Saturday, June 7, 2008

Y'ar. There be pirates in my yard.

After a very lazy morning of sleeping in until 9:30 (that rarely happens) we got up and hit the stores for a suit for Tim. It was way easier than I thought it would be and set us up for a quick trip through the rest of the places we had to go. We came home and finally set up the kid's pirate pool that they have been waiting FOREVER for. We then spent a good three hours in the back yard baking in 97 degree heat. I'm not going to lie...Tim and I both ended up in the pool too. It was fun and the kids had a blast. Of course, having some blueberry beer took the sting out of how cold the water felt. We found this stuff in NY when we were there last weekend and fell in love. Today in Wegmans I was happy about two things...1. They finally sell beer in their market cafe and 2. They had the blueberry beer. I picked some up and some obligatory Corona and was on my merry way.

I was excited to find that my carrots have their second set of leaves starting to come out with the frills. And my beets are getting pretty good sized leaves on them too. Tomorrow I'm going to have to put dirt around the bottom of all our potatoes. I was going to do it today but got sidetracked with the pool.



These rose bushes continue to amaze me. They are putting out so many roses. Tomorrow another thing I need to do is cut off the old blooms. I also need to fill all the bird feeders again. Our crazy birds have emptied three feeders in two days. We have lots of baby birds around here now too. Have to help keep their bellies full.

Not much else on the garden front. Tim and I watered all three gardens this afternoon before we came in. My beans were looking parched. We are planning on using the water in the pool to water the gardens with as well. It appears (on radar) that a rather large thunderstorm cell is heading right for us. Hopefully it won't be a bad storm. A couple of years ago the kids and I had quite a pumpkin patch going and we had a terrible hail storm that ripped holes into all of the leaves.

Have a great day! See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 6, 2008


One other thing for today. Last night, for whatever reason, I was remembering these awesome metal chairs that my grandma used to have out in her yard. They were always lined up along the driveway under the big trees and we would sit out and shuck corn right out of the fields, or watch the cows and fireflies, or just sit and enjoy the warm breeze. I wished that they still made chairs like that. They were fun to sit in. They kind of bounced a little bit when you sat in them and they were sturdy. I guess I was feeling nostalgic for forward to this morning when our mailman dropped a catalog into our entryway and lo and behold on the front cover were the chairs. I want them. I want them in red and yellow. Now I must get to saving the money for said chairs. Saving money is not one of my favorite things to do, but at least I know they still exist and it made me smile to see them on the cover.

It's Friday!

The peonies that I have been watching for a couple of weeks are now starting to open there little buds. They are so pretty.

The rest of the garden is looking pretty good. Here is a picture of Patchy checking one of our potato patches out. I wonder if we have the potatoes planted too closely. They are starting to get to the point where I'm going to need to start piling the dirt up around the bases so that the potatoes stay underground. I still need to plant the rest of my bush beans over in this patch, behind where all of the tomatoes are. Yesterday when I was tying and pulling the suckers off I noticed that most of the bushes have flowers on them. Apparently you pull the suckers off (new growth in the Y's of the plant) to promote the plant to grow stronger, healthier tomatoes. Instead of the plant using energy to support the offshoots, it uses the energy to make better fruit and to climb better. All I know is that we are going to be drowning in tomatoes and thus will have a lot of spaghetti sauce and salsa to preserve. Yum.

Nancy has 5 rose bushes that have been putting out the most amazing roses. She cut them all way back in the early spring and I wasn't sure they were going to make it. They were just basically little sticks coming out of the ground but it appears to have made them bush out even more and put out an insane amount of roses. I want to read up and find out if we cut the roses off if they will continue to produce buds. This little bud looked so pretty and bright on our gray day.

Gray day. It's not supposed to rain today but it is gloomy out. It's noon and it's only 62 out but the humidity feels to be 100 percent. I will have to go out and check to see if I need to water tonight. It's not supposed to rain until Sunday and even then it's only a 20 percent chance. They are still saying we are going to be in the 90's this weekend. The gardens will need some water so they don't shrivel up. I am thinking that we will probably be hiding in the cool house this weekend. Although the kids will want me to put up their pirate pool. I could go for that I suppose.

