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Tomato Hope

We got a bit more progress on the back half garden prep yesterday.  Hopefully, we’ll be ready to put some tomatoes in the ground tonight!

The broccoli has started bolting/flowering/doing things I don’t want it to do so, this afternoon, I cut what heads I could and pulled the plants.  The chickens are feasting on them and I’ll replant that row with okra today or tomorrow.

This is my first time with cauliflower but it sure doesn’t look like it’s doing anything.

The theme for this year is:  Late, late late!  It has taken us so long, starting from scratch here, that we’ve planted nearly everything late.  Next year will be better.  At least the cabbage is heading up.

And the kohlrabi is gorgeous.

Most of the onions are doing well.

The ground cherries and summer squash underplanted around them seem to be taking off now that the temps have warmed back up.

And someone’s starting to turn blonde from time spent swiping fresh veggies in the summer sun!  (Ignore the bowl-cut bangs.  I just trimmed them a couple of days ago and, with Josie being the Energizer Bunny, I have to do it quick & dirty in the two seconds I can get her to sit still.)


The peas are in trouble.

The girls have discovered the sugar snap peas and declared them The Best Vegetable Ever.  So much for putting any up for winter.


Grandpa Steve bought Nellie this pool for her birthday.  Of course, she shares it with everyone because she’s cool like that.

Anyone know what this is?  It keeps popping up everywhere.

Garden update:  I’ve managed to get all of the peppers mulched, along with most of the tomatillos, with those new wood chips Steve & the boys have been getting.  The tromboncino/zucchetta/rampicante (everyone calls it something different and I never know which one to say) and painted serpent I planted have not come up.  As soon as I planted them, the weather turned cold & wet so 99% of them rotted.  I’ve ordered replacement seeds and will replant.  The lettuce harvest continues.  I’ve just sprayed the brassicas with spinosyn again as the moths have been doing their thing.  Potato hilling is never-ending.

And….  Steve’s finally managed to make some progress in garden bed prep!  Yay!  I’ll probably plant okra and cukes in this bed.  On the far side of it are the chiles.  On the near side will be the tomato beds which he says will be ready for planting on Monday.  (He’s working lots of overtime so we’ll see if he really does have time to get it all done so quickly.  The poor tomatoes have high hopes.)

Bees & chickens updates:

The latest boody hen hatched out a couple of chicks on Friday.  Only two out of eight eggs.  She abandoned the nest after the two hatched so, either she knew they were not viable or we screwed her up by moving her to the broody pen so late in the game.  No worries since 129 chicks are due to be delivered in less than two weeks.

On the bee front, remember that we found the Carniolan hive not doing so well on our last inspection?  A couple of days ago, Steve & Charlie swapped out a couple of frames.  They took a frame full of brood out of the Italian hive and placed it in the Carniolan hive.  We’re hoping that’ll give them a much-needed jump start.  We’ve also started feeding them again, this time with a ziplock feeder within the hive so only they have access to it.  For the wax moths mentioned last time, we’ve made DIY traps for them from here.  Hopefully, that’ll take care of the problem.

Newsflash: We may not be normal.

It’s recently been brought to my attention that we are not like Most People.  Apparently, Most People don’t constantly have constant projects.  Apparently, Most People don’t continually build things.  Apparently, Most People don’t have passersby nearly drive off the road, rubbernecking to see what we’re doing this week.  Apparently, Most People are not the subjects of bets between neighbors, trying to guess the lastest mystery building project sitting in the yard.

I know this guy is not normal.

But he’s cute.

And you’d think Josie was a normal little girl if I were to tell you that she likes playing with dollies.

Until you found out that I meant the hand-cart type of dolly.

We really should start charging admission.

Isaac + Camera =


Barefoot Gardening & New Shoes

While I must squish mud through my toes to tend the garden,

and be up to my ankles in water in some pathways to weed,

I always wear flip flops in the yard.  There are so many bees working the clover, I don’t go barefoot in the yard.  I did, however, finally give up my ol’ blue Croc flip flops.  There’s not much left of the bottoms so it was time.  (I refuse to throw them away.  Just in case.  You never know when they might come in handy…)

Meet my new Croc flip flops!

And the sunburn to go with them!  The old ones had a thick, solid piece across the tops of my feet.  These are just the opposite.  Ouch!!!  I know, I’m such a baby but I’m not used to sunburn so I can whine extra when I do.  So there.

That second broody hen is due to hatch her eggs any day now so, tonight, we moved her into the broody pen Steve had built for these guys.

And he finally finished a new pen for them.  It has a side-opening door so we can easily let them out for exploring when the rest of the flock is put up.

Garden update:  Nothing exciting except I got the rest of the pepper cages made and placed.  I also finished weeding everything and hilled about half of the potatoes yet again.  They just keep growing and growing and growing!  Oh, and I managed to sucker the neighbor into taking another flat of seedlings.  Woot!  I think there are only 5 extra flats left to find homes for now.

Hive inspection, fishing line, and “funnel” clouds

It’s now been about a month since we received & installed the two bee packages.  Steve & Charlie did an inspection yesterday.

The Italians are looking good, doing what they’re supposed to.  They did find possible evidence of wax moths, though, so we’ll be setting out some homemade traps and keeping a close eye on the situation.

The Carniolans are not thriving.  At all.  We’re not sure what the deal is but we’ll discuss it with the experienced beekeepers at tonight’s meeting.  They’re not dead by any means but they’re just not doing much.

