Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This little blog of mine is about to reach a couple of milestones. I am within 300 points of becoming a guru on Blotanical. The cool thing about that is I get to pick 40 more blogs to add to my favorites list. Lately, I have stumbled upon a lot of great new blogs and a few older blogs that have just come to my attention.
Also, according to my site meter, I should reach 10,000 visitors in the next ten days or so. While this may seem like nothing to some of you with hundreds of visits every day, to me it is mind blowing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that many people would have any interest in what I have to say. The site meter has also revealed that people visit here from all over the world. This is just amazing to me.
Through this site, I have been able to keep family members up on what is going on with our little family, which was my intention to begin with. I have also reconnected to a long lost cousin. She began reading this blog after getting in touch with one of my sisters. I saw her on the sitemeter, who else could be reading from Pampa, Texas.
Possibly the best thing that has come from this activity, is meeting such a great group of fellow bloggers. Most of the blogs I read and bloggers who come here and read mine are garden bloggers. There are a handful that I found through other links. My sister also has a mommy blog and a craft blog. I try to visit the blogs on my links frequently to see what everyone has to say. I consider many of these bloggers dear friends.
I love reading and responding to comments. There has been very little trouble with spam and I have never had an ugly or hateful comment. Occasionally, though, the comments do take on a life of their own. Gardening Injuries comes to mind. Some of the commentors (I know, not a word) had some pretty gnarly injuries.
All in all, this has been a great experience and I have really enjoyed myself. I can't wait to see what the future holds for my little blog.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Chickens are laying fried eggs
You discover that the car seat belt buckle is now a branding iron
The heat makes me feel about as sexy as socks on a chicken.
Hope this does not reignite the stock wars.
102 degrees with a heat index of 104. It is not a dry heat. I feel like I am living in a vegetable steamer basket. How hot is it where you are?
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
The monkeys are being boring and it is hot so I don't want to take garden pictures or go find something garden related to blog about. Since life is not to interesting, I think today is a good day to play.
It is called SCATTERGORIES …it’s harder than it looks! Erase my answers, enter yours and post it on to your blog. Let me know when you have done it and I will come check it out!
Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things. Nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial.You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.
WHAT IS YOUR NAME? Deb
4 LETTER WORD: Dork
TV SHOW: Dateline
BOY NAME: Doug
GIRL NAME: Darla
OCCUPATION: Dog Catcher
SOMETHING YOU WEAR: Dungarees
SOMETHING FOUND IN A BATHROOM: Drain
REASON FOR BEING LATE: ? Dawdling.
SOMETHING YOU SHOUT: Durn
Here is something extra. Manly Man smashed a stinkbug on his face this evening. Pretty funny.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Saurrus cernus - Lizards tail #3 1 gallon plants
Equisetum hyemale - Horsetail reed #3 1 gallon plants
Salvia uliginose - Bog Sage #3 1 gallon plants
Miscanthus sinensis "strictus" Zebra grass #1 3 gallon plant (variety is very important on this one)
Phalaris aruninacea - Ribbon Grass #2 3 gallon plants
Vallisneria americaa - Water celery #3 1 gallon plants
Crinum Americanum -Bog lilly #4 1 gallon plants
Houttuynia cordata - Camerleon plant #4 1 gallon plants
Juncus effusus spiralus - Corkscrew rush #2 1 gallon plants
Sarracenia alta - Texas pitcher plant #6 1 gallon plants
Drosera capillaris - Pink sundew #10 4" plants
Drosera bevifolia - Red sundew #10 4" plants
I need one more native Texas carnivorous plant. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
1. Ask friends and family who do not compost to save their food scraps for you. They can be stored in the freezer until you are able to pick them up. This keeps them from rotting and has the added benefit of breaking down vegetable cell walls, which speeds up the decomposing process.
2. Place your compost pile where you can share it with a neighbor. We have ours on the back fence and the neighbors are welcome to toss things into it.
3. If you are the analytical type and would like to do the math here is your link
4. If you are the more laid back creative type and believe in just "letting compost happen" here is your link.
5. Keep the pile damp. A dry compost pile breaks down slooooww.
6. Consider making a compost screen. Mine is made of 1x3 inch ply wood made into a frame with 1/4 inch screen stapled to it. The screened compost is awesome.
7. Add some red wriggler worms and let them make you compost extra rich and wonderful.
8. Shredded paper can be added to compost. It is also great bedding for a worm bin.
9. If you have a lot of food scraps and very little brown material, simply add a little soil to cover the food scraps. This helps eliminate any possible stink.
10. Used screened compost as a soil amendment and to enrich potting soil.
11. Use rough compost as a nutritious mulch.
12. There will be bugs. Do not be afraid of the bugs. They are there to help make you compost.
13. Remember little boys love to tear stuff up. Let them turn your compost for you. They are good at it.
14. Make compost tea. Add a few cups of compost to a bucket of water. Let it sit and use it to water you plants. They will thank you.
Here is a short list of possible compost ingredients
1. grass clippings.