This afternoon we will be suit shopping as Tim has an interview on Monday. That was fast. It's in the same town we live so that would be beyond amazing if he can land it and we won't have to move. The more I think about the whole commuting thing, the less I like the idea. I like have Tim around and we would miss him terribly. So, if it comes to him getting a job in NYC we will probably trek back to the Empire state and pay the horrendous rents and deal. It's funny because last time we were at mom's we were joking about how we had to move back to NY because they sold beer in the grocery markets there and they don't here. I guess we have to be careful what we wish for. I'm not above coming back and checking on the gardens though. I'm sure Nancy won't mind. We'll come over and help weed and keep it up. But I'm trying not to think too much about it. Things all happen for a reason and we will take whatever comes our way.

Not much else to report. I am hoping I can get back into my groove after been sidetracked this week with the news. I am not a big fan of change. Have a fantabulous day!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


We had some pretty crappy news today. Tim's company is being bought out which basically signs Tim's pink slip. No one is happy with this. We don't want to move again. We don't want to leave our friends here. We don't want to leave our garden, though I know it would be tended to lovingly by Nancy. It just sucks. Tim has a potential interview in Manhattan. If he gets the job it means a move back to NY. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I know we need to find a job ASAP so there is no lapse in insurance for Connor but it doesn't make it any easier.

In other news, the sun is trying to peek out here at 1:30. It's been gray all morning but warmer. I peeked outside at our little garden and the kids seems to be doing well. We are going to tie up the tomatoes later this afternoon.

It is now 5 pm. I had to step away from the computer for a bit and boy, am I glad this thing autosaves. This afternoon I did get 20 tomato plants tied to the stakes and I did the pruning by pulling the new growth out of the Y's. I'm sure there is a technical term for that and I'll look it up later. I think Tim and I have figured out what we are going to do about the whole job situation. If he can nail a job in NYC, he is going to commute. The kids and I will stay here and we'll pick him up on weekends. That way the schooling situation stays the same, we can keep all of our doctors here and we can save some money and figure out where we are going to my garden experiment appears to still be a go.

In other news, the worms are doing well. Worms? Yes. We are attempting vermicompostin. I made a worm bin out of a plastic 18 gal bin I picked up at Target. I drilled some holes in the bottom and some holes at the top. I filled it up with damp shredded newspaper and ordered some wormies on the internet. We put them in the bin and put the top on and figured all was well. Came back in an hour to check on them and they were crawling out of the top making a mass exodus. After freaking out, I googled and found that it's normal for the worms to do that until they get settled in their new environment. So, they are now in the basement with the lid off and a light on over them. They don't like light and stay burrowed under all of the paper. The kids have had fun watching them and feeding them. They have had some egg shells, coffee grounds, apple cores, banana peels and some carrot skins. They are eating it and hopefully leaving some nice castings for us to use in the garden. Supposedly worm castings are the best fertilizer. I haven't really figured out how I'm going to scoop the poo out yet, but I will by the time I need to.

The mailman was hilarious when he handed me this box.

We opened the box to find 1 lb (roughly 1,000 worms)

The worm buddies in their new home.

Connor and Patchy stand at attention waiting for escapees.

Not much else to report. The sun is out and it's hot and sticky. I think I'm going to plant the onion bulbs in bed 2 tomorrow. We forgot those. Have a good night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rain rain go away. No, not really.

I guess Tim and I didn't need to water everything last night. Around 10 pm it started raining. It rained all night and up until about 10:30 this morning. It wasn't a hard rain, but a nice rain that is awesome to sleep with. It's just after noon now and it's still gray out and we have a chance for more rain this afternoon. So what is a girl to do when it's yucky outside? Bake. And read. Before I could do either of those things I had to go out and fill the bird feeders up. I noticed they were empty yesterday and never got around to filling them. There was bird warfare going on this morning. So I went out in the rain and filled the feeders up. Immediately a big Blue Jay showed up. I've been trying to get a decent picture of him and still haven't. Once the birds were taken care of I set to baking. First I made two loaves of pumpkin bread. The boys put on their aprons that Grandma made them and we all got messy in the kitchen.

