Saturday, July 27, 2013

Head high by the end of July...

My sweet corn was knee high at the 4th of July and now July is almost over and the sweet corn is "Head high at the end of July."  I'm beginning to feel like a real farmer.  As long as the raccoons  or deer don't ravage the garden, I should be good to go. 

I'm pretty happy with my vegetable garden.  The green peppers are doing great. I even used some to make stuffed peppers today. I will post the recipe later.  The jalapeƱo peppers are flowering like crazy. Jalapeno poppers here I come. My tomatoes have a lot of  green tomatoes.  My chamomile and scarlet runner beans are looking good. The Rattlesnake beans are also getting close to being ready. I am happy with the Rattlesnake beans, but disappointed with the Dakota Peas.  They didn't produce many peas. 

The lettuce is done.  I pulled that out and planted beets and they look great.  The chipmunks added some color and I have sunflowers growing throughout the garden.  The little buggers were pretty smart, because the sunflowers were a great addition.  

Next year I will pair up the sunflowers sweet corn and beans. The pumpkins attacked my asparagus and knocked some wheels off of my fence.  Pumpkins are very aggressive and I'm finding that they don't take direction well. 

We have had one of the greatest July's I can remember.  Every night we get a good solid rain and the days don't get super hot.  I was a little skeptical about adding outdoor beds, but now I'm hooked.  I am a little worried about the cucumbers, because they ended up getting shaded by the beans, sweet corn, and wayward sunflowers.

 That is how my garden is growing.  I am wondering how everyone else's vegetable gardens are doing.  What are some of your strong producers and disappointments? 
 from the farm


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

the very thought of it drives me mad...

"If one could only catch that true color of nature - the very thought of it drives me mad." ~Andrew Wyeth

I don't normally start with quotes, but this quote has been running through my head a lot lately.  I can feel Andrew Wyeth's pain.  My rose bed is brilliant, but I cannot capture the colors in photos.  I can only share my feeble attempts.


Please notice my planting partner posing in the background of the last photo.   I did my best to share the myriad of color combinations in the rose bed.   Still the thought of it drives me mad. 

Gene I hoped you enjoyed the post.  Sorry I kept you waiting:)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The pot of gold...

I love our cabin in the woods.  It is here that I am happiest.  We always have projects and the porch is a place of peace.  It is worth more than a pot of gold.
I have to share my excitement for the week.  I have admired this brilliant orange rose that grows in one of the most beautiful gardens in Deadwood. Every year I make it a point to drive by when it is blooming.  This year I gathered my courage and stopped at the little home and asked the lady for a slip of this fabulous rose.  It was so fun.  She has a yard the size of a postage stamp, but it is filled with flowers.  We talked gardening.  She was proud of her very vivid orange rose.  She said it was called an Austrian Rose.  She got it for $2 on clearance.  It was almost dead and only had one green leaf.  I cannot describe how full and beautiful this  $2 clearance rose now looks.  She cut me a few slips and said that if they didn't take that I was to be sure and stop by so we would try again.  In my excitement and her pride in showing her garden, we didn't make proper introductions.  I finally stopped talking flowers and introduced myself.  She gave a little grin and introduced herself as... Rose.  How fitting.  Some things were just meant to be.
I promptly took the rose home and grabbed my Trowel and Error book by Sharon Lovejoy.  She recommended boiling willow branches and leaves in water and using the water as a rooting hormone.  I let the three slips of roses Rose gave me soak in the willow water for several hours.  Then I planted two in the greenhouse and one in the veggie garden.   I will keep you posted on the progress.                                                I also want to share my attempts at garden art.  When I was back home I found two pieces of driftwood along the river.  I finally figured out where to use them.  I put them in this planter and added the wind chimes from the greenhouse.  I am very happy with my artistic results.
That sums up my excitement for the week.  We have had several wonderful showers (thus the rainbow).  The gardens are looking quite dapper.  This year I would dub my gardens as mature.  This is a term I got from Buttons, when she talked of a mature farm.  The nice thing about a mature garden is you get to sit on the porch and enjoy it.  I hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend.   

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Spa day...

