Saturday, June 21, 2008


Today was another awesome day. Tim got up before me and got the coffee going which is always a nice surprise. We then had our typical Sunday morning big breakfast and then Tim and I went to work in the gardens. I planted all of the marigolds around the tomatoes in the patio garden and Tim planted his six pepper plants on the back side of the tomatoes, closer to the driveway. The exciting part of this was that we finally got to use some of our compost. Have I mentioned how much I love composting?

When we moved into this house we asked Nancy if we could build a small compost bin area in the back of the yard because we has such great success with our other compost area in our other house. She said she didn't mind composting but the grumpy, nasty neighbor behind our house didn't like the smell of it and was kind of jerky about it. So we decided to get this:

It's called an Envirocycle. It's much smaller than the big thing we had built before but it works for us now. I'm pondering if we should get another one because once it gets cooking you don't really want to add anything else to it. I think for now we are just going to dump out what is in there and start a new batch of yard waste and kitchen scraps going. When we planted all of our plants in the garden in May I dumped out the base which catches the "tea". It was nasty gross smelling and brown in color but I think it has done it's job on the potatoes and the radishes, beets and carrots. Today when we planted the peppers and the cabbage we dug holes down deeper than we needed and through a shovel full of compost into the hole and the placed the plants in.

compost aka black gold.

What else did we do today? Well, we got the peppers planted and the marigolds in the patio garden. Over in the bed where I had planted spinach and gotten nothing to sprout, I put the four cabbage plants. I hope they will get enough sun over there. That is the one bed that gets the least amount. After that was done, Tim went in to play with the kids and Nancy and I reworked the flower garden part of the patio garden. We put the geraniums in clay pots and set them into a plant stand and the begonias went into a big pot as well. We moved a nice looking hydrangia that was hiding under the Japanese Red Maple. We got rid of the huge Queen Anne's lace plant and trimmed back some of the lilies. We scattered the snapdragons all over the place and put the Gaillardia over in front of the Hydrangia. Once it's all done, I'll take some pictures (not that I don't take enough already). By the time we had weeded out and planted everything that I bought yesterday I was ready to go in. I had not realized that I had been out in the sun for 3 hours and was starting to feel it.

tomatoes, hot peppers and marigolds

After coming in and resting for a bit, I called Nancy up to see if she wanted to go to Herolds with me. I wanted to get one more pink geranium so it would even out the plant stand. She was game and so we went shopping again. I'll post more about that later. Let's just say that we scored!


What do you do with all of this?

You make this:

This is my all time favorite mixed drink. I had it once at Red Robin and had to figure out how to make it myself. Thank God for google.

Sand In Your Shorts

1/2 oz Chambord
1/2 oz Midori
1/2 oz Peachtree Schnapps
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
3 oz cranberry juice
3 oz orange juice
1 oz sweet and sour mix

I made a couple of these for Tim and myself. Enjoyed them thoroughly. I do need to pick up some more triple sec and sweet and sour mix before I can make any more.

You guys should try this. Yum.


I made bread again. I can not rave about this bread recipe enough. It is the easiest dough to mix. I throw everything into my big bowl and mix it with my hands and knead it right in the bowl. I set it back for a couple of hours for it to rise. Then I let Aidan punch it down and form it into a loaf and then it sits for one more hour. It then goes in the oven and 30 minutes later I have this perfect shaped loaf. I can slice it into 16 pieces. It holds together when I slice it and is so unbelievably delicious toasted with a touch of butter and either honey or agave nectar.

Maple Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Aidan is waiting to start eating this.

Happy Day

This is a warning right off the top. There are a lot of pictures in this post.