After the pumpkin bread was in the oven I made this amazing oatmeal sandwich bread that I tried making earlier this week. I'm trying to find a good bread to use for toast and peanut butter sandwiches that the kid will eat. I'm tired of buying crappy sliced bread at the store that is full of preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. I made it the first time on Monday and we are just finished the loaf today. The kids had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and loved it. Score. It's the perfect density and it has to be the easiest dough I've ever worked with. The recipe says to use a dough hook, etc...well I don't have a stand mixer with all the gadgets. I made it and kneaded it in a big ceramic bowl. It doesn't get sticky at all and is so easy to work with.

While I was finishing up the clean up from my bread baking the mailman had some gifts for me. Yay. I know what the rest of my day is going to be spent doing. I thumbed through the preserving book and it looks good. I don't have any of the things I need to make jams and start preserving yet so I am not going to delve too deeply into that one yet. I am in absolute love with the Grow Vegetables book. I am going to have so much fun looking though it. I'm happy to say that we've done pretty good with our planting according to what I've looked at already. Of course, that is greatly in part to Nancy's direction.

I did venture out to check on the kids in the garden. Above is one of the green bean plants that we put out into the garden on Sunday. Aidan planted the seeds for all of the beans. I made 100 origami seed pots out of newspaper and filled them with a seeding mixture of dirt and Aidan planted all the seeds. He is very excited to see the results. I did notice that one of the wax beans looks to have been chomped by a critter. Thankfully it was the wilty one that didn't transplant too well.

Yes, we have tomatoes. We are going to have a lot of tomatoes. We have 21 plants going. Unfortunately Patchy dug one of them up and we are waiting to see if it's going to survive or not. Bad dog. A lot of our plants have flowers on them already. We need to get them tied to the stakes soon.

My shade garden seems to be doing pretty well so far. I am hoping that my impatiens will get big and bushy like Molly's did last year. She had amazing impatiens around their house. I'm happy that I haven't killed them yet. Although they have only been in the ground since last Friday and it hasn't really been all that hot yet. It's been in the mid-70's for the last couple of weeks and this weekend it's supposed to hit 92. Ugh.

I think that is all I have to post for now. Maybe tomorrow I'll discuss our worm bin. We had one little wormicide last night but the rest of them seem to be happy.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Another test entry because I'm bored.

It's 7 pm and the husband and I have just watered all of our little babies. I know that we are supposed to do it first thing in the morning but we had to change our hose out. Nancy kindly gave us one that she had lying around because our other one burst. So now I'm sitting here wanting to play around some more before I start putting wee ones to bed. I guess the first thing I want to try and do is to add a link in. I'll attempt to put a link to this great gardening site that has amazing pictures and a lot of great information. There, I think it worked. I guess I won't know until I publish and double check.

Now, I want to see how big my pictures can be. Do I have to resize all of my pictures? I guess we'll see. Ok, there is a great picture of Mylie. It posted without my having to resize it, but it automatically went to the top of the page. I need to figure out how to be able to have different picture placement.

Hmmm, I just did a preview and it appears the link isn't working. I'm going to have to ask for Tim's assistance. Gah. I just figured out how to manipulate the pictures around. I'm going to post some of our babies that we direct sowed into the ground.
Some radishes.

some carrots.

some beets. Which by the way, Connor said he wanted an entire garden patch full of beets. The boy likes his beets. Now I just need Nancy (nudge nudge) to give me her amazing pickled beets and eggs recipe.

Ok, I'm going to sign off tonight and go watch the primary coverage and listen to my man's victory speech! Oh, and I figured out how to get the link to work. I fear this blog could become an addiction. Nite nite.

Quick Wrap Up Pt.2

Where was I? The back yard of the house 2 doors down. There are four plots which I will refer to as bed 1, bed 2, bed 3, and bed 4.

Bed 1 and 2 are the farthest away from our home. Beds 3 and 4 are closer. Bed 1 and 3 are closet to the house and bed 2 and 4 are closer to the house on the other street. Man, that sounds confusing. Sorry. So, in bed 1 we have planted tomatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage and zucchini. It gets the most sun I think. Bed 2 has 3 rows of spinach (or will in a couple of weeks as I just planted them today) and broccoli. There is still a pretty good amount of space to grow some other things there, but that bed has the most shade and I'm not sure what will grow there. Bed 3 has all of the bell peppers, a couple of tomato plants and some basil. There was already some marjoram and peppermint that were there and we left them. Bed 4 has a row of the green beans and row of the wax beans and the cucumbers. There is also some lemon herb back there. Nancy told me what it was, but I forgot. There is some room left in that one too so we might put the onions in between the rows of beans. I guess I'm going to have to play with the pictures more to figure out how I can put them in different parts of the post.

