Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fenced in.

Ta Da!

The fence man and I talked about the side I share with the neighbors and when we talked he was just going to nail up the existing fencing. It turns out, that really offended his sense of aesthetics, but, in return for not exactly following my specifications for the job, he hauled away the rest of the shed. Good exchange. I can't believe how big my yard looks now, its vast!

From the back.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watermelons and pumpkins!

Big News!

What do you not see? Yup! The tree is gone! They came and they took it away!  The first thing I did was call my Fence Man and tell him the good news. He's coming tomorrow! I did tell him to not step on my watermelons, but I bet he will, I hope he doesn't. It might be not all that bad because there are no baby melons where he could hurt them. I should consider myself lucky that the crane that spent the day in my yard didn't destroy anything I couldn't fix. I really wish I could have been there to watch it though. Upside? tree is gone.

I  decided I wanted to spend more time bragging on my garden.  Yesterday we concentrated on the backyard and today we're going to be in both yards. Yay!

First up, the younger watermelon

The picture quality is not great but,  this is what it looks like, its about the size of the top  half of my thumb. There are three even younger melons in various stages of development but they are so small and so young that they could still go either way. The melon I went all melon husbandry in the satellite garden on has run away from home, I really offended it or it got eaten. It in any case, its not there anymore. Sigh.

Still growing, not quite as lushly as it was, but still doing its thing. Every time I find a new female bloom it either disappears or dies on the vine. I don't know if its because I used whole pumpkins as starts or if my shite soil isn't doing to job or I am hosting nasty beasties that are doing their jobs. Bastards. Next year I start with seeds.

But, it is still growing, for instance

It has grown up into my shrubbery. Now I can't trim it back because I might cut the vine back. If I get a pumpkin up there - because I can't get to it, that seems to be the only way anything will grow for me, is to grow in such away I can't mess with them, I will be most thrilled. I think it might be really safe up there too and not just from me.

The porch is still perking along, my morning glories are still very glorious in the morning. I am very excited that my non-flowering plants are just as pretty as my flowering plants.  So far so good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garden Update 19 2011

Oh, oh, oh, oh!

I knew there was a reason I insisted on caging those peppers! They needed to be caged so they could support the weight of the tree branch that was going to fall on them later in the season. There was method to my madness. Fortunately there was no real damage to the plants other than  the bruise the satellite watermelon plant  got when I removed the tree branch and didn't move it far enough over. I wasn't thinking.

On to the update:

The tomatoes are doing well. The variety that seems the most bothered by blossom end rot is still really bothered by it, but not all the fruits are in the same condition. I started to water more so I am hopeing that the condition will resolve itself soon. On the upside the other varieties haven't been touched by it so there is hope and if a variety have to be the sacrificial lambs, well I don't really like tomatoes anyway and there is only so much sauce I can store.

I volunteer to store as many watermelons as want to grow! Baby watermelon is now about the size of a small kiddie soccer ball. There is another baby I just found and I have practiced watermelon husbandry on two others, results yet unknown.

This is the watermelon in the satellite bed. It is doing phenomenally well and hosts one of my husbandry experiments. I did bruise the tips of this taking out the limb - doing so, to my horror, I squished a fetal melon.

The peppers, thankfully, do not need me to pretend I am a horticultural fertility doctor.

I think three of the peppers haven't started yet, but they are all trying. I blame shade thrown by the toms and the trellis. Speaking of the trellis...

 The green bean vines have become so heavy that they were slowing pulling the trellis over. The wires are not my favorite solution - that would involve something that does not get in my way when I am watering or patrolling for baby melons. I can deal with the inconvenience if they keep the trellis upright.

Look! baby green beans! Finally!

 Much more advanced bush beans in the front. I ate a handful of these with dinner the other night.

The green bean tee-pee is still perking along. No blooms as yet.

I pulled the potaotos earlier than I had planned but as it turned out I should have taken them out earlier. In the first batch I had only one spud that was eaten and or rotted, in this batch I found five good sized spuds that were hollowed out and wet. I had the smallest spuds  steamed with dinner the other night and they were heavenly. The tomaotoes are going to be lovely in my future sauce.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shedding the shed.