This is how my day has been so far: slept in, Tim and I cleaned the entire house and then I went in search of a nursery. I was hoping to find this certain nursery but inadvertently found another one...and oh my, am I ever happy I found it. So I pulled into Herolds Farm Market stand on the side of the road in Nanticoke. As I was going in I passed an elderly lady coming out with hanging plants that were almost as big as she was. She smiled and said "I only went in for one." I knew I was in trouble at this point. I went in hoping to find some pepper plants and maybe some other food plants to grow in the extra space we have in the beds. Not only did I find plants, they were all buy one get one free. I first went over and looked at the herbs. I found one called Pineapple Sage. I rubbed the leaf and it smelled like fresh cut pineapple. I knew I had to have it.

pineapple sage

Then I looked at the other herbs because they were buy one get one. There were a lot of the typical herbs that you can think of and I have most of the herbs that I use for cooking already and then I saw this herb:

It's Rue. After reading about it I don't think I'll be using it in cooking, but I love how the foliage looks. I believe it's a perennial so I'll have to consult with Nancy where she would like it put. After looking through the rest of the herbs I went to go look for peppers. I was hoping to get Tim a habernero plant. We had one a couple of years ago and we got a ton of peppers off of it. No haberneros there today. I did get 4 small Thai hot peppers and 2 Cherry hot pepper plants. The Cherry hot plants have little baby peppers on them already. I am going to put the peppers behind the tomatoes over by the carport. They will get a lot of sun over there.

Cherry Hot Pepper

peppers on the Cherry Hot

After the peppers I wandered around looking at the massive amounts of plants around. This place was huge. I enjoyed walking around with the sun making my skin warm. I inspected a lot of different plants. I found some cabbage plants. I picked up 4 to add to one of the beds in the back. We already have the Savoy growing back there and these are just plain old cabbage. Still
makes great cole slaw.


They didn't have many other veggies to look at. They did have a lot of tomatoes, but we are in no need of tomatoes. I then decided to start looking at the flowers. It was overwhelming. I start to over-think when I'm looking at flowers. I try to figure out color schemes and where things are going to go and it turns into a fiasco. I found these gorgeous Geraniums in bright pink and I picked up two of them.

And then I saw some really neat crawling Begonias that had huge flowers on them. Molly has some Begonias on their front porch and they have really pretty flowers.

While I was walking around a gentleman working at the place unloaded huge flats of Snapdragons. I know these were on the wish list of Nancy when we started the gardens this year. I had started some from seed, but they didn't do very well in the basement. So I got a bunch of them there. I'll have to figure out where to put these babies.

I also picked up some more marigolds to put around the tomatoes on the patio garden. I've never really been fond of marigolds, but they are great bug deterrent around the tomatoes.

So, with all of these plants in hand I went in to pay. I was thinking it would come up to 40 dollars. It was only $18. Huh? What?! Awesome! Since I had planned on spending more, I took all of these plants out to the car and went back to look at the hanging baskets that I had been studying for a while. I've not really had great luck with hanging plants in the past. I get them home and they look good for a couple of days and then die. I either over water them or underwater them and last year I had a bird build a nest in one of my hanging baskets on the front porch. The nice lady who rang me informed me that the hanging baskets were buy one get one half off. Say no more. I picked up these two beauties. They are huge!! The basket of petunias I have on my front porch and I wasn't sure what to do with the other big basket so I put it upstairs outside Nancy's little kitchen table window.

When I was done at Herolds I had to stop at the store and pick up some food and outside of the store they had perennials on sale for two buckets for 12 dollars. I picked these up. I'm not sure what they are right now, I'll look it up and report later.

***updated: The plants that I got at the grocery store are Gaillardia or Blanket Flowers.

So, all in all, I'm a very happy little Bee. I got a lot of new little plants to try and keep alive. I'm hoping to get all of this stuff into the ground tomorrow. It was really hot when I got home and the sun was beating down. I hope it doesn't rain all day tomorrow. I have to cut the grass and do some weeding. It looks like we have a thunderstorm rolling in now. We've had rain pretty much every day this week which is making it nice for watering the gardens. It's saving me money and time. I like that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day off.

It occurred to me today that moms never have a day off. It has taken me just over 8 years to come to this realization but it hit me hard today. There is always something that has to be done. Gone are the single days when a day off meant a trip to the beach for the day. I didn't HAVE to do laundry. I didn't HAVE to clean my room. I didn't HAVE to make dinners. I didn't HAVE to watch over another little person to make sure he didn't hurt himself. I could go to the beach with my friends, drink too much, lay in the sun until I turned purple and then come home, shower and go out with the same friends for a night out. Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom and I can say that I'm lucky in that I have two awesome little dudes. I just really wish I had a day off. I woke up this morning and thought to myself, "Self, you deserve a day off. You've been stressing out about Tim's job and the possibility of moving and all the crap that goes with that. You've been trying to get back into the routine after being gone for a weekend. You don't feel all the great. Take the day off." I have long conversations with myself sometimes. And then it hit me. I can't take a day off. The kitchen needs to be cleaned up after Connor's tea making. The laundry needs to be done. The kids are going to want to eat at some point today. Although Connor did make his own toast with butter and agave for breakfast (another mess I had to clean up after). I have to make sure the kids don't put a wii remote through the new flat screen TV. I have to take Patchy out for his potty breaks. There will be no day off for me. Why did it take me 8 years to figure this out?! I'm going to try and relax today. I will do the necessary things and then I'm going to read and knit and sit in the sun even if it is only for a few minutes.