A quick wrap up.

It appears that I'm figuring this out faster than I thought I would. So I will go ahead and do a quick summary of the past month to catch everyone up to speed on what has been going on in our dirt.

First I guess I should put that the weather this spring has been weird. All of the trees bloomed what I thought was early but the nights continued to go down to freezing up until about a week ago. It has finally warmed up to the 70's during the day and it's only going down to the low 50's at night. I worried about our tomatoes that we put out. They seem to be ok though.

What we have planted so far:

Kentucky Wonder bush beans
Brittle Wax garden beans
Detroit Supreme beets
Zanahoria carrots
Crimson Giant radishes
Baby Leaf Hybrid Spinach
Broad London leeks
Sugar Bowl Hybrid watermelons
Bold Border mix snapdragons
Flavours Hybrid mix impatiens
Sweet Peas
Calypso cucumbers
Green zucchini
Italian Large Leaf basil
Yellow Onions
Big Boy tomatoes
Jet Star tomatoes
Beef Master tomatoes
Roma Plum tomatoes
Early White Vienna kohlrabi
Savoy King cabbage
California Wonder peppers
Hot Portugal hot peppers
Santiago hot peppers
Cayenne hot peppers
Greek oregano
Provence Lavender

Now, pretty much all of that was bought as plants at nurseries and Lowes. I started the green beans, wax beans and leeks from seed. I also planted the watermelon seeds, impatiens, snapdragons, cosmos, and some pumpkin seeds as well. The only things that actually sprouted were both types of beans, the leeks, the snapdragons and a couple of cosmos. I'm not sure what happened to the other things. I'm kind of bummed out about the watermelon but I'll survive.

The tomatoes went into the ground between May 17th and May 27th. We also planted our seed potatoes on May 17th. I guess I should explain how the gardens are set up so you understand what is where. We have three separate yard areas that we are using. The first one is the side of Nancy's house that is out our back door. That is where we planted the pea plants (up against an old chain link fence in front of the A/C units.) I put my rhubarb in next to the roses and then I planted 2 rows of beets, 2 rows of carrots and 1 row of radishes. These were all from seed as well. There were also put two rows (I think) of potatoes. In this plot there are also 3 rose bushes, an azalea, and some lilies. They all seem to be co-existing nicely. The next area we planted was around Nancy's cute little brick patio (on the side of our carport). There we have planted like 15 tomato plants and 3 rows of potatoes. There is still some room to plant some more things there and I think I'll put some more bush beans over there. The third garden area is located two doors down (still Nancy's house) in the back yard. In the back yard there are four separate little plots all bricked out and surrounded by a cute brick pathway. I will explain what is in each plot when I figure out how to code them so you understand where I'm talking about.

Ok, kids are screaming. Will post this now and then come back and update some more and include some pictures.

Boy digging.

Testing the process of adding pictures to the blog. This is of Aidan helping weed out the area where we planted our radishes.

First post!

This is my first entry in my new blog. I'm going to keep regular updates on my great garden experiment. This is the first year that I'm really going to try and grow food. Hopefully we'll end up with enough harvest that I will then be able to try something else that I'm dying to try. Canning. That will come later though. I guess I'm starting this here because my little notebook that I have markered on the front "2008 Garden Journal" is starting to show wear from being out in the dirt. I hope to figure out how to post pictures so I can show you all how awesome (hopefully) it looks.

Our neighbor Nancy has been awesome enough to share her yards and her great farming knowledge with us and we are all working together to make a mini community garden area. I'm about three weeks behind in posting stuff. I will have to do some back tracking to update what was planted when and so forth. I hope to look back on this and be able to tell how everything went and if I need to adjust what and when we plant.

I guess I'm going to go play with the layout and try to figure out how to post pictures now.