When I was a teenager, Dad would wake us kids at 4 am (it seemed like that's what time it was) and drop us off  in the corn field to pull velvet leaf.  He would leave us with... "One plant produces a hundred seeds."  Around eleven, when it started to get hot, he would come get us.  I always grumbled that if I ever had kids I would never do that to them.  Well, now I'm older and I wish I had kids, because they would be pulling weeds and I would tell them 'it builds character.'  Instead, I still spend my summers plucking weeds out one by one and wondering how many millions of plants there would be if it wasn't for my endeavors.  I have been very busy this summer, where it seems the thistle is especially prolific.  I have a one two punch plan.  First I will pull them all, then when they start to reappear, I will nail them with weed killer.   I've tried one or the other in the past, but this year it is both.
 After all these days pulling weeds and nights drinking wine on the porch going through Pinterest, I decided to have a spa day.  I have always been too cheap to buy beauty products, but I'm getting older and starting to look it.  I decided to give this homemade beauty stuff a try.  Rule number one, if I didn't have it I wasn't going to buy it.  Well, wow.  It is amazing what you can make with stuff in your kitchen.  I made two different types of face cleansing masks, a honey/olive oil hair conditioner, lemon sugar body scrub, a lemon face toner (No idea what that does, but is smells good), and a lemon/chamomile hair spray conditioner.  If you look closely I also made a rhubarb sauce, but that is for eating.  I also didn't find that on Pinterest, I just made it up.  I will post all of these recipes on a new recipes page, once I figure out how to do that.  I did use everything I made.  Probably wasn't meant to be used all at once, but after all it was Spa Day.  I came out smelling like honey, lemons, and olive oil.
I didn't just stop at making food and spa stuff.  I also got crafty and used dowels, earrings, and beads to make hair holders.  My brother made me several leather hair holders, but didn't include the sticks.  I was using cinnamon sticks, because they smelled so good.  Problem is they often break.  After pondering how to improve this dilemma (In the hot sun, while pulling weeds), I bought a dowel and cut it to length.  Then I sharpened one end with sandpaper.   I pushed earring posts in the other end.  I even used a few beads I had lying around.  When I was happy with the combination I stained the sticks and glued the earring in.  I liked them so much I made a pair of hair sticks.  I left them rough, to hold my fine hair.  They also work great. 
       Oh, did I mention I made homemade ice cream and apple pie?  I mean if you are going to spoil yourself let's do it right.  I also found out the rhubarb sauce tastes wonderful on ice cream and in lemonade.  To heck with spa day let's make it a week and forget about pulling weeds.  Oh, that's right, "One weed produces a hundred seeds."  Well, at least now while out there in the hot sun, my skin is soft.  My hair is fixed perfect and have a full belly.  Look out weeds here I come.    

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Knee high by the Fourth of July...

It is the 4th of July and my corn is knee high.  The vegetable garden is doing splendidly.  Despite several hail storms, my sweet corn, beans, peas, lemon cucumbers, giant pumpkins, herbs, melons, lettuce, garlic, onions, and spinach are growing by leaps and bounds.  I am working on the gap in my fencing.  The wheels are just what I was looking for.  I will continue to add to the fence as I acquire materials

The greenhouse seems strange without pumpkins climbing up the sides and out the window.  I decided to ban them to the outside this year, and put my peppers and tomatoes in the ground.   I planted lettuce and spinach 3 times thinking it wasn't coming up.  Then it all came up.  We are eating lots of salads.  Ella sits by the door while I'm in the greenhouse, waiting for a few token leaves of lettuce.  Silly dog.
My washtub holds its traditional chamomile, but this year I added scarlet runner beans and some sunflowers.   I must say I love my little washtub.  I tried something new with my attempts to grow potatoes.  I saw on Pinterest where you take a wire cage, surround the inside with straw, and inside of that compost.  As it is being layered, potatoes are added.  They grow all summer and when you are ready to harvest you just lift up the cage and to potatoes fall out.  We will see how that goes.
 I planted pumpkins and zinnias in the water tank.  My raspberries and grapes are looking great.  My strawberries left a lot to be desired.  Overall, I'd say this years garden is going to keep me busy with produce in another month.  How does your garden grow?  Happy Fourth of July.
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