Speaking of knitting. This is a scarf for Tim.

It's a Slytherin scarf from the Harry Potter movies. I have been working on this monster for 2 years now. Well, not all the time. It's boring. I can feel my eyes rolling back into my head when I'm knitting it because I'm so bored with it. I like doing cables and color changes and lace things....things that I have to pay attention to detail for. This scarf is a no brainer. It's about half done. I am going to make a serious attempt to finish it before he needs it this year. I think I will pick up another project to do when the monotony makes me crazy. Which leads to what came in the mail today:

I think this will do. I have always wanted to learn to crochet. My grandmother used to crochet these monster blankets and the tiniest little doilies. I love the way it looks and in my previous attempts all I've been able to finish are these long single chains of yarn. I do also have Happy Hooker and I've learned a lot from that but I wanted a different perspective to see if the knowledge will stick this time.

I suppose I should throw some gardening in here today since this blog is supposed to be about that. I am happy to report that Martin continues to amaze me. I even took him out to say hi to Barbara (his original mother) to show her how he's doing. Wow, does that ever sound dorky.


This weekend Tim and I will get out into the gardens and do some weeding and look at getting a couple more plants to throw in the beds. I'm trying to figure out if we want to grow more food or if I want to put some flowers out there. I was thinking either getting some more hot peppers or some flowers.

I'm going to go make another loaf of bread and go take a "day off". Have a great day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Patchy was checking out our tomatoes tonight. Of course, he got his leash wrapped around the one plant that he dug up and we tried to save. If we get any tomatoes off that plant it will be a miracle.

After checking out the tomatoes he and Mylie got into a little bit of tug-o-war match.

Patchy wins the prize.

Well, I didn't get everything done today that I wanted but there is always tomorrow. I did end up making a pretty killer chili for dinner. Going to go watch a movie with Tim after I get the wee ones into bed. Nighty Night!

Cool Day.

tomato patch

It's another cool day here in North East PA. I'm not complaining. It's almost 1 pm and it's 63 degrees out. I just spent a half hour out in the garden beds and I finished tying up the tomatoes. They don't seem to be thriving as much as the patio garden is doing. I think it might be that they went into the ground a week later. They do have a lot of flowers on them though so we'll have some tomatoes.


Our four broccoli plants are doing well. I think they are like cabbage in that they will produce one head of broccoli per plant, which means next year we might want to double up on that crop too. Behind the broccoli you can see two rows of onions that are popping up.

four garden beds

All in all the gardens look pretty good. We have a ton of space left in a couple of the beds and I am going to see if there is anything else we can plant. I don't know if it's too late to put anything else down. I know it's too late to try to grow from seed but I might scoot over to a nursery over the weekend and see what is still around. I might go to the one over in Dallas because we've always had really good luck in getting hot peppers there. My spinach never really came up. It looked like they were going to sprout up but then we had that one week of 90 degree weather and I think it scared the spinach.

hosta flower

I was checking on my shade garden in the front of the house and I noticed that one of my Guacamole Hostas had put a shoot up and had three really pretty white flowers. I'm very happy with my hostas.

Well, today is Thursday and I need to get back on my weekly house cleaning schedule. I've been off of it since we had the news that Tim would probably be losing his job. We are coming to terms with it and trying to figure out what to do. I know what I need to do now is get my house cleaned and the grass cut.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Still playing.

Now that Tim is home he has shown me some pretty cool stuff on photoshop. I am going to have fun playing around in it. This is a picture of a pretty little plant Nancy has growing back by the big gardens. Not sure what it is. I think it starts with an A.