I spent this weekend watching my Dad  take down my shed. I gave the dog a bath.

It didn't look like it was going to be a big job. It gave the impression that it was only standing out of habit and because the spider crickets had it too scared to do otherwise. It looked thoroughly rotted, rusted and on the way out. It looks all innocent and helpless. It lies.

It also lied about being a sad little wood shed. That was a clever disguise, it was at the same time a sad little metal shed. Not only was it double-knit, it had a skeleton of 2x4s. It was built like a Transformer. In its time off it fought crime and prevented alien invasion. If the tree had fallen on this house, the tree would have lost. It only appeared to be rotted and dangerous. It was dangerous all right, to Martians

Could still stand a hurricane. Ridiculously over-built, I could have used it as a storm shelter, it may have been a DIY bomb shelter.

 Not going to go down without a fight.

 Down to the ground. The tornado didn't know what it was up against.
 Yard without shed
 Ready for  the brand new tenant. The pretty, pretty new tenant.(Coming Soon!)

The shed killer. Thanks Dad!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Cat Blogging

Clean Sweep

I was on my way to work yesterday and I noticed that one of the houses on Hargett had been town down. That seems like a very extreme reno. I mean a gut job, fine, but to tear the whole damn thing down? That takes balls. And probably a crane and if it could be a block away why couldn't it be next door? Gawd! Today I took Dogger on a walk down the street to see which house it was.

Was it the house with the jacked up awning? or the bad roof? or the one still with a tree on it? the one that looks abandoned? the one with the really bad roof, the one with the four trees down in the back yard, the one that has no yard and sits in the middle of a mud lot. They get mid six figures along here? How?

Turns out it was the one next to the house with the yellow door. I think it might have been the one that had a couple of concrete planters. I thought it was the one that looks just awful but that one is till there. I still can't remember what it looked like and I walked or drove past it every day for years.

It might have been the pretty one.

The remains say it was not a big house, really small actually, so it might not be the one I thought was pretty. It seemed larger and I'm pretty sure it had more of a lawn. This one doesn't have much up front at all. I've noticed the yellow door house since they painted the door yellow. The down house wasn't yellow enough or close enough to the street to catch my attention. Pity. Should have painted the door violet and I would know which one it was right off and not have to do all this thinking about it.

It did make me really look at the houses along there though.  They look rough, I thought they had pretty uniformly been flipped into new hands but when you really look, the street, while a lot nicer than it was, is still not a garden spot. In its defence, it was a lot more pre- garden spotish  before a tornado tore it all up and set it back a few years. It will get back to where it was, perhaps some enterprising  flipper will pick up a couple of the properties for a song due to storm damage and tidy the place up again. Plant some new trees, lay down new sidewalk

 I'm not sure if they looked that bad before the storm or I'm assigning blame to the storm for damage that was all ready there and it makes me wonder how they are getting the prices they do along there.

Ta da! It was the one with the jacked up awning! I knew it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Little, furry, hungry...

My inner forest creature got a bit snappish after dinner and was not pleased to discover that the only dessert food in the house was a blue ice. I offered the creature some nice dry pasta to munch on but its response was to look hungrily at my hardwoods and I decided it was time to give what it wanted.

It goes without saying that I would have rather taken care of my inner forest creatures' needs at a farmers market but it was after business and normally, Farmer Brown does not take plastic or work after 5pm - Farmer Browns loss is Farmer Inc 's  gain. Farmer Inc had a wretched collection of wretched peaches, it made my forest creature very sad.  Farmer Brown won that round. It was then on to the berries. Poor Farmer Brown!

And  as it turned out, Farmer Inc's wanted me to buy a lot more blueberries and raspberries, for a lot less than Farmer Brown would charge me for a lot fewer berries. I mean, I can't grow  3-$5 raspberries! And I would have to pick my own blueberries to get a deal like I got. Now, true, some of the raspberries are a little fuzzy but gee whiz, 3 for $5? I can forage.

The blueberries are fabulous! perhaps also not fresh off the plant, but a forest creature on a budget, can deal with a speeded up meal schedule. I did have to hit two different Kroger's to get my raspberries but 3 for $5 I'll drive a little. It did learn that if  my inner forest creature wants cheap if not so fresh fruit I should try my Kroger first before I go to the nicer Kroger. The 3 for $5 raspberries at the "nice" Kroger were sold out, while at my less nice Kroger they were going begging.