3. Vegetable and fruit food scraps.
4. Egg shells
5. Coffee grounds.
6. Tea bags.
7. Shredded paper
8. Paper plates
10. Dead container plants
11. Any plant material cleaned up from the landscape that is not diseased.
12. Wood chips.
13. Manure. We add rabbit poo, which is the very best poo.
14. Old or spoiled vegetable animal feed such as hay, alfalfa, and rabbit pellets.
15. What every you muck out of a horses stall or barn.
What do you compost?
Sunday, July 20, 2008
First, a cute little pumpkin baby. Yes, the mystery vines were correctly identified as pumpkins.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
The course leader was a man who lives very near the Texas hill country. The water source for his home is rainwater. That's right rain water and only rain water. The average rainfall in that area is less than 30 inches. Pretty impressive system, I think.
Our educators and speakers believe in acting as stewards of our land. They spoke of the unique position we find ourselves in today. Most of us do not live off of the land. Therefore, we do not have to exploit it in order to survive. We are in an enviable place. We can care for the land - really care for it by restoring native plants, returning water to our aquifers, and replenish the soil. We can do it one little bit of land at a time.
I came away from this week feeling empowered. I watched this small group of gardeners walk out of this course hauling off their bright shiny new rain barrels with plans to plant rain gardens. These few people now have the knowledge to help prevent storm water run off and return some of that water to our precious ground water.
We rant and rave about how nobody is doing anything and our environment is going to hell in a hand basket. Well, today I watched a few people, myself included, go out into the world with a little knowledge that can make a difference. And so it begins.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Lemon Verbena Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
6 eggs separated
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp lemon extract
1 cup lemon verbena chopped fine
3 tsp vanilla
Cream the sugar and butter. (Middle Monkey's job)
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, but not dry. (Teenage Monkey's Job. He could not believe what an egg white will do).
Add the egg yolks, lemon extract, vanilla, lemon verbena, and milk to the creamed sugar and butter.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together and add to the wet ingredients and mix.
Gently fold in the egg whites.
Poor the batter into a bunt pan and bake at 350 until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Cool and wrangle the cake out of the bunt pan (good luck).
Drizzle with lemon glaze.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
Now a note on lemon verbena.
Lemon verbena smells awesome. It has the best lemon scent of any herb I have ever grown. I like lemon scented herbs; lemon balm, lemon basil, and lemon thyme. I even grow a Logan's hardy lemon tree. We have never had a lemon off of the lemon tree. Lemon verbena tops them all.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
So anyway, I was watering and weeding and watering and weeding and then it happened. I pulled up hard on a particularly stubborn weed, the weed came free, and my elbow went right up into my most thorny rosebush. I ended up with several rose thorns in my upper arm. One especially big one right in the softest part right above my elbow. OwwWWWwwww.
Got any weeding techniques to share?
Any gardening related injuries?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes. There is no fast food. Each man must work a full time job, take care of his 3 kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week. Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time. Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment .
He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care and one 'emergency' run to Wal Mart at 10:00 p.m. to pick up poster board for a school project that is due the next day. He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function. Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times. The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done. The men must shave their legs, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails manicured and eyebrows groomed.
They must find an hour every day to attend an exercise class of some kind, or at least work out on the treadmill at home. During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure bleeding from somewhere in their groin area, severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties. They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.
They will be solely responsible for feeding all pets and cleaning up after them.
They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth, comb their hair and fix their lunches by 7:00 am. A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up. The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enoug h energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice. The winner gets to play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right To be called Mother!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
In the two new plantings, I planted sweet corn, more squash varieties to be determined and regular green yard long beans. Another pumpkin vine showed up and it gets to stay as well.
My popcorn is beginning to put out tassels. This prompted me to do some research. So after the fact, I go look up how to grow, harvest, and store popcorn. Step 1 pick your varieties with this warning "Don’t plant popcorn and sweet corn near one another, as they will both suffer if their is cross pollination." CRAP. I can only hope that the popcorn is finished with the pollination thing before the sweet corn starts it. I still have so much to learn.
Here is the article from gardenguides.com. There are some good popcorn recipes. That's right folks, popcorn recipes.
Have you made any gardening mistakes this year? Do you have popcorn recipes to share?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Oh, btw, we don't spray here. If a bug has to be disposed of it is done by hand. We prefer to let biodiversity balance the bug situation. Wisdom of the Trowel has an awesome beneficial bug post. Check it out.
Monday, July 7, 2008
This is the first year we have grown squash, beans, and corn together in the three sisters style. It is working out fantastic. I stink at growing corn and the squash bugs usually get my plants after just a few fruits are picked. Not so this year, the corn is gorgeous, the squash bugs are confused, and the beans are doing great as usual.
We have to leave the corn in after it produces because it is supporting the beans. This fall, after everything is done, we will pull them out and make a scarecrow from the cornstalks.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The temperature is below 90 so out into the garden I go. The chore list includes weeding, spreading compost, and killing weeds in the pathways with boiling water. Smells a lot like cooking spinach. Why would anyone every cook perfectly good spinach and make it into a green gooey mess? It is so lovely as a salad.
