternoon and we dug up one potato from each variety and the Adirondack blues are amazing in color. The first of the tomatillos are almost ready to pluck from the plant. I played the part of a bee and fertilized some butternuts. I see once again the squash are blooming either all male or all female....... silly plants. After work today I will drag out the end of the broccoli and kale.

So all of that is the good news. The sprayed plants are holding their own..... nothing is dead. Yet. They look grim. I might start cutting away the shriveled leaves because they make me unhappy to look at when I am down there. Some of the fruits look affected as well. I should clarify... some of the smaller ones. The large, and there are a lot of them, look okay so far and that gives me good hope, As we have had an extended cool period the fruits were really setting well on the vines and this spray really did a number on those very small fruits and flowers. But I see new growth appearing so I am hopeful.

As it was, we planted more plants than we really needed but it irks me to know that in an attempt to help the plants, I really did them a mischief. No one can kick me as hard as I am capable myself so please don't bother. i'll simply have to engrave this mistake in my ledger of thing to not repeat. Like planting in those Jiffy-pots and overwatering. remember the mold issue?

(If tomato plants could talk, I imagine those out there would be saying something like: "What is HER PROBLEM??????? Does she have it OUT for us????? First the uprooting. Then the mold! Then the uprooting and transplanting and now this!? Can't we catch a BREAK?")

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I go out there this morning and find that some of those plants I sprayed look dreadful...... the leaves and stems are browning..... I may well have damaged the tomatoes.

What a shame too. They were looking magnificent out there, filled with both blooms and small growing fruits.....

yea me! indeed. loser

Tomatoes and Surprises

Yesterday started out briskly and went by in a blinding speed..... and it all began in the back garden. I went down to give it some water as the Weather Channel informs us that we cannot expect rain for at least 6 more days....and as I stood there admiring all the shades of green and how splendidly the corn was reviving from the storm last Saturday, I realized the tomatoes were really going crazy and spreading outward from the stakes. And thereby shading the marigolds I planted between the tomatoes.....

Two weeks ago John bought a great product form those fine folks at Velcro: it's a green velcro tape on a roll and you cut the length you need and secure your tomato bushes. It's completely reusable and really not expensive but best of all, I am able to EASILY reposition it as the plant grows and add more pieces when necessary.

In the past I have cut up those white plastic grocery bags into 4 strips and simply knotted them but then I look at white strips all summer and have to cut them away when I compost the dead plants in the fall....... not exactly a grind or anything but this is pretty neat. As the Velcro is green it all blends nicely.

So I am out there making mental notes to bring more supplies down after I finish watering and I see APHIDS!!!! on several of the 29 tomato plants! Yikes...... what to do , what to do;?

I hightail over to the garden shed and drag out a bottle of concentrate and read, NOT FOR USE ON EDIBLE PLANTS>>>>> great, that one is for roses...... Drag out the LSU gardening bible : Malathion. Hmmmm I call Leslie, (I am gonna miss you my friend...... you have NO RIGHT leaving me NOW!!!!) and run it past her..... "Malathion? No I don't think I want to eat anything that has that on it.... try Sevin liquid first."

I go online and read the Sevin will not do a thing for aphids but I can wash them off with a stream of water and run the risk of beating up the plants...... OR make a solution of veg oil, dishwashing soap and water and spray it on to suffocate the suckers. I opt for that and head out there.....

Tie up the shoots and limbs, 3 at a time. Trim off the lower branches to allow more air down there (and water only the ground to keep the plants dry and away from acquiring mold) and them spray the entire plants with the solution top and under the leaves. Repeat. I do this for 2 1/2 hours until all 29 plants are uplifted, cheerful and slightly glossy due to the oil. I realize that the aphids had really only terrible attacked a few of them and laid eggs. They were making their way thru the whole patch when I spotted them so "yea me!" I go back to the first one I sprayed and not an aphid is moving but I do see ladybugs so I hope they are not affected by this. We have a healthy colony of them out there wandering around on the potato plants and I love to watch them (call me Karl Pilkington) HOWEVER, when I went back down there in the evening hours I saw that some of the leaves were turning an off color so I I wonder if the spray solution has suffocated the leaves as well....... I'll keep an eye on this report back.

Gardening is always a surprise...... as I moved thru the garden I passed the compost bins and found a lily had bloomed
And on the backside, I found a squash plant, what appears to be a cucumber (possibly or that scary nightmare that raced thru the back garden last year, and a few tomato volunteers had set up camp. I'll probably allow them to grow and see what we get. Why not? They want to live.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A HA!!!!