My inner forest creature is gorging itself. It should feel very bad for this, gorging is wrong but gorging on blueberries and raspberries just feels so right. Can you get too many antioxidants? I'm getting a little bit of what I think is an anti-oxident buzz.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Code Orange

Sometimes a five mile peddle is a very long trip. I was dripping sweat in my air conditioned house. Gross. Also? I now know what our Forrest dwelling friends eat all the time : Fruits and berries are not filling. You have to eat a lot to be full and then an hour later you need to eat a lot more.As much as I like being healthy, things that are bad for you are a lot more filling.

Normally, when the inside of the house gets too warm I could go outside to remind myself that it really isn't as bad as I think it is, eighty degrees is a lot less that whatever it is outside. Sometimes its nicer outside, especially if you don't move around a whole lot and even if its beastly hot, there is a breeze, something to make the heat a little more bearable. Also after a little bit of time outside, the inside seems much less hot. Today I am not going outside more than I have to for any longer than necessary.

Its not raining. Its not too windy. Its not the heat its the smoke. Dare County is on fire and the smoke is here. Its giving everything a mucky, yellow tint and it smells like a burnt out emergency break. Nummy.

Dogger does not understand why we aren't walking. I've tried to explain to her that Mommy doesn't care to taste burnt emergency break and that she doubts its good for either of them to be inhaling the nasty stuff more than we have to. I have taken Dogger out, but quickly.  I don't think she's taken a dump in her own backyard for three years.

I saw the smoke at lunch but I didn't know what it was. I should have recognized it, Mexico was on fire several years ago and in Dallas we smelled and saw the smoke. It was like a thin, yellow, gassy fog. Very unattractive and it made driving a hazard. I think we were advised to stay inside. Here we have an Orange Air Quality Alert. I don't know what that means. The air smells funny and there is this tinge of yellow but its not like it was in Dallas. It isn't fog, but it isn't nice either.

 My elderly neighbor was outside trimming his hedges while I scurried in and out holding my breath, he was there for at least an hour!  Breathing! He didn't seem to notice at all that the air was, you know, touching him in a really unhealthy manor but I guess he hasn't gotten as elderly as he has by getting upset by poor air quality or touchy-feely breezes. Maybe he likes tasting the air. He's old, he didn't get that way on accident, I should go outside and breath deep.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Munch, munch.

I've eaten so many blueberries, raspberries, peaches and apples of the last few weeks I could be a small woodland animal - a small woodland animal with access to  boneless skinless chicken breasts and store bought crab cakes, but still I'm pretty sure my ears are getting pointy and my eyes are shifting to the sides of my head.

Speaking of the diets of small woodland animals, I took a test poke into the remaining potato barrel and came up with a nice, albeit small spud. I have no idea if this is representative of all of whats there or if its just a baby. I did find it not to far from the top of the barrel and I read somewhere that that is where the younger spuds hang out. Maybe if I had dug further I would have come up with a monster. Or not. I'm not going to harvest these until at the very least, the end of the month or when the greenery finally gives up the ghost. Its still more green than yellow and it persists with the new growth. I have stopped watering it in hopes that it will take the hint and die all ready.  They were getting a little more dead every day but then it rained the other night and now they are looking all perky again.

The potaotos are just lucky that I have moved on to more sexy vegetables and spend less time with them. I was spending a lot of time with them. I was and am a helicopter farmer. I am being a huge pain the ass to the watermelons -  After I pour gallons and gallons of water over them I muck through the puddles looking under leaves and messing with suckers and molesting vines around and questioning buds sexual orientation.

I'm begin to wonder if I shouldn't be hand fertilizing the female blooms I find. There have been a a number of unfertilized blooms and every  little shriveled one of them has made me sad. I'm not sure that I wouldn't look sad tippy toeing around the garden with a tiny brush like some sort of horticultural fertility doctor. I'm not sure if the male flowers even want to become fathers and I am too scared to get into the whole conversation with the female blooms, fearing that I'll come off like some fascist right-to-lifer trying to  force them  to adopt my lifestyle over their wants and needs. I am  over thinking this.