The first visitor we noticed was a giant swallowtail butterfly. It was sipping nectar from the zinnias. We check the lemon tree to see if it had laid any eggs. Instead of a bird poo looking caterpillar, all we found was actual bird poo on the lemon. Too bad, maybe later
The next visitor was a two lined skink. It was not actually a visitor. Baby Monkey kidnapped it from a neighbors house and brought it home. I made him release it in the garden after the poor things tail fell off.
I came back into the house to put the pot back on the stove to boil when I noticed something large and dark on my shoulder. It moved when I tried to brush it off. I asked Middle Monkey to identify it. He starts screaming, "It's a giant cockroach." I find myself dancing around the kitchen screaming, "GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!!!!" He runs for a towel yelling, "This may hurt." Not sure what he was planing on doing. About the time he took a swipe at it with the towel I hear a loud click. Praise the Lord it was not a giant cockroach. It was a black and white click beetle. We played with it for a little while and let it go on the deck.
On further research I find that the click beetles larva eat corn plants. Hmmm, maybe we should have let it go someplace else.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The June block of the month is the baskets on the left. The top block is a completer my mom had to finish for me because I had a fit and fell in it. I was threatening to quit making the completer blocks. She felt bad for getting me into this mess and is trying to help me. On the right is the first block (actually circle) for my niece's wedding quilt. The colors are too dark in this picture. The fabrics are burgundy and plum prints in the dark rings with gold and plum floral prints in the light ring.
"Ana explains the thought behind her award. “This prize has arisen from the daily visits that I dedicate to many blogs which nourish me and enrich me with creativity. In them I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, art, much art.”
I am very pleased and a bit confused. I never thought this blog qualified as art, unless "crazy middle aged woman tries to herd monkeys" counts as art. Maybe it is a craft. Is it a craft?
Anyway, here are the rules and instructions.
Please be so kind to accept this award. You can keep it to yourself or pass it on, that's up to you of course. But there are some rules if you decide to pass on the award to remarkable blogs you feel are worthy of the award.
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material and also contributes to the blogger community no matter of language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners have to post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4.Please include a link to the Arte Y Pico blog so that everyone will know where the award came from.
5. Show these rules.
Here are the blogs I picked and why
My sister at In Stitches because I love to watch and see her spread her creative wings.
Weed Whackin Wenches because their photos are beautiful and sometimes they crack me up.
Garden Life a beautiful Japanese garden blog. Can't read what he is writing, but the pictures are awesome.
Ourfriendben, Silence, and Poor Richard at Poor Richard's Almanac for great writing and good recipes
Finally, Givinya De Elba at Killing a Fly with a Ukulele is Probably the Wrong Thing To Do because she is seriously funny and her brother wrote me a poem.
Okay, I wasn't finished and I am going to cheat. Actually, I am going to swipe a nominee from my sister. Sorry Sis, you only get four. I also want to pick Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings. Her blog is beautiful and she can actually focus on gardening. She also gave me blogging advice in the beginning. I am still open to your mentoring Dee.
Thanks again Cindy. You are the best.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
My youngest was taking a reading course this summer. It is not exactly summer school. In summer school, I assume there is a goal. In summer reading camp, we all stay the same and don't get dumber. Sorry, I am a little unhappy with summer reading camp.
This morning, was the last day of "Summer Reading Camp." I was folding laundry and putting away dishes while I waited for the boy to walk home. The school is right across the street from our home. I can see the front door from my back deck.
We have a German shepherd dog. You may know Abby. If not, don't get in our yard or she will eat you. I hear her go crazy at about 11:45 am and go to check it out.
We have a solar blocking flim on some of our windows. The windows outside my kitchen are treated this way. During the day, we can see out, but you cannot see in.
As I look outside, with the door closed, I see an young white male. He is clean cut, wearing slacks and a white shirt. Next to him is my nine-year-old son. I have never seen this man in my life. I will the German shepherd to jump over the fence and eat the stranger. The dog does not do her job because the boy is friendly to the stanger.
It turns out this is a teacher at our school. When I opened the door he did not introduce himself. He said something to the effect of, "teacherschoolrainbarrel." Apparently, he talked my youngest son into showing him our new rain barrel.
We live in a little town. DO NOT EVER LET YOUR GAURD DOWN. I don't know this man and he crossed the line. Why didn't he knock on the door. Why didn't he introduce himself. What the hell was he doing on my deck. My kids are overprotected and need to have a lesson in stranger danger.
PAY ATTENTION. I ALMOST DIDN'T
We have broken all of the watering rules. Do not water at midday: Had to, the plants were keeling over. Water deep not shallow: Did not have enough time, somebody needed to go to a soccer game. Mulch to retain moisture: I can't find time to do the dishes and laundry much less spread more mulch.
I love to water my garden by hand. Today I gave up. I set up the sprinkler, set the timer, and went back inside to finish some insane quilt project I committed to back in January.
Would someone like to come babysit the Monkey's so I can try to catch up?