Sunday, September 27, 2015

An apple a day or is it the early bird gets the worm...

For once my husband and I were patient.  We haven't picked our apples until this weekend.  We are down to one out of the two original Harrelson apple trees.  They were planted the first spring in our cabin.  They have made it through several major blizzards, but the mice girdled one two years ago.  She tried hard, but couldn't recover.  It was a sad day when we pulled her up.  The last one standing had a ton of apples this year.  We didn't even come close to picking them all.  We left the ones that were bruised by hail. 

As you can see below, this isn't our first rodeo.  We had apple peeling and cutting central set up.  We were a well oiled machine.  Kelly used the Lehman's apple peeler and I used the apple corer.  Within an hour we had 5 bags of apple pie filling, two bags of apple crisp, another in the oven, and two gallon jars of apple cider.  We still have a few apples left. 

That wasn't the end of the weekend projects.  My Hindu's Rope plant was in dire need of repotting.  She is 20 years old and beautiful.  I washed her off good and then went to work making a good potting mix.  My poor composting worms get neglected in the summer.  I tend to use the outdoor composting bin.    I drug the worm bin out and cleaned out all of the good compost in the bottom two rungs.  I took the top box and added apple peels, bananas, and some leaves from the outdoor bin.  Those little worms will be happy, as will my poor house plants.

Good compost and soon to be good compost.  Let those little worms go to work.
Well, my weekend flew by.  Sorry if this post is a little choppy.  There seems to have been some changes made to blogger and it is fight to get anything where I want it.  Oh well, what would life be without a little challenge. 

Have you picked your apples yet?  What do you do with them?  What type of composting do you do?  Worms? Compost Tumbler?  Ground Bins?  Which do you like best and why?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Live and learn...

Fall is my time to reflect on this year's gardening season and note improvements that need to be made.  The following quote epitomizes my philosophy in life, "I never lose.  Either I win or I learn."  This year I learned several things:
First - I need a better watering system for the outdoor beds.  Thus the 55 gallon barrel and a drip watering system from Gardener's Supply.  It has been hard, but I am holding off until next spring to set everything up.

Second - 10 tomatoes is TOO MANY.  I literally have to crawl into the greenhouse.  They folded over the fencing and tomato cages.  I didn't get to plant my fall lettuce and spinach, because I cannot get to the back beds. 

Third - Label Label Label. I had no idea what I planted where.  As you can see below, the Mexican Sunflowers took over the second tier of the garden.  They choked out the corn.

Fourth - I need to finish fencing the vegetable garden.  The deer got to my vining beans and I think the jackrabbit found the bush beans. 

Fifth - Shorter sunflowers will be needed for my containers.  The millet was very successful, as was the nasturtiums and calendula.  I just need to get something that vines and then plant more containers.  They made a wonderful addition. 
Sixth - The perennial flower beds did  great this year, just a few minor adjustments are needed.  The consistent rain, a yearly routine of compost injections, and stinky fish fertilizer made a big difference.  There were a few rhythm problems and most of the beds need thinned.  Friends will be getting flowers this fall when the weather cools down and some rain sets in. 

Fall is definitely my time to relax and contemplate.  Ella is all about that.  Please also notice Kelly's giant pumpkin.  Another thing I need to work on.  Jenni from Rainy Day Gardener, I believe that little fella is a product Baby Boo Pumpkin seeds you gave me several years ago.  I have no idea what happened to the Big Max I planted (goes back to that whole labeling issue).

What changes are you considering with your gardens?  Did your plantings go as planned? 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Late summer lull...

Not much going on in the hills.  I'm just sitting on the porch.  Once in a while I pick some tomatoes and lemon cucumbers.  There was some sweet corn ready for freezing.  Other than that it has been a nice summer lull. 
Even Ella isn't up to much.

There have been lots of little tree frogs around the cabin lately.  They are better than packrats any day. On the packrat front, things are quieter.  So, I guess there is nothing better to do than sit and relax.
Hopefully, I am not the only person enjoying the last days of summer.  How are you spending yours?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I sent him packing?

For the last month or more, I have noticed my rhubarb and lilacs being pruned and  haphazardly piled in the shed.  I had no idea what the culprit could be.  Asking others was no help.  I had responses ranging from opossums to not so brilliant beavers. When my raspberry patch was completely mowed down, action had to be taken.  We set a live trap.  The next day my husband called me at work to say he had no clue what we caught.  He described it as a guinea pig looking thing.  Research showed it was a packrat.  Actually, it was a three legged packrat.  Talking to many people and showing photos not many people around here have seen a packrat. 

My students thought he was too cute and made me promise not to kill him, so he was sent packing and released at an undisclosed location.  He seemed a little confused when I let him go.

I wish I could say that is the end of the story, but I'm afraid not.  I have caught two much smaller versions of this fella.  Still not the end of the story, because I have cleaned out the nest above and magically leaves are reappearing.  It is going to be a long fall.  I have caught 30 mice and now three packrats.   Maybe I need to start working on a fur coat. 

Have any of you had experiences with packrats?