I work at a quilt shop and I love to quilt and I really like Eleanor Burns and her Quilt-in-a-Day series of instructions. She has this new one just out and I really look forward to making these blocks.... maybe a wall hanging. BUT and here's the fun thing.....

now I know what quilt block to paint on the chicken coop!!!!!!!! And I'm NOT TELLING!!!!!!!

hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

May? Again?

I have taken 3 shots of the "back" garden to show the progress. For the most part everything was planted approximately 6 weeks ago in three-ish sections.

The first is around 12' wide, 7 rows of new potatoes.
These are already setting flowers and I think we'll be digging them up in around 4 weeks time.

This section is roughly 12' wide and from front to back we have squash, butternut squash, cucumbers of a frame, bush beans which look dreadful, 2 rows of black-eyed peas, and 2 rows of Kentucky Wonders
The squash are either yellow crook necks or zucs; at this point in time I can't remember but it doesn't matter. It's one or the other. The butternuts are really growing and have started flowering but so far only the females have opened. Only one row of the black eyed peas are planted. I was spacing them 3 weeks apart to stagger the harvesting a bit. The Kentucky Wonders were planted at the same time and that might have been a mistake.

This section is roughly 20' wide and has one row of cantaloupes up front, 1 row of jalapenos and Carmen peppers, 1 row with 3 squash and 2 Celebrities, 1 row of Celebrity tomatoes, 1 row of Cherokee Purple tomatoes, 1 row of both Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes, 1 short framed row of luffa gourds and 3 wide rows of Silver Queen corn which got hammered by the storms yesterday and we need to go out and help by staking up, and then one short row of Baby Bear pumpkins in the back.

All of the tomatoes have fruit set and are thriving in this climate of late. So far no signs of bugs and I have not used the Seven dust as yet but I do have it handy and I think I will sprinkle a bit soon. We have been seeing lots of lady bugs over on the potatoes and I think that is supposed to be a good sign so I might try to hold off as long as possible and try to not use pesticides.
I planted marigolds between the tomatoes as well as companion plants.

Now this is NOT bragging, but rather marveling, when I write: To think with the one exception of the Carmen peppers, everything out there was planted by seeds and we didn't lose a single plant! I can't believe it!!!!!! Such a far cry from our old house with the limited sunlight that made growing veg a difficult proposition. It didn't STOP me, mind you but it certainly wasn't as, shall we say, rewarding? as this is turning out to be.

The raised bed enclosure is also doing quite well.
The tomatillos are what have shocked me so much, I have never grown this before or even seen what the plant looks like so color me surprised to see how LARGE the plants are and how PROLIFIC and abundant the output is going to be, provided they survive totally. I see no signs of otherwise but you never know......

Here's a short video showing the raised beds:

I have been harvesting the peas now for more than a week and there are 3 varieties. Again, I have gotten confused as to which are Sugar Snaps and Snowpeas and they are so similar it hardly matters. I find with one that if I allow it to grow to peas, the outer shell is woody and the pea sweet. In both cases, they taste great when picked small like chinese snowpeas. I wonder if Sugar Snaps is just a variety name for the snowpea. The English peas are marvelous!!!!!! The true peas-in-a-pod type and I am almost to the point where I can harvest enough for a meal. At this point I just stand out there and shell a few and eat them. I feed a few to the chickens as well. THEY LOVE THEM!!!!
We are at the tailend of the broccoli and kale and chard. The neon chards we planted a month ago are great and so pretty! The strawberries are actually producing but and speaking of chickens....

Those rascals are clever birds. I think they keep a close eye on us when we're out there and as soon as they see us head to the house, over they fly and start scratching and eating. So we have been hard at work devising ways to keep them inside the runs and NOT clip their wings but they outsmart us at every turn. We strung lines up around 4" above the fence and they use it as a springboard to leap higher as they escape the confines. They don't know what's coming next but I can tell you it will involve scissors!

Another thing: Okay we have 4 laying hens, 3 little biddies and 1 randy rooster. We HAD a roost with two rows on a ladder for them at night but and although they ALL fit on the top roost (and no one wants to be on the lower rung. go figure), they won't let the 3 little girls up there so they were ending up in the nest boxes at night. poor things. (half the time the three older hens won't let LB and Stu up there either.....meanies!)

So I asked John if he could come up with a better arrangement. He did:

Now the two roosts are at the same level and go around the corner and they STILL won't let the little girls up there. The 3 jerky hens take the one on the left and Rooster Stu and LB sit on the one to the right and the girls are still in the nest boxes. Not Fair!