**updated** Thank you Nancy for letting me know that these are Astilbes. I think you told me that before but I have a swiss cheese brain lately. They are very pretty!


A pear on Nancy's pear tree.

Today I am playing with photoshop. I have never used it. Frankly I find it somewhat intimidating. But I wanted to put kind of mark my pictures so no one would take them as their own. This was Tim's suggestion. So, I've figure out how to get my name on the pictures but would like to figure out how to do outlines around the pictures. I will say that it is fun learning new things.

The garden looks happy today. It's still kind of cool out. It's cool enough for me to be in jeans still and wear a hoodie. I went out and did some fast weeding a few minutes ago and plan on spending more time this weekend and do some serious weeding. We did not get out into the garden last night to tie up the rest of the tomatoes so that is on my to do list still.


I am amazed with our cabbages. I think next year I would like to try and double how many cabbage we have. Nancy said that we will only get one head off of each plant so we are looking at four heads of savoy cabbage. Mmmmm, cabbage rolls. I'm also curious to see how many zucchinis we get off of two plants. I am hoping for a lot of zucchinis. Same with the cucumbers. I'm pretty sure we got pickling cucumbers and I hope we get enough to make pickles with and can them. If not, we will have to put more in next year as well.

One of many zucchini blossoms.

One of two zucchini plants.

The beans. Ugh. Only three wax bean plants survived and one green bean plant. I'm not sure what happened. I don't even know if I like wax beans. I just thought it would be fun to make some three bean salad to preserve.

wax beans

The onions seem to be doing pretty good. We finally got those planted last week. There are four rows of them going. I still have some more that I can put down. I wanted to see if they would take and start growing. They have and now I will add a couple more rows. Can't have enough onions.

One row of four of onions.

In other good news. The shamrock has a name. His name is Martin. He's named after a very good Irish friend of mine in Florida. I miss Martin so now I have a plant named after him. I thought that Martin was suffering after his transplant. He kind of looked sad and Tim said it looked worse from when I got him from Barbara, but today I noticed about 11 little new shoots coming up through the soil. I'm so very excited! I really want to keep this plant alive. It's so pretty to look at.

Martin's growing!

Speaking of pretty. I took this picture at Tim's aunt Mary's over the weekend. I love the way this flower looks and it was on a large bush that was climbing up the side of their house. I had no idea what it was but I got a catalog from White Flower Farm today and I've discovered it's a Clematis. I want to get a couple of bushes. Actually there were several things that I'm drooling over in that catalog. It's their fall catalog with all of the spring bulbs. Are you supposed to put bulbs in the ground before the winter? I thought you had to pull the bulbs out before the ground turned to ice. I suppose I should look that up. The thing that sucks is the fact that we don't know where we'll be in a year. I don't want to put a bunch of bulbs into Nancy's yard and then not be here to see them come up. Plus, I don't know if Nancy wants me to dig up her yard. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.


I have to go put a loaf of bread into the oven. There is no bread in the house and I have a hungry boy who wants a sandwich. Have a great day!

Connor getting ready to bite into a radish he picked.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A radish.

Blurry Aidan and his radish he pulled.

A perfect radish.

Ok, so I lied. It will be three posts today. Nancy and I just tied up some of the tomatoes some more and Tim and I will tie the rest of them up tonight. While we were out there Aidan pulled the radish that appeared to be ready. I also asked Nancy about the moving of the peas and both she and Barbara said it was too late to be moving them. Darn. I guess we'll try and trim the roses back a bit and hopefully get them some more sun. While we were checking out the other garden areas we noticed some flowers on the cucumbers and zucchinis! Who knew gardening was this much fun?! I think tomorrow I'm going to drop some more beet seeds down and get them going.

Now I'm really going to do what I'm supposed to be doing!


I admit that I am a terrible procrastinator. Take my kitchen for instance. It was a mess. I should have been cleaning it up. Instead I went outside to fetch the recycle container off the curb so that I could put beer bottles in it. I had full intentions of cleaning my kitchen as I was starting by taking the beer bottles out but, alas, I noticed how badly my carrots and beets needed weeding. Was the kitchen going anywhere? No, it wasn't. I took advantage of the nice cool gray weather and got my hands dirty. I weeded out my two rows of beets and my two rows of carrots. The carrots I had been putting off for a little bit because I wanted to make sure I was pulling weeds and not carrots. Now that the carrots all have their frilly little leaves up it was much easier.