I don't have any such fears though with the pumpkins. I am totally going to force parenthood on the pumpkins. I don't care about  their future dreams and goals, how they feel about  having children, their views on pumpkin over population -  I want pumpkins. Damn it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden Update 19 2011

A little maintenance and our first fatality.

I decided that since the watermelon vine had decided to squat in the yard and since they hadn't been destroyed by the same bugs that  tried to kill everything in the satellite garden that I would just let it happen and hope for the best.

"Hope for the best" does not mean "let it be".

Clearly its not as tidy as the main garden, but I intentionally did not put the garden in the middle of the tree. Man plans, God laughs. I didn't have any more weed barrier so I had to go shopping for new. I was at Lowes and thought I would kill two birds with one stone and just pick up some from them. "Them" has a lot of nerve! $12-$43  for weed barrier?! I'm glad lawn services feel comfortable wasting their clients cash that way. I don't need it to "last for years", I need it to last the season, and for $5, Poverty Barn was there. I am envisioning that I am going to need to add on as time goes on. Who knew three plants was going to be this much?  They looked so sad and lonely and not a little waste of valuable garden space when I just planted them. How things change.

While we are talking about the watermelons:

 Then. about the size of a plum

Now, about the size of a softball

I had no idea it had grown that much. Now, if it would just keep growing and if the other beadmelons would grow as well...

Speaking of new growth:

My pumpkins are bi-sexual! A female bloom formed!, now she is very young and she could still die on the vine, as I discovered one of her sisters did, but,  she is a start.

Speaking of starts:

One of the front peppers finally started to produce! Its one that lives with the tomatoes - never again, by the way, the other peppers, away from the toms are doing fabulously well and have been . Next year, I will know better.

 Just a sample of the average growth in the tomaoto bed. Still growing, getting there but not ripe yet.

Not ideal, but getting riper. The blossom end rot can be cut off and not hurt the rest of the fruit after its harvested. These are all going for sauce anyway, their looks won't matter.

I had no idea this one was this far along or I would have harvested it earlier. I didn't know it was damaged. I think this will be The Problem of the season, too many plants too close together and a general lack of attention to detail on my part. This shouldn't have happened. In the future I will pay more attention to all the plants, not just the sexy ones.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rest in peace

My Uncle Artie died this evening. Pour one out for Artie, he lived a looonnnggg time, worked hard, played hard, served well, loved and was loved. 1913-2011.


I was all about the potatoes, but now I've moved on. I'll go  back with them when I harvest the last batch, I know I'll be excited about them again but I've moved on.

Why? Because I can see the watermelons.

A growth chart of watermelon babies

 Flower and ovary

 a fetal melon

 first trimester?

I've learned that its important to water these guys a lot more than when they are just greenery so I'm watering the bejesus out of the plants. I wish there was some sort of chart to tell you how much you're supposed to water them because "bejesus" is hardly an exact measurement and it might not be very much, its a lot more than it was before, but it might not be enough.

They get the soaker hose every day like before but now I hit them with two big full water cans first thing AM and then again after work before I even go in the house and than again in the mid-evening. What if I'm watering too much? everything says "water more" but more than what? I mean I could be drowning the plants!

I sit at my desk and think about the biggest watermelon baby. I wonder how its doing, I wonder if its God forbid, getting eaten and by whom, if it needs me, if its going to be larger when I get home or if its going to just die for no reason and then I'll cry. There is the problem, I've never raised melons before and it important that I have more than just the one because its going to get all only-child syndrome and its going to to be way too important to me. I don't want it to wilt under the weight of my expectations. It needs siblings.

The third plant in the satellite garden is finally growing and spreading. I'm happy with its progress and now that its showing healthy growth, I have some real hope for it producing.

Speaking of producing. The pumpkins are still not making any babies for me, its also not making any female blooms and without female blooms there are no baby pumpkins. I'm pretty sure my plants might be gay. Which is cool, you know, all "born that way" and everything. but, damn, as much as I like the pretty blooms its making, I would really like to see some pumpkins and for that, I need the plants to at least to lay back and think of England and get the job done.