We finally bought more chicken wire so Steve finished the chicken pen.  One of the neighbors used to keep ducks but lost them all to eagles swooping in and making lunch of them.  To combat this, we’ve stolen an idea from a friend, Alan.  A few years ago, he mentioned stringing what I think was fishing line across the tops of his chicken pens to keep out the flying predators — cheap and easy!  To (maybe?) act as a further deterrent, we tied construction tape to the intersections of fishing line here and there.  It’ll also keep tall & spacey morons like me from running into them constantly.

At the end of the day, we looked up and saw…  funnel clouds??  Of course, they weren’t real tornadoes but they look like it, don’t they?

Garden update:  Another 1/2″ of rain this morning as a storm blew through (and knocked out our electricity).  Yesterday, I got the chiles planted out and cages made & placed for the majority of them.  I’ll do an accounting of them after I double check my count.  The sun finally came out again just a bit ago.  Maybe it’ll stay out this time and the garden can dry out so we can get more accomplished!

Glug, glug, glug

More rain today.  *sigh*

A couple of days ago, Steve grabbed a couple of kids and ran to a dump about 15 miles from here.  He passes by it on his way home from work and noticed they had a big pile of wood chips.  There’s still another trip’s worth of chips left if he has time to get them before they disappear.

I’m saving these to mulch the tomato & chile seedlings I hope to plant out this week.  (Go away , rain!!)

Front yard

A hen & chicks jumped into my cart at the store a few weeks back.

Then its sibling snuck in right behind it.  Very, very sneaky…

Lambs ears from Susan and…. something? in the foreground.  (Susan?  What is that again?)

Comfrey, also from Susan.

I love, love, love the comfrey flowers!  I’d never been able to grow it in Oklahoma so had no clue what it looks like in bloom until now.

What used to be one of several Alpine strawberry beds… until the cats decided to make it a litter box and killed the strawberries.  So I replaced them with cat grass, cat mint, and cat nip.  Ha.  Now let them poop in it.

Along the left side of the drive is a decorative fence thingy that was here when we bought the place, along with irises?  I think that’s what they are.  (I’m a flower dummy but I’m trying to learn.)  The girls and I planted several mixed flower seedlings around the fence this week so it should look pretty cool in summer.

The peach ones are past their prime.

But the purple ones are still at it, even if some of them are falling over on the job.

Aunt Molly’s ground cherries, treading water for dear life.  I multi-planted within the cages, figuring moles or flood or kids would get a good chunk of them, being in the front yard where a loto f the action happens.

This is in the back yard — chamomile I started from seed this spring and transplanted out.

And then the kids found gobs of wild (feral?) chamomile growing along the driveway.

The tree seedlings planted along the edges of the property are doing very well.  Um, well, except for the ones I mowed over.  Shhh….  This one is a hazelnut.

Steve brought this clump of bulbs home from the yard waste dump several weeks ago.  I planted it out by the the other decorative fence thingy on the far side of the drive.  They’re flowering now.  Anyone know what they are?

And more unknown stuff from Susan.  I’m not sure if they flower or just stay as clumps of green?  She told me all of the names as she dug them but I have giant holes in my brain and the info fell right out.  Susan?

There’s still a chance of rain for the next several days but, hopefully, it’ll be light and scattered so things have a chance to dry out.  Steve actually gets two days off this weekend so there’s lots of slave labor to be done!  We hope to get the tomato beds done and get those poor things in the ground.  They’re HUGE!

Cold & Damp

The weather sucks.  Flat-out sucks.  I don’t want to muck around in three feet of mud.  So, instead, I mucked around in 4″ of wet grass and 6″ deep puddles taking pics.  Did I mention it’s 50 degrees out there?  I’m freaking cold, people.  And bored to death.  Please tell the sun to come back!

In the meantime, you will be subjected to far too many photos of green stuff.  Shall we start with the back yard?  I’ll save the front yard for tomorrow.

I put up a rain gauge a few weeks ago.  About a 1/2″ last night.  We got 2″ the previous night.  Before that, we were actually drying out enough to work the garden some.

I built cages for each of the 47 sweet peppers planted this week.  My hands are shredded.  (I don’t need no steenkin’ gloves!)

Steve cemented in the gate post and attached the gate (he previously built) for the new chicken run.  (We ran out of chicken wire or the run would already be done.)

Remember last fall when Steve found a bunch of discarded but perfectly fine pumpkins and other winter squash at the town yard waste dump?  The ones that weren’t fine got tossed on a big pile of cornstalks and leaves that we were composting.  We now have three billion winter squash sprouting.  We’ll let them grow out and see what we get.  (Anyone want some squash this fall??)

The tomatillos have happily settled into their permanent homes.

The wide row of psychadelic-green lettuce was harvested for the first time this week.  Yum!  It’s loose-leaf and cos types so cut & come again.

Glaskins rhubarb I started from seed this spring is finally putting on some size.

20-ish round, raised wheel beds in the back yard and several more in the front yard.  Now, imagine mowing around all of these.  I get so dizzy!!!  I’m very relieved that the other raised beds we’re putting in will be square!

Josie loooooves picking and eating the wild green onions that grow all over the yard.  She has the stinkiest breath of any toddler (or adult) I’ve ever known!   She must have gotten the raw-onion-nut gene from my dad.

Sinister (and tall!) things lurk in the back yard….  (Poor Cody.  I so rarely get to take his pic and then, when I do, he gives me this almost dark look so I just had to play with the color to exaggerate it.)