Top two rows are beets (not sure why the huge gap between some of them) and then in the middle are two rows of carrots, and the front row is of radishes. I believe one radish is ready to be picked!!

close up of carrots. I think when I plant these again I can put the rows closer together. I could have easily had one more row in the middle.

beets. Again, I don't know why the big gap there. Maybe I "weeded" out some of the plants on a previous weeding spree.

lots of radishes. I tried to get a close up of the one ready to be pulled but the lighting sucked and the flash washed the red radish out. You can see it when we pull it.

The second potato patch. I wonder what we are going to be doing with all of these potatoes?

The kitchen is done now. So, you see, I was able to get the kitchen done AND get part of the garden weeded. Tim was just telling me that he thinks we should try and see if we can transplant the peas to the area by the carport. We have a good bit of space behind the tomatoes and I think they will be more sun over there and maybe grow more. They didn't get really big. Oh, and speaking of peas, I have breaking news. Aidan liked them. The boy who doesn't eat any color liked the fresh peas out of the garden. Connor ate the rest of them so now I'm out of peas. I think I'm going to go read up on peas right now and see if the plants will produce any more this season. One thing I do know is that next year we will plant a lot more pea plants than we did this year.

On a weather is nearly 1 pm and it is only 64 degrees out. Is this normal for here? I guess I'm still used to living in Florida. I lived there for over 20 years and right now it is 95 there. That is the temperature that I think of for June. I must say that I prefer the 60's and 70's.

Well, I must end the procrastination and go fold some laundry. I think two blog entries in one day is enough...some might even contend obsessive.

First harvest.


Small harvest, but a harvest. Tim and I picked these few little peas yesterday right before our thunderstorm. They are so sweet. I never liked peas, but man, they are delish right off the plant. So sweet and crunchy. I don't know if I'll get any more peas off these plants or if they are done. I know that if I don't get out there and weed that the weeds are going to do them in.

I also noticed that a couple of our potato plants have flower buds on them. I need to do some more reading on potatoes but I think when it flowers that is an indication that there are potatoes underground. I think I have to pile some more dirt around the bottoms. Again, it will require some reading. This is why this is an experiment I guess. I don't know what the heck to expect. It' fun learning along the way. Look at these plants. I think they all grew another 2 inches in the three days that we were in NY. Crazy.

Buds on potato plant.

Forest of potatoes.

For some reason almost all of my beans are done. I don't know if I transplanted them too early of if they didn't get enough water or animals enjoyed them. I have two wax bean plants left out of all the ones I put out there. I think it's too late in the season to grow any more. I don't know if I'll plant beans again next year. I probably will and try and do it a little differently and see if I get a better outcome. had a question about re-potting a tomato. It can be done. Two years ago we didnt' have access to a nice in ground garden area and we had a deck garden. I grew tomatoes in a big pot along with Tim's hot pepper heaven. All you have to do is get a pot that is bigger than the one it's currently in. Fill the pot with a good soil, add some compost or other organic fertilizer and then put the tomatoes in with a stake or a cage. It's easy getting the tomato plant into the pot. Just turn it upside down in it's current container and carefully squeeze the pot to loosen the soil and it will drop into your hands. If the roots are all balled up you carefully loosen the soil up and kind of tear up the roots a bit. Drop it into it's new home and put in a stake or cage at that point. And then water. We made the mistake of not staking/caging it when we planted. I had no idea the plant would get as big as it did and when it started producing tomatoes they kind of fell all over the place. It needs support. We had to try and slide this cage over a huge plant and I think we lost a couple of branches. Lesson learned. I actually think I like the idea of stakes even better. That's what we've been doing on all of the tomato plants this year. We have to keep tying them up as they grow but they seem to grow better when they are not trying to conform to a cage.

tomato plant grown on deck in 2006.

I have a lot to do in the house today because yesterday was a loss for anything. I will get out into the garden either later today or tomorrow. We are supposed to have perfect weather this week, if not a little chilly. Our highs this week supposed to be in the high 60's and low 70's. Nice weeding weather.

